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," and "Cabaret!" He is looking forward to directing "Heathers" with a select group of late-high school/college students in Fall 2021!
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.
Sound Design Faculty
Matthew Polis, recently returned to Boulder after 20 years in New York City. He is the founder of boutique sound house, SoundSpace, and has been sound designing and mixing for film and TV for over 20 years. His combined story driven approach to sound design and technical mastery in the mix room has earned him respect amongst his peers in the indie film world with over 200 credits. While in New York, Matthew was also an adjunct professor at his alma mater, NYU Tisch School of the Arts for post audio and mixing. Matthew is the head of post audio for TED Conferences 6 years running and some sample work includes: Teen Mom Young and Pregnant (MTV Network), The Human Element (feat doc, with James Balog), Appropriate Behavior (feat nar, Dir. Desiree Akhavan), [Infinity, Twizzlers and Kraft for Crispin Porter agency], [B-corp, VoterRx, VRBO for Fortnight Collective], Liyana (feat doc, Dir. Amanda & Aaron Kopp), Ava's Possessions (feat nar; Dir. Jordan Galland), [US Navy, Special Olympics and RedBull for ClickOn], Nat Geo's Year Million (Radical Media), David Blane's Beautiful Struggle (Radical Media), Seymour: An Introduction (feat doc, Dir. Ethan Hawke)
Teresa Suydam is a teacher and singer-songwriter from Denver, Colorado, who has been singing since a very young age and has always held a great passion for music. She received a Bachelor of Science in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Denver. Teresa found music to be her greatest emotional outlet and cites a wide variety of artists as her influences (including BTS, Amanda Palmer, Ingrid Michaelson, and Jason Robert Brown). During her time in school, she began to write music and lyrics, followed by performances with vocal group Lark, soulful R&B band Emma Mayes & The HIP, and collaboration with production duo Mom N Dad. All of these experiences benefited her ability to educate students from any discipline. In her teaching career, Teresa specializes in contemporary singers, while having the training to teach all genres, such as soul, jazz, R&B, and musical theater. In her current practice, she works with singers of all levels, while also offering beginner to intermediate level lessons in piano, guitar, and ukulele. She Started Music Directing At Reel Kids during the pandemic and has never left! you will sometimes see her on spotlight, tech or singing at the top of her lungs with an entire cast of middle schoolers!
Jacob Frye is currently a sophomore at CU Boulder! He is fascinated with all things STEM and love to learn - infact, he is currently pursuing an ATOC (Atmospheric and Oceanic science) and math degree. He loves to be in the ocean and on the mountains, and just generally being outdoors in the wonders of the world (and outer space!). Music and performance has also been a huge part of his life. He was the school mascot for a 50th anniversary play in 5th grade, and loved being in costume and putting on a show. He followed his then-girlfriend to stagedoor his freshman year and auditioned for Footloose and has been doing it ever since. He loves to play music and always has got speakers or headphones going to soundtrack his life. He's always got his mind open to expanding his worldview and experiencing new things, and he can't wait to see where this new avenue with Organic Theater/Reel Kidswill lead him.
Eliana is currently a freshman at CU Boulder with interests in music composition and education. She is a former Reel Kids student and has been involved in the film troupes, performances, and acting classes offered there for almost 8 years.
She first met Kari when she was 6 years old and this initial connection evolved into a lifelong mentorship and friendship. Because of this, Eliana has been involved in every aspect of the musical theater process, from stage managing, building sets/lights, acting and singing, and writing, composing and co-directing her own original musical, titled “A View From Saturday”.
She loves hiking, reading, playing piano, and singing. Eliana can oftentimes be found riding her bright-pink bicycle, “Pinky”, everywhere. She is excited to continue learning and connecting in the Reel Kids Community that has become a second family.
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.