Melissa Joy Rau Smith
Melissa Rau, a soprano and pianist, participated in music groups as a singer in grade school through college and as a clarinetist in her academy years. A teacher in the Seventh-day Adventist English Language Institutes in Korea beginning in 2007, she is a frequent singer and has conducted choirs comprised of church members at the two institutes where she has taught. She has also composed and arranged music for voice, piano, and choir.
Rau was born in Walla Walla, Washington, the oldest of three children of Karan Shultz and Jon Rau. From her earliest years, she was surrounded by an extended family that was very active in music. She benefited from an extensive music program conducted by Terry Koch at Clara E. Rogers Elementary School in College Place, Washington, and a progressive musical program at Upper Columbia Academy, singing in the choirs and playing in the bands at both schools. She also studied voice, piano, and clarinet at UCA.
Rau enrolled at Walla Walla College, now University, as a music major in 2000. She sang in all of the college choirs, including the select groups, I Cantori and Vox. Following a year as a taskforce teacher, she changed her major and graduated from WWC with a minor in music in 2007.
She worked in the Portland area and then married Jeremy Smith on July 25,2021.