Staff Biographies 

Dr. Maryann Kyle

In demand as one of the finest vocal coaches of belt, legit and classical vocal technique, Maryann Kyle has dedicated her professional life to guiding singers in their pursuit not only of exceptional singing, but also captivating performance. Kyle has extensive experience teaching, coaching, and performing opera, recitals, concerts and Broadway shows. Kyle was the vocal coach for the musical Twist, a new show by composers Tena Clark and Gary Prim, and directed by Debbie Allen, which opened in Atlanta in 2010 at the Alliance Theatre, and opened at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2011. Kyle is the creator of Maryann Kyle’s COMMAND PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP, which focuses on the integration of the voice into the total actor, and the COMMAND PERFORMANCE BROADWAY INTENSIVE, a young artist’s training program for musical theatre singing actors as a part of FestivalSouth.


Maryann Kyle is an active performer of opera, concert, and recital repertoire, and has shared the concert stage with some of world’s greatest artists, having sung the role of Micaela in Carmen opposite internationally known mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves; performing as a guest soloist with The Miami Festival opposite famed bass-baritone William Warfield; and singing the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elijah opposite baritone Timothy Noble and mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson. Kyle has appeared as a soloist on the pop music stage with famed artists Patti Labelle, Patti Austin, Dionne Warwick, Ann Nesby and Vesta Williams. Kyle’s Sondheim Cabaret premiered in NYC at the Laurie Beechman Theatre/West Bank Café in October, 2011, and she recently performed the title role in Daniel Lincoln’s newest show, Calixte. Upcoming projects include The World of Maria Callas, an original show featuring Kyle as the beautiful and tragic Callas, Aria: A Cirque Spectacular, a stunning cirque styled show featuring popular arias and duets from opera, and The Birth of Broadway with International crossover artist, Matt Morgan. Read more here!

Mr. Matt Morgan

Having the distinction of making debuts at three of the four theaters at New York's Lincoln Center, Matt Morgan has established himself as a tenor to watch. His New York debut came as Don Gomez in Weber's Die drei Pintos with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra. The very same season, his New York City Opera debut occurred in the world premiere of Charles Wuorinen's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Following these successes, Mr. Morgan debuted with the National Chorale at Avery Fisher Hall as the tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah.


Upcoming engagements include his debut as the tenor soloist in Hayden’s Mass in Time of War with the Sarasota Key Chorale, Weill’s Berlin Requiem with the Jacksonville University Wind Symphony, and as conductor for the University of Florida’s production of Kiss Me Kate. Recent engagements include a return to the Florentine Opera to create the role of Charles Drouet in the world premiere and commercial recording of Sister Carrie by the grammy award winning Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein, concerts of musical theatre and French opera highlights with the Sanibel Music Festival. Highlights for the 2015-2016 season include a return to the Florentine Opera for his first Goro in Madama Butterfly, a return to the University of Florida Opera Theatre for Rodolfo in La Boheme, Rodolfo in La Boheme for his debut with the Ocala Symphony, the tenor soloist in Carmina Burana with Dance Alive USA, a concert of La Boheme and La Traviata Highlights with First Coast Opera. The 2014-2015 season saw his company and role debut with the Florentine Opera as Eddie Fislinger in Elmer Gantry, Handel's Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic, and a return to the Allegheny Valley Concert Association for concerts of Italian and Musical Theatre favorites.


In the 2013-2014 season, Mr. Morgan appeared with the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance singing the West Side Story Suite and selections from Candide, performed Britten's Les Illuminations with the Sarasota Ballet and the Sir Frederick Ashton Festival, returned to the Jacksonville Symphony for Le nozze di Figaro, and created the role of Marco Polo in Stella Sung's The Red Silk Thread. Upcoming performances include his company and role debut with the Florentine Opera as Eddie Fislinger in Elmer Gantry and a return tothe Allegheny Valley Concert Association to headline a concert of Italian and Musical Theatre favorites.


In addition to Mr. Morgan's busy performing schedule he continues to expand his role as an educator and vocal director. He currently holds the title of Lecturer of Musical Theatre Voice at the University of Florida, Music and Vocal director for Apex Theatre Studios. Additionally he has served as the head of musical theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Vice President of North Florida NATS, and on the voice faculty of Jacksonville University. He has served as the vocal director for 20 musicals as well as lead clinician for musical theatre programs and intensives across the country.


In the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Morgan returned to the Jacksonville Symphony as Rodrigo in Otello, and joined Amarillo Opera for the title role in Candide and the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra for Messiah.


The 2011-2012 season brought Handel’s Messiah with the Dayton Philharmonic and Jacksonville Symphony, Almaviva in Connecticut Opera Theater’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and concert appearances with the New Jersey Symphony and at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Other recent engagements include the title role of Faust with Opera Idaho, Hamlet in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with AOP and the Mark Morris Dance Company, Tapioca in L’etoile with New York City Opera, Ruggero in La rondine and Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles with the Opera Company of Middlebury, Frederick in The Pirates of Penzance with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Sacramento Opera, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado with Syracuse Opera, Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Opera Colorado, Der Soldat in Viktor Ullmann's Der Kaiser von Atlantis with the Greenwich Music Festival, and Laurie in Little Women and Camille in The Merry Widow with Dayton Opera. He also appeared recently with Fort Worth Opera as Curly opposite Anthony Dean Griffey in Of Mice and Men and as Tony in West Side Story with New Orleans Opera. Additionally, he created the role of Pan in the world premiere and recording of The Judgment of Minds with American Opera Projects.


Mr. Morgan performed at New York City Opera for three consecutive seasons to great audience and critical acclaim in a variety of repertoire ranging from Rameau's Platee to works of the 20th century such as The Mines of Sulphur and The Little Prince. In their new production of The Pirates of Penzance, he was hailed as an “endearing and loveable” Frederick “with the right hero looks and a wonderful tenor voice”. Among his many appearances at Lincoln Center, his other New York successes include his portrayal of Britten’s anti-hero in Gotham Chamber Opera’s wildly successful production of Albert Herring.


His busy concert schedule has taken Mr. Morgan to sing with some of the country's leading symphony orchestras and concert organizations including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra, the National Chorale, and the Bard Music Festival. Mr. Morgan tours North America regularly, most recently playing to crowds of tens of thousands at the two largest Italian festivals in North America- (Milwaukee Festa Italiana and the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival). As a recording artist, his DVD’s and CD’s are distributed internationally. He is an alumnus of the Pittsburgh Opera Center, National Opera Company, and Louisiana State University.  Read more here!

Dr. Patrick Jacobs

Dr. Patrick Jacobs is an established veteran of hundreds of performances in opera and musical theater. He excels as an actor and singer “with a smooth baritone and a special talent for shifting from comedy to darker mischief.”

Born in Louisiana, Dr. Jacobs attended Loyola University in New Orleans, and The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music before he finished his education in New York at SUNY Stony Brook. He is a two-time Metropolitan Opera regional finalist and winner of the Orpheus National Vocal Competition, Dr. Jacobs has performed principal roles with opera companies throughout the United States, including: New Orleans Opera, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Fresno Grand Opera, and many others. He is a featured soloist on the debut opera recordings of Hangman, Hangman! and The Town of Greed by Leonardo Balada on the Naxos recording label.

As a stage director, Dr. Jacobs has worked with the University of Mobile, the International Performing Arts Institute (Kiefersfelden, Germany), LOOK Musical Theater (Tulsa, OK), and the Joe Jefferson Players (Mobile, AL). In June of 2018, he will direct Ragtime for the Joe Jefferson Players.


Recent singing engagements include Simone in Gianni Schicchi with Mobile Opera, Baron Gondremarck in La Vie Parisienne with First Coast Opera, George Benton in Dead Man Walking with Pensacola Opera, as well as solos in Handel’s Messiah with Choral Society of Pensacola and a concert of contemporary art song with Crescent Chamber Artists in New Orleans.


During the 2017-18 season, Dr. Jacobs will sing Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte and Colline in La Bohème with Mobile Opera, solos in Messiah with the New Orleans Symphony Chorus, and Bach’s Wachet auf, BWV 140 at Christ Church Cathedral (Mobile, AL).


Dr. Jacobs is the Director of Vocal Studies and Opera at the University of Mobile and the Classic Worship Leader / Choir Director at Saraland United Methodist Church.  He lives in Saraland, AL with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children, Samuel and Allison.


For more information on Dr. Jacobs, including audio recordings, visit:

Dr. Corey Trahan

With over 70 roles in his repertoire, Corey Trahan is an active performer, educator and stage director in opera, oratorio, music theatre, operetta and recital venues. Known for his comic timing, versatile voice, and onstage charisma, he is being seen and heard internationally in repertoire ranging from operatic classics to modern musical theatre. In the summer of 2017, Corey joined the voice faculty and served as Coordinator of Musical Theatre for the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany and Thailand.  Upcoming projects include guest artist residencies at Texas A & M (Commerce and Laredo), Monostatos in The Magic Flute with Shreveport Opera, Emperor Altoum in Turandot with Mississippi Opera and touring productions of Stars of Tomorrow and the 2017 Christmas Gala at Northwestern State University.  He will also be presenting lectures at the 2018 Pedagogy of Style Conference at the University of Mobile.   Currently, Corey is an Associate Professor of Theatre/Coordinator of Musical Theatre at Northwestern State University in Nachitoches, Louisiana and the Coordinator of Musical Theatre for the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany and Thailand. Corey's academic degrees include the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas, the Master of Music degree from the University of Houston and the Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University. He has been an apprentice with Lake George Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Amarillo Opera, Shreveport Opera and the Seagle Music Colony. Corey is a current member of the American Guild of Music Artists, Actor’s Equity Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing (President, Louisiana Chapter).

Dr. Kathryn Hedlund

Soprano Kathryn Drake Hedlund joined the voice faculty at University of Mobile as Assistant Professor of Music in Voice in 2012.  A native of Big Rapids, Michigan, her recent performances include La Suora Infermiera in Suor Angelica with Mobile Opera, and the soprano soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Eastern Shore Choral Society.  Kathryn represented the Southeastern region last summer at the the NATS Artist Awards National Semifinals in Chicago,IL.  An active local and regional performer, other recent performances include Mobile Opera’s Winter Gala Concert, singing the role of La Ciesca in Mobile Opera’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as soloing with the Eastern Shore Choral Society, Mozart’s Requiem with Florence Camerata, and a Valentine’s Day concert for Mississippi Opera with tenor Robert Grayson.  Favorite performances include Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust with Opéra Louisiane, the soprano solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, the role of Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with LSU Opera, and the soprano solo in the Brahms Requiem with the Memphis Symphony under the baton of Dr. Kenneth Fulton.  She was the soprano soloist in the Fauré Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and sang the roles of Pamina in The Magic Flute and The Sandman in Hansel and Gretel with Opéra Louisiane. 

Kathryn completed her Master’s of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from Louisiana State University, studying under soprano Patricia O’Neill.  Roles with LSU Opera include Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice,  Violetta in La Traviata, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Anne Stanton in Willie Stark (on DVD by Newport Classic, Ltd), the title role in Suor Angelica, Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen.  Other roles include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Beth in Little Women.  She earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan in 2003, where she studied with soprano Shirley Verrett.  Dr. Hedlund spent the summers of 2007 and 2008 as an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera.  She was chosen as a Gulf Coast Regional Finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions from 2006 through 2008.  She served as Associate Director of Opéra Louisiane until 2012.

Kathryn resides in Mobile with her husband Ryan, son Theo, and giant, grumpy cat Micio.  She frequently adjudicates for local competitions, enjoys working with area high school choirs, and will begin her certification process in the Alexander Technique this fall.  She serves in the choir and as a soloist at All Saints Episcopal Church.  Other interests include running, soccer, languages, and enjoying the great outdoors with her family.

Ms. Shelley Cooper

Shelley Cooper is an enthusiastic Voice Instructor, Stage Director and Actor specializing in Musical Theatre. Shelley is currently the Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at LaGrange College in LaGrange, GA. Previous teaching engagements include Musical Theatre Voice Professor at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand and Musical Theatre Voice Specialist at the University of Central Florida. As an Actor, Shelley has performed, taught, and directed all over the world for a number of companies such as Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Shawnee Summer Theatre, Redhouse Arts Center, Bangkok Theatre Festival, and the Venetian Macao. Most noted performances are “Johanna" in Sweeney Todd starring Tony-Award Winning Actress, Faith Prince, “Nellie” in South Pacific, “Cinderella” in Into the Woods, “Helena” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and “Ariel” in The Little Mermaid. Her one-woman show, La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas has been performed on three continents. As a stage director, favorite productions includeCompany, Moment by Moment: A New Song Cycle by Alexander Sage Oyen (Asian Premiere), The Light in the Piazza, The Last Five Years, and The Drowsy Chaperone. As a voice instructor, Shelley has students working all over the world including the Broadway production of Holiday Inn, NBC’s Hairspray Live, national tours of Rock of Ages, Beauty and the Beast, and the West End Revival of Miss Saigon. Read more here!

Mrs. Lori Guy

Hailed by Opera News as an “excellent mezzo,” Indiana native Lori Guy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Indianapolis and master’s of music in voice performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. As a performer, Lori has sung a variety of roles, including Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mother in Ragtime, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Kathy in Company.  She has been seen most recently as Mercedes in Mississippi Opera’s performance of Carmen. Lori can be heard on the Albany Record’s recordings of Victor Herbert’s The Fortune Teller and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance with the Ohio Light Opera Company.  An active teacher, Lori maintains a successful voice studio, is an adjunct instructor at The University of Mobile and has also recently completed a fellowship with the International Performing Arts Institute in Kiefersfelden, Germany where she has been asked to return as part of their Musical Theatre Faculty.  Lori is finishing her doctoral degree in voice performance and pedagogy and is a student of Dr. Maryann Kyle.

Dr. Chad Payton

Dr. Chad R. Payton, countertenor, made both his Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center operatic debuts, as well as his off-Broadway debut in the world premiere of Michael Ching’s opera, Corps of Discovery: A Musical Journey. He has performed internationally throughout Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Italy, and has found success in local, regional, and national competitions. During the summers, he teaches on the Voice Faculty at Seagle Music Colony, the nation’s oldest young artist training program for opera and musical theater. Dr. Payton opened a private voice studio in New York City in the fall of 2016, and his students are singing across the country at programs such as: Merola Opera Program, Chautauqua Opera Company, Sarasota Opera, Opera Saratoga, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. His collegiate singers have won national awards in music theater, including National NATS and the Hal Leonard Voice Competition. Dr. Payton is an Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the voice area at Capital University, in Columbus, OH, where he teaches applied voice, vocal pedagogy, and the lyric diction sequence.

Bruce Earnest

Mr. Earnest is Assistant Vice President and Director of Musical Theatre at University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama. Bruce has appeared in over 70 operatic and musical theatre roles in Europe and the United States and has appeared with the Munich State Theatre, State Theatre Passau, Opera Roanoke, The Berkshire Opera, Dayton Opera, Orlando Opera, Worcester Light Opera, Florida Grand Opera, The Vienna Folks Opera, Virginia Opera, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Black Hills Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival, The USD Playhouse, The Vineyard Playhouse, Walt Disney World, Saint Cecilia Ensemble, The Springfield Symphony, the Hamburg Musical Orchestra and the Orlando Philharmonic and off-Broadway. He has produced, directed or music directed more than 90 shows including; Side by Side by Sondheim, Big River, Little Shop of Horrors, Lend Me A Tenor, My Way, Tin Types, Into The Woods, The Fantasticks, Baby, Oklahoma, Secret Garden, Camelot, The Saint of Bleeker Street and The Impresario to name a few.

He has conducted masterclasses and workshops on Belting, casting, international careers in musical theatre, and musical theatre acting in the United States and throughout Europe.  Bruce and has current or past students working in major productions in the UK, Europe, on Broadway and in national tours in the United States.  He is the founder and former Program Director of Music Theatre at the University of Central Florida, Director of Musical Theatre at the University of South Dakota, Interim Associate Professor of Voice at Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Associate Professor of Music Theatre at the Bavarian Theatre Academy/Hochschule in Munich, and served as Voice and Artistic Consultant for Stage Entertainment.  Mr. Earnest consults regularly with international casting director Ralf Schaedler, is Executive Director of the Ever Blue Festival, and serves as President of Mobile Opera.  

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