Kendra Berentsen
Private Vocal Instructor

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Soprano Kendra Berentsen is a resident of New York City Berentsen is 2017 Merola Artist at San Francisco Opera Center.  Currently a student of Marlena Malas, Deborah Birnbaum, and Diana Soviero.  She was featured in The Schwabacher Summer Concert as Baby Doe in Ballad of Baby Doe and will also cover Serpina in La Serva Padrona for the Triple Bill in 2017.  Kendra's most recent credits have been Adele in Die Fledermaus, Frasquita (cover) in Carmen, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Juliette in Romeo et Juliette, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni.  A native of Portland, Oregon Kendra recieved her BM and MM from Eastman School of Music.  Eastman Opera Theater featured Kendra in principal roles in Il Matrimonio Segreto, Turn of the Screw, The Impresario, Cabaret, and Manon in the 2010 Opera Gala. 

Kendra has also participated in Joan Dornemann’s International Vocal Arts Institute in Montréal and Blacksburg, VA.  Her coaches include Yelena Kurdina, Valery Ryvkin, Chuck Hudson, and David Holkeboer.  

Kendra most recently was on faculty as Professor of Voice at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY and a secondary instructor at the Eastman School of Music.  This is Kendra’s first year of Reaching for the Arts.  She also has a private studio in New York City.


Meg Hood
Mixed Media/Visual Arts Director
 

Meg Hood knew she was an aspiring artist and art lover from the minute she picked up her first Crayola. She has degrees in Studio Art and Art History. Meg has participated in art shows and has taught different art mediums to students. Meg has taught ELA middle school for ten years and knows the struggle students have in their core subjects. The activities that made Meg enjoy school and feel successful while being creative were painting, photography and playing the violin to name a few. The arts were more in abundance when she was in middle school and so Meg sees that her students do not get the same offerings. She noticed that many of them become their best when exposed to creativity. Meg's goal is to assist those students that want a career in the arts by giving them an opportunity to compete for the same specialty schools as their advantaged counterparts in our amazing city. 


Richard Lewis

Richard currently works full time as a Sales Director for a Startup in Chelsea but has been moonlighting as a pianist since he was 6. His favorite Music Directing roles include Spring Awakening at the Shubin; The Wizard of Oz at the Media Theater; Merrily We Roll Along at the International Thespian Festival; The Last Five Years at the Bucks County School for the Performing Arts; The Wedding Singer at GCIT; The Who's Tommys; School House Rock at Emerson College, Avenue Q at the Players Club Swarthmore, RENT at the Bristol Riverside Theater and subbed on Broadway as a pianist for The Book of Mormon. Richard studied at the Philippos Nakas conservatory in Athens, GR and Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Graduate of Berklee College of Music and is so excited to join "Reaching for the Arts" as the organization's official pianist. 

 


Michal Raymond Massoud
Choir Director

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Michal Raymond Massoud is a composer, conductor, electric bassist, and educator based in New York City. He organizes frequent concerts on the New York scene and is co-founder and co-artistic director of Amalgama. In recent compositional projects, Michal has turned his attention to what he describes as an aesthetic of fluidity. This can be found, for example, in notational devices (where gestures are notated in short-hand and with frequent use of verbal descriptions), but also in the incorporation of varying degrees of improvisation. Michal has recently appeared at festivals such as Domaine Forget and the Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau, where he was awarded multiple prizes. Michal has studied composition at McGill University with Chris Paul Harman, Jean Lesage, and Brian Cherney; at Boston University with Joshua Fineberg and Richard Cornell; and recently earned his Doctorate from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, studying with Hans Thomalla and Jay Alan Yim.


Sid Mehu

Sidney Mehu is a professional multimedia producer with over 25 years of experience. Mr. Mehu’s Introduction to art began with The Mehu Gallery, a family-owed business established by his father Haiti, Port-Au-Prince. Eventually The Mehu Family and the Mehu Gallery relocated to New York City. Sidney Mehu's passion for art followed him to the states and developed within several NYC “specialized & gifted” schools. Mr. Mehu academic education ending as a graduate of NYU with a B.A in multimedia studies. 

Mr. Mehu has continued to stay true to his education and passion for multimedia. His professional accomplishments are too vast to list. However, one of Mr. Mehu highest accomplishments is becoming the recipient of the YMCA Verizon Technology Award for his role as the creator of Tru-Skool Media, an TV media program for at-risked afterschool students.

Mr. Mehu currently owns and operates, ReclaimHaiti.org and MultiHop.tv, two small multimedia enterprises based out of NYC. Both companies currently partner with Maker & Steam eduction institutions to provide innovative multimedia curriculum for students in the USA and abroad. 


Kathryn Olander
 

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A graduate from Manhattan School of Music, New York City based coach/accompanist Kathryn Olander is currently on the musical staff of recently revived New York City Opera. In past years she has served as assistant conductor with and as rehearsal pianist with many opera companies including Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Sacramento Opera, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Porgy and Bess Theatre. Chattanooga Symphony/Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Emerald City Opera, and Mobile Opera. 

In addition to her private coaching studio Ms. Olander has held coaching positions with the Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Chautauqua Institute School of Music and served as musical director of the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble, a program devoted to developing up and coming talent. She was on inaugural faculty for the resident artists at Emerald City Opera and returned for four more seasons. She has also musically directed many productions for Dicapo Opera Theatre's productions for children. An avid recitalist she has concertized throughout North America and Mexico including such venues as Weil Concert Hall at Carnegie Hall. With recital partner vocalist Elena Armijo she performed multiple programs with the prestigious golden key society.

Ms. Olander is fascinated with contemporary opera and was recently honored to be on musical staff for the premier of Thomas Pasatieri’s “God Bless us Everyone” and revised “The Seagull” as well as the European premier of Tobias Picker’s “Emmeline” for which she also played the piano part with the orchestra.

This season she continues to musically direct and perform with New York City Opera's abridged production of Carmen which has performances in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and is looking forward to performing a program of Russian music with soprano Lori Phillips and mezzo soprano Mary Phillips.
 


Lena Vidulich
Strings Instructor/Private Violin Instructor

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A Chicago native, violinist/violist Lena Vidulich is a bold and multi-faceted performer based in New York City. She is a committed supporter of new music, and has worked with composers including Nina C. Young and Reiko Füting, among others. She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Amalgama and performs regularly with TACTUS (NYC) and earspace (Raleigh, NC). In 2017, Lena was a member of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Academy.

Lena holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance, with a minor in French, from Northwestern University, where she was a student of Gerardo Ribeiro and studied chamber music with the Dover Quartet, Desirée Ruhstrat, and Mathias Tacke. Her education also included studies with Alexis Galpérine at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique de Paris and Université de Paris 8 – Vincennes-St Denis. Lena is the string instructor for Reaching for the Arts and is an active practitioner of the Alexander Technique. Lena is currently pursuing her master’s degree in contemporary violin performance at the Manhattan School of Music, where she is a recipient of the President’s Award in the studio of Curtis Macomber.