Mara Adler-O’Kelly - By the time she was 14, Mara was singing background vocals for local popstars and celebrities and had been selected to tour Japan with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. She subsequently sang on a Grammy winning album with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and can be heard singing in the background of the film “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” At 15 she landed her first role, singing a solo with the San Francisco Opera, among many of the great singers of the early 2000’s. At the ages of 16, and 17, she was selected to sing the Role of Mimi in La Boheme, and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Mara earned a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory of Music on a Merit Scholarship. During college, she sang roles with Oberlin Opera Theater, the Cleveland Symphony Chorus, The Cleveland Art Museum Performance Series, Oberlin Gilbert and Sullivan Club, and the Oberlin in Italy Program. Mara earned a master’s degree in Music and Music Education at Teacher’s College Columbia University, while continuing to perform and audition.She has sung with New Jersey Opera Theater (La Mere Coupable, The Countess) Opera in the Ozarks (Susanna, Le Nozze di Figaro) Opera Company of Brooklyn (Sophie,Werther), Bronx Opera Company ( Papagena, Lidke) Hoboken Gilbert and Sullivan( Ruth) Opera Theater of Montclair,( Pamina) Garden State Opera ( Cosi Fan Tutte, Dorabella) Utopia Opera (The Bat). She has sung with Metropolitan Opera Outreach program and Bel Canto at Caramoor. She has sung as a soloist with Collegium Westchester and can be heard as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah Central Presbyterian Church, and First Presbyterian Church and Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Englewood. As an educator, she currently teaches classes called “Anyone Can Sing” and “Napoli and Bel Canto” at Olli-RU, Rutgers University and Brookdale Community College and Jewish Family Services, Clifton, where she has recently received a grant. She is also a member of the Old Bridge Arts Council and in 2020 pioneered a webinar program on the “Art and Struggle of Life as performer,” for the council. She is a co-founder and performer with Ensemble Bella Luce, which consists of flute, piano, soprano and tenor. The ensemble, which was formed in Assisi Italy performs throughout New Jersey and will continue to perform in Italy. She lives in Old Bridge, New Jersey, with her daughter and husband.
Melody Stevens took the opportunity during Covid-19 quarantine and the shutdown of Broadway to record and send out daily to friends and family 539 songs in multiple genres. These songs included 14 of her originals.
Melody has a Bachelor of Music degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and a Master of Music Degree from Westminster Choir College at Rider University. Currently, she is the music director for Red Bank Catholic High School, Music Director for The Misfits Theatre Company of Manalapan, and teaches a full studio of private voice and piano students. She teaches music theory and music history at the college level. She has also served as a musical theater vocal coach/technician at Fairleigh Dickenson University in New Jersey.
Evita Belmonte, vocalist, and percussionist
As a young child, Evita enjoyed watching The Ed Sullivan Show on television with her family. The popular variety show was chock full of entertainers hosted by Ed Sullivan, the well-known syndicated columnist at the time for the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune news group. There was also the sedate Lawrence Welk Show where she saw musicians playing the accordion and was tickled by the bubbles floating around the name of the show’s host in the opening of the show.
Those shows were inspiring and eventually led to once-a-week lessons for Evita to learn to play the accordion. At the same time, in elementary school her other musical involvements were singing in the church choir as a young soprano turned alto because they needed singers who could remember the harmonies and continue to sing loud enough on the musical selections. There was also the school band where Evita and other students were instructed by the music director on how to play rudiments on the drums for the band, orchestra and Drum and Bugle corps.
Patricia Lazzara, flutist, has distinguished herself as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. She is a three time winner of the Artists International competition in New York City and gave her critically acclaimed New York recital debut at Cami Hall.
Patricia’s newest solo CD – “Radiance” has been recently (June 2018) released to rave reviews. The album is a celebration of spiritual transformation and new creation with 3 newly commissioned pieces written specifically for the album. Composers include Grammy nominated Ron Korb, Dmitriy Varelas and Maurizio Balzola. In the summers, Ms. Lazzara travels to Assisi, Italy where she performs on the Assisi Performing Arts Concert Series.
Ms. Lazzara has performed at Carnegie Hall several times and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
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