Musical Arts Alumni

Where are they now?

News from our alumni and friends…Please send your updates to the webmaster.

Khemya MitRahina (MFA 17) spent a week with Sinho Francisco, the Brazilian Arts Institute, University of Florida’s Ethnomusicology program, and The Brazilian Voices (a 40-voice womens’ chorus) at Broward College in Davies, Florida. Areas of study included traditional Brazilian, Latin-Jazz, and Maracutu rhythms, with a final performance at Bailey Theatre Hall at Broward College, where Khemya danced as a soloist to an audience including the Ambassador of Brazil.

Aimée Puentes ( MFA ’16) is teaching voice to the engineers at Intel and Google through the Mountain View Community School of Music and Arts. (She also begins rehearsal for Puccini’s TURANDOT for SF Opera fall 2017).

John Rinaldi (BFA ’15) is now working for “Breakthrough New York,” an organization that identifies and recruits high-potential 6th graders, mentors them through middle school, college prep high school, and college, and wrap up with college graduation. John says, “These students are typically the first in their family to go to college, often are English Language Learners, and are usually on the free/reduced price lunch rolls at their schools. We work with them on the weekends, during the summer and after school, and employ a group of about 100 seasonal teachers each year for our summer program.” More about the organization at: www.btny.org

Wayne Self (MFA ’14) produced his musical UPSTAIRS for the Hollywood Fringe Festival at the Los Angeles LGBT Center June 7 through June 11. The “musical tragedy” tells the true story of the largest crime against LGBT people in US history (until the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting massacre in Orlando), when on June 24, 1973, 32 men died in an arson fire at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans. The musical was workshopped at NDNU in collaboration with Hillbarn Theater as Wayne’s capstone project in 2014, and has since been performed in New Orleans and New York. Read A synopsis and review of the LA performance on the Broadway World website.

Jenny Matteucci (MFA ’15) and now a member of our Musical Arts faculty, is chorus master for the Verdi REQUIEM at Mendocino Music Festival, performing on July 22, 2017. Jenny recently completed a run of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST as Madame de la Grande Bouche with The Mountain Play on Mount Tam, and she will reprise the role with Woodminster Theater in Oakland in September 2017.

The summer season of Woodminster Theater in Oakland will include three BFA students and alums in the ensembles. Mezzo Brennah Kemmerly, BFA 2017, performs in SOUTH PACIFIC; tenor Brandon Masterson, BFA 2020 sings in MAMMA MIA and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; and soprano Megan Bartlett, BFA 2013, is in all three of the company’s summer productions.

Nicole Lopez-Hagan (MFA ’15) sang with Opera San Jose’s LA BOHEME and Pocket Opera’s ROBERTO DEVEREUX this spring. She will study and perform with the Manhattan Opera Studio this month (including a Carnegie Hall performance), and in July/August will sing with the Emerald City Opera in Colorado.

Elizabeth Neff (MFA ’14) joins Opera San Jose’s summer program as a pianist in July 2017, and is The Baker’s Wife in INTO THE WOODS with Pacifica Spindrift theater in August.

Aimée Puentes (MFA ’16) is in the cast of San Francisco Opera’s TURANDOT, with performances at the War Memorial Opera House September through December. She is teaching voice for the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, at her private studio, and for peninsula schools.

Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards

Best Actor in a Musical Nomination (Martin Rojas-Dietrich, “Padre,” Man of La Mancha, San Francisco Playhouse)

Best Music Direction (Martin Rojas-Dietrich, Cabaret, San Francisco Playhouse)

Best Actress in a Musical (Leslie Ivy, “Celie,” The Color Purple, Hillbarn Theatre)

Theatre Bay Area Award

Best Actress in a Musical (“Celie,” The Color Purple, Hillbarn Theater)

Broadway World Nominations

Best Leading Actress in a Musical (“Jo,” Little Women, NDNU OnStage)

Best Featured Actress in a Musical  (“Beth,”  Little Women,  NDNU OnStage)

Best Featured Actor in a Musical  (“Laurie,”  Little Women,  NDNU OnStage)

Additional Alumni Appearances include:

The Fantasticks, Broadway: Samantha Bruce, Luisa (http://www.samanthabruce.net)

Beauty and the Beast, National Tour: Julia Hosack, Mrs. Potts (http://julialouisehosack.com)

Elf, National Tour: Julia Hosack, Emily

Wicked, National Tour: Phillip Kirchman, Keyboard 1 (http://www.phillipkirchman.com/home.html)

Young Frankenstein, National Tour: Matthew Brandon Hutchens, ensemble, “Doctor” understudy

Cyrano, San Francisco Opera, with Placido Domingo: Martin Rojas Dietrich, LeFleury

Silver Seas Cruise Lines, world cruise entertainer: Francesca Camus (http://www.francescacamus.com)

Director of Vocal Music, Sacred Heart Schools, Chicago: Justin Taylor Nixon

Director of Vocal Music, Palo Alto High School: Michael Najar

Managing Director, The Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta: Lee Foster