Sign & Sing

Reimagining Classical Music with ASL

Katherine Dubbs is an arts producer, entrepreneur, and operatic performer who specialises in community-based programming and equal access advocacy. She grew up with deaf and hard of hearing family members, and after returning from studying opera in Austria, Katherine became passionate about integrating and celebrating these varied words, communities, and means of communication. Katherine was the founder, president, and artistic director of Princeton Opera Company, having produced and performed in over 25 events, including 7 operas. She was also the founder and creator of Acappellooza, a New York state-wide a cappella festival now in its 8th year that includes over 15,000 New Yorkers in its musical experience. She received her musical training in Vienna as the recipient of the 2014 Sachs Graduating Scholarship from Princeton University and studies with Arthur Levy at Mannes School for Music. For her development of Sign & Sing, she is the 2015 Marin Alsop Entrepreneurial Award winner and the 2016 Emerging Leader of New York Arts Fellow.

Jocelyn Brown is thrilled to be part of the Sign&Sing organization. After graduating from American Musical and Dramatic Academy and New School University, Jocelyn became determined to use her theatrical background to connect with different communities around the world. Jocelyn has performed live music, poetry, and storytelling throughout NYC for children and for adults. One of Jocelyn's most loved performances in ASL has been with Sign&Sing because of the unique goal of connecting classical Opera music to more communities. She now works at ASL Discoveries (www.asldiscoveries.com), where she teaches children ASL through music. As well, Jocelyn works for ASL NYC team (aslclasses.com) keeping ASL accessible and relevant. 

Ren  has always loved expressing songs in sign, creating ASL videos on YouTube and getting involved in CenterLight Theatre in Chicago, where she performed in musicals such as Nunsense and Into the Woods. Ren's recent credits include Deaf West's production of Spring Awakening on Broadway, New York City Center's production of Runaways, and Ingrid Michaelson's music video "Hell No."

Stacey Lightman studied sign language and Deaf culture in New York and at Gallaudet University. Her sign language performance credits including the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, the New York Deaf Theatre's production The Signal Season of Dummy HoySign-Arella at The New York Deaf Theatre Festival, Cinema Gnome Production's The Smiths: A Rock Music Tribute, and the award-winning film The Shattered Mind.

Lisa Dennett, CI, took her first sign language class in 1987 and later became a certified interpreter in 2000. Lisa has a background in theater as an actress and a singer (www.LisaDennett.com), and she is the founder and director of IDEAS, a nonprofit theater education organization for youth with disabilities and for disadvantaged youth (www.IDEASdrama.org). Lisa made her cabaret debut this past November and is working on her next show, which will incorporate ASL.

Tal Heller, mezzo-soprano and Master of Music student at Mannes College of Music, fell in love with ASL the first day she walked into ASL level 1 at The New School two years ago. Originally inspired by her younger sister who is a special education major and is fluent in ASL, Tal signed up for ASL language and song interpretation classes  with Jeff Mooney, who has been her biggest inspiration in wanting to share ASL with the world. This is Tal's second season with Sign & Sing. She is extremely passionate about this program because of its abilities to help bring the beauty and creativity of classical music to everyone as well as introduce more and more people to ASL and Deaf Culture.

Marian Schirrmeister, born in NYC, is a student at Mannes College The New School for Music and has studied under Yuri Kim since the age of five. She has attended the International Academy of Music for many years, receiving the Honorary Director's Award. Marian was awarded third place at the Puigcerdá's Music Festival piano competition and studied with Oxana Yablonskaya. Marian teaches piano privately and works as an assistant to Yuri Kim while continuing her studies and furthering her love of music.

Kaitlyn Gill is an actor, singer, and dancer from Monmouth County, New Jersey. She moved to New York City in 2014 to pursue an education and career in the performing arts. She is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC and is an alumni of the Actor’s Playground School of Theatre in Freehold, NJ. Kaitlyn has spent the past year studying deaf culture and learning American Sign language. She recently played Hubble, a deaf girl who runs away from her hearing household, in the musical Runaways by Elizabeth Swados at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in NJ. For her New Year's resolution Kaitlyn wanted to find a way to share her new found passion and expose others to sign language. She started the hashtag #100daysofasl on Instagram and has been posting videos of basic signs every day. She is so excited to be working with Sign & Sing and cannot wait to see what wonderful adventures are in store for the company. 

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