Voice Staff
All instructors offer Transgender Voice training
Lauren Rigsby, BA (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs)

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.

Kal Liebman (they/them/theirs)

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.

David Tafone, MM (he/him/his)

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)

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.

Valerie Brooks, BA (she/her/hers)

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.

Adrian Soliz, BM (he/him/his)

Adrian Soliz is a recent graduate from UTSA (Bachelor of Arts in Music) who has been teaching in the San Antonio area for 3 years now. He has taught all levels of singers, from 6 years old to adults, and many different genres of music. His students have gone out to receive roles in the community theaters and have also won various choral competitions at the regional level. He is an advocate for using science to better understand how the voice works to allow for artists to have much more artistic freedom and expression. Adrian himself has performed with local opera and musical theater companies in the area. His biggest project right now is being the president of the Young Professional Opera Guild. This nonprofit works bring opera to the community through various popup performances and recitals. “My goal as a voice teacher is to create an environment where my students feel safe and secure enough that they can allow themselves to unleash the artist that is in everyone.”

Mari Valverde, MM (she/her/hers)

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.

Melodi Alper (she/her/hers)

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.

Kyle Kerezsi, BA (he/him/his)

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.

Lily Grace, AA (she/her/hers)

Lily Grace is a voice instructor in Corvallis, Oregon with four years of experience working as a voiceover
artist and strongly believes in the value of lived experience in finding and defining one's own voice as a
transgender person. She has done work on small animated short films in both male and female roles,
instructional videos, and audio dramas.

Shazi Jones, BA (she/her/hers)

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. 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.”

Dr. Samantha Serrano Bassig (she/her/hers)

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.

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