From "Queens, Fairytales, and Fantasies" Recital at Longy School of Music, May 2018.
Photo by Huimin Zhu
Akela is a classical soprano, music educator, theatre director, and arts administrator originally from Oakland, California. She has been singing and teaching in Boston since moving there in 2016 to pursue a Master of Music degree in vocal performance at Longy School of Music. Akela is an accomplished performer on the opera and recital stage alike, and she is passionate about using vocal music as a vehicle for social change. Recent performance highlights include frequent solo appearances at First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton, an immersive murder-mystery themed joint recital, the role of Fourth Spirit in Massenet's Cendrillon (Cinderella), and the role of Ghita in Alexander Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg (The Dwarf).
Akela has been an active music educator for the past four years, starting out as a teaching assistant with Boston City Singers. She has since gone on to teach for organizations such as Longy School of Music's El Sistema Program, First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton, Children's Music Center of Jamaica Plain, Community Music Center of Boston, and of course, YoFES. Akela's specialties include private voice lessons, choral activities, musical theatre direction, music theory tutoring, and early childhood general music instruction. She has also been formally trained in vocal pedagogy, choral conducting, acting, jazz studies, and Alexander technique.
Akela has maintained a private voice studio in the Boston area since 2018 and is excited by the opportunity to teach voice as part of the OAMEC program. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in the empowerment of singers through the production of healthy, free phonation. She helps students develop their technique through observation of sensation; discussion of anatomy and voice science; and experimenting with different types of physical, vocal, and emotional expression. Many of Akela's students have enjoyed success performing with organizations such as Boston City Singers and the BSO Children’s Chorus, as well in their extracurricular programs or professional lives.
Akela has been affiliated with YoFES since 2018. She started as a choral enrichment instructor for the YoFES Summer Program and went on to serve as a lead choral instructor for students enrolled Mattahunt Elementary's Touissant L'Ouverture Dual Language Academy. In addition to teaching voice, Akela currently serves as an executive assistant in the YoFES office.
A native of China, Xihan Wang, is a Boston based educator and collaborative pianist. She has a Masters Degree in Piano Performance from Longy school of Music of Bard College and Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Nanjing Normal University. Xihan is a member of Music Teacher National Association (MTNA). She is a very passionate teacher and has been privately teaching piano for 8 years. She aims to help students to find their unique voice and obtain a solid technical foundation.