Taras Nahirniak joined the staff of the KIDS in 1990 as our rehearsal accompanist. His multiple talents became apparent quickly, and he was soon assisting with choral rehearsals and writing arrangements for our show. Over the last ten years he has written well over half of the custom arrangements performed by the KIDS, and now plays an integral role in the planning and musical direction of our show.
Taras is a freelance arranger and composer, with numerous published works. He writes and composes for vocal groups, drum corps, and marching bands in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and was recently commissioned to compose a five movement piece, "Night Dances", which was performed by the Madison Symphony Orchestras and Madison Ballet for the opening of the Overture Center. In 1997 he composed the full musical, Everyman, which premiered in Madison and was later performed in California. In 2002 he won the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association composers award. Taras also serves as the music director at Bethany United Methodist Church, and is actively involved in the music program at Monona Grove High School.
Kerry Bieneman holds a B.M. (magna cum laude) in vocal performance from Lawrence University and a M.M. in vocal performance from Northwestern University. She is an active pianist, music director, and singer throughout southeastern Wisconsin. She has served as a voice professor at Lawrence University and UW-Milwaukee, and is currently teaching at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI.
She has served as a private vocal coach and accompanist for Florentine Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, Opera for the Young, Bel Canto Chorus, Milwaukee Rep, and Waukesha Choral Union. She also serves as music director for the Musical Mainstage shows at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove, WI.
Ms. Bieneman enjoys singing a variety of repertoire including classical, musical theatre, and jazz. A few of her favorite roles include Victoria (Victory for Victoria), Jo (Little Women), Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Cathy (The Last Five Years), and Percy (The Spitfire Grill). She has sung with such companies as Florentine Opera, Skylight Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Opera for the Young, Bel Canto Chorus, and Waukesha Choral Union.
After being a performer in the KIDS (1997-2001), she quickly moved to staff member, serving 11 years as the assistant choral director. She is very excited to be moving into the new position of Choral Director.
A native of Pittsburgh and currently residing in the great state of Wyoming, Dr. Eric Richards is a versatile and widely performed composer/arranger, conductor, trombonist and educator active in a broad range of musical media and genres. As a composer who defines himself as a "contemporary American eclectic", he has written music for groups ranging from rural high school marching bands to chamber music ensembles to nationally recognized wind ensembles, big bands, and symphony orchestras. Eric's work as a composer/arranger and trombonist has been heard worldwide in performances recordings by professional and academic ensembles in major concert venues across the United States, Europe, Asia and India.
Eric's work as a teacher and mentor is energized by his professional activities. In 2015, Dr. Richards accepted an appointment as the Director of Bands and Jazz Studies at Sheridan College in Wyoming where he serves as Music Director of the Sheridan Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and leads program initiatives in recruiting, outreach, and curriculum development.
Peggy is a highly sought after choreographer, show designer, director and master dance instructor. She received her intense dance education from the legendary Jean Wolfmeyer in Manitowoc, WI, while also studying as a scholarship student at the former National Academy of the Arts, Gus Giordano Dance and Lou Conte Dance Studio of Chicago. Peggy enjoyed over 15 years as a professional dancer/entertainer, mostly in featured roles.
Her early career began with KIDS as a featured dancer. Just a few of Peggy's performing venues were Busch Gardens Tampa, Kids of the Kingdom Disney World, World Dancers Epcot Center and Lotte World, Seoul South Korea. After touring Japan with the famed director George Lucas' show Superlive Adventure, she spent years in Las Vegas dancing in numerous mega revue productions and around the world in award-winning shows aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line as dance captain and rehearsal director. While in Chicago, she was chosen for countless industrials, commercials and in demand as an instructor for ballet, jazz and musical theatre in the city and surrounding suburbs.
Besides choreographing for large scale musicals, show choirs and educational venues across the nation, her recent accomplishments are 2015 and 2016 Associate Choreographer for KIDS from Wisconsin, Visual Adjudicator for FAME National Show Choir Competition and sponsored by Madison's Overture Center for the Arts; Teaching Artist for Disney Musicals in Schools, 2016 Tommy Award Winner for Best Choreography and a Tommy Award Reviewer.
Michael is currently the resident choreographer for The RIDE! (Drama Desk Nominee). He has served as Artistic Director for 5 different theater companies including Broadway Kids With Heart, (Rosie O'Donnell Show) and Broadway Kidz Wisconzin. In 2006 he was awarded an observership from Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation with Tony-Award winner Kathleen Marshall, 70, Girls, 70, starring Olympia Dukakis (City Center Encores!) Michael has directed/choreographed over 100 different productions throughout the United States. He is a 25-year member of Actors' Equity Association and 10-year associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
With a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, David has over thirty years' experience in the Theatre Industry. He has performed professionally at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, The Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park, IL, and Drury Lane South in Evergreen Park, IL. He has also performed at Theme Parks around the country including: Opryland in Nashville, TN, Six Flags Over Georgia, as well as Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL where he has worked for twenty one years.
David has been the exclusive Costume Designer for Six Flags Great America for 10 years, with over 60 productions under his belt. His costumes have been seen live by hundreds of thousands of people and his designs have been used at Six Flags parks all across the country.
He also designs costumes for Libertyville High School in Libertyville, IL as well as several nationally ranked, Midwest show choirs. Check out his website at DavidLundholm.com David is excited to bring his artistic talent to the Kids from Wisconsin in 2016.
Ashley Patin, who received her B.A. in Theater Arts - Acting with a minor in Dance from the University of Northern Colorado, is thrilled to be back with the KIDS for another summer! At UNC she is heavily involved not only in the School of Theater Arts and Dance, but in the School of Music as well. After living in Colorado for nearly four years, Ashley is excited to return home to Wisconsin and start her career. She looks forward to her professional development and hopes to pursue an M.F.A. in Arts/Theater Management in the next few years.
Ashley is a KIDS from Wisconsin alumna of the 2014 troupe, in which she was a Principal Singer/Dancer Soprano. She is also an alumna of First Stage Children's Theater, Theater Academy and Young Company; with whom she performed in over 10 productions during her high school career and received college level training.
She is incredibly excited and honored to be back with the KIDS this summer and working alongside such talented professionals and performers!
Andrew Kreigh is a native of Monona Wisconsin where he attended Monona Grove High School. Upon graduation he attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where he majored in Music Business. During his time at UW-Oshkosh Andrew was active as a church music director and organist. He also was an active participant in the university music ensembles including university choir and the top jazz ensemble as pianist.
During the summers of 2010 and 2011 Andrew was a keyboard player with the KIDS from Wisconsin. After the two summers with the KIDS organization Andrew went on to work for Mac-Haydn Summer Stock Theatre as the assistant music director in upstate New York. He did this for two summers and was able to assist on 16 main stage shows and lead as music director and piano/conductor for 8 children's theatre shows.
After graduation from UW-Oshkosh Andrew moved to Connecticut where he immediately assumed the position of music assistant for the tony award winning regional theatre Goodspeed Musicals. He also served as assistant organist for The Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut. During his time at Goodspeed Musicals Andrew worked as keyboard programmer music assistant for Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn which is currently running on Broadway. Andrew has also worked on several other musical productions including; Disney's Aladdin on Broadway and in Chicago as a keyboard technician, the National Tour of Flashdance as a keyboard 2 substitute, and for the Capital City Theatre a regional theatre company newly established in Madison as keyboard 1 and music assistant.
Andrew couldn't be more excited to be back with the KIDS Organization as a staff member to share his passion for performing with the 2017 KIDS and inspire them to chase their dreams and make them happen!
Matt is a freelance Live Sound Engineer and has been responsible for the KIDS mix since 2011. He has experience providing audio support for events ranging from local bands and high school musicals to mixing for national touring acts. Matt also has experience working in professional theaters and supporting high-profile corporate events.
While not on the road, Matt enjoys spending time with his friends and family, playing with a local concert band, and works as a volunteer EMT with Mayville EMS.
A graduate of Madison Media Institute in recording arts & technology Cody is the live sound engineer at Our Lady Queen of Peace and sound/lighting for Piano Fondue.
Mykahilo is a full time student at the university of Wisconsin Whitewater where he is studying music education. He has done live sound for several different groups and has worked with many different performing acts. He has also mixed and edited for several bands including his own. In his spare time Mykhailo likes to play and teach with high class drumlines and play percussion at school.
Prior to being chosen for this position, Tina served three years with the Muskego Chamber of Commerce as the Executive Director, and before that as a reference librarian and as a small business and marketing liaison with the public libraries. She thoroughly enjoyed her work with the business community and having a part in advancing our economic growth through marketing, added value and building relationships. "How does a person go from non-profit business marketing to non-profit arts?" For her, the answer was simple and best said by a dear friend, "Find a place that makes your soul sing"! She loves working with people and what makes people happy are truly our beloved "Kids from Wisconsin".
Barbara returned to the position of Executive Director in spring 2009 after a hiatus of eight years following her retirement in 2001. She guided the KIDS organization through its 41st season until fall 2009 when a new Executive Director came on board. As Executive Director Emeritus, she lends her assistance and experience as needed. Barbara has been a member of the KIDS staff since 1976, first as Executive Assistant, then General Manager and finally, Executive Director. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors.
Barbara is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Chemistry and taught at UW Milwaukee, did research work for the University of Colorado and was head chemist at Sandia Base Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She studied music and is a published writer of children's stories.
Barbara has four children, Mark (former KID and former KIDS' Producer), the late Patrick (also a former KID), Raymond and Julie. She resides in New Berlin and survives her husband of 52 years, the late Tom Dorn. Her interests include travel, golf, reading mysteries and watching the Badgers and Packers on the football field.
Keven Riggle has been volunteering with the KIDS organization since 1991. A graduate of Badger High School (Lake Geneva) he received his Library Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Since 1981 he as been a librarian at Marquette University and currently works in the Library's Information Technology department where he coordinates major maintenance on the library's online catalog, assures access to over 500 electronic databases, and maintains the library's website.
Whether it's auditions, KIDS camp, performances, taking pictures, moving equipment and wardrobe or preparing music for distribution Keven can be found doing just about anything and everything. Also known as "the cookie man" he bakes 1,500+ cookies every summer for KIDS Camp and the tour season.