Location: Indiana, USA
Michelle Bythrow was born and raised in St. Joseph, Michigan, and found a love for singing at the age of three. She received a scholarship to study music education at Denver University and then went on to complete her music education degree (with vocal/choral emphases) at Indiana University, Bloomington. After college, Michelle taught k-12 music for three years where she used her teaching and directing skills to teach thousands of children to love multiple genres of music. She often directed large all-school choral and musical theatre performances. She has always had a private music teaching studio and she even taught private voice at Lake Michigan College for a time.
Her first professional singing jobs were with the Sacramento Opera Company as part of the chorus and as a featured dancer. Her professional opera experiences included works such as Un Ballo in Machera (Verdi's Masked Ball) and Aida (role of a priestess). While in Aida, Michelle was chosen to represent Aida in the press for the Opera. Musical theatre has been a favorite genre for Michelle; and she had success, performing professionally in Colorado and in Michigan. Roles included "Maria" in West Side Story, "Hodel" in Fiddler on the Roof, "Ruth" in Ruddigore and more. When auditioning for a local competition in Colorado Springs, Michelle was discovered by a talent agent who thought she showed promise as a television actress. Soon after, she went to Los Angeles and in a talent competition similar to American Idol won ten different awards in comedy acting, dramatic acting, as well as receiving 1st runner up in the singing competition. Upon returning to Colorado, Michelle landed her first national commercial, "Rockin' USA" (a TV record offer) and continued to perform in local commercials. She has performed various types of voice-over work, jingles and background vocals for several artists. Her favorite music album to work on was A Disney Spectacular when she performed and recorded live with the Cincinnati Pops under the direction of Eric Kunzel.
Michelle began leading and directing music worship in high school and was accepted to sing with Jon Stemkovski’s “Celebrant Singers” where she toured across the USA, into Canada, and to Greenland for a summer. Another summer brought singing experiences in Australia with the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers under the direction of Robert Stoll.
She has been singing with the St. Joseph Municipal Band under the direction of Donald Moely for approximately twelve years. It is with this group that she sings popular Broadway tunes, movie songs, as well as jazz and blues.
When she moved to Utah with her family, Michelle continued her career in Jazz singing by starting two bands, Sage and 19th East, singing/playing in various locations in the mountains and in the valley.
This move brought about more opportunities to use her directing skills. She began a drama team in Park City and then became a drama director for K2 The Church in the Salt Lake valley. Westminster College in Salt Lake City, hired her to be the musical director for Urinetown the musical, which included leading all vocals and directing the band.
Michelle could be found on a Lasik commercial in Utah for four years. Her largest acting role to date is the role of “secretary to Mr. Bigelow” on the nighttime drama Everwood (WB).
In 2008, Michelle was hired by the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra as the Theatrical Director/Choreographer for Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and also hired to be a soloist with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
In 2009, Michelle received a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame in order to study Sacred music. She received a Master's degree in vocal and choral Sacred Music in 2011. Currently, Michelle is a part-time instructor of voice at the University of Notre Dame and she teaches music classes at Bethel College. She continues to be the featured soloist with the Lake Effect Jazz Big band and with the St. Joseph, Michigan Municipal Band.