In addition to being the home of Opera in the Ozarks, Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas has been a vibrant center of summer learning for vocalists and instrumentalists since its founding in 1950.

Again in 2022, in response to the continuing challenges facing high school musicians during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, the principal players of the Opera in the Ozarks Orchestra recently made recordings of the required audition excerpts for the 2023 All-State music festivals in five states in our home region:  Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas.

Students, in these YouTube videos you will find excellent performances by professionals which 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 audition.

 Best wishes to all for a 2022-23 year of live music-making in your school ensembles and then state festivals.

Thomas Cockrell

Artistic Director, Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point

Download our 2022-2023 Instrumental Academy poster for display or forwarding.

– PLEASE NOTE: New videos will be added as they become available.-


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.

Ryan Doerr is a cellist based in Des Moines, Iowa. He started playing cello at the age of seven and is originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He received his BA in Music from Drake University and is starting his master’s degree in cello performance this Fall at University of Iowa, where he will study cello with Anthony Arnone. Ryan is a section cellist in Orchestra Iowa, associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and substitutes regularly with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with musicians such as Jahja Ling, Joyce Yang, Peter Oundjian, and Midori Goto. His primary teachers included Dr. Karren Melik-Stepanov, Dr. Ashley Sidon, and Gloria Lum.


Lisa Meyerhofer

A Buffalo, NY native and current Nebraskan, Lisa Meyerhofer holds positions as Principal Flute with the Des Moines Symphony, Third Flute/Piccolo with the Omaha Symphony, and Second Flute/Piccolo with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. She has also 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 8th year with Opera in the Ozarks.

Orlando Scalia is the Bass Clarinetist of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas as well as a frequent member of Orchestra Miami. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Mr. Scalia has taught the clarinet at all levels, from elementary through college. When not looking for the perfect reed, Orlando enjoys gardening, exotic dining, and growing impressive mustaches. This year marks his 8th summer as Principal Clarinetist, making him the current elder sage of the orchestra.

 Austin Smith is currently the oboe instructor at the University of Mississippi where he directs the oboe studio, teaches oboe methods, coaches chamber music, and plays with the faculty woodwind quintet. As an orchestral musician, Austin is currently principal oboe with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Queen City Opera (Cincinnati). He was previously second oboe and English Horn with the Muncie Symphony Orchestra for five seasons and has played with orchestras across the country including the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, and many others. This is Austin’s third season as principal oboe of Opera in the Ozarks (coming back from a six-year hiatus after his first two seasons!). Austin also plays with the Maryland Chamber Winds, a chamber music collective based in West Maryland and can be heard on their most recent CD “Preludes and Recitations”. Besides teaching and playing oboe, Austin is an avid road cyclist (a quarantine hobby that stuck!) and enjoys spending time with his semi-fat cat, Shuri. 

Andrea C. Baker is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Previously, she 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.  She is 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 performer, her groups have been invited artists at the 2019 Stellenbosch Chamber Music Institute as well as at the 2018 Australasian Double Reed Society conference.  She earned her Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory studying with Boston Symphony principal bassoonist Richard Svoboda. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Penn State University, and her previous teachers include Daryl Durran and Shirley Curtiss.  In her spare time, Andrea enjoys baking bread and spending time with her two adorable cats, and she is looking forward to her second season with Opera in the Ozarks.


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

An active performer, Justin has held positions with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Ann Symphony. He is a founding member of Some Assembly Required, a mixed chamber ensemble that was named a 2019 Finalist for the American Prize Ernst Bacon Award for the Performance of American Music

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.


Inspiration Point Fine Arts
16311 US-62
Eureka Springs, AR 72632

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Opera in the Ozarks
P O Box 127
Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632


Opera in the Ozarks does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. Opera in the Ozarks is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit company.