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Laura Rice is Marching to Her Own Beat

By Miya Williams Fayne

Music has been omnipresent in Laura Rice’s life. Growing up she took piano and recorder lessons and performed with her church’s children’s choir. “I so appreciate great musicianship and music’s ability to transform space, soothe the soul, move the crowd and fight the power,” she shared.

Rice attended Mount Holyoke College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. While there she began pursuing her interest in music and organized a music presentation for Parents’ Weekend that included choirs, small groups and solo musicians. The success of the event motivated her to continue pursuing music-related opportunities. Since then Rice has produced and marketed artists-in-residency programs, fundraising galas and various concerts. “Building and promoting music events has been an incredible way for me to express my creativity,” she said. 

One of her most memorable experiences was promoting and co-producing a literary tribute to Hazel Scott, a prodigy jazz pianist and activist, at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Another was marketing a sold-out concert for Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba at Chicago’s New Regal Theatre. “Negotiating to get Masekela’s and Makeba’s music back in the rotation at some of the city’s most popular radio stations was a major high for me,” she recalled. “More importantly, it made an incredible statement about Chicago’s solidarity with the people of South Africa.”

In 2014, Rice created a radio show entitled Full Body Frequency. The one-hour podcast celebrates full-figured women and, as host, Rice discusses topics ranging from fashion and beauty to travel and culture. According to Rice, the show “explode[s] the myths that fat women are sedentary and self-loathing” and “explore[s] the truths of how we live, love, take care of ourselves and our bodies, and engage with a global world.”

The Chicago native enrolled in the MSLCE program to redirect her career and after graduation she plans to attend law school. She shared: I’m very interested in protecting the creative production of artists.” 

Rice plans to learn more about the business side of the creative enterprises as she matriculates through the program but she is currently enjoying the professors’ pedagogical approaches. She said, “So far I’ve enjoyed the wealth of real-world and theoretical experiences that our professors bring to the classroom.”