Congratulations to our 2020 Seniors!

Here at the studio, we are lucky enough to have 13 seniors heading off into the world this fall. Today, I would like to celebrate the 5 who are going into music and theatre related degrees. Here they are:


Katherine Gerondelis: Katherine will be graduating for Durham School for the Arts this June. Her senior highlight includes playing Grace in “Annie” and Colleen/Sister Mary Lucille in “Catholic School Girls”. Katherine is heading off to the Theatre program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Although she’s only been with us for one year, this diamond is a special young lady who we’re pretty sure is gonna belt up a storm in college.



Emma Johnson:  Emma is finishing out her year with Apex Friendship High School. Some of her theatrical highlights include Rapunzel in “Into the Woods”, Marian the Librarian in “The Music Man” and Marie in “Cinderella”. She is the Siska scholarship recipient at Meredith College and will be in their Musical Theatre Program. We’ve loved having this Flamingo around for the last two years and are happy to see her spread her wings!


Valerie Pesot: Valerie has been a member of this studio for the last five years, and boy its gonna be tough to see this Turtle go. She will be graduating for Apex High School and heading off to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts to join Glenn Seibert’s studio in the music department. She’s had a lot of great roles including The Wolf in “Into the Woods”, Aprha in “Children of Eden”, the Title of “Antigone” and The “Drowsy Chaperone”. Valerie has also made NC Honors Chorus two year in a row and Regional Nats competition her Junior and Senior Year.



Kate Sherman: Kate will be completing her High School Education from Leesville Rd. High School. She’s been with the studio for two and half years and in that time has advanced to Regional Nats competition in Musical Theatre. Her High School Theatre roles include Mrs. Mukherjee in “Yo Vikings”, Kitty in “Chicago”, and Sister Mary Lazarus in “Sister Act the Musical”. In addition, Kate has been a member as well as the assistant conductor of Capital Pride. Kate will be joining the Music Therapy Program at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Congrats to all the wonderful things our fox has done.




Joel Warsing: And Finally, Joel, our Bass who’s been with the studio also two and a half year and also will be graduating for Leesville Road High School. Joel is a member of the high school marching band, symphonic band, capital pride AND is assistant Director of “Sister Act the Musical”. Joel plays Guitar, Bass Guitar and Trombone along with his vocal studies. Joel will be attending the digital music program at Appalachian State University. Much Kudos to our very own Peter Parker.


“I’m Not that Guy” – Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Song:  I’m Not that Guy

Show: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Written By: Michael Friedman

Year:  2006

Why this one?: There are more “Pop/Rock” musicals coming down the pike everyday; from Spring Awakening to Heathers  to Six. This song is a lesser-known gem with the same stylings.


The Genius that is Michael Friedman


The Breakdown:  This entry comes from the brilliant and departed way-too-soon composer Michael Friedman. Together with visionary director Alex Timbers, they created Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a musical based on the life of the seventh president of the United States. The show had an ideal development period going from the Williamstown Festival to LA to the Public Theatre and finally to the Great White Way.   The show took a look at Jackson through the lens of emo rock, modernizing an American Historical figure a full ten years before Hamilton.  The production was a huge smash with critics, but with the great recession only a month behind…it was poor timing to have a show that seemed to thumb its nose at the elite.(“Populism, Yeah Yeah”)


“I’m Not that Guy”  is our introduction to Andrew. At 14, his entire family has died (most likely of Cholera) and Jackson laments the “sucky-ness” of his life like a true eyeliner-wearing, world blaming emo teen.

A production still from “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” with Benjamin Walker in the title role

Who Should Sing This?: This song is a great song for just developed baritones and lower tenors who need a pop/rock selection for their book. The range sits at F# – Bb. In the show, Jackson is supposed to sound younger (and whiny) so the song is delivered extremely forward and nasal-y. Out of context, I don’t think this is necessary to convey the story, the text does it for you. If you use the last page of the song (the rain will come down…etc) you need someone who has a great sense of angst and timing. 


Where can I find the Sheet Music? has the single song or has the full vocal selections. 


Where can I Hear it? The Cast recording is available from Sh-K-Boom Records. Below is the song on Youtube. I really suggest listening to how Benjamin Walker (the original Andrew Jackson) uses his voice to show vulnerability and anger all at the same time. 



My Takeaway: This song has been a great audition selection for my High School Baritones when the show is from the last 20 years. I’ve used it for Spring Awakening as well as The Wedding Singer. And really, who doesn’t enjoy a little teen angst now and again?


“So Far” – Allegro

Song:  So Far

Show:  Allegro

Written By: Rodgers & Hammerstein

Year:  1947

(Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II)

Why this one?: I thought a classic R & H song would be the best way to start things off. Let’s face it, everyone has to audition for Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, or Cinderella at least once in their life.


The Breakdown: This lovely lesser known song comes from the third collaboration of the brilliant Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Allegro. It’s a departure from Oklahoma and Carousel, as it was intended to have very minimal sets, costuming, and props and included a Greek Chorus. The show centers around Joseph Taylor Jr., an every-man who is born in a small town, goes to college, moves to a big city for his job, and ultimately realizes the value of “small town America” and comes home to end the show. As you can imagine, with its minimalist approach and perceived big city vilification, the musical wasn’t successful in New York and wasn’t revived there until 2014.  It does however, have several incredible solo gems that I use for teaching all the time. 

“So Far” takes place in the first act as part of the College section of the musical. It’s sung by Beulah, a “one song and done” character who’s just been on a double date with Joe and is happily dreaming about what comes next in their potential relationship. Unfortunately for our girl, Joe is thinking about another woman and ends up falling asleep whilst the song is going on…needless to say, that’s the end of Joe and Beulah. 


Who Should Sing This?:  This piece is good for beginning female singers looking for something to build up their legato line and breath support. The range doesn’t extend very high or low, and is a smidge over an octave range (D4 to E5). The song lends itself to a shy or sweet girl temperament but I don’t think it has to be just for the traditional ingenue. In fact, I find it works best with singers who are principally dancers and have a great understanding of their bodies. As I mentioned above, I think this is the perfect number for someone auditioning for a classic R & H musical or another “Golden Age” hit. 


Where can I find the Sheet Music?  This song is part of the Hal Leonard Singer’s MT Anthology series in the Soprano Vol 2 edition (revised edition). It can also be purchased from Musicnotes. 


Where can I Hear it?  The original 1947 cast recording can be found with Gloria Wills singing the role in ballad form. In 2009, a masterworks recording was done of the show with Judy Kuhn singing Beula’s solo. This recording takes the tempo a little quicker and with a little more swing, which is how I use the song in my studio. (Unfortunately there’s no link on line for this one and you’ll need to buy the recording, which I do highly recommend)


 In doing my research for this entry, I also found out that Frank Sinatra recorded a version of “So Far” in 1947 as a B-side to a different song from “Allegro”.  It’s also on studio albums for Broadway legend Bernadette Peters and Opera Singer Bryn Terfel.

My Takeaway: Just because a show is a flop, it doesn’t mean there isn’t at least one fantastic number in the show, especially when it’s written by tried and true geniuses