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Faces of New Paltz

Lara Hope - Public Relations '06

Past Faces of New Paltz
Jeffrey Cifuentes
International Business/
Asian Studies
Samantha Grove

Hometown: Plainview, N.Y.
Occupation: Musician/booker/promoter
Graduation Year: 2006
Major: Public Relations

  • The Sexy Pitches (a capella singing group)
  • Copy editor/staff writer, the New Paltz Oracle
  • The Vagina Monologues
  • Intercultural talent show

How did your New Paltz education prepare you for your career in music?

It was somewhere around my junior or senior year that I bridged the gap from playing open mic nights as a solo artist to actually starting a band and booking shows. Little did I realize at the time, but the skills I acquired in my public relations classes at New Paltz would help me to jumpstart my musical career. Writing press releases, making fliers, social media marketing, etc., are skills that I use on a regular basis when booking and promoting shows to this day.

How did you discover New Paltz, and why did you decide to go here?

I had a good friend from high school who was a year older than me. She came to New Paltz before me and I used to come visit her. I always loved it here. The quaint town, the thriving arts and music scene, and the intimate campus are all things that made me love New Paltz. 

The first time I ever came to visit New Paltz, there was a live band playing outside the Student Union Building. So many people were outside dancing and hanging out. Everyone was so friendly. The campus was beautiful, the band was great, and I loved it instantly. That’s when I decided that I wanted to go to school here.

How did the clubs and organizations you belonged to at New Paltz enhance your college experience and music career?

Singing a capella with the Sexy Pitches has made it so much easier for me to write music, especially when going into the recording studio. I am able to come up with harmonies on the spot – it is a gift that I have now from all of the years of group singing. When I joined the group, I instantly had a great and talented group of girlfriends. It gave me an outlet to perform before I was gigging on a regular basis.

Writing and copy editing for the Oracle was also an experience I will never forget. It was fast-paced and deadline driven. It was good experience for entering the real workplace. It was exciting to be able to help shape the ideas that would turn into stories that would then be read by many people on campus.  

Performing in the Vagina Monologues while at New Paltz led me to direct/produce them for the past four years in both New Paltz and Kingston. We have raised over $10,000 for Family of Woodstock Domestic Violence Services.

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