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.
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.
In November 2021, under Melody’s direction, the Red Bank Catholic High School Choir made it into the final 3 out of 57 choirs who entered the NBC Star Choir Holiday Singing Competition. The contest was hosted by Kelly Clarkson and the choirs were judged by Clarkson’s band members.
Melody is the former owner of Academy of Music on Main Street in Spotswood, NJ. The Academy specialized in lessons on all instruments and voice, rock band programs and classical ensembles. She is also the former owner of two music and dance-based preschools called Mozarts and Einsteins. Here, young children received classes in music, dance, Spanish, English, and math every day, and performed in recitals twice during the school year.
Melody wrote and published a book about personal transformation entitled “Become a Time Millionaire: 100 Ways to Gain an Extra Hour a Day”. The book was an Amazon best seller in the category of self improvement. Melody has been a keynote speaker at women’s conferences, business events, and at universities in the mid-Atlantic region.
Opera roles include Naiad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Carmen Ghia in The Stoned Guest, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, and Isabel in The Face on the Barroom Floor. She has worked as a choral soloist and as a soprano ringer in many choirs. For 15 years she sang with an a cappella women’s trio called “Women in a Chord.” She has sung in the chorus of New Jersey State Opera Company and with New England Lyric Operetta Company.
Melody lives in Manalapan, NJ with her husband Michael and her daughter Sarah.
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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