Private Voice Lessons
Each student receives one private lesson per week for voice with four performance classes included in each 16-week session. Tuition includes weekly classes in theory and Sight-singing/Ear-training. Contact the office at 256 883-1105 for the contact information for each teacher.
Voice Teacher and Ear Training/Sight Singing Instructor
Dixie Harrison, a gifted teacher and performer, is a native of Athens, AL. Dixie completed her bachelors degree in Music Ed. at Samford University and her Masters in Music Ed from UNA. In addition, Dixie has completed work towards a masters degree in church music from Southern Seminary in Louisville. She has served as music director in churches in Athens, AL, and San Diego, CA. Dixie worked 4 seasons at Opryland and has performed in regional and community theatre from Florida to California, performing Musical Theatre and Light Opera. Locally, Dixie has assayed the title roles of Driving Miss Daisy and Hello Dolly (winning Wings Awards for both performances). Her operatic roles have included Zita, an elderly cousin in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Despina in Cosi fan Tutte. Since 2007, Dixie has been a voice instructor at Ars Nova School for the Arts in Huntsville. Ms. Harrison studies voice with Dr. Ginger Beazley.
Voice Teacher and Music Theory Instructor
Gloria began her formal study in voice at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Canada and has been studying voice with Dr. Ginger Beazley for over 10 years. She is an active singer/performer who has performed many major roles including Yum Yum in The Mikado, Violetta in La Traviata, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Nella in Gianni Schicchi, Olga in The Merry Widow, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Nedda in Pagliacci. Gloria is currently a member of the Huntsville Community Chorus and was a soloist for Handel’s “Messiah”, Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”, and Bach’s “Magnificat”. Currently she is the choir director at the Huntsville Korean First Baptist Church and teaches voice and music theory at Ars Nova School of the Arts. She has earned Teacher Certificates in Voice and Theory from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Voice and Piano teacher
Debra Saylor was born in Dubuque, Iowa. She attended Clarke College in Dubuque, where she received her BA in piano and vocal performance in 1984. In 1986, Ms. Saylor received her MA in piano and vocal performance from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. In 2000, Ms. Saylor participated in the Van Cliburn Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, and was awarded third prize. In addition, she won the award for the best performance of a piece in the Romantic period for her performance of Debussy’s Clair de Lune. In 2002, in the same competition, she was given a Judges’ Discretionary Award. Ms. Saylor has been teaching at Ars Nova since 2003.Ms. Saylor loves to perform anywhere, but especially as a classical pianist. She enjoys playing and/or singing semi-classical music, and some songs from musicals. She will perform for parties, weddings, retirement facilities, and other clubs and organizations. Ms. Saylor also loves to play or sing for church services as a soloist.
Master* Voice Teacher
Gary Sims is a native of Missouri and has recently relocated to Huntsville. Mr. Sims earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music from William Jewell College and a Master’s of Music degree in voice from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is well-known as a teacher, singer, actor and composer. He was a university voice teacher for thirty-nine years. His first college teaching position was at Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, CA and for thirty-three years he was an instructor of voice at Webster University in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Sims has a long performance resume including performances in oratorio, light opera and musical theater. Some of his favorite performances were appearances The Jerusalem Symphony. Mr. Sims is very proud of his many voice students performing and working in church music, music education and even on Broadway!
Dr. Meribeth Taylor Lapidus
Master* Voice teacher, Aural Skills and Sight Singing Instructor, Musical Director
Mary Beth Taylor has been teaching vocal music for over twenty years. Dr. Taylor holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Alabama as well as a Master of Education in Choral Music. She has taught general and choral music at the middle and high school levels and has taught private voice instruction and chorus at several universities including the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama A&M University, and the University of Montevallo. In addition to conducting choirs, Dr. Taylor has music directed several school and community musical productions, coached and directed opera, and performed leading roles in musical theatre and opera productions. Her students have ranged from beginners to semi-professionals and from ages 7 to 70+. She has a passion for not only helping students develop their best voices but also for helping them move beyond self-imposed limitations that impede confidence, ease, and enjoyment in singing. Dr. Taylor is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Association for Music Education, and the American Choral Directors Association. She has been an adjudicator for numerous auditions and events in New Hampshire and Alabama. She continues to explore the connection between mindfulness, singing, and well-being, and she loves the diversity of teaching students of all ages, voices, and backgrounds.
Dr. Ginger Beazley
Director and Master* Voice Teacher
Ginger Beazley is a regional performer of opera, operetta and musical theater with leading roles as Leonora in Il Trovatore, Yum Yum in the Mikado and Anna in the King and I. Ms. Beazley holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Alabama. Her teaching studio has produced numerous singers who continue their vocal work at outstanding universities and converatories. Former students currently in international careers include Angela Brown, Susanna Phillips, Janice Chandler and Patricia Andress. In 1998, Dr. Beazley founded Ars Nova, Inc. which runs a school of the arts and also produces varied musical presentations in the community primarily using advanced students and faculty of the school.
Her vision is to provide professional quality training in a nurturing environment where the student is always the focus of the program. Her directoral credits include Gondoliers, The Mikado, Carmen, The Medium and an original adaptation of Shakespeare and Verdi’s Othello/Otello. Dr. Beazley continues to have a passion for excellence and great hope for the next generation of performing artists.
Voice teacher, Educational Outreach
Lisa Kennedy, Soprano, is delighted to join the faculty at Ars Nova. She graduated from University of Alabama in Huntsville, with a degree in Vocal Performance and graduated from the University Of West Florida, Teacher Certification Program, and holds Professional Certifications in Choral and Instrumental music education, along with “Highly Qualified “status for vocal and instrumental music. She has worked in the Huntsville area for over 12 years as a music educator, band and choral director. As well as the Choir Director, a cantor and soloist for St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church in Huntsville. A member of the Huntsville Community Chorus and Chamber chorale, she enjoys choral singing, and is a soloist for both of these organizations. Her solo repertoire includes both Baroque and Classical eras of music, often performing Bach, Handel and Mozart pieces. She performs in various recitals and concerts encompassing many musical genres and venues, and sings for weddings, funerals and other events. In the summer of 2016, she served as the Music Director for HCCA’s Fiddler on the Roof at the VBC playhouse theater. She is a voice student of Dr. Ginger Beazley. In addition to musical pursuits, she enjoys competing in triathlons and open-water swim races. She lives in Huntsville with her husband, Robert and her two children.
Miss VanderWerff has been a student at Ars Nova School of the Arts for over fifteen years. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Jacksonville State University holding a BA in Vocal Music, and a long time student of Dr. Ginger Beazley. Demi is an active performer, singing roles such as Musetta (La Boheme), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Kate (Madama Butterfly), Stephano (Romeo et Juliette), Mary (The Nativity According to St. Luke), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni), among others. She has been featured as a soloist with Bloomington Cantata Project, Huntsville Community Chorus, and the Alabama A&M University Choir. Demi enjoys spreading the joy of music through both teaching and directing, with a particular interest in the educational outreach of opera.