CLINICIAN / ADJUDICATOR
Rita has prepared high school choral students and conducted them on a wide variety of choral repertoire for more than two decades including classical and contemporary choral music, world music, contemporary a cappella, broadway and musical theater. Masterworks performed by her students over the years include: Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in G, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rheinberger’s, Mass No. 6, Orban’s Mass No. 2, Five Hebrew Love Songs, Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Rutter Requiem, Haugen’s Anne Frank: A Living Voice.
Rita directed and produced 16 musical theater reviews with students in 4th - 12 grade spanning
music from every era of musical theater. This annual performance was a musical theater intensive where all students were cast in a song and role that would best highlight their strengths and develop their skills. This intensive grew into a full production over the years to include a set, costuming, a team of extraordinary professional artists and beloved Reston community event. This event was also supported through sponsorship by the Reston Community Center. During the pandemic, Rita and her team took this event virtual with a Screen & Stage theme that was broadcast by TV Worldwide.
Rita’s choirs received honorable opportunities, by audition, to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference, Carnegie Hall, and for the Candlelight Processional, narrated by Neil Patrick Harris at Epcot in Walt Disney World. Choirs under her tutelage consistently earned superior ratings at state and national assessments and were regularly invited to perform with a wide range of professional artists, university choirs, at state and national music festivals, and for WNBA and NBA games.
Under Rita’s leadership the South Lakes Choral Department was
awarded the 2011 American Association for People with Disabilities
(AAPD) Inclusion & Diversity in the Arts Award. AAPD is the largest
non-profit cross-disability organization in the United States. Rita
has been nominated for FCPS Teacher of the Year and was a
finalist for SEPTA Secondary Co-Curricular Teacher of the Year.
Rita is very passionate about music’s role in the community. Over
the years has retained various community music roles as a church
choir director, solo performer, private music instructor, presenter
for community music programs, and a director and producer of
many community music related events across various genres. Most
notably, Rita volunteered her time as a co-producer and host of
SingStrongDC for nine years (2009-2016). This international
a cappella music festival brought some of the world’s best
a cappella artists, across all genres, to collaborate, enrich, inspire,
entertain and educate our community. Headlining artists included:
Pentatonix, Street Corner Symphony, Ten, MAXX Factor,
Afro-Blue and The Vanderbilt Melodores from NBC's TV show, "The Sing-Off;" Grammy Winner, Ben Bram, Rob Deitz (with Level), American Idol's Blake Lewis, and Nate Tao (with The Funx); Ball in the House and The Edge Effect from “America's Got Talent;” viral youtube sensation and Austrian overtone singer, Anna-Maria Hefele; Stiletta, GQ (Girls Quartet), the haunting, Eastern European sounds of Slaveya and Zulal; comedic a cappella legends, The BOBS; international touring acts, The Swingle Singers (England), The Essentials (Canada), The Glue (Switzerland), Fii (Austria), Vocaldente (Germany), VocalLine (Denmark), Ensamble Fenix (Venezuela), Voco Novo (Taiwan); The Alexandria Harmonizers, barbershop multi-medalists; beatboxers, Mandible (VocaPeople), Ben Mirin (TED Talks), Kalia Mullady (Freestyle Love Supreme) and dozens more. This festival raised thousands of dollars for the fight against Alzheimers with annual donations to Cure Alzheimer’s and the Alzheimer’s Association.
As part of SingStrong DC the South Lakes High School Choral Department
hosted, workshopped and performed with German University Choir Vivid
Voices. South Lakes Choral Students also had workshops with many of the artists listed above and were consistently awarded winners of the high school
competition as part of the SingStrong DC event.
In 2014 the South Lakes Parents for Choral Arts Booster Organization hosted Mainz Boys Choir. Students in the SLHS Choral program had the opportunity to workshop, rehearse, and perform with them in concert.
In 2017 the South Lakes Parents for Choral Arts Booster Organization hosted X The Purdue Glee Club. These talented university singers workshopped and performed with the SLHS Choral students as a part of their March concert.
As a performer Rita continues to study voice privately and has been active as an accompanist and vocalist around the metro area and beyond. She has vast experience in performing repertoire in classical voice and musical theater and has completed her Level 2 Certification in Contemporary Commercial Music pedagogy at the CCM Institute. Notable vocal performances include Handel's Messiah, Mezzo Soprano Soloist; Mozart's Regina Coeli, Mezzo Soprano Soloist; Schubert's Mass in G, Soprano Soloist; Vivaldi's Gloria, Mezzo Soprano
Soloist; Miss Saigon (Ellen), The King and I (ensemble), Richard Crittendon's Opera Workshop.