It’s possible the last person in Lake Highlands you’d expect to be singing in a rock band this Saturday night would be mom-of-five Lora Welty. Lora is active at her church, has been a frequent volunteer at her kids’ schools, and is a member of Lake Highlands Women’s League.
Lora has always loved music, especially singing. When she auditioned to perform in the Contemporary Music group at church in 2002, she admits her “confidence level was equal to my preparedness – minimal.” Before that, she had sung in the fifth grade choir and played saxophone in the junior high band.
After the audition, she sought out LH resident and guitar teacher Mike Ellis. With guidance and coaching, he encouraged her to join the Forney Opry, where she honed her skills and beefed up her confidence.
After the Opry went out of business, Lora sang mostly on an annual girls’ trip, when she could belt out her favorite tunes with abandon at any restaurant or tavern that would lend Lora a mic. “My girlfriends grew to expect it and were my biggest fans.”
On their Spring Break 2012 trip, her buddies encouraged her to take action and they set a deadline – the 2013 trip. They wanted her to see if she could make a go of performing again.
Lora found School of Rock in Dallas and went in to take a lesson. The school caters mostly to kids and teens, but her first day happened to be the day their adult band was practicing. They invited her to rehearsal and asked her to sing “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar. One month later, she was performing at their next gig.
With shouts of “Way to go, Mom!” from the back of the hall, Lora was hooked. All five her kids, husband Labry and many LH friends attended to cheer her on.
“It has been an awesome and challenging experience,” Lora told me. “The creative atmosphere is optimal. I have received first-rate instruction, plus it is encouraging and fun.”
LHHS 1998 grad Ryan Fitzgerald is the Dallas School of Rock’s music director, and he was the lead guitarist for Polyphonic Spree for ten years. A desire to leave “life on the road” led him back to Dallas, where he remembers performing in the LHHS choir with longtime director Michael O’Hern.
If you’d like to see Lora perform Saturday night, doors open at 8 p.m., then Southlake School of Rock band will perform, then Lora’s group begins at 9:30. In addition to singing the lead on ten of their 11 songs, she’ll play bass guitar and keyboards, and the set list includes music from Queen, Heart, The Who, The Black Crowes and Foo Fighters. School of Rock is located at 5606 Dyer Street, just east of Central.
Break a leg, Lora!