Rachel has been teaching piano and accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists in Chapel Hill for more than 20 years. She was the rehearsal accompanist for the world premiere of the opera The Inca’s Chosen Bride performed at Chapel Hill High School. She was a rehearsal accompanist for the Durham Savoyards Ltd., who produce Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and also for The Long Leaf Opera Company which was formed in 1999 for the production of American opera. Rachel was favorably reviewed in both the News & Observer and Durham Herald-Sun for her performance at the LLO production of Alec Wilder’s “Sunday Excursion” in January, 2000. Ms. Narula was accompanist for the Community Youth Theatre which produced The Dancing Princesses of Dominica, composed by Chapel Hill’s Ben Keaton. She was also selected to accompany and perform in the June 2007 debut of Nora the Nonapus, an original children’s opera composed by Caroline Mallonee for the children at Estes Hills Elementary School, Chapel Hill, NC.
In past years, Rachel has participated in the week-long Chapel Hill Chamber Music Workshop sponsored by the UNC Dept. of Music, and has also played the organ and accompanied several local church choirs. She has attended workshops and masterclasses given by pianists Nelita True, Marvin Blickenstaff, and Suzanne Guy, and by William Yanuzzi from the Baltimore Opera. She also accompanied an all-Spanish voice recital for the studio of Eusebio Gonzalez, which featured zarzuela – a type of Spanish opera.
For the past five years, students from Rachel’s piano studio have taken part in the National Guild Auditions. In the 2007 auditions, all students were awarded superior or superior-plus ratings (many with perfect scores) with comments like “You are just like Mary Poppins: practically perfect!” “A fine sense of style,” “You have done great things in a very short time,” “Loved…your attention to every dynamic and accent mark.” Judges comments to Rachel have been: “Your students all play very musically – that is your doing – congratulations,” “Just take on more students and do your ‘magic,’” “You must be a born teacher.”
Some quotes from parents are: “…We want to thank you for your sincere dedication and hard work. We’ve had four different piano teachers over the years and you have been the most qualified and effective. Thank you so much for that.” (Mike H., Chapel Hill). “You are a very gentle woman, very comforting and seem to really meet people where they are at and we greatly appreciate these qualities.” (Renee F., Carrboro.)
Rachel has studied classical repertoire with Jean Barr (Prof. of Accompanying, Eastman School of Music), Charles Heffernan (Univ. MA-Amherst, retired), and with concert pianist Gregory McCallum (Carrboro, NC). She has also studied jazz with Ed Paolantonio (Durham, NC). Rachel has taken additional training in performing with relaxation and injury-avoidance techniques.
Ms. Narula is a certified member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, the National Music Teacher’s Association, the North Carolina Music Teacher’s Association, and the Chapel Hill Music Teacher’s Association.