Meet Our Teachers

LPAC ‘s staff are experienced professionals strives to provide an unforgettable, positive experience for every participant.


Jennifer Knittel

MEET: Jennifer Knittel
Experienced music teacher and board certified music therapist. Jennifer’s work will center on music therapy to meet the specified needs of each client. Her range of Music Therapy expertise lies in serving individuals receiving dementia care, the well-elderly, individuals under hospice care, home-based MT, family model MT, grief work, medical/inpatient MT, NICU support, early childhood intervention, intergenerational groups, early childhood music-making, and teaching music preK through upper elementary.
EDUCATION:
Received her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Therapy from Elizabethtown College, and she is Board Certified in Music Therapy. Jennifer utilizes a person-centered approach to music therapy & process-based method to music teaching. She is skilled in using the varied aspects of music to foster growth, communication, and self worth of participants, and is proficient in voice, guitar, piano, brass, and percussion.

Zachary Bloom

MEET: Zachary Bloom
An accomplished drama therapist with over 12 years experience in a variety of clinical settings. His broad expertise ranges in both individual and group treatment programs for youth and adults. He is a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) and a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) with a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts and an M.A. in Drama Therapy both from NYU. Zachary has a passion for working through the medium of drama therapy to help clients achieve catharsis and healing by allowing them to tell their stories. “Drama therapy facilitates change through drama processes. It uses the potential of drama to reflect and transform life experiences to enable clients to express and work through problems they are encountering or to maintain a client’s well-being and health.”

Adrianne Hick

MEET: Adrianne Hick
Adrianne’s recent credits include the National Tour of Les Miserables (Factory Girl/Fantine u/s), Nellie in South Pacific (Ivoryton Theatre & The Wick Theatre), Sensational 70's (Fireside Theatre), Other People’s Money (Hampton Theatre Co.), Through the Invisible Door (MTL), and in NYC in The Laramie Projectand Charles Strouse’s Dancing With Time. Featured in Backstage Magazine as a "Breakout Talent”, and has appeared as a featured vocalist and guest entertainer aboard Holland America Line and NCL.

Andrew Foote

MEET: Andrew Foote
In a career spanning two decades, Andrew Foote’s talent and versatility have taken him around the world as a professional entertainer. From award winning leading roles in some of Broadway’s biggest hits- Les Miserables, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, Titanic, and Miss Saigon, in the finest theaters in the U.S., to acclaimed cabaret performances in the finest theaters on the high seas...from Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay to Trump Plaza in Atlantic City...from Nashville’s legendary Grand Ole Opry to Harrah’s in Reno, Andrew Foote’s unique brand of showmanship has entertained thousands. Whether it be in National Tours of Broadway’s most popular Musicals- Les Miserables, Annie, and Ragtime, or his critically lauded performance in My Way...A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Andrew Foote has proved that he is as NJ.com said:”One of the finest performers working today”.

Hans Lundy

MEET: Hans Lundy
Attended the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts. He has been trained and mentored by the post-modern figurative artist Williams Coronado. Coronado exposed Lundy to his ideas on using the human body as a vehicle for creative expression on an aesthetic, psychological, and philosophical format. Hans Lundy has embraced these ideas and has added the aesthetics of surrealism to create an art that is his personal view of how he sees and understands the world and art. Haitian-American artist Hans Lundy creates innovative and "cutting-edge" imagery, which employs a radical postmodern style known as "Metaphorical Realism." Mimetically and poetically, this realistic "visual-narrative" mode furnishes symbolic representational-imagery (mimesis). Hans' career as an artist is just beginning but his handling of paint and his knowledge of using painting as a mode of expression is far beyond his years. His paintings can be provocative, political, philosophical, psychological, and last but not least, enjoyable.

Meredith Testa

MEET: Meredith Testa
She began her dance training at age 2. By the time she received her B.A. in Dance and Anthropology from Muhlenberg College, she had studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and modern dance. Her choreographic works include Sinternet!: The Musical and the CheckIt! Dance Festival in central park. She has performed in the CheckIt! Dance Festival, Muhlenberg College's Dance Emerge and Moving Stories, Indecorous Theatre's As You Like It (Jacques), and the upcoming production of The Rimers of Eldritch (Eva) directed by Larry Singer. She has taught ballet, tap, and creative movement to students of many ages and also works as an SAT tutor.

Michelle Krayer

MEET: Michelle Krayer
Recent graduate from Montclair State University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education P-12 with a concentration in vocal studies. In June 2016, a short time after graduation, Michelle began a maternity leave position in Clifton Public Schools where she taught General/Vocal Music K-5 in two different elementary schools. Not only did she teach 35 classes a week but she directed a chorus in each school. Since that assignment ended, Michelle has had various opportunities within the Clifton School district and other districts to fill in as a leave replacement for Music. In that time, she has received experience in both middle school and high school, vocal and instrumental. As a part of her elementary student teaching experience, Michelle was able to reconnect with her roots as a Viola player and teach elementary orchestral strings. Michelle’s expertise is primarily vocal but she has gained experience in both orchestral strings and instrumental band. Michelle is eager to begin working privately with students individually and in groups as a part of the Lyric Performing Arts Center team!

Tash Hawthorne

MEET: Tash Hawthorne
Has always believed that no writer should be limited to one facet of the art of scribe. To her literary audiences, she is known for her critically acclaimed contemporary novels, Karma: With a Vengeance and its sequel For The Love of Money; the former for which she won Black Pearl Magazine’s “Best New Author” award. To her theater audiences, she is known for her stage plays, Mourning Glory, Out of Sight Out of Mind, Remember My Mother, Souls Gone Home and Syncopation. This Orange, New Jersey native and Hampton University Theatre graduate continuously sets high expectations for herself and strongly believes in conquering the “impossible.” She often laments on a simple, yet valuable, idiom shared by her grandmother, “The race is not given to the swift and the speedy, but to the one who endures to the end," and it is Hawthorne's belief that it is up to the individual to learn, embrace and carry lessons taught from such a race. Throughout her career, she has had the pleasure of working alongside legendary artists such as Alvin Ailey protégé, Alfred Gallman, NAACP and AUDELCO award-winning actress, Marie Thomas-Foster, Negro Ensemble Company artistic director and alum, Charles Weldon, and the late Tony-nominated playwright, Leslie Lee. She formerly served as the Dramatic Arts Director and Drama Club Advisor at Orange Preparatory Academy in Orange, NJ and she also acted as a Mentor and Advisor for the New Jersey-based program Female Achievers, Incorporated. It was within those two organizations where Hawthorne was able to counsel and empower youth through self/cultural exploration and public service. She currently serves as the Playwright-In-Residence at the Theatre Workshop/The Peppermint Players in South Orange, NJ, a youth-based theatre company founded by Marie Thomas-Foster and the Method Acting/Playwriting teacher at LYRIC Performing Arts Center.

Lillian Ribeiro

MEET: Lillian Ribeiro
For over 15 years, Ribeiro has worked as an arts activist committed reshaping how art is created, presented, and received. She has organized original and nationally recognized community-based art-shows, theatrical productions and film events around the country. As a trained applied theatre practitioner, who holds a commitment to participant-centered practices, she believes in fostering meaningful collective experiences. Her passion is sharing knowledge as a theatre-teaching artist with urban youth, survivors of domestic violence, and elders with dementia and Alzheimer's. She has trained with SoJourn Theatre, Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York, Cornerstone Theater Company and El Teatro Campesino in California, Anne Basting at University of Wisconsin’s summer institute Create/Change: Transforming Care for Elders Through Creative Engagement, University Settlement’s Creative Aging Training Institute, and with the National Center for Creative Aging Arts and Aging Core for teaching artists. Ribeiro is a native of Ironbound Newark and received her dual Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University: Theatre Arts and Speech from the School of Arts and Sciences and Marketing from the Rutgers Business School. After graduating, she became active in participating and bringing artistic cultural-educational events in several communities. She became inspired to understand the theories behind her practices and completed her Master of Arts in Applied Theatre studies program at City University of New York, School of Professional Studies in 2013. Currently, she is training as a drama therapist with the North American Drama Therapy Association. She speaks Portuguese and Spanish, and holds certifications through Rutgers University School of Social Work, and is certified facilitator of TimeSlips, a participant-centered storytelling method that creatively engages aging adults’ with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Christine Cullen

MEET: Christine Cullen
Christine Cullen has been performing Opera, Operetta, Musical Theater, Oratorio, and Recitals extensively throughout her career, including her New York City debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, and performs regularly throughout the country. Christine is the Director of the Christ Church Choir in Montclair NJ and has been teaching private and group vocal classes for many years including all genres of music and languages. She uses her knowledge of strong vocal and breathing technique to educate and encourage singers, helping them overcome performance fear and reach their highest potential.

Giselle Rohane

MEET: Giselle Rohane
Giselle’s formal dance training began at the age of 4 at the Garden State Ballet and continued in pre-professional programs at New Jersey Ballet, the Rock School in Philadelphia, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Atlantic City Ballet Theater, and New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble. Her love of dance has been nurtured by an international cast of professionals trained at Juliard, Alvin Ailey and Limon Dance Company based in New York, Tokyo, Latvia, Romania, Brazil, and Russia. Giselle, a recent graduate of Oak Knoll School in Summit, NJ, plans to attend the University of San Diego next fall as a mathematics major. While she is broadly versed in dance, she has notable ballet and modern dance and choreography skills as well as a strong desire to pass on her passion for dance. “I just love teaching others to dance!” In recent years she performed the lead in the ballet Giselle at Atlantic City Ballet’s summer intensive, New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble’s Nutcracker and Bali de Primavera as well as in her senior performance at Oak Knoll School where she choreographed and taught her classmates while performing seven dance routines. She exhibits an exuberant passion for dancing and teaching others in classical ballet and pointe, modern, contemporary, and jazz dance. Her eagerness to instruct and her obvious enthusiasm and delight with dance is contagious, especially for young children!

Kemi Talabi

MEET: Kemi Talabi
I first started dancing at the age of 6 at a dance studio in my town, but after about 2 weeks I stopped because my parents could no longer afford the classes. But dancing was something I always wanted to do and had a passion for and did not want money to get in the way of that. With so many dance shows in the media recently I was persuaded to really get back into dancing. I began to dance again in eighth grade, I trained myself at home in the art of hip hop and contemporary and more recently a West-African style. I starting dancing at my church more often and joined the step team at my high school. I currently teach dances for the young children at my church and dance for a hip hop team at my college called RH2O (Rutgers Hip Hop Operation). I have still found a way to blossom into a vibrant dancer and continue to push myself to newer levels in dance to become the best I can with the talent God has gifted me with.

Athena Barkley

MEET: Athena Barkley
Athena recently graduated from Essex County College (2016) with a degree in Art as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honors society. She is currently attending Rutgers Majoring in Graphic Design, and minoring in Visual Arts. Before graduating from Essex she received specialized training at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, there she majored in Motion Design, and learned how to use Adobe After Effects CC, along with Photoshop, and Premiere. When it comes to Fine Arts, Athena has been drawing all her life, and has also had training for that in school as well. She mostly draws Portraits in Charcoal, but she also paints. Athena has been painting since 2010 and also does portraits with her paintings. She does however venture out beyond figurative work with her paintings more than with her drawings. When it comes to her Fine Art work she tries to keep the lines as clean as possible so that the paintings look as if they were graphically done rather than painted. She is not afraid to go big, and would rather do so for a greater sense of expression.

Adam Aka "A-Yo"

MEET: Adam Aka "A-Yo"
Adam aka "A-Yo" has been dancing since he was 4 years old. He has been teaching/choreographing Breakin' & "Hiphop" for about 10 years now. He has traveled the world, met many talented people through dance, and has recently returned from a 3 year tour performing, competing, and teaching in New York, Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. Adam has studied under the pioneers and icons of Hiphop Culture and Street Dance in both New York City, and Los Angeles. He has performed with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Phonte of Little Brother, Ken Swift of the legendary Rocksteady Crew, just to name a few. His mentor, Kamel Howell, teaches and choreographs for Chris Brown (you can see them in the 2013 feature film, "Battle of the Year"). "I guarantee my instruction is of the highest quality, and fun! I believe we learn best when we are enjoying ourselves. " ~Adam "In my classes, students will leave feeling accomplished, sharper, and stronger." Adam is a one of a kind teacher; blending a yogi martial artist mentality, with the STYLE and attitude of hiphop culture...there are no classes around quite like his!

Caitlin Majewski

MEET: Caitlin Majewski
Caitlin Majewski is a talented violinist who has performed extensively around the world. A graduate of Juilliard Pre-College, she was accepted into Juilliard undergrad, then went on to study at Bard College and Conservatory, where she earned her B.A. in violin performance alongside her B.S. in psychology. Her teachers include Lewis Kaplan, who was a student of the legendary Ivan Galamian, Weigang Li of the Shanghai Quartet, Isaac Malkin, and Ella Rutkovsky. Caitlin has attended Bowdoin Music festival for 4 summers, and has been a part of New York Youth Symphony, and Contemporaneous New Music Ensemble. She has participated in master classes and chamber music instruction with Pamela Frank, Boris Belkin, Ida Kavafian, and the Ying Quartet, among others. She has taken part in three orchestra tours as part of the Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra and with the Bard Conservatory Orchestra. While abroad she performed at major concert halls in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, and many more. As co-founder of Sounds of Social Change (SOSC), a student-initiated Bard Trustee Leader Scholar project, she traveled to teach, mentor, and perform for and with young musicians living in poverty-stricken conditions in Cali, Colombia. The project’s mission is to use music education as a vehicle to empower youth and ignite change in communities, and earned the group a 2015 Davis Projects for Peace Prize.

Taina Bey

MEET: Taina Bey
Taina Bey is a recent graduate of Smith College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance with a Minor in Africana Studies. Taina was raised in South Orange, New Jersey and began dancing at a young age. She has studied a variety of techniques including Ballet, Modern/ Contemporary, Improvisation, Cunningham Technique, Jazz and Tap. She has performed in residency with Pilobolus Dance Theater and overseas in Berlin, Germany. Taina's goals are to earn a Master of Arts degree in Performance Studies or a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance and to teach at the collegiate level. Taina is so excited to be joining the staff at Lyric Performing Arts Center and sharing her love of dance with students of all ages!

Carly Patterson

MEET: Carly Patterson
Carly is a master’s level art therapist and Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC). In the past, Carly has provided art therapy and counseling to children and adults coming from low socioeconomic areas. She has also worked with hospitalized and partially hospitalized adults. By integrating counseling and art therapy techniques into her treatment plan, Carly helps clients focus on their emotional health while accelerating their personal growth. Carly is a member of the American Art Therapy Association, New Jersey Art Therapy Association, American Counseling Association, and the International Psychology Honor Society. Carly completed her graduate work at Caldwell University in a CACREP accredited program, finishing with a master’s degree in mental health counseling and a specialization in art therapy. In the future, Carly plans to continue her education to include marriage and family therapy.

Meka Ward

MEET: Meka Ward
Meka Ward has vast performing experience in Musical Theatre, Soul, Rhythm and Blues and Gospel. Her passion for singing has brought her to stages such as the World Famous Apollo Theater, and oversees to Kenya, The Dominican Republic and South Africa. Most recently, Meka’s credits include, Featured Vocalist in Black Nativity (Crossroads Theatre), Lorrell Robinson in Dreamgirls (Axelrod Performing Arts Center), Featured Vocalist in One Night Only Reunion Tour (Axelrod Performing Arts Center) and Gladys Knight in Sing Harlem Sing (Dempsey Theater). Meka's riveting performance in Dreamgirls earned her a 2016 Perry Award nomination given by the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters for, "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical." Meka is also a Special Education Teacher who received a B.S. in Psychology from St. John’s University, a M.S. in General and Special Education from Bank Street College of Education. Meka is passionate about creating a safe space for students with special needs to encourage self- expression and increase self-esteem. Meka has worked with various community agencies to assist with developing music and theater programs, and she is excited to be a part of the Lyric PAC family.

Leanna Cotton

MEET: Leanna Cotton
Leanna Cotton is a New Jersey native who began dancing at Inspira Performing Arts and Cultural Center in New Brunswick, NJ and is currently a hip-hop and jazz dance instructor. She attended Middlesex County College in 2013 where she performed and choreographed for their dance ensemble. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance at Montclair State University. Here she had the opportunity to perform works by Earl Mosley, Bill T. Jones, Anna Sokolow, Maxine Steinman and Jose Limon.

Holly Googe

MEET: Holly Googe
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Holly is a proud graduate of LaGuardia High School and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). While at UMBC, Holly performed with different dance groups, performing street jazz, contemporary African dance and stiletto heels. Holly was featured in the UMBC commercial “Learn More” and choreographed her own dances for UMBC’s dance showcases and concerts. She also began assisting Elizabeth Walton (a former member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company) as a teaching assistant for her modern dance class at UMBC. Holly would later teach dance (ballet, theatre dance, hip-hop and tap) in various settings, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Harlem Children’s Zone and local dance studios in the NJ/NYC area. Since earning her B.A. in Dance and Minor in French, Holly has performed with Carnival Cruise Lines, in the Tony-award winning musical Memphis at the Walnut Street Theatre & Riverside Theatre and Christmas Inn at the Westchester Broadway Theatre.