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Alumni Stories & News

The Art of Success

Charter Arts is proud to honor all of our alumni. It is exciting to see how the rigorous arts and academic curriculum at Charter Arts translates into our graduates’ future accomplishments.

Graduates of Charter Arts leave our school as mature, responsible and disciplined young adults.   Whether a graduate continues their education and pursues a career in the arts or outside of the arts, the  infusion of academics and the arts that brought them success in high school continues to influence their lives as professional artists, educators, business leaders, doctors, engineers, scientists, etc.

Our graduates keep us informed about their lives, their milestones and their future goals. We have devoted this special page as a place to highlight alumni stories.  To read a representative list of colleges, universities and arts conservatories that enroll Charter Arts graduates, Read our School Profile. 


Kristin graduated from Charter Arts in 2006, and went off to Berklee College of Music, graduating in 2010 with two degrees in Music Business/Management and Songwriting.  After moving back home to Bethlehem for awhile, she then took the plunge and moved to New York City.  She began working a full-time job all while hustling into the music scene, working on various music gigs, making time for rehearsals and performances.  She eventually landed in a band performing around the city as a featured vocalist.

Then in March 2014, she got her first break.  Through a Berklee alum/friend she landed a part in a choir performing with a new UK artist that was doing his US premiere at Saturday Night Live. That artist happened to be pop singer/songwriter, Sam Smith. She ended up doing a few more dates with him in the same setting for various tv shows, and then was offered the job to be one in a trio of background singers for his debut concert at the famous The Apollo Theater. She has gone on to perform with him nationwide, including the American Music Awards and the Grammys. She began working on Smith’s tour in January 2015 and continues to tour with the artist.

Since that first SNL break , she has also worked as a background singer/dancer for rap artist Iggy Azalea, and worked as a background singer with Stevie Wonder, on his “Songs in the Key of Life” at arenas such as Madison Square Garden(NYC), TD Garden (Boston), Wells Fargo Center (Philly), and MGM Grand Arena (Vegas).

Taylor PurdeeTAYLOR

Taylor graduated from Charter Arts in 2010 (Theatre). He then went on to attend the theatre program at Fordham University. He now lives in New York City where he oversees the New Projects division of film and multimedia production company Karmic Release Ltd. He directed “This is Honduras”, a documentary film that follows the Humanitarian Aid Workers of Honduras in the years between the coup d’état that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya and Honduras being named the most dangerous nation on Earth. He also works Off-Broadway on Wayra: Fuerza Bruta, a sequel to the show that was an inspiration to him and many other members of the class of 2010 over their years at Charter Arts.  In 2020, Taylor released his film, Killian & the Comeback Kids in area theaters which also included alumni of Charter Arts in feature roles.


Colleen is a 2010 (Instrumental Music) graduate.  She went on to Cornell University to major in Animal Science and graduated  in 2014, Cum Laude with Distinction in Research.  She was a four-time Cornell University undergraduate teaching assistant, a student supervisor and barn manager for the Cornell Raptor Program, and played as a cellist with the Cornell University Registry of Small Ensembles.   Colleen then attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and now works in veterinary medicine.

colleen alumni pic

Colleen says, “Being able to successfully divide my day between the academics and the arts at Charter Arts (formerly LVPA) enabled me to create a mental and physical balance in my college and graduate life. Attending Charter Arts empowered me to enter college with confidence and a broadened mind. I was able to immediately relate to and communicate with students of various interests and backgrounds and combine my passions for the arts and sciences into a successful college experience. Not only did I draw on the personal attention and premiere education I received in my academic classes at Charter Arts but I also maintained the passion I have for the arts by seeking out and working with colleagues from various artistic fields.”


Elliott graduated from Charter Arts in 2018 (Instrumental Music).  He is currently a Senior at Moravian University Majoring in BioChemistry and Music.  He plans on going to graduate school to earn his PhD in BioOrganic and Medicinal Chemistry with his sights set on working in research focusing on drug design and synthesis.

Elliott shares, “Charter Arts allowed me to express myself both musically and academically. I was able to be challenged in a supportive environment that fully prepared me for what was to be expected of me in college. Without my education from Charter arts I would not have been set on the path of both playing music and furthering my education of science, and I am truly grateful for my Charter Arts experience. ”


Christopher , Class of 2007 (Theatre), is a member of the first graduating class that spent all four years, 9-12, at Charter Arts , since the school opened in 2003.   Christopher then went on to attend Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where he focused his studies on pre-med, all while honing his skills and talents in theater and the Japanese language. Christopher has spent time studying in the rain forests of Australia and New Zealand and he has pursued studies in Shakespearean Theater at the University of Houston’s Master of Fine Arts Department. He continues to give back to Charter Arts, teaching Suzuki training classes and stage combat to current students. With aspirations to attend medical school, Christopher has worked as an EMT in the Lehigh Valley.

“Zach” by Jessica Bastidas


Jessica is a 2012 graduate (Visual Arts).  She went on to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art and Design in Baltimore, MD where she was is a triple major in Illustration, Humanistic Studies, and the Masters in Art and Teaching program.  Over the years, her work has been shown at many galleries, including the Banana Factory, The BAUM School of Art, The Allentown Art Museum, Timezones Gallery, Euro Yogurt, Terra Café, Arts in the Park, The Ignite Show, Bethlehem House Gallery and others. While at Charter Arts, Jessica was awarded twelve Golden Keys and four silver keys for the Scholastic Art Awards on the Regional Level, two Silver Keys and an American Visions Award on the National Level, and her work for the AP Portfolio has toured nationally.  She has gone on to a very successful professional art career.


James is a proud 2007 theatre department graduate. He then went on to pursue an MFA in Acting at the Yale School of Drama after graduating from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Theatre Performance. While growing up in the Lehigh Valley, James was extensively involved with Civic Theatre, Touchstone Theatre and Muhlenberg College’s Theatre and Dance program. While at Charter Arts, James was a founding member of Second Stage, the school’s student run theatre company.  For the past decade, James has amassed many impressive acting credits including starring roles in Broadway productions such as “Six Degrees of Separation” and “Fire and Air”. James was nominated for a 2020 Tony Award for his role in “A Slave Play”.



EMILY is a 2010 graduate (Theatre). After graduating she toured with the National Broadway Tour of Spring Awakening as Thea. She then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Film/TV/Music. She appeared in a Paramount Studios picture  “A Malibu Horror Story.” At Charter Arts she appeared in Little Women as Jo, Hunger as Caroline, and Threepenny Opera as Molly. She toured at the age of 11 with the National Broadway Tour of Oliver! and then performed in the Off-Broadway American Girl’s Revue as Molly. She sang at President Barack Obama’s PA Inaugural Ball and as a halftime soloist at Madison Square Garden. In 2021, Emily was featured in an article Morning Call article regarding her recent acting roles. She is best known for her portrayal of Nurse Amelia Emerson in the Ryan Murphy Netflix series Ratched (2020) alongside Sarah Paulson. Emily also appeared in the eighth season of Ryan Murphy’s FX series American Horror Story: Apocalypse (2018) as Casey. (Information & Image Source: IMDB)


Adam is a 2007 graduate (Vocal Music).  This Nazareth native is an accomplished American Tenor.  After graduating from Charter Arts, Adam continued his studies at Mannes College- the New School for Music in New York City, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance and Opera, and then his Master of Music degree.

His professional singing career has taken him from coast to coast, and his performance resume is impressive.

He was a resident artist at Pittsburgh Opera from 2015-2016.  As a member of Chicago Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center in 2013-14, Adam appeared as Gastone/La traviata and The Fourth Esquire/Parsifal; he was also a featured soloist at the 2013 Ravinia Festival and Grant Park Music Festival. An alumnus of the Marcello Giordani Young Artist Program at Crested Butte Music Festival, he covered The Duke/Rigoletto in 2014. While completing graduate studies at Mannes College, he was seen as Bardolfo/Falstaff, Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni, and Dorvil/La scala di seta. In Summer 2011, he portrayed Arturo/Lucia di Lammermoor with Chautauqua Opera Theater. He has also debuted on the Carnegie Hall main stage as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the St. Cecilia Chorus. He made his Lincoln Center debut with Maestra Eve Queler and The Opera Orchestra of New York as The Priore/I Lombardi.   

Adam has won awards from the Opera Index Vocal Competition (2011 and 2012), Second Prize in the Gerda Lissner Vocal Competition (2013), the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Vocal Competition (2012) and Third Prize in The Giulio Gari Foundation Vocal Competition (2012). Other honors include the Michael S. Mannes Opera Award (2011) and The Richard F. Gold Grant.


Rachel was a 2009 graduate, where she majored in Figure Skating, a former major at Charter Arts.  She heavily focused her training in ice dancing and show skating.  She had the privilege of auditioning with prospective ice dance partners trained by prestigious world and Olympic coaches such as Robbie Kaine and Igor Shpilband.

Upon graduating from Charter Arts, Rachel decided to give up her competitive skating status and turn professional.  Her first professional contract began two days after leaving Charter Arts.  As a professional figure skater, Rachel has performed in shows for Woodstock Ice Productions at Doroney Park, Rand Family Productions, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, and Advanced Entertainment Group at Sea World in Orlando, Florida.

With education being a very significant aspect of Rachel’s life, she graduated Charter Arts with a scholarship to Moravian College, where she studied English and Writing.

Rachel acknowledges Charter Arts as a vital stepping stone in her life; where she was able to gain opportunities she would not have otherwise, and where she worked with instructors who had a strong hand in providing her the essentials and aid to help reach her goals.


Matt, Class of 2013 (Theatre), went onto Pace University after graduating from Charter Arts.  He is an accomplished ventriloquist who has had training with some of the most famous acts in the business, including:   Las Vegas headliner-Terry Fator, Jeff Dunham and Todd Oliver.  In 2015, Matt began producing and hosting an online talk show for ventriloquists called Ventriloquism Weekly.  Through the show, he has interviewed Fator and Tony Award winner  Jay Johnson, among others.  The show has taken Matt across the country to appear as a host for various events.


Katie is a 2009 graduate, who majored in Dance at Charter Arts.  She has since graduated cum laude from West Chester University where she received her B.S. in Exercise Science/ Pre-Occupational therapy with a minor in dance.  She was involved with the University Dance Company and attended the American College Dance Festival.  She currently works locally as a dance and Zumba instructor. She continued her education at Alvernia University for a M.S. in Occupational Therapy.  She was happily married in May of 2013 and still maintains contact with several good friends she made during her time at Charter Arts.

Katie says, “Charter Arts steered me on the right path. I have learned in my classes at college that a child is more likely to be successful if they are supported and have a strong passion. Charter Arts helps kids develop their passion for the arts. The school helped me to develop good friends and helped me prepare for the future.”


Octavia is a 2010 graduate of Charter Arts where she majored in visual arts. She then went on to attend Elizabethtown College where she majored in biology.

“Because I am a visual learner, I feel that my visual art training at Charter Arts  helped me appreciate illustrations, which is so helpful in biology, because pictures are used to illustrate many concepts. I have an advantage.”


Diomi graduated from Charter Arts in 2010. He went on to earn an Associates degree from The Institute of Audio Research in NYC in November 2011. Diomi finished his casework in just eighteen months, and he continued his education at the City College of New York studying Journalism. Everyone who knows “D” knows that he is focused on attaining professional success as a R&B singer. Diomi is working everyday to ensure that his dreams are realized.

In addition to working on his music and education every day, Diomi works as a dispatcher on Wall Street at night, and also works with his aunt as a volunteer with incarcerated women to help them gain confidence and skills necessary to achieve their goals.

Diomi loves Manhattan. His education and ambition has put him in front of record labels such as; Def Jam, Interscope, Universal, Warner Music Group and Young Money/Cash Money.

“You have to prove yourself to a record label. As a Hispanic vocalist I have a unique opportunity to bridge the R&B industry”.


Amanda_Headshot_final_2014Amanda is a 2010 graduate of Charter Arts.  She made her professional acting debut in the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF as “Grandma Tzeitel” and a member of the ensemble.  She is now a proud Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate!  At Charter Arts, Amanda was a Vocal Music major and performed as “The Witch” in INTO THE WOODS and as “Tom” in ANN AND SEAMUS.  Amanda recently graduated from DeSales University as a Musical Theatre Major.  She appeared in the University productions of THE MUSIC MAN and THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.