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  • Shannon VanZegeren

Women Who Inspire: Diane Penning

Diane Penning is a world class soprano who has recorded albums and has performed with professional symphonies across the country. She is the one singer I know that literally gets better the higher she sings. She plays an entire concert that pays tribute to Julie Andrews, and trust me, Diane Penning lives up to the legendary Julie Andrews. She nails every single note. Also no big deal, she happens to be my voice teacher.


Diane has instilled in me the importance of poise, grace, and confidence on stage. She has pulled my very best out of me. She has helped me easily hit notes I thought were only for the “professionals.” She has helped me learn to love opera and not dismiss opera as something out of my league. All along, those abilities were inside of me, I just needed to learn how to access the breath, the power, and the courage. Singing is such a psychological entanglement and Diane has helped me understand how to work through those hurdles.


While there’s no doubting she has extraordinary talent, and seriously, this woman can sing anything from pop standards to classical to Broadway, her kind and gentle spirit radiate out of every note she sings and in every minute we spend together. She is one of the most kind-hearted, genuine individuals I’ve ever met. She encourages me, challenges me, calls me to my best self, and helps me access every ounce of my being to support my singing. “Sometimes Shannon,” she often tells me, “You just have to jump off the cliff and trust.”


See why Diane Penning is practically perfect in every way? You can get a glimpse of her Julie Andrews show by watching this video clip.

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Images by Natalie Burrow Photography