2017 Performing Arts Camp Faculty
Rachel Beazley was born and raised in Annville, PA, steps away from Lebanon Valley College. She started taking violin lessons when she was 5 years old at LVC's Community Music Institute, and she later added on piano and voice lessons. A student of the Suzuki method, Rachel sneakily avoided learning how to read music until she was 12 years old, relying solely on memorization and ear training. After learning how to read music and performing in many ensembles in high school, Rachel ended up back at Lebanon Valley College to study Music Education and voice. At LVC, Rachel was a member of the Symphony Orchestra, College Choir, and Concert Choir, with whom she performed on tour in Norway and Denmark. She graduated with her B.S. in Music Education in 2012, then moved to Philadelphia, where she spent two years working for City Year Philadelphia. Now a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with an M.S.Ed. in Early Elementary Education, Rachel is faithful cantor and choir member at Saint Francis DeSales Church in West Philly. She is passionate about working with children and sharing with them the joy of singing and music making.
Samuel Hickok has a M.S.Ed. in Elementary Education form the University of Pennsylvania, a M.Mus. in Music Composition from CUNY Brooklyn College, and a BA in Music from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. He has directed the camp since he founded it in 2009, and has taught every year but one. He studied Composition with Jason Eckardt, Doug Geers, Doug Cohen, Al Blatter, and Carleton Macy. He studied Conducting with George Rothman, Robert Peterson, and Cary John Franklin. He also studied Trombone Performance with Rick Gaynor. While at Brooklyn College, he participated in the Orchestral Residency, the Dance Residency, and won the Feldman Award for general excellence in music composition.
Dennis Shafer is a saxophonist, music director, conductor, and Soundpainter based in both Boston and New York City.
As a saxophonist, Dennis Shafer had his New York debut performing as soloist in Concerto Grosso by Eino Tamberg with Ensemble du Monde in Merkin Hall. In 2010 he gave his concerto debut in Jordan Hall with the New England String Ensemble, Federico Cortese, conducting, performing Chemins IV by Luciano Berio. The Boston Globe noted "the difficult solo part was played brilliantly by Dennis Shafer." In 2009, Dennis Shafer released his debut solo album and promoted it in a world-tour with concerts in Paris, Bangkok, Lawai (Hawaii), and several US cities, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, Eugene (Oregon), and Lawrence, Kansas.
In 2008, Dennis Shafer was presented a Legacy Award by Meryl Streep from the Creativity Foundation.
Parisian literary life and contemporary art laid the groundwork and inspiration for the Chagall Performance Art Collaborative, a poetry-music-movement-art ensemble he co-founded with poet Diana Norma Szokolyai in 2006.
As a teaching artist, Shafer has presented workshops, masterclasses, and concerts at New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, the University of the Pacific (San Francisco), Kansas University, and the University of Wisconsin (Whitewater). Shafer’s students also make appearances in the Boston area, with performances in Inman Square, Harvard Square, and Wellesley Free Library.
As a continuation of his inter-disciplinary fervor, Shafer co-directs the Chagall Performance Art Collaborative, which has a residency at the OUTPOST 186 in Cambridge’s Inman Square. The Collaborative explores the newest reaches of contemporary performance art, and has recently been selected by the Boston Globe as a Nightlife Pick. Now based in Boston where he has premiered works by Robert Morris, Curtis Hughes, and Claudio Gabriele, he has earned an Artist Diploma at Longy School of Music, studying with Kenneth Radnofsky. He currently studies Soundpainting with Etienne Rolin (Bordeaux, France) and Walter Thompson (Stockholm, Sweden).
Tais Szilagi Born in New Orleans and raised in New York, Tais recently completed her degree in Vocal Performance at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College. Tais performs in all genres ranging from opera to pop. She has performed numerous leading roles with the Brooklyn College Opera Theater and had the privilege of working under the tutelage of Martina Arroyo (Metropolitan Opera star and 2013 Kennedy Award Recipient) with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Tais is also very interested in New Music and has premiered close to twenty new works including Roger Ames' bilingual opera En Mis Palabras for a “Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS” fundraiser. She has performed in the International Electro-Acoustic Music Festival and at venues including Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Disney World and the Bulgarian Consulate for a benefit for disaster relief in the Philippines. Tais was recently signed as a recording artist with Joma Music Inc.
Anastasia Verdoljak A native of Duluth, MN, Stasia Verdoljak studied violin under Warren Friesen, Amy Herman Eichers & Dr. Rudy Perrault and was involved in school orchestras and chamber ensembles through high school.
She graduated with a B.A. and majors in music & biology from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN in 2009. Her time as a student was spent studying violin under Mary Budd Horozaniecki, working in the music department, and playing in orchestra as well as fellowship and Klezmer bands. She studied violin under Barbara Górzyńska while abroad in Vienna.
During two post-undergraduate volunteer years in the St. Joseph Worker Program, Stasia worked as a violin teacher & program assistant at St. Joseph's School of Music and brought together the Cretin-Derham Hall strings.
She recently received her teaching license & is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Education through Augsburg College while working as the String Ensemble Teacher grades 3-8 at City of Lakes Waldorf School.
Stasia has attended Suzuki teacher training workshops in the past and now attends the annual Association of Waldorf Music Education conferences. Locally, she regularly participates in the Minnesota String & Orchestra Teachers Association’s seasonal workshops and Minnesota Music Educators Association’s Midwinter Clinic.
Her time is otherwise occupied by dancing, as she was accepted into the Ethnic Dance Theatre in Minneapolis this season; additionally, Stasia is always aiming to improve her ballroom dance!
One of Stasia's favorite endeavors is annually traveling to Delaware Valley, PA for the Performing Arts Camp, where she has taught a range of subjects, including strings, piano, choir, music history, drama & ballet.