Women Who Rock the Fort: Alicia Pyle
Photo Credit: Zoe Laska
Growing up in Huntington, Alicia Pyle showed musical talent from a very young age. To her family’s delight, she first demonstrated that uncanny skill by playing the Notre Dame Fight Song on the piano, accomplishing this entirely by ear rather than training. That ear has come in handy over the years, but the training eventually followed, first with piano lessons and then with more formal training at then-IPFW. With professors like Hamilton Tescarollo and Melanie Bookout providing their expertise, Pyle was able to take her talent and hard work to new levels. But as surprising as it may be to anyone who has heard her perform, music wasn’t always her first objective.
“I was home schooled because my dad traveled a lot so I got to spend a lot of time with my family,” Pyle said. “I went to college at 15, and I had planned to be a doctor. But I was really good at music and had played with the Philharmonic so I decided to go to music even though I really loved the sciences.”
Photo Credit: Zoe Laska
Her natural talent was taken to new levels by learning to read music and by learning the techniques of classical music. She now teaches music as her primary source of income, but many in and around Fort Wayne recognize her from her various jazz combos including the Alicia Pyle Quartet. Although the group was formed with a constant lineup, variations made that group and her other steady performance lineup a bit unpredictable. Then another unexpected development led to more changes.
“I decided this year to close down both bands,” Pyle said. “It was just time to say we were done. And I’m sick of playing jazz. Burnout is a very real thing, and it’s a taboo thing to talk about but fascinating too. I’ll miss it, but I want to do it all. I had beautiful members in my quartet, but they’re all so busy. I would end up finding other players to perform.”
After stopping those bands, she went on to form a new one which is built for that kind of flexibility.
“I started Alicia Pyle & the Locals so people can come and go,” she said. “They’re all local musicians but can be anywhere from three to 12 people. There are a lot of people on the roster and singers, a lot of famous local people. I like being able to play all kinds of music and not be labeled in one genre anymore.”
For those who want to catch Alicia Pyle & the Locals live, there are two opportunities in September: at Tippycanoe Country Club on Sunday, September 4th, and for the World Baseball Academy on Saturday, September 10th. You can also find more information on the Alicia Pyle & the Locals Facebook page.