Midway High School offers a Fine Arts Private Lesson Program, which allows students to take voice lessons during their choir class. The success of this program has grown tremendously over the 18 years it has been offered. Currently, there are 5 teachers and over 80 students participating.
Ms. Julianne Best
Julianne Best, soprano, has been teaching voice for over thirty years and has taught in MISD since the inception of the Music Enrichment Program in 2002. Her studio, has included over thirty Texas All-Staters and multiple winners in area, regional, and national NATS competitions, the Schmidt Youth Vocal Competition, Hal Leonard Competition, among others. Also teaching Applied Voice and German Diction at Baylor, Ms. Best was previously on faculty of Sam Houston State University. She also taught public choral music in Gilbert, Arizona.
As a singer, Julianne has appeared as soloist in over 50 oratorio and concert performances with orchestras & choral organizations such as the Irving Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Austin Vocal Artists, and the Houston Choral Society, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony, and Boulder Philharmonic, among others. Some roles include Messiah, Carmina Burana, the Requiems of Mozart, Brahms, and Fauré, the Passions of St. Matthew and St. John, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.
Ms. Best was a World Finalist in the 1995 Pavarotti International Competition, a winner of the 1993 San Francisco Opera Auditions, a finalist in several Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions, a national finalist in the 1993 NFMC Young Artists Awards, and was selected for the 1998 NATS Intern Program.
Julianne holds the MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she studied with Barbara Doscher and Robert Harrison. Other studies include the Stuttgarter Staatliche Hochschule für Musik (Kunstleriches Aufbaustudium, with Luisa Bosabalien), Arizona State University (minor in German), and Northern Arizona University (BM in Vocal Performance; BME in Choral Music). As a member of the Opera Colorado Artist Center, she performed the roles of Susanna, Despina, & Miss Wordsworth, as well as Clorinda and Lucia in Opera Colorado productions. Other roles include Baby Doe with Central City Opera outreach, Miss Pinkerton with Lyric Opera of Waco, and Violetta, Baby Doe, Constance, Elvira, and Anne (A Little Night Music) with the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has also worked with Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge at the Britten-Pears School in England and Martin Isepp at the Banff Academy of Singing.
Ms. Tina Hays
Tina Thompson-Hays, a Richardson, TX native, holds vocal performance degrees from Baylor University and Florida State University. After completing her Master’s degree at FSU, she was awarded a Rotary International Scholarship to study at the International Opera Studio in Zurich, Switzerland. After moving to Detmold, Germany, she performed in Germany, Italy and Ukraine, including the soprano solos in Karl Orff’s Carmina Burana in Kiev, Ukraine. She also performed in numerous other oratorios and operas including The Barber of Seville, The Ballad of Baby Doe, La Bohéme, The Merry Widow, Die Entfuerung aus dem Serail, Die Zauberflőte, La Clemenza di Tito, Carmen, and various operettas and musicals. In 1991-92, she sang the role of Carlotta in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg, Germany, performing over 300 shows in German translation. She moved back to Zurich in 1992 to sing with the Zurich Opera. Her son Brandon was born there in 1994.
Thompson-Hays returned to America in 1996 to teach voice at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. During her 20 years in Greenville, she established herself as a soprano soloist in the South East, a respected church musician at Christ Episcopal Church, and a voice professor at Furman, Clemson, Converse College, while maintaining a large private studio in her home. She was also co-founder and co-producer of The Greenville Opera Company. Filling a need for training singers in healthy musical theater technique, she is certified in the Lovetri Method, which she has successfully employed since 2007.
In 2016 Thompson-Hays moved back to Texas where she performed, directed choirs at Christ UMC and taught privately in Dallas, and now, Waco!
Thompson-Hays’ students have performed in Texas and South Carolina All State Choirs, national Broadway tours, received large vocal scholarships to renowned universities, been accepted to highly competitive summer programs for opera and musical theater, won roles in local community theatres, and have become local, regional, and national vocal competition winners and finalists. A long-time member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Repertoire Chair for the South Carolina chapter, Thompson-Hays received an Independent Teacher Fellowship from the organization in 2014.
Tina Thompson-Hays’ long and varied music career has inspired her to share her experience and gift for teaching with talented vocal artists of all ages and abilities and in both classical and non-classical genres. While still performing every chance she gets, she is dedicated to teaching and encouraging singers to develop their vocal technique, artistry, and confidence both on and off the stage.
Dr. David Guess
Dr. David Guess currently serves as president and musical director of the Central Texas Choral Society and has a private studio of over 40 voice students.. He has served on the music faculties at Baylor University and McLennan Community College and for 9 years was Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician and presenter and has directed high school All-Region choirs throughout the state.
He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Texas at Austin, Master of Music Education with emphasis in Choral Conducting from the University of Oklahoma, and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.