General Information About Voice Lessons
- The voice is an instrument and as such it is important that each individual avail himself or herself of the opportunity to learn how to use their instrument. While each Choir class will devote time to vocal development, it is highly recommended that singers study privately either through the KISD Private Lesson Program or with other teachers in Katy or Houston.
All voice teachers who teach on campus are contracted by KISD. Students pay the teacher directly. The fee for KISD voice lessons varies, depending on the distinction level of the individual teacher. Depending on your teacher, the charge for voices lessons will be between $18.50-$24.50 per half hour. Each teacher will provide a studio policy detailing the preferred method of payment and attendance guidelines. The KISD voice teachers will teach in the Choir Practice Rooms.
- The object of the voice lesson is for students to learn good vocal technique and how their individual voice functions. Students will build a repertoire that includes art songs, arias, and some musical theater or vocal jazz. Students will also study the All-State Choir repertoire, prepare for UIL Solo & Ensemble, and explore various composers and styles appropriate for the individual. In order for the student to be successful, it is crucial that he or she practice between lessons.
- Students desiring private lessons instruction must complete a student application, available from the choir director, and return it to the choir director. A deposit of $70.00 will be required which shall be given to the private lesson teacher before the first lesson is given.
- It is important that the student/parent obtain all contact information from the instructor (phone, email, etc.) in the event a lesson must be missed. Unexcused absences from voices lessons will be charged the full lesson price.
Juan Garza – Voice Teacher
A native of El Paso, Garza is a recent graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. While at SFA, he was a student of Dr. Scott LaGraff. During his studies, Juan performed the title role in “Gianni Schicchi,” Kezal in “The Barterded Bride,” Joe in “The Most Happy Fella,” and Melchior in “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” This past spring, he performed the role of Mr. Ford in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
He has performed leading roles in scenes from “La bohème,” “Falstaff,” “Le nozze di Figaro,” “Rigoletto,” “Don Giovanni,” “Street Scene,” “Kismet” and “The Merry Widow.” He has also performed solos in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem, George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, and the “Seven Last Words of Christ” by Théodore Dubois.
In 2014, Garza was accepted as an apprentice artist at Opera in the Ozarks where he performed the roles of The Baker in “Into the Woods” and Marco in “Gianni Schicchi”. He has performed numerous roles with the Gilbert and Sullivan Company of El Paso. Currently, Garza is a member of the Houston Grand Opera Chorus and teaches private voice in Houston.
Kristen Turner – Voice Teacher
Kristen Turner is an actively performing Opera singer with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
While pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree she competed in and won the Northern Arizona University concerto competition. As a winner of the competition she had the opportunity to sing Joaquin Rodrigo’s Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios with orchestra. Also, throughout her studies and professional career Ms. Turner has had the privilege of performing an array of operatic roles including, Nella from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Queen of the Night from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Helene in Hindemith’s Hin und zurück.
Although she specializes in Opera, Kristen enjoys teaching a range of styles including Classical, Jazz, Musical Theater, and Contemporary. In your lessons she hopes to strengthen your vocal technique while helping to release the artist within!”
Amanda Shelton – Voice Teacher
Amanda K. Shelton (soprano) graduated with her Masters in Vocal Performance from Texas State University in San Marcos.
Ms. Shelton has performed with Texas State Opera Theater as the Grand Duchess in Romberg’s The Student Prince, Mrs. Grose in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Prince Orlofsky in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Mere Marie in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She has also participated in Opera in the Ozarks, a two-month program in Arkansas, where she sang the roles of Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring and the Witch in Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel.
Recently, she has been singing with Austin Lyric Opera as a member of their chorus and participating in Spotlight on Opera singing the title role of Puccini’s Tosca.
Benjamin Williams – Voice Teacher
Houston – based Tenor Benjamin S. Williams has performed across the U.S. and Europe in diverse venues ranging from Trebah Gardens in the United Kingdom to concert halls in Florence, Italy. He currently sings with First Presbyterian Church in Houston where he has performed solos from Mozart’s Requiem, Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living and many others. He was a finalist in the Christopher Newport University School of Music Concerto and Aria competition in 2012, and has participated in numerous music festivals both abroad and in the United States. These include the Bay View Music Festival, the New York Opera Studio with Nico Castle, the Cornish American Song Institute, and the Institute of Bel Canto Singing. Additionally, he has performed in masters calluses with George Shirley, Nico Castel, Dimitri Pittas, and Stanford Olsen, among others.
Committed to sharing music with his community, Mr. Williams often performs for churches, and retirement communities. He has give interactive lectures to High School and Elementary students about opera and classical singing.
Mr. Williams is a 2012 inductee of the Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society and has received numerous merit based scholarships as both a graduate and undergraduate student. Mr. Williams holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy from the Moore’s School of Music at the University of Houston, where he studied with Dr. Timothy Jones. He studied abroad in Florence Italy where he attended L’Academia Europa and studied with Italian soprano Susannah Rigacci. He graduated Cum Laude from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance where he studied with Dr. David Sadlier.
Renee Rybolt – Voice Teacher
Renee Rybolt, soprano, fulfills her musical life as a teacher, vocalist, and choir director in the Houston area. As a professional vocalist, Renee is currently a member and frequent soloist of Bach Society Houston and has also sung with Cantare and Sola Stella. She has been a featured soloist in concerts with Mercury, Ars Lyrica, and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Her passion for choral music has led her to the position of Director of Choral Ministry at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Bellaire. Renee has enjoyed teaching private voice lessons in the Katy area since 2014.
Renee received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Saint Joseph’s College and Masters of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Southern Illinois University.