Students of Kim Frost Vocal Studios gather after their Winter Recital at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

When we think about local business, we usually think about terrific restaurants and independent shops.  Maybe we’ll remember our local hospitals, wellness businesses or even business-to-business firms.

There are so many businesses that fly below the radar.  Businesses we never think about because they lack storefronts and don’t appear on retailers’ shelves.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Winter Vocal Recital of “Kim Frost Vocal Studios.”  Seventeen youth sang their hearts out at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church here in Oak Park.  All students study with local business woman / professional vocal teacher (and my good friend) Kim Frost.  Students take weekly lessons in classical technique with a culminating event each semester.  The performance was delightful, from the opening number “Lullaby of Broadway” to Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” to more traditional standards.  The event was festive and supportive, with families and friends gathered to celebrate and enjoy the students’ hard work.

We do not often appreciate the life of the small business person, especially those in the arts.  Kim Frost is a professional singer as well as a vocal instructor.  Indeed, she does both to generate sufficient revenue to make ends meet.  Singing professionally gives her uncommon insight into the skills she is teaching, but it makes for a challenging business model.

On Friday, Kim sang with a band in Champaign.  She woke up early Saturday morning, drove back to Oak Park and taught a full roster of students on Saturday. Saturday night she stayed home to create and print the recital programs.  On Sunday, she rose early to make final arrangements with the piano accompanist.  The 4pm recital had Kim and her husband Dave on site by 3pm to warm up the vocalists as well as the venue.  Monday she’ll resume her weekly lessons.

Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful recital replete with talented students, professional instruction and supportive families.  I was privileged to be there.  More importantly, I was humbled to remember the small business people who are out there making a difference with little fanfare but consistent success.  Cheers to all our local businesses. Small business is hard.

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...

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