Kathryn Elizabeth Allison, Lead Vocal Instructor, Owner
Miss Kathryn Allison is a 2015 graduate of Buffalo State College where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music with concentration in vocal studies. Miss Allison studied in the studio of Dr. Holly Bewlay.
Miss Allison has performed in several ensembles including Amherst Bel Canto, Conference All-State Vocal Jazz, Buffalo State Choral ensembles, Buffalo Master Chorale, and Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. She is currently a member of Buffalo Choral Arts Society. Kathryn has also appeared in several musical productions including Guys and Dolls, Pajama Game, Hello Dolly, Wonderful Town, and was Fantine in Les Miserables.
Miss Allison is a frequent soprano soloist in the Buffalo area. She has appeared in Viva Verdi (Buffalo Opera Unlimited), participated in the Buffalo Cadenza Workshop for young artists, and was the featured soloist for Buffalo State’s Presidential inauguration. She recently performed a solo recital for the St. Francis (Tonawanda) concert series and was the soprano soloist for Schubert’s Mass and the Dubois Seven Last Words of Christ. Most recently, she was the soprano soloist for Olivet to Calvary at Clarence Presbyterian Church.
In addition to a very active performance schedule, Miss Allison has taught private voice lessons for the past 7 years, which prompted her to open the Williamsville Performing Arts Studio!
Constance A. Allison, Vocal & Piano Instructor
Mrs. Constance Allison received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Education from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Masters in Music degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has taught music at all levels and recently retired as director of vocal music from Lockport High School. During her tenure at LHS, Mrs. Allison directed the concert choir, vocal jazz ensemble, symphonic chorale, co-directed the annual musicals and formed the madrigal singers. Mrs. Allison has served as guest conductor and accompanist for several music festivals throughout New York State. She has also directed the Lockport Chorale, served as assistant conductor for Amherst Bel Canto Choir, and vocal director at Lancaster Opera House.
Mrs. Allison has performed with the Artpark Opera Chorus, Western New York Opera, Greater Buffalo Opera, Freudig Singers of Western New York, Buffalo Master Chorale, Opera Sacra and is currently a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.
Mrs. Allison is active as a certified voice adjudicator for the New York State School Music Association, a member of ACDA and NafME. She has been named to Who’s Who Among American Educators, and was selected Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars.
Jesse Bonaventura, Piano Instructor
Jesse Bonaventura is a 2018 graduate of the SUNY Fredonia School of Music, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance with a concentration in Pedagogy, as well as a Performer’s Certificate under the tutelage of Fr. Seán Duggan, OSB. In addition to numerous appearances alongside the many musical groups in Fredonia, including the College Symphony Orchestra, the Fredonia Chamber Orchestra, the Fredonia Wind Ensemble, Jesse appeared as one of the School of Music’s Concerto Competition winning soloists with the College Symphony in the fall of 2017, performing the first movement of George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. Jesse has given solo concerts, performed with several chamber ensembles, collaborated with a multitude of soloists, and premiered new compositions, including the solo piano accompaniment for the original musical “Dollhouse” by composer Rachael Smith.
During the summer of 2017, Jesse attended the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium held at Princeton University, where he was exposed to the Dorothy Taubman approach to piano playing. He plans to use this experience to form a strong, healthy technique in the students at WPAS, as well as a broad understanding of music theory and solid navigation of the vast repertoire for the piano.
“Without my morning coffee, I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.”
Johann Sebastian Bach
Allison Grant, Vocal Instructor
Ms. Allison Grant is so excited to join the Williamsville Performing Arts Studio Team as a vocal instructor. Having just earned her Bachelors in Music Education from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Allison has certification in k-12 music with a concentration in band and choral areas. In her time at SUNY Potsdam she studied voice with Dr. Jonathan Stinson. She was also selected to teach voice and flute to non-majors at the university level. Through her student teaching experience, she taught k-4 general music at Country Parkway Elementary and Choir along with private lessons at Amherst High School where she assisted in coaching 39 NYSSMA solos for the Junior and Senior high festivals. In addition to Ms. Grant’s teaching experience, she has performed under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt, Duain Wolfe, and JoAnn Falletta with the Crane Chorus including a concert at Carnegie Hall. She has also student conducted the Potsdam Community Chorus and attended ACDA conferences since joining as a member in 2015. She is also a member of NAfME and attends conferences to further her development as an educator.
Nolyn Brunner, Vocal Instructor
Nolyn Brunner is a 2018 graduate of Buffalo State College, where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. While at Buffalo State she sang in the school’s ensembles, including Chamber Choir and Vocal Jazz. She also taught Early Childhood Music Classes for children from Birth up to age 4. In her student teaching placements, she worked in a General Elementary Music setting at Windermere Boulevard Elementary, as well as directed choirs at Charter Middle School for Applied Technologies.
Nicole Pavlovich, Dance & Acting Instructor
Nicole Pavlovich comes to us with a variety of experience. A special education teacher by day, Nicole has over 16 years experience teaching elementary age students. She began her dance training at the age of 2 and a half years old and continued to dance competitively with the David DeMarie Dance studio through the age of 15. She also studied with the Royal Academy of Ballet under the direction of Ginger Burke and Elizabeth DiStasio. Nicole transitioned from competitive dancing to musical theater performance in high school and continued working in that venue. She was the choreographer of the St Joseph’s Collegiate Institute Swing Choir for six years, as well as choreographing Children of Eden, Music Man, Oklahoma, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Guys and Dollsthere. She has also choreographed No, No Nanette, Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Anything Goes at Williamsville South High School, and Hair and Leader of the Pack at Canisius College. No stranger to the stage, her favorite roles include The Hunyak in Chicago, Sr Leo in Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, By My Side Apostle in Godspell, and Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie all with Cosmopolitan productions, and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof and Anita inWest Side Story at KTMTW. Nicole is thrilled to join the Williamsville Performing Arts Studio to bring together her love of theater, creation and teaching.
Bobby Cooke, Dance Instructor
Bobby is a professional and Artie Award winning performer/director/choreographer in Buffalo. He has a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory. He has been teaching movement and Musical Theatre classes for many, many years. He is currently director/choreographer of the musicals at Williamsville South High School, Sweet Home High School and Starpoint Middle. He does not believe in the word CAN’T and strives to help all students believe in their own special abilities.
Breana Walker, Dance Instructor
Breana is originally from Staten Island, NY where she has been dancing at the age of 5. She took foundational classes(tap, jazz, and ballet) with Mrs. Rosemary’s Dance Studio, and later received a scholarship to attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 3 years. In 2009 she moved from Mrs. Rosemary’s to Fierce Dance Company where she competed in multiple competitions and was lucky to receive many awards! In 2010, Breana was accepted into the “Fame School” Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, for Dance where she continued her study in Ballet, Modern, Tap, and Jazz. After graduating High School, she was accepted into Buffalo State College, where she is currently a senior. In 2016 Breana became the Choreographer and Captain of the Buffalo State Pom Dance Team. Next year, she will continue to Coach her dance team as well as join the WPAS team!
Lisa Noelle Miller, Dance/ Acting Instructor
Lisa received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from SUNY Fredonia and her M.S. in Special Education from Canisius College. Lisa began dancing at age 4 and by 12 was performing in musicals. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia Lisa moved to Orlando, FL to work at Walt Disney World as a character performer. Lisa performed in many parades and shows both at Magic Kingdom as well as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After four years Lisa decided it was time to say goodbye to the mouse and move back home, where she enrolled in graduate school at Canisius College. Lisa now teaches children on the Autism Spectrum but still finds time to perform. Lisa has been seen on many stages in Buffalo, but works behind the scenes just as often. Lisa has always enjoyed performing as well as working with children and it has been her lifelong dream to combine her two passions together in a way that will foster not only a love for the performing arts, but also instill a sense of confidence and high self-esteem to children in all aspects of life.
Nathan Andrew Miller, Acting Instructor
Nate is thrilled to join the WPAS team! A proud graduate of Niagara University with a BFA in Theater Performance and a BA in English, Nate has been extremely active in the Buffalo theater scene as both an actor and a director, especially at the Lancaster Opera House. Nate has assistant directed at Sacred Heart Academy and worked as a camp counselor for Camp Broadway at Shea’s and Kids ‘n Art, a summer camp at Niagara. As a performer, Nate has worked with the Irish Classical Theater, Alleyway Theater, Kaleidoscope Theater, NRTG, and the Lockport Palace Theatre. He has also performed and directed for his own company, Pared Down Productions, which he founded in 2015.
Nikki Sember, Choreographer
Nikki is currently enrolled at NYU Tisch for her BFA in theatre. Nikki graduated from Williamsville South where she appeared as Addaperle in The Wiz, Little Red in Into the Woods, Cassie in A Chorus Line, and many others. She has taken dance lessons since she was 3 years old and is a past student of Kathryn and Connie Allison. Nikki is so jazzed about choreographing for The Granny Awards.
Jacob Millman, Musical Director
Jacob is beyond thrilled to be directing The Granny Awards this summer. He is currently in the BFA Acting program at SUNY Fredonia, along with minors in Music and Women’s and Gender Studies. Throughout his acting career, he has been seen on many different stages, both professionally and academically, such as at Shakespeare in Delaware Park, The Lancaster Opera House, and Williamsville South High School. Some of Jacob’s favorite past roles include The Chairman/Mayor Sapsea in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Peter in The Diary of Anne Frank. The Auditioners by Doug Rand and the improvisational comedy group, Experts, are some examples of his previous directing experience. As a past student of Kathryn and Mrs. Allison, Jacob is ecstatic to be able to work with them, and his close friends, Nikki and Cassandra, to put on a spectacular show!
Cassandra G. Girzone, Assistant Vocal Director
Cassandra is currently enrolled at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. She will receive a BME in Music Education with a primary in voice and an emphasis on Jazz Studies. She studies in the studio of Professor Susan Wallin. Cassandra is a 2017 graduate of Williamsville South high school where she appeared in many productions, including Glinda in The Wiz, Rosa in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and Sheila in A Chorus Line. She also has had the honor of performing in several ensembles, including the Baldwin Wallace Treble Choir, Conference All State Vocal Jazz, and Area All State Women’s Chorus. As a past student of Connie and Kathryn Allison, Cassandra is thrilled to be able to work with them and to assist with vocal direction of the Granny Awards.
Emily Taylor, Assistant Vocal Director
Emily is currently attending the Fredonia School of Music. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Music Education with a concentration in voice. She studies with Dr. Robert Strauss. She graduated from Williamsville North High School where she was an active member in both orchestra and chorus. She was fortunate to appear in many productions at Williamsville North, such as Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins. She was a member of the 2015 Conference All State Women’s Choir, as well as many Area All State and All County Choirs. At Fredonia, she participated in the Student Opera Theatre Association’s Opera Scenes where she was a maiden in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience. She was also a member of the Fredonia Women’s Choir and the Masterworks Choir. She is also an active NAfME member and attended Conference All State as a collegiate member. As a former student of the Allisons’, Emily is ecstatic to be able to work with them again.
Jon Lehning, Instrumental Instructor
Jon Lehning is a multi-instrumentalist from Niagara Falls, New York. He began private teaching and performing professionally in 2010. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in music performance from the University of Buffalo. Jon works consistently throughout the WNY area as a leader of his own groups as well as a sideman in many other projects. He released his first album The Jon Lehning Quartet Plays Well With Others in 2015. Jon teaches saxophone, flute, clarinet, piano, music theory and improvisation. He has also taught in the University of Buffalo music department and still actively works there in the jazz department.