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  Our Teachers    


Kendra Berentsen

Private Vocal Instructor/ Vocal Class Instructor

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. 


Kathryn Olander


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.


Arthi Nandakumar

Private Vocal Instructor

Arthi Nandakumar is a junior Classical Vocalist at the Manhattan School of Music working towards a Bachelor of Music degree. Having grown up all over the world, she has been exposed to many art forms and truly believes in their importance in people’s lives especially in the younger years. Arthi was granted her first teaching opportunity her senior year of high school where she directed/conducted her school’s Intermediate Choir and brought them to District and State competitions. She also headed her school’s Solo/Ensemble Festival where she coached and taught kids how to perform as soloists rather than ensemble singers. It was here that she fell in love with teaching and the joy of spreading knowledge. She takes absolute pride in her students and feels incredibly grateful to those who have given her an opportunity to pursue her passion in teaching.

Arthi has studied at the Texas Music Festival as well as Classic Lyric Arts where she performed in scenes from The Mikado (Yum-Yum), L’incoronazione di Poppea (Poppea), L’italiana in Algeri (Zulma) and L’Ormindo (Sicle). Last year, she was also casted as Gretel in MSM’s Sophomore Opera Scenes from Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel. Arthi’s greatest wish in life is to help spread her passion for music and inspire others to do the same.

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Bridget Hogan

Choir Instructor

A passionate music educator, Bridget has been proud to present young singers is a variety of ways. She is the music instructor for St. Joseph’s School Yorkville in New York teaching music for grades Kindergarten to 8. She also works as a regular music teacher with the Education Through Music program in schools throughout New York City.  Ms. Hogan is also teaches voice, children’s choir and drama and Wonderray School in Westfield, New Jersey.She has served as Music Director for Children and youth choirs in New Jersey, New York and Toronto. Bridget has been thrilled to direct musical revues and plays in New Jersey, New York and San Diego, and continues to find interesting ways to promote the talents of children and youth. She maintains her private studio in New York and a full performing schedule internationally. Many of her students have performed as members of prominent choral ensembles including the Princeton Girls’ Choir, the Amadeus Choir in Toronto and the Toronto Children’s Choir.  She has been proud to watch her students of all make debuts in school plays, community theater and in Broadway Theatres. Bridget hold a Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, Bachelor of Vocal Performance from the University of Windsor and intensive vocal training from the Janacek Academy in Brno, Czech Republic.

Both as a teacher, Ms. Hogan embraces all forms of music. Using a good foundation of classical technique, Ms. Hogan guides her students through singing music of their choice alongside classical standard works. Her students enjoy singing Broadway, pop, R&B and jazz alongside more traditional repertoire. Ms. Hogan is proud to have a wide variety of successful students, from adults discovering their voice, to students preparing for school auditions, to working actors and singers. She is proud to have prepared students to attend many colleges and universities, as well as performing arts high schools.


Jose Velasquez

Private Vocal Instructor

New York native baritone/tenor Jose Velazquez has performed both genres of Classical Voice and Musical Theatre since 2008. Jose's rigorous training began at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School where he performed lead roles in numerous showcases. Some of which include, Sanctas Civitas “The Holy City” as a baritone soloist, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Grantaire/Ensemble in Les Misérables, and The Impossible Dream. He was also a recipient of the Father Fame Award in 2017. As an alumni, Jose created connections with other performers which led him to opportunities such as singing the National Anthem at the Yankee's Stadium, The White House for the National Youth Arts and Humanities Program Award Ceremony (2015), and other collaborations with accomplished performers and directors like Patricia Birch, Shuler Hensley, Patrick Vaccariello, Robert LaFosse, Tim Federle, and BD Wong. Jose is currently studying for his Bachelors of Music (BM) under Mark Oswald at the Manhattan School of Music for Classical Voice.

Chandler Sinks

Private Vocal Instructor/Theater Arts Instructor

Chandler Sinks is a current musical theatre major at the Manhattan School of Music on the
Upper West Side. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he moved to New York after graduating
high school in the hopes of becoming an actor. Chandler started theatre when he was 16 being
cast as Flotsam and Jetsam in his high school’s production of The Little Mermaid alongside his
twin brother, Chad. In the 5 years since he started performing, Chandler has led multiple shows
at MSM, such as Clifford Bradshaw in Cabaret, Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd, and played
Pierre Curie in the 2018 Fred Ebb Grant winning show, Radioactive. He also made his Carnegie
Hall debut as a soloist in the Spring of 2019 at the Manhattan School of Music Centennial Gala,
conducted by the one and only Leanord Slatkin. In his spare time Chandler teaches private
voice and acting for Reaching For the Arts and believes it is one of his proudest achievements.
He will graduate MSM in 2021, in the hopes of becoming a successful performer and having a
career in the arts.

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Rayna Campbell

Private Vocal Instructor

Rayna Campbell is an upcoming fourth-year undergraduate classical voice major at the Manhattan School of Music studying under the tutelage of Shirley Close. She currently serves as President of MSM’s Black Student Union. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Campbell performed the role of Fortuna in L’incoronazione di Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi and was expected to perform the role of Pousette in Manon by Jules Massenet with the Junior Opera Theatre for the spring 2020 semester. Rayna was also accepted into the Miami Classical Music Festival to perform as Miss Wordsworth in Benjamin Britten’s opera Albert Herring for the summer 2020.

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