Jaime Castellanos: Originally from New Jersey, Jaime Kathleen has musically directed, taught, and performed both nationally and internationally; she is thrilled to be joining the faculty at NEMPAC and looks forward to sharing her experiences with the students here! Jaime is currently on staff at the Boston Conservatory where she works with the musical theatre voice students, the art song repertory classes, and as rehearsal pianist / musical director for various theatre productions. During the summer, Jaime Kathleen is on faculty at the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany, a pre-professional experience for musical theatre performers from the US and Europe. She is also on faculty the Boston Patio Playhouse musical theatre camp.
Before coming to Boston, she received her Master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln; while there, she received the prestigious ‘Best Overall Pianist’ award at the Regional NATS competition. Jaime recently completed her Graduate Performance Diploma in Collaborative Piano with a vocal concentration at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Jaime has extensive experience working throughout the country with young aspiring pianists and singers. Previous teaching and coaching positions include the Bridgewater School of Music (NJ), Fusion School of Performing Arts (NJ), the Theatre Opportunity for Youth (Scottsbluff, NE), Broadway Bound Intensive (NYC), and the Longy School of Education Teaching Artistry and Outreach programs (Cambridge, MA).
Rhaea has taught Kindergarten through eighth grade classroom music at St. Edward the Confessor Parish School, private voice and piano lessons with California Music Studios in Dana Point, California, and in addition to teaching with NEMPAC, she is currently on the faculty of the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the Starline Academy in Stoughton, Massachusetts. As a teaching artist, Rhaea strives to connect music to the daily lives of audiences and students alike. She believes deeply that music, regardless of genre or instrument, is an endless opportunity for exploration, and works to help each student achieve his/her highest potential in every lesson, while steadily deepening their own self-worth. It is her most fervent passion to use music to broaden students’ perceptions and imaginations, empowering them to make things a bit more beautiful.
Rebecca Rapoport-Cole, is a Canadian born singer living in Boston. Rebecca has been on NEMPAC faculty since 2011 and has served on the administrative staff since 2012. Rebecca believes that a musical education should be available to all. Rebecca has had the pleasure of teaching private and group classes to children and adults alike.
Areas of Teaching include: beginner and intermediate piano, classical voice, musical theater voice, pop, jazz, and vocal audition preparation – including high school and university vocal exams. Rebecca’s teaching highlights include having her own private studio, in Toronto and Victoria, Canada, 2005-2008, serving as music instructor and accompanist for StageCraft Theatre, 2007-2008, as well as teaching voice and piano for ABC Academy of music (2008-2009), and the Snider School of Music (2009-2010), Toronto, Canada. In addition to her teaching, Rebecca has been both the director and assistant director for children’s musicals at institutions such as Camp Shalom, 2003, and the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Triple Threat theatre program, 2008-2009.
A frequent performer in Boston, Rebecca has been featured as a soloist with NEMPAC for several seasons, and was the alto soloist in the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah all with the Paul Madore Chorale in Salem, Massachusetts. Rebecca has also participated in several young artist programs including dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, The Banff Center for the Arts, Songfest, and the Bay Area Summer Operatic Training Institute.
Rebecca was awarded Honorable Mention in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition, was a semi-finalist for the Chicago Oratorio Award, as well the American Prize in voice all in 2014. In March of 2015, Rebecca made her musical theatre debut, as Meg in Maine Street Kids Club, a mathstart musical at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Rebecca holds a masters degree from the Longy School of Music of Bard College, a bachelor degree from the University of Western Ontario and was a participant in the Victoria Conservatory Opera Studio Program.
Manda Shepherd: As a graduate of the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory and Boston University Metropolitan College, Manda has obtained a diverse education in performance and performing arts management. As a clarinetist, Manda has performed in Illinois, Alabama, Ohio, and Massachusetts as a soloist, chamber musician, and in large ensembles. Her performances have been well received for their diverse programming and superior musicianship and technique.
Manda began teaching clarinet and piano in 2008 while she was still in high school. She began with beginning and intermediate musicians and quickly received the opportunity to coach advanced players at one of Illinois’ top high school band programs. While studying in Ohio, she began teaching clarinet and piano at the Joyful Noise Neighborhood Music School. Currently, Manda continues teaching in Boston, MA through Takelessons and Musika as well as through her own personal network.
Outside of her performances and teaching, Manda has held positions as a fundraiser and administrator at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Massachusetts, the Brooke Charter Schools, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Cindy Giron was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She began her music studies with eurhythmics and recorder at the age of 5 at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School. At age 6, she began playing the piano
with teacher Frederika King and later continued her studies with pianist Valentina Lass at age 8. Heavily influenced by Chopin’s piano nocturnes, Cindy began to write music at the age of 14, studying with Alla Elana Cohen. Engaged in the Certificate program at NEC, Cindy participated in chamber ensembles, choir, orchestra, and theory lessons. In 2004, as piano and celesta player, Cindy toured Brazil and Venezuela with the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Benjamin Zander.
Under the tutelage of Nils Vigeland and Reiko Fueting, Cindy received a Bachelors Degree in Music with a major in Composition and minor in Piano from Manhattan School of Music in May 2010. Shortly thereafter, she studied at New York University’s Steinhardt school of Culture, Education, and Human Development. With instruction in Contemporary and Electronic Composition from Morton Subotnick and Julia Wolfe, Cindy graduated in May 2012 with a masters in Music Theory and Composition.
While studying at NYU, Cindy was a part of the America Reads Tutoring program in New York City Public Schools. As a teacher assistant, she helped developed reading, writing, and musical development for 3rd and 8th graders. America Reads sparked a passion for teaching and lead to her teaching eurythmics, piano, and music theory at Belle Arti Center for the Arts in Forest Hills, NY. With an interest to learn about alternative forms of education, Ms. Giron also taught a Waldorf-inspired early childhood music and nature class with the Brooklyn Forest School in Prospect Park, as well as New York City’s Central Park.
Cindy is currently teaching at the Performing Arts Center of MetroWest, the North End Performing Arts Center, and composing and collaborating with musicians. She is happy to be back home where she can share her passion of music with her students and help them develop into musicians!
Xiaolan Ruan – Piano Instructor
Xiaolan Ruan, piano, graduated from the Longy School of Music with a graduate diploma in piano performance. She has taught for 18 years in the greater Boston area. She teaches students of all ages and ability levels.
Ben Xia – Piano Instructor
Ben Xia has more than 10 years experiences in teaching piano. Born and brought up in a musical family, Xia studied and practiced piano since 6 years old. He received his professional piano education from East China Normal University, and had been a private student of Prof. Zheng Shuxin, one of the best piano educators in China. Xia combines the modern and classical teaching methods, and customizes them for different students.