Sophia Prasinos, mezzo-soprano, is a classically trained vocalist from Woodbury, Connecticut. She has been singing her entire life, but began formal classical vocal training while studying with Meredith Ziegler at the University of Connecticut. Sophia received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance in 2017, as well as a Graduate Performer’s certificate in 2018, both from the University of Connecticut. Sophia then went on to study with John De Haan at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, receiving her Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance in 2020.
While having spent many years singing classically, from professional opera performances to chamber and church choir positions, Sophia has begun to explore her craft beyond the athleticism of opera, delving into the depths of musical expression and curiosity of sound. Sophia has been studying various vocal styles since graduate school, exploring genres like pop, jazz, R&B, indie, folk, funk and soul, as well as writing her own music.
Sophia’s teaching method is rooted in finding connection and curiosity towards music. With a strong focus on healthy vocal technique, Sophia teaches her students not only the technical aspects of how to sing, but how to use their instrument to express their voice to the world. Music is such a sacred form of communication that requires bravery and exploration - all of her students are encouraged to play, in the truest sense of the word!
When Sophia is not performing or teaching music, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, practicing yoga, and running her business Plant Nanny.
Nicholas Serrambana is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from East Hartford, Connecticut. Though piano is Nicholas' first love, he also loves voice, drums and strings, working to find the pedagogy underpinning the assortment of them all. Professionally, Nicholas performs primarily as a jazz contrabassist, leading a fusion sextet called Trance Macabre that works to disseminate queer and digital aesthetics in jazz. Aside from Trance Macabre, Nicholas also performs in two local rock bands, Shirese and CityofMeriden. Nicholas holds a degree in African-American Studies with a concentration in jazz history from Yale College.
Brooke Der is a violinist, violist, pianist, guitarist, bassist, and ukulele player with over 10 years of experience working with beginners through intermediate level students of all ages. A native to Dallas, Texas, she did her undergraduate degree in Music Therapy at Colorado State University. While there she honed her teaching skills through string pedagogy courses and coaching chamber music groups. She also performed in the university orchestra, opera orchestra, and chamber music program, as well as gigging with local professional ensembles and playing weddings. Brooke is fluent in a wide range of musical styles including (but not limited to!) classical, folk, pop, rock, and blues. She is a bright and friendly teacher suitable for beginner through intermediate musicians of all ages who are looking for lessons without the high stress! Brooke loves to work with her student's preferences and goals they would like to meet throughout their time in lessons in a practical and client driven way.
Brooke is a Music Therapy Intern at Albert J. Solnit Center South in Middletown in preparation for her board examination. She and her husband Ryan (also a teacher at Middlesex!) moved from Fort Collins to Colorado to Cromwell in June of 2022, and have absolutely fallen in love with the area. In addition to music, they enjoy gardening, board games, and exploring Connecticut with their husky, Honey!
Zoe Vandermeer has been teaching voice and piano for more than 20 years, and is dedicated to bringing the highest quality of training to her students. She teaches children and adults beginning to advanced levels in both voice and piano, as well as individual and group lessons in songwriting, musicianship, and music theory. In addition, Zoe provides audition preparation, and also works with students in preparation for the ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) program.
Zoe is a member of the New York Singing Teachers Association and teaches singers of pop, R&B, musical theatre and classical styles, focusing on establishing a reliable vocal technique resulting in singing with vocal ease, vocal power, stamina, flexibility, extended range, and improved tone. Vocal health is a top priority. She also has extensive experience working with children's voices. Many of her young vocal students have continued on to careers in the Arts, and have received college scholarships at Berklee School of Music, Carnegie Mellon, University of Connecticut, and elsewhere, and have had lead roles in musical theatre productions, sung in Regionals, All State and Nationals, and solos in school music events. Her adult students range from professional recording artists and soloists, to choral singers, worship leaders, singer-songwriters and band singers.
Zoe Vandermeer is a prize-winning graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a recipient of the Hartt School Faculty Development Fund, and named to the roster of the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism in 2011. Her Carnegie Hall debut took place in 2014 as First Place Winner of the B. Alexander International Vocal Competition and in 2021, she won the Bronze Medal for her singing from Global Music Awards, and was a Semi-Finalist in the Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition. Zoe performs in the US and internationally in productions, concert series and festivals. She has given masterclasses and presentations at the Hartt School Summer Institute, Dalhousie University Nova Scotia, CMEA Convention, and elsewhere.