Tahoe-raised classical singer offers lessons in Carson Valley | NevadaAppeal.com

Tahoe-raised classical singer offers lessons in Carson Valley

Songstress Emily Hammer is ready to help those willing to go out on a limb to become songbirds.

The 27-year-old classically trained singer is hanging out her shingle to offer lessons after moving to Carson Valley a few months ago.

Emily was raised in Carnelian Bay. She graduated from North Tahoe High School before going to Chico State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in music.

Emily, whose maiden name is Beck, competed as a speed skier while she was in high school.

“I’ve been skiing since I was 2,” she said. “I actually raced in speed-skiing trials for a couple of years. Me and my dad would speed ski at Boreal. We went into Oregon and did a few different national speed trials there.”

Her move down from the heights occurred not long after she married Jed Hammer a little over a year ago.

“My husband wanted to come down here,” she said. “It is so different and pretty, and it’s only 20 minutes from the lake.”

Jed is a facilities analyst at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Emily was hired as a music instructor at Sierra Crest Academy, where she does a drumming and voice class.

She also is accepting students for private lessons. She says singing lessons are not all singing.

“I spend about half the lesson working on music theory and sight reading and things of technical nature,” she said. “The second half, I spend on voice technique working on songs, character analysis, so the singers can perform it effectively.”

Emily is trained bel canto, which translates from Italian to “beautiful singing.” My copy of Webster’s says it is a “form of operatic singing that stresses ease, purity and evenness of tone production and an agile and precise vocal technique.”

“You learn all the foundations for every form and technique for classical, musical theater and pop,” she said.

Speaking of opera, Emily would like to perhaps break into western Nevada’s musical tradition.

“I’m really excited about getting involved,” she said. “I’m a performer at heart, and I’m trying to get the word out there.”

And apparently the move down a couple of thousand feet didn’t hurt the old pipes, either.

“It’s a lot better down here,” she said. “I don’t wake up with a dry throat in the morning.”

Folks interested in lessons, should call Emily at 782-3877.

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I didn’t need the L.A. Times to tell me the section of Highway 395 near Ridgecrest is one of the bloodiest in California. Covering the accident beat at the Ridgecrest Daily Independent was my trial by fire as a reporter.

I spent 14 months after college working for the Daily Independent, starting in June 1988 and lasting until August 1989, when I came north back to Nevada.

I saw the first dead bodies I’d seen in my life less than a month after I arrived. Two Air Force servicemembers riding a motorcycle south hit the berm and flew into the air, hitting the only sign in 10 miles. It scraped them both off the bike, which didn’t have a scratch on it.

Those first few weeks had been slow, apparently, because I started attending nearly a fatal a week for the next year.

Most were the result of driver inattention of some sort. Someone would overcorrect and roll or drift into the wrong lane and hit head-on. The warm desert and monotonous country would lull motorists to sleep.

The only way to get information about the accidents was to be there, because the California Highway Patrol troopers would go home after their shifts, so you couldn’t get the report out of someone else.

That put me on the scene of some pretty horrific accidents, including the mother and son who were trying to get through a malfunctioning railroad crossing when a truck lost its brakes and crushed their Volkswagen.

So my advice to people headed south down Highway 395 is to take the right at Highway 14 – and good luck.

Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at khildebrand@recordcourier.com or 782-5121.