As a little girl, one of Susanne’s earliest “musical memories” is that of sitting beside her father in his VW Bug listening to him whistle beautifully. After asking her Dad how to whistle, Susanne tried to whistle too but just couldn’t do it. Then when Susanne was 8 years old, she heard the flute at a church service that she was attending with her parents. She told her parents that she wanted to play the flute because “it sounds like a bird." After that service, Susanne’s parents found her a teacher, paid for lessons, and only after a few months bought her an instrument. Finally she could “whistle” too. Then throughout High School, Susanne was not only in concert band, but also decided to learn to play the Baritone saxophone for Jazz Band, and joined her High School’s choir. It was at this time that Susanne was chosen to be a part of the Wayne State Honor’s Band. This group was made up of High School musician’s from around the Detroit area that had been chosen because of their musical achievements at their schools.
Susanne’s earliest influences include her flute teacher, Mr. Stewart, an amazing musician and teacher, but her biggest influence was James Galway. Susanne had the honor to meet and talk to Mr. Galway backstage after his performance with the DSO. What a thrill! But one of her biggest influences was, and continues to be her husband, Andy. Andy is an accomplished trumpet player and plays with many of the premier musicians/groups in the Detroit area. It is through him that Susanne has been exposed to an array of musical styles and genres. One particular type of music that Andy exposed Susanne to, Barbershop singing, had Susanne asking, “do girls sing like that too?” The answer was “Yes” and Susanne soon found a local Sweet Adeline chorus to join. As a member of the winning Great Lakes Chorus, Susanne has had the privilege to compete at the International level at such places as Hawaii and Seattle. Susanne met fellow Celtic Cross member, Mike Kowalski, at a Grosse Pointe church, where they played in the church’s Folk group. Susanne moved from the East Side of Detroit to New Baltimore. It was then that Mike introduced Susanne to “The Blarney Boys." Susanne not only began playing flute with the group, but “dusted off” a pennywhistle that her father had given her many years before and began learning some jigs and reels. Susanne’s musical journey began in the church and continues in the church to this day. Susanne continues to draw musical inspiration from many different types of music, from classical to Celtic and much more.