Archive for Wednesday, April 6, 2005

THS alumna to sing at reunion

April 6, 2005

Kathleen LaGue is coming back to her hometown high school.

It's likely she'll reminisce about the good old days with other members of the Tonganoxie High School class of 1980.

And it's a sure bet she's going to sing.

LaGue, a singer, songwriter, actress and model who lives in Los Angeles, will be the featured entertainment at this year's alumni banquet.

The banquet is set for 7 p.m. May 7 at the high school.

Kim (Henak) Coffin, a member of the class of 1980 who's helping plan the alumni banquet, is thrilled that LaGue is coming. The two have been friends since high school.

In the past few years, interest in the alumni banquet has dwindled, Coffin said.

"I think it's gotten to where it's kind of a dry thing," Coffin said. "I'm hoping this will kind of make it a little more exciting -- spunk up the thing."

Tonganoxie inspired

The LaGue family moved from Shawnee to Tonganoxie in 1978 when Kathleen was in high school. There were six children in the family.

"It was the best thing that happened to me, to move to Tonganoxie -- for my performance career," LaGue said. "I would say moving to a smaller school with an inspirational arts program was really instrumental in my eventual career path."

On to New York

From Tonganoxie, LaGue went to Baker University where she earned a fine arts degree. Eventually, she moved to New York.

"I was teaching aerobics and this woman who had a small agency said you're really tall, you should be a model," LaGue said.

At 22 she got braces on her teeth and started modeling.

And she drifted into singing, working in cover bands where she hired on to sing in other groups at special events.

"I was one of four girls in short sequined dresses up there going 'oooooh' and 'aaaaaah' and occasionally getting to sing one song through the whole gig," LaGue said.

The gigs included bar mitzvahs and weddings, including the 1993 wedding of Donald Trump and Marla Maples at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Making music

In 1995 she moved to Nashville to further her singing career, and in 1999 recorded a CD.

"I put it out independently on my own label," LaGue said. "I certainly didn't fit the country mold -- it's a pop rock record."

The Internet helped LaGue on to her next step.

"MP3.com was this Web site that exposed people to music you would never hear anywhere else. The first day I was on the Internet I got 2,500 downloads. That put it on the charts of MP3.com."

LaGue continues in her creative lifestyle.

"I'm doing everything I can to be creative and make a living at it," she said.

LaGue is the daughter of Paul LaGue, Tonganoxie, and Markay LaGue, Mexico.

Though LaGue is looking forward to coming home for a weekend in May and reuniting with family and friends, there's also a down side.

"I just don't want anyone to know that it's my 25th high school reunion," LaGue said, laughing. "I'm in the land of youth out here -- it's difficult. But I'm thrilled that they asked me to perform. I'm glad they remember me."

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