Anne Marie Brunner Abderholden - Founder, Artistic Director
Anne Marie was born in Holland and spent most of her childhood in Switzerland. At age seven she joined the Opera Ballet School in Zurich. Upon graduation at age eighteen, she joined the Opera Ballet in Zurich. She also performed with the Volksopera Ballet in Vienna, the Stadttheater Badden and toured with Munich Opera. She enjoyed working with choreographers such as Patricia Neary and Hans van Manen. Anne-Marie later received an advanced degree in the teaching of classical ballet, (extended Vaganova) at the Music College in Cologne. She taught at the Opera Ballet School in Zurich, at the Swiss School for Professional Dancers and at the Theater Ballet School in Krefeld and Monchengladbach, Germany. In 1991 she moved to Madison, Wisconsin with her family where she taught for the Monona Academy of Dance. She was a choreographer for the Wisconsin Dance Ensemble and the Performing Arts for Children. She was co-owner and artistic director of Turning Pointe School of Ballet. Anne-Marie has worked with many children who have gone on to professional dancing careers, such as Principal Dancer with the Charleston Ballet Theater, Hamburg Ballet, Germany and Morgan Scott Company in New York.
Dr. Kevin Meidl - Badger State Girl's Choir, Artistic Director
Dr. Kevin Meidl is director of choirs and music department chair at Appleton West High School. He has taught junior high school and high school choral music in Appleton for the past twenty-eight years. In addition, he is the artistic director and principal conductor with the Appleton Boychoir…a treble choir of young boys currently celebrating their thirtieth season.
In 2006 Meidl co-founded the Badger State Girl Choir in partnership with the Valley Academy for the Arts in Neenah, Wisconsin. As conductor and artistic director of this ensemble, he leads nearly one hundred elementary and middle school girls in a diverse performance-based program inclusive of both music and dance. Meidl is currently president of the North Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association. In this position, he oversees the professional development of several thousand school, church, community and university conductors from across the upper Midwest. He serves as a voting member of the national choral directors board, and is past president of the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association. For Dr. Meidl's complete bio, please visit: Badger State Girl Choir
Courtney Holcomb - Executive Administrative Assistant
Bio coming soon...
Emily Larsen - Ballet
Emily Larsen is a ballet instructor at the Valley Academy for the Arts where she teaches beginning ballet for both children and adults. Previously, she was a student herself at the Academy and her experience includes various performances and roles in the ballet productions of Pippi Longstocking, Peter and the Wolf, Hansel and Gretel, Where the Wild Things Are, and 12 Dancing Princesses. She also danced for the "Nutcracker in the Castle," the Academy's annual holiday collaboration with the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh, WI.
Jennifer Dutch -Instructor
Julie Martin - Theater
Julie Martin is originally from Chicago where she received her theatre degree from Loyola University. In Chicago, she performed, assisted many wonderful directors as well as directed productions of “Zoo Story,” “Laundry and Bourbon” and “Feiffer’s People” among others. Since moving to Appleton, along with directing numerous children’s shows for Attic Theatre Ms. Martin also directed “Pump Boys and Dinettes”, “Tony and Tina’s Wedding”, “Visiting Mr. Green”, “A Shot in the Dark” and most recently “I Do, I Do”. She directed shows for Xavier High School and was director and auditorium manager at Menasha High School. Ms. Martin enjoys teaching 3-7 year olds Music & Movement and Theatre classes for Lawrence Academy of Music throughout the year. She has been teaching youth theatre classes in the Fox Cities for over 13 years as well as exploring improv with business leaders for the Chamber of Commerce Arts Days. Ms. Martin has also done voice over work and filmed a T.V. commercial. Some favorite roles she performed include Reba in “Last Night of Ballyhoo” Ophelia, The Twirler in “Talking With…” and Patty Simcox in “Grease.
Jody Vanesky - Visual Arts
Jody "Joe" Vanesky, formerly education director at Appleton Art Center, offers visual art classes for preschool students, elementary students, and adults. Jody is a graduate of Lawrence University with post-baccalaureate study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He brings years of experience as an award-winning artist and art educator.
Dr. Nathan Birkholz - Piano
Dr. Birkholz has taught children and adults from ages three to ninety for fourteen years. He studied piano pedagogy at Indiana University with Dr. Karen Taylor, director of IU’s Young Pianists Program and Piano Academy. He has taught many young beginners as well as children with ADD, ADHD, Tourette’s, and autism. For six years, he was on faculty as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois where he taught 20 undergraduates each semester. This fall he is on faculty as Adjunct Instructor of Music at Ripon College and will be staff accompanist for the Badger State Girl Choir Vivace group. Birkholz holds degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (DMA), Indiana University-Bloomington (MM), and Northern Illinois University (BM). A prizewinner in competitions across the country including the 2010 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, he has performed concertos with the Fox Valley Symphony of Appleton, the Green Bay Civic Symphony, the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic, and a student orchestra from the University of Illinois. He is also organist and pianist at Zion Lutheran Church of Appleton.
Ann Stephan - Violin & Viola
Photo coming soon...
Ann received her Master of Music Performance degree from Illinois State University and her Bachelor of Music Performance degree from UW-Oshkosh. She has been teaching private lessons for 20 years. Her past teaching experience includes adjunct faculty positions at the Illinois Wesleyan College Music Preparatory Program, the Illinois Valley School of Music and Lakeland College (Sheboygan). She coaches sectionals for the Fox Valley Youth Orchestra's Philharmonia, Ripon College and other area orchestras. Ann currently performs with a number of ensembles including the Fox Valley Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony and the Bel Canto Chorus Orchestra. She was formerly the principal violist of the Sheboygan Symphony and has played in the Peoria Symphony, Illinois Opera Orchestra, Illinois Symphony and Green Bay Symphony among others. As a freelance musician Ann has had a variety of unique performing opportunities including violist for the Wisconsin premiere of “The Lion King” in 2007.
Charles Stephan - Cello & Bass
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Charles received his Master of Music Performance degree from Illinois State University and his Bachelor of Music Performance degree from UW-Oshkosh. He has been teaching private lessons for over 20 years. He is currently on faculty as Adjunct Instructor of Music at both Ripon College and UW-Oshkosh. Charles coaches sectionals for the Fox Valley Youth Concert Orchestra, Ripon College and other area orchestras. He also coaches chamber music during the summer at The Clearing in Door County. He is the assistant principal cellist with the Fox Valley Symphony and performs with other ensembles including the Manitowoc Symphony. Charles was formerly the principal cellist of the Sheboygan Symphony and has played in the Peoria Symphony, Illinois Opera Orchestra and Green Bay Symphony. He is an active chamber musician and performs with a variety of touring musicals and shows.
Bob Nelson - Shorei Kempo Karate
Sensei Nelson started his study of the martial arts (Go-Shin-do) at the age of 14 under the instruction of Sensei Paul Dean in Rhinelander, WI. In 1977 Sensei Nelson went to college at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where he co-founded the Martial Arts Club. The club had an 'all styles welcome' format where martial artists could gather and practice. Upon graduation in 1981 Sensei Nelson moved to Wausau, WI where he met Sensei Charles St. Pierre and started the practice of Shorei Kempo Karate. In 1985 Sensei Nelson moved to Neenah, WI where he started teaching Karate at the Appleton YMCA. . Sensei Nelson received his first degree black belt (shodan) in Shorei Kempo Karate in 1986. Over the years Sensei Nelson continued to teach Karate and advanced to the rank of 6th degree black belt (rokodan). Sensei Nelson has been teaching at the Valley Academy of the Arts for nine years.
Sam Mitchell - Dance
Sam has over 19 years of dance experience including five years as a core dancer in Santa Barbara Dance Theatre. Sam has experience as a choreographer for both dance and theatre. He has taught ballet, modern and performing skills extensively at the university level as well as in independent dance studios. He directed The Studio at North Park for one year, where he taught modern technique, ballet, salsa, and tango classes. He has taught Master classes in Santa Barbara, Oakland, New York, San Francisco, the Czech Republic, Argentina, China and Bologna, Italy. He was also the manager of Santa Barbara Dance Theater in 2002, working in collaboration with company director Jerry Pearson.
Vicky Krause - Drama
Photo coming soon...
Vicky is a graduate of Viterbo University with a degree in Theatre as well as Elementary education. She has been involved in theatre since the age of 13. Vicky loves to spread her enjoyment of the arts with everyone. Upon graduation Vicky has been employed by Appleton Area Schools. She uses her love of theatre to help the students better understand the concepts taught. Vicky is currently sharing her talents at Appleton East High School as the costumer for the theatre department.