Star alum shines after graduation

Jolie Peal

Several years have passed since ’06 Marian grad Tara Vaughan has walked the halls of Marian. On Nov. 13, Marian was blessed to have a star alum return and share her wisdom with current Marian students. In high school, Vaughan was involved in Student Board, the newspaper, choir, musicals and so much more. After graduation, Vaughan began college at Tufts University outside of Boston, MA.

Originally, she planned to begin a journey for a degree in international relations. However, freshman orientation reminded her of her true passion. “I went to this big orientation show. I had already signed up for all my international relations classes. This acapella group came out and sang ‘Fat Bottom Girls,’ and I knew those were my people,” Vaughan said. She immediately changed all her classes to music courses.

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After finishing college at Tufts with a Bachelor of Arts in music, Vaughan began her career. At first, music was her side job. “After college as I was trying to make it work, I worked a lot of weird jobs to support myself,” Vaughan said. One of those jobs was a construction job.

During this period, Vaughan found that her determination to get an audition for a piano gig had finally paid off. She got her audition, and the job followed. This was the start of her growing career.

The beginning of her music years were faced with challenges in the music community. Men seemed to have more confidence to enter this career path than women, so Vaughan faced the challenge of being a female in a male-dominated profession. “It was a little intimidating because there weren’t a ton of women doing that [music]. There was a few occasions I had to just brush it off,” Vaughan said.

Vaughn’s career consists of playing piano in a band. This band tours across America performing on a variety of stages and a variety of shows. Vaughn also sings and writes her own songs. She has produced two albums, “Dandelion Wine” and “Better Versions.”

A regular gig for Vaughan is performing on cruise lines. She gets to travel the world while singing in luxury. “One of my favorite places is Prince Edward Island. The locals that stay there in the winter are the nicest people I have ever met,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan performs at the annual Beatles show, “Yesterday and Today,” at the Omaha Community Playhouse. The crowd is able to interact with the show by choosing their favorite Beatles songs. Vaughan’s favorite song to perform is “Hey Bulldog.”

After six years of growing her band family, Vaughan was finally able to create her own show. “I get to do what I love every day. Now I’m building my own show that can potentially go farther than what I was doing,” Vaughan said. Her own show, “She Rocks,” consists of songs from past decades along with some of her original music sprinkled in. The show officially kicks off at the Omaha Community Playhouse on June 13. Vaughn held several preview performances in October that sold out and had rave reviews.

Looking at her past self, Vaughn has some advice for high school Tara. “I would take her under my wing and pat her head and say ‘you don’t have to be stressed about anything buddy,’” Vaughan said. Not only did she have advice for her past self, but also advice for Marian girls looking to follow their dreams. “I guess I forgot what it was like coming out of high school looking for an opportunity to perform and get myself out there. Just keep pushing, whatever you’re doing. Don’t worry so much about it all. You just be you,” Vaughan said.

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