Rising Stars
Rising Stars
2016 Rising Stars
2016 Rising Stars

Congratulations To Our Twelve 18th Annual Rising Stars Performers!

The 2016 Rising Stars Program is Generously Supported by

The Rising Stars program began over a decade ago and was open to students in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Now, eighteen years later, the program is open to ALL high students in the state of New Jersey. In recognition of excellence in classical music performance, which was exemplified through the participation in the 2016 Rising Stars audition at the Algonquin Arts Theatre, all 12 of the pictured students have been selected from a statewide competition that seeks out classical musicians of the highest caliber at the high school level.

Rising Stars musicians experience a unique opportunity to perform and receive valuable feedback from a guest mentor - a professional in the classical music industry. Through participation in the Rising Stars program students further explore the possibility of a future career in the music industry and participation in this program can be an asset on a college application. Algonquin Arts Theatre distributes individual certificates and posts the finalists' names on the Algonquin Arts Theatre website as the 2017 Rising Stars.

Student instrumentalists or vocalists who are in high school that would like to be considered for this extraordinary experience, please refer to this website in September of 2017 to obtain information on how to apply for the 19th Annual Rising Stars Concert.

For further information, contact:
Julie Nagy, Director of Arts Education
Algonquin Arts Theatre
Attn: Education Department
Manasquan, NJ 08736

Rising Stars 2016 | Guest Mentors

Jacklyn Schneider

Jacklyn Schneider

Soprano Jacklyn Schneider, D.M.A., Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University; B.M. and the Performer’s Certificate in Voice & Opera, Eastman School of Music. Vocal studies: Beverley Peck Johnson, Margaret Harshaw, Julius Huehn. Musical coaching: Walter Taussig, Felix Popper, Joan Dornemann, Alberta Masiello. Dramatic coaching: Licia Albanese, Boris Goldovsky, Julia Sandra Rand. Leading roles: with Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston, San Francisco Spring Opera, Philadelphia Lyric Opera, Kentucky Opera, Connecticut Opera, Opera at Rutgers, Aspen Music Festival, Metropolitan Opera Studio, and on tours with Goldovsky Opera Theatre and Opera Northeast. Apprentice Artist, Santa Fe Opera. Repertoire: Tosca, Violetta, Magda, Countess, Agathe, Lady Billows, Ariadne, Antonina. Other appearances: in oratorio and recital throughout the United States. Lecture-recitals, Wagner, Women and Redemption and Richard Strauss’s Krämerspiegel: Satire in Song performed in NYC, at Skidmore, Mercer College, and Rutgers. Jacklyn performed Krämerspiegel on the Westminster Conservatory Faculty Recital Series, and at a benefit concert for the NYC chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. At a presentation at Marymount Manhattan College, Clara Schumann Reminisces, Jacklyn portrayed the character Pauline Viardot-Garcia, singing songs composed by Clara.

Awards and grants: Metropolitan Opera; Corbett, Minna Kaufmann-Ruud, W. M. Sullivan Foundations; Joy in Singing first prize winner - NYC recital debut at Town Hall. Current teaching: AMDA, College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, voice faculty since 1992 and is the founder and artistic director of AMDA’s American Opera Laboratory. Dr. Schneider maintains a private vocal studio in New York City and in New Jersey, and frequently serves as adjudicator at vocal competitions in the NY-NJ area.

Previous teaching: New York University, adjunct lecturer on opera; Westminster Conservatory; Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Dr. Schneider is co-founder and vice president of Arts for Alzheimer’s, a non-profit foundation. She is a member of the Bradley Beach (NJ) Arts Council.

Stephen Francis Vasta

Stephen Francis Vasta

Stephen Francis Vasta has been an active conductor, vocal coach, and keyboardist for over twenty years, mostly in and around his native New York, but also at major universities and with regional opera and theater companies. At the University of Arkansas Opera Theatre, he served as a guest coach under Sarah Caldwell, later conducting Rinaldo and the first act of Anna Bolena; he also oversaw scenes programs, and gave a vocal master class at the 2004 Arkansas NATS Competition. Other operatic conducting appearances include Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto at Berkshire Opera; Carmen for the Belleayre Music Festival in upstate New York; and Così fan tutte, Fidelio, and Un ballo in maschera for Brooklyn Repertory Opera. He also conducted for the New Jersey Association for Verismo Opera and for Metro Lyric Opera. His extensive operetta credits include Orpheus in the Underworld at Ball State University, where he was Assistant Professor of Theatre; H.M.S. Pinafore and Trial by Jury for Opera Naples (FL); and two seasons of works by Herbert, Romberg, and Friml for the Light Opera of New York.

Mr. Vasta's varied musical-theater experience includes Camelot at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Damn Yankees with Jamie Farr at Cape Playhouse; Oh, Coward! off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre; Godspell at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; and the 1992-3 international tour of Peter Pan throughout the U.S., Canada, and East Asia.

Mr. Vasta has maintained his academic activities at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York, where he has been on the faculty since 1993, and is currently music director of the American Opera Laboratory. As accompanist, he has appeared at Weill Recital Hall and the Smithsonian Institution, and he has served as an adjudicator for the Jenny Lind Competition in Hartford and for the National Opera Association. Active also as a music journalist, Mr. Vasta has contributed to Stereophile and Listener magazines; currently, his reviews and feature articles appear regularly in Opera News and on its website, as well as on prestigious British site, MusicWeb International (www.musicweb-international.com).

Rising Stars Alumni


Lauryn Boyle, Manasquan (Mezzo Soprano)
Jonathan M. Cantillo, East Brunswick (Piano)
Alexa Chalnick, Freehold (Mezzo Soprano)
Lindsay Cherin, Manalapan (Mezzo Soprano)
Rachael Chevlin, Manalapan (Soprano)
Ciara DiMaiolo, Morganville (Soprano)
Carlie Goldfarb, Howell (Soprano)
Noah Kaplan, Absecon (Piano)
Emily Latshaw, Wall (Soprano)
Zoe Maroko, Marlboro (Soprano)
Janice Park, Woodland Park (Soprano)
David Winograd, Morganville (Tenor Saxophone)
Olivia Youngman, Point Pleasant (Soprano)

Guest Mentors:
Dr. Jacklyn Ann Schneider, Soprano
Mr. Stephen Francis Vasta, Conductor


Amanda Batista, Manchester (Soprano)
Alexa Chalnick, Freehold (Soprano)
Lindsay Cherin, Manalapan (Soprano)
Dylan DiRobbio, Howell (Soprano)
Ryan Gattini, Galloway (Classic Guitar)
Ruby Hyra, Point Pleasant (Bassoon)
Kevin Jasaitis, Point Pleasant (Baritone)
Stephen Trischitta, Manasquan (Classic Guitar)
David Winograd, Morganville (Tenor Saxophone)
Olivia Youngman, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Huasun Zhang, Cape May Court House (Piano)
Justin Zhong, Galloway (Piano)

Guest Mentors:
Dr. Julia Rolwing, Soprano
Father Alphonse Stephenson
Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea


Ruchita Balasubramanian, East Brunswick (Flute)
Amanda Batista, Manchester (Soprano)
Christina Buzzanco, Red Bank (Piano)
Christopher Calabrisotto, Manalapan (Piano)
Madelyn Joel, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Ethan Lynch, Randolph (Tenor)
Stephanie Park, New Milford (Violin)
Nicole Toms, Point Pleasant (Mezzo Soprano)
Olivia Youngman, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Justin Zhong, Galloway (Piano)

Guest Mentor:
Father Alphonse Stephenson
Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea


Amanda Batista, Manchester (Soprano)
Nicholas Draper, Point Pleasant (Piano)
Alison Fierst, Point Pleasant (Flute)
Melanie Long, Freehold (Soprano)
Ethan Lynch, Randolph (Tenor)
Moira McGevna, Wall (Oboe)
Nicholas McGowan, Paterson (Piano)
Jenna Najjar, Farmingdale (Soprano)
Gina Ruzhansky, Paramus (Mezzo Soprano)
Kelsey Seaman, Howell (Soprano)
Nicholas Swan, Hamilton Square (Piano)
Nicole Toms, Point Pleasant (Mezzo Soprano)
Jared Winograd, Morganville (Piano)

Guest Mentor:
Maestro Anthony LaGruth
Artistic Director and Conductor of the Garden State Philharmonic


Nicholas Andrej, Paterson (Piano)
John Bogan, Point Pleasant (Guitar)
Lauren Casarona, Princeton Junction (Mezzo Soprano)
Alison Fierst, Point Pleasant (Flute)
Clarice Forbes, Paterson (Piano)
Cassandra Kalinofski, Howell (Mezzo Soprano)
Ilana Klein, Morganville (Soprano)
Andrew Moore, Point Pleasant (Bass)
Zachary Paulus, Point Pleasant (Trumpet)
Samantha Sayah, Howell (Soprano)
Kelsey Seaman, Howell (Soprano)
Zachary Strouse, Manahawkin (Alto Saxophone)
Jared Winograd, Morganville (Piano)

Guest Mentor:
Mr. Albert Bergeret, Artistic Director/General Manager for the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players


Nicholas Andrej, Paterson (Piano)
Reyna Barnes, Paterson (Piano)
Hannah Black, New Providence (Soprano)
John Bogan, Point Pleasant (Guitar)
Michelle Bonzani, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Marilyn Dillon, Point Pleasant (Piano)
Lauren Fogarty, Wall (Soprano)
Clarice Forbes, Paterson (Piano)
Christa Grammer, Jackson (Soprano)
Gregory Grimes, New Providence (Tenor)
Lily Kaufman, Westwood (Alto Saxophone)
Samantha Sayah, Howell (Soprano)
Aline Vartanian, Paramus (Viola)
Brianna Eve Vitale, Marlboro (Soprano)
Megan Yi, Rutherford (Violin)


Brandon Eng, Holmdel (Piano)
Nicolette Mavroleon, Freehold (Soprano)
Reesha-Ann Martin, Paterson (Piano)
Andrew Winas, Howell (Tenor)
John Caliendo, Point Pleasant (Piano)
Nicole Rowe, Annandale (Soprano)
Margarita Cabrera, Paterson (Piano)
Nicholas Andrej, Paterson (Piano)
Sara Munson, Rockaway (Soprano)
Aline Kristin Vartanianis, Paramus (Violin)
Claire Tsiporukha, Morganville (Soprano)

Guest Mentors:
Maestro David Wroe, an international music conductor
Brett Colby, an international operatic tenor

Guest Artist:
Christa Dalmazio, co-winner of Gong-A-Thon 2010


John Caliendo, Point Pleasant (piano)
Evangeline Athanasiou, Lincroft (mezzo soprano)
Ashley Grant, Point Pleasant (harp)
Zachary Miller, Marlboro (tenor)
Christa Dalmazio, Leonardo (piano)
Nicolette Mavroleon, Freehold (mezzo soprano)
Adeline Lee, Princeton Junction (piano)
Alfred Califano, Sea Girt (tenor)
Kevin Lin, Tenafly (violin)
Ashleigh Smith, Howell (mezzo soprano)
Liliana Ma, West Windsor (piano)


Jay Puntham-Baker, Morganville (piano)
Martina Gordon, Point Pleasant Beach (soprano)
Alyssa Kempinski, Cranford (soprano)
Jessie Bremer, Point Pleasant Boro (flute)
Alexandria Howley, Rumson (soprano)
Frank Capoferri, Hammonton (piano)
Sarah Merten, Bernardsville (piano)
Mariah Gower, Point Pleasant (piano)
Melissa Chan, Manalapan (piano)
Nicolette Mavroleon, Freehold (piano)
Corey Mosello, Morganville (piano)
Nikita Mamedov, Parlin (piano)


Laura Bembridge, New Egypt (vocalist)
Jamie Cai, Stewartsville (pianist)
Frank Capoferri, Hammonton (saxophone)
Stephanie Chadwick, Belford (vocalist)
Melissa Chan, Manalapan (pianist)
Anastasia Falasca, Haddonfield (violinist)
Magdalena Falasca, Haddonfield (flutist)
Stephanie Hollander, Wall Township (French horn)
Elizabeth Loftus, Little Silver (vocalist)
Corrie-Rose Recchia, Wayside (vocalist)
Danielle Recchia, Wayside (vocalist)
Lori Tishfield, Freehold (vocalist)

Guest Mentor:
Anthony La Gruth, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Garden State Philharmonic


Kevin Carillo, Howell (vocalist)
Elizabeth Ehret, Middletown (vocalist)
Craig Held, Howell (vocalist)
Stephanie Hollander, Wall (French horn)
Jake Jacobs, Rumson (clarinet)
Joe Kristan, Rumson (pianist)
Ji-Nee Lo, Manalapan (pianist)
Justin Pessolano, Middletown (vocalist)
George Somerville, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Lauren Stefanakis, Oceanport (vocalist)
Joshua Suslak, West Windsor (pianist)
Lori Tishfield, Freehold (vocalist)
David Twitchell, Haddenfield (pianist)

Guest Mentor:
Anthony La Gruth, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Garden State Philharmonic


Sethe Block, Bradley Beach (vocalist)
Laura Cancio, Spotswood (pianist)
Taylor Deehan, Brick (vocalist)
Elizabeth Ehret, Middletown (vocalist)
Jane Hand, Highland Park (pianist)
Matthew Krenz, Lincroft (vocalist)
Steve Kuei, East Brunswick (pianist)
John Luckenbill III, Shrewsbury (trumpet)
Chelsea Pace, Little Silver (vocalist)
Christine Papania, Middletown (vocalist)
Christina Skleros, Barnegat (vocalist)
Maggie Yee, Matawan (pianist)

Guest Mentor:
Chiho Okuizumi, Manager of Resources for Education & Community Harmony for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra


Jennifer Brush, Shrewsbury (pianist)
Katie Caliendo, Point Pleasant Borough (French horn)
Eric Chang, East Brunswick (pianist)
Cyndi Chung, Toms River (violinist)
Aly Guida, Neptune City (vocalist)
Sora Kang, Jackson (pianist)
John Luckenbill III, Shrewsbury (trumpet)
Christine Papania, Middletown (vocalist)
Doug Peters, Little Silver (vocalist)
Christina Skleros, Barnegat (vocalist)
George Somerville, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Alexis E. Thompson, Hamilton (vocalist)
The Stellar Strings:
Ellen Kasiske, Jackson (violinist)
Emily Kasiske, Jackson (cellist)
Zuri Malick, Manasquan (violinist)

Guest Mentor:
Raphael Fusco, former Rising Star


Rachael Becker, Little Silver (cellist)
Annamarie Borelli, Ocean Township (vocalist)
Katie Caliendo, Point Pleasant Borough (French horn)
Marissa Caro, Jackson (vocalist)
Sora Kang, Jackson (pianist)
Karina Kwan, Old Bridge (pianist)
John Luckenbill III, Shrewsbury (trumpet)
Carolyn Man-Yu Wu, Red Bank (violinist)
Doug Peters, Little Silver (vocalist)
Jessica Sibelman, Atlantic Highlands (clarinetist)
Ali Weinberg, Atlantic Highlands (piantist)
Amanda Woolley, Point Pleasant (pianist)
Michael Zanghi, Morganville (pianist)

Guest Mentors:
Nicholas Kendall, Violinist with "Young Concert Artists"
Vicki Margulies, Artist Manager


Kara Biehl, Little Silver (pianist)
Faith Bryck, Howell (vocalist)
Laura Burns, Lincroft (pianist)
Katherine Caliendo, Point Pleasant (French horn)
Nicholas Connelly, Little Silver (vocalist)
Jeffrey Dalton, Little Silver (pianist)
Barbara DeButts, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Alison La Rosa, Manasquan (flutist)
Jennifer Nelson, Little Silver (vocalist)
Christopher Pinnella, Brielle (vocalist )
Amy Polumbo, Howell (vocalist)
Laura Small, Rumson (vocalist)
Kristin Thonack, Eatontown (vocalist)


Crystal Amendola, Ocean Township (vocalist)
Kara Biehl, Little Silver (pianist)
Melissa DeNoia, Little Silver (pianist)
Raphael Fusco, Neptune City (pianist)
Kelly Glover, Belmar (vocalist)
Kathleen Hennessey, Leonardo (vocalist)
Alison La Rosa, Manasquan (flutist)
Ellen Munn, Rumson (vocalist)
Christopher Pinnella, Brielle (vocalist)
Amy Polumbo, Howell (vocalist)
Erik Rose, Point Pleasant (pianist)
Jayne Ruddiman, Allentown (pianist)
Topher Ruggiero, Shrewsbury (pianist)


Lauren Atkins, Point Pleasant (pianist)
Elizabeth DeRosa, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Alison La Rosa, Manasquan (flutist)
Carin Minchew, Oakhurst (violinist)
Mitra Neshatfar, Manalapan (violinist)
Jarred Tafaro, Jackson (pianist)
Kurt Thum, Red Bank (pianist)
Kiley Tompkins, Spring Lake (vocalist)
Michalina Trucker, Little Silver (pianist)