Lara Semetko Brooks
Associated Faculty, Voice
1899 College Rd
Columbus, OH 43210
Areas of Expertise
- Musical Theatre
- Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta
- Stage Directing
- Modern American Female Composed Art Song
- Contemporary Voice Specialist (Jazz/Pop/CCM)
- DMA, Jazz Studies Voice, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2019
- MM, Classical Vocal Performance and Literature, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2016
- BM, Vocal Performance/BME (cum laude), Central Michigan University, 2013
Lara Brooks is a versatile soprano known for her silvery voice and energetic presence on the stage. Comfortable in opera, musical theatre and jazz, Professor Brooks has performed such roles as Clara Johnson in The Light in the Piazza, Musetta in La Bohéme, Lily Vanessi/Kate in Kiss Me, Kate, Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Eurydice in Orphée Aux Enfers, and Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, to name a few. As an avid recitalist, Professor Brooks has performed in multiple venues, both home and abroad. She was the featured soloist for Central Michigan University's Women’s Chorus, which toured Europe; the University of Windsor, Canada; Edge Productions’ "Not Quite But Almost Winter" concert, The William Penn's 125th National Convention (Pittsburgh, PA); On Broadway with Nathan and Julie Gunn, and multiple engagements with Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, Opera Kansas, Southern Great Lakes Symphony, Greensboro Light Opera, The Forum Theatre Wichita, Iron Post Jazz Orchestra, and various concerts throughout the United States.
Lara Brooks is highly involved in community outreach, seeking opportunities to introduce, educate and perform the works of various composers, specifically new American music. Professor Brooks creates concerts to promote the works and educate the audience on works that are not typical from the standard classical repertoire. She enjoys introducing new audiences to the works of Gwyneth Walker, Lori Laitman and Libby Larsen, and bringing new contemporary operas to life. She is also passionate about teaching functional voice and allowing vocalists to explore all styles of music. Her research interests lie in updating educational curriculum to meet the demands of the industry for vocal athletes.
As a contemporary voice specialist, Brooks frequently presents workshops regarding flexible voice technique and cross-training of vocalists. Sessions ranging from “Crossing Genres: A Classical Singer’s Guide to Jazz” and “I’m Not Singing Opera Today” to “Healthy Belting Techniques for Classical Singers” and “Belting Through Colors” have been presented at The International Congress of Voice Teachers (Stockholm, Sweden), The National Association of Teachers of Singing, Kansas Music Education Association, and Jazz Education Network, as well as to universities and high schools throughout the mid- and interior west. She has also presented Gwyneth Walker’s Mornings Innocent song cycle at Sam Houston State University’s First Annual Art Song Festival. Professor Brooks’ students are frequently awarded as finalists in the musical theatre/classical categories for the National Association for Teachers of Singing competition, and have subsequently pursued graduate studies and professional performing careers. Brooks enjoys working with students of all ages and abilities who are preparing for a career in music, focusing on healthy technique, interpretation, style, audition and competition preparation.
Lara Brooks is a lecturer of voice in the School of Music at The Ohio State University. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies Voice; her Master of Music in Classical Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign where she studied under Nathan Gunn, Julie Gunn, Sarah Wigley, Yvonne Gonzales-Redman, Dawn Harris and Charles "Chip" McNeill; and her Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music from Central Michigan University, graduating cum laude. She holds professional memberships with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), The Jazz Educators Network (JEN), The National Opera Association (NOA), Sigma Alpha Iota, and Pi Kappa Lambda. She previously taught at Washburn University, Millikin University, The University of Illinois-Springfield, and The Michigan Opera Theatre’s Operetta Workshop.