Bayview Festival

June 9 - August 18, 2017

Mariah Boucher, Coach

1475245558 tmp boucher mariah---headshot 1 73 1 64Active as a chamber musician, and vocal coach, Mariah Boucher frequently performs in recitals featuring singers and instrumentalists, and has been a featured soloist with orchestras performing the concerti of Mendelssohn and Ravel.  She has joined with chamber partners Dennis Carter (fl) and Lisa Raschiatore (cl) and Jennifer Goltz (voice) to perform at the art space Trinosophes.  She has worked closely with composers Michael Daugherty, Gabriela Lena Frank and Evan Chambers premiering and exploring new music.  As an opera enthusiast, Mariah has performed and coached Puccini’s La Boheme, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte.  She also has joined in numerous outreach programs to bring opera to elementary schools throughout the Detroit area. Studying with Martin Katz, Logan Skelton and Katherine Collier, Mariah completed her M.M. and D.M.A. at the University of Michigan in Collaborative Piano.  Mariah currently serves as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano at Indiana University, South Bend as well as a Vocal Coach at Notre Dame University.

Nick Gisonde, Stage Director and Fight Coordinator

Gisonde Nick - Headshot

Nick was the co-stage director and fight coordinator for last year’s SOARS Opera a la Carte Scenes Program. He also co-directed Pierre Corneille's El Cid in New York City. Nick has coordinated fights and stunts for film, theater and opera for over 25 years. In addition, he has also been working as a fight instructor, stunt performer, and film and stage actor. He has been the resident fight coordinator for The Bay View Music Festival since 2003. Credits include Don Giovanni, La Boheme, Falstaff and Private Lives. He has numerous credits as a fight coordinator and stage violence consultant for such opera companies as Boston Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Opera Omnia in New York City. Nick was a cast member, fight captain and assistant to fight choreographer J. Steven White for the 1998 Broadway Tony Award Winner for Best Revival of a Play, A View from the Bridge, directed by Michael Mayer and starring Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney. He staged the fights for the Off Broadway play, Beautiful Thing at the Cherry Lane Theater. He was a live action stunt performer and fight coordinator for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Recently he performed stunts in Erik Flynn Patton's fantasy action feature film The Tower of Silence. He appeared in and coordinated the stunts and fights for two independent action films, Just Cause and The Honey Trap.

As an actor Nick appeared in the films 53rd Calypso starring Edward Norton, The Strawberry Girl and Helene. He has also appeared in many New York and regional theater productions. Some of his credits include Rodrigo in El Cid, Posthumus Leonatus in Cymbeline, Laertes in Hamlet, Paris in Troilus and Cressida, Oberon in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Clunette in The Battle of Shallowford and Lee in True West. He is married to soprano Risa Renae Harman.

Kelly Hale, Organ/Piano/Coaching

Kelly HaleProfessor-Emeritus of the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Hale retired in 2008, following a 32 year career with the opera department at CCM. He remains an active coach, conductor, accompanist, organist and composer of church music. An Oklahoman by birth, he studied at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Austin, New York and Italy. His performances have taken him to sixteen different countries from Austria to New Zealand. Dr. Hale will accompany festival artists and serve as Assembly Organist. He also teaches Yoga classes through the adult education seminars. Artist-in-Residence with the Bay View Festival since 1979.

Chris Ludwa, Conducting/Coaching

Chris LudwaNamed Artistic Director of Bay View Music Festival in 2007, Chris Ludwa has proven himself to be an effective leader, both on stage and off. In addition to overseeing the intensive eight-week summer concert series and conservatory program in northern Michigan, he is Artistic Director of Encore Vocal Arts, a 36 member, professional caliber vocal ensemble in Indianapolis where he and his wife live. Currently conductor of the Bloomington Pops Orchestra, Ludwa enjoys joining his passion for great music with his love for teaching and collaboration in having served as a conductor for Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, and several churches. He maintains an active freelance schedule while continuing his work as a consultant on various arts-in-education initiatives. He is pursuing doctoral studies at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music in conducting, music education, and group dynamics.

Since receiving his Master's Degree in Conducting from Indiana University, the Cincinnati native worked for Indianapolis Opera as Apprentice Conductor/Outreach Administrator and served as guest conductor for many different organizations including Webster University, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and various others. In February 2004, he organized a massive clean-up with over 80 volunteers to re-open a 700-seat auditorium in downtown Indianapolis to rave reviews after having been dormant for 40 years. The hall is in use today by several Indianapolis arts organizations and continues to work toward a full renovation.

Ludwa is becoming well-known for innovative, stimulating programming in his work with various musical organizations and hopes to continue to be a visionary force in ways of helping the general public to appreciate an ever-increasing array of musical styles.

After witnessing the power of the arts to motivate and create community, Ludwa is convinced that the wave of the future is to integrate aesthetic process into education, business, government, and daily life. He has gained experience in this area through the educational world as a partner artist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a consultant/trainer for the Leonard Bernstein-inspired Artful Learning School Reform Model, and at the International School of Indiana as Director of Arts. He has participated in the Thought Leader Forum at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, a leading institution in the application of aesthetic process to leadership and has since begun writing a book exploring the same topics.

As a devotee of the learning process, Ludwa has taught at the Bay View Association, Butler University, and Indiana University, and is a recipient of the Lilly Endowment-funded Creative Renewal Fellowship Grant, which he used to explore drumming, communication, and values in Ghana, West Africa.

An avid pilot, Ludwa is married to his best friend, Melissa, who is a constant source of inspiration, fun, and intellectual conversation. She is a counselor for Zionsville High School and provides a wealth of perspective on psychological and social dynamics in play within the human mind. Chris and Melissa are new parents as of December, 2008, when they were joined by Alexandre.

Casey Robards, Coach

Robards headshotCasey Robards is a collaborative pianist and vocal coach known for her versatility, imagination, and sensitive musicality.  Dr. Robards has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, as well as France, Brazil and Costa Rica.  2012-2013 performances include recitals with Karen Slack, soprano; Ollie Watts Davis, soprano, (Univ. of Illinois); Alex Hurd, baritone, (SUNY-Fredonia); Bonita Boyd, flute,(Eastman School of Music); Anthony Patterson (Alma College), piano; and the KO Trio (Donna Shin, Univ. of Washington; Ji Yon Shim, cellist, Faculdade Cantareira, São Paulo, Brazil). 

A committed coach and pedagogue, Dr. Robards is currently a vocal collaborative pianist at the Oberlin Conservatory and faculty pianist/vocal coach at the Bay View Music Festival.  She has been on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Collaborative Piano/Voice), Central Michigan University (Piano) and numerous festivals including Young Musicians Inc. (Evanston, WY); the Weathersfield Music Festival, (Castleton, VT); the Plymouth Music Festival, (Plymouth, MA); and the StudiO Vocal Arts Institute, (Monticello, IL).  She was the Resident Pianist/Coach with Indianapolis Opera in 2011 and has also been pianist/coach for Indiana Opera Theatre, and Illinois Opera Theatre (Urbana, Illinois).

Casey has recorded a CD of African American spirituals with soprano, Ollie Watts Davis, (“Here’s One”), and appears on recordings with oboist, Nancy Clauter (“Meridian: The Ascending Journey”), Jacek Muzyk, horn (“Horn Constellation”), the Eden String Quartet (“A Bountiful Blessing DVD”) and a TV special for a PBS fundraiser with soprano, Courtney Huffman.  Her performances are regularly broadcast on Interlochen Public Radio.  

Dr. Robards completed the B.M. (Piano Performance), M.M. (Piano Pedagogy) and D.M.A. (Vocal Coaching and Accompanying) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She was a Tanglewood Music Festival Fellow in 2004 and 2005 and recipient of the Henri Kohn Memorial Award.  Her doctoral dissertation is on the life and music of John Carter, African-American pianist-composer (1932-1981) and may be found at