Our Esteemed Judges

  • Brian Foley

    Brian has spent the last twenty-six years as an arts professional. He has appeared on Sesame Street, toured with Bond Street Theater Company, performed in five World Clown Festivals in China, and jumped off a burning building several shows per week. He sang and danced on (what were at the time) the world’s largest cruise ships, and juggled in theme parks. He has created original magic for Off-Broadway shows, and created original interactive entertainment for multiple clients including Crunch Fitness, the Westminster Kennel Club, and Russell Simmons. And this one time, he walked down the red carpet linked at the arm with Madonna.

    Now Brian is a professor of mostly theatrical things at several of the valley’s universities, and he is a freelance director, special event professional, and occasional performer. He holds his BFA in Acting and Directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and holds an MFA in Directing from ASU. He has a couple Zonis and other awards in a pile in his closet to help keep his ego in check. Brian prizes creativity and strong technique, so if you want his vote, work on those. www.BrianFoley.net

  • Candelaria Alvarado

    A native to Phoenix, AZ, Candelaria Alvarado comes from a diverse professional background in Arts Administration, Music Composition and Performance, Audio Engineering and Theater Technical work (FOH, Stage Managing, and Lighting Design), and Marketing.

    She currently works in a highly versatile role for the Musical Instrument Museum’s Music Theater providing local/state artistic direction and as a Marketing Consultant for Ravenscroft Pianos. She also contributes institutional development efforts to Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center and Produces music as part of the electronic music duo, Proper Thirteen.

    She holds a BA in Contemporary Music with a focus in Electroacoustic Composition from Santa Fe University of Art and Design and pursued extensive graduate studies in Ethnomusicology at Arizona State University.

  • Dustin Loehr

    Dustin is the newly appointed Director of Arts and Special Events for Mesa Arts Academy (MAA)! Previously, he served as the Drama and Theatre Arts Instructor for the academy, directing and writing many of the school’s plays. Loehr received his Master’s in Humanities from Prescott College, where he studied Expressive Arts and Education. He holds his BA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance from ASU, and his AA in Acting from Mesa Community College. Dustin is an Arizona native, and grew up studying the art of tap dance. He began teaching tap at the age of 15, and also teaches tap dance for MAA. He has worked professionally as a dancer, choreographer, director, and performer for several years. Apart from his work at the academy, Dustin is also the Director of Outreach and Engagement for Transformative Arts Productions (T.A.P.) a new local non-profit that he co-founded with his wife. Loehr is a teaching artist for such companies as Childsplay, East Valley Children’s Theatre, and the Dance Barn. He is a Citizen Artist with the United States Department of Arts and Culture and is a member of the National Storytelling Network, the International Expressive Arts and Therapy Association, National Dance Education Organization, National Association for Music Education, and the National Art Education Association. As an independent performing artist, Dustin’s works have been presented at the Herberger Theatre Center in Phoenix Arizona, as well as several colleges and local theatres throughout the state. Loehr lives with his wife and three children.

  • Kenda Newberry

    Known as “Ms. Kenda” in the dance world, Kenda was formerly trained by Mr. Kelly Brown and the Phoenix School of Ballet. Kenda has an MFA from The Boston Conservatory and a BFA from Ottawa University. She has been in the professional dance world for over 28 years, performing, choreographing and instructing dance throughout the United States, Europe and Australia.Kenda is a former instructor of Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education, Arizona Ballet, Phoenix School of Ballet, Boston College and Boston University. Ms. Newbury has trained and performed with some of the world’s most influential artists and companies such as Stanley Holden, Mdm. and Msr. Messerrer, Jurgen Schneider, Jelko Yuresha, Sean Curran, Ralph Lemon, Gus Giordano, Luigi and Frank Hatchet and Ballet West, Phoenix Ballet, Chicago Lyric Ballet, Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble and Impulse Dance Company to name a few.

    Ms. Kenda is the director of AZDance Group, a professional non-profit 501c(3) dance company integrating ALL populations. One of the company’s outreach programs, AZDance’s Movement E-Motion (MEM), is comprised of individuals with different abilities – performers aged 13 to seniors with Down Syndrome, Autism and/or physical challenges. The Mission of AZDance Group is to service the community by creating and producing professional dance performances of the highest quality, to nurture its artists and audiences and to contribute to the arts education of that community. For further details visit facebook.com/azdanceMEM orazdance.org; consider donating (through our secure Paypal link on our website) – Sponsor a Dancer with Downs! We need your financial help! AZDance Group and AZDance’s Movement E-Motion has a long list of accomplishments including being nominated to the Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards, Phoenix and Carefree Best Business from 2009 to present and performing throughout including in Poway, CA the past two years for Bender’s DANCEINSPIRATION, at Tempe Center for the Arts, The Orpheum Theater, Herberger Theater Center, Mesa Arts Center, and more. AZDance’s MEM group is a huge part of the company’s large-scale productions such as A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS (traditionally held over Thanksgiving weekend or first weekend of December) and the company’s spring concerts. AZDance’s Movement E-Motion (MEM) is successful due to the volunteer commitments of those assisting the MEM on stage, including Leah Dodd, Maggie Waller, Julisa Marin, Erin Tatum, Hiroko Perry, Shaeleigh O’Brien, Briana Santa Cruz, Linda Ramseyer, Nicole Person-Rennell, Katie Rennell and Trisha Wheeler. To hire this group at your next event, gala or showcase, contact the director. May you be inspired!

  • Misti Wagner
    Misti Wagner 3

    Misti Wagner began her career in this industry when Dani Green (Misti’s mother) opened up Dani’s Agency in 1987. She was an actress doing print, Commercials, Industrials and voice overs. At 17 her senior year she worked part time at the agency while earning school credit in her Advanced Marketing class. Since 1998 Misti has worked full time along side her mother at the top talent agency in the state of Arizona. Booking thousands of talent on TV shows, Films, Print and Voice Over work. She’s also a wife to Etgar Wagner for 15 years and a mom to their son Aiden who is 8yrs old. They also own an award winning restaurant Spices Mediterranean Kitchen since 2007.

  • Sara Setzer
    Sara S

    Hi, I’m Sara Setzer. I have been in business since 2007. Before that, I would often help family and friends with voice. I was classically trained for many years then switched to SLS. That is where I have noticed the biggest improvement in my voice. I have had over 18 years of continuous voice training. I have taught students that have gone on to winning competitions or getting regular gigs. I had a student open for country singer Hunter Hayes and was featured in Go Gilbert magazine. Last year, my 6-year old student sang at Chase Field for the Diamondbacks game and then she was interviewed by Kari Lake on Fox News! I am currently working with a student that is going through the second round of American Idol. Not all my student’s are looking for that big break. Maybe you just want a hobby! I can help with projection, performance, confidence or public speaking!

     I have attended hundreds of hours of SLS teacher training seminars. I attended legendary vocal coach Seth Riggs for 4 days of intense teacher training in Los Angeles. I have over 12 years of training in SLS, plus 6 years of classical training. I have been trained by some of the top vocal coaches in the country, including ones that have worked with Jordon Sparks, Ceelo Greene, Bette Midler, and many more.

     I am a very supportive teacher that truly wants the best for her student’s! My role as a teacher is to help my student’s with performance confidence while achieving vocal success.

     I teach the SLS or Speech Level Singing technique. I can teach you to have that professional quality voice. This is the best and easiest method to learn. I have had student’s completely change their voices in a matter of several months! All of a sudden they are winning competitions, singing the National Anthem at Chase field, and getting through rounds on American idol! I understand not everyone wants to sing out. I also work with people that just want to sing for a hobby. I am great at working with kids. I will teach you to have your larynx down, and have a smooth transition through your mix. I will work on correcting your bad habits and improving your all around sound. I will teach you the tricks through vocalizing exercises and changing vowels that will allow you to hit those high notes while correcting your voice when you are flat or pitch problems. I guarantee results! I specialize in Rock, Pop, Country, Folk, Jazz, R&B, classical, and musical theater.