Some know Performing Arts Department Chair Katie Linza as the choir teacher for Women’s Chorus and Pinewood Singers, the music theory teacher, or the director for the plays Pinewood is known for putting on every winter and spring. Linza wears many hats at Pinewood and is a crucial pillar of the Arts Department, but how did she end up here? And how did she begin to fall in love with music?
Growing up in a small suburb of Minnesota, Linza was the adoptive daughter of two loving parents. Her father being a pastor, Linza grew up in the Lutheran Church and started accompanying the hymns on the piano at the age of twelve. Music had always been a part of her life, but it came into the foreground after she joined the jazz choir in high school. During her time in jazz choir, she heavily studied music. Focusing on Jazz, Linza would listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn and started to take music seriously as a career choice.
After high school, she pursued music by attending The School for Music Vocations in Creston, Iowa. Attending for two years, Linza described the experience as “music boot camp” where she seriously honed in on her music studies. Studying improvised music studies and improvisation and vocal performance, Linza became serious about her future as a professional vocalist.
After completing her Associate’s Degree in professional music, she moved to California to finish her undergraduate degree at San Jose State. There, Linza was exposed to many more genres of music which she began to immerse herself in. She saw that jazz was not just the popular swing music, but that it “encompasses all types of music” including funk, soul, R&B, and Brazilian music. This difference in the music scenes in Iowa versus California piqued her interest and lead her to study and perform the new Californian jazz and funk. Linza began to make connections within the music community through college friends and internships, ultimately leading her to work as a vocalist in many local bands including a funk band based in Oakland named “One Nation.”
Years later in 2014, Linza would find herself applying for a position as a music theory teacher at Pinewood. She now teaches two choir classes, directs school plays, and conducts Pinewood’s a capella group, “Take Note.” In 2016, Linza gave birth to an adorable baby boy named Orion, the star of her life. Due to a busy schedule, Linza has had to go on hiatus from performing temporarily, but she hopes to return to the stage soon. Her deep love for music and the performing arts is displayed in everything she does. From concert hall to stage, the students Linza teaches not only produce an exceptional performance, but she also inspires her students to become just as passionate about the arts as she is.