National Children's Chorus

Artistic &
Administrative Team

The National Children's Chorus is proud to offer its students instruction with some of our nation's finest musical and creative minds. Our visionary Artistic Team is most certainly changing the face of music through education and is here to be a resource for you!

Luke McEndarfer
artistic director

Cristina Demiany
executive director

Dr. Pamela Blackstone
associate artistic director

Kurt Cereske
Kodály studies director and associate conductor

Michael Dean
vocal studies director

Dr. Ian Krouse
compositional studies director

Ryan De Korte
executive administrator

Christopher Yraola
associate conductor

Kara Simpson
associate conductor

Lisa Fenderson
Kodály musicianship instructor

Kelly Callirgos
Kodály musicianship instructor

Ethan Wagner
associate conductor & Kodály musicianship instructor

Dr. Vivian Liu
principal pianist

Dr. Hiroyo Hatsuyama
associate pianist

Nick Nicassio
associate conductor and musicianship instructor

Alexis Tantau
voice instructor

Griffith Frank
voice instructor

David Stech
principal pianist

Dr. Rose Beattie
voice instructor

Helen Zalantis
Kodály musicianship instructor

Gustavo Hernández García
voice instructor

Monica Soto-Gil
voice instructor

Dorothy Caimano
Kodály musicianship instructor

Dr. Pamela Blackstone
associate artistic director

Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone‘s life philosophy is “let what you love be what you do.” Because of this, her teaching encompasses a passion not only for music itself, but for the process of bringing it to life.

Dr. Blackstone began her musical training as a pianist, violinist, singer, and dancer in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Her studies at the college level earned her a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Kansas in piano performance where she graduated valedictorian from the School of Fine Arts. Her primary teachers included Dr. Jack Winerock and Claude Frank. While at KU, Dr. Blackstone attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival and School, studying piano and chamber music with Rita Sloan.

Expanding her musical education to include her love of choral music, Dr. Blackstone received her Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory of Music, studying under the tutelage of Dr. Eph Ehly. She also became the Director of Choral Activities at Westark College in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and quickly established herself as a highly sought-after choral clinician, judge, and show choir choreographer throughout the Midwest.

Dr. Blackstone completed her formal study with a Doctorate of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of California Los Angeles, studying under Donald Neuen. Throughout her conducting education, she earned a multitude of competition awards and scholarships from organizations such as the American Choral Directors Association and Choral Conductors Guild. Dr. Blackstone was also the Assistant Conductor of the Angeles Chorale and has taught choral and vocal music at UCLA, Santa Ana College, and church organizations across Southern California.

Dr. Blackstone is a professional healing arts expert in the mediums of yoga, energy work, fitness, and health. Having trained in musical, physical, and energetic disciplines, Dr. Blackstone incorporates an eclectic variety of teaching methodologies which inspire her students mentally, emotionally, and kinesthetically. Far beyond that, Dr. Blackstone brings her singers an expansive and inspiring energy, which throughout her life has been called “positively contagious.” In the NCC, she has pioneered a fusion of her healing arts and musical expertise, creating a class entitled “You are the Instrument: Yoga for Singers.”

Dr. Blackstone joined the NCC Artistic Team in January 2009 and is honored to be part of a world-class organization. For almost twenty years, Dr. Blackstone has been dedicated to teaching choral music across the country to children and adults alike. She has concluded from her extensive experience that whether a musician is five or ninety-five years old, beautiful music is a tangible expression of one’s soul which must be honorably executed with the finest technique, purity of mind, and passion of heart.