Director of Art and Sol
I was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, but I have been living in Scottsdale, Arizona since the age of two. I grew up spending most of my time in a dance studio, performing on stage or in our living room, and dreaming of becoming a Broadway star. Ironically, my debut on stage was at the age of four in my pink tutu dancing to the song “Will I Be a Star?” After 15 years of dancing, singing, and theater training, I attended the University of Arizona.
While attending college, my dreams had shifted from being a star, to making them. I realized I wanted to teach young children, and earned my elementary education degree. I moved to California and received my first teaching job at a Performing Arts Elementary School. I taught third and sixth grade for five years, while developing a drama program for the children at the school. I started with 25 children in 1997, and when I left in 2002, there were 250 children in our after-school program!
When I moved back to Scottsdale, I decided to create more opportunities for the children in our valley to be involved with arts….through Art and Sol Performing Arts Program. My dream is to give children the opportunity to shine on stage, foster better self-esteem, and build confidence in the performing arts. Why “Art and Sol“? We have a lot of heart, and definitely a lot of soul…to put into learning all about the performing arts in the Valley of the Sun!
“You can’t make a song with just one note.”
My love for teaching began at a very early age when I used to play “school” with my younger brother; he was the student and I was always the teacher. I fell in love with music at age 8 when I started playing the viola and joined my elementary school orchestra. By the time that I graduated high school, I was studying the viola, violin piano and voice and I realized that teaching music was my passion. I have performed with numerous youth and professional orchestras and choirs and have performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, various venues throughout Europe, and even performed on the street corner in Washington D.C.!
I earned my degree in Music Education with a concentration in viola and piano from Marywood University before I moved to Phoenix in 2005. I previously taught general music and choir in the Phoenix Elementary School District for nine years and I am currently choral director and general music teacher at Madison Meadows Middle School.
I’m so blessed to join the Art and Sol team as the newest vocal director. I love working with children everyday and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together!
Art and Sol has become the frosting on the layer cake of my life.
I was born in Minnesota and raised in a house full of instruments – two pianos, two violins, an oboe and a clarinet, not to mention my dad’s many harmonicas and his musical saw! We sang table graces, duetted and quartetted, and generally made a joyful noise.
Piano and violin study continued through my years at Iowa’s Luther College and then at Arizona State University with courses including Piano Accompanying, Chamber Music and Opera, and Jazz and Caribbean styles.
Theater has always been a feature in my life – I tend to recall memories according to which show I was working on at the time. Past gigs have ranged from pit orchestra violinist/pianist to composer/arranger and thanks to Art and Sol’s “Broadway Bound” camp I can add – playwright!
It is my joy to get to do what I love for a living, now in my fifteenth year of teaching elementary music full time. Sharing lessons and activities I have created with other teachers is one of the latest layers on this ever-growing cake. If you would like to see and hear more, go to: www.keyofeflat.com
I am excited to be returning to this outstanding group in the fall as Vocal Director. I am both a singer and conductor, and I currently teach choir and general music in the Central Phoenix area.
I grew up in Orlando, Florida, where I started singing and performing at an early age. My performances took me all throughout the state Florida, to the Disney theme parks and resorts, and even to Carnegie Hall in New York City. I earned a degree in Music Education from Stetson University where I sang in and conducted numerous choirs and performed with the Stetson Opera Theatre program. My goal as a teacher is to share my love of performing with my students and to help them uncover their unique talents and abilities!
I am so very excited for the opportunity to join the Art and Sol team and to meet all of your wonderful children. I first discovered my love for theatre in my small home town of Rushville, Illinois. Growing up I saw the performing arts make a lasting impact on the lives around me as well as my own.
After graduating high school I went on to pursue further education through gaining my undergraduate degree in communication studies with a theatre concentration. I then used that knowledge to help theatre reach more lives. I have worked as a teaching intern with Taproot Theatre in Seattle Washington, toured with Let’s Pretend Entertainment, and toured with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, an international touring company. Locally I am the drama teacher at the Mesa Arts Academy, I teach for East Valley Children’s Theatre, I have taught for CYT, and I serve as a substitute teacher for Childsplay.
I am very blessed to be able to use the art form that I love so dearly to impact so many young lives. I fully believe in the confidence that the performing arts can provide for the children that will be our future and I am thankful to learn from them daily.
Art and Sol Photographer
I was born in Denver, Colorado but moved to a suburb of Boston at 2 years old. My family then moved to Phoenix when I was in the fifth grade and while it was a hard transition for me to go from New England to the desert, I ended up moving back after getting my B.S. at Brigham Young University and am now happy to be raising two little Phoenicians of my own!
My educational background is in human development and elementary education but after I had my kids and was staying at home I found I wanted a creative outlet and a way to document their lives as they were changing so fast. I come from a creative family, and my mother is a professional artist so I took a page from her book at flexed my photography muscles. What started off with buying my first dslr, reading books on exposure on portraiture, and taking pictures of friends’ kids ended up blossoming into a business.
And now I am lucky enough to join the Art and Sol family. I look forward to documenting these exciting experiences with your families and hope that I am able to capture the joy and magic of the theater, friendship, and childhood that you will be able to keep as treasures forever. For more information on me and to see some examples of my work, please visit rachaelannelewisphotography.com