Bernardo Bermudez

Instrument: Voice, Master Teacher

Bachelor of Arts, Cognitive Psychology, University of California, Irvine 

Conservatory of Music Juan Manuel Olivares, Caracas, Venezuela
 Our Faculty
Latin-American baritone Bernardo Bermudez, raised in Venezuela, started his musical education at the age of seven at the Conservatory of Music in Caracas, Venezuela. After relocating to the United States at the age of twelve, he participated in productions of The Music Man, Oklahoma, and Beauty and the Beast. Operatic roles include Aeneas, Gianni Schicchi, Jim in the mini opera The Gift of the Magi, Vidal in Luisa Fernanda, Scarpia, Shaunard, Teniente Cantalapiedra in Cecilia Valdes, Papageno, Alfio, Capulet, as well as Morald in the North America stage premier of Richard Wagner's Die Feen, produced by Los Angeles Lyric Opera, as part of Los Angeles Opera's Ring Festival. Most recently he participated as a voice fellow at the prestigious Summer Festival at the Music Academy of the West, singing the role of Figaro in The Barber of Seville cover performance. He received first place in the NATS LA 2009 singing competition; won first place in American Educators of Italian Origin United, 39th Annual Opera Scholarship and Competition; was a finalist in the Burbank Philharmonic Hennings-Fischer Opera Competition 2011; received the Anne and Michael Towbes Scholarship in Voice in 2011; and earned the Opera Buffs Grant.

Dr. Barbara Durost

Instruments:  Piano, Voice, Master Teacher

Doctor of Musical Arts, Conducting, Claremont Graduate School 

Master of Music Piano Pedagogy, Catholic University of America

Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance, Anna Marie College

Barbara Durost studied with Robert Shaw, Donald Neuen, Michael Lamkin, Bela Bozormenyi-Nagy, Ney Salgado, and Maureen Egan. She was awarded the J. Merrill Knapp Fellowship from the American Handel Society in 1996, and in 1997 received a nomination into the International Who's Who in Music.

Devon Guthrie

Instrument:  Voice

Master of Music, Vocal Performance, The Julliard School

Artist Diploma, Opera Studies, The Julliard School

Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance, Manhattan School of Music

Devon Guthrie, a Claremont native, grew up in the southern California musical theater, acting, dance, and opera communities. After graduating from St. Lucy’s, Ms. Guthrie went on to receive her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Manhattan School of Music and both an Master of Music in Vocal Performance and an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School. As an apprentice, Ms. Guthrie trained at Tanglewood, Ravinia, Chautauqua, and spent two summers apprenticing at Santa Fe Opera before going on to return twice as a principle artist. While still a student at Juilliard, Ms. Guthrie made an acclaimed debut as Susanna in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro at English National Opera. Since then, Ms. Guthrie has been enjoying an international operatic career that has taken her all over the United States, Europe, and Japan. Career highlights so far include: The Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, touring with The Saito Kinen Festival, and creating the role of Mary Johnson in Greg Spears’ Fellow Travelers. With a passion for guiding students of all ages or levels, her teaching philosophy fosters longevity and good vocal health as a foundation for both classical, pop, and musical theater styles, with emphasis on craftsmanship in storytelling and performance preparation. For further career information, resume, and recordings, please visit  and Instagram: devon_guthrie.

Wendy Kikkert

Instruments:  Piano, Voice, Master Teacher

Bachelor of Music, Wellesley College

Master of Music, California State University, Long Beach

Wendy Kikkert holds a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in piano from Wellesley College, and a Master of Music in vocal performance from CSU Long Beach. She has over ten years of experience teaching private piano and voice, as well as directing choirs. She enjoys teaching students of all ages.

Kikkert has sung professionally with Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Long Beach Opera, Pacific Chorale and the John Alexander Singers. She has performed leading roles with local opera companies and musical theater showcases. She was the founding member and president of the Intimate Opera Company, producing fully-staged productions for 14 years. She is currently a member of the Gary Bonner Singers. 

In her teaching, Kikkert focuses on the strengths and interests of each student, giving individualized instruction. She seeks to give students a foundation for a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

Ann Melkesian

Instrument: Voice

Bachelor of Music, California State University, Los Angeles

American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS), Graz Austria

Ann Melkesian began studying music at the age of nine with piano and started voice lessons at the age of 15. Her love of music led to her pursuit of a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance, which she received from California State University, Los Angeles. In addition, she studied in Graz, Austria at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS). Since then, Ann has sung locally in the LA area in various operas and concerts. She has also been involved in her church’s choir as a soloist and section leader, and currently leads the worship music for the Upland chapter of BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) International.

Her former voice teachers include Esther Andreas, Pollyanne Baxter and Carol Clary. Ann is currently a member of the National Association Teachers of Singing (NATS). Besides music, Ann trained with Pam Hartman in Alexander Technique, a method focused on proper posture and body balance. Ann’s philosophy for effective singing involves treating the whole body as the instrument.

Married for 30 years, Ann and her husband Brent have three grown daughters and one son-in-law who all share their love of music.

Donna Marie Minano

Instruments: Voice, Oboe, Recorder

Bachelor of Music, California State University, Long Beach

Donna Marie Minano, musician and music educator, is a veteran of all aspects of the musical stage in Southern California, from pit musician to singer to conductor. She received her bachelor’s degree in oboe performance from California State University, Long Beach.

She has conducted the chorister program at Claremont United Methodist Church. From 1995 to 2003, she was Director of Music Ministries and the choir director for Our Lady of the Assumption Church. During her tenure, her choirs traveled to Rome to perform at the Vatican. As a vocalist, Ms. Minano has performed onstage locally at the Candlelight Pavilion, the Grove Theatre in Upland, Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga, and also with the chamber trio Seamless Achord and the IVRT Dickens Carolers.

Ms. Minano taught general music in the Claremont Unified School District for years before taking her current position as a music teacher at Foothill Country Day School. Besides teaching general music, she teaches voice, musical theatre, oboe and recorder at the Claremont Community School of Music.

She is the general manager and co-founder with her husband Frank of the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre company (IVRT), which performs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont.

Ms. Minano’s philosophy of teaching is influenced by Helen Kemp and David Osborn. Her ultimate goal is to help students find their voice, and her mottos are “Body, mind, spirit, voice, it takes the whole person to sing and rejoice”, “Practice makes permanent”, and “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Her greatest joy in life is hearing children make music, especially her two beautiful and talented daughters, Amanda and Katherine.

Deanna Morrison

Instruments: Violin, Voice

Bachelor of Music, Point Loma Nazarene University

Deanna Morrison is a Southern California native and has been involved in music to various degrees her entire life. Claremont Community School of Music was where she started violin at the age of four. She graduated from Jurupa Valley High School, having participated in the choir department under the direction of her mother, Melva Morrison.

Deanna was a member of the Claremont Young Musicians Orchestra for five years and several honor orchestras and choirs, including the LA Philharmonic High School Honor Orchestra and the Southern California Vocal Associations’ High School Honor Choir. Deanna graduated with a bachelor's degree in violin performance from Point Loma Nazarene University, where she was concertmaster for four years. While in college, she participated in choirs and small ensembles in addition to private vocal training and solo experience with both violin and voice. She has taught in the public and private schools for seven years, has taught summer music camps, and has worked with honor orchestras. During this time, Deanna taught in San Diego for the Sweetwater Unified School District and at Coastal Christian School in Arroyo Grande. She has performed professionally many times as a violinist and vocalist at various venues, and frequently continues to do so.

She is currently teaching at Claremont Community School of Music as well as working in the Jurupa Unified School District as a substitute teacher.

Ashlyn Wilson

Instrument: Piano, Voice

Bachelor of Arts in Music, Central Washington University

Ashlyn Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Central Washington University and has over 18 years of musical experience. Although her private instruction focuses mostly on piano and voice, she has experience teaching the basic fundamentals of contemporary band instruments—such as acoustic guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, and drums—as well as songwriting techniques. During her education at Central, she became versed in a variety of solo and choral vocal styles, including jazz, opera, folk, classical, and theatre. Her performance experiences range from participation in university choirs and ensembles to community church worship groups and solo artist shows. She currently sings and plays keys with the urban folk band Welcome Home in the greater Los Angeles area and on tour around the nation.

She believes that learning can and should be enjoyable. She also believes that a good lesson includes psychology and listening, and she promises to try to find the right way to work with each individual’s learning style. When she’s not doing music, she enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband and fellowshipping with friends over a good meal!