ABOUT USLearn more about our fabulous faculty.

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TEACHERCaroline Hewitt

BM Vanderbilt University, MM University of Houston
Voice, Piano Voice and Piano, Music Theory, Ear training/Sight Singing

Caroline began studying music at the age of 5 in her hometown of Palo Alto, CA and music lessons have yet to leave her side since. In high school, Caroline was a core member of the Bay Area’s high school opera company, Peninsula Teen Opera, where she fell in love with singing and classical music. Since her 16 year old rendition of Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, she’s gone on to perform opera, jazz, musical theater, and concerts across the United States.

After graduating college, Caroline has gone on to teach both group class and private voice and piano in Santa Barbara, Houston and now DC! She’s worked with students of all age ranges and skill levels and strives to find the joy in all of music’s countless facets. Aside from teaching privately, she has worked as a music director for Menlo School’s Drama Department, preparing their productions of Pippin and Spring Awakening.

When not teaching, you can find Caroline…singing! More information about Caroline’s performance schedule can be found at www.carolinehewitt.com. She also loves to run, cycle, read, and woodwork (although she’s just a beginner).

Caroline received her Bachelor of Music in Musical Arts and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Vanderbilt University and her Masters of Music from University of Houston’s Moores Opera Center where she graduated with highest honors. She’s an alumni of Brevard Music Center, American Conservatory Theater’s Studio ACT, SongFest, Teatro Nuovo and the winner of the 2018 Lotte Lenya Competition.

www.carolinehewitt.com

TEACHERTatiana Loisha

BM Belarusian Academy of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music
Piano, Vocal Coaching, Music Theory, Lessons Available in English and Russian

When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming an artist and traveling the world. This is why I asked my grandmother to enroll me in a music school. The sound of a piano always mesmerized me, and I remember having goosebumps when I first heard Chopin’s piano concerto in e minor.

I started taking piano lessons when I was 6, and I won my first piano competition at 10. When I was 15, I performed with an orchestra for the first time. I pursued my undergraduate degree in piano performance in my home country of Belarus, at the Belarusian Academy of Music. This is when I also discovered a whole new world of collaborative piano working with many wonderful musicians – singers, instrumentalists, and conductors, and it became my true passion.

I worked as a collaborative pianist at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, and Cleveland Opera Theater. Having moved back to the Greater Washington area, I have been working at the Potomac Vocal Institute, Colgan High School and collaborated with local opera companies.

As an educator and piano teacher I believe that learning to play piano should be a fun and rewarding experience even though it takes time and patience. Wherever this journey may take a student, I am happy to help discover the world of music.

In my free time, I enjoy spoiling my daughter, seeing new places, having family movie nights, and hanging out with friends. I am also learning French and find it a lot of fun.

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TEACHERAnnie Schwartz

BA Bennington College, MM University of Tennessee
Voice, Piano Voice and Piano, Music Theory

The piano in my parents’ living room is still missing ivories from some of my more impassioned childhood practice sessions. Music has led me over and over again to that fertile ground of personal growth achieved through the intersection of hard-work and joyful play. As a teacher, my goal is to be a supportive, centering, and perspective granting presence. I help my students wherever they are on their music journey by creating and holding a space where they can feel safe and inspired to explore music. In this space they learn music not only as a talent, but as a way of knowing themselves. Students come to trust their own voices (sometimes literally), and develop a joy for curiosity and problem solving that will serve them for a lifetime.

When not teaching, I perform both locally and abroad as an opera and concert singer. Most recently I was featured as the soprano soloist with New Dominion Chorale and the Friday Morning Music Club Chorale here in DC. My most recent international performance, in Graz, Austria, was with opera studio of the American Institute of Musical Studies. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree with focus on Music and Literature from Bennington College in southern Vermont, and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In addition to singing, I enjoy running long distances (very slowly), hiking in Shenandoah Valley National Park, and snuggling with my little cat Gretel. As an artist and a teacher of artists, I am inspired and by the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who reminds us “It’s not about proving anything. It’s about sharing something.”

Annie Schwartz – Youtube

TEACHERMeagan Sill

BM James Madison University, MM Indiana University
Voice, Piano, Voice and Piano, Music Theory, Jazz

Wonderful with any age group, Meagan has also taught private voice lessons to high school students, students pursuing undergraduate degrees, children, and adults. Meagan has also been the instructor of the beginner, intermediate, and advanced Adult Group Voice classes at the Reston Community Center, teaching adults aged forty five to eighty. Meagan has also taught private piano lessons to elementary and middle school students and has helped several pre-college voice students prepare for their piano entrance exams. Meagan’s experience as an educator also includes years of work as a dance teacher and choreographer. Meagan completed fifteen years of formal dance training and is currently the Choreographer for the Potomac Falls High School Show Choir as well as all of the Potomac Falls High School drama productions.

When not teaching, you can find Meagan singing all the roles of the soprano repertoire with companies Washington Concert Opera, Washington National Opera, and Union Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys running, dancing, and hanging out with her dog Baby.

Meagan received her Masters of Music from Indiana University and her Bachelors of Music from James Madison University.

www.meagansill.com

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TEACHERJenete St. Clair

BM Utah St. University, MM George Mason
Voice, Piano, Cello, Violin

I am motivated cellist and opera singing  mother of two. I love performing and  teaching music, and sharing the joy of  music with others. Singing with the  Washington National Opera and the New  York Avenue Presbyterian Choir while  pursuing my Master of Music degree at  GMU allowed me to find the success I  desire as a performing artist. Working gigs  and teaching within my own small music  studio for the past 10 years has allowed  me to raise two elementary aged boys with a flexible work schedule. I have  trained in the Suzuki Cello method books  1-5 and I use that method in my private  studio as well as traditional methods. I use the Alfred and Faber method for teaching  beginning to intermediate piano. For teaching budding vocalists, I enjoy using  Broadway songs, Art songs, arias and pop  songs. I truly enjoy working  with parents, children and I love teaching  music. 

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TEACHERPatrick Cook

BM Juilliard, MM Bard, DMA University of Maryland
Voice, Piano Voice and Piano, Music Theory, Acting

Growing up, I was an extremely clumsy kid and did not excel in any sport, despite being built like a linebacker. I always found my home in music and started on the Saxaphone. At the end of each day, I would drag my saxophone case on to the bus and bonk practically every kid in the head while trying to get to my seat. Finally, the bus driver had enough and told me I could no longer bring my saxophone home on the bus. I will always be thankful to that school bus driver.  Looking for a change of instrument, I signed up for chorus and have been singing ever since!

Growing up in Anne Arundel county Maryland, I sang in All-County Chorus, MD All-State Chorus, as well as numerous musical theater groups such as Children’s Theater of Annapolis, Talent Machine Company, Colonial Players, Pumpkin Theater, and Annapolis Summer Garden Theater. I attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, and before graduating high school joined the chorus of Annapolis Opera Company. After high school, I moved to New York and went on to earn a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School, Master of Music from Bard College Conservatory, and Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Maryland College Park. I have studied and performed at the Wolf Trap Opera Studio, Miami Music Festival Wagner Institute and Potomac Vocal Institute. I have been lucky to perform as a tenor soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Washington Concert Opera and even Theater Aachen in Germany!

I have been teaching for over 10 years and have worked with students from age 10 to 70! Previously, I have taught at Towson University and Northern Virginia Community College, where I was on faculty for seven years. My goal is to help students become better musicians, whether they want to perform as a soloist, as part of an ensemble, or be a well informed audience member who likes to attend performances and support other musicians! I enjoy figuring out each student’s learning style and tailoring our approach to make music learning both educational and fun.

When I am not in the studio or on the stage, I am probably hiking in the woods or in the kitchen trying to prepare a new recipe. My favorite color is orange and my favorite singer of any genre is Celine Dion.

www.patrickcooktenor.com

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TEACHERJames Fernando

BM Berklee College of Music
Piano, Jazz Piano, Music Theory, Composition

James Fernando is a pianist and composer whose music lies at the intersection of jazz, classical, and electronic music. He relies on his genre-expanding original compositions to deliver thought provoking and exciting performances. The Berklee College of Music graduate released his debut album Extended Layover in 2018 as a collaboration with Mingjia Chen and released his first album as a solo artist, The Lonely Sailor, in 2019.

Here is what James has to say about his teaching:

I believe that there are lessons to be learned in any piece of music, and I strive to use the material my students are most excited about as a medium for education. Fostering the joy and curiosity about music that my students already love is the best way to keep them excited to learn!

I began teaching piano lessons as a junior in high school and have been at it ever since. I have taught privately, group lessons, and masterclasses to students of all ages. It’s something I’ve loved from the very start!

www.jamesfernando.com

FOUNDERRebecca Henry

BM Rice University, MM McGill University
Voice, Piano, Voice and Piano, Music Theory, Acting

Rebecca has always loved to sing and music has always been a huge part of her life. When she was little, she would collect all of the freestanding lights from around the house to use as her stage lights for her first stage, the raise hearth in the living room. Her productions would also include makeup, costumes, music, and occasionally, scenery made from recycled refrigerator boxes. Needless to say, she’s loved the stage ever since. The stages Rebecca performs on have grown in size since those first performances but she always works to channel the pure love she had for music that she found on her first stage.

She believes that music should be fun and full of joy, taking on the philosophy that if a student is engaged and passionate about music, they will continue to pursue it. Her goal is to help her students find and foster their passion and dedication for music. Together, Rebecca and her students take big tasks and break them down into manageable pieces, helping each student to learn how to problem solve and manage large tasks.

When she’s not teaching she can be seen on the podium conducting orchestras and on stage singing in operas. She’s sung all over the world and has been featured in televised productions while singing in China. She loves to scuba dive, practice yoga, and explore the outdoors.

Rebecca received her Masters of Music from McGill University and her Bachelors of Music from Rice University.

www.rebeccahenry.org

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PROGRAM DIRECTORBridget Casey

BM Rice University, MM Manhattan School of Music

Bridget grew up singing in school musicals and playing the piano in her family room. Music has always been one of her greatest joys. She grew from high school stage performances to full scale operas and singing as a soloist with orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

She has taken her singing to Austria, Germany, and Italy. Currently based in New York, Bridget enjoys bringing the world of music to people of all ages. She believes that the best way to fall in love with music is to have fun and have a good understanding of it.

When she isn’t singing or traveling to new places Bridget loves to hang out with her dog, play flag football, and try to bake new things.

Bridget received her Masters of Music from Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelors of Music from Rice University.

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