Kara Smith is a graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies with Voice concentration. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
At UArts, Kara received the Promising Artist Scholarship and a Teaching Internship working with undergraduate music students. Kara’s thesis project was entitled “On Crossing Over: A Method Book in Singing Jazz, Popular and Classical Music Authentically.”
Upon graduating from UArts, Kara received the Voice Faculty Award for excellence in musicianship and scholarship. Kara was a piano and voice tutor at UArts for three and a half years and completed her Teaching Assistantship with Professor Anne Sciolla in December 2014.
Kara began playing classical piano at the age of eight. She has performed in various piano recitals and focuses on self-accompaniment. She specializes in crossover singing and her focuses are classical, popular and jazz music. In 2009, Kara was mentioned in DownBeat Magazine for an outstanding recording by Daniel Blanck of Blanck Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
In the summer of 2012, Kara was accepted into the Franco-American Vocal Academy and toured the southwest of France performing three operatic roles. She was Pistache in Bagatelle, Finette in Bagatelle and Denise in Le Mariage aux Lanternes by Offenbach. Kara has sung at various jazz festivals and, most recently, the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Connecticut and Jazz in the Park in Fayetteville, NY. In 2007, she sang backup vocals for the Kenny Roger’s Christmas Tour and has performed at the Kimmel Center with Peter Nero and the Philly POPS and the Academy of Music in Philadelphia opening for Sting with the University of the Arts Chorus.
In 2015-2016, Kara taught voice and piano, summer camp musicals, and pre-k students at Music Training Center, and was the musical director for Anna Marie’s Performing Arts Programs. She taught voice, piano, pre-K music, and summer camps at the Jacksonville School of Music in Jacksonville, FL from 2016-2018 before returning to teach at MTC in 2018. While in Jacksonville, she performed as a Soprano with the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus.
Kara is a regular performer at Northminster Presbyterian Church and Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church in Syracuse, NY. She regularly sings at the Jazz Vespers Series at Pebble Hill. She recorded a Christmas album entitled A Holiday Vespers with the CNY Jazz Orchestra, her father Peter Shidemantle and the Pebble Hill Congregational Singers. Her selections are entitled A Child is Born as a soloist and God’s Love Made Visible as a duet with her dad. She has also performed in Messiah and The Met Meets Broadway with the Germantown Oratorio Choir and excerpts from Die Fledermaus with the UArts Opera/Oratorio Ensemble.
Kara hopes to help her students improve their singing and piano technique as well as proficiency in reading music. Most importantly, she hopes to help her students build confidence in themselves and to find a love for music that will be with them for the rest of their lives.