Neighbors: Moorhead voice professor shares her gifts with the community
Two commencement ceremonies were held by Minnesota State University Moorhead one day last spring.
It, of course, was a stirring time for the graduates and their families. And it was a big moment when a woman sang at both ceremonies, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
The soloist was Jenny Dufault, a professor and the coordinator of the voice program at MSUM.
Neighbors, with two granddaughters graduating from MSUM that day, was at both ceremonies and, after observing the audience’s enjoyment of her singing, asked her to tell something about herself. She kindly replied.
Jenny is from Williston, N.D., where, she writes, “I grew up singing, playing piano and performing — a typical music nerd.
“I began my formal voice training in Minnesota, moved to Texas, Indiana, upstate New York and finally Boston. I have been fortunate to work with very talented musicians, teachers and vocal coaches.
“During those years, I also worked as a public school teacher in St. Paul and in Massachusetts. You could say I spent my 20s traveling around the country teaching, performing and studying music.
“After all that,” Jenny says, “I decided that a steady income and a retirement plan was important, and I gratefully accepted a tenure-track position at MSUM. This is where I began my academic teaching career as a voice instructor.
“When I reflect back, it feels like all of the performing, traveling and teaching have led me to this place.
“I have now been teaching and performing in the Fargo-Moorhead area for nearly two decades.
“I completed my Ph.D from the University of Minnesota; my dissertation research focused on vocal pedagogy (teaching voice).
“I have had the wonderful opportunity to sing with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera Co. in a couple of its mainstage productions and to help the company fundraise by performing at several of their international dinners.”
Jenny appeared with the opera company in its 50th anniversary concert in October.
It’s an honor
Does Jenny enjoy her job? Oh, yes.
“As a professor at MSUM,” she says, “I have had the privilege of working with college students as they enter the university as wide-eyed freshmen until the time they graduate years later as young professionals.
“It is such an honor to hold this teaching position! I’ve had students with diverse musical interests; some now teach in the Midwest, others have gone on to major graduate schools and a few are professional performers.
“I have attended many of their weddings and, unfortunately, even one of their funerals.
“I have a multitude of stories to tell about each them and I continue to be grateful to have learned so much from them.”
Jenny has one more thing she wants people to know.
“During all of this,” she says, “my husband, Christopher Dufault, has been my accomplice in mischief, my ally in conflict, my greatest fan and my toughest adversary. He and I have a lovely, kind relationship; we challenge each other in a very healthy way. We keep each other accountable and honest, and I love him dearly for that.
“He and I were married in 2003 and together we have two amazing children: Jaron and Lillian.”
Plus, Jenny Dufault has that amazing voice.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.