the judges are at the center of the battle for the top honor for lsi championship
the best for the job
The Judges for 2018 Lone Star Show Choir Invitational
Melissa Eklund is a freelance choreographer currently residing in Lincoln, Nebraska but originally from Keller, Texas. A trained singer and dancer, she fell in love with show choir the moment she had been introduced. She attended Central High School and was a part of the first ever nationally competitive show choir (Voices of Central) in the state. After high school, she attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied Music Education. At UNL, she was a dedicated member and section leader of the Women's Chorale and the college's top concert choir, University Singers. In addition to singing in choirs, she spent several years taking private voice lessons from some of the best instructors in the state. Melissa was also a section leader, dance captain, and featured soloist for the university's nationally known show choir, Big Red Singers. She spent many years as a counselor, choreographer’s assistant, choreography intern, and most recently, co-choreographer at the Nebraska Show Choir Camp.
Melissa has since returned to UNL to complete a degree in Elementary Education and continue her passion for teaching. When she is not teaching her sweet first graders, Melissa is choreographing for over 20 show choirs in the Midwest. Several of the schools she works for have hired her to design their costumes and create custom hair and makeup looks for their ensemble. Additionally, Melissa choreographs musicals, assists other award winning and successful choreographers, clinics numerous show choirs, and judges various competitions. Melissa is both honored and excited to be judging the Lone Star Invitational at her alma mater today!
Megan Tantillo boasts a Bachelors Degree in Music Education, with an emphasis in voice, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Megan currently serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Millard North High School. Her responsibilities include conducting 4 curricular choirs, directing the musical, teaching the International Baccalaureate Music course and serving as the head director of the three Millard North Show Choirs. In the past two show choir seasons, under the direction of a new choreographer and director, Millard North’s Varsity Show Choir “Infinity” received numerous awards including Grand Championships, best vocals, best choreography, best band and more. These were the first grand championship awards ever earned by Millard North. In 2017, Megan was award the Best New Director by the FAME Aspire Awards. Megan is also in her 10th year of choreographing show choirs across Nebraska and eastern Iowa.
Tyler R. Gruttemeyer
Tyler R. Gruttemeyer received his Bachelors of Music Education Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the spring of 2013 (#GBR). He is currently in his fourth year as Director of Vocal Music at South High Magnet School in Omaha, Nebraska. At South he directs the Concert Choir, Radiance and Ambassadors Show Choirs, a Cappella ensemble, along with teaching a private voice class, along with serving as the Music Director of the South Summer Musical production. In the fall of 2016 he was the recipient of the Nebraska Music Educators Associations "Young Music Educator of the Year" award. He is currently serves as the director of the Faith Singers High School Chorus at Countryside Community Church, and has still managed to not listen to the Hamilton Sound Track.
Debbie Pesnell has been a part of the Show Choir and Musical Theatre world for 39 years as an educator. Her show choirs competed nationally in New York, Chicago, Orlando and Los Angeles. She has also worked for Show Choir Camps of America, Brightleaf Music Institute at Duke University and finally ran her own show choir summer camp "Texas Showdown" at TCU. She has held professional directing jobs at Six Flags Entertainment, Arlington Music Hall and MTI's iTheatrics in New York City and Atlanta, GA. She has directed 43 full musicals and 9 Broadway Jr shows. She is thrilled to be a part of this Lone Star Show Choir Invitational! Break a leg!
Beth Gove taught choir for 30 years, her final 23 in Leander ISD before retiring in December of 2014. Beth graduated from the North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) in 1985 with a Bachelor of Music degree. In 1992, she received a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas-Austin. Five years prior to retirement, Beth discovered the Show Choir Camps of America and attended their yearly workshop in Tiffin, Ohio. Not only did she discover amazing training, was exposed to phenomenal professional talent, attended amazing concerts, but was also able to participate in the Teacher’s Show Choir. After retiring and recovering from PTCDD (Post Traumatic Choir Director Disorder), Beth is excited to be able to judge the LSI Competition this year!
Dalton Myatt is a 2014 Central High School graduate, and a four year Voices of Central alumni. Show choir has been a part of his life from eighth grade all the way though college where he attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Dalton is an energetic performer and shares that in his role as a former dance captain, assistant choreographer, and critique for several high school show choirs. He is excited to be working with such talented groups at 2018 Lone Star Invitational this year!