Kari Kraakevik is a versatile composer, performer and teacher. Holding degrees in Music Performance, Theory and Music Composition from Pepperdine University and University of Colorado. Ms Kraakevik is constantly searching for ways to combine her loves of performing, teaching and composition.
While obtaining her masters in Music Composition from CU, Ms. Kraakevik focused her studies primarily on large-scale productions that were exclusively interdisciplinary. Working with dance, visual arts, theater and even children’s choirs, Ms. Kraakevik found that her niche in the composition world was to not have a “niche”, but rather never limit herself or others.
All of her large scale musical compositions (some over 60 performers) were successfully and completely funded with grants, donations and commissions. This in part, made her dream beyond academia... dream even bigger… What if she could get funding for a larger project….?
Living off just a adjunct faculty's stipend.. She began to think.. Why NOT? Why not create a space that CREATES…? Luckily, her students, and their parents, supported this dream and seminal to the creation of Reel Kids!
In 2013, Ms. Kraakevik emerged in the world of entrepreneurs while still holding teaching positions at CU and Metro University in Denver. Loving the world of collaborative arts, in 2015 Ms. Kraakevik bought existing long-time music school Wildflower School of Voice and expanded the school to now, Boulder Music.
Today, Ms. Kraakevik enjoys being a full time entrepreneur, adoring her students, creating every day in a safe, collaborative FUN environment, REEL KIDS!!
Joshua Rich is a self-taught pianist, director, teacher, music director, composer and performer who entered professional at the mere age of 9. Originally from Boston, Joshua has worked from coast to coast as both a composer and performer.
Relocating to the Washington, D.C. area, Joshua began working with children as a director, music director, performer and teacher. He founded several after-school performing arts schools. He has directed and/or musically directed numerous shows, from classics like “Godspell”, “Guys and Dolls,” You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”, “Annie” to more edgier shows like “Fame,” and even “Rent” - now, THREE times.
Joshua has created and released over 30 CDs of original music, as well as albums in the jazz, children’s and classical genres. He also had the opportunity to work as music director and choir leader for Grammy and Oscar winner Marvin Hamlisch “(A Chorus Line”, “The Way We Were”). Additionally, Joshua served as music director, choral director and pianist for several gala events, most notably playing for Hillary Clinton at the Warner Theater.
In the early 2000s, Joshua moved back Los Angeles, working with Grammy and Oscar winner Randy Newman and with-winner Luther Vandross (“Here and Now”, “Superstar”, “Always and Forever”).
In the late 2000s New York City was "home." In NYC he found himself accompanying, directing, composing and music directing for several notable Broadway dancers, performers, and performing arts schools. His favorite collaborations were with Gail Crutchfield (original cast of “42nd Street”) and owner of Shuffles, the Broadway Tap and Musical Theater School.
Recently, Joshua relocated to Colorado, where he was fortunate enough to begin working with Kari Kraakevik, the multi-talented owner and founder of Boulder Music and Reel Kids. Putting his many years of experience to use, Joshua serves as pianist, director, teacher, music director and business manager for Kari, and the two have even formed a jazz duo, “Take Two”, which performs locally. Joshua continues to compose and release new CDs and is looking forward to sharing his love of inspiring young people through the arts for many years to come!
Director, Film Acting, Choreographer, & Virtual Education Faculty
Jocelyn Leroux is a lifelong dancer, actress and choreographer. Jocelyn brings more than twenty years of experience to Colorado from the East Coast. Her choreography has been seen in dozens of film, television and theatrical projects, ranging "One Tree Hill" to Cape Fear, to Shakespeare.Locally, she has created custom choreography for dance competitions and pageants, and served as the public speaking and interview coach for the Colorado team "The Silhouettes" during their second place win on Season Six of "America's Got Talent".Jocelyn is also a filmmaker, creating a soon-to-be-released documentary which focuses on the rare genetic disorder Wolfram syndrome and features the Colorado-based Ellie White Foundation for Rare Genetic Disorders.In addition, Jocelyn is certified by test to teach through Dance Masters of America, with focus on jazz, tap, ballet, musical theater, acrobatic, and lyrical dance. With a special spot in her heart for children's theater, Jocelyn is thrilled to be on staff with Reel Kids!!!
Director, Acting Faculty
Kelly McAllister is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, and director.
In 2012, his lay Lovers, Lunatics, and Poets was a finalist in Playscripts' Pitch-n-Play contest. In 2010, his play Hela and Troy was named a finalist for the Heideman Award as part of the Humana Festival. His first play, Last Call, won the Excellence in Playwriting award at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. In 2005, his play Burning the Old Man won the New York Innovative Theatre (NYIT) award for outstanding full length script. Other plays include Some Unfortunate Hour; Fenway: Last of the Bohemians; Muse of Fire; and The Morons.
He also wrote and directed the short film Strong Tea. His plays have been produced by Divadlo na Zabradli of Prague, hope theatre, inc., Boomerang Theatre Company, the Triangle Theatre of North Carolina, Impetuous Theatre Company, The Other Theatre Company of Denver, Art House Productions, and many more.
In 2003, he was named Graduate of the Last Decade by San Jose State University. He was also a senior reviewer for nytheatre.com from 2003-2005. His work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Kraus, and the New York Theatre Experience.
Mr. McAllister lives in Denver with his wife Lisa and enjoys directing and teaching at Reel Kids with his best friend Kari Kraakevik! You can read his blog at www.rkmcallister.blogspot.com.
Ellie Griffin is a freelance filmmaker, theater director, and choreographer who has been teaching for multiple years now, both directing shows and teaching filmmaking at Reel Kids, in addition to private tutoring and designing & leading a film course at a local high school. She is currently studying video production, directing, and environmental analysis at Pitzer College in California. Her extensive video experience comes from winning local film festivals and working with a number of local and international businesses producing video content. She has had many gigs as a freelance filmmaker, including working at the Mexican border and producing content for Lucky's Market in Boulder. Ever the performer, Ellie is a lifelong actor and dancer. Ellie has been a part of the Reel Kids family since it began in 2013, first as a student and now as an instructor. Beginning as a stage manager, Ellie has worked on numerous shows and successfully directed the entire 2020 summer season at Reel Kids. She grew up in the world of theater from age four, and never left. She hopes to create the same creative home for her students at Reel Kids. Ellie is passionate about creating meaningful content, building community, and, of course, her pup, Ozzie! See her work here:
Patrick Tracy is a sound engineer with more than twenty-five years of experience and substantial knowledge of other technical aspects of performing arts, such as video production and lighting. He has mixed hundreds of live performances, engineered numerous studio recordings and produced dozens of live performance videos. He sees his place in performing arts as a translator, a bridge between the technology and the people.
Music Director/Acting Faculty
Tonya Ingerson graduated in 2018 from Vassar College, where she majored in Drama and minored in Sustainability and was awarded honors for her acting and vocal performance (and even for her work in sustainability!). Upon graduating, she moved to New York City and has since performed professionally in regional theatre and taught students privately in voice, guitar, and music theory (in addition to many other academic subjects). She also has toured nationally twice with Speak About It, a national non-profit that provides performance-based education on consent & healthy relationships to high schools and colleges all across the country.
Tonya grew up in Boulder—where she was Kari Kraakevik’s first private voice student!—and with her near-decade of private voice lessons under her belt, has been music directing and vocal coaching at Reel Kids for 6 summers now. Tonya has a deep love of choral and group singing, and has performed with jazz, classical, a cappella, madrigal, collegiate, and professional church choirs in several states and countries, including Cuba, Denmark, and Uganda. (Never tell her to stop making music, teaching, eating chocolate, or daydreaming about living in a tiny house.)
Stage Combat/Director/Stage Manager
Jo has done theatre since the age of 6. Since then, Jo has been a director, stage manager, fight director, technician, playwright, performer...basically anything they can get their hands on. Teaching is a life passion and helping others break out of their bubbles, going beyond what they think they can do, is a true drive in life. Jo has dedicated their life to theatre education for the last few years in multiple communities at companies like StageDoor Theatre, Venue Theatre, Conifer High School, and Campfire Stages. They are so excited to be a part of the Reel Kids family for the last few years starting with fight choreography in She Kills Monsters to stage managing Chicago and School of Rock, and directing three casts of Alice in Slasherland safely this past summer.
Heather Westenskow has been doing choreography in the Denver area for nine years. Though she’s also a performer and a musician, she loves the process of creating magic with movement. Some shows you may have seen Heather’s work in, are Matilda the Musical (PACE Center); The Addams Family (Vintage Theater), The Little Mermaid (PACE Center), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Chaparral High School) Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mainstreet Theater), The Fantasticks (Schoolhouse Theater), etc. Heather is a three-time nominee for a Bobby-G Award for choreography, and did take one Bobby G home for Shrek the Musical (Chaparral High School). Heather also loves reading, hiking, volleyball, High Fitness, songwriting, improv, and she especially loves her three kids and awesome husband!
Media & Film Editing & Virtual Education Faculty
Brette Robertson is a filmmaker who graduated from The University of Colorado, Boulder’s Film Program in 2017. The minute Brette picked up a camera when she was 12 years old, she knew that filmmaking was her life-long passion. She sees her world through the lens of a camera.
Upon graduating, she founded her video company, Sagicorn Productions, as a way to combine her unique, creative vision with her professionalism to ensure high-quality media experiences for her clients. Her primary mission is to promote women entrepreneurs, local small businesses, and artists.
Brette also teaches her love of film editing to students at Reel Kids. She was an instructor at Reel kids for two years and is coming back to teach virtual education. Brette is happy to finally be a part of the Reel Kids family again.
She eats, sleeps and breathes film. Brette hopes to teach her love of filmmaking to her students, and help them express themselves through moving images. You will also see her arranging flowers, painting and dreaming of traveling the world in a van.