Songbook Academy 2021 Screeners: Anthony Bruno, Kathleen Hacker, Daniel Narducci, Nicki Richards, Lynne Rothrock, Sonia Santiago

2021 National Screeners

Every student who applies to the Songbook Academy receives detailed feedback from our national panel of vocal and music professionals. Meet this year's incredible panel of adjudicators!


Anthony Bruno - Arlington Children's Theatre, Award-winning director specializing in ensemble-driven theatre and new work development who is an associate member of SDC and a previous visiting Music Theatre faculty member at Elon University!Anthony Bruno is an award-winning director specializing in ensemble-driven theatre and new work development. His work on the world-premiere of Southern Hospitality by Lilia Rubin earned Anthony the NSPF Award for Best Director. In 2018, Anthony co-produced and directed Theatre for the New City’s annual gala, Love N’ Courage, featuring André De Shields, Vinie Burrows, and Luba Mason. Anthony founded The Sandbox @ Redhouse, a program in partnership with Red House Arts Center designed to train and foster collaboration between local playwrights and directors in the development of new works. Anthony was selected from a global pool of applicants by the International Performing Arts Institute to direct and train early-career musical theatre and opera professionals in Kiefersfelden, Germany.


Other select New York credits include What Do Critics Know? (Signature Theatre),  The 40th Annual Halloween Costume Ball (Theater for the New City), Two Assholes on an Elephant (The Gallery Players), and Me Prometheus (Hudson Guild Theatre). Regional credits include White Plains PAC, Red House Arts Center, Summer Theatre of New Canaan, Riverside Theatre, Sheboygan Theatre Company, Phoenix Productions, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, and as a visiting member of the Music Theatre faculty at Elon University.


Anthony is currently the Interim Artistic Director at Arlington Children’s Theatre who, under his leadership, pioneered the first in-person performances in the Greater Boston Area since the March 2020 shutdown. He holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University and is an SDC Associate Member. For more information, visit


Kathleen Hacker - University of Indianapolis, Soprano vocalist who has given over 500 concerts throughout the world, has her doctorate in music from Indiana University, and has been involved in The Songbook Academy since its very first year!

Kathleen Hacker, soprano, made her New York debut as soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall and has sung with major symphony orchestras across the country, including those of Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. She has been a regular cover for Sandi Patty in the Indianapolis SymphonyYuletide Celebration and was a featured artist on the original ISO Yuletide Celebration CD. She can also be heard as soprano soloist on the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir 75th anniversary release of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. As a chamber musician, where she is most at home, highlights include appearances at the Marlboro, Bard and Aspen Music Festivals.


Kathleen holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Jan DeGaetani and received the coveted Performers Certificate in both Opera and Voice Performance, and earned her doctorate of music from Indiana University. Kathleen is Professor of Music and Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Indianapolis where she teaches all things vocal, leads professional development and creativity classes, and serves as Artistic Director of the Opera Theatre. She is an avid supporter and has served as mentor and judge for the Great American Songbook Foundation’s annual Songbook Academy, founded by Michael Feinstein, since its inception.


Daniel Narducci - University of Indianapolis, Baritone vocalist who has performed on opera, concert, and musical theatre stages across the world from Lincoln Center to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to two national tours of Camelot opposite Robert Goulet!

From New York City’s Lincoln Center to the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, baritone Daniel Narducci has appeared in performances across the globe on the opera, concert, and musical theatre stages. Mr. Narducci has performed with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops, Naples Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and the Detroit Symphony. He played the role of Lancelot during two national tours of Camelot, most notably opposite Robert Goulet’s King Arthur. Daniel co-starred with Frederica von Stade and the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in a program broadcast internationally by PBS entitled Pops at the Phil: A Century of Broadway. Mr. Narducci created the role of Captain Hook on the world premiere complete recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan, co-starring Linda Eder. He was featured on the BBC television documentary Kurt Weill in America: I’m a Stranger Here Myself. His opera roles include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Escamillo in Carmen, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La Bohème, Figaro in Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, and Silvio in I Pagliacci. He has been heard in these roles with the Washington National Opera, New Orleans Opera, Central City Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Kentucky Opera, Nashville Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Daniel Narducci received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Voice from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he recently completed his Doctoral Degree in Voice. He is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Indianapolis.


Nicki Richards - The New School, Jazz and R&B artist, actress, educator and renown background vocalist for artists including Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Madonna, and Whitney Houston!

Nicki Richards bio coming soon! Read the article below in the meantime.


Nicki Richards... The Soulful Vibe of a Musical Diva

By: Angelique Westerfield


"If you have ever listened to an R&B, Rock, or Pop song that has landed in the Top 10 on the Billboard Charts within the past twenty years, you have heard the incredible vocals of Nicki Richards. Her voice is resonates on the background vocals for artists that include Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. Richards has also sang lead vocals to multiple dance tracks produced by Chicago House legend – Frankie Knuckles. With these achievements, some may say that she has reached the pinnacle of her career. However, Richards has reached new heights with her latest release – “Tell Me” – carving her place as a successful solo artist ...


During the course of Richards musical career, she has also stepped into the world of acting appearing in numerous commercials, films, and staged productions including an adaption of Zora Neal Hurston’s “Spunk” and the Cy Coleman’s musical “Like Jazz.” Richards says her father’s love for jazz music influenced her affection for jazz icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Johnny Hartman, and the jazz harmonies of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross."


Read the full article at iRock Jazz


Lynne Rothrock - Coe College and Luther College, Vocalist/entertainer/arts educator who has served as a clinician at Manhattan Vocal Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center, Showchoir Camps of America and Heritage Music Festivals!

A graduate of Luther College (B.A. Music/Theatre) and Western Michigan University (M.M. Vocal Performance) Lynne Rothrock is a vocalist/entertainer as well as an arts educator. She has performed as a solo artist at a variety of venues around the United States, including Birdland (NYC), The Bluebird Café (Nashville), Davenports Cabaret (Chicago), Hell’s Kitchen, Aster Cafe (Minneapolis), Crown & Anchor (Cape Cod, MA) Commonweal Theatre (Lanesboro, MN) Brucemore’s “Cabaret In the Courtyard” (Cedar Rapids, IA), Jewel Theatre (Luther College), Sunshine Theater (Southern Pines, NC), and Duke University’s Bryan Center for the Arts (Durham, NC). She has also worked for theatre companies as performer and/or musical director including Mockingbird Public Theatre (Nashville, TN), Nashville Opera, Sound View Cabaret (Seattle, WA), Chaffin’s Dinner Theatre (Nashville, TN), Seattle Light Opera, Vassar Playhouse (KS), Iowa Theatre Artists Company (Amana, IA) and Festival Theatre (WI). Lynne is on the Performing Artists Roster of the Iowa Arts Council & is one third of the popular vocal trio DIVAPALOOZA (Alkahest Artists, Inc). In 2011, Lynne was one of 30 vocalists selected to attend the prestigious International Cabaret Conference at Yale University.


An active arts educator, she has served on the voice faculty of Austin Peay State University, Western Michigan University, Kirkwood Community College, Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of the Performing Arts, St. Ambrose University and currently teaches at Coe College and Luther College. Lynne has served as clinician at the Manhattan Vocal Jazz Festival at Lincoln Center, Brightleaf Music Workshop, Showchoir Camps of America and has served as an adjudicator for Heritage Music Festivals for more than 20 years – adjudicating choral ensembles in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Orlando, St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and New Orleans and San Diego. Lynne has taught master classes in song performance at Luther College, Belmont University, Morningside College, St. Ambrose University & the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Conference. She is on the faculty of the Great American Songbook Foundation’s annual Songbook Academy, founded by Michael Feinstein. Visit for more information about upcoming events.


Sonia Santiago - Palm Beach Atlantic University, Mezzo-Soprano vocalist who has performed throughout the US, Europe, Japan and South America and previously served as Dir. of Vocal Arts at The King's Academy!

Performing artist and veteran educator Sonia Santiago is a distinguished music educator and voice instructor and has one of the most sought-after voice studios in South Florida. As an accomplished voice instructor, she emphasizes vocal freedom through healthy vocal technique in all genres.  This carries through to her work with ensembles and choirs throughout the state.  She believes that bringing sound vocal technique into the choral rehearsal is not only essential in healthy development but paramount in producing the highest level experience for both the singer and the audience. Her services as a vocal clinician, conductor, and adjudicator are in great demand throughout Florida and the southeastern United States.


Mrs. Santiago currently serves as Adjunct Instructor of Voice and Popular Music at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL, where she teaches voice to music majors of various disciplines and directs the Pop Vocal Ensemble. The Ensemble was recently featured alongside international artist Rob Kapilow as they presented “Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas” at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach. Prior to returning to her position at the university, she served as Director of Vocal Arts for the nationally acclaimed Conservatory of the Arts at The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach, FL for twelve years.  In this highly successful and well recognized conservatory program, she inspired countless young artists who are now pursuing careers in the industry.  Her choirs regularly received Superior ratings at both the District and State FVA performance assessments, earning the coveted Superior with Distinction. In the Fall of 2018, Sonia joined the amazing staff of the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches in residence at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, where she continues her work with young vocal artists.


Sonia has thrilled audiences worldwide with her rich lyric mezzo-soprano voice. She is an artist that is as much at home on the operatic stage as in the concert hall. Since her much-praised debut with the late conductor Anton Guadagno and the Palm Beach Opera, she has gone on to entertain audiences throughout the US, Europe, Japan, and South America.


Born in Miami, Florida, Sonia Santiago is the daughter of Cuban immigrants. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Florida, and a master’s degree in vocal performance from Florida State University. Sonia and her husband Felix call West Palm Beach home, where they reside with their three sons Nicholas, Christopher, and Jonathan. Her son Christopher, a talented singer and trumpeter, can be heard regularly on Legends Radio 100.3 FM, and is the Young Artist Award Winner of the Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook.