Meet the Kenny Judges!
Carlisle Lipke, Kenny Director
Carlisle has been a lover of and participant in musical theatre since the age of six. Throughout high school she was involved in numerous productions serving in a variety of roles including acting, stage managing, costume assistance and house managing. She participated annually in the New York State Theatre Education Conference and completed an internship with the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County in 2007. She has also worked in several capacities for Colloquial Theatre. Carlisle has been an active participant of the Kenny program since its beginning.
General Music & Chorus, Musical Director at Gowanda Middle School
Adam Bett has been interested in theater ever since the age of 10 after seeing his first musical in Toronto, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donnie Osmond. Mr. Bett earned his Bachelors and Masters in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. Currently, Mr. Bett is the music department leader at the Gowanda Central School District as well as teaching general music and chorus at the Middle School level. He serves as the producer for the Gowanda High School musicals as well as the artistic director of the Middle School musicals for the past 11 years. Mr. Bett is a member of the American Choral Directors' Association, the New York State School Music Association and the Erie County Music Educators' association. Recently, he was a clinician at the NYSSMA Winter conference presenting on building a successful musical theater program in a low-income school district.
Thomas Errol Gleed
Tom Gleed studied theatre under Roz Kramer at Daemen College (formally Rosary Hill College). He performed in early Theatre of Youth (TOY) productions and is the former president of the Buffalo Opera Guild. He continues to take roles in local productions, performs with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and is a first tenor with the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus.
Senior Production Manager at Shea's Performing Arts Center
Bill Hedrick serves as Shea's Performing Arts Center's Senior Production Manager where he is responsible for handling all aspects of backstage including advancing shows with touring companies, overseeing the load in, performance(s) and strike of every event presented at Shea's, managing the hundreds of backstage employees including IATSE Stagehands Local #10, IATSE Wardrobe Local #783, AFM (Musicians) Local #92, and internal production staff, and maintenance of the stage and its technical systems.
Head of Production, NETworks Presentations
A native of Buffalo and alumni of Williamsville East High School, Jason spent most of his career traveling the world as the Technical Director for such tours as; THE SECRET GARDEN, GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING, The Who's TOMMY, SOUND OF MUSIC, BIG the Musical, DAMN YANKEES, CIRQUE INGENIEUX and SHOW BOAT. He currently serves as Head of Production for NETworks Presentations, the nations largest theatrical Producer, where he has been responsible for over 50 National and International touring productions including; RENT, RAGTIME, CABARET, FOSSE, ANNIE, SEUSSICAL, FULL MONTY, OLIVER!, OKLAHOMA, LITTLE WOMEN, HAIRSPRAY, THE PRODUCERS, SHREK, Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, MARY POPPINS, DIRTY DANCING, LES MISERABLES and the new 25th anniversary production of THE PHANTOM of the OPERA. Jason has also served as the Director of Production Operations for BLUE MAN GROUP and regularly speaks at various Colleges and Universities around the country working with their students to prepare them for a career in the Arts. He is an active member of the United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). He currently resides in Orchard Park with his wife and daughter.
Adjunct Professor at SUNY Fredonia; Musical Director at Forestville Central School
Mr. Donald Keddie retired in 2008 from teaching music in the Fredonia Central Schools. At various times during his thirty-three year career, he directed elementary, middle, and high school bands, conducted the high school orchestra, and taught AP Music Theory. His involvement in musical theater began in the pit orchestra as a trumpeter, a violinist, and eventually conductor for nineteen shows. After developing an interest in technical theater, he gained experience in set and lighting design and ultimately served as the director for his last five shows at Fredonia. His final production there, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, was the first Kenny Award finalist from Chautauqua County. Following retirement, Mr. Keddie has remained active in educational theater, having directed six musicals at Forestville Central School.
Besides his work in the theater, Mr. Keddie has performed and conducted on eight European trips with the American Music Abroad Empire Band and Choir, a cultural performance tour for advanced high school and college musicians. He is currently an adjunct instructor at the SUNY Fredonia School of Music, where he earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in music education. He also assists with the New Horizons Band of Western New York, an adult concert band based at the School of Music.
Band Director at City Honors School
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Donna Kerr has performed and directed throughout the Western New York area. For over 25 years, she has taught in the Buffalo Public Schools as an English, Theatre and Music educator. Ms Kerr is the Band Director at City Honors School for grades 5-12. Ms. Kerr is a member of the Erie County Music Educators Association, New York State School Music Association and the National Association for Music Education. She serves on the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's Education and Curriculum Committee and Community Spotlight Program which features and hosts performances and educational opportunities for young musicians. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a liaison to the community for educational programs, scholarship and performs as a Musician Medic with her vocal group, The Buffalo Dolls.
Ms. Kerr was part of the winning directing team for the Kenny Award in 1995 for Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts production, The King and I and City Honors School 2008 production, Children of Eden. In 2008, Ms. Kerr was recognized by the Coca-Cola Company as an Educator of Distinction. She received the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Erie County Music Educators Association's Award for Excellence in Music Education in 2015 and is Grammy nominated for Music Educator of the Year for 2017.
Supervisory Import Specialist, Field Operations at US Customs & Border Protection
Maryalice Nowak is a life-long musical theatre aficionado and spent many years studying voice, dance, and instrumental music. She worked on high school theatrical productions in all capacities from technical to orchestral to on-stage performance. She has also performed in a number of local musical and theatrical productions. In her youth, Maryalice was selected to perform with the song and dance group Spirit of Youth, with which she performed at many venues throughout the region, including the Erie County Fair. She later spent several years on the staff of Spirit of Youth. She continues her study of dance to this day, and spends her summers singing with a local women's a cappella chorus.
Chorus Teacher at Casey & Heim Middle Schools
Mrs. Danielle Rodgers is a 2003 graduate of the Crane School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She began her teaching career in 2003 as the Middle School Vocal Director for Adirondack Central Schools, also serving as a choral and lighting director for drama productions. She received her Master of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College in 2007. Mrs. Rodgers was also the High School Choral Director at Oakfield-Alabama High School, receiving the H.O.R.N.E.T. Effective Teaching Award in 2009, and Teacher of the Year in 2015. Mrs. Rodgers has served as the choral and general director for multiple Oakfield-Alabama High School drama productions. Currently, she is a vocal and general music teacher at Casey and Heim Middle Schools in the Williamsville School District. She is a NYSSMA All State vocal adjudicator, and enjoys sponsoring and mentoring Ithaca College music student teachers.
Mrs. Rodgers is a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus Pro-Core as a soprano, and has served as their conducting assistant. She has also served as the conductor of the Cortland County Senior High All County Chorus. As an accompanist, Mrs. Rodgers has worked with the Genesee-Wyoming Senior High All County Chorus, SUNY University at Buffalo Newman Center Choir, and the Ithaca College Summer Choir.
Costume Designer at DC Theatricks, Musician, Director
Bret Runyon has been a costumer at D.C. Theatricks for the past 18 years. He has worked as a costumer with many theatres including Gateway Playhouse, Surflight Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, and the Kavinoky. Through his work at D.C., his costumes have been seen on national and international stages for such notable actors as Betty Buckley, Sherman Hemsley, Lorenzo Lamas, and more. Bret is also a musician, playing saxophone and piano for The George Scott Big Band at the Colored Musicians Club. He has been the music director for productions at the Lancaster Opera House, O'Connell & Co., BUA, and Canisius College Little Theatre.
Music Teacher at Tasker Studios
Jenna Tasker is a 2013 magna cum laude graduate of Ithaca College with a Bachelors of Music (B.M.) in Vocal Performance and a B.M. in Music Education. She received her Master's Degree in Music Education from the University at Buffalo where she currently teaches music in the Early Childhood Research Center. Mrs. Tasker is the owner of Tasker Studios in East Aurora, NY which offers private voice and piano lessons in addition to early childhood music classes. She has been involved in many different aspects of musicals and operas including performing lead roles and also serving as assistant director, lighting director, and vocal coach for high school, college, and community theater. Mrs. Tasker participated in the Kenny Awards when she attended Nardin Academy and she is excited to join this great program as a judge.
Musical Director at Orchard Park Middle School; Music Teacher at Eden Jr/Sr High School
Jennifer Tylock has been working in theater since she was a small child and has been involved in local high school musical theater for the past twenty years. Currently she is the director of the Orchard Park Middle School musical and just ended her fourteen year tenure as the director and producer of the Eden Junior Senior High musical, during which Eden won the Kenny Award for Outstanding Production. Her other theater experience has had her involved in multiple aspects of musical theater production from staging, accompanying, and choreographing, to set and light design with several school districts in the area.
Jennifer holds bachelor degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education, a Master of Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, and studied voice with Helen Hodam. Her performance experience includes lead roles with the Syracuse Talent Company, New England Conservatory, Ithaca College, and the Hillman Opera. She has been the middle and high school choral director at Eden Junior Senior High School since 2000 where she also has taught coursework in theater practice and improvisation. Jennifer is very excited to be working with the other Kenny judges in such a valuable community program!
Adjunct Professor at SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State, Freelance stage director and theatrical combat choreographer
Steve Vaughan is a Certified Fight Director and Stage Combat Teacher for the Society of American Fight Directors. (safd.org) He has staged stunts, fights and action sequences for Television, Film, Theater and Opera in western New York and nationwide, including over 50 New York soap opera credits. He directs and choreographs fights for Shakespeare in Delaware Park. This summer he will choreograph the violence for Romeo and Juliet and direct Twelfth Night, using an all-male cast. Steve teaches theater at SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State College.