In addition to being the home of Opera in the Ozarks, Inspiration Point Center for the Arts, outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas has been a vibrant center of summer learning for vocalists and instrumentalists since 1950.
In 2021, to alleviate some acute challenges faced by high school instrumentalists and their teachers during COVID isolation, the principal players of the Opera in the Ozarks Orchestra made inspiring and informative teaching videos of the required audition excerpts for the 2024 All-State music festivals in five states in our home region: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas. Each year, we continue to offer this valuable service to students and directors.
Students, in these YouTube videos you will find excellent lessons performances by professionals you may emulate. These teacher/performers offer helpful demonstrations and insights that will assist you to surmount challenges as you prepare a strong and successful all-state audition.
Directors and teachers, you may freely share these videos and use them as part of your teaching. We are excited to introduce you to our newest staff member, Joshua Gardner]. As an experienced band director and educator, Josh is available to assist you. Opera in the Ozarks is interested in how we can best serve you and your students. Josh can be reached at ac*****@op***.org.
We send our best wishes to all for a vibrant 2023-24 music-making in your school ensembles and then regional and festivals.
Artistic Director, Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point
– PLEASE NOTE: New videos will be added as they become available….Check back often.
Rachel Peters is an active performing musician and private instructor. Peters is the current Concertmaster of Opera in the Ozarks and serves as a member of the violin sections in Orchestra Iowa and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She holds faculty positions for violin, viola, and piano at Music House, Inc., Access Contemporary Music, MY Piano Study, and Terra Sounds School of Music. Peters has a passion for contemporary music and has performed the music of Steve Reich during multiple residency programs where she worked extensively with the composer, in addition to being a guest musician with the International Contemporary Ensemble. Her extensive performance career has led her to perform in Cambridge, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. She has participated in master classes with artists such as Leonidas Kavakos, Emanuel Ax, Benjamin Zander, Timothy Lees, Joshua Bell, and Janet Sung. Peters completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio and her Master of Music degree at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where she studied with Gabriel Pegis, Gerardo Ribeiro, and Dr. Won-Bin Yim.
Nicholas Blackburn is excited for his first season playing with the Opera in the Ozarks orchestra. As a double bassist in Cincinnati, OH, Nicholas regularly plays with groups including the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. He also performs new music and chamber works with the Cincinnati New Music Ensemble and Early Music Now. Originally from Lexington, KY, Nicholas has been playing the double bass since the age of 11. Through his undergraduate studies he was a student of Albert Laszlo at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and he completed two graduate degrees at Indiana University studying with Kurt Muroki. He is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying with Rachel Calin on full scholarship. Aside from double bass, Nicholas enjoys following sports and going to local arts and music events.
Katherine Deneris, Principal Viola
Katherine Deneris currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana and recently graduated with her M.M. in Viola Performance from Indiana University. She is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah and attended the University of Utah for her undergraduate studies, majoring in viola performance and minoring in physics. She has previously attended Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival and the National Music Festival.
William Danheim is a native of Houston, TX and holds a M.M. degree in Cello Performance from Baylor University. He won the Semper Pro Musica Chamber Music Competition in 2017, and also holds a B.M. from Southwestern University. William is currently studying with Mr. Anthony Kitai at the University of Houston while working towards a D.M.A. in Cello Performance.
A Buffalo, NY native and current Nebraskan, Lisa Meyerhofer hold positions as Assistant Principal Flute & Piccolo of the Omaha Symphony, Principal Flute of the Des Moines Symphony, and Second Flute/Piccolo with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. She has also served as Third Flute/Piccolo with the Omaha Symphony, and has played with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Tulsa Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Canton Symphony, and Southern Tier Symphony. Lisa was an award winner in the 2017 Walfrid Kujala International Piccolo Competition, and has twice been a quarterfinalist in the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition. She received her BM from Ithaca College and MM from Northwestern University. When not traveling to her next performance (and sometimes even in the midst of traveling), Lisa maintains her own flute studio and also tutors math and science. She enjoys reading, eating chicken wings, baking, making paper beads, and photography, and marks this summer as her 9th year with Opera in the Ozarks.
Orlando Scalia is one of the few select Argentines living in Omaha, NE. He is a fixture in the musical life of Northwest Arkansas, having held the Bass Clarinet position in SoNA for the better part of a decade. Orlando has been recently appointed Associate Principal Clarinet of the South Dakota Symphony and regularly performs with the Omaha and Wichita Symphonies, as well as Opera Naples, Boca Symphonia, and Orchestra Miami. His playing will be heard in the upcoming Fort Smith Symphony recording of the music of Louis Ballard. He holds degrees from the Universities of Miami and Cincinnati. This summer marked his tenth appearance as Principal Clarinetist for Opera In The Ozarks.
Oboist Asako Furuoya, a native of Japan, holds positions as second oboe of Battle Creek Symphony, second oboe/English horn of the Southwest Michigan Symphony, and second oboe of the West Michigan Symphony, and is a permanent extra oboe/English horn of the Saginaw Bay Symphony. She has also served as principal oboe of the Castleton Festival Orchestra by Lorin Maazel’s invitation in 2014. She has been awarded second prize of the Yokohama International Music Competition, third prize for the Japan Oboe Association Competition, and the Fine Arts Award in Oboe from the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Asako is currently pursuing her D.M.A. at Michigan State University and received a M.M. from Lynn University Conservatory of Music and a B.M. from New England Conservatory of Music. Her primary teachers include Jan Eberle, Nermis Mieses, Joseph Robinson, Takahisa Shinmatsu, Akiko Tsuboi, and Keisuke Wakao. Asako enjoys doing yoga and rooting for Yokohama BayStars, the baseball team in her hometown in Japan.
Dr. Andrea C. Baker currently serves as the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at Western Illinois University where she is also the bassoonist of the long-standing Camerata Wind Quintet. She also holds the positions of principal bassoon with Opera in the Ozarks and second bassoon with the Richmond Symphony in Indiana.
Previously, she was the instructor of Double Reeds at Georgia Southern University and held the positions of assistant principal/second bassoon with the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra in Bosnia and Herzegovina and second bassoon with the New England Philharmonic. Recent orchestral performances include the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony, and Chattanooga Symphony. As a soloist, she was the 2021 winner of the University of Cincinnati wind concerto competition, and the 2017 winner of the Boston Woodwind Society Sherman Walt Merit solo competition.
An avid chamber musician, Dr. Baker is the bassoonist for Some Light Reeding and Panoply Winds: an international touring wind quintet committed to sharing culture through music. Panoply was a guest ensemble in residence at the 2019 Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in South Africa. In collaboration with clarinetist Bryce Newcomer, Some Light Reeding aims to improve accessibility and equity among developing woodwind students.
She earned her DMA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and her Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Penn State University, and her principal teachers and mentors include William Winstead, Martin Garcia, Christopher Sales, Richard Svoboda, Daryl Durran, and Shirley Curtiss.
Chase Teague from Frisco Texas, is an active performer and teacher in the DFW Metroplex. He has earned his Bachelors of Music Education from Texas Christian University along with his Master of Music and Graduate Performance Certificate from the University of Arkansas. While studying at the University of Arkansas, he won two scholarships from the ITG Scholarship Competitions. Chase has had the pleasure of performing with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Co- Principal Trumpet for the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, Fort Smith Symphony, Opera of the Ozarks, Ozark Family Opera Company, Opera in the Ozarks, and the Arkansas Brassworks. This will be Chase’s fifth summer as principal trumpet with the Opera in the Ozarks. In his free time Chase enjoys fishing, basketball, and being with his wife, young son, and two dogs.
Gregory Helseth began playing Horn in his school band in 1972 and has since played in Orchestras, Bands and Chamber Ensembles across the United States, Mexico, France, Scotland, England, Germany, and Brazil. His first jobs were Fourth Horn with the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux Falls, SD, and Second Horn with the Sioux City Symphony, Sioux City, IA. He then joined the Tucson Symphony in 1985 as Third Horn. In 1989 he left Arizona to play Principal Horn with the Omaha Symphony, Omaha, NE. After 13 seasons, he moved to Allentown, PA, where he played Principal Horn with the legendary Allentown Band, and began his career as a Freelance Hornist. In 2004 he returned to Tucson where he was a stay-at-home dad for his two children. Mr. Helseth joined the University of Arizona in 2016 for one year as Adjunct Faculty Horn Professor. In 2007 he was appointed Principal Horn with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln, NE, and remains soloist, clinician, and on-call Hornist in Southern Arizona.
Dr. Justin Croushore holds the position of Visiting Assistant Professor of Music – Trombone at Morehead State University in Kentucky
Prior to his appointment at Morehead State University, Justin has served as a faculty member of Oklahoma City University, Southern Nazarene University, Missouri Southern State University, The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and Rose State College. Justin holds degrees from the University of Kentucky, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Morehead State University. Teachers include Bradley Kerns, Norman Bolter, Dr. William Mann, and Dr. Jeanie K. Lee.