"Rachel Holder will fool you..... This young woman steps upon the stage, regards her audience with an earnest, deferential attitude and the lovely, open, innocent face of an angel. But then, she begins to sing.... the voice rings out...... Surprisingly, it is the voice of a woman of experience, a woman of substance, a woman who has known the joy, sadness, and the ironies of life. It is a beautiful instrument, this voice of Rachel Holder's. With this voice, she will move you, make you dance, make you sing, and maybe even make you cry a little. It's a treat and a privilege to be "fooled" by the incredibly gifted Rachel Holder." -- Arne Fogel - Vocalist, Broadcaster, Historian
Rachel Holder was born on August 5th, 1984 in Madison Wisconsin. Her family can attest to the fact that she was musically inclined from a very early age. "There are family videos of me singing at the top of my lungs, 'The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow', with my brother in the background begging my mother to make me stop." Rachel was a very shy child who rarely talked, but would never turn down an opportunity to sing. She began taking piano lessons when she was 5, and began performing solos in church at age 7. When she was 11 her parents decided it would be a good idea for her to start vocal lessons. She was classically trained by Kathy Otterson for the next 7 years before leaving home after being accepted into the University of Minnesota Vocal Performance program.
Rachel attended the U of M for a year and a half, and while she loved her experience at the University she decided after seeing a live performance at The Dakota Jazz Club, she needed to explore a different direction in the musical field. She left the classical program at the U of M and transferred to McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. She knew almost instantly that this school was a perfect fit. Their curriculum focused mainly on jazz and other contemporary musical genres. This was the first time Rachel truly believed she could have a successful career in music. She studied with Judi Donaghy Vinar, Lori Dokken, Erin Schwab, Debbie Duncan and Pete Whitman. Her second semester, Rachel had her first gigging opportunities, all of which were provided by the extremely supportive and encouraging McNallySmith faculty. She sang frequently at The Times Bar and Cafe as well as the Dakota Jazz Club, the venue that inspired her to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional jazz vocalist.
In 2009 Rachel recorded her first album entitled "Save Your Love For Me" with pianist Dan Musselman. The entire album was recorded in about 3 hours at the Times Bar and Cafe in Northeast Minneapolis. "Save Your Love for Me showcases two of the Twin Cities’ most talented up-and-coming musicians. Individually they bring unique approaches to their craft, and their partnership is a respectful collaboration in which neither compromises to serve the other. The result is a daring debut of two improvisers..." -Andrea Canter-Jazz Police
In the fall of 2009 Rachel became a member of the Vocal Faculty at McNally Smith College of Music. In 2010 she also began teaching at Macalester College in St. Paul. Although Rachel did not originally intend to teach music, it has become an extremely important part of her life and much more than just a day job. She hopes to provide her students with the same opportunities she was given at McNally Smith. "Attending McNally was such an important aspect of my life. I honestly don't believe I would be doing what I'm doing now without that education. I am truly honored to teach there and inspire students to pursue a life in music."
Rachel can be seen performing with The Wolverines, The George Maurer Group, Vital Organ, Reception Jazz, The Modd Squad, The Bruce Henry Band, The Girls and several other groups in the Twin Cities. Rachel's goal this year is to focus on developing her own music. She plans to record a new album in the very near future which will include collaborations with McNallySmith faculty, musicians from other groups she has worked with, and her husband, drummer Pete Hennig.