CROSS RIVER, N.Y. - A gifted performer who has dedicated herself to helping others, John Jay High School senior Tara Curran has mastered the art of effortlessly balancing work, school and giving back to the community.
Born in Mount Kisco, Tara grew up in the Lewisboro school district. Around the age of 5, Tara started to seek comfort in music, especially in blues and soul. Around 9, Tara began to take voice lessons at the School of Rock in Bedford, where she honed her skills and showed an innate interest in performing. While attending Increase Miller Elementary School, Tara performed in public for the first time in the school’s musical. Before participating in the musical, Tara experienced stage fright, but doing the musical allowed her to shake off her fear. With her fear overcome, Tara started performing professionally, booking gigs at events and venues at least twice a month. At John Jay Middle School, Tara took part in the school’s production of “The Addams Family,” in the seventh grade.
Upon arriving at John Jay High, Tara immediately became involved in the music technology department, enrolling in music teacher Amy Geiger’s classes, where she learned how to write and record music. Geiger quickly noticed Tara’s talent and “fierce” spirit, as well as her willingness to help others.
“Tara is a talented singer/songwriter who keeps an eye on her future goals. She’s thoughtful, determined and super talented; you instantly feel a connection to her when she walks in the room. She’s the kind of person you would want to have as your friend or neighbor because she is always willing to lend a helping hand,” Geiger said.
While at John Jay High, Tara has spent a great deal of time performing and giving back. Not only has she performed at several school events, such as homecoming, but she has also participated in charity concerts. Tara headlined a charity concert with her old band, Gilbert, through “Arts Alive” for Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Even with her busy performing schedule, Tara also has found time to be a Tri-M member, the music honor society.
During her high school years, Tara has kept up a demanding performance career. While many gigs are on the weekends, some venues require weeknight performances. This performing schedule requires Tara to strike a balance between schoolwork and performing. A few years ago, she started Gilbert with a group of friends. However, as older members went to college, the band separated, although they remain great friends. Currently, Tara is part of a new group called Tara Jade and Company. The band consists of Tara and three others in their twenties, including drummer Mike Cesario.
“Tara is a force of nature and a powerful singer. She has great respect for the musicians she plays with, knowing when to step forward and take charge and when to let the music take center stage, Mike said. “Tara cares about people and the communities she is a part of and makes sure we play benefits and concerts that support good causes. She can grab the attention of any room and knows how to create truly unique and entertaining performances.”
In addition to her performances, Tara spends a great deal of time practicing her craft, as well. Currently, Tara studies under the direction of Don Lawrence, vocal coach to music legends.
“I know great singing when I hear it. I should–I’ve been the vocal coach to Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Mick Jagger, Bono and the inimitable Whitney Houston, to name others. When I talk about great singers, I don’t speak lightly. Tara Curran is a great singer! Her influences are many, but her sound is her own. And what a sound! She is an artist who I predict will have a glowing future in the years to come,” Lawrence said.
When not performing or practicing, Tara gives back to her community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tara and her mother, Lonnie Lum, have been serving food to community members in need as part of an effort by the Gullotta House. Lum, an entrepreneur, operated a food truck before the pandemic. Once the COVID-19 crisis hit, Lum partnered with Gullotta House, an organization dedicated to helping Westchester residents facing hardships, to serve meals to those in need. Tara assists her mother in the daily preparation of meals, often planning her school schedule around her work. To date, Tara and her mother have prepared thousands of meals for Westchester residents.
In the fall, Tara will be attending the University of New Haven to major in the music industry. At New Haven, Tara hopes to learn more about the industry, including contracts and copyright law. Beyond college, Tara envisions a career spent as a performer managing her own career.
To our Beloved Community: During this crisis, we can’t continue to operate entirely as we have been doing when we are only earning a fraction of our previous advertising revenue and still have to pay 100 percent of our payroll. Without that payroll, we would be unable to serve the community with the news and important information you have come to expect. If you feel that we’ve made a positive difference in your town, we ask that you send us a contribution to keep your community newspaper alive and strong by pressing on our PayPal button HERE.