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Commercial Voice Faculty

University of Colorado Denver

Erin Hackel

Erin_Hackel.jpgDr. Erin Hackel received a BM in Voice Performance from James Madison University, an MM in Opera from SUNY Binghamton, and her Doctoral degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from CU Boulder. She has sung opera and musical theater roles across the country, and performs locally primarily through Central City Opera’s Outreach Ensemble. Erin has been on the voice faculty at CU Denver since 2003, and directs UCD’s competitive, contemporary a cappella ensembles, the 9th St. Singers and the MIX.

Erin has been the recipient of several grants, including a Marshall Fund grant, to research Scandinavian music and singers. She has published several articles in that genre, the most recent being “Hjertets Melodier: The Heart’s Melodies of Nina Grieg,” published in the Journal of Singing. She has trained with Lisa Popeil on the mechanics of singing in all styles, and specializes in training the belt voice healthfully and knowledgeably.

Leslie Remmert Soich

leslie_soich.jpgLeslie Remmert Soich, mezzo-soprano, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has been a Metropolitan Opera Auditions Regional Finalist in both the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions. She was the 1999 recipient of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild (DLOG) competition’s Norwest Fund Scholarship, the 1998 recipient of the DLOG Berenbeim Scholarship, the 1996-1997 recipient of the Galen & Ada Belle Files Spencer Fellowship at the University of Colorado, the Third Prize Winner in the Meistersinger Competition in Graz, Austria and a finalist in the Bel Canto Foundation Vocal Competition in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Most recently, Remmert Soich was a quarterfinalist in the American Traditions Competition as part of the Savannah Music Festival, Savannah, Georgia. She appeared as Marcellina (The Marriage of Figaro) with Opera Colorado in 2005 and sang the title role in the companies world premiere of La Curendera in 2006.  Other roles include Queen of the Fairies (Iolanthe), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Flora (La Traviata), Mother Abbess (The Sound of Music), Elizabeth Proctor (The Crucible), Cousin Hebe (HMS Pinafore), The Mother ( The Consul), the Second and Third Ladies (The Magic Flute), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti) and as Suzuki opposite Cynthia Lawrence in Madama Butterfly. Solo engagements include the AIMS Festival Orchestra-Graz, Austria, the Boulder Philharmonic, St. John’s Cathedral Festival Orchestra, Sinfonia of Colorado, Colorado Music Festival, Ft Collins Symphony, St. Mary’s Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Belleville Philharmonic and the Alton and University City Symphonies. 

She has been an apprentice artist with the Sarasota Opera, a member of the Joseph and Loretta Law Artist Center of Opera Colorado and an active member of the Central City Opera Ensemble since 1999. Remmert Soich is also a sought after voice instructor and is currently serving on the music faculty of the University of Colorado Denver.  

Owen Kortz

owen_kortz.jpgOwen Kortz is a positive presence in the Colorado music scene. His intimate vocals and warm guitar accompaniment combine with his extensive music training to create a new refined folk sound, rooted in the tradition of the style. He started writing songs when he was fifteen and worked to hone his craft throughout high school and college, attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. His performance highlights include playing at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado, winning a songwriting competition at Berklee, and recording original music with Greg and Matt Bissonette (Ringo Starr, Joe Satriani). Owen’s mission is to grow daily in body, mind and spirit through music: writing, teaching, performing. His vision is to inspire and awaken love in others through these musical endeavors.

Rebecca Arendt

rebecca_arendt.jpgRebecca Arendt, soprano, enjoys an active performing career singing regionally and throughout the United States. She currently sings with the Grammy submitted Celtic Group, FEAST and was also a featured soloist at the Schlern International Music Festival in Voels am Schlern, Italy. Her favorite roles include Gretel from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Lauretta from Pucinni’s Gianni Schicchi.

Arendt is completing her DMA in vocal performance and pedagogy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She holds a BM from Stetson University and a MM from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2007, Arendt studied voice at the Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk, Poland where she conducted research on Polish vocal literature.

Ms. Arendt teaches voice at the University of Colorado Denver, and maintains a successful private studio. She is also the choir director at Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Broomfield, CO.

Gene Roberts

gene_roberts.jpgGene Roberts is among the most sought after voice teacher / coaches in the Rocky Mountain Region having successfully applied his knowledge of sound vocal technique, and voice building across multiple genres of singing. Roberts’s early studies in classical vocal technique have proved valuable as he developed a vocal cross training method which has won acclaim in commercial music with producers and vocalists alike. He’s worked with bands such as The Fray, Flobots, Jonas Sees in Color, The Kinetix, The Heyday, and The Rouge. In the world of musical theater, Roberts’s students have appeared on London’s West End in The King and I, in the German production of Miss Saigon, on the US National tours of Billy Elliot and Suessical the musical, and up and down the Front Range in many productions.

An active singer from a very early age, Roberts earned a BM in voice from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, and went on to the University of Houston to gain his MM in voice – both under the tutelage of W. Stephen Smith, famed Juilliard voice teacher and author. Already, while in graduate school, Gene began teaching young singers in Houston area high schools, and was fascinated from the beginning to watch hard working young artists learn how to transform their singing through hard work and gaining understanding of how their instrument works.

Knowing that it would be imperative to have actually worked on stage if he was going to truly understandthe various issues his students would face, the focus of Roberts’ artistic life became that of a professional singer. Immediately after graduate school, Gene accepted an apprenticeship with Des Moines Metro Opera, where he sang small roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, der Rosenkavalier, and La Fanciulla del West, and was honored to play the role of Mr. Eager in the workshop production of A Room with a View by American Composer Robert Nelson. Around the same time, Roberts sang the role of The Town Crier at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theater, in the revised premier of Carlisle Floyd’s Bilby’s Doll. Carlisle Floyd directed the production himself.

Always a fan America’s own creation, the ‘Broadway’ Musical, and having dreamt of living and working in Europe since childhood, Roberts was thrilled when he was offered a job as a swing in the Swiss premier of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, in Basel Switzerland. Roberts performed many secondary roles in this, the world’s only dual language production of the work – six performances a week in German, two in English! After working in Switzerland for a couple of years, Roberts was offered a job in the German production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. He began his three years with the successful musical as a swing and Lumière understudy, and ended up taking over the starring role of the Beast – which he played over 500 times.

Gene followed his time in Europe with a US national tour, and finally settled back in his native Denver in 2000 to focus once again entirely on teaching, coaching, and stage directing.He lives with his beautiful wife of more than twenty years Gwen, their three sons Jake, Mitchell and Jeremiah, and a yellow lab named Jasper.

For further Information contact:

Erin Hackel, Coordinator of Commercial Voice;

Or contact our College of Arts & Media Advisors: