Oscar, Grammy & Tony Award Winning Composer & Lyricist
"I want to thank this absolutely extraordinary company of artists, musicians, singers, and actors. Participation in Young Artists of America is enormously valuable, obviously because you are forced to up your game, and you're working with other people who are raising the level of their game. You're confronting material that you might not be that familiar with. Thanks especially to Rolando and Kristofer Sanz for their for their magnificent work with these extraordinary kids."
Sir Tim Rice
Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe & Tony Award Winning Lyricist
"I would like to thank the people who've contributed to The Circle of Life this evening. Apart from the superb artists, I should thank Rolando and Kristofer Sanz in the production, vocal arrangement and conducting departments. The show has been put together lovingly by Rolando, Kris and Hugh, and all these wonderful artists, young and not so young. I'm very grateful to them all."
Jason Robert Brown
Tony Award Winning Broadway Composer & Lyricist
"There’s no cause dearer to my heart than the education of young musicians. Music is what gave me a direction and a reason to wake up in the morning when I was a teenager, and anything that gives young people encouragement and training to be musicians, as Young Artists of America does so beautifully, is something I want to be a part of. Rolando and Kristofer Sanz began Young Artists of America three years ago, bringing together the finest young musicians and actors in the Washington DC corridor, and by the time they reached out to me about doing a concert of Songs, I had already heard about the amazing work they’d been doing. Nothing is more satisfying to me than watching young people get inspired by the kind of music I love, and nothing makes me happier than conducting big orchestras, so I signed on immediately. I had a sensational weekend in the Washington DC area, with some incredible young performers and some truly inspiring mentors and teachers. I can’t wait to go back!"
Tony Award Winning Broadway Composer & Lyricist
"It's remarkable how far Young Artists of America has come in the five years since its inception, but not surprising given the talents and abilities of Rolando and Kristofer Sanz. What an invaluable organization, and how much it gives to its students! I had a wonderful time working with the students I saw, all wonderfully talented, eager and so willing to learn. Bravo, YAA! Any time you want me back, I'm yours!"
Tony Award & Grammy award nominated composer & lyricist
"Young Artists of America: these kids are absolutely fantastic! They learned a bunch of my songs, and I worked with them all. They're incredible because they're really open and willing to learn and change and grow in front of their peers. They're singing songs about difficult feelings and I make them think about those difficult feelings in front of their friends, and it's not the easiest thing to do. The first thing I told them was that I'm just a person who's a little bit older than you and knows a bit more than you, and has been down this road, but we're really all the same. They got it really quickly, that's what I thought was remarkable about this group of kids. And I always find that with talented kids; talented kids are smart as well, and because they're smart, there's an emotional growth that happens very quickly. So in the room they were very open, very willing to talk to me and engage and really change."
Created the roles of Roger in RENT and Radames in AIDA
"When I first walked in for rehearsal today, I looked at this orchestra and I said: 'Wait...they're all kids?? You've gotta me kidding me!' And then I heard them, and I was absolutely floored. I just want to thank and acknowledge Kristofer and Rolando Sanz and Hugh Wooldridge for putting together this incredible evening for all of these kids. Do you know how many people would do this for your kids?....ZERO! These guys are incredible and I'm so amazed at what they've done."
"YAA is a unique musical organization and I'll miss the opportunity to work with incredible mentors, sing with a full orchestra, and perform on prestigious stages. And I've very much enjoyed the master classes I've had the opportunity to participate in. Throughout all of my time with YAA, every teacher and mentor has treated the performers with professionalism, and in turn, we've known that the level of expectations is high. I've enthusiastically recommended YAA to my musical theater friends who came to Children of Eden and a few of them are going to audition for the shows next year (and also the summer camp). Finally, I'm very honored to have received the Susan Herzog Memorial Scholarship. I know that she was a big supporter of YAA and I'm glad that I can help carry on her memory. I hope to come back to visit as much as possible!"
"So bittersweet to say that as a senior, my time at Young Artists of America has come to an end. Three years and six shows later, and I could not be more content with my experience. Thank you to the leaders of YAA, especially Rolando Sanz who has taught me how to learn and respect all forms of singing. This program has helped me to realize my passion is for music. I'm excited to start my next chapter in pursuing music as a Vocal Performance major, but will miss all the amazing people and opportunities at YAA!”
"Children of Eden with Young Artists of America was incredibly special! The improvement I have made with my voice from the first rehearsal to the last is insane! I learned so much from the faculty & mentors. I learned how much the little things in your performance really do matter and the friendships I made will last a lifetime! Performing in front of Stephen Schwartz in rehearsals and at Strathmore was the most thrilling experience. I couldn't help but cry during the final number, "In The Beginning" because of how happy I was on that stage singing such beautiful music, with an incredible orchestra! It was so inspiring to look out into that stellar theater & see all of the seats filled! I've never been a happier person on stage in my life. The opportunities and confidence that you gave me was life changing! Thank you so, so much YAA! I'll definitely be back to audition in the future!"
"I just had to tell you again how unbelievable this show was. It was without a doubt, the best show I have ever done. After the show I was also talking to Stephen Schwartz, and he gave me a bunch of advice about a musical that I'm writing right now and an awesome way to get everything flowing. I don't know how YAA does it with all your connections, but regardless, you have something really awesome going here. I can't wait to be back for all of next season!!"
"Thank you so much for giving our son the opportunity to participate in such an amazing performance yesterday. He was really struck by how nice and welcoming everyone was during rehearsals and I really appreciate that you made it such a positive experience for him. The performance was outstanding and I know that he would love to either play in the YAA orchestra and/or audition to be a part of your amazing theater program in the future.”
"YAA is a class act and they keep proving it with every production. What a joy to experience as an audience member and as a parent!!!"
"My daughter was in The Secret Garden in Concert yesterday and I just wanted to tell you how incredibly blown away I was with the performance. It was so powerful and emotional and I didn't want it to end. The kids in YAA are so talented and your program is the most professional one I have seen in this area. My husband and I are so thrilled that you have teamed up with Strathmore because we are huge supporters of their arts programs. Our daughter told me that she learned so much from this experience and that your teaching philosophy is very similar her voice teacher. Thanks for giving her this wonderful opportunity to be a part of YAA!"
"I want to thank you for everything you all have built in YAA - you've created such an incredible learning experience for all of our kids. And second, words cannot express the appreciation I (and my whole family) feel toward you for everything you've done for our child. He has grown so much under your guidance, teaching and nurturing - and YAA has taken him to new levels that I'm not even sure he knew he could get to! I know that one of the most difficult things about going off to college for our son will be the fact that he will no longer be able to participate in YAA. The professionalism, the nurturing, and the positive atmosphere is what makes YAA his favorite place to be. In college, he plans to study both math and music/theater, and what he's learned from you has been invaluable."
"Amazing performance last night at YAA Summer Camp! These students did not know each other two weeks ago! This is what happens with commitment from teachers and students! My son will be returning next year as an overnight camper! Worth every penny! So proud and thankful!!
"Our objective as parents is to find a program for our daughter that will challenge her. We are glad that she auditioned and became a part of YAA. We look forward to your next big production, and she hopes that she will be a part of it. Although our daughter has been in musicals and productions with an orchestra before, this high school orchestra was at a level way above all others that she has previously performed with. Also, the size alone of the orchestra, and the quality of the musicians provided a sound that she said mandated for her to produce music at a level that she had never experienced before. She thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of your production... everything from the music, choreography, mixtures of genres, dancers, and on, and on. She also feels like she has developed and grown in those few weeks she has spent with YAA. She has also quickly built a bond with lots of new great friends, and feels like YAA is her new home away from home."