Becky was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in Minneapolis and Minnetonka, Minnesota. She began playing the piano when she was five, and her mom taught her to read and write music so she could write down her compositions. Her dad entertained Becky and her siblings with his funny original stories; she was always easily enchanted by the heroic exploits, the quirky twists, and the faraway places of fiction and folktales.
Becky learned from a string of talented and encouraging music educators, both in Minnesota and, later, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. During high school she accompanied many performing ensembles, was involved in countless musical theatre and classical performances, and was part of every musical group she had time for, including orchestra, concert and marching band, bell choir, church choir, chorus, and madrigals.
Becky went to Colgate University intending NOT to major in music because she had done so much of it already – but it didn’t take her too long to realize that being in the midst of music was the place where she felt the most at home. She graduated cum laude in 1977 with high honors in Music and English. And then – speaking of home! – she moved to Brattleboro, Vermont. And almost immediately she found the small town she had been looking for without even knowing she was on a quest!
She moved into Brattleboro, quickly became involved in Brattleboro’s vibrant folk arts scene as contra dancer, singer, and dance musician, and played piano in both classical and musical theatre ensembles. She started her career as an elementary school music teacher and piano instructor. Becky earned her Masters degree in 1984 through Lesley College’s Creative Arts in Learning program. Her student job at Lesley was working in the young New England Storytelling Center. She studied storytelling (how exciting to find an old love could also be a job!), was accepted onto the New Hampshire arts roster, and began to spend many days each year as a storyteller, performing and leading residencies in schools and libraries.
Becky returned to “hometown” Brattleboro with her husband and family in 1992 and has lived in the area ever since. In recent years, she has taught storytelling and music at Antioch University in Keene, directed musicals at the New England Youth Theatre and the Putney School, and taught elementary school music in southeastern Vermont towns. Becky currently is the organist and choir director at the Second Congregational Church in Londonderry, Vermont, and directs two women’s choruses: Animaterra, in Keene, NH, and the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, which she founded in 1996.
Becky has been a favorite resident storyteller at our school over the years. She is one of only a few artists who has been able to work with our population of preschoolers through the primary grades. She has kept them entertained as well as actively involved in her combination of music and stories. It’s always a lot of fun when Becky’s around.
Judy Boucher-Leidner, Eastman School, Concord, New Hampshire
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of singing in the Brattleboro Women’s Chorus for over ten years under the elegant, heart-ful direction of Becky Graber. Becky’s leadership is an inspiration to me. She is a clear, confident, patient teacher who is able to connect personally with her students and ignite the love of music and the commitment to work hard in each of us. To her skills as a leader and master teacher, Becky also brings an indefatigable sense of humor, playfulness, and fun.
Jen Bailes Hart, Brattleboro, Vermont
Becky’s ability to connect with her audience is remarkable, indeed. Her choice of material indicates an ability to pick the right mix whether in story or song – lively, sensitive, evocative – but this capacity is just part of her magic. Becky possesses a presence which is “magnetic.” She seems to become each person’s personal performer, each person’s mentor, each person’s guide, etc. – her connection with the audience is that strong. I heartily recommend any effort which will help to bring a teacher like Becky to more learners and audiences. She is truly an artist and a craftsperson who has much to share.
Ron LaBrusciano, Core Faculty Member, Antioch University New England Education Department
Whenever I’ve seen Becky direct, she does so with honesty, humor, thoroughness, passion, and love for music. These qualities inevitably permeate all those who participate, and thus, her passion becomes tenfold. Becky is a very important member of our community, and any new community would be honored to witness her work.
Sue Owings, Brattleboro, Vermont
Becky’s ability to captivate her audience and keep them engaged is amazing, especially since we usually have a wide range of ages attending. Her stories and songs are orignal and interesting, and her enthusiasm is obvious. Becky is one of our first choices when booking a performer and is always a pleasure to work with.
Lindsay Bellville, Assistant Children’s Librarian, Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, Vermont
Becky Graber has been a much requested artist for our Artist-In-The-Preschools program for the past two years. She has presented stories, music and songs to children from the ages of 2 ½ to 5 years old with great success. Teachers have reported that the children love her energy and enthusiasm. The teachers report that her professionalism is evident in how she respectfully interacts with children and conveys enthusiasm within her residencies. As an administrator I appreciate that Becky is prompt and flexible to deal with. She understands the needs of young children, teachers and administrators, and handles them all with ease. I heartily recommend her for continued support within the arts community.
Karen Johnson, Early Education Coordinator, Orange Windsor Supervisory Union, South Royalton, Vermont
She can reach into a can of worms and pretty soon have them standing in straight lines, saluting her.
Richard Graber, Becky’s father
Dear Ms. Graber,
I enjoyed everything but the most thing [that] amazed me was that you made everything lite up. And I hope you have more jobs going to schools.