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In-Person Lessons, Classes, and Performances at YACM is the Best Way to Grow Up!
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Private Music Lessons
Jump Start Musicianship
4-5 Yr Olds.
30-min Wkly Lessons
Solano Youth Chamber Orchestra
Schedule Your Private Audition 2021-21 Season
SEP - MAY 2021-22
Schedule your Private Audition
$980.00, $100 Mem Fee.
Private Lessons, Comprehensive Collaborative, Performances
Ages 6 - Adults
30-Min Wkly Lessons
Tuition increases for 45 or 60 min. lessons
Band, Rock or Jazz
Covers and Originals
Perform all Season
SEP - MAY 2021-22
Instrumentalist & Vocal Auditions Scheduling Now
$1050.0 | $85 Mem Fee
Acting, Storytelling, Plays, Improv, Musicals
Ages 7 - 21
Starting at $360.00
Kids and Teen Groups
Chorus, A cappella
Kids and Teen Groups
Harmonies, Technique, Fun
Sing and Perform
Groups for Kids and Teens
Schedule your Summer Audition
Summer Starter Package
Save $30 on 4 Private Lessons + 50% on a Summer Camp
We've been transforming Solano's youth in pursuit of artistic excellence since 2005.
In 2005, Young Artists Conservatory of Music (YACM) was founded on the conviction that the arts provide the greatest means to develop human potential and social cohesion.
As Solano’s foremost arts education organization, we invest in the unlimited potential of youth through exceptional arts education and significant performance experiences. Across a broad demographic, YACM coordinates resources designed to cultivate musical talent by nurturing excellence diligence, hope, and community in young people, while promoting regional participation in the arts.
For over 16 years, YACM has been providing a place where the youth of Solano grow up learning to play, sing, act, and perform with confidence. The YACM community is where life long friends are made and life long musicianship begins.
Whether this is your first step into the performing arts or you are making a transition, unlocking your child's potential depends on the three pillars of excellence: Exceptional Performance Experiences, Expert Instructors, and Experienced Methods. YACM was founded to bring all three pillars of excellence into the life of your child.
Learning to perform with dignity and confidence is integral to effectively sharing the beauty of one's art. We provide performance opportunities throughout each year.
Our Inspiring Teaching Artists possess the education and experience to empower confidence and creativity.
A comprehensive system of learning helps students achieve the skills to become proficient, leading to a lifelong enjoyment of music and theater.
Meet our Instructors
Piano, Violin, Resident Symphony Conductor
Jaymes Kirksey, a native of Oklahoma, and a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has won numerous prizes for both violin and piano at several national and international competitions including the Margaret Gutthman Piano Competition in Atlanta, the Baylor University Music Competition and the Juanita Hubbard Invitational Piano Competition. He is an active performer around the US and Europe.
Jaymes made his professional Oklahoma debut at the age of 13 performing Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. The Daily Oklahoman described Jaymes as having an "outrageously mature playing style with exceptional control" and "a truly unstoppable future." He later performed Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto with the Hays Symphony Orchestra of Kansas. Jaymes made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 with the National Festival Orchestra led by Maestro Benjamin Zander and became the first African American and Oklahoman chosen to perform with the orchestra in its history. Jaymes studied piano with Dr. James Breckenridge, Valery Kuleshov and Nellie Asaturyan and violin with Bettina Mussumeli, Peter Nguyen, Robert McDuffie and Kare'n Khanagov. He is currently the Music Director and Maestro of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra in Berkeley, the only choral orchestra in the country. He has guest conducted the Golden Gate Symphony in ther performance of Brahms Fourth Symphony and has performed Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Lalo's Symphonie Espagnol with the orchestra.
Little Arts, Piano, Jazz Arts
Kimmi has been teaching piano and theory to all ages for over 20 years since obtaining her degree in composition and piano from the prestigious National Taiwan University of Arts. With a focus on the students abilities she imparts her love of music while inspiring the students to achieve their targets.
Her students have accomplished great results in all their examinations and goals whilst they are enjoying the pleasant and creative teaching methodology. She composes and performs regularly in diverse forms from classical to jazz.
Piano, Executive Director
Wanda Cook, founder and Executive Director, has been teaching piano for over 30 years. As a fourth generation piano teacher, she brings a heritage of pedagogy and tradition into the present. Mrs. Cook received her piano training from her grandmother, Helen Genevieve Pinkstaff Spillenaar, a Julliard graduate from whom she learned to appreciate the way in which technical control empowers artistic delivery. She graduated from Simpson college with a degree in Business Administration and Biblical Literature. Although, at that time, she did not choose to study music, she taught piano lessons in her mother's studio and found employment as a music and theory tutor in the Simpson music department.With strict application of tradition but with a fresh and inspiring manner, Mrs. Cook is credited with transforming hundreds of children into fluent and proficient pianists. Her students perform at the highest levels throughout Solano County and go on to pursue professional careers and college music degrees. She has trained teachers to apply her methods with the aim to create pianists from a developmental model that addresses informed practice, applied technique, musical phrasing, tonal control, and empowered performances.
Berkeley native Melissa Angulo, known for her rich and compelling soprano tone, is an artist on the rise. A singer equally at home in styles of opera, jazz, rhythm & blues, and musical theater. Angulo recently sang alongside Frederica Von Stade at the 2015 Mendocino Music Festival. In 2014, she covered the role of Inez in Virago Theater’s production of Il Trovatore, and in 2013, she took 1st place in the Pacific Musical Society Vocal Competition in the 19-25 category, adjudicated by Frederica Von Stade, Olivia Stapp, and the late Lotfi Mansouri. She has sung for events such as the Bear Valley Music Festival, the 100 Club Gala, Music and Wine in the Vineyards, and Open Opera’s Summer Sizzle. Angulo completed her studies and training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, under the instruction of the world-renowned, Cesar Ulloa. While at SFCM, she had the opportunity to work with Martin Katz, Danielle De Niese, Jose Maria Condemi, and Tamara Sanikidze, among others. Angulo began her collegiate career at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, studying with Daniel Washington. While at Michigan, she performed in the University of Michigan MUSKET’s production of Little Shop of Horrors by Alan Menken as the sassy Chiffon. Additionally, Angulo was coached by George Shirley, Robert Owens, Kamal Kahn, and Scott Piper. The summer following her freshman year, she participated in the summer young artists program, Music in the Marche, in Mondavio, Italy studying the Italian language, diction, voice, and performing opera scenes from Il Matrimonio Segreto and L’Incoronazione di Poppea. While in Italy, she studied voice with Rebecca Wascoe. Melissa Angulo shares her time and talents, empowering young singers to unleash their full musical potential by offering lessons that incorporate all aspects of vocal performance. You’ll learn vocal exercises, breathing techniques, muscle coordination, music theory, projection, performance skills, and much more.While Angulo’s teaching approach is rooted in classical technique, it is not limited to a book or any one genre. Angulo teaches students focusing in Classical/Opera, Musical Theater, R&B, Jazz, and Pop. Angulo does not just aim to create good singers, but great musicians.
Little Arts, Violin, Suzuki Certified, Beginning Piano
Elena Gomez is a classically trained violinist from Bilbao, Spain. Her credentials include degrees from Musikene in San Sebastian (Spain), Codarts in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and University of Santiago de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela (Spain). After finishing her Master´s Degree in orchestral music, Elena began pursuing a career in music education by enrolling in a teacher training program through the European Suzuki Association where she completed three years of intensive training to become a certified Suzuki Method instructor. Elena believes that every child has the ability to play an instrument and that parental involvement creates a more successful learning environment for the students. She has specialized in violin education for young students, ranging in age from 3-14. What Elena loves most about being a violin instructor is the connections that she can make with each and every student. As a Spanish national, Elena is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Lany De La Campa
Lany De La Campa
Little Arts, Beginning Piano, Violin
Adriana De La Campa is a violinist, violist, and teacher, and has held the concert mistress position for Solano Community College Orchestra for the past three years. Adriana works to seek out various opportunities for her major passion, performance, and enjoys performing in local productions for various opera and theater houses. She values the importance of local productions and hopes to continue to be a part of making accessible the artistic beauty of music to Northern California.
She believes there is as much to learn from teaching as there is from being a student, and aims to teach problem solving and empowering students to find solutions independently, as she values problem solving as a life skill.
Piano, Voice, Violin
Mrs. Lee Reyes is a voice and instrumental music specialist, and is well established in teaching students of all ages. She gives piano, violin, and voice lessons in both Bel Canto and contemporary disciplines. She previously taught music at private schools in Southern and Northern California (preschool -12th grade). She is an active professional musician and a former member of the Oakland Jazz Choir. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from CSU Sacramento, with Undergraduate Studies in Music as a Piano Performance Major. As a teacher with the Young Artists Conservatory of Music, Mrs. Reyes endeavors to encourage her students to grow in their musical skills, and to inspire them to bring forth their best toward their musical aspirations.
Guitar, Saxophone, Accordion, General Music
Mr. Reyes teaches all forms of guitar (traditional, folk, country, rock, blues, beginning jazz and classical). He also teaches the ukulele, accordion and saxophone. Mr. Reyes has taught Elementary, Junior High and High School students in Northern and Southern California since 1994 as a classroom and private instrumental music teacher, Concert/Jazz/ Stage/Marching Band Director, Music Department Head and Performing Arts Coordinator. Mr. Reyes has the distinction of being nominated three times as a “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” Mr. Reyes holds a B.A. degree in Music Education from CSU Dominguez Hills. In addition to teaching, he has an extensive background performing with various recording artists in Southern California. He has credits as a professional recording artist and performs professionally with his wife.
Matt Thomas graduated Cum Laude from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. He received the Young Artist Award each year he attended Ball State. He went on to receive an MM in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University.He accepted a position with the United States Air Force's Band of the Golden West, located at Travis Air Force Base. During his 11 years stationed with the band, he performed in venues throughout the West Coast and for many high-profile events, including 4th of July at the Hollywood Bowl with Vince Gill and the LA Philharmonic, President Reagan's Interment Ceremony, and the Rose Bowl Parade. His teaching philosophy is focused on mastering fundamental techniques while also enjoying music performance. He believes that music should move the soul -- and that goes for the performers too.
Edward Halbach III
Edward Halbach III
Voice, Theatre, Opera Studies
Ed Halbach earned his Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance at San Jose State University in 1982. He has studied with mezzo sopranos Irene Dalis, and Edna Garabedian, baritones John Robert Dunlap, Dr. David Rohrbaugh and David Burnakis, as well as soprano Jean Garson. He has sung in master classes with Giorgio Tozzi, Sherrill Milnes, and Jess Thomas. He has extensive professional experience in operatic theatre where he has sung leading baritone roles in Cosi fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, La Boheme, Gianni Schicchi, Manon, Don Carlos, La Cenerentola, Prince Igor, Tartuffe, The Scarf, and numerous other leading baritone roles in English, French, German, Italian, and Russian. He has performed many recitals in the same languages and has extensive knowledge of the classical art song repertoire. He has taught private voice for over 35 years, and has taught both choir and theatre arts for the Vacaville Unified School District. He embraces all forms of music with an understanding that the classics have the power to stretch and empower the student to become an artist of poise and dignity in any genre of music or theater.
Cello, Youth Orchestra
Kimberly Cole Feeney holds a Bachelor of Music in performance from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master of Arts in Music Education and Cello Performance from California State University, Long Beach.
She recently retired from 35 years of service as a string specialist in the public schools, including 31 years with the Davis Joint Unified School District and previous years with the San Juan and Sacramento City Unified School districts. In Davis, she taught an average of 300 students per year, serving multiple schools and directing the “Davis All-City Elementary Orchestra” which she created in 1995. In 2015 she was presented with the “Outstanding Music Educator Award” from the Capitol section of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) and in 2002 she was presented with the “Outstanding String Educator Award” by CMEA, Capital Section. Kim is currently serving her second term as State President of the California Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA). She also serves as the California ASTA webmaster and liaison to CMEA. Over the past thirty-five years she has held numerous leadership positions with both CMEA and ASTA/NSOA (National Schools Orchestral Association) at both the local and state levels. In her spare time, Kim freelances on the cello, playing in her own quartet and with various orchestras in the Sacramento and Bay areas. She also serves as an adjudicator at both local and state events.
Nancy Salerno Lower has played piano for a lifetime. She started studying at the age of eight and continued throughout childhood. She studied music in college, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from U.C. Davis. She also completed a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Literature from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). Also from CSUS she completed the teaching credential program in music, specializing in choral conducting and choral repertoire for grades one through twelve.Nancy’s work history in music teaching and performance is diverse. She taught piano at Sacramento City College (SCC) for over thirty years. For ten of those years she was piano accompanist for the SCC college choirs and voice classes. For thirty years she worked as a church musician, both as a church choir director and as choir accompanist. Throughout the years she has particularly enjoyed playing in chamber ensembles, accompanying singers as well as instrumentalists.Nancy believes that music study is a wonderful means of personal expression. She teaches piano so that others could experience the joy of playing and find their own means of personal expression.
Rafael Toro Quinones
Guest Symphony Conductor
Rafael Francisco Toro-Quiñones, a native of Puerto Rico, is the Commander of the United States Air Force (USAF) Heritage of America Band, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and Commander of the USAF Heartland of America Band, a geographically separated unit located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Rafael received his Bachelor of Music in Performance and Philosophy, cum laude, DePauw University and in 2009 he earned his Master of Music in Wind Ensemble Conducting with academic honors, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, MA. Major Toro-Quiñones has worked as a freelance bassist and conductor in Puerto Rico, the United States and Europe. He as performed with the San Juan Pops and recorded with the famous Puerto Rican music group Haciendo Punto en Otro Son. An active conductor, he leads professional and student orchestras and bands in the United States. His conducting teachers include Charles Peltz and William Drury.
Kris Frankson is a Percussionist and teacher who graduated from the Musician’s Institute, with a certificate in Percussion Performance. Over the last 27 years, Kris has learned from, played with, and taught many outstanding musicians. He has benefitted from a well rounded musical education and has studied under Bob Gulotti at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. He has also learned privately from some amazing musicians, such as Gary Hess, Alex Jenkins and John Xepeoleas. Professionally, Kris has worked with a wide range of musicians in varied genres, including but not limited to funk, jazz, blues, orchestral, and rock. Currently, Kris plays drums with Sacramento based alternative rock veterans, Mikey LP and the Krooks. Kris brings five years of teaching experience to the Young Artists Conservatory of Music. He believes developing efficient practice routines and strong time management skills are the key to success.
Dr. Ondine Young
Chorus, Voice, Violin
Ondine is a wonderful music teacher. Our 5-year-old daughter had tried piano with other teachers and was not enjoying it; with Ondine, suddenly piano was something to look forward to. Ondine has a magical touch with kids, understanding their developmental qualities at a deep, intuitive level. Her lessons are a great mix of structure and spontaneity, challenge and fun! “ (Kimiko G.) “ Ondine is a violin/violist, musical director/conductor, and educator who works with many organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California in choral conducting and early music performance.
Trumpet, General Music, Voice, Jazz Studies, Theory
Thomas Molina was born in Fairfield, grew up in Vacaville and has been performing music professionally in the area since 2003. After studying trumpet under North Texas State University Graduate and Yamaha Recording Artist Rocky Winslow at Chico State University,Thomas was awarded a substantial scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2010. In 2014, Thomas graduated from Berklee with a Bachelors in professional Music with an emphasis in education. Thomas completed 4 years of brass instruction and two years each of vocal instruction, harmony, composition and education coursework. This wide ranging experiential background helps aspiring musicians of all ages and skill levels achieve an understanding of their voice or instrument in the context of harmony and literacy in music notation.. Additionally, his 4 years working in public schools in special ed classrooms and running his own Classrooms for two years has given him the necessary experience to create a relaxed atmosphere conducive to learning in a group or individual setting.
Lee Bob Watson
Lee Bob Watson
Guitar, Bass - Remote
Lee Bob Watson is a teacher, songwriter and performer based in Northern California. He has taught for o ver 15 years in private individual and group settings, as well as in private and public schools. He has produced 10 albums of original music and has performed extensively in the US and in Europe. He is well versed in popular, rock, jazz, soul, country and folk forms. At YACM, he will be teaching guitar at all levels.
Guest Instructor, Conductor, Saxophone, Jazz Arts
Wayne Gross plays saxophone in the regionally acclaimed band, The Time Bandits. He has been with the Conservatory since its beginning and enjoys teaching band and piano as well as Saxophone. Mr. Gross received his education from Sacramento State, and is associated with Jazz bands from throughout Solano County. Mr. Gross conducts YACM's performance concert bands. He has been teaching for 15 years and is passionate about positive performance experiences.
We've Come a Long Way
Covid Response and Re-Opening Plan
When YACM was created in 2005, our founders believed it was important to bring the positive effects of serious and quality musical training to the youth of Solano County. Soon after, YACM was enrolling 200 private students per year and producing seasonal recitals and concerts. In 2009 the recession impacted our community and threatened to close our doors. But the community needed us. We rebuilt our program by adding music in the schools and saving the well-loved Solano Youth Theatre from closure.
By 2020, YACM was providing music classes for 1600 under-resourced children in the Vallejo School District, producing 3 musicals each year and providing hundreds of young people with the transformative education in music. Since 2010, YACM has produced annual seasonal youth musicals, and founded the only community youth chamber orchestra in Solano. We created the only ICHSA recognized Award winning A Cappella Competitive troupe in Solano and received and invitation to perform in America's got Talent. Over the past 16 years, YACM has developed the next generation of musicians through our CORE-Arts program and commissioned a professional symphony to accompany our featured performers at the annual Black Tie Gala Concert.
In March of 2021, all of that came to halt. Along with the rest of the world, we shuttered our studios, cancelled performances, and went on online. The COVID pandemic has threatened the sustainability of YACM and every other performing arts program in the world. Since June 2020, We've remained committed to COVID safe In-Person lessons and small classes for young people who now more than ever need meaningful and impactful interaction.
Once again, YACM will look to meet the needs in our community and reshape the program accordingly. We will re-open our group programs such as chamber orchestra, theatre and chorus as safety permits. One of the largest obstacles to offering a full program is that performance venues are closed or limited in their seating capacity which directly affects the economics of booking a venue. That is why in the summer of 2020, our board of directors voted to use COVID relief funds to build an outdoor stage on our property. We are pleased to open the Tarre'ga Garden Venue for our students and other community artists.
We are in this together. The arts are the one thing that kept us going through the pandemic. Now with hope on the horizon, we encourage you to join YACM, become donor or patron, and please get vaccinated if you are eligible. The future of our children depends on it.
What People are Saying
Grow up Musical, Grow up Well at YACM
"Thank you for your wonderful programs you offer our children. As a parent, it gives me great pleasure to be able to offer these new experiences to our daughters building confidence and setting them up for success for their futures."
"Before I can even get my car in park, my daughter is out the door and in the building... all of the things that YACM gives her has provided her a strength to face the world on her own."
"Not only have I seen students improve and succeed but I have also had the joy of watching my own daughter learn and improve herself and her musical talent. It has truly been a blessing and privilege to be a part of YACM and its mission."