Thank you for visiting my website.
This picture from kindergarten sums me up.
My class had to be bunnies for a school-wide activity day, but I wanted to be a lion.
This is at Futaba Kindergarten in Kunitachi, Tokyo, Japan.
Instead of writing out a biography for this website, I've answered frequently asked questions. (Below.)
For audience specific bios, here is the one from my studio website where I teach piano and voice.
Brigitte first got her taste for singing in big music halls, like Davies Symphony Hall, when she joined the California Bach Society, under the directorship of Ed Flath. This experience inspired her to study voice at UC Davis and San Jose State University.
While at SJSU, she participated in the opera workshops and sang with Opera San Jose, under the tutelage of Dr. Rohrbaugh and Irene Dalis. She studied other performance related fields, like theatrical make-up and costume design, at San Francisco State University where she earned a B.A.
The field of music education was first introduced to her at Holy Names College in Oakland, Ca, when she began her studies of the Suzuki piano pedagogy. She was awarded a Certificate of Suzuki pedagogy after completing all seven books of the Suzuki piano course and giving a concert.
Brigitte furthered her studies in music education at SJSU and in education in general while she was the choral director for two local high schools. She has also enjoyed directing middle school orchestras, bands and bell choirs.
Brigitte now devotes her time and efforts to her family, private studio, and composing her own songs.
Here is the bio that used to be on my website for the stencils I manufacture.
Why did I start Pretty Scrapbooks? The main push was attending the Scrapbook Expo with my friend Erin Yamashita Parkes. She was my first guidance in making my first scrapbook for my son. Then she begged me to go to the expo, which I put off and promised I would go the following year. So the following year I went and that experience was the impetus for starting my own creativity company. But read on about all the events in my life that brings me to starting a huge project.
All through my childhood in Japan, Hawaii, Florida, and other places, I was surrounded by an atmosphere of art. My mother’s thirst for art placed me and my sisters in the midst of her projects. Wherever we lived, from air base to air base, she found art and craft classes to satisfy her creativity. We were able to learn leather crafting, enamel baking on copper, lapidary arts, oil painting, ceramics, pottery, silkscreening, batiking, tie-dying, silk flower making, metal welding, origami, rug making, weaving, crocheting, and knitting.
My grandmother had a fabric store in Tokyo and we all became good little sewers with the ends of the bolts she’d bring us.
Learning how to use Adobe software can be daunting at best, so I took a class on Adobe Illustrator. With my new skills in vector graphics, I designed stencils inspired by Japanese family crests, called kamons, and other pop symbols. I look forward to creating more stencils with Japanese, Polynesian, and Indian design influences. It's so exciting!
Collection of Questions
What is your ethnicity?
I am half Japanese, a quarter East Prussian, an eighth German, a sixteenth Scottish and a sixteenth Danish. The Danish and East Prussian ancestry could easily be from German descent. The Scottish ancestry comes from the Scotch-Irish, so there could be Irish blood mixed in. Genealogy is fun work.
How do you spell your name?
It's a near sin to put a "D" in my name. I'm not a little "bridge." (humor) Two I's and two T's, please. My father named me after Saint Brigitte from Sweden and the book he was reading spelled it this way. The Swedish and the Germans pronounce it in three syllables with a hard G. (Bri - gi - ta) My father pronounces it in two syllables with the soft G, like from the British Isles. (Bri - jit) (The English J, not the J that sounds like an H or a Y.) The reason for all this detail comes from the many questions I've received. Some people insist on pronouncing my name in the French accent. (Brigeeeeeetu) When I was younger, grown men would hear my name and attach "Bardot" to it and make some strange sounds along with weird eyebrow raises. Annoying.
What's the hyphen about?
My maiden name was Doss. My father has one sister and three daughters. I kept the "Doss." My husband is a Johnson. My three children are Doss-Johnsons. The Doss name will continue.
Where did your love of music come from?
My parents played music all the time, lots of varieties, and would discuss the music period and composers during dinner. My father would select a record to play before dinner from his huge collection, stored in a custom made stereo cabinet with doors designed like their wedding ring. My father enjoyed jazz and swing, influences from his father. The Dosses are a musical bunch. My father would whistle around the house. I loved to hear it. Never a sour note. My mother couldn't carry a tune. She made sure I had piano lessons and practiced, until I rebelled in my early teens. I didn't have my first voice lesson until college.
When did you start writing?
When my children were young, I wrote two children's books. I tried to illustrate the pictures but I can't draw. My mother and sister are drawers, not me. Several years later, a dear friend inadvertently challenged me to write a novel. You can read the process my mind went through here. From that, I dove into a grand story about an opera singer. Read about that story here.
Why do you like Estonia?
The short answer is: the music. The detailed answer is here.
I have three children who need to learn to get their picture taken in a uniformly cooperative manner. Gotta love kids. We are a family of five, established in 1988.