1st Grade Opera
originally from Lonmont, Colorado, graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, and graduated with her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona. Mrs. Chaffin has performed solo roles in the Fauré Requiem, the Mozart Requiem, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Mozart's Coronation Mass, Mozart's Mass in C Minor, and Handel's Messiah. Kimberly's operatic roles include Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Magda in La Rondine, and Alice Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Mrs. Chaffin has performed the role of Mary for the last eight years in the Arts Express production of Follow the Star. Currently, Kimberly is singing in the Arizona Opera Chorus, and involved with the OMA Program (Opening Minds through the Arts), as a Teaching Artist, and Opera Team Coordinator, Trainer and Mentor. This is a student achievement program that was developed within the Tucson Unified School District, and it integrates all the arts (opera in the first and fifth grades) with the tested core curriculum. Mrs. Chaffin is also a member of the OMA Design Team which is developing professional development for teachers and artists, and helping OMA to expand to other school districts around the country.
Juan Aguirre, originally from Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico, obtained his Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona where he performed leading roles in numerous operas and was the first- prize winner of two major Opera competitions. Juan made his professional opera debut with Arizona Opera Co in 1997 and has performed on and off with them since then. In addition, he has sung professionally with Phoenix Metropolitan Opera, S.A.S.O and Wieck Chamber singers and Orchestra and has worked with world- renowned directors/coaches/singers such as Tito Capobianco, Richard Miller, and legendary bass, Jerome Hines. Equally at home in the realm of musical theatre, Juan is a regular on Arizona Stages doing a wide variety of roles from dramatic to comedy. In the world of popular music he has recorded two CDs and is the bass singer and founder of The Presidio Boys, a country/gospel male quartet. Outside the country, Juan sings regularly in recitals /concerts/ operas throughout Mexico. He was a featured bass soloist with the Liszt Academy orchestra in Budapest Hungary and was privileged to sing in the presence of president Maduro of Honduras and a number of distinguished guests. Outside of performing Juan enjoys stage directing and most recently directed Cinderella and Les Miserables for CYT as well as Esther and Amahl and the Night Visitors for Wieck Chamber singers and Orchestra. Juan also teaches private voice and works for TUSD in a program called Opening Minds through the Arts (O.M.A), helping to reinforce the curriculum through Opera. In addition, he can also be seen and heard on both local and national television and radio as a bilingual actor and voice over artist.
was born in Nebraska. He began musical studies with his mother as teacher before he began to go to school. Over the years he studied piano and organ, trumpet, violin and viola, percussion instruments and finally harp. He has studied with famous teachers and performers in all of those instruments and has two degrees in harp performance. Currently he is a musician at St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Francis de Sales Catholic Churches, is accompanist for the Arizona Repertory Singers, and is a teaching artist with Opening Minds Through the Arts, all in Tucson, Arizona.
2nd Grade Dance
Wendy Joy Koltnow has a Master of Fine Arts (1998) in Theatre Arts with a dance concentration from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Arts (1986) in dance from Douglass College at Rutgers University. In addition to working for the Tucson Unified School District as an Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA) Design Team Teaching Artist she is the director/developer of PROJECT:connect, an innovative program that fuses a dance education certification tract with the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Arizona. She is also a founding member of Zuzi!, a Tucson-based modern dance company.
Wendy has extensive training in both classical ballet and modern dance, and has studied with and performed for such artists as Liz Lerman, David Rousseve, Alexei Yudenich, Don Redlich, Claudia Gitelman, and Melanie Stewart. Prior to coming to Tucson, Wendy was known throughout the southern New Jersey and Philadelphia areas for her teaching and choreography and was the owner and artistic director of dance images by wendy joy in Ventnor, NJ.
4th Grade Violins and 5th Grade Orchestra
Amelia Parris, a product of T.U.S.D., received her Bachelor of Music Education in Public School Teaching at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. Her major instrument is violin and is a strings specialist. Ms. Parris also plays with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and has played in Tucson Jr. Strings, Tucson Youth Philharmonia Orchestra, and Tucson High Magnet School’s steel drum band, Jovert. Ms. Parris works at Doolen Middle School with the Intermediate and Advanced string orchestras and Fruchthendler, Manzo, and Myers-Ganoung Elementaries in the 4th and 5th grade string programs.
5th Grade Band
educator, conductor and artistic director, has quickly earned a reputation for his high-energy teaching style and fresh, innovative artistic nuance. Over the past 10 years Cullen has held positions as Director of Instrumental/Vocal Music/ Theater Arts and served as Fine Arts Mentor Teacher with Tucson Unified School District as well as the School of Music at the University of Arizona.
In a short time, Mr. Cullen has enjoyed a diverse professional career as a versatile and multifaceted artist continuing to set himself apart from others with his eclectic background and dynamic skill-set. As a performer Cullen has traveled throughout the United States, Mexico and South America as a vocalist, instrumentalist and conductor. In the teaching world, award-winning ensembles under Mr. Cullen’s direction have been the recipients of “Superior and Superior with Distinction” ratings at competitions held in Arizona and California. Students of Mr. Cullen’s programs have gone on to receive acceptance in such prestigious programs as Julliard, The New England Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Cullen served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Arizona as director of the “UofA Pep Band” from 2008-2012 with performances in sports arenas around the country including national spots on ESPN and Fox Sports.
Cullen currently holds the position of Principal Conductor for The University of Arizona’s ART (Arizona Repertory Theater) where he continues to work with the Broadway stars of tomorrow with recent credits including “Into the Woods”, “Secret Garden”, “Batboy: The Musical”, “Avenue Q”, “Nine”, and “Oklahoma!”.
Mr. Cullen holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Master’s of Music in Conducting from the University of Arizona. Mr. Cullen is a proud member of GALA Choruses, American Choral Director’s Association, Arizona Music Educator’s Association, and the National Association for Music Education.