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The beat goes on in Tamara Beatty

A family love for music inspires career in music industry.

WILKIE — A multi-generation devotion to music, which began with Norm Hallgrimson of Wilkie, continues into the future in the work of Tamara Beatty. (nee Hallgrimson)

Tamara is Norm's granddaughter, and her musical interests have taken her into a career in voice coaching.  Beatty lives in the Calgary area.

Tamara credits her success in this field to an early introduction to music by her parents, Glenn, son of Norm, and Bea Saunders, who raised their family of two daughters in Alberta. Tamara says her sister Janelle also played a role in her early interest in music.

Tamara says, “My earliest memory of loving music began with a trumpet that Grandpa and Grandma Hallgrimson gave me when I was four years old. I remember opening the case and thinking it was so beautiful. I instantly loved it. I was able to make a sound on it and couldn’t wait to learn to play. It was extra special because it was the trumpet of my late Uncle Grant, [whom] I never met. From the stories of him, it sounded like he was an exceptionally good musician, among many other wonderful things.”

Tamara's memories reflect the long history of music in the Hallgrimson family.

Norm Hallgrimson started his musical career with an RCAF band during the Second World War and is remembered as the band master in Wilkie for many years. People would go to dances and concerts and Norm would be conducting and playing. This was the era of the Big Band and Benny Goodman, which was his favourite genre.

Norm and wife Mary had three sons, with each of them inheriting their father’s talent for music. In 1967 he formed a community band with students from the high school and adults from Wilkie and area. When you needed music, you called Norm. With the permission of the Department of Education, Norm, who was not a teacher, started teaching band in the fall of 1967, making the musical program at McLurg a class students wanted to be a part of.

Sons Grant and Glenn played in the band at school. Norm eventually set up a business, Greenhead Music, selling new musical instruments and supplies and offering instrument repair.

The music gene continued when his son Glenn taught music in schools in Vulcan and Champion, Alta. Glenn’s wife Bea (nee Sander), a Wilkie native, was also musical and the couple passed that talent down to their daughters, Tamara and Janelle.

Tamara and Janelle participated in music from an early age as their dad was the music teacher and their mom played piano by ear, accompanied by Glenn who was tenor sax player.

“As kids, Janelle and I would play ‘radio’ where she would interview me, we would make up songs and sing,” Tamara says.

By age 10, Tamara was taking singing lessons with Mrs. Losey.

“I loved going to lessons as she taught me singing, musicianship and singing in different languages," she says.

"Around the same time, I took up the bugle. I later found out that Grandpa also played in the Legion Band, and I have a very fond memory of being in Wilkie watching him play in the band for Remembrance Day.”

In Grade 8 Tamara changed schools and went to Champion where her dad taught band. She said he was her favourite teacher because she loved making music with him. Tamara continued to take singing lessons from Mrs. Losey who instilled in her the joyful discipline of singing and enrolled her in several Kiwanis Music Festivals.

“Mrs. Losey said it was time for me to start teaching voice, so I opened up my own store-front studio at the age of 18,” Tamara says.

She attended the University of Lethbridge and the University of Calgary earning a Bachelor of Music degree and later a Bachelor of Education. She continued voice training as she travelled to California and France, researching different music institutions and their curriculums, learning from world-class coaches.

In California she was introduced to voice coaching in the music industry. This was quite different from teaching weekly singing lessons because singers are singing to make a living versus for recreation. Tamara said “making a living from singing requires different skill sets including the ability to stand out and be compelling as a brand as well as being able to sing higher, stronger and longer, all while being able to withstand these increased demands on the voice.

"I love it because it requires specific skill, strategy and creativity.”

The love of music in its many forms has taken Tamara into a world that many people know nothing about but gives this talented woman a job that many would envy. She is the voice coach for the singers on the television shows “The Voice” and “The Masked Singer.” When asked is she knows who the winners are, her comment “Sorry, it’s a secret!”

Tamara has now branched out further going on tours with singers, giving lessons helping singers develop their voices. She is also developing on-line tutorial videos on her You Tube Channel, working on a blog and developing a singing app. Voicefit. She wants singers, emerging artists and recreational singers to have access to industry-quality, professional-level resources that she believes will help them develop their singing skills.

Tamara says her accomplishments all lead back to her roots.

“[At] Grandpa and Grandma Hallgrimson’s house, I would go downstairs in the back corner of the basement where Grandpa had all his instruments, instrument tools and music. Everything was cared for so well. He made soft cloth cases for the hard instrument cases so they wouldn’t get scratched. The instrument tools were all clean and lined up neatly, and the music staff paper was perfectly lines and gathered in stacks.

"I dreamed of opening the cases and being able to see all the beautiful instruments inside. Both my father and grandfather are such amazing musicians, but they were not showy. So, we didn’t hear my grandfather play a lot, but when he did it was so nuanced and melodic. He didn’t say a lot, but his music spoke volumes.”