CHRISTIAN BLACKBURN is a baritone originally from Lakin, Kansas and received his B.M. in voice performance under Dr. Reginald Pittman in 2016 from Kansas State University. While at Kansas State Christian had the opportunity to perform many style of music. He was a part of KSU’s premier acapella group In-A-Chord performing pop, jazz, rock and folk songs arranged for acapella. Christian performed with a vocal jazz group and joined the jazz combo Swing Machine for a small concert at KSU. He also had the opportunity to sing two roles with K-State Opera Theatre as Peter in Hansel and Gretel and Mr. Kofner in The Consul.
Christian will complete his Masters in Music at UNCG in May of 2019 under Dr. Carla LeFevre. Of his recent performance as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte for the UNCG Opera Theatre, Classical Voice North Carolina said, “Blackburn’s Papageno lit up the stage; his hearty singing and great comic acting was wonderful. In the summer of 2016, Christian sang with Opera in the Ozarks as a Studio Artist, performing in a touring opera throughout Northwest Arkansas. He performed as a chorus member for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in productions of Dead Man Walking, where he sand a small chorus role and The Pirates of Penzance in 2017. Christian has also recently been seen in productions of Hänsel and Gretel (Peter cover) for Greensboro Opera, Madama Butterfly (Imperial Commissioner) for Greensboro Opera and Talk Opera (Rigoletto) for UNCG Opera Theatre. Recently he made his first appearance with North Carolina Opera in their production of Carmen in 2019. Christian will also make two role debuts in 2019, singing as Ford in UNCG’s Falstaff and Masetto in North Carolina Summer Opera’s Don Giovanni.
He is thrilled to be joining the esteemed faculty of the Music Academy and has a passion for teaching singing. Christian has taught privately since 2016 and has enjoyed teaching many styles including classical, music theatre, jazz and pop. More about Christian can be found at ChristianJBlackburn.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WOODSON E. FAULKNER, II is a graduate of Greensboro College with a Bachelor of Music degree subsequently attending UNCG for post-graduate study in choral conducting, voice training and music education. He was a featured soloist with the Bel Canto Company in their appearance at the Hinshaw Music Festival held in Raleigh August of 2014 and also in 2015 where he was again soloist in the 2nd Premier of John Rutter’s “Six Canticles of Light”. In 2007 Mr. Faulkner became the Choir Director/Organist at Wake Forest Baptist Church, Winston-Salem and on Sept. 11, 2011 in Wait Chapel, Mr. Faulkner conducted the premier performance of “Angels and Fireflies” written by Kevin Malone for solo flute and string orchestra for the 10th anniversary commemorating the tragic events of 9-11. The performance was simulcast to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England and radio broadcast live from Wake Forest on local NPR station WFDD. In addition, Mr. Faulkner serves as Accompanist, Assistant Director, and Vocal Coach for the Burlington Boys Choir since 1999, with tours to New York, Atlanta, Toronto, Mexico and Vienna.
Mr. Faulkner was Artistic Director and Founding Conductor of the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus from 1998 – 2012. His professional credits include appearances conducting TPMC at the International Festival of Gay and Lesbian Choruses (GALA) in Montreal, Miami, Denver, and at a regional conference in Cincinnati, OH. He has also sung professionally under the direction of the late Robert Shaw at Carnegie Hall and has performed as singer/assistant director of The Desert Chorale of Santa Fe, NM in four summer seasons.
Among his other artistic endeavors, Mr. Faulkner is a past Board President of Greensboro Opera and was recently a featured writer for the O.Henry Magazine in the July 2014 issue. He has been a presenter/speaker at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Didactic Seminar on Arts and Healing for Chaplaincy program – May 25, 2012, a guest presenter at the SEA (Southern Entrepreneur in the Arts) Conference at UNCG in Feb. 2012, Music Director/Arranger/Actor for the Touring Theatre Ensemble of NC from 1995-2004. He sang with the Bel Canto Company of Greensboro for 20+ years appearing numerous times with the ensemble as soloist. Mr. Faulkner also holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
JAKE PRESTON HEMMINGER, tenor, made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2018 as a soloist with the New England Symphonic Ensemble performing Mozart’s Regina Coeli in C and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy during the MidAmerica Productions Concert Series. In 2016, he made his international debut as a soloist with the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina performing Mozart’s Missa Brevis in F and Schubert’s Mass in G during the MidAm International Choral Series in Florence, Italy. Hemminger was the 2nd Place Winner in the 2017 American Prize Competition for College Men in Opera as well as a National Finalist in the Art Song & Oratorio Division. He was also a 2016 National Finalist the National Society of Arts & Letters Musical Theater Competition in Phoenix, AZ. Hemminger has been seen in numerous operatic and musical theatre roles including Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Henrik in A Little Night Music, Bobby Strong in Urinetown: The Musical!, Fracasso in Mozart’s La finta semplice, and Count Danilo in The Merry Widow.
As an instructor, Hemminger’s goal is to prepare his private voice students to be smart, confident singers who know how to approach a variety of vocal styles with a healthy and sustainable vocal technique. He believes in the importance of connecting with students in a way that creates an environment of freedom and exploration and serves as a catalyst for a student’s vocal, musical, and personal growth. His teaching style incorporates both imagery and mechanistic approaches and focuses on somatic re-education and developing kinesthetic awareness. Additionally, Hemminger enjoys incorporating various technologies and visual aids into his teaching to explain anatomical, physiological, and acoustic concepts. He is comfortable teaching not only classical and Bel Canto techniques, but also Musical Theatre and CCM styles. His current and former students have been accepted to BFA Musical Theatre programs at East Carolina University, Western Carolina University, and have performed with professional theatre companies such as Triad Stage, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts, and more.
Hemminger holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Music Technology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and is currently the adjunct voice instructor at Averett University in Danville, VA. Learn more at JakeHemmingerMusic.com. Jake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHANIE FOLEY DAVIS was praised by the New York Times in her Glimmerglass Festival debut in The Tender Land as “a poised, touching Ma Moss” and Opera News said she was “a loving, careworn Ma, warm of voice and presence.” Ms. Davis subsequently returned to Glimmerglass to create the role of Mary McCarthy in the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck. Of her role debut as Charlotte in Nightingale Opera Theatre’s production of Werther, Cleveland Classical said, “…Foley Davis and Culver were terrific in their singing and in delineating their sadness.”
Ms. Davis has appeared in leading roles throughout the US with companies such as Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Nightingale Opera Theatre, Orlando Philharmonic and almost every professional opera company in North Carolina, including Opera Carolina, Piedmont Opera, North Carolina Opera, and Greensboro Opera, to which she will return as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly in November of 2018. Stephanie makes her company and role debut with Opera Roanoke, singing Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in May 2019. Also this season will see her with North Carolina Opera as Mercedes in Carmen and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Greensboro Opera. Stephanie will make her debut with Memphis Symphony Orchestra for the Messiah under the baton of Robert Moody.
Stephanie also made her debut with the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) to perform the mezzo-soprano solos in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” and Jenkins’ The Armed Man under the baton of Robert Moody, after which they reprised the concert with the Winston-Salem Symphony. Other recent credits include Mercedes in Greensboro Opera‘s Carmen, her first Suzuki in Piedmont Opera’s Madama Butterfly, the mezzo soloist in the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Beethoven’s 9th, and as a distinguished alumna in Verdi’s Requiem at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Joseph Newsome (Voix des Arts) said, “Verdi entrusted the first phrases of ‘Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine’ to the mezzo-soprano soloist, and it is difficult to imagine that he could have expected them to be sung more handsomely and incisively than Foley Davis sang them in Greensboro.” Stephanie created the role of Flo in the World Premiere of Libby Larsen’s Picnic in April 2009, commissioned by the UNCG School of Music.
Ms. Davis is currently Chair of the Voice Faculty and Director of Community Engagement at The Music Academy of North Carolina, where she has been teaching voice since 2011.
EMILY FORD-COATES, soprano, is thrilled to join the faculty of the Music Academy of North Carolina with a combined 5 years teaching experience of private voice lessons and middle school instruction of students within the exceptional education program. Ms. Ford-Coates is originally from Florida and recently appeared as Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites with University of North Carolina Greensboro Opera. She has also performed with the Sarasota Opera Company as the Second Spirit in Die Zauberflöte and with the Orlando Philharmonic as Cio Cio San’s Cousin in Madama Butterfly. Other roles include Amelia in Amelia Goes to the Ball, and Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge. Along with stage work she has also been the soloist for concert works such as Mozart’s Missa Brevis in F, Mozart’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Ms. Ford-Coates holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando where she studied with Thomas Potter and Priscilla Bagley. She completed her coursework for a Master of Music degree at the University of North Carolina Greensboro under the guidance of Dr. Robert Wells in 2017. It is her strong belief that every student can learn and, in conjunction, every teacher has the privilege of discovering the unique and varying ways to make the information accessible – no two students are alike therefore there must be more than one way to teach a student to become both an expressive artist and a healthy singer. Ms. Ford-Coates has an extensive background with classical singing and also enjoys teaching Musical Theater and Jazz repertoire. Emily can be reached at email@example.com.
CHARLENE MARCHANT joined the voice faculty when she moved to Greensboro in 2012. She received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The Catholic University of America and her A.B. cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College. She brings extensive teaching experience having been adjunct faculty in the Music Department of Hampton University (fourteen years), Chowan University (one year), and the Vocal Music department (eleven years) of The Governor’s School for the Arts, a magnet school for gifted high school students in Norfolk, Virginia. She has taught madrigals and opera workshop and lyric diction, specializing in the major languages, including English, using the International Phonetic Alphabet. She has major professional performing experience having sung in the choruses of over 30 different operas with the following companies: The Washington (National) Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Virginia Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Opera Ayr (Scotland). She has performed all styles of music from chamber music to Music Theater and cabaret. She is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and a lifetime member of the music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI). She will rejoin the Greensboro Opera Board of Trustees for a second term in 2018. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.