Welcome

To the Vocal Arts Conservatory

<p>Director's Welcome Message</p>

Director's Welcome Message

Welcome to the start of Season Three!

I am so excited to welcome you all as new and returning members of the Vocal Arts family. We have such an exciting journey ahead of us this year, and I can’t wait to begin making music with you!

The Vocal Arts Conservatory offers a rigorous and comprehensive course of study focused on training all aspects of the vocal artist across multiple musical genres – including classical, musical theater, ensemble singing, and contemporary & commercial styles. Students in this conservatory are immersed in the fundamental elements of music as the basis for artistic expression, empowering them with the musical training and artistic tools to “sing outside of the box.” Modeled after well-established collegiate voice programs, the Vocal Arts Conservatory curriculum is balanced between performance-based classes and academic music courses. We also invite renowned master artists, university faculty, and industry leaders to visit our campus to share their expertise and creativity through master classes, lectures, presentations, and hands-on training.

The Vocal Arts Conservatory faculty is committed to providing a creative, nurturing and challenging environment; one in which students feel free to explore, experiment, learn and grow in a culture of support and mutual respect. In this space, young artists will truly be able to find their authentic voice.

I hope that you are ready for a challenging and fun-filled year!  I look forward to seeing you all in the upcoming months. If you have any questions about our program, or if you would like to learn how to get more involved as a parent, please don't hesitate to reach out to me and say hello! 

Warmly, 

Katherine Powers

katherine.powers@sgv.csarts.net

Our Mission

The Vocal Arts Conservatory offers bright young artists who are passionate about expressing themselves with their voice a comprehensive course of study through engaging performance-based classes, pre-professional programming, and rigorous musical training.

 

Our Vision

To champion the next generation of expressive, thoughtful and collaborative vocal artists across multiple musical genres.

 

Our Motto

"Sing outside of the box."

Side by Side by Sondheim

Side by Side by Sondheim

The Vocal Arts Conservatory is proud to present their first full-scale musical production: Side by Side by Sondheim, A Musical Entertainment. Get ready to laugh, cry and fall in love with lyrics that are heartbreakingly true and music that captures the soaring emotions of a new generation with Side by Side by Sondheim. Featuring music from Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle and Pacific Overtures, not to mention the classics written with musical theatre giants, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne and Richard Rodgers, this dazzling array of some of Sondheim's best-known songs demonstrates his masterful craft and astounding creativity.

Friday, October 18, 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 19, 7:30 pm
Duarte Performing Arts Center
For tickets visit sgv.csarts.net/boxoffice

 

 

Meet Our Team

Katherine Powers

Katherine Powers

Director of Vocal Arts

Vocal Coaching, Singer's Toolkit, Acting & Movement, Opera Workshop

An opera performer, vocal pedagogue, actor, director, and coach, Canadian-American soprano Katherine Powers began her performing career as an actress in Canadian film and television. Ms. Powers received her Associate’s Degree in Theater from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, her B.A. in Music from UCLA, and her M.M. in Vocal Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Powers made a splash with LA Opera’s 2015 Figaro Unbound series when she stepped in with less than two weeks notice for the role of Rosina in Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia under the baton of Maestro James Conlon. In 2018 she joined Maestro Conlon in the principle cast of Jonah and the Whale, LA Opera’s annual community opera at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. She made her LA Opera debut in 2015 in the Grammy Award-winning production of The Ghosts of Versailles, and has been an LA Opera Teaching Artist since 2012. Notable roles include Frasquita in Carmen at the Ford Amphitheater with Pacific Opera Project, Stella in a critically-acclaimed production of Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desirewith Union Avenue Opera, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Musetta in La Bohème, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (all with Pacific Opera Project), Alice in Falstaff, Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and the title role in The Merry Widow. Outside of the sphere of standard operatic repertoire, Ms. Powers is in demand in the contemporary music scene and continues to cultivate working relationships with living composers; she will be making her Kennedy Center debut this season with the East Coast premiere of the new opera Three Paderewskis.

Prior to serving as the founding Director of Vocal Arts at CSArts-SGV, Ms. Powers is the founder of Ovation Voice Studio, and was a seven-year member of the Voice Faculty at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She has also taught voice at Occidental College, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, California State University Los Angeles, and for the YoungArts Foundation. Ms. Powers maintains a dual career as both a performer and teacher and is committed to contributing to the vocal community by helping to forge young singers into professionals with artistic and personal integrity.

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Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown

High School Choral Director

Chamber Singers, Chorale, Vocal Arts Ensemble

Ryan R. Brown is a conductor and baritone originally from Rome, Maine. In addition to serving as Choral Director at California School of the Arts San Gabriel Valley, he is the Music Director for the Arroyo Singers and a Teaching Associate for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Previously, Brown served as an Associate Conductor for the National Children's Chorus, Artistic Director for the professional vocal ensemble "Diamonds From The Dust," Artistic Director for the Wachusett Community Choir, and as Choral Director at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA.

Brown especially enjoys performing with vocal ensembles around the country including Red Shift, Seraphic Fire, Voces8, De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Areté, and Concora. Additionally, he enjoys singing as a baritone soloist and has performed with several major orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. 

Brown is a doctoral candidate in Choral Conducting at UCLA with Dr. James Bass. In 2014, Brown graduated as valedictorian at Westminster Choir College where he studied Vocal Music Education.

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Elizabeth Kerstein

Elizabeth Kerstein

Middle School Chorus Director, Instructor

Middle School Chorus, Vocal Coaching, Operetta, Italian Diction & Song

Called a “dynamic performer" by the Baltimore Sun, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Kerstein currently sings with the Opera Santa Barbara Chorus, sings as an alto soloist at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, and directs the handbell choir at San Marino Community Church. She enjoys an active career as a soloist and teacher throughout the greater LA area.

Highlights of her recent year include La Boheme with the Opera Santa Barbara chorus, Turandot with San Diego Opera chorus, and a recital of Sephardic Jewish music (complete with Turkish band!) presented through UCLA's ethnomusicology department. She particularly enjoyed preparing the CSArts-SGV Middle School Chorus for their collaboration with LA Opera on Moses at the cathedral in downtown LA in March 2019. Elizabeth is devoted to researching contemporary Hebrew art music, performing Hebrew art song recitals around LA and the country. Elizabeth returned to her native Los Angeles after studying at the Peabody Conservatory (MM) and St. Olaf College (BM Magna cum laude). She studies with Susanne Mentzer. www.elizabethkerstein.com

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Andrée-Ann Deschenes

Andrée-Ann Deschenes

Instructor

Music Theory II, Music History

French-Canadian pianist Dr. Andrée-Ann Deschenes specializes in familiarly-danceable yet traditionally-influenced classical music from Latin American countries. She has found a calling for her art in Southern California, where she is currently recording, performing, and teaching. Her training includes a Master of Music degree in Afro-Latin music from California State University Los Angeles, and she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Claremont Graduate University. Prior to relocating to Southern California, she graduated with honors from Humber College in Toronto, Canada.

Aside from being recognized by The American Prize and The Global Music Awards, her recordings have also garnered the attention of several radio stations across the country, in addition to being reviewed by publications such as The Whole Note and Fanfare. Her most recent release, “Villa-Lobos / Castro,” features music from Brazil and Argentina, with a special collaboration with renowned Cuban percussionist Calixto Oviedo.

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Lauralie Pow

Lauralie Pow

Instructor, Accompanist

Music Fundamentals, Chamber Singers & Chorale (Accompanist)

Dr. Lauralie Pow has shared the stage with such world-class guest artists as Maria Schneider, Dawn Upshaw and Ben Folds while performing as keyboardist with the Henry Mancini Orchestra. This acclaimed ensemble, under new artistic director James Newton Howard, is part of University of Miami's Frost School of Music where Lauralie completed a doctorate in collaborative piano under the tutelage of Paul Posnak and Evelyne Brancart.

While at Frost, Lauralie also worked as a rehearsal pianist with Orchestra Miami for two children's operas and with the Miami Summer Music Festival's production of The Magic Flute. Additionally, she taught group piano at Frost and private piano lessons at the Miami Conservatory of Music. Prior to Miami, Lauralie studied with Ilya Poletaev at McGill University's Schulich School of Music in Montreal, where she was awarded a master's in music degree in solo piano performance in 2013. While at McGill, Lauralie was selected to perform in a master class with renowned soloist Murray Perahia, who complimented her on her musical touch and quality of sound. Lauralie began her undergraduate studies as a solo piano major at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, transferring to music theory following an injury in her sophomore year. She completed a bachelor of music in music theory at Eastman in 2011. Lauralie spent her high school years as a piano major at Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. Lauralie is currently on faculty at AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) as an accompanist and has experience as music director for the AMDA’s Summer High School Conservatory. Lauralie also enjoys freelancing in the vibrant L.A. music scene

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Michelle Do

Michelle Do

Instructor, Accompanist

Music Theory I, M-Music Fundamentals II, Middle School Chorus (Accompanist), Background Vocals (Accompanist)

Michelle Do is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received a Doctorate of Musical Arts under Stephen Pierce. She previously attended institutions such as Indiana University (MM) and California State University – Fullerton (BM). She has been a laureate of competitions such as the Gail Newby Concerto Competition, the La Mirada Arts Competition, the Music Associates Competition, the Redlands Bowl Young Artists Auditions, the American Protégé International Concerto Competition, and the Latin American Recording Competition, among others.

She is a National Guild artist and has earned the Paderewski medal for her achievements. Michelle has given concerts in several venues nationwide. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2014, playing a solo programme in Weill Recital Hall. She has performed with the La Mirada Symphony Orchestra, Orange County Collegiate Orchestra, the Southern California Philharmonic, and the Indiana University Philharmonic. She formed the Deuxieme Trio with violinist Darryl Black and cellist Benjamin Coyte, and continues to remain active as a soloist and chamber musician.

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Ryan Reeson

Ryan Reeson

Instructor, Accompanist

Music Fundamentals, M-Music Fundamentals I, Songwriting II, Storybuilding (Accomp)

Ryan Reeson is a versatile conductor, composer and educator with a passion for creative collaboration. As a composer, Reeson has had works performed by many ensembles, most notably by the Miami Frost Chorale, 2014 Colorado ACDA choir and members of the Cleveland Orchestra. His choral music has been performed across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Reeson is an active arranger, with clients including the Illinois Symphony and the creative team of “The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood.” In addition to concert works, Reeson composes and orchestrates music for film and other media.

He has conducted the Rochester Philharmonic, Riverside Philharmonic and many others. He has served as an Assistant Conductor for the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthews, the Southeast Symphony, the Ars Flores Symphony and the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. Reeson graduated with honors from the University of Miami Frost School of Music with a degree in Music Composition and holds a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, TX. Currently Music Director of the Lancaster Community Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Westlake Village Symphony, he also maintains a private studio of piano students.

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Andy Degan

Andy Degan

Instructor

Background Vocals, M-Vocal Styles

A singer, arranger, and educator hailing from Bristol, CT Andy Degan has passionately pursued a diverse and well-rounded understanding of music and all of its elements. His early professional career began in the worlds of choral music and Contemporary A Cappella. Since then, Mr. Degan has toured all over the world on cruise ships, with Symphony orchestras, and ensembles of all different sizes and makeups. Currently, he sings in and arranges for Vocal Jazz/Pop group M-Pact, where his works have won awards internationally. In addition to performing, Mr. Degan teaches private voice lessons and enjoys being a clinician for music festivals across the nation. He holds a B.A. in Vocal Performance and Business Management from Central Connecticut State University.

Olufemi Gonsalves

Olufemi Gonsalves

Instructor

Storybuilding, Popular Vocal Styles

Vocalist, arranger, vocal coach, choir director, keyboardist, and songwriter Olufemi Gonsalves has worked alongside the Music Industry’s most well-known musicians, artists, actors, choreographers, and record producers. Her performance and collaboration experiences include artists such as: Brian McKnight, the Hollywood Film Chorale, Harvey Mason, Bill Cunliffe, Shirley Caesar, Engelbert Humperdinck, Don Grusin, Ray Brown Jr., Sweet Baby Jai, Ledisi, the Black Eyed Peas, Patti Austin, Freda Payne, Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons), Paula Cole, Walter Beasley and Sergio Mendes. As a solo artist she has graced the stages of the National Arts Center (Ottawa, Canada), Playboy Jazz Festival, CBC radio, and the Palm Spring Women’s Jazz Festival.

Prior to coming Los Angeles, Ms. Gonsalves attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Commercial Arranger: Contemporary Writing and Production. While well known as a vocalist, she honed her composition and arranging skills under the mentorship of the legendary producer Richard Evans. Ms. Gonsalves also holds a Master of Theology degree in Global Arts and World Religion.

She is presently wearing the hats of vocalist, songwriter, and producer with the San Gabriel 7, the Rumproller Trio, and the Javier Vergara Jazz Trio.

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Kevin Owers

Kevin Owers

Instructor

M-Musical Theater Scenes

Kevin Owers comes from Essex in England and trained on the 3-year Musical Theatre Course at the Guildford School of Acting (BA).  From there he went on to work in London’s ‘West-End’ playing roles including Nanki-Poo in THE MIKADO and Sidney Cohn in ON YOUR TOES with Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Natalia Makarova, directed by the legendary George (MR) Abbott. Other notable productions include playing Caiaphas in the European and British  25th Anniversary tours of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Sir Peter Hall’s production of Britten’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Glyndebourne and the European premiere of Sondheim’s PACIFIC OVERTURES.

Kevin came to LA in 1996 and landed a memorable role in James Cameron’s movie TITANIC. Other movies include BALLAD OF A NIGHTINGALE, RAT THING, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN & MILLION DOLLAR BABY. TV work includes BOSTON LEGAL, WEST WING, ANGEL, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, GOOGLE EYES and several TV Commercials. Kevin was Vocal artist in residence for 3 years at Marlborough Girls school in Hancock Park and was on the Vocal and Musical theatre faculty at AMDA LA and then UC Irvine.

Kevin also has own Vocal Studio, teaching up & coming young singers and working professionals. One of his students is Spotlight winner 2018, Aubrey Matalon.

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Brandon Rolle

Brandon Rolle

Instructor

Composition

Brandon J. Rolle is a Los Angeles-based composer and conductor fusing classical and experimental techniques by incorporating psychoacoustics, sonology, and computer programming into his creative process. His compositional output includes orchestral, chamber, electro-acoustic, and intermedia music, as well as music for film, dance, and videogame. Rolle’s concert works and research have been presented at festivals and concerts of new music across the United States and Europe.

Dr. Rolle is also a dedicated educator, with experience teaching the traditional music curriculum, as well as developing new courses, coaching student ensembles, and initiating creative programs. He is the founding Artistic Director and the Head of Composition for the Impulse New Music Festival, a non-profit organization dedicated to training and supporting talented young musicians and composers.

Rolle holds degrees in music from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, and Mills College, where he worked with composers Pauline Oliveros and Roscoe Mitchell. He earned his PhD in Music Composition from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied under algorithmic music pioneer Clarence Barlow, Curtis Roads, and Joel Feigin. Rolle is the modern music writer at NewClassic.LA, and his music is published by Precious Noise Music.

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David García Saldña

David García Saldña

Instructor

Music Fundamentals

David García Saldaña is a Southern California-based singer and composer living in the San Gabriel Valley. He completed the M.M. in Music Composition from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach, and the B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from UC Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies.

His work spans from the traditional, to the interactive and interdisciplinary. He collaborates frequently with artists in both dance and theater, focusing on developing new interactive methods of music making. He currently performs in the greater Los Angeles area with the Donald Brinegar Singers, new music choir C3LA, and electronic music ensemble Pile of Wires.  www.davidgarciasaldana.com.

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Aaron Shows

Aaron Shows

Accompanist

Vocal Coaching

Aaron Shows is a composer, organist, and pianist originally from Montgomery, Alabama. He has performed in both the United States as well as Europe, and is currently the organist at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena. He is most active as an accompanist for choral groups, vocalists, and instrumentalists, as well as for musical theatre.

He is also an avid improviser in a variety of styles, a skill he has developed since early childhood. As a composer, his original works have been performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe, and his solo organ works were recently published through Augsburg Fortress Publishers in Minneapolis. He has composed original scores for both feature and short films, as well as web series and commercials. In 2012 Mr. Shows served as an assistant to former Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Conductor John Mauceri on a series of film music concerts in Copenhagen with the Danish Radio Orchestra. He holds an MFA in film music composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a BFA in church music from Shenandoah University.

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Patrick Boylan

Patrick Boylan

Accompanist

M-Musical Theater Scenes

This is Patrick's second year as an accompanist at CSArts. He currently accompanies three Musical Theater and vocal technique classes in both the Vocal Arts and Integrated Arts programs. Other than spending his time at CSArts, he also moonlights as a resident Singing Pianist at Tramp Stamp Granny's - a piano bar in Hollywood. He also is a substitute jazz pianist at Larsen's Steakhouse in Encino, and spends his days acting in commercials, TV, and film.