Opera Storytellers Staff & Teaching Artists

Becca Holmes

Becca Holmes is an Albuquerque based teaching artist and visual storyteller who co-designed and co-implemented the Santa Fe Opera’s ALTO Program (active learning through opera). The program was awarded Yale University’s “Excellence in Music Education” award, and was a finalist for the “National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards; the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.” Ms. Holmes also designed and implemented “Opera Storyteller’s Summer Camps.” The camps have brought opera-crafting and teaching artists to children in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Gallup and Roswell. Over the last two decades, Becca and her fellow teaching artists at the Santa Fe Opera facilitated the production of hundreds of student-written, composed and produced operas.

Becca is a graduate of UNM and formerly served as a Drama Teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools, where she was lead member of The Kennedy Center’s arts integration program. Her training also includes an opera education course at The Royal Opera House in London. Now a full-time faculty member of Albuquerque Academy, Ms. Holmes continues her endeavors in opera-making and teaches drama and the humanities through a lens of inclusivity and social/emotional wellness.

Lina Ramos

Lina Ramos, a native New Mexican, is an arts educator, director, conductor, opera singer, and performer. She has served as an educator for over 30 years, including such remarkable experiences as teaching in inner city schools in Washington, DC, and rural schools in New Mexico.

In service to the community, Ms. Ramos feels fortunate to have conducted and directed over 20 shows in the past six years for the musical theatre family, various churches, and private schools. In 2013, Ms. Ramos received the Best Music Director award from Albuquerque Little Theatre for her work on their production of Les Miserables. Recently, she served as music director and conductor for Opera Unlimited’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. She also worked on the production of Migrant Songs for Revolutions Theatre Festival, a partnership between the National Hispanic Theatre and Tricklock Theatre.

Ms. Ramos also continues to teach drama, choir, and voice in numerous settings, such as her recent work with the Santa Fe Opera Alto Program, in partnership with UNM’s Music Prep School, where she served as composer in residence. She heads into her fifth year as music director for the Enchantment Awards, a program for high school musical theatre students statewide, held annually in Popejoy Hall.

As an artist and singer, Ms. Ramos continues to perform all genres of music, such as her recent appearance with Opera Southwest as Dona Rosa in the production of Il Postino, Saraghina in the Musical Theatre Southwest’s concert version of the musical Nine, and for such groups as Biet Tikva in Santa Fe, NM. She studied voice with Marilyn Tyler, graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a concentration in Voice.  Ms. Ramos also studied over 10 years with the acclaimed mezzo-soprano Miss Jean Kraft.

Ms. Ramos is of Cuban and Mexican heritage and loves to dance salsa. Her other passions include cooking and songwriting.

Casey Mráz

Casey is a musician, composer, playwright, sound designer and father. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2009 with an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing. While in graduate school he studied literary arts at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He has worked with numerous theatre companies in New Mexico, California and New York as a playwright, sound designer, composer and performer. Casey was the Music Director for Tricklock Theatre Co. from 2004 - 2014 and was the Music Director for The Show, Abq’s premier improv comedy troupe between 2010 - 2015. He is currently the Music Director for Circo Latino, a circus program for kids at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and is the Music Teacher at Escuela del Sol Montessori School in Albuquerque, NM.

Frederick Frahm

Frederick Frahm, American composer, organist, publisher, and parish musician was born in California, USA, in 1964. Frahm has directed church music programs across the US, contributed as a classical music critic to the Bellingham Herald in Bellingham, WA, served as an adjunct faculty member of Concordia University in River Forest, IL, where he taught counterpoint, music theory & composition, and orchestration, and for the last six years has participated as a teaching artist, resident composer, and accompanist for the Santa Fe Opera Company Active Learning Through Opera program. He is a founding director and creative partner of Firehead Editions of London.

A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA) where he earned degrees in Church Music (BM) and Organ Performance (MM), he studied organ and counterpoint with David Dahl and Gregory Peterson; composition with Roger Briggs and Gregory Youtz; and conducting with Richard Sparks. A prolific composer, his catalog of compositions includes works for organ, choral music, chamber pieces, art song and song cycle, symphony and concerto, and extended vocal works including operas and cantatas. Frahm is represented by a dozen publishers in the US and Europe with more than 300 works in print. To hear his music and learn more about his life and work, visit Frahm's website at www.frederickfrahm.com.

Dorothy Melander-Dayton

Dorothy is a Santa Fe native, and a theater and performance maker/designer. She got her BA in Visual Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. She got her MA in Performance Design and Practice from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, in 2014. With others from her Masters cohort, she founded the multi-media theater company Mapped Productions, which produced 3 shows in Italy and the United Kingdom from 2014-18. Dorothy has also worked with other UK-based companies, including Imitating the Dog. Dorothy moved to Detroit from 2015-2017, where she became the resident designer and company member of the ensemble theater company A Host Of People. Dorothy now lives predominantly in Santa Fe, but travels frequently to work with collaborators in Detroit and the UK, as well as for artist residencies all over the world. She maintains her own art practice, writing, directing, designing, and performing in live pieces as well as video work. Her website is surrenderdorothy.org

Rowan Brown
Rowan Brown is a junior at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Rowan is pursuing an English degree, with a Creative Writing minor. In highschool, she attended a visual arts focused, semester long, program called Oxbow, in Napa California. She also received her International Baccalaureate Certification in High Level Visual Arts. Rowan’s work has been published in Desert Academy’s Literary Magazine and BlueMoon magazine. Rowan has had years of experience working with kids through Camp Lake Hubert in Minnesota as both a leadership trainee and counselor. Rowan has also acquired leadership skills through the National Outdoor Leadership School, and has completed four separate expeditions, including the completion of her Wilderness First Responder. Rowan has also worked as a full time raft guide in Colorado. In the future, she hopes to complete an MFA in visual art as well as a law degree. She is very excited to work her first year assisting the Opera Storytellers camp.

Marie Siopy
Marie Siopy is a current third year student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts pursuing a combined degree in Theater and Media and Screen Studies with a minor in American Sign Language. Through her years of theatrical work, she has gained a reputation for herself as a stage manager, director, writer, and actor. Most recently, she has worked at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts as Assistant to the Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater Company, focusing on accessibility and representation in theater. This coming season she will assist both the props master and the scenic designer at this same theater on a production of Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson, as well as a production of
Angels in America by Tony Kushner.
Along with Marie’s theatrical work, she has developed a great love for film and other mediums of visual art. She hopes to pursue a career in the arts after completing her degree and is very excited to be working for her third year assisting the Opera Storytellers camp.

Elnora J. Keller
Elnora J. Keller’s main industry is film & television for over 10 years. Titles include stuntwoman, actor, costumer and set dresser, as well as producer, director and editor for short films and events. She owns Efficiency Designs, which focuses on Organizational Development, assisting business owners find time, money and sanity. Her past adventures include the Program Director for Albuquerque City Community Center Clay Programs, the Director of Events at Albuquerque Apparel Center and TEDxABQ Stage Manager.

Sean Umstead
Sean splits his time at the UNM Music Prep School as the Program Coordinator and Animal Humane New Mexico as an Adoption Advisor. A graduate of UNM, he earned a degree in music education and is a former band director for Albuquerque Public Schools, a contractor for Rio Rancho Public Schools, a frequent adjudicator for band festivals and clinics in various districts in New Mexico, and a private keyboard and percussion instructor. Sean is an avid percussionist, vocalist, and keyboardist, and frequently performs as a studio musician and in various ensembles of diverse genres including with The New Mexico Philharmonic, Quintessence Choral Artists of the Southwest, Sol de la Noche, in orchestras for Musical Theater Southwest, the Adobe Theater, Landmark Musicals, and Albuquerque Little Theater, as well as in various jazz ensembles.

Julia Church Hoffman
Julia Church Hoffman is Director of the UNM Music Prep School and Senior Lecturer of Music Education in the UNM Department of Music. A member of the UNM faculty since 2010, Julia teaches a variety of Music Education courses and supervises student teachers. At the UNM Music Prep School, a community music school housed in the UNM College of Fine Arts since 1997, Julia directs the school’s mission of “opening doors to a lifetime of music” for thousands of students - infants through adults. Classes include group piano, group guitar, world drumming, early childhood family music, and a kindergarten through high school graded children’s chorus. The Music Prep School also offers free private lessons to APS band, orchestra, and choir students. A long standing, successful collaboration with the Santa Fe Opera produced the 2012 children’s opera, Shoes for the Santo Nino, composed by Stephen Paulus, libretto by Andrea Fellows Fineberg. Continuing the tradition of this outstanding partnership, Julia is thrilled to work with the Santa Fe Opera again, producing this new fully remote version of Opera Storytellers Camp. A native New Mexican, Julia holds degrees from the College of Wooster (B.A.), and the University of New Mexico (M.M.). Her twenty-plus years of public and private school teaching included early childhood, elementary, and middle school music, children’s choirs, and general education in New Mexico and Arizona.