About Us

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini has taught Voice and Opera at the University level for over 20 years. She has taught at Radford University, Oklahoma City University, University of Oklahoma, Indiana Purdue University, Manchester University, University of Toledo, and Grace College. She has performed internationally and throughout the US with Orchestra and Symphonic Organizations as well as Opera Festivals and Companies. Denise has been a soloist in prestigious venues,  such as Carnegie Hall, and a recitalist in London, England; Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia; and at the Certosa di Garegnano in Milan, Italy. She has also performed her one-woman classical cabaret in Leibniz, Austria, where she performed for the International University Global Theater to an audience representing 32 countries.

  • Dr. Bernardini has completed over 40 graduate hours in mental health with an emphasis on mindfulness and performance anxiety pathologies. She is a presenter on the mindfulness of singing for educators and singers. The Governor’s School of the Commonwealth of Virginia named Dr. Bernardini the Director of Vocal Studies in 2023. This is the largest fine arts program sponsored by the Department of Education in Virginia.

  • Denise leads a support group for music students to explore performance anxiety issues, and to develop resilience/coping mechanisms for performance success. She has written for the Journal of Singing about mental health in the applied vocal studio. Her quantitative and qualitative study, The Healthy Voice Protocol, concentrated on food as medicine, and movement to give resilience and increase stamina, for the aging singer.

  • An avid social justice advocate, Denise is currently involved in a project focused on bringing awareness to human trafficking. A Thousand Hands: A Million Stars is an all-female artist collaboration and includes poetry, music, dance, and art. This unique one-of-a-kind performance has been presented at the annual Conference for Human Trafficking in Toledo, Ohio, and at the city’s premier arts showcase, Momentum, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio; Chapman University in Orange, California; Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California; and Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia.
  • Dr. Bernardini is also a sought-after clinician, teacher, presenter, and author. She has presented at The Voice Symposium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Stockholm, Sweden; the Great Lakes Regional Conference of College Music Society; the Indiana Music Educators Convention; the Virginia Music Educators Association, as well as several National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) regional and state-level clinics.

  • Denise’s book entitled: A Stylistic Guide of Classical Cabaret: A Stylistic and Historical Glimpse with selected songs by Satie, Poulenc, Schönberg, Weill, Britten, and Moore can be purchased through Amazon.

Ms. Toni Crowder

Toni Crowder taught on the voice faculty at Randolph-Macon College and she has been a      guest clinician at schools across the state of Virginia. Her background and training as a Music Educator, Music Therapist, CYVT (certified YogaVoice® practitioner) and RYT-200 (Yoga Alliance Registered 200-hour yoga teacher) helped her create an award-winning vocal studio. Recently, as a result of her own mindfulness of singing journey, Toni has been creating original compositions, singing light jazz, and accompanying herself on the piano for live music venues.


  • Toni Crowder’s most notable role is her original one-woman show as the bright-nosed, goofy-stockinged, song-slinging Opera Clown Tessitura. Through bookings and partnerships with Young Audiences of Virginia, The Virginia National Federation of Music Club, Opera Roanoke, and the Fairfax Arts Council Creative Arts Roster, she entertained thousands of children and adults at schools, libraries, museums, and festivals across the state of Virginia. Highlights from her tours include performing for the Todi Music Festival Portsmouth, (sister program to Todi Italy) Classical Singer international singer convention in New York, and tours throughout Washington D. C., New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Arkansas.

  • She has also entertained plenty of audiences without her clown nose and Viking horns! The Washington Post hailed her performance of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus as being“full of vigor and excitement.” She carried that same energy into televised and radio recordings of her performance of Mendelssohn duets with international soprano Lucy Shelton for National Public Radio’s Performance Today and Backstage Pass’s telecast of The Four Divas on Fairfax Cable Television. Ms. Crowder has sung a wide variety of operatic roles and she performed the original title role in the world premiere of Michael Ching’s opera Faith with OperaFest of New Hampshire. 

  • Toni has performed as a guest soloist with various orchestras including, Ra’anana Orchestra Tel Aviv, The Albany Symphony, The Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony, The Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, The Rappahannock Pops Orchestra, Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra, and The Georgetown University Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Crowder has sung in Italy with diverse performances at the Villa Contarini, Monselice, singing the role of Santuzza from Cavalleria Rusticana, as well as concerts at the Basicilica di S. Maria Assunta in Bango di Romagna and the Chiesa di San Martino in Este with internationally acclaimed tenor Maurizio Saltarin.

  • As an Artist-in-Residence, she has helped students from extremely diverse backgrounds create and produce original operas. Her residencies were sponsored through the Virginia Commission of the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts. Ms. Crowder’s residency work was recognized through the Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond Channel Five News, and The Free Lance Star, Fredericksburg, VA. The Virginia Music Educators Association and the National Federation of Music Clubs featured her as a guest clinician to present about her residence experiences.