Welcome to the Conservatory of Music!

Continuo Conservatory of Music

"Music gives a soul to the universe, flight to the imagination and life to everything"  Plato 

The Continuo Arts Conservatory of Music provides private studies in voice, piano and a variety of instruments.  In addition, Musical Theater Workshops, Audition Prep, and Music, Mommy & Me sessions are available.

A staff of exemplary working musicians most with Masters to Doctorate degrees are committed to the artistic growth, development and achievements of each individual student.  Lessons take place in the new and beautiful conservatory studios conveniently located in Summit, NJ.

Whether you are considering lessons for yourself, your child or grandchild, here are some important considerations:

The Study of Music will:

Increase your IQ

According to an article from The Telegraph online magazine, “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.”  There is continually more evidence that musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music. Some studies show that playing an instrument can increase your IQ up to 7 points.
 
Increase the capacity of your memory 

Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory.  A study was done in which 22 children from age 3 to 4 years old were given either singing lessons or keyboard lessons.  A control group of 15 children received no music lessons at all. Both groups participated in the same preschool activities.  The results showed that preschoolers who had weekly keyboard lessons improved their spatial-temporal skills 34 percent more than the other children.  Not only that, but researchers said that the effect lasted long-term.

 Increase Mathematical Ability 

Reading music requires counting notes and rhythms and can help your math skills.  Also, learning music theory includes many mathematical aspects.  Studies have shown that students who play instruments or study the arts are often better in math and achieve higher grades in school than students who don’t. 

Improve Reading Comprehension

According to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music, “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.”  It’s not surprising to hear results like that because music involves constant reading and comprehension.  When you see black and white notes on a page, you have to recognize what the note name is and translate it to a finger/slide position.  At the same time, you also have to read what rhythms the notes are arranged in and force your tongue to produce the correct pattern.

 Build Self-Confidence

Overcoming musical challenges that you thought you’d never quite master can give you a great sense of pride.  When you first start learning how to play an instrument, it seems like just holding a note for a couple beats or hitting a high pitch is an amazing accomplishment.  Many small successes will eventually breed long term, innate self-confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellen       Jack      Olivia

Private Voice

Whether studying opera, music theater, or modern pop music, the basics of voice technique are still be applied. Technique refers to the way that we are able to control our singing voices, and in traditional terms this group of techniques (way of singing) is called Bel Canto. Bel Canto is Italian for beautiful singing, which is the goal of every singer, regardless of style. At the Continuo Arts Conservatory of Music we welcome all types of singers. It is our goal to use a combination of traditional Bel Canto and Music Theater repertoire to help singers master their individual techniques so they can apply them to whatever music they choose to sing.

There are many opportunities for our vocal department students to perform throughout the year as well as develop ensemble technique by joining one of our choral ensembles. Many vocal students participate in auditions, competitions, and performances, therefore we offer annual vocal departmental recitals in addition to performance workshops, masterclasses, and more to prepare students for their auditions and performances.  

In preparation for college, regional and state choirs auditions, we offer audition prep packages as well as career-building for serious students focused on attending music school and pursuing music as a career. Each student is paired with a member of our faculty who will assess their needs and guide them towards meeting their individual goals. Lessons are offered in 30, 45 and 60 minutes sessions.  

For registration form, policies and procedures  CLICK HERE


Candace Wicke -  Voice (Studio Full-Waitlist Available), Conducting

 Candace Wicke, DMA

Candace Wicke

 

Hailed as a ‘true maestro’ conductor Candace Wicke has most recently  been seen on nation-wide PBS broadcasts and top of the Billboard charts as featured artist and conductor of "Requiem For My Mother"  Dr. Wicke made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2002.  As a champion of new music, she has premiered new works in many of her Carnegie Hall appearances including the World Premiere of Imant Raminsh’s Symphony of Psalms, Gary Fry’s Sing A Song With Me, and Stephen Edward’s A Carol Fantasy, Requiem for my  Mother, Revelation, and the New York  Premiere of the Ave Maria Mass. Sharing the stage in 2008 with the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach, and Helmuth Rilling, Wicke conducted the  European premiere and world-wide television broadcast of the Edwards Requiem for my Mother with the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus, Orchestra and the City of Prague  Philharmonic at the prestigious Festival Internazionale pro Musica e Arte Sacre Series in Roma, Italy.

 Wicke conducted and produced the Carnegie Hall “Christmas Time in the City” concert series in 2009 and the Lee Kjelson Memorial “Sounds of Music Series” in 2010.  In 2011, Dr. Wicke conducted the first Festival Internazionale Di Arte Per Giovani Musicisti in Rome, Italy. She also served as the principal conductor for the 2012 Inaugural season of the Minuetto Music Festival and returned for the second annual Giovani Musicisti Festival to conduct the world premiere of Stephen Edwards Missa Brevis in Rome, Vatican City, Assisi and Prague in 2012. In February of 2014 she conducted the first concert in history inside the Sistine Chapel by an American organization and conductor in addition to concert performances in Ireland.  The 2015 season included serving as Chorus Master for the world premiere of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Paper Mill Playhouse. In 2016 she returns to conduct on the Festival Pro Musica E Arte Sacra in Rome and Vatican City sharing the series with the Vienna Philharmonic, Zubin Metha and other international artists of note.

 Dr. Wicke’s international experience also includes conducting the United States representative Wind Ensemble at the Taipei Presidential Inauguration, the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the City of Prague Philharmonic, in Prague and the Waratah Girls Choir in Australia. Ensembles under her baton have received National and International acclaim performing with Andre Rieu and the Johan Strauss Orchestra, the Turksoy Orchestra in Lincoln Center and the Music Center at Strathmore, the Global International Women’s Summit, Musica Mundi International, Legatus International, and the Miami Civic Associations Young Artist Debut. She is a popular guest conductor, adjudicator and master class clinician across the United States.

 Wicke is the founder, president, and executive director for the Continuo Arts Foundation and conducts the Continuo Arts Intergenerational Choral Ensembles including; Children’s Chorus, Chanticleers, Singers, Continuos!, Civic Chorale, Seniors Sing and Sonaré!  These ensembles are featured in a variety of concert series and community outreach performances throughout the year. In this roles, she is committed to procreating the arts through performance, composition, education, and to fostering patronage for musical advancement and exposure. Wicke resides in Westfield, NJ and is a graduate of the University of Miami and Evangel University, majoring in vocal and instrumental performance, music education, and conducting.  She is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni of the Year for Evangel University, New Jersey’s 2016 Women of Excellence in Arts & Humanities Award Winner for Union County, and has received a 2016 Congressional recognition for dedication and excellence in Arts & Humanities.

Amanda Blutner - Voice

 Amanda Blutner, MA

Amanda Blutner

Mrs. Blütner holds a B.M. in Music Education from Westminster Choir College and an M.A. in Music and Music Education from Teachers College of  Columbia University. During her time at
Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Schola Cantorum, Williamsonn Voices, and the Westminster Choir under the batons of James Jordan, Joe Miller, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jacques Lacombe, Alan Gilbert and Joseph Flummerfelt. She has performed in ensembles in engagements around the country including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, The United Nations General Assembly, and the Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mrs. Blütner is a choral director and music teacher in the Elizabeth Public School District, Programs Manager and Assistant Conductor for The Continuo Arts Foundation and is on staff teaching private voice at the Continuo Arts Conservatory.

Teresa Gotanco- Voice

 Teresa Gotanco, BA

Teresa Gotanco

Teresa-Marie Gotanco, Administrative Assistant, Accompanist and Teaching Artist at The Continuo Arts Foundation, is a graduate from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Arts in Music. Following a lifetime of choral and instrumental performance experience, Ms. Gotanco continued her musical studies and performance career as a member of both the Rutgers University Choir (soprano) and the Rutgers Concert Band (trumpet). She also served as the Music Director of Rutgers’ Christian a cappella group, First Light.

Relocating to Syracuse after graduation, Ms. Gotanco was appointed Director of Music at Divine Mercy Roman Catholic Church and performed with the Syracuse Pops Chorus. Returning to New Jersey, Ms. Gotanco is cantor and choir member at the Church of Saint Catharine in Holmdel, a member of the High Sea Brass Choir in Toms River playing Trumpet and French Horn, as well as a freelance pianist around the central Jersey area.

Ms. Gotanco will be serving as Assistant Music Director and  Choirmaster for the July 2017 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company. She currently resides in Morganville with her family.

Samantha Ferrara  - Musical Theater Audition Prep, Voice

 Samantha Ferrara, BM

Samantha Ferrara

Samantha Ferrara, Director of Musical Theater at The Continuo Arts Foundation, graduated in 2014 from Westminster Choir College of Rider University with a B.M. in Music Education and a minor in Musical Theater. While at Rider and Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Symphonic Choir, as well as performing in six mainstage productions under the direction of Nathan Hurwitz, Robin Lewis, Trent Blanton and Miriam Mills.     

     Ms. Ferrara can be frequently found on both the professional and community stage; she spent last spring in the chorus of Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse, and this past summer flying high in Trilogy Repertory Company’s Mary Poppins as the title role.  Some of her favorite roles include Niki Harris in Curtains, Ariel in Footloose and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes.   

     Ms. Ferrara lives in Bernardsville, where she is the alto section leader at St. Bernard’s Episcopal Church and had music directed productions at Bernardsville Middle School. Ms. Ferrara is currently teaching chorus and orchestra at Mountain View Middle School in Mendham.

Jessica Walch, Voice

 Jessica Walch, MM

Jessica Walch

Soprano Jessica Walch is a versatile emerging young artist and voice teacher.  Recent performance credits include Angelica in Handel’s Orlando, Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Lady Saphir in Patience, Nursing Sister & Alms Sister in Suor Angelica, Edith in Pirates of Penzance, Woman 1 in Songs for a New World, and Violet Hilton in Side Show.  In 2015 she was seen in Disney’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Paper Mill Playhouse under the direction of Scott Schwartz.  She has worked with such opera and theater companies such as Light Opera of New York, Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Co., Garden State Opera, New York Lyric Opera, and Stony Hill Players.  Jessica sings with the professional choir Sonaré and is an Artist-in-Residence with the Continuo Arts Foundation.  For three summers she had the pleasure of taking part in the Minuetto Music Festival in Summit, NJ, where she was an Emerging Artist Winner. Jessica is also an accomplished voice teacher whose students have performed in Carnegie Hall, been accepted into regional choirs, and successfully completed the Royal Conservatory of Music examinations.  She recently graduated from Montclair State University with a Master’s Degree in vocal performance.   She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance from Muhlenberg College.

 

Piano
Private Piano

The piano is an excellent instrument for laying a strong foundation of music education. Our piano department offers supportive and quality instruction for all levels and ages. We place an emphasis on individuality in learning and provide hands-on, tailored instruction. For students looking for an instrument to study, the piano's basic structure allows for the fundamentals of music to be learned through a visual and comprehensive approach, which can be easily transferred to other instruments. Students will explore musical concepts such as note reading, rhythm, melody, harmony, style and expression. 

Private piano lessons provide focused, one-on-one instruction, while guiding students to develop their unique talents at their own pace. Private lessons establish a solid foundation in theory, repertoire and polished technique. Students are exposed to a variety of musical concepts and skills while being inspired to achieve their goals. Our faculty are top-level educators with years of teaching experience. Having studied at some of the most prestigious universities and conservatories our faculty are highly-successful, experienced and caring musicians. 

Each student is paired with a member of our faculty who will assess their needs and guide them towards meeting their individual goals. Lessons are offered in 30, 45 and 60 minutes sessions.  

For registration form, policies and procedures  CLICK HERE


Lucas Barkley - Piano, Audition Prep (Opera, Classical), Music Theory

 Lucas Barkley, MM

Lucas Barkley

Mr. Barkley is a pianist and vocal coach who lives in South Orange, NJ serves as staff accompanist at The Continuo Arts Foundation and works in the New York City area. Recently he was pianist and coach for Manhattan Opera Studio's Winter Festival as well as rehearsal pianist with Regina Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor). He is also a regular pianist for performances at Brooklyn Opera (recent productions include Elektra and Nabucco, with Das Rheingold, Thaïs, and La Gioconda upcoming in 2016).

Mr. Barkley recently relocated from Pittsburgh, PA where he was a staff pianist at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music and a pianist and vocal coach for Undercroft Opera (Carmen, Norma, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly). He was also an accompanist and coach for CO-OPERA, a co-production of Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon University featuring the world premieres of five one-act operas by student composers, and accompanist and répétiteur for the inaugural production (Verdi’s Macbeth) of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. As an art song accompanist, Mr. Barkely devised and accompanied two all-Schubert recitals (Nacht und Träume in 2013 and 1815: A Schubert Song Bicentennial) as well as a graduate recital featuring works of Schubert, Poulenc and Brahms. With tenor Daniel Arnaldos in 2014 he presented Spain is Different: Spanish Songs and Arias and Sehnsucht (structured around settings of Goethe’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt) at Carnegie Mellon University.

In 2013 and 2014 Mr. Barkley studied at the Vancouver International Song Institute, coaching with (among others) Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Cameron Stowe and Arlene Shrut. Lucas holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance with a minor in English literature from Duquesne University and a master’s in collaborative piano from Carnegie Mellon. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kerri, daughter Lydia and cat Mädchen.

Teresa Gotanco, Piano

 Teresa Gotanco, BA

Teresa Gotanco

Teresa-Marie Gotanco, Administrative Assistant, Accompanist and Teaching Artist at The Continuo Arts Foundation, is a graduate from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Arts in Music. Following a lifetime of choral and instrumental performance experience, Ms. Gotanco continued her musical studies and performance career as a member of both the Rutgers University Choir (soprano) and the Rutgers Concert Band (trumpet). She also served as the Music Director of Rutgers’ Christian a cappella group, First Light.

Relocating to Syracuse after graduation, Ms. Gotanco was appointed Director of Music at Divine Mercy Roman Catholic Church and performed with the Syracuse Pops Chorus. Returning to New Jersey, Ms. Gotanco is cantor and choir member at the Church of Saint Catharine in Holmdel, a member of the High Sea Brass Choir in Toms River playing Trumpet and French Horn, as well as a freelance pianist around the central Jersey area.

Ms. Gotanco will be serving as Assistant Music Director and  Choirmaster for the July 2017 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company. She currently resides in Morganville with her family.



 

 

Flute   Violin  Trumpet

Instrumental

Can you imagine living your life without music? It would be very hard to do so, as music has been hard-wired into our very existence as human beings. While everyone enjoys listening to good music, not many of us are what the world calls ‘musicians’- the ones with the ability to play a musical instrument. This could be due to not having the opportunity to learn as kids or simply due to lack of inclination or proper instruction. However, music is something that is never too late to learn. And here are 10 good reasons as to why everyone should learn to play a musical instrument.

1. Playing a musical instrument relieves stress 
Researchers studying the benefits of music have reported that playing a musical instrument on a regular basis can help bring down stress. Studies show that playing an instrument helps in lowering the heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn lowers the stress hormone cortisol, thus making us feel relaxed. While just listening to music also helps, learning to play an instrument brings with it a comforting routine of daily practice that helps in keeping the stress hormones away. Michael Jolkovski, a psychologist who specializes in musicians, feels that music also helps in bringing down stress by helping people connect with others. "It (music) can satisfy the need to unwind from the worries of life, but unlike the other things people often use for this purpose, such as excessive eating, drinking, or TV or aimless web browsing, it makes people more alive and connected with one another."

2. Playing a musical instrument makes you smarter
People who have received a music education are generally smarter than their non-musical counterparts are. Extensive research done in this area has proved that children who learn to play a musical instrument do better in academics. Shaw, Rauscher, Levine, Wright, Dennis and Newcomb, in their research paper titled Music Training Causes Long-Term Enhancement Of Preschool Children's Spatial-Temporal Reasoning, speak about, “a research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reported that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills, the skills necessary for learning math and science."

3. Playing a musical instrument improves your social life
Music helps you connect. Learning an instrument enlarges your social circle since you get to meet more people than you usually would. In children, music can help develop social skills. Maestro Eduardo Marturet, a conductor, composer and musical director for the Miami Symphony Orchestra, who also oversees the MISO Young Artist program in South Florida, has observed the effect that music has on a child’s social skills. "Socially, children who become involved in a musical group or ensemble learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that come from working together, and the development of leadership skills and discipline."

4. Playing a musical instrument helps build confidence
Choosing to take music lessons can help build confidence. Once you are aware that you are able to do something well, like play the flute for instance, you naturally become more confident of your skills. Learning to play an instrument can help both children and adults who face confidence issues. Elizabeth Dotson-Westphalen, a music teacher and performer, has found that music has helped many of students develop confidence. "They find that once they can develop a skill by themselves that they can get better and better."

5. Playing a musical instrument teaches patience
Music teachers feel that music can help teach patience. In a world of instant gratification, learning to play an instrument is not something that can happen overnight. It is the daily effort of everyday practice that can help a musician learn how to play without mistakes. This is turn develops patience. Most musicians go through years of regular practice that includes daily musical exercises and the tackling of progressively difficult musical pieces, which in turn helps them conquer the virtue of patience. 

6. Playing a musical instrument fosters creativity
Stuck in everyday routine lives, many of us lose touch with our creative side. Learning to play a musical instrument, especially when you reach advanced levels, can foster that lost creativity. Since music education plays on your mental, emotional and cognitive abilities, the brain is stimulated to think out of the ordinary, which results in improved creativity. 

7. Playing a musical instrument improves memory
Music and memory go hand in hand. Learning to play a musical instrument makes you use both parts of your brain and this in turn boosts memory power. Maestro Eduardo Marturet, reiterates this point when he says, "Further research has shown that participation in music at an early age can help improve a child's learning ability and memory by stimulating different patterns of brain development." Music education is also linked to higher IQ levels and the physical development of certain parts of the brain.

8. Playing a musical instrument develops discipline
Music requires dedication and regular practice. Allotting a specific amount of time to practice music daily develops discipline in the learner. This can prove to be extremely advantageous in children. Mira Stulberg-Halpert, of 3D Learner Inc., who works with children who have ADHD, has seen music discipline children when everything else fails. She has this to say on the effect of music on kids."Exposing kids to musical instruments is the key. They are naturally curious and excited about them-and the discipline that parents and kids learn by sticking with it is a lesson in itself." 

9. Playing a musical instrument gives you a sense of achievement 
Learning to play a musical instrument gives you an immense sense of achievement. Pianist Emily Singers, in her article titled, 12 Reasons You Should Learn to Play the Piano, writes that piano playing can bring true satisfaction. “It's truly one of the most satisfying things you can do,” she says. “There's no feeling like playing a difficult song and playing it flawlessly. (It is) Quite an ego-boost.” This feeling of satisfaction leads to a tremendous sense of self-achievement that can help you accomplish more in other areas of your life.

10. Playing a musical instrument is fun
Lastly, learning to play a musical instrument is fun. “The art of music is so deep and profound that it has to be approached with a bit of intensity laced with great affectionate joy”, says noted singer, musician and Bollywood film music composer Shankar Mahadevan. Playing a musical instrument can bring back the fun factor into your life. Music has the special quality to bring joy, peace and fulfillment that helps lift the spirit and make life enjoyable for everyone involved. 

 

Teresa Gotanco, Trumpet & French Horn

 Teresa Gotanco

Teresa Gotanco


Teresa-Marie Gotanco, Administrative Assistant, Accompanist and Teaching Artist at The Continuo Arts Foundation, is a graduate from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Arts in Music. Following a lifetime of choral and instrumental performance experience, Ms. Gotanco continued her musical studies and performance career as a member of both the Rutgers University Choir (soprano) and the Rutgers Concert Band (trumpet). She also served as the Music Director of Rutgers’ Christian a cappella group, First Light.

Relocating to Syracuse after graduation, Ms. Gotanco was appointed Director of Music at Divine Mercy Roman Catholic Church and performed with the Syracuse Pops Chorus. Returning to New Jersey, Ms. Gotanco is cantor and choir member at the Church of Saint Catharine in Holmdel, a member of the High Sea Brass Choir in Toms River playing Trumpet and French Horn, as well as a freelance pianist around the central Jersey area.

Ms. Gotanco will be serving as Assistant Music Director and  Choirmaster for the July 2017 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company. She currently resides in Morganville with her family.

 

Kerri Sullivan Barkley, Flute

 Kerri Sullivan Barkely

Kerri Sullivan Barkley

 

Hunchback Master

Musical Theater/Audition Prep

 

Samantha Ferrara  - Musical Theater Audition Prep, Voice

 Samantha Ferrara, BM

Samantha Ferrara

Samantha Ferrara, Director of Musical Theater at The Continuo Arts Foundation, graduated in 2014 from Westminster Choir College of Rider University with a B.M. in Music Education and a minor in Musical Theater. While at Rider and Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Symphonic Choir, as well as performing in six mainstage productions under the direction of Nathan Hurwitz, Robin Lewis, Trent Blanton and Miriam Mills.     

     Ms. Ferrara can be frequently found on both the professional and community stage; she spent last spring in the chorus of Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse, and this past summer flying high in Trilogy Repertory Company’s Mary Poppins as the title role.  Some of her favorite roles include Niki Harris in Curtains, Ariel in Footloose and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes.   

     Ms. Ferrara lives in Bernardsville, where she is the alto section leader at St. Bernard’s Episcopal Church and had music directed productions at Bernardsville Middle School. Ms. Ferrara is currently teaching chorus and orchestra at Mountain View Middle School in Mendham.

 

 

Batons  Music Theory  Candace Conducting

Conducting/Music Theory Tutoring-AP Prep

        

Candace Wicke -  Voice (Studio Full), Conducting

 Candace Wicke, DMA

Candace Wicke

Hailed as a ‘true maestro’ conductor Candace Wicke has most recently  been seen on nation-wide PBS broadcasts and top of the Billboard charts as featured artist and conductor of "Requiem For My Mother"  Dr. Wicke made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2002.  As a champion of new music, she has premiered new works in many of her Carnegie Hall appearances including the World Premiere of Imant Raminsh’s Symphony of Psalms, Gary Fry’s Sing A Song With Me, and Stephen Edward’s A Carol Fantasy, Requiem for my  Mother, Revelation, and the New York  Premiere of the Ave Maria Mass. Sharing the stage in 2008 with the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach, and Helmuth Rilling, Wicke conducted the  European premiere and world-wide television broadcast of the Edwards Requiem for my Mother with the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus, Orchestra and the City of Prague  Philharmonic at the prestigious Festival Internazionale pro Musica e Arte Sacre Series in Roma, Italy.

 Wicke conducted and produced the Carnegie Hall “Christmas Time in the City” concert series in 2009 and the Lee Kjelson Memorial “Sounds of Music Series” in 2010.  In 2011, Dr. Wicke conducted the first Festival Internazionale Di Arte Per Giovani Musicisti in Rome, Italy. She also served as the principal conductor for the 2012 Inaugural season of the Minuetto Music Festival and returned for the second annual Giovani Musicisti Festival to conduct the world premiere of Stephen Edwards Missa Brevis in Rome, Vatican City, Assisi and Prague in 2012. In February of 2014 she conducted the first concert in history inside the Sistine Chapel by an American organization and conductor in addition to concert performances in Ireland.  The 2015 season included serving as Chorus Master for the world premiere of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Paper Mill Playhouse. In 2016 she returns to conduct on the Festival Pro Musica E Arte Sacra in Rome and Vatican City sharing the series with the Vienna Philharmonic, Zubin Metha and other international artists of note.

 Dr. Wicke’s international experience also includes conducting the United States representative Wind Ensemble at the Taipei Presidential Inauguration, the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the City of Prague Philharmonic, in Prague and the Waratah Girls Choir in Australia. Ensembles under her baton have received National and International acclaim performing with Andre Rieu and the Johan Strauss Orchestra, the Turksoy Orchestra in Lincoln Center and the Music Center at Strathmore, the Global International Women’s Summit, Musica Mundi International, Legatus International, and the Miami Civic Associations Young Artist Debut. She is a popular guest conductor, adjudicator and master class clinician across the United States.

 Wicke is the founder, president, and executive director for the Continuo Arts Foundation and conducts the Continuo Arts Intergenerational Choral Ensembles including; Children’s Chorus, Chanticleers, Singers, Continuos!, Civic Chorale, Seniors Sing and Sonaré!  These ensembles are featured in a variety of concert series and community outreach performances throughout the year. In this roles, she is committed to procreating the arts through performance, composition, education, and to fostering patronage for musical advancement and exposure. Wicke resides in Westfield, NJ and is a graduate of the University of Miami and Evangel University, majoring in vocal and instrumental performance, music education, and conducting.  She is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni of the Year for Evangel University, New Jersey’s 2016 Women of Excellence in Arts & Humanities Award Winner for Union County, and has received a 2016 Congressional recognition for dedication and excellence in Arts & Humanities.

Lucas Barkley - Piano, Audition Prep (Opera, Classical), Music Theory

 Lucas Barkley, MM

Lucas Barkley

Mr. Barkley is a pianist and vocal coach who lives in South Orange, NJ serves as staff accompanist at The Continuo Arts Foundation and works in the New York City area. Recently he was pianist and coach for Manhattan Opera Studio's Winter Festival as well as rehearsal pianist with Regina Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor). He is also a regular pianist for performances at Brooklyn Opera (recent productions include Elektra and Nabucco, with Das Rheingold, Thaïs, and La Gioconda upcoming in 2016).

Mr. Barkley recently relocated from Pittsburgh, PA where he was a staff pianist at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music and a pianist and vocal coach for Undercroft Opera (Carmen, Norma, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly). He was also an accompanist and coach for CO-OPERA, a co-production of Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon University featuring the world premieres of five one-act operas by student composers, and accompanist and répétiteur for the inaugural production (Verdi’s Macbeth) of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. As an art song accompanist, Mr. Barkely devised and accompanied two all-Schubert recitals (Nacht und Träume in 2013 and 1815: A Schubert Song Bicentennial) as well as a graduate recital featuring works of Schubert, Poulenc and Brahms. With tenor Daniel Arnaldos in 2014 he presented Spain is Different: Spanish Songs and Arias and Sehnsucht (structured around settings of Goethe’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt) at Carnegie Mellon University.

In 2013 and 2014 Mr. Barkley studied at the Vancouver International Song Institute, coaching with (among others) Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Cameron Stowe and Arlene Shrut. Lucas holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance with a minor in English literature from Duquesne University and a master’s in collaborative piano from Carnegie Mellon. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kerri, daughter Lydia and cat Mädchen.

 

 

 

Staff

Candace Wicke -  Voice (Studio Full), Conducting
Candace Wicke, DMA

Candace Wicke

 

Hailed as a ‘true maestro’ conductor Candace Wicke has most recently  been seen on nation-wide PBS broadcasts and top of the Billboard charts as featured artist and conductor of "Requiem For My Mother"  Dr. Wicke made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2002.  As a champion of new music, she has premiered new works in many of her Carnegie Hall appearances including the World Premiere of Imant Raminsh’s Symphony of Psalms, Gary Fry’s Sing A Song With Me, and Stephen Edward’s A Carol Fantasy, Requiem for my  Mother, Revelation, and the New York  Premiere of the Ave Maria Mass. Sharing the stage in 2008 with the likes of the Vienna Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach, and Helmuth Rilling, Wicke conducted the  European premiere and world-wide television broadcast of the Edwards Requiem for my Mother with the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus, Orchestra and the City of Prague  Philharmonic at the prestigious Festival Internazionale pro Musica e Arte Sacre Series in Roma, Italy.

 Wicke conducted and produced the Carnegie Hall “Christmas Time in the City” concert series in 2009 and the Lee Kjelson Memorial “Sounds of Music Series” in 2010.  In 2011, Dr. Wicke conducted the first Festival Internazionale Di Arte Per Giovani Musicisti in Rome, Italy. She also served as the principal conductor for the 2012 Inaugural season of the Minuetto Music Festival and returned for the second annual Giovani Musicisti Festival to conduct the world premiere of Stephen Edwards Missa Brevis in Rome, Vatican City, Assisi and Prague in 2012. In February of 2014 she conducted the first concert in history inside the Sistine Chapel by an American organization and conductor in addition to concert performances in Ireland.  The 2015 season included serving as Chorus Master for the world premiere of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Paper Mill Playhouse. In 2016 she returns to conduct on the Festival Pro Musica E Arte Sacra in Rome and Vatican City sharing the series with the Vienna Philharmonic, Zubin Metha and other international artists of note.

 Dr. Wicke’s international experience also includes conducting the United States representative Wind Ensemble at the Taipei Presidential Inauguration, the Continuo Arts Symphonic Chorus at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the City of Prague Philharmonic, in Prague and the Waratah Girls Choir in Australia. Ensembles under her baton have received National and International acclaim performing with Andre Rieu and the Johan Strauss Orchestra, the Turksoy Orchestra in Lincoln Center and the Music Center at Strathmore, the Global International Women’s Summit, Musica Mundi International, Legatus International, and the Miami Civic Associations Young Artist Debut. She is a popular guest conductor, adjudicator and master class clinician across the United States.

 Wicke is the founder, president, and executive director for the Continuo Arts Foundation and conducts the Continuo Arts Intergenerational Choral Ensembles including; Children’s Chorus, Chanticleers, Singers, Continuos!, Civic Chorale, Seniors Sing and Sonaré!  These ensembles are featured in a variety of concert series and community outreach performances throughout the year. In this roles, she is committed to procreating the arts through performance, composition, education, and to fostering patronage for musical advancement and exposure. Wicke resides in Westfield, NJ and is a graduate of the University of Miami and Evangel University, majoring in vocal and instrumental performance, music education, and conducting.  She is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Alumni of the Year for Evangel University, New Jersey’s 2016 Women of Excellence in Arts & Humanities Award Winner for Union County, and has received a 2016 Congressional recognition for dedication and excellence in Arts & Humanities.

Amanda Blutner - Voice
Amanda Blutner, MA

Amanda Blutner

Mrs. Blütner holds a B.M. in Music Education from Westminster Choir College and an M.A. in Music and Music Education from Teachers College of  Columbia University. During her time at
Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Schola Cantorum, Williamsonn Voices, and the Westminster Choir under the batons of James Jordan, Joe Miller, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jacques Lacombe, Alan Gilbert and Joseph Flummerfelt. She has performed in ensembles in engagements around the country including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center, the Kimmel Center, Paper Mill Playhouse, The United Nations General Assembly, and the Spoleto Music Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mrs. Blütner is a choral director and music teacher in the Elizabeth Public School District, Programs Manager and Assistant Conductor for The Continuo Arts Foundation and is on staff teaching private voice at the Continuo Arts Conservatory.

Lucas Barkley - Piano, Audition Prep (Opera, Classical), Music Theory

 Lucas Barkley, MM

Lucas Barkley

Mr. Barkley is a pianist and vocal coach who lives in South Orange, NJ serves as staff accompanist at The Continuo Arts Foundation and works in the New York City area. Recently he was pianist and coach for Manhattan Opera Studio's Winter Festival as well as rehearsal pianist with Regina Opera (Lucia di Lammermoor). He is also a regular pianist for performances at Brooklyn Opera (recent productions include Elektra and Nabucco, with Das Rheingold, Thaïs, and La Gioconda upcoming in 2016).

Mr. Barkley recently relocated from Pittsburgh, PA where he was a staff pianist at Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music and a pianist and vocal coach for Undercroft Opera (Carmen, Norma, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, Madama Butterfly). He was also an accompanist and coach for CO-OPERA, a co-production of Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Mellon University featuring the world premieres of five one-act operas by student composers, and accompanist and répétiteur for the inaugural production (Verdi’s Macbeth) of Resonance Works | Pittsburgh. As an art song accompanist, Mr. Barkely devised and accompanied two all-Schubert recitals (Nacht und Träume in 2013 and 1815: A Schubert Song Bicentennial) as well as a graduate recital featuring works of Schubert, Poulenc and Brahms. With tenor Daniel Arnaldos in 2014 he presented Spain is Different: Spanish Songs and Arias and Sehnsucht (structured around settings of Goethe’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt) at Carnegie Mellon University.

In 2013 and 2014 Mr. Barkley studied at the Vancouver International Song Institute, coaching with (among others) Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Cameron Stowe and Arlene Shrut. Lucas holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance with a minor in English literature from Duquesne University and a master’s in collaborative piano from Carnegie Mellon. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Kerri, daughter Lydia and cat Mädchen.

Teresa Gotanco - Voice, Piano, Trumpet, French Horn
 Teresa Gotanco, BA

Teresa Gotanco

Teresa-Marie Gotanco, Administrative Assistant, Accompanist and Teaching Artist at The Continuo Arts Foundation, is a graduate from Rutgers University with a Bachelors of Arts in Music. Following a lifetime of choral and instrumental performance experience, Ms. Gotanco continued her musical studies and performance career as a member of both the Rutgers University Choir (soprano) and the Rutgers Concert Band (trumpet). She also served as the Music Director of Rutgers’ Christian a cappella group, First Light.

Relocating to Syracuse after graduation, Ms. Gotanco was appointed Director of Music at Divine Mercy Roman Catholic Church and performed with the Syracuse Pops Chorus. Returning to New Jersey, Ms. Gotanco is cantor and choir member at the Church of Saint Catharine in Holmdel, a member of the High Sea Brass Choir in Toms River playing Trumpet and French Horn, as well as a freelance pianist around the central Jersey area.

Ms. Gotanco will be serving as Assistant Music Director and  Choirmaster for the July 2017 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with the Ocean County College Repertory Theatre Company. She currently resides in Morganville with her family.

 

Samantha Ferrara  - Musical Theater Audition Prep, Voice
Samantha Ferrara, BM

Samantha Ferrara

Samantha Ferrara, Director of Musical Theater at The Continuo Arts Foundation, graduated in 2014 from Westminster Choir College of Rider University with a B.M. in Music Education and a minor in Musical Theater. While at Rider and Westminster, she performed as a choir member and soloist with Symphonic Choir, as well as performing in six mainstage productions under the direction of Nathan Hurwitz, Robin Lewis, Trent Blanton and Miriam Mills.     

     Ms. Ferrara can be frequently found on both the professional and community stage; she spent last spring in the chorus of Hunchback of Notre Dame at Paper Mill Playhouse, and this past summer flying high in Trilogy Repertory Company’s Mary Poppins as the title role.  Some of her favorite roles include Niki Harris in Curtains, Ariel in Footloose and Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes.   

     Ms. Ferrara lives in Bernardsville, where she is the alto section leader at St. Bernard’s Episcopal Church and had music directed productions at Bernardsville Middle School. Ms. Ferrara is currently teaching chorus and orchestra at Mountain View Middle School in Mendham.

Jessica Walch, Voice
Jessica Walch, MM

Jessica Walch

Soprano Jessica Walch is a versatile emerging young artist and voice teacher.  Recent performance credits include Angelica in Handel’s Orlando, Josephine in HMS Pinafore, Lady Saphir in Patience, Nursing Sister & Alms Sister in Suor Angelica, Edith in Pirates of Penzance, Woman 1 in Songs for a New World, and Violet Hilton in Side Show.  In 2015 she was seen in Disney’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Paper Mill Playhouse under the direction of Scott Schwartz.  She has worked with such opera and theater companies such as Light Opera of New York, Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Co., Garden State Opera, New York Lyric Opera, and Stony Hill Players.  Jessica sings with the professional choir Sonaré and is an Artist-in-Residence with the Continuo Arts Foundation.  For three summers she had the pleasure of taking part in the Minuetto Music Festival in Summit, NJ, where she was an Emerging Artist Winner. Jessica is also an accomplished voice teacher whose students have performed in Carnegie Hall, been accepted into regional choirs, and successfully completed the Royal Conservatory of Music examinations.  She recently graduated from Montclair State University with a Master’s Degree in vocal performance.   She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance from Muhlenberg College.

Kerri Sullivan Barkley, Flute

 Kerri Sullivan Barkely

Kerri Sullivan Barkley
 

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