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Cecelia Barron, returning Dance Teacher for Stages! Barron, who recently was nominated for an Artie award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, is ecstatic to be back at NACC’s Stages summer camp for another year. She would like to offer a safe, inviting, and fun space for the students taking her class and attending camp. In her class the students will have the ability to express emotions and storytelling through dance and movement. Skills to be earned by the end of the summer are technique, discipline, and confidence.

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Billy Horn will be offering his musical expertise as our Songwriting teacher this summer. Horn is a founder of the Patchwork Theatre and lead singer of Billy Draws Two. Past acting roles in Buffalo, NJ and NYC include; Saint Jimmy in American Idiot, Brad in The Rocky Horror Show, Skszsp in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rockstar in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Chuck in Footloose, Jon Larson in Tick Tick Boom, Jerry Alison in The Buddy Holly Story and Little John in Robin Hood. He has music directed award winning productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Joe Hill’s Last Will, Choise of Valentine and American Idiot. He is also an accomplished playwright and composer having written several original plays and musicals as well as several stage adaptations of existing works. He has been acting professionally for 15 years and is honored to run a theatre with Rosie Lorenti and Doug Life who share the same DIY passion.

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Cassandra Matthews is extremely excited to be joining our summer staff as our Gardening and Nature Craft Teacher. Matthews is currently Social Studies and Computer teacher at Our Lady of Black Rock. She is also a former Arts Craft Director at Camp Seven Hills Girl Scout Camp. She is experienced in plenty of arts and crafts projects such as nature crafts, drawing, paper craft, basic leatherwork, wood burning and engraving, photography, stage and prop design, jewelry making, candle making, and textiles! Through her passion for teaching she can’t wait to motivate and inspire her students this summer!

“I look forward to getting crafty (& a bit dirty!) Along with having some fun in the sun with campers who are ready to learn about what nature has to offer here in Niagara Falls! Looking forward to having some adventures with campers among some of WNY’s most historic places on our weekly field trips! Can’t wait to see everyone!” – Cassie Matthews

Meagan McCormick is excited to come back to Stages for her third year teaching sculpture! McCormick is a Teacher at Our Lady of Black Rock School, she received a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at Niagara University, and also attended Daemen College and Grand Island Senior High School. McCormick is from Grand Island, New York. This year she was featured as a solo artist at Marketside Restaurant through her photography exhibit “Through Meagan’s Eyes.”

Caedyn Metz will be teaching Painting this summer. Metz is an emerging artist best known for her captivating paintings featuring the Niagara landscape. Primarily an oil painter, trained by impressionist master Ylli Haruni, Caedyn spends much of her time exploring and painting en plien air with the Niagara Painters. She also shares her love of community and fine art in doing large scale street murals in chalk or acrylic at local and international festivals. Caedyn is inspired by the simple beauty found in everyday experience and the rich history of WNY. Recently she has completed a series of murals and large scale paintings in celebration of the 125th birthday of Niagara Falls. Currently her work can be seen on the walls and in her studio at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center as well as as on Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, USA. Check out Caedyn’s work with the Niagara Painters! 

Rachel Macklin Olszewski is Program Director at the NACC, and returning as Camp Director in 2017. Rachel graduated in 2012 from Niagara University with a B.F.A. in Theater Performance. In 2015 Rachel attained an M.A. in Arts Management from the University at Buffalo. Currently she works at the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center managing art exhibitions, children’s classes, performances, programs, lectures, workshops and events – basically she gets to spend every day making visual and performing arts accessible to everyone, which is truly what she loves to do.

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Gus Posey, our security man, will join us again this summer! He’s very excited to welcome back our students! As an artist, performer, technician, and all around renaissance man, Gus does it all and the NACC is very lucky to have him!

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Dave Riffel has been a documentarian and arts collaborator since 1997.

Dave has spent the last 2 decades behind a camera and has a lot to offer anyone who’s interested in that provocative record button!

Graduating from Buffalo Academy For Visual & Performing Arts High School (2004), as well as the University At Buffalo (2009) with a degree in Media Studies (Film Production/Photography), Dave also interned at WGRZ, and has produced 15 major TV commercial campaigns for Valu Home Centers, and countless music videos and promotional vignettes.

Dave has a production company Upper Story Studios (UpperStoryStudios.com) based right here in room 340 at the NACC. He’s passionate about helping the next generation understand the importance of storytelling, and what it takes (technically and conceptually) to capture the essence of people, places and things with modern technology. Each story needs to answer who? what? where? when? why? how? and his goal is to help students focus specifically on the who, the why, and the how through interviewing & editing techniques.

This summer, Dave’s summer camp class will be all about approach. He’ll demonstrate how to approach the technical (and conceptual) methods of modern journalism/documentary film making through understanding the 3 elements of film making: preproduction, production and post production. Together we will document the field trips of summer camp and peek into some other camp classes. Kids will be able to see what it’s like to be the anchor, the camera operator, the editor and the interviewer, while creating life-long skillsets of storytelling, video making and creating collaborative work to be proud of!Check out Dave’s work on our NACCumentary!

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Michael Sheridan, or Mr. Mike, everyone’s favorite theatre teacher returns this summer! Mike is so excited to be returning back to the NACC to teach Theatre. As always, theatre students will be focusing on improv, learning to trust themselves and their voices. Mike assures that his class will make time to learn through play and explore our habits in times of conflict. He’s so excited to see where this year takes us! Sheridan is from Buffalo, New York. Favorites roles include Antipholus of Syracuse (Comedy of Errors), Lenny (Rumors), and Einstein (Picasso at the Lapin Agile). He has a BFA in Theatre from Niagara University.

Samantha Stack joins Stages for another summer of Yoga! Stack began her yoga journey in 2011, while volunteering in Northern Thailand and constantly hearing about the healing benefits of yoga. She was amazed at how just an hour or so of practice could change her entire mood, enhance how she felt physically, and increase her motivation. She decided to continue her practice when she returned home. In 2013 while attending college in St.Augustine, Florida, Stack found a teacher who she fully credit for inspiring her to teach. She was lucky enough to get her 200hr certification with this very same teacher out in Colorado! She was trained with a heavy influence of Chinese medicine and focused a lot on a restorative practice, ending each class with a guided meditation. She has been teaching just over a year and loving every minute of it. She teaches a variety of classes including yin restorative, vinyasa, kids yoga, and meditation workshops at ION Yoga in Niagara Falls. She hopes to fill each class with a fun relaxed atmosphere and inspire her students to give back to their bodies and minds.

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Lisa Marie Surace, returns in 2017 as our Voice Teacher! holds degrees in vocal performance from Niagara County Community College, SUNY Fredonia, and Master’s from the University at Buffalo. She is a First-Place Winner of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). She served as stage manager for George Frideric Handel’s “Xerxes” and has been seen in the role of Dorabella in “Cosi fan tutte” with Buffalo Opera Unlimited. In 2003 she opened “Bravo Studio with Lisa Surace” at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC) for the study of vocal arts & all instruments including guitar, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, piano, and painting for all styles and ages. In spring 2017 she was music director for Medaille College’s production of “First Date.” In May 2017, she was a recipient of the Western New York Women of Distinction Award. Currently Lisa is an adjunct instructor of music at Niagara County Community College where she teaches applied voice, aural skills, and American Popular Music.

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Devante Wallace, former Stages Camper, has come back to the NACC this year as our Camp Assistant! Wallace is a recent graduate of Niagara Falls Highschool who loves theatre and the performing arts. He’s very excited to be involved as a staff member at Stages!