By day, Emily Taxson Meadows '98 works in human resources at accounting firm Ernst & Young in northern Virginia. But ask her what she does for a living, and she'll tell you she's a professional singer. That's because on weekends, Meadows sings with a swing band called Big Ray and the Cool Cats. "It's cool to be able to be paid to sing," said Meadows, whose group performs at corporate events, weddings, and parties. "It's a very big part of my identity."
The former Colby singer wants to start her own singing group, maybe a trio, near her home in Fairfax, Va. A music major at Colby, she's continuing her music education by taking voice lessons in jazz and singing jazz standards, most of which were in the repertoire of Ella Fitzgerald, one of Meadows's strongest influences.
So when will she quit her day job? That's something to look forward to, Meadows said. "If I could make enough money, I would," she said. "Maybe in a later stage of life."
Meadows said her music career is blossoming in part because of the flexibility of her job at Ernst & Young. "I can just take my laptop with me, and when I was on the road with the band, I could work from there," she said. "It made a really big difference, and it still does."
A newlywed, Meadows is still adjusting to her new last name. She and her husband, Mark, eloped in December after being overwhelmed by the pressures of planning a wedding. They were married in a Mexican-style chapel in Sedona, Arizona, with only six pews. "We were in the middle of the whole wedding process, hating every moment of it," Meadows said. "We just decided to do it."
The couple met in New York City several years ago when Mark, a 1997 Bates graduate who lived in the same apartment building as Meadows, noticed his neighbor's NESCAC attire. "I was moving out and I was wearing my Colby T-shirt, and he struck up a conversation," Meadows said. "The funny thing about it was that we just said goodbye, and that was that." Weeks later, Meadows returned to the apartment with her roommate, Jen Stevens '98, and again ran into Mark. "At that point, it was fate."
A member of Colby's new alumni of color network, Meadows first visited Colby on a whim, then chose the College in part because she felt comfortable there. After growing up as a child of mixed racial background adopted into a white family, she also appreciated that Colby didn't show signs of the racial tension she'd felt at other schools she visited, she said.
At Colby, Meadows was active in Colby's music scene; she sang in chorale and was a member of the a cappella group, the Megalomaniacs. Just recently, she got together with a few of her fellow Colby alumni singers after finding out that they, too, lived near Washington, D.C. "That was the first time we'd seen each other since we graduated, so that was pretty hilarious," she said.
After graduating from Colby, Meadows worked in admissions at the Mannes College of Music in New York City before getting a job with Ernst & Young. A year and a half ago, she and her now-husband moved to northern Virginia, where she grew up. As an adult, she sees life near the nation's capital a bit differently than she did as a child.
"Life is so political down here," she said. "It's just different."
Despite being busy with her two-career schedule, Meadows finds time to serve on Colby's Alumni Council. "It makes me feel like I'm helping," she said. "Helping to keep Colby how I enjoyed it
a great place to be."
Alexis Grant '03