Susan entered this world laughing and with a unique blend of passion and empathy which quickly translated into a love of stage acting in the Westchester Acting Community for many years. A leap of faith and sense of humor she has expanded her talents to include the study of film and voiceover acting. Always a student in her quest to enhance her craft, Susan joined Embark in the Mission to unify Creatives and move the Arts forward to a place of prominence in our community.
Alyssa has worked as an independent performer, composer and arranger in the New York tri-state area since completing her Bachelors and Master’s degrees at the Juilliard School. She has performed with institutions ranging from the Orchestra of St. Lukes, the Pittsburgh Symphony, and the Metropolitan Opera, to contemporary music groups and traditional Irish bands, playing in such well known, diverse venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Tully Hall, BAM, the Public Theater, and the Kitchen. She has performed with renowned storyteller Laura Simms, toured with Patti Lupone and Kevin Klein under the auspices of Lincoln Center Children’s Programs. She was founder, artistic director, and resident composer for Singing Harp, an arts troupe which presented fairy tales, myths, and classic stories in innovative dramatic and musical forms.
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that incorporates elements of sport, music, martial art and dance into a game of physical dialogue and expression. Contra Mestre Cabeção started training with Mestre Esquilo in Sete Lagoas, MG, Brasil in June 1996 and after years of studying and teaching capoeira went on to earn a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education in 2008. CM Cabeção and his assistant, Monitora Areia, started teaching in Westchester County in January 2012. The two artists have been working as Cai na Capoeira in the Westchester area to organize classes, workshops, performances and events with the intention of promoting capoeira and all elements of music, culture, health, dance and the arts.
Liz Peterson holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of California, Irvine and has been a professional Ballroom & Latin dancer/instructor for the past 25 years. She is a dancer/actor/singer and has performed on stage, video and film. As President of Dancing for Animals, Inc., her non-profit organization, she works to raise funds for animal welfare organizations via dancing activities.
Donna Barkman started performing in kindergarten. Radio, theatre, and recorded books kept her busy for many years. Recently, she has widely performed her solo pieces at NYC and local venues. She’s played at La Mama, HERE Arts, and the Estrogenius Festivals in NYC. Her poetry has been published in many journals and she enjoys creating ekphrastic work which she then performs in art galleries and museums, most recently (2013) with two pieces in “Words that Paint” at The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art.
Independent singer/ songwriter, musician, poet, engineer, and producer.
Gillen is a prolific songwriter, recording artist, and producer. From 1997 to the present he has released nine independent studio solo albums, one live album, two albums with Hope Machine, and one as half of the duo Gillen & Turk, all to substantial critical acclaim. His music has also been played on independent, commercial, public, and college radio all over the world. As a producer he has about thirty records credited to him in the past five years, and his recording studio Woody's House is a busy hub of Hudson Valley creativity.He is currently a co-writing member of the rock band Hot Rod Pacer, and his latest solo album Wage Love, which features primarily his more "political" songs, concerning topics such as war, the plight of veterans, freedom, 9/11, and the story of the great labor organizer Joe Hill was released February of 2015.It features an a cappella song, and instrumental, and a spoken-word piece, along with eight songs with more traditional forms.He plans to tour as much as possible in 2015 to promote Wage Love, the album and the concept.
Gene is a video artist, photographer, musician, and audio/visual specialist who lives in Peekskill. His work has been seen in many galleries and venues in the Hudson Valley and beyond. He is EMBARK’s resident technical guru and founder of the currently running P.E.A.C.E. (Peekskill Electroacoustic Ambient Chamber Ensemble) music series. P.E.A.C.E. is an open group of musicians who play ambient music, using traditional and modern instruments that are electronically processed, in a relaxed atmosphere promoting peace and well-being.
Judith Heineman is a storyteller, producer and teacher, who has been selected as an Illinois Humanities Council "Road Scholar" and an Illinois ArtsTour and Residency Artist. She co-chaired the July 2003 National Storytelling Conference in Chicago, and presented a workshop on Tale Variants at the 2004 National Conference in Bellingham, WA. She is the producer of The Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival and Tellabration, the adult Storytelling festival that she brought to Chicago in 1997. Judith has created programs for numerous museums, festivals and schools and has appeared at the Chicago Humanities Festival.
Kelly O'Connor is a recent graduate from SUNY New Paltz where she got a BA in both Theatre Arts and Adolescent English Education. She currently works as a substitute teacher. Her previous productions with EMBARK Peekskill include Emotional Creatures and scenes from A Midsummer Nights Dream as Hermia for the Fifth Annual Firefly and Fairy Festival, and most recently, The Fantasticks as Assisant Director and Lousia's understudy. Her latest projects include working with Katie and Sol as an administrative intern and developing a class for Embark's spring session. In her free time, Kelly loves swing dancing and scrabble.
Always search for the disruptive solution. If it is too comfortable, it is boring. Hold your mirror as if 'twere up to nature, and you are sure to either please or anger your audience. Either way, it is a success.
I am an artist and an art historian.
As an artist, I have spent decades working with drawing, painting, collage, photography and sculpture. More recently, my focus has been video and performance art. As an art historian, I have been a professor, curator and lecturer.
My goal is always to challenge myself and to challenge those who encounter my work - in any realm.
The internationally acclaimed ensemble, REBEL, originally formed in 1991 in The Netherlands, is one of America's foremost ensembles specializing in 17th- & 18th-century music on period instruments. The core formation of two violins, cello &harpsichord frequently collaborates with recorder virtuoso Matthias Maute, and expands to full orchestra as needed. REBEL tours worldwide, boasts a discography of more than thirteen discs on six different labels, and produces a concert series in Bedford called Music Antiqua Nova. REBEL is dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of baroque and early classical music performed in historically-informed style on instruments appropriate to the period.
A native New Yorker, Suzi began her dance career with the Windemere Ballet Theatre in Queens. Her passion for dance lead her to study many international folk dance styles, including Irish Step, Scottish Highland, Middle Eastern, and African. An actor as well, she studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and improvisational comedy at Chicago City Limits in New York City. As a member of AllNations Dance Company, she traveled to such exotic locations as Central and South America, Eastern Europe, China and Brooklyn sharing a message of global understanding through the arts. She has performed in many regional musicals and plays, including Brigadoon, Damn Yankees, Over the River and Through the Woods (at the Emelin Theatre and Queens Theatre in the Park)
Ted Kelsey writes award-winning independent literature for young people, including the illustrated fantasy OLGA and the quirky mystery SHASHA AND WALLY WATSON VS THE FAKER. Find his books online or in your local bookstore.
Brian is a writer, editor and full-time college professor. He is author of "Lincoln before Lincoln" (University Press of Kentucky, 2016) and co-editor of "Michael Moore and the Rhetoric of Documentary" (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015). His research has been published in numerous academic journals and presented at international conferences. He specializes in creative nonfiction.
Mario Giacalone is an actor/singer/musician/songwriter and director. Currently he is the Program Director at Tribeca Performing Arts Center where he also directs the annual Writers in Performance workshop/performance. Mr. Giacalone has been the owner/artistic director of the Creative Acting Company where he taught, produced, and directed. He has appeared in the films, I was on Mars, Giraffe, Mother Tongue, and directed the shorts Mamma Millie..., and Vinny and Iggy's Big Date. Mr. Giacalone is also a singer songwriter who has recorded and performed with the legendary Human Condition and as a solo artist. His current CD "Only Thing I'm Sure Of", is available through i-Tunes, CD Baby, and his website www.mariogiacalone.com.
It is always a joy to witness a new musical talent. Kristina Koller has become part of the New York City jazz scene in recent years, developing quickly into a highly individual jazz singer. Her sound is both timeless and contemporary. While she loves singing standards and straight ahead jazz, Kristina also enjoys arranging tunes in unusual ways, knowing that adding to the legacy of jazz is much more important than merely recreating the performances of others. She reinvents classic material while retaining their essence, putting her own winning personality and fresh ideas into the lyrics that she interprets.
Some of the finest wind and brass players in the New York area have come together to form a new ensemble that brings the best music for winds, brass, and percussion to all sorts of great places. Vent Nouveau is dedicated to bringing attention to the wide variety of underperformed repertoire for winds and brass. It is the first group of its kind in the NYC area. Vent Nouveau can be configured in a wide variety of sizes based on the repertoire.
Nomi has an extensive background as a multi-disciplinary performing artist. She was the founding member of Inner-Landscapes Dance Theater, a dance collective in New York City. Her successful artistic background includes acting, dancing, directing, writing, choreographing and producing for many stage productions.
Nomi has integrated her artistic abilities along with her 26 years of counseling experience and spiritual awareness to create the Gates of Power® method, a method for self-development and self-actualization. Her mission is to empower, inform and support individuals to reach their full potential. She is a speaker, and works with individuals as well as leads workshops and seminars.
I have been practicing theater improvisation for over ten years. For me, theater improvisation is a Zen practice. It's about just being myself, noticing my environment and my scene partners, being moved by what I notice, and through it all, discovering characters and stories. I love to teach theater improvisation and to guide groups in the creation of sketch comedy and theater pieces using this process. My theater improvisation home is at Artistic New Directions.
Melissa is a musician, performer, and songwriter from the NY area. She is an avid performer around NYC and the Westchester area. While pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Music at SUNY Purchase, she self released her first album, "Kites and Clouds", which features some of her original music. She is a huge supporter of LIVE music, and bringing people together through authentic, unedited, and live art! New original music is on the way, and she can't wait to share it. Melissa is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Music Education at CUNY Lehman College, where she is gaining hands on classroom experience teaching music.
Lolly is Founder of UFT Players, she has acted, directed and produced all her life. She envisions Theater as a vehicle for learning, expression, social & intellectual tool for growth. Theater is a process & necessity for society. It's a passion!
I am a Broadway performer whose passion is coaching serious musical theater performers in their journey to the professional stage. My performance resume includes such shows as The Lion King (Nala), The Producers, Dreamgirls, Applause, Murder Ballad, Smokey Joe's Cafe, As The World Turns (TV), Law and Order, and national commercials. My training includes The Actors' Studio Drama School (MFA Program), University of Richmond (BA in Theater), Joan Lader and Andrea Green (Vocal Coaches), and The Barrow Group (NYC). Please contact me with any further questions.
Paul Stark believes that our challenging future(s) require new ways of living and working together, and new kinds of artistic expression. He's working on a number of projects in a number of media to find these new forms.
Magician - Magic Historian - Performance Artist - Writer - Chinese Healing Arts
Margaret Steele inhabits a downtown Peekskill live/work artist loft, where she offers magic performances, lectures and lessons while also maintaining a thriving practice as a Licensed Acupuncturist and Qigong instructor. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Margaret performed for decades as an oboist in symphony orchestras and Broadway shows while maintaining a parallel career as a magician and children's entertainer. Since moving to Peekskill in 2010, Margaret has toured China five times, lectured and performed at the Magic Circle in London and The Magic Castle in Hollywood and published a book on Adelaide Herrmann (1853-1932), the world's first great female magician. She is an avid amateur singer/dancer/actor and a charter member of EMBARK's Embiciles comedy improv troupe.
MaryAnn McCarra Fitzpatrick lives in Peekskill, NY. Published in: Chronogram, The Mom Egg, Clapboard House, Cavalier Literary Couture, Thick With Conviction, Torrid Literature, Make Room for DADA, MoonLit, Obsolete! Magazine, Cheap and Easy Magazine, The Westchester Review, The Lake, Laughing Earth Lit, Florida English, The Healing Muse, and The Pierian Literary Journal. Readings: Centerfold Coffeehouse, ABC NoRio, The Back Fence, Manhattan College, Mount Vernon Public Library, Lola’s Tea House, Greenburgh Town Hall, HVCCA, Embark/Peekskill, Warner Library, The Hat Factory, Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, and The Bean Runner Café. Collages included in the travelling exhibits “Circus Terminal” and “One Bare Foot Square.”
Austin Charnis is an eclectic classical and contemporary guitarist and instructor. He studied performance at SUNY Fredonia and received his B.A. in Music Business in 2009. As an author of original method books, Austin has developed a unique and effective style of teaching that allows students to explore a wide array of technique and repertoire. He is available for private lessons of various genres, with a focus on the classical and finger-picking styles. You can find him performing around the tri-state area at events ranging from cafés to wedding ceremonies, and everything in between.
Born and raised in New York City, moved to Peekskill 30 years ago and raised my family here. Retired from UPS, a writer with a published book; " Fun City " available on Amazon with two more books to be published soon. I play the drums, do a podcast and tell a story or two, which I leave up to the listener to determine the the veracity of the tale. I have been a youth baseball coach forever and am still active in it. I love it.
Joni resides on Lanza Farms, the maple syrup and goat farm that she and her husband, Louie Lanza built together. She enjoys caring for their three boys in the stunning Hudson River Valley in Garrison, New York. She has served under the legislature on the Putnam County Agriculture and farmland protection board for the past 5 years. The couple’s restaurant, The Hudson Room, has a beautiful stage where Joni loves to perform occasionally. She is currently writing her own songs, and will record her first album this year. Recent projects include creating a production number to a song that she wrote for Daisy Jopling’s show to benefit Daisy’s children’s music program to keep the children engaged and learning music. She also offers her talents to many charities including the Lanza Family foundation, the Woodruff Foundation to benefit the disabled veterans and Hope’s Door, which provides a much needed safe haven for battered women and children.
Before embarking on her current solo, music & performance career, she enjoyed a long career dancing, singing, and acting on not one, but three beautiful Broadway stages in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and Tony award winning shows 42nd Street & Thoroughly Modern Millie. Joni understudied the lead role of Peggy Sawyer for which she went on nearly 90 times. She enjoyed the opportunity to tour with Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, and tap danced in Mikimoto jewelry’s industrial show in Tokyo, Japan. Of course none of this would have been possible without her training in dance which she received in Woodford County at Jane’s School of Dance from her mother Jane Schenck. Joni is also a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She landed her first professional job at Radio City before she graduated AMDA, but was able to go ahead and graduate before embarking on her professional. Aside from her music, and dancing, she loves cooking, baking, exercising, and spending time at the beach in West Hampton with her family and friends. Joni is proud to have joined Embark’s creative family.
Sonia Lee Garber - Cortlandt Living - BVM
writer, editor, artist, actor
Hello, I studied painting and drawing at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Art. Writing,acting,singing, and dancing are passions of mine as well. Currently I am the publisher and editor of Cortlandt Living magazine with Best Version Media.
Susan (Fisher) Wright was raised in Peekskill where she studied piano with Thom Piliouras. She went on to study piano and music recording in college at SUNY Fredonia. Throughout the 80s and 90s, she went on to work as a recording engineer for various NYC studios. During that time, she recorded De La Soul's debut "Three Feet High and Rising", as well as many other recording projects. Another highlight was collaborating with Pete Seeger as a songwriter and music educator. Susan currently resides in Carmel, NY, works as a music teacher at Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School, and plays music with friends in the Hudson Valley.
Leesa is a Speech Pathologist who works with a diverse population in Peekskill, and works with children between 2-5 years old. She has two adult children -- the older one a chiropractor and the younger is a theater, film and TV actor. Leesa is an active participant in Embark's Improv class and is a member of the EMBeciles Sketch Comedy Troupe.
MELODIE WOLFORD is a theatre actress who lives in the Putnam Valley area. She has toured with 42nd STREET and LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. Off Broadway she has been seen as Mrs. Winemiller in SUMMER AND SMOKE and in MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL. Some of her favorite roles include M'Lynn in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Gladys in MEMPHIS and Jack's Mom in INTO THE WOODS. Melodie's son, Alexander, attends Vassar College and is a budding actor and composer.