Private Instructor Bios
e-mail • 703-739-9192
The daughter of professional musicians (father a college voice teacher/choir director and mother an accomplished pianist), Mrs. Cluff’s first voice teacher was her father, and her piano teacher was her mother. A graduate of Florida State University School of Music with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Viola Principle, studying viola and voice, Mrs. Cluff played viola and violin in professional orchestras in FL and GA for 16 years. Following her music degree, she studied voice further with sopranos Janice Harsanyi and Carla Connors and has sung soprano solos in a number of cantatas over the years. Mrs. Cluff earned a second Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and enjoys working as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for children with disabilities.
She has enjoyed teaching music privately for 6 years, including violin, viola, voice, and piano. Mrs. Cluff has a special interest in healthy habits for musicians, including posture and breathing. Mrs. Cluff currently performs regularly at Floris United Methodist Church in voice and viola/violin.
Healing Hearts Benefit Concert at Floris UMC Nov 4 2017
Helen Cluff, Soprano and Viola – first performer on the concert program after the minister’s introduction
Schumann’s “Widmung” lieder
J.S. Bach’s “Bouree” from Cello Suite #3
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“Every Time I Feel the Spirit”, Helen Cluff, Soprano August 2017
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Mike Horanski is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he began both vocal and instrumental study at a very early age. His excellent training and rich experiences throughout his grade school years led to the pursuit of a music degree and a continued interest in both music performance and music education. Mr. Horanski earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Master of Music in Music Education degrees from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he performed and studied conducting under the leadership of Dr. Brady Allred.
Mr. Horanski began his teaching career in the Pennsylvania public school system in the fall of 1997 serving for eight years as the choral director at Dorseyville Middle School in the Fox Chapel Area School District located in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Choirs under Horanski’s direction were invited to be featured performers for the MENC Eastern Division Convention, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association. In 2004, Mr. Horanski was nominated by the Fox Chapel Area School District as a candidate for the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Award. While managing a successful teaching career, Mr. Horanski concurrently served as the Tenor soloist and Youth Choir Director at the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church and performed with the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. He also maintained a part time schedule as a private vocal instructor.
Mike Horanski joined the music faculty of Robinson Secondary School (Fairfax County Public Schools) as the Director of High School Choral Activities in the fall of 2005. At Robinson, Mr. Horanski directs five high school choral ensembles, and sponsors the Robinson Secondary Chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. He is currently serving as President-Elect of the Virginia Choral Directors Association. His ensembles study and perform a varied repertoire and consistently earn superior ratings at both district level and national level music festivals throughout the United States. Most recently, Horanski and the Robinson Select Women’s Ensemble were invited to perform for the Virginia Music Educators Association and the Robinson Singers and Select Women’s Ensemble qualified to compete in the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio where the ensembles qualified for the Champions level competition and earned silver medals.
Mr. Horanski has served as a guest conductor for several choral festivals at the middle school and high school levels. For five years he appeared on live television as the music director and conductor of the “All-Star High School Choir” for the WPXI (Pittsburgh) Channel 11 “Carol Sing” broadcast. Horanski is currently active as a high school choral director, guest conductor, adjudicator and private vocal instructor. He also continues his musical work in the church setting serving as the Director of Music at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Fairfax, Virginia.
Mike Horanski lives in South Riding, Virginia with his wife, Tiffany Powell, who is the Choral Director at Oakton High School (Fairfax County Public Schools) in Vienna, Virginia. He continues to enjoy sharing his passion for music with others each and every day.
e-mail • phone 703.758.9692 • Herndon, VA
I have been teaching singers in the Washington area since 1999. I specialize in teaching middle and high school students, and I have researched the needs of young singers as their voices change during adolescence. I have guided many students as they prepared for auditions for college music and music theatre programs.
I am a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Virginia Music Teachers Association (VMTA), and the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association (NVMTA). My students regularly compete in events sponsored by these associations, and they have won or placed in vocal competitions at both local and state levels.
Most of my students are active in the choral and theater programs at their schools and churches. Many have been selected to participate in All District and All State Chorus and have been cast in leading and supporting roles in school and community theatrical productions. Recent shows my students have appeared in include Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Les Miserables (Marius, Eponine), The Wizard of Oz (Glinda), Into the Woods (Rapunzel, Cinderella), Little Women (Professor Bhaer, Clarissa), Anything Goes (Hope, Billy), Oklahoma (Laurey), Footloose (Ren), The Music Man (Tommy), Urinetown (Little Becky) and Pirates of Penzance (Frederic).
I believe in teaching a natural, physiologically correct technique for singing that will make the most of every student’s innate gifts. I have experience teaching both classical and music theatre styles, and I believe that the most successful singers learn to use their voices in multiple ways. I read textbooks and subscribe to professional journals to maintain my knowledge of the latest research in vocal technique, and I attend master classes and professional workshops as part of my continuing education. In the summer of 2011 I attended “Guys and Gals of Broadway,” a conference on music theatre singing and acting technique sponsored by NATS. I also continue to study voice privately.
After attending the University of Virginia for two years, I majored in voice at George Mason University with a concentration in Music History. At GMU I studied voice with Vera Tilson of Arlington, and I am currently a client of Nancy MacArthur Smith’s voice studio. I perform regularly with Illuminare, Carmina, and the Washington Kantorei, three local chamber choirs. Occasionally I work as a paid chorister or soloist at local churches. I am a frequent soloist at Fairfax United Methodist Church, most recently as the soprano soloist for Messiah in December 2012.
Julie Longmire holds a Master’s Degree in Music Theory from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro(UNC-G) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Mrs. Longmire worked as a Lecturer in Music Theory at UNC-G before moving back to the Northern Virginia area to open a private piano studio, where she offers instruction in both classical and popular styles.
Mrs. Longmire is a member of the Virginia Federation of Music Clubs and the American College of Musicians, and her students participate in the VFMC Festivals and National Guild of Piano Teachers’ auditions in the spring, as well as local recitals and competitions. Her professional activities include judging, accompanying choirs and soloists, and performing popular music at local venues.
Celebrating her third season with the Metropolitan Opera, soprano Danielle Talamantes is a fast rising star in the international opera scene. A native of Northern Virginia, she made her Carnegie Hall debut to a sold-out audience in 2007. After debuting as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata in 2010, a San Francisco Bay Area reviewer said, “It’s not often that a fortunate operagoer witnesses the birth of a star.”
She went on to earn a spot on the Metropolitan Opera roster in spring 2011, covering the role of Najade in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and was Soprano in Residence for the Summer 2012 Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont. Her latest triumph was debuting as Mimì in Puccini’s beloved La Bohème in Washington DC.
Danielle will be singing the lead soprano role in a world premier production of Lost Childhood with the National Philharmonic in November, 2013. She will make her New York Metropolitan Opera stage debut later that month in a production of Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten and will return to the Met in the spring of 2014 for the Baroque Pastiche, The Enchanted Island.
Danielle is also an accomplished recitalist and has sung as soprano soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Chorale & Orchestra, the United States Army Band, the Oratorio Society of Virginia, the Nashville Symphony, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Choralis, and more.
Danielle’s has placed first in several prestigious opera competitions, including the Irene Dalis Opera San Jose Competition, Irma M. Cooper Opera Columbus Competition, XII Concurso de Trujillo, International Lotte Lehman Cybersing Competition, NATS Artist Award and Vocal Arts Society Discovery Series competition.
Danielle garnered additional honors and awards in the National Opera Association, Liederkranz, Seoul International Music, Licia Albanese Puccini, Giulio Gari Foundation, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, and Quasthoff Das Lied competitions.
Danielle earned her BA from Virginia Tech and MM from Westminster Choir College.
Soprano Julia Turnbull made her Russian debut with Bel Cantanti Opera as “Kupava” in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snow Maiden at the start of 2015 and then returned to perform the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. During the 2013 – 2014 season Julia was featured in Baltimore’s ArtScape Festival with Operation: Opera’s Mozart Flipped as “Countess Almaviva”, “Fiordiligi”, and “Queen of the Night”. She was seen as “Najade” in Ariadne auf Naxos and “La Suora Infermiera” in Suor Angelica with The Singers’ Theater of Washington, and “Countess Almaviva” in Le Nozze di Figaro with Operation: Opera. The 2012 – 2013 season featured two debut performances – “Annina” in La Traviata with Asheville Lyric Opera, followed by “Mimì” in La Bohème with Capitol Opera Richmond. Julia was invited to return to Opera Theater Pittsburgh as a Featured Artist during the summer of 2013 to perform the role of “Arminda” in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera.
Engagements for the 2011 – 2012 season included “Second Lady” in The Magic Flute and covering “Cunegonde” in Candide with Opera Theater Pittsburgh’s Young Artist Program, “Josephine” in H.M.S. Pinafore with Spartanburg Repertory Company, and “Fiordiligi” in Così fan tutte with Converse Opera Theater. During the 2010 – 2011 season Ms. Turnbull covered the role of “Peep-Bo” in The Mikado with Greenville Light Opera Works, showed her versatility as “Liliane La Fleur” in the musical Nine at the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival, and sang the role of “Laurie” in The Tender Land with Converse Opera Theater.
As the Soprano Young Artist for two consecutive summers at the Staunton Music Festival, Julia Turnbull covered the roles of “Iris” in Handel’s Semele and “Galatea” in Acis and Galatea. Other performances include “La Suora Infermiera” in Operafestival di Roma’s Suor Angelica; “Valencienne” in The Merry Widow; and “Pamina” in Die Zauberflöte – both produced by James Madison University. Currently, Julia can be seen throughout Virginia and the DC Metro area with Sopranessence. Ms. Turnbull holds a Bachelor of Music from James Madison University and a Master of Music from Converse College.
After headlining sold out celebrated appearances on concert stages and nightclubs around the globe over the last few years, the recent critically acclaimed success of Jim Van Slyke’s latest showcase, The Sedaka Show, has taken him to a new plateau in his career.
After seeing the show himself, Neil Sedaka gushed, “I had the great pleasure of seeing Jim Van Slyke perform a revue of my songs. It blew me away! The voice, the stage presence, the thought and preparation that went into the cabaret were all superb. I’ve seen many singers over the years do my songs, but I think Jim has the potential of becoming an important artist. His performance exceeded my expectations. I can sincerely say that he would be a treat for any venue given the chance.”
Ranking with Neil Sedaka’s personal endorsement, other career highlights for Jim include his solo performance at The White House and being a featured performer for President Clinton’s 1997 Inaugural Ball.
Jim has toured throughout the United States and Europe and is always received enthusiastically whether he is performing with just a trio, at the piano, or in front of a full orchestra. Singing the Great American Songbook favorites Jim has fronted several magnificent big bands including extensive tours with an official USO show. He has been presented at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage as a featured artist and has performed with The Washington National Opera under the artistic direction of Placido Domingo. In addition, Jim made his Solo European Concert Debut with one of Germany’s Premier National Symphony Orchestras singing an evening of Opera Arias and classic American Musical Theatre standards.
In 2006 Jim received a prestigious ASCAP Songwriters’ Award for the self-penned title track of his stunning debut album, Open Road. Jim’s critically acclaimed album (on the LML Music Label) was named to the Official 2006 Grammy Award Ballot for Best Pop Vocal Album alongside such artists as Billy Joel, Audra McDonald, Justin Timberlake and John Mayer.
When not on stage Jim spends his time as a vocal coach in the Washington D.C. area and New York. His reputation as a nationally recognized vocal coach has grown as rapidly over the years as his presence as a performing artist. Having taught at colleges and universities, Jim is in high demand as a teacher, coach and clinician. Student credits include Broadway, National Tours Off Broadway, and The Metropolitan Opera, award winning recording and cabaret artists and even the Radio City Rockettes.
Kerry Wilkerson has sung with the professional choruses of the United States Air Force, United States Army, Carnegie Hall Choral Workshops and the critically acclaimed Robert Shaw Festival Singers. He currently serves as Assistant Director of Music Ministries at Vienna Presbyterian Church where he oversees a program for teenage musicians that includes a chorus, orchestra, handbells and worship teams. As a military musician he has sung extensively throughout the United States and Canada in some of our nation’s finest performance halls. Washington DC audiences also know him as a local recitalist and frequent guest soloist with community based orchestras and choruses. Mr. Wilkerson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (BMEd) and George Mason University (MA).
As a teacher of singing, Mr. Wilkerson specializes in working with teenagers desiring to pursue careers in vocal performance. Many of his students have gone on to major in music at such reputable schools as James Madison University, Catholic University, Indiana University, St Olaf College, Rice University and Ithaca College. A passionate proponent of singing as a form of oral communication, Mr. Wilkerson also works with adult students to help them strengthen their individual skills as a richer and more confident means to personal expression.
His greatest joy outside of making music is spending time with his beautiful son, Elliott, born in November of 2004.