Lauren Rigsby, BA (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) (Corvallis, OR)
Piano, Transgender Voice Training
Lauren is a teacher based out of Oregon. Introduced to a love of music by her mother, she started learning piano around the age of 9. As early as high school, Lauren began teaching piano lessons to students of all ages and levels which sparked an interest in teaching in general. Though she studied piano for a time in college, she eventually decided to pursue a more general teaching degree to allow her to also teach other subjects she loved, like science and visual arts. After achieving a degree in Elementary Education, she went on to become a teacher for several outdoor schools across the country and eventually moved on to managing one here in Oregon. This experience has given her a passion for finding a student's individual learning style and lifelong learning.
Kyle Kerezsi is a writer, illustrator, burgeoning comedian and broadcaster from the Philadelphia area now based in the Portland metro area. He's worked in public media as an anchor, producer and investigator paying close attention to civil rights and LGBTQIA issues for the past four years. His visual art tends to capture the existential questions of the day and are deeply informed by music and current events. He's taught courses on speaking for radio and played/taught guitar for several years.
Kal Liebman is a transgender voice instructor and administrator from Vancouver, Washington, and a lifelong resident of the Portland, Oregon metro area.
As a non-binary person, they are passionate about increasing understanding and acceptance of all transgender people and normalizing the varried experiences of the trans community.
Kal is a roller derby athlete and an advocate for the cultivation and unification of physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing, with the ultimate goal of helping people to become the healthiest and most authentic version of themselves.
Kal has a reputation as a competent and personable office administrator, calling on their background providing positive interactions in customer based environments to guide them in their efforts to best serve the company and the LGBTQ+ community.
Dr. Samantha Serrano Bassig (she/her/hers)(San Antonio, TX)
Singing Lessons, Transgender Voice Training
Dr. Bassig is currently an adjunct music professor at Northwest Vista College. She is also a regular performer of Musical Theatre and Opera in the San Antonio area. Some of her favorite credits include The Music Man, Oklahoma, and A Christmas Carol the musical. She recently attended Actor Therapy in New York where she received training from Lindsay Mendez, Ryan Scott Oliver, Sierra Boggess, Katie Rose Clarke, and other Broadway performers and prominent casting directors. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She also received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and her Doctorate in Musical Arts at The University of Texas at Austin in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy.
Mari Esabel Valverde (she/her) is an award-winning composer in steady demand across the United States and Canada. Based in North Texas, she sings in multiple professional ensembles and maintains a voice studio. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Li-Hsin Huang was born in Taiwan, where she started her musical training at the age of eight. After earning her Bachelor degree in cello performance in University of Taipei, Ms. Li-Hsin came to the United States to continue her studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). She earned her master degree, and currently she is pursuing her doctoral degree at CCM. Her mentors include Ilya Finkelshteyn (the principal cellist in Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) and Amit Even-Tov (the cellist of the Ariel Quartet). Li-Hsin was the winner of cello concerto competition at CCM, and played Elgar cello concerto with the CCM Concert Orchestra. She also performed in masterclasses for Wen-Shin Yang, Paul Katz, and Steven Isserlis. As an experienced and committed teacher, Li-Hsin has more than 4 years’ professional teaching experience and enjoys working with students at all ages. As a teacher, Li-Hsin seeks to inspire her students to work towards their potential, including beginners, professionals, and amateurs. She nurtures the love of music and emphasizes the importance of good playing techniques within a broad scope of repertoire.
Singing Lessons, Piano Lessons, Transgender Voice Training
David Tafone is a voice and piano teacher based in the Portland OR area. He has studied at SUNY Purchase and the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music for both his Bachelors and Masters degrees respectively. At the New England Conservatory of Music he studied with the world renown distinguished professor of voice Ms. Carole Haber. He still sings today using the bel canto technique passed down to him from generations of excellent vocal technicians who served and still serve at NEC today. While at SUNY Purchase, he performed in three operas and studied with the head of the department, internationally renown tenor, Jacque Trussel as well as Baritone Thomas Goodheart who is currently the chair of voice at SUNY Binghamton. He began his masters at the Jacobs school of music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He studied there under the tutelage of internationally renown pedagogue Dr. Dale Moore. At the New England Conservatory of Music he sang five operas in two years - all leading baritone roles. he has studied basic grammar of Italian, German, French and Spanish. He speaks French and Spanish at an intermediate level. He has also studied years of diction in the languages of French, Spanish, German, and Italian. He is a classically trained pianist as well and is a teacher of the Celtic harp. During his education he accompanied many voice lessons of various singers with various voice types and styles.
Christi Brekke, MA (she/her/hers) (Kingsville, TX)
Piano Lessons, Guitar Lessons, Transgender Voice Training
Christi Brekke is a musician/producer, singer/songwriter, voice/music instructor, author and advocate currently based in South Texas. A former public-school choir director, music teacher, and church worship minister, Christi has worked with people of all ages and backgrounds on many styles of music and voice.
In 1993, Christi’s heavy metal band “Unblessed” wrote and produced their self-titled album. They disbanded a year later. In 2010, they reunited and Christi (still 'Chris' in those days) produced their second album, “The Devil’s Fifth,” at her home studio, where she also made records and demos for local bands and singers. She continues to record and produce songs for her YouTube channel.
Christi spent almost a decade in music/worship ministry sharpening both her musical and technical skills. In 2004-2005, she recorded each worship service and produced a weekly audio program that was broadcast on local radio.
As a high school choir director, Christi led her students to success at regional and state-level singing competitions for both soloists and ensembles.
In 2015, finally accepting herself, Christi came out with the release of her self-published memoir, “I Want to Be Her.” Bitten by the writing bug, she went on to earn a MA in English/Writing in 2018, publish two novels and a second memoir.
An advocate at heart, Christi co-founded the Diversity Pride Center Trans Support Group in 2019 in a very conservative region of Eastern Washington State.
Versatile, experienced and passionate, Christi is dedicated to helping her students succeed.
Melodi Alper is a voice, piano, guitar, and flute teacher from Izmir, Turkey. Her classical music education started at age 5 with solfege training, continued with playing the piano at age 6, and began guitar training at age 10. From an early age her dream was to be a professional pianist! She has studied piano with many great pianists such as Basarcan Kivrak and Basak Goren Han at Armoni School of music. She has also had the honor of playing flute in many formal ceremonies! Since 2015, Melodi has been teaching private lessons with a passion for both music and LGBT acceptance.
Oksana Lutsyshyn was born in the city of Lviv, Ukraine. She began studying music at the age of eight and at twelve she entered the Special Music School in Lviv. Upon graduating from this school, she moved to Moscow, Russia, where she entered the Moscow State Conservatory, completing both her graduate and post-graduate degrees. After moving to the United States, she was Visiting Scholar at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. She is presently on the music faculty at Old Dominion University, where she teaches Piano and Music Theory. She also serves as Artistic Co-Director of the Norfolk Chamber Consort. Lutsyshyn has appeared in concerts as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the former Soviet Union, Europe, the United States, and South America. She gave her New York debut in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and a Chicago debut in the Preston Bradley Hall at Chicago Cultural Center. Locally, she has performed with the Virginia International Arts Festival, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Ludwig F. Diehn Concert Series, as well as numerous other concert presenters. Lutsyshyn won Second Prize at the Vienna Modern Masters Third International Performers’ Recording Awards Competition. She was also a prizewinner at the William Kapell International Piano Competition in College Park, Maryland. As a chamber musician, Lutsyshyn has performed in ensembles with prominent musicians such as violinists Joshua Bell and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, tubist Harvey Phillips, saxophonist Eugene Rousseau, and tenor James King, among many others. Together with her husband, Andrey Kasparov, she is a founding member of the Invencia Piano Duo, performing nationally and internationally. Lutsyshyn is a prolific recording artist, having worked with the BBC, Vienna Modern Masters, and Contemporary Record Society. But it was her recordings of Hommage à Gabriel Fauré (Hommages musicaux) and piano works by Adolphus Hailstork (Ignis fatuus) on Albany Records that brought her high critical acclaim. The Fanfare Magazine called her touch in Ignis fatuus “perfect,” while the American Record Guide’s review of Hommages musicaux proclaimed: “Hats off to the Kasparov-Lutsyshyn piano duo team for bringing these fascinating pieces to us in their original forms.” She and Kasparov have recently recorded the entire original works by Florent Schmitt for piano duet and duo. In addition to her performing and recording schedules, Ms. Lutsyshyn has taught master classes at many American universities, including Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. Currently, she teaches piano and theory at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She also serves as Director of Music at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach.
Shazi Jones is a singer, songwriter, and vocal coach based in San Antonio, TX. She has been singing in school and church choirs since 2004, and has experience performing the following genres: gospel, soul, R & B, pop, and jazz. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio with a BA in sociology, which gives her great insight into interaction with students and how to improve a student's verbal and nonverbal communication both as a performer and as someone trying to use a new voice to communicate in society. In her free time she works on creating her own music and occasionally performs locally with bands. Regarding teaching voice lessons, Shazi says that “being able to teach singing, something I’ve loved my entire life, means everything to me.”
Valerie Fiadh Brooks is a transgender voice coach based in New Orleans, LA. Valerie offers instruction in voice feminization. Valerie came out to herself in Jan 2018, began voice training in March, and had a passing voice by June. She started HRT on July 25th and has since been striving to improve the lives of her trans brothers and sisters in whatever way she can. Valerie has a Bachelor's in Psychology (2014) and a passion for all things human; anatomy, physiology, psychology, counseling and therapy. But her true passion is in educating fellow transgender people. Valerie takes a relaxed, friendly approach that centers around speech and social interactions, discussing subconscious expectations of listeners, body language, and facial expressions. She is especially interested in understanding perception and how to present the person we are inside.