The Rural We: Lara Tupper
Lara Tupper is another of our region’s multi-talented individuals who is successfully living her passions. For Tupper, it is a twin love of singing and writing, both of which she does professionally. Last week, Tupper released her first full-length CD, “This Dance,” a mix of her favorite jazz and pop tunes. She’s also the author of “A Thousand and One Nights,” an autobiographical novel about entertainers on a cruise ship and abroad. She taught creative writing at Rutgers University and now presents writing workshops and retreats in our area. She performs frequently in the region, and will be at The Gateways Inn in Lenox, Mass. on Feb. 17.
This CD has been a long time coming. It represents a variety of music that I’m interested in. It’s half jazz, half pop, a tribute to some of my favorite songs and artists. The musicians on the CD are my husband (singer/songwriter) Bobby Sweet, and pianists Rob Kelly and Ben Kohn, with backing vocals from the BeeLine Ramblers. We recorded it in Bobby’s home studio, Sweet Home, over the course of a few months. The album is available on iTunes and CD Baby — and I’ve got hard copies for those who still have a CD player!
I grew up in Boothbay, Maine, and after college performed a lot on cruise ships and overseas in hotels. I decided that lifestyle was not for me, and ended up in New York City. I went back to school and got an MFA in creative writing, and started teaching at Rutgers, which I did for nine years. I realized, though, that I missed music, and singing, and nature. A friend brought me to Kriplau, and I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated there. I realized I’d been too far away from the natural world, and that I wasn’t serving my passions.
I ended up quitting the teaching job and moved to the Berkshires full time in 2010. I was a volunteer at Kripalu for a year. I lived there and took in all the yoga and kale I possibly could. That’s when I gave myself permission to get back to singing and my own writing.
Now I’m leading writing programs at Kripalu. I just finished co-leading a four-day seminar, Setting Intentions through Journaling and Creative Expression. I love teaching there. Guests are so open and willing to express themselves. I’m also hard at work on a new book, a memoir about leaving New York City for the Berkshires, and have written a historical novel about Paul Gauguin told from his wife’s point of view.
I feel lucky that I can explore my different passions here. I’m teaching an Arts Night Out at IS183 on Feb. 9., where we’ll be creating short and sweet valentines using six words. I’ll also be doing a five-week course on drafting the short story in March.
I met Bobby at Kriplau. For a while I was booking the music there, and kept booking him. We got married in September in Washington, Mass., where we live. There was torrential rain that day, but it was a lovely celebration, with lots of music and laughter under the tent, surrounded by woods and nature. I feel very much at home.