Feeling that the music program at Limestone might be too limited, Elizabeth completed only the first year of study. That Summer, she went to Miami to spend the holiday with a school chum. Her friend introduced her to Dominick Ippolito, a jazz pianist, arranger and composer. By the end of the Summer, they were married.
Together they created a show for Elizabeth composed primarily of music theatre and popular light classics. Performing under the name Pat Ford, she quickly began to acquire bookings at some of Miami Beach's major hotels.
Meanwhile Elizabeth continued her studies with the great voice teacher Bernard Kwartin (who prior to World War II had led the Music Conservatory of Riga.) Under his care, her voice began to bloom. In addition to her hotel shows, she began to give concerts and recitals for local music organizations.
Elizabeth sang her first operatic role (Georgetta in Puccini's II Tabarro) for CoOpera of Florida. As a guest artist with the Miami Beach Symphony, she sang arias and duets from Aida and Cavalleria Rusticana. Her performance created a flurry of excitement in Miami music circles and greater demand for her as a solo artist.
In May 1955, her daughter Sylvia was born. That beloved little girl (with the large expressive eyes and endless vitality), combined with a busy schedule of music study and performance, made life seem perfect.
But that was just the beginning.