Kate Ingmundson '88

Kate Ingmundson '88  
Kate Ingmundson '88

Kate Ingmundson graduated in 1988 with an M.A. in Communication Disorders and Speech Science and has since moved into the arts as a writer and lyricist. While studying speech pathology she recalls that she “loved preschool, the CLC [Child Language Center], and INREAL [INterREActive Learning model]…Could not get enough of it. If I could have done that full time, I think I would still be practicing." After practicing speech and language therapy in the public schools for six years, Kate's love of language led her to become a lyricist. Kate is currently working on a children's book called I Love Watermelon, based on a song she wrote. She is visualizing "large, colorful, juicy illustrations", and there will be a CD in the back so that kids and teachers can learn the song. It wasn't difficult to detect the seeds of creative song-writing in Kate’s graduate experiences. One of her recollections was “‘Bubble Week,’ a theme which I created when I was teaching in the CLC. I wrote a story about Bubbles (oddly, it was called “The Bubble Story”) in which the main character blew a huge bubble and floated all the way up to outer space. On the way, he met all kinds of characters. It was gratifying to see the CLC kids acting out the story, pretending to be Seymour and various characters, floating up to outer space. I hear the story is still being read in some preschools around Boulder. Anyway, I needed to experiment with bubble making devices before preparing for this theme week, so I took buckets and water tables etc. full of soapy water, and things like berry baskets and kitchen implements out into the backyard of my department, and invited everyone in the department to come play with bubbles. Speech therapists can be a serious lot, so it was fun to see people getting goofy with bubbles.” Kate also plans to publish The Bubble Story.

Kate jammin' with a friend  
Kate jammin' with a friend

Kate’s musical pursuits are well known among many Boulderites and one can often spot her SLP friends/colleagues in the audience at performances, “It’s my avocation as a singer-songwriter that I am most identified with. I write song lyrics, collaborate with a guitarist to write songs, and I’m the lead singer in a little band called Sister Merry Harmony. We are coming along as a group, we’ve been together for 3 years and we’re performing at small venues like the Rock and Soul Café and The Laughing Goat in Boulder. We specialize in funny songs, but we intersperse them with some heartfelt and some spiritual songs. The thing I love the most is getting up on the stage which I’ve decorated with various props like a cheesy orange sofa, empty Yellow Tail bottles, and Barbie dolls, all of which are related to songs we’ve written. I’ll tell a little story about each song, based on research I’ve done or personal experiences, and sing. I enjoy making the whole show not just about music, but about theater. I like to become the characters, evil, or jealous, or a middle-aged unwed tipsy female lyricist. And when we make mistakes, we laugh. We laugh a lot. It feels like the audience has dropped by in the living room to hear us play. Sometimes, they sing with us. It makes me smile when I hear someone humming one of the tunes as they leave the venue. It’s fun. Now, that’s a vocation. I wish I could live on tip jar money!”

Kate in Action  
Kate in Action

Kate’s lyrics embed satire and parodies related to the human condition--topics the audiences can relate to and truly enjoy. Samples of her song titles include: Mr. O.K., a song borrowing upon the 12-step concept that you know a relationship is going well if you are bored with it! Yellow Tail, about our artistic process: two middle aged women, sitting on a cheesy orange velvet sofa drinking cheap wine, debating the importance of sex in our lives (among other things), and writing songs using an old home made guitar. Barbie's Revenge, in which Barbie goes ballistic, quits working for Mattel, rides a Harley, and burns down the Dream House. Teardrops on My Keyboard, the band's current fave, in which the main character (Dee Cline, Patsy Cline's evil twin sister) devises a unique way of taking revenge on her ex. She writes a song about what a jerk he is, and it goes on national radio. Soon, he has no friends, and even his dog hates him. It's our second country western song. Kate’s family in Boulder consists mostly of friends who are musicians. “I spend all of my spare time either practicing with Sister Merry Harmony, or Gospel Voices of Boulder, or just jamming with friends. Annie, my song-collaborator, guitar-player friend, is really like a sister to me. We have fights, and we love each other. Duffy the bass player is like a brother.” According to Kate, membership in the Gospel Voices of Boulder “is like a big family to me. Our choir director, Ernie Hargett is a man of unlimited energy and big heart. He is trying very hard to teach us, mostly middle-aged white women from Boulder, how to sing gospel with serious soul. I truly admire him for that!” Kate has had to stare down health problems in the past and praises her musical families for giving her their full support. “Gospel Voices put on a beautiful fundraiser for me last year when I was recovering from cancer. Every time I think about it, my heart breaks. They put on a show, and a dinner, and it was so much work, with so much joy! I could not have made it through the last year without the money from that fundraiser.” Another group of friends also responded to Kate's illness, Kate explains, "There was a fund-raiser called the Fun Fund held in Fort Collins in celebration of cancer survivors, and I was lucky to be one of the recipients of that generosity. I had not seen Sheila Goetz or Cynthia Gray in years, and there they were in the crowd. We had fun getting reacquainted, and I invited them to a concert I was singing in with Sister Merry Harmony at the Rock and Soul in Boulder one night. It was wonderful to see them there! Susan Elling, '86 and Janet Beatty, '86 were in the audience also. I had started going to The Center for Integrative Care for alternative healing, and there I found Susan Elling, class of '86! She is the director of that program. I had invited her to the concert and invited her up on the stage to hold up some crazy lyrics on a poster for the audience to sing. What a trooper. That was my thank-you concert for people who have helped me during my recovery from cancer. What an unforgettable evening." Currently Kate also provides home care for elderly people, “My speech/language training comes in handy here. I am able to help families and co- workers understand the communication needs of elders a little better. And I can help coworkers to understand some things about how hearing aids work and how to take care of them. Again, my training in the art of listening, especially as an INREAL trainee, has helped me to be a good observer of behavior and to communicate well with the elders that I work with. It is easy to make assumptions about the way elders communicate if we don’t observe and listen to them carefully. The world slows down significantly as we age. INREAL has helped me to match the pace of elders understand them better, and communicate with them better.” Kate also has a part-time business doing copy editing. For information on one of Sister Merry Harmony's current endeavors, check out a song selected for Nederland's Frozen Dead Guy Days, an annual tradition in the mountain town. You'll find it at following Nederland Chamber of Commerce website: http://www.nederlandchamber.org/events_fdgd-home.html/ Kate says "watch the slideshow and listen to the song I wrote the lyrics for--'The Frozen Dead Guy Song.' That’s me singing with my friend Annie. You can’t see any pix of us in the slideshow, which I am thankful for. The people who dress up like they are dead aren’t too good looking. If you are wondering what the heck Frozen Dead Guy Days is, listen and look carefully at the slideshow. There’s also a You Tube link for the same slideshow with me singing the same song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg6qOBil1rw I can’t say that this is representative of my songwriting abilities. It’s a sample. I’d like to think my songs are a tad more sophisticated. Either you will be grossed out by this song, or you’ll have fun with it! Maybe both."

Sister Mary Harmony Logo  
Sister Merry Harmony Logo

When asked about future professional goals, Kate’s answer was one I think we all wish we could emulate, “I am trying to learn that work is not the be-all and end-all of my life. In other words, it does not define who I am. I’ve done a lot of different things since I’ve been out of grad school, from working as a speech therapist in public schools, to being a freelance graphic artist, to working on a llama farm, to caring for elders. The last one is the best match I’ve found but I always remain open to other possibilities.” Check out some of Sister Merry Harmony's songs on their My Space page: http://www.myspace.com/sistermerryharmony Kate also invites you to email her if you are interested in getting on Sister Merry Harmony’s gig invitation list at: blueshowler@yahoo.com She suggests that people put Request to be on Sister Merry email list in the subject line so that she is sure to receive it. Carry on in good cheer Kate and Sister Merry Harmony!