Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Gauthier, Kathryn, singer, songwriter; b. Whitinsville, MA, 31 December 1957. Her parents are Leo and Roberta Gauthier, born respectively, December 18, 1929 and March 11, 1931, the third of seven children. (Nancy 1954, Robert 1956, Kathryn 1957, David 1960, Bryan 1962, Leo 1964 and Fay 1969). When she was 3 years old, her parents bought a house in Millville, MA, a rural town in the southeastern part of the state. It was in this bucolic setting that she grew up. Her family all learned an instrument or participated in the school bands and choruses, and singing was a part of every family gathering. Her youngest sister Fay is also pursuing a career in singing/songwriting pop vocals, and her dad has rekindled his love of music in his retirement, performing songs from the 1940s and 1950s with Robert Duffy of Millville, MA. She studied the fundamentals of piano and music theory while in High School, and was also studying art with a local painter, Joyce Lavergne. She graduated from Blackstone, Millville Regional High School in 1975 and was accepted to Emmanuel College, Boston MA where she majored in Fine Art. During those years, she also studied classical voice with opera singer, Louise Cash, sang with an acappella group called the "Twelve Tones", and participated in several college theater productions.
After graduation in 1979, she worked odd jobs for a few years, then got a job doing recreation therapy at a local institution. She continued to take classes in the visual and performing arts, and to compete in juried exhibitions in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island area, where she received numerous awards for her work. She was an active member of the Blackstone Valley Art Association and the Milford Artist's Guild. In 1985, she enrolled in a Music, Theater, and Dance curriculum at Dean Jr. College, in Franklin MA while continuing to work full-time as a recreation therapist. In 1987, she was accepted into a two-year program at the Trinity Rep Conservatory, Providence, RI and majored in acting and directing. It was there that she began to fully explore her creative spirit. The program involved 18 hours a day of classes, rehearsals, and intense study. She received some excellent vocal training in the Kristin Linklater method and applied it as the jazz singer in a production of the "Torch Song Trilogy." She wrote and performed two solo performance art pieces, and directed and acted in several student productions. She began to teach herself to play the guitar and, with it, discovered a talent for writing songs. Once again faced with the practical world upon graduation in 1989, she started teaching after-school and summer workshops in the arts for children. She got involved with the local theater scene, and continued to work a day or night job to make ends meet. When she finally uprooted in 1992 to move to Chicago, she was ready to cast fate to the wind.
It took another five years of trying on creative hats, stumbling through relationships, and trying to do it all, to narrow her focus and figure out what worked for her. She sang my songs in cafes and small venues in and around the city. I recorded a sampler album of her folk songs in 1994 on a simple 4-track home recording machine and at Experimental Sounds Studio, in Chicago, IL. She began to get involved with the jazz scene and was a finalist in the 1993 Talent Search competition sponsored by the Chicago Park District which gave me an opportunity to sing in the Taste of Chicago Festival with her newly formed band. That experience got her started, but she also began to realize how much more she had to learn and do to keep the ball rolling. She attended a weeklong jazz vocal camp at Illinois Benedictine College in Lyle IL in the summer of 1995. She continued to jam with musicians and work on her songbook and arrangements, and to expand her repertoire.
She began working as a decorative artist, which freed some of her time to pursue music in a more concentrated way. She produced her first CD, "First Steps", and released it on my own label, Dragonfly Records, in November of 2001. All arrangements are her own. Before her move to Chicago, she sang with "Clepsydra," a madrigal group, "Swing Shift, a jobbing band, and performed solo in clubs, cafes, galleries, and other folk venues. She also took part in several musical theater productions. She participated in a Musical Revue of Jazz Standards aired on the Bellingham Cable Network located in Bellingham, MA, in 1990. She also did a folk spot for the same. She was interviewed about her folk music by WCUW in Worcester MA. in 1991, and by WNUR in Evanston IL in July of 1994. She has written and copyrighted over 75 songs and continues to work on new material all the time. She has always been blessed with a wealth of friendships and creative minds with which to connect. A most important part of her education has been right here in the city, sitting-in at jam sessions at the Green Mill, the Velvet Lounge, the New Apartment Lounge, Big Joe's etc. She draws inspiration from the musicianship of people like Ken Vandermark, Von Freeman, David Boykin, and Fareed Haque, (with whom she has begun to work on the upcoming CD), among others.
Having a CD has helped in the process of securing performance opportunities. She sang in the Taste of Chicago Festival again in the summer of 2002, and is a regular performer in some of the neighbourhood clubs, cafes, and outdoor events.
She continues to support herself as a decorative painter and a fine artist as well as a jazz vocalist. Her general work experience ranges from teaching to selling monkey chow at Southwick's Zoo, to waiting tables, to driving around the city getting doctor's signatures for a medical supply company.