BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) announced today that 10 students have been chosen for its advanced Musical Theater Company: Alysa Ali, 13, of Watchung; Kate Bloom, 11, of Westfield; Sara Bolden, 12, of Berkley Heights; Payton Buckley, 11, of Berkley Heights; Mariam Contractor, 13, of Watchung; Paloma Di Falco, 13, of New Providence; Sarah Duong, 10, of Summit; Nathan Scala, 11, of Warren; Isabella Thomas, 10, of Watchung; and Mia Ulrich, 10, of Berkley Heights.

The WIPA Company is an intensive creative and professional experience for the motivated performer. Acceptance to the class is by audition only. Led by Musical Theater Arts Director Timothy Maureen Cole and faculty David Seamon, students will spend 27 weeks creating their own musical production with an original script and music based on Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  Rehearsals include a live accompanist and the course culminates with two performances with a live orchestra at the Performing Arts School on June 9 at 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Timothy Maureen Cole holds a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Ithaca College, and has been teaching voice, music theater, and piano since 2007.  She holds certification in Early Childhood Music Education from Kindermusik International, and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  In addition to private and group instruction, Cole has collegiate teaching experience at Horry Georgetown Technical College and James Madison University.

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Cole has extensive performance experience in classical and musical theater repertoire.  Recent productions include La Boheme (Mimi), Le Nozze Di Figaro (Countess), Wilde’s Wild West, (Frenchie), Aics and Galatea (Damon), Elixir of Love (Adina), Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, and Scarlatti’s La Giuditta (Giuditta).  Favorite Music Theater performances include: Kiss Me Kate (Kate), Anything Goes (Reno), You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (Sally), Once Upon A Mattress, and My Favorite Year.

Working with students of all ages, Cole treats every student as an individual.  She believes that the fundamental techniques of voice: breath, support, posture, resonance, and diction, can and should be applied to all types of singing and theater performance.  Her specialization in pedagogy gives her a great technical understanding of the voice, and she enjoys preparing singers for auditions, competitions, productions, and performances of all types.

 Pianist, singer, and composer David Seamon, a graduate of Rutgers University, has worked on stage and behind the scenes for community theater, regional theater, and Off Broadway. He is a Teaching Artist at the George Street Playhouse, where he has composed music for original plays written by New Brunswick public school students, as well as composed and arranged for a mainstage event, Our Town Now (2014). In the Spring of 2015, Seamon composed four original musicals about the Industrial Revolution which were performed at the George Street Playhouse. At The Workshop Theater in Manhattan, Seamon worked one-on-one with a songwriter to arrange and transcribe a full length musical, The Kingdom of Vincent Grapelli (2015). He composed the award-winning score to the short film Melody, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, receiving the Silver Tripod Award, Campus Moviefest. Seamon is a certified cantor, voice and piano teacher, and avid songwriter and performer.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.

The Paterson Music Project is Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program held at the Community Charter School of Paterson and Paterson Public School 1/26. Students receive 6 hours of intensive music instruction each week with the goal of creating social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.