Frank Leavitt, originally from Burlington, Vermont, has been living in the Capital District since 1990. Music has spoken to him all of his life, as has teaching. As a result, he has a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam), and a Master of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Connecticut at Storrs.
It was at Potsdam that he did his first professional work, doing several seasons of summer stock with Music Theater North.
While teaching in the Bethlehem (NY) school district, he took over the Middle School musical program, running it with considerable success from 1992 to 2006. During that same time, he did stage or vocal direction for four seasons of musicals at the High School, as well as creating a new theater program (Encore) of Children’s Theater
Following his career in teaching, he served in the education department of Capital Repertory Theater (Albany, NY), working particularly in a program designed to help teachers use theater and the arts as tools to enhance and amplify teaching.
Since 2008, he has focused on directing, music directing and acting in the Capital Region, and has over 50 performances to his name. He has also become involved with several individual film projects, as a Casting Director and Assistant Director.
In addition to expressing his passion for storytelling via theater, Frank has adjudicated voice students at NYSSMA, has been directing the choir at Trinity United Methodist Church (Albany, NY) since 2007, and is also a long-time member, a former Vice President, and Past-President of Albany Pro Musica, the Capital Region’s premier community chorus.
These days, Frank teaches and coaches voice (specializing in the adolescent voice change), as well as teaching music theory, music history, sight reading, NYSSMA preparation, acting, audition preparation for straight and musical theater. He also consults with theater groups to help them improve their process.
Frank retired from his last regular job in June of 2022, and has moved back to Potsdam, where it all started for him.
Michael Musial, Edith McCrae Professor of Fine Arts and Professor of Music, is past chair of the Creative and Performing Arts Department and founding director of the Theatre Institute at Sage. He is the composer and co-lyricist of the award winning musical Backbeard: The Musical. Directing and music directing credits include Candide, Children of Eden, The Secret Garden, A Chorus Line, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd among others. Musial also musically directed A Tale of Cinderella for NYSTI’s 2001 New York State tour. A member of the duo-piano team Musial and Musial, he is also the director of the Sage College Singers.
Lauren is an actor, singer, and teaching artist originally from Scottsdale, Arizona. She has performed and taught throughout the U.S. and internationally, from Argentina to Switzerland. After receiving her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Boston Conservatory, Lauren studied theater at L’Ecole de Comédie Musicale in Paris, France. In Paris, she performed with companies American Musical Theater LIVE! and Broadway au Carré, premiering new musical theater works in Europe. She also had the opportunity to teach English through theater and song to children of all ages in French schools. Since returning to the states in 2016, Lauren has directed various junior productions and performed regionally throughout the U.S. Favorite performance credits include Into the Woods, Ordinary Days, Next Thing You Know, Rock of Ages, and singing at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s 54 Below, and on Radio France! She is currently teaching voice and theater at SPAC School of the Arts. www.spacschool.org, www.laurentaylorberkman.com
With a radiant voice, intense theatricality and a profound understanding of art song and operatic literature, tenor Isaí Jess Muñoz has collaborated with some of the world’s leading ensembles. Highlights have included performing with the Israel Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival (Lincoln Center), Voices of Ascension (New York), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Bard Music Festival, New York City Opera and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre on Broadway. Dr. Muñoz has performed frequently with New York’s Center for Contemporary Opera; premieres include James Dashow’s electronic opera Archimides and McClatchy and Thorne’s Mario and the Magician.
A champion of contemporary and underrepresented works, Dr. Muñoz recorded the 2009 Grammy-nominated album Song of the Stars with Voices of Ascension, as well as world premiere releases of Pasatieri’s The Seagull (Albany), J.D. McClatchy and Francis Thorne’s Mario and the Magician (Albany), Hafez Nazeri’s Rumi Symphony Project Untold (Sony Classical) and David Lang’s Prisoner of the State (Decca Gold). His latest solo album titled Visca L’Amor: Catalan Art Songs of the XX and XXI Centuries, is available on Bridge Records and distributed worldwide on all major platforms by Naxos. Fanfare magazine awarded the disc its Five-Star rating, calling it “A perfect recording” and a “Cultural Milestone.”
Dr. Muñoz currently serves as associate professor of voice and opera at the University of Delaware, as vice president of the National Opera Association (NOA), and as chair of the Sacred in Opera Initiative— a division of the NOA that explores, through research and performance, the interplay between music-drama and the ideologies of world religions. Dr. Muñoz is also a proud member of the NATS National Committee on Advocacy— an initiative geared to support inclusion and diversity in the fields of singing. In Fall 2018, Dr. Muñoz was named associate artistic and executive director at Musiktheater Bavaria (MTB) in Germany, which provides advanced singers and instrumentalists with mentorship from some of today’s leading scholars and artists in the field of opera, musical theater and early music. MTB’s students have gone on to win important competitions and secure positions in prestigious young artist programs, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Jensen Foundation Competition, the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and the Merola Opera Program.
For his ongoing creative activities in education and performance, Dr. Muñoz has been recognized by the American Prize, the National Opera Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Delaware Division of the Arts and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. As a much sought-after educator, he enthusiastically works with a vast array of students—from young collegiate singers to celebrity clients performing in music theatre, opera, and other varied areas of contemporary and classical commercial music. Actively maintaining a busy teaching studio in New York City and Delaware, Dr. Muñoz has had students appear in opera houses throughout America, in the Broadway and National companies of many shows including A Chorus Line, Chicago, Gypsy, Oklahoma, On The Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Finding Neverland and Jesus Christ Superstar, and on major recording labels including SONY, RCA, Atlantic, and Time Life.
Dr. Muñoz is graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Stony Brook University. He is married to pianist Oksana Glouchko of Tel Aviv and they divide their time between Delaware and New York City. They consider their greatest accomplishments to be their three children, Giovanni, Marco and Salomé. Visit: www.JessMunoz.com
Described as “Powerful and moving”, soprano Angela Haas is an active member of the voice faculty of SUNY Fredonia. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Haas has taught extensively in the states of Florida and New York, including the New York State Summer School of the Arts. She was also the guest American vocal teacher at the Stockholm Vocal Academy in Stockholm, Sweden. She has participated in the prestigious NATS Summer Intern program, where she worked with Barbara Hill-Moore. As a performer, Angela is a member of ANA, a trio with Natasha Farny, cello and Anne Kissel, piano. Part of ANA’s mission is to commission and premiere new works. ANA has premiered pieces by Sean Doyle, Donald Bohlen, Daron Hagen, John MacDonald, Caroline Mallonée, Robert Deemer, and James Piorkowski. In addition, she has appeared as guest soloist with the Chautauqua Institute, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tanglewood Orchestra, the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, the Midland-Odessa Symphony in Texas, the Eastman School of Music, and the New Orleans Chorale. She continues to pursue an active career as both voice teacher and performer. She earned her Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University, where she studied with Dr. Jerrold Pope. Other degrees include a Master of Music from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Tulane University.
Tenor Dr. James Hall joined the voice faculty at the University of North Florida in 2011. A graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the Maryland Opera Studio, Hall enjoys an active and varied career that includes opera, oratorio, chamber music, and solo recital. A specialist in high tenor and haute-contre repertoire, Dr. Hall is frequently called upon as tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana. He has performed the work to rave reviews in some of the nation’s most prominent concert halls, including Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center, and Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Consistently praised for his soaring upper register and vocal beauty, Hall has performed operatic roles throughout the United States, including Brighella and Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos, Linfea in La Calisto, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, and Damon/Corydon in Handel’s masque Acis and Galatea. Equally at home in chamber music, Dr. Hall has made guest appearances with Mercury Baroque (Houston), St. Matthew’s Cathedral Singers of Washington, DC, and Jacksonville’s St. Mark’s Bach Ensemble. In 2012, he performed as tenor soloist with the UNF Chamber Singers in a concert tour throughout South Africa. Upcoming engagements include the role of Aenaes in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, tenor soloist in the Mozart Requiem with Valdosta Symphony, and tenor soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Coastal Symphony of Georgia.Well-regarded as an accomplished vocal pedagogue, Dr. Hall has presented lectures at Iowa Music Educators Association Conference, Florida ACDA State Conference, Tennessee Music Educators Association Conference, and at the World Symposium on Choral Music (IFCM) in Seoul, South Korea. He has given guest master classes at universities across the United States and abroad and is frequently sought after as an adjudicator. In 2015, Dr. Hall joined the summer faculty at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, where he teaches voice and lyric diction.
Soprano Lauren Athey-Janka serves on the voice faculties of Rowan University, Westminster Choir College, and West Chester University and has private voice studios in New York City, New Jersey and Europe. In the summers, she serves on the voice faculties of Opera Viva! in Verona, Italy and the Florence Voice Seminar in Florence, Italy. She formerly taught at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Vocal Program. Her students have performed with and been accepted to Nederlandse Reisopera, Nordrhein-Westphalia Opera Studio (NWR Opernstudio), Oper Dortmund, Oper Wuppertal, Aalto Musiktheater Essen, Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirche, Stadttheater Gießen, Opernfest Berlin, Wad Opera in The Netherlands, The Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen, Academy of Vocal Arts, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, Wolf Trap Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Saratoga, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Iowa, Opera Delaware, Seagle Music Colony, the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, and more. Her students have placed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, Lotte Lenya, Classical Singer, Schmidt, and NATS competitions.
Sabrina Learman’s enormous passion for teaching is undeniable. Her voice students have been heard and seen on (and off-) Broadway and in international tours; they have been accepted to prestigious, intensive conservatory and summer programs in opera and musical theatre, both nationally and abroad; and they have taken prizes in a myriad of local and national competitions.
Sabrina is on the voice faculty of Emerson College’s BFA Musical Theatre program, as well as New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School, where she created and taught their first-ever musical theatre classes for teens. She has presented master classes in performance and audition techniques at many colleges and music programs, and has been an adjudicator for countless competitions. Summer teaching/vocal directing includes Emerson College, Summer Institute for the Vocal Arts, My College Audition, Newton Summer Theatre, Fusion Arts Exchange, Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Chamber program, and New York State Summer School for the Arts. (Former faculty posts: Entrepreneurial Musicianship, New England Conservatory; University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth).
Sabrina has enjoyed a career as a soloist with countless New England area chamber groups, choruses and orchestras – touring, championing new works, and collaborating with composers. She was a founding member of Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston for over 12 years. For over 25 years, she has performed with the prestigious Boston Baroque chorus, with whom she has also recorded and been a soloist. Sabrina has performed live on WGBH Radio and has recorded for Albany Records, the Discovery Channel, Cakewood Records, and the Zamir Chorale. Holding degrees from the Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory, Sabrina’s teachers have included Kathleen Kaun, Ruth Falcon, Thomas Paul, Lucy Shelton and Tamara Brooks, with chamber music studies under the tutelage of Jan DeGaetani. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Jennifer Lefsyk is an American actor, vocalist, and artist based in Upstate NY. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia (‘11) and has toured nationally directing & performing musical theatre for children. Some favorite past roles include Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, Sheila in HAIR, and Maria in The Sound of Music.
Jennifer has performed in many theatrical productions, web series, and short & feature-length films. She has also worked as stunt coordinator, stunt double, and fight choreographer on several projects.
Outside of performing, Jennifer has a passion for fitness, DIY projects, writing, and has been working on her drawing/painting skills. Recently, she became a first-time homeowner alongside her boyfriend John and their adorable rescue cat, Sora!
J. Michael Zygo was an original Broadway cast member/musician of the 8 Tony Award winning musical Once. Prior to that, he and his wife Jill performed (often together) in 49 of the 50 states in various national tours and regional theatre productions. His credits include: Broadway: Once, School Of Rock; Off-Broadway: Once (NYTW) Tours: Rock Of Ages – 1st National, The Wedding Singer, Bridges of Madison County – 1st National, Annie – 30th Anniversary tour, and Oklahoma! – 1st National. He has also directed, music directed, and choreographed several productions of Once, including Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Virginia Repertory Theatre, The Fulton, and the most recent national tour which was a full restaging of the original Broadway production.
Mike is currently living in Burnt Hills with his wife Jill and 7 year old daughter Maizy. After Broadway life, Mike got his Real Estate license and is now a Realtor with the Jeffrey Keith Team at Keller Williams Capital District. www.gowithZYGO.com!!!
Directing credits include: Emojiland, the musical (The Duke Theatre, 2020; NY Times Critics Pick, 4 Drama Desk Award Nominations, Original Cast Recording on Broadway Records), Southern Comfort, the musical, (The Public Theatre; NY Times Critics Pick, Lucille Lortel Award & Outer Critics Circle Award nominations: Best New Musical), Dynamo: Seeing Is Believing (West End, U.K. Tour, Australian Tour); Brave New World, the musical, by Tony Award nominee Bill Russell & Grammy Award-winner, John McDaniel (NC Stage); Southern Comfort (Barrington Stage – Jonathan Larson & Glaad Awards – Best New Musical).
Broadway Associate Director credits include: A Christmas Carol, Groundhog Day, Matilda, Ghost, Mamma Mia!, Bombay Dreams, Follies and Master Class. Thomas directed the Broadway National Tours of Matilda, Ghost, and Master Class.
Other select directing credits include: David Blaine: Real or Magic (Asia Tour); Jack Heifner’s Earth To Bucky (Bay Street Theatre), the premiere of Terrence McNally and Israel Horovitz’s Off Season (Gloucester Stage), Shipwrecked, Clever Little Lies, Syncopation, Don’t Talk To The Actors, Greetings, Around The World In 80 Days, and Over The Tavern (Penguin Rep). Zombie (Off-Broadway), Don’t Talk To The Actors (Studio Arena Theatre, Buffalo – Cornell Award, Best Play), Master Class (TheatreWorks, Palo Alto); Diagnosis (The Play Company), Bingo (Off-Broadway); China Dolls (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Two Boys (Rattlestick);
Amanda Chmela, soprano, of Lindenhurst, NY, received her BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia and her MM in Opera Performance from Binghamton University. She attended the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College where she worked towards an Artist Diploma Certificate for Opera Performance. Ms Chmela is a member of NATS, NYSTA, NAfME, The Voice Foundation, and is Certified in Somatic Voicework™, The LoVetri Method. In addition to her collegiate teaching, she maintains a private voice studio, www.LongIslandVoiceLessons.com, where she specializes in teaching Contemporary Commercial Music with a strong focus on musical theatre and pop/rock styles. Since the summer of 2018, Ms. Chmela has been a faculty member at The LoVetri Institute for Somatic Voicework™, held at Baldwin Wallace University. Past teaching experience includes voice faculty at Rider University (2014-2018), voice faculty at Molloy College (2014), and adjunct faculty at Binghamton University (2010-2013).
Ms. Chmela has been the female vocalist for the Savoy Swing Band since August of 2013 and in 2020 joined Rock Island Sound as their female vocalist. She has participated in the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute and is an alumnus of Tri-Cities Opera’s Resident Artist Training Program. Performance highlights include Lucille (Parade), Anne (A Little Night Music), Nancy (Oliver!), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Josephine (H.M.S. Pinafore), Despina (Cosi fan tutti), Latitia & Ms. Pinkerton (The Old Maid and the Thief), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Beth (Little Women), Hodel/Fruma Sarah (Fiddler on the Roof), Alice (Addam’s Family), Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Fire Cover/Chorus (L’enfant et les sortilege). As a soloist, Ms Chmela had the opportunity of performing Antonín Dvořák’s Op. 55, Gypsy Melodies, at the Bohemian National Hall.
Mary McNulty is a New York based actor, coach, and voice over artist. Her career has given her the opportunity to perform in NYC and across the country. Reviews of her performances have described her as charismatic, vivacious, vulnerable, with excellent comedic instincts and a voice that is expressive, and effortless.
Mary has enjoyed select credits such as Guenevere on The National Tour of Camelot, June in Into the Breeches, Lilli/Katherine in Kiss Me Kate, Fiona in Brigadoon, Judy Denmark in Ruthless! The Musical, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and Charlotte in A Little Night Music. Mary is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Hannah Corneau made her Broadway debut as Elphaba in Wicked. She recently starred as Edna St. Vincent Millay in the critically-acclaimed Transport Group production of Renascence. Previously, she traveled around the country as Yitzhak in the First National tour of Hedwig and The Angry Inch. Her Off-Broadway and regional credits include Daddy Long Legs, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Harmony (Ovation nomination), Les Miserables (Joseph Jefferson Award), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and A Little Night Music. She is also a member of RANGE a cappella.
Who: High School seniors who will be completing college auditions for vocal performance, music education, musical theatre, and other similar majors. Juniors welcome to observe.
When: Friday, October 2, 2020 (Application Due: September 25, 2020)
Where: Virtual Zoom meeting, link to be shared with participant confirmation
Time: 6:30-8:45 p.m. (or later, if necessary)
Fee: Seniors who would like to complete a mock audition: $15; Any high school students who would like to observe: $10
Format: This seminar will give high school seniors the opportunity to complete a mock VIRTUAL live audition in addition to observing peer auditions. Topics addressed will be making introductions, recording tips, appropriate dress, and how parents can help support their child through the audition process, (among others). Students will receive both written and verbal feedback. Please dress appropriately for an audition. Parents are welcome to observe.
Classical Auditions – Two songs in two different languages that represent contrasting styles and eras using piano accompaniment. One MUST be in English.
Musical Theatre Auditions – Standard 16/32 bar audition repertoire using piano accompaniment. Must include one up tempo and one ballad.
ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST USE PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT (EITHER PRE-RECORDED OR LIVE) AND USE ORIGINAL SCORES FOR ALL SONGS PERFORMED
Please direct any questions to Heather Baird.