Meet Our Team

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You all instill confidence in the students. They are disciplined and work very hard, but have confidence and a joy in the work. I know that comes from the entire YAA staff.
— N. Thomas Pedersen, Recent Head of Musical Theatre, The Catholic University of America

Young Artists of America at Strathmore’s staff is made up of passionate musicians, educators, consultants and arts administrators whose main goal is to expose our high school and middle school students to the highest caliber performing arts mentorship and education available.



Producing Artistic Director / Co-Founder

Rolando Sanz's work bridging production, performance, and education has made him a performing arts visionary with rare perspective and a reputation as an unflappable leader. He was the executive producer of the world premiere of Andrew Lippa's newest concept opera, I Am Anne Hutchinson / I Am Harvey Milk, starring Kristin Chenoweth at the Music Center at Strathmore in 2016. Producing credits include The Circle of Life: The Songs of Tim Rice for Maryland Public Television (PBS) which won an Emmy® award, Songs for a New World with Jason Robert Brown, Children of Eden with Stephen Schwartz, and the premieres of West Side Story + Roméo et Juliette and Madama Butterfly & Miss Saigon. Sanz sings leading tenor roles with leading arts organizations across the nation, including Michigan Opera Theatre, Spoleto Festival USA, Florentine Opera, Virginia Opera, and the Pacific Symphony. Most recently, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut under the baton of James Levine and appeared in cinemas worldwide via MET Live in HD. Rolando serves on the opera vocal faculty of Teatro Nuovo and is the Head of the Young Artist Program at Bel Canto in Tuscany. Rolando has also sung the national anthem for the Baltimore Orioles Opening Day ceremonies since 2012.

Email Rolando Sanz. More at


Music Director / Co-Founder

Kristofer Sanz has matured as a vibrant and talented conductor whose energy and fervor for music have allowed him to achieve a passionate, mature and musical sound with any ensemble he has conducted. Mr. Sanz recently has been praised for his modern and adventurous interpretations, as well as his contemporary and interactive concert presentations. He is the Music Director and Philharmonic conductor for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras program that rehearses and performs at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. Under Mr. Sanz’s baton the Philharmonic is quickly becoming known for their highly musical, moving, and nuanced interpretations of a wide range of works from all genres—including orchestral works, dance, and opera. In 2014, he performed the US premiere of Ilan Eshkeri’s Stardust Suite. Last March, he conducted the Philharmonic in his own 45-minute arrangement with narration of the Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner. 

Email Kristofer Sanz. More at



Associate Artistic Director /
Director of Summer Intensives

Terry Eberhardt is a native of Maryland whose passion for music began with his church choir and public school chorus. Upon completing his Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and his Masters Degree in Opera Performance at The University of Maryland Opera Studio, Terry began his teaching career in Montgomery County, MD.

In 2005, Terry established the choral program at Howard County’s newest high school, Marriotts Ridge, where his students earned numerous awards and accolades for their performances throughout the eastern United States. In 2008, he was recognized as the Howard County Teacher of the Year. Terry continues to serve the professional music community through his work at local universities as a voice coach and as an adjudicator for numerous choral competitions.  He is well known to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. audiences with performances in numerous oratorios as baritone soloist, and as a principal artist in many local opera productions.  His most recent project is the development of Red Bridge Studios in Savage, Maryland. Mr. Eberhardt recently advanced to the Grammy Music Educator of the year semi-finals.

Email Terry Eberhardt



Director of YAAjunior

Paul Heinemann is known for his tremendous gift of connecting with middle school adolescents, and his energy and enthusiasm have inspired his students to achieve at high levels. He has been invited to serve as a guest conductor for numerous middle school honors choruses as well as a guest clinician and adjudicator for festivals throughout Maryland. Most recently, he finished his 9th and final year as the Middle School Honors Chorus director for Montgomery County. Additionally, Paul has also served as an artistic and music director at both the middle and high school levels.

Paul is the choral director at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg, MD where he has taught for 19 years and grown the program to five school day choirs. He was recognized with the Montgomery County Gazette’s Favorite teacher award in 2011, and his choral program was awarded the ‘Program of Excellence’ award from the Maryland Music Educators Association in 2012. Paul’s choirs have consistently earned superior ratings at county, state and interstate festivals and competitions and they have performed as a demonstration chorus for multiple MMEA conferences. Paul was most recently recognized this past spring with the 2018 Maryland Music Educators Association Outstanding Music Educators Award.

Email Paul Heinemann


Kristina Friedgen


Director of Education, Stage Director

Kristina Friedgen teaches theatre full-time at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School where she is also the artistic director of the Good Counsel Theatre Company. Kristina also directs and choreographs with various community and educational theaters across the DC Metro area. She has worked professionally as an assistant director with The Olney Theatre Center, Roundhouse Theatre Company, ATMTC, and Signature Theatre. Kristina earned her BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland and her Certification in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland.

Email Kristina Friedgen. 


DANCE Faculty

Dana Keane



Dana Keane has been teaching dance for over 25 years. She danced professionally on Broadway in the productions of Cats and Me and My Girl as well as Off-Broadway and in national touring companies. She also worked on two Broadway workshops and was chosen by Ginger Rogers to participate in another. Dana received her dance training at Point Park College where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in dance with concentrations in Vaganova ballet technique, jazz and modern. While performing in NYC, she trained with Finis Jhung, Nancy Bielski, and Randy Skinner.

Robert Mintz


Dance Instructor

Robert Mintz is a local performer, director, and choreographer. DC area choreography credits include The Catholic University of America: Kiss Me, Kate; Montgomery College: Sister Act, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Iron Crow Theatre: The Wild Party; Johns Hopkins University: Company (Director); Capital Fringe: The Crayon King (Director); as well as assisting at Olney Theatre Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Constellation Theatre. Robert has performed locally at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Toby's Dinner Theatre, and Adventure Theatre. 


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Dance Instructor

Emma Cooley is a dancer, singer, actor, choreographer and teaching artist based in the Washington, DC metro area. She has worked as a dance teacher with MC Summer Dinner Theatre, Catholic University, Genesis Arts, as well as with various schools in the DC area. She is very excited to work with the talented students at YAA!



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Dance Instructor/

Madeline Rodrigue is a performer, choreographer and teacher from Maryland, currently based in New York City. She is a recent graduate of Pace University and holds a BFA in Commercial Dance, with concentrations in Choreography and Pedagogy, as well as a minor in Arts & Entertainment Management.  In the 2019-2020 season, she will take her debut as a Radio City Rockette at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She has presented work for Pace School of Performing Arts, HIVHERO, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Maryland State Dance Festival. Choreography: Lysistrata (3LD Art & Technology Center), Winter’s Tale (Schimmel Theatre, NY), Broadway and Ballet HERO Awards (Stage 48), Emergence (Pace University).

Trent SOyster


Dance Instructor/

Trent Soyster is a Pittsburgh-raised, New York-Based performer, director, and choreographer. Currently pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater and a minor in Commercial Dance at Pace University’s School of Performing Arts, Trent comes from a rich background of teaching theatrical dance and choreography with a focus on storytelling from moment to moment. Director/Choreographer/
Assistant/Associate: The Iron Bridge Dinner Theatre, Comtra Theatre, Wexford Acting Studio, Front Porch Theatricals, Pittsburgh CLO Academy, Pace’s The Drowsy Chaperone, Jesus Christ Superstar.


Music Faculty

Jonathan Tuzman


Music Supervisor / Coach

Jonathan Tuzman is a multifaceted artist, working as vocal coach, pianist, music director, arranger & composer in every style of music possible. Career highlights include: 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Musical Direcion for Mr. Burns: A Postelectric Play at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, orchestrator for world premiere of Yentl at Theatre J, resident pianist for DC's LaTiDo Cabaret Series, and is currently a featured performer at Georgetown Piano Bar as well as keyboardist and music director local variety band, Infusion.

Isaiah Shim


Assistant Conductor

Isaiah Shim is currently studying conducting as a Master's student at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University. He received dual Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Performance and Music Education from Wheaton College, where he also accompanied many performances. Isaiah is also Assistant Conductor of the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, and is a proud alumnus of Young Artists of America.

Maureen Codelka


Vocal Coach

Reenie Codelka is the founder and former director of the Musical Theatre program at The Catholic University of America. She also served as director of the CUA Singers and musical director/conductor of most musicals and opera presented at the University. For many years, she was also assistant director and conductor of both the University Chorus and Concert Choir’s performances. Reenie is currently an Adjunct Professor and Opera Director in George Mason University’s School of Music, and music director/conductor at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia and Baltimore.


N. Thomas Pedersen


Vocal Instructor/Coach

N. Thomas Pedersen has pursued a finely integrated career as a singer, conductor, producer and teacher. On stage, he has appeared alongside celebrated performers Ruby Keeler, Ethel Merman, George Rose and Vicki Lawrence, as well as soloist under famed conductors Maurice Abravanel, Leonard Bernstein, and Robert Shaw. Tom has served as Artistic Director of off-Broadway's Theatre Ten Ten, as well as Music Director at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, the Library Theater in Warren, Pa. and the University of Michigan Opera Theatre. Locally, he has also served as Artistic Director of The Washington Savoyards, Associate Artistic Director of Summer Dinner Theatre at Montgomery College, and most recently as head of the Musical Theatre Division at the Catholic University of America. Tom studied at Humboldt State University, the Music Academy of the West and at the University of Michigan.

Chris Youstra


Vocal Coach

Chris Youstra is a DC theatre institution, having worked as Music Director for nearly 100 productions at practically every theater in the Metro DC area, including Ford's Theater, Signature, Arena Stage, as well as at Olney Theatre Center, where he is currently the Associate Artistic director of Music Theatre. He is also an accomplished keyboardist, arranger, and orchestrator, creating original orchestrations for many of the productions he leads.

Tracy Lynn Olivera


Vocal Instructor/Coach

Tracy Lynn Olivera is a veteran performer and educator with numerous important stage credits, including the Broadway revival of RAGTIME; A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Charlotte), TITANIC (Alice Bean), LES MISERABLES (Fantine), GYPSY (Electra), and COMPANY (Sara) all with Signature Theatre; SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, PASSION, and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG with The Kennedy Center; and 110 IN THE SHADE (Lizzie) and RAGTIME (Mother) with Ford's Theatre. Tracy is a master educator having taught on the faculties of Overtures at Signature Theatre, and as head of voice division at The Catholic University of America. She has also won a number of Helen Hayes Awards for her regional performances.


Colleen Daly


Vocal Instructor

Colleen Daly has been hailed as a “dramatically powerful” (The Washington Post) young singer. Miss Daly’s most recent performances include Musetta in La Bohème with Annapolis Opera, Lyric Opera of Baltimore and Des Moines Metro Opera; Violetta in Opera Delaware’s production of La traviata, which she also covered at New York City Opera; Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with Intermountain Opera; Micaëla in both La Tragédie de Carmen with Syracuse Opera and in Carmen with Baltimore Concert Opera; the Countess in Annapolis Opera’s production of Le nozze di Figaro; and the title role of Thaïs at Opera Company of Middlebury. Ms. Daly holds a degrees  from DePaul University, the Opera Studio at the University of Maryland in College Park, and an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts.

Christopher Fox

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Music Theory Instructor

Christopher Fox is the Director of Choruses at Bonnie Branch Middle School in Howard County, MD.  Mr. Fox received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and his Master’s Degree and Kodály certification, from The American Kodály Institute at The University of Loyola, Baltimore.  He has twice been awarded Teacher of the Year and served for eight years as adjunct faculty for the University of Mary Washington Theatre Department. His choral compositions, Kyrie Eleison and Fly Away, are published by Hal Leonard.



Carole Graham Lehan

Stage Director/Acting

Carole Graham Lehan is Performing Arts Director at Glenelg Country School. She has taught at UMBC, The Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts, and The Catholic University of America. Recently, she was seen as Cinderella at Olney Theatre and Roxie in Chicago at Toby’s. She also staged and scripted several plays including: Ben Carson, M.D, and The Velveteen Rabbit.  She has been nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards in three different categories: acting, directing and playwriting.

Garry Tiller

Stage Director/Acting

Garry Tiller is a teaching artist and director with over 25 years of experience in both secondary schools and regional theatre. Previously, Garry served as Performing Arts Department Chair at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School in Baltimore County, where his program was named one of the top five in the nation by the John F. Kennedy Center in 2012. After a 3 year stint on Oahu in Hawaii, Garry has joined the theatre faculty at Sidwell Friends School in DC. He is proud to currently have numerous former students working professionally in film, television, in the theatre and on Broadway!

Pam Land

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Acting Instructor

Pam Land the founding Theatre Arts teacher and director at River Hill High School in Howard County, MD. In this time, she has taught over 2,200 students the art of theatre and produced/directed 52 main stage productions including over 2,500 students, some of who gained entrance into prestigious college Theatre programs and some of whom are currently working in professional theatre.  Pam holds a BA in Speech and Drama from Towson University an MS in Education from Goucher College and an MS in Educational Administration from McDaniel College.




Executive Director

A television news veteran and life-time arts lover, Lisa Larragoite brings production and organizational skills to the YAA team. For more than 20 years, she worked as an off-camera reporter and producer for numerous PBS programs including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and election and public affairs specials. Her cultural TV programming experience includes The Kennedy Center Honors and Evening at Pops with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Lisa is a long-time volunteer for her alma mater, Stanford University. She launched and runs the school's applicant interview program in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Email Lisa Larragoite.

JEssica HeinemanN


Operations Manager

 Email Jessica Heinemann.

Karen Blake

Summer Intensives Administrator

Karen Collins Blake is a University of Maryland graduate with a degree in Elementary Education. She is a former MCPS elementary school teacher. She has spent all of her working years, with children of all ages, in different capacities. In addition to her experience as a classroom teacher, Karen spent fifteen summers as a camp director with Carol Jean Cancer Foundation at Camp Friendship, an overnight camp for children with cancer. She is currently a stay at home mom for her 3 young children.

Email Karen Collins Blake.




Beth Sanz spent five years working as the instrumental music teacher at Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City.  During her time there, Beth wrote curriculum for and implemented a new elementary and middle school band program.  Under Beth’s direction, the new band program flourished and became an integral part of the school community.  Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maryland, College Park.  While at college, when she wasn’t in class or practicing her bassoon, Beth spent time working as an administrative assistant in various offices on campus and became familiar with the skills necessary to run an organized and successful office.  In addition to her work with Young Artists of America, Beth also teaches private bassoon lessons.

Email Beth Sanz.

Kendra Rubinfeld

PR & Marketing Consultant

Kendra Rubinfeld works with Young Artists of America as a consultant via her firm, KRPR. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University's Masters in Communications Program with concentrations in Corporate and Nonprofit Communication. With a background in community activism, her passion for relationship building and bringing people together is evident in all of the projects on which she works. Her interest in PR began with the Our City Film Festival, which she started in 2008 as an outreach program for a local nonprofit. Shortly after, she founded KRPR to help others witness the satisfaction of watching their business grow with the powers of PR.  

For all media relations inquiries, please email Kendra Rubinfeld.