Robyn Starks Holcomb, Head Vocal Director
Robyn Starks Holcomb has over 20 years of experience throughout the Midwest as a motivating teacher, musician, actor, choreographer and clinician. The head vocal director at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, SD, Starks Holcomb has been conducting choirs in the high school, middle school and elementary school levels, spanning public and private schools as well as community chorus and church settings throughout her career. Since joining the Roosevelt family in 2011, Starks Holcomb has watched the program grow to twelve choirs serving 600 singers every day. She is the conductor of Roosevelt High School’s Concert Choir, Executive Chamber, Executive Suite, Melodia, and together with colleagues John Parezo and Randi Van Der Sloot, Mixed Chorus, Freshman Chorus and Unity, Inc. inclusive show choir. Under her direction, Executive Suite was honored to appear this year at the 2019 National ACDA Conference. Also under her direction, the Roosevelt Concert Choir is a 2019 National Finalist for The American Prize Award in Choral Performance, appeared at the 2016 NC-ACDA Regional Conference, and has performed for state and regional conferences, in-services, and by invitation at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Passionate about programming and repertoire, Starks Holcomb is proud to be a part of a department that engages in relationships with living composers and commissioning new work on an annual basis.
Outside of Roosevelt High School, Starks Holcomb spends time in demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, musical director, choreographer for choral festivals, vocal contests, competitions and regional projects. Recently, she spent three weeks conducting, score study and singing in Aix-en-Provence, France, as a selected conducting scholar with the University of Delaware's 2017 Choral Symposium. In 2016, she served as the NC-ACDA Senior High Honor Choir Chair, conducted a Collegiate Honor Choir session for the 2016 NC-ACDA Conference, and is currently the NC-ACDA Senior High R&R Chairperson. She also serves the SD ACDA as the Southeast Representative. Recognition for her choral work and teaching have included: 2019 CMA Teacher of Excellence Award, 2019 Roosevelt High School Head Director of the Year Award, 2016 SD ACDA Encore Award, 2015 Sioux Falls Teacher of the Year Nominee, 2014 Roosevelt High School Director of the Year and 2013 Positive Impact Awards, and most recently, the selection as a 2017 Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction. Starks Holcomb looks forward to traveling as a conductor with the Midwest American Honor Choir through France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany in the summer of 2019.
A well rounded artist, Starks Holcomb held a faculty position at the Dance Gallery of SD, a prominent school of dance, for 13 years. In addition, she toured as a professional Artist in Residence through the South Dakota Arts Council’s "Artists in Schools and Communities" program, teaching thousands of students annually as well as serving as a clinician for faculty in- services, workshops and collegiate lecture/demonstrations. A musical theatre expert, Starks Holcomb has directed, performed and choreographed over 50 theatrical productions. She has toured throughout the Midwest playing roles with both professional and amateur companies. In January, 2015, BroadwayWorld.com Regional Theater Awards announced Starks Holcomb as Best Music Director for her work with Sioux Empire Community Theater on Little Shop of Horrors. Starks Holcomb spent ten years producing and directing a summer musical theatre camp in Sioux Falls for high school students which has produced talent seen on stages of multiple high school, college and national stages to date. Former students of Holcomb have now appeared in national touring companies of Fun Home, The Wizard of Oz, Spamalot!
Robyn Starks Holcomb received undergraduate study at Augsburg University, Minneapolis, received her B.M. in vocal music education from the University of MN, Minneapolis and earned an M.A. Ed. from Augustana University, Sioux Falls.
John Parezo, Assistant Vocal Director
John Parezo joined the Roosevelt Choir Department as the assistant director in 2015. He is the director of Roosevelt High School’s Chorale, RiderChor and Capitol Harmony women's show choir. Along with Robyn Starks Holcomb and Randi Van Der Sloot, he also co-conducts Mixed and Freshman Choruses. Under his direction, the Roosevelt RiderChor (previously known as President's Men) have been invited to participate in and serve as a featured performance choir for the 2017 Augustana University’s inaugural "Vikesing" Men's Festival, the 2018 South Dakota State University Choral Inservice, and for the 2018 Real Men Sing Men's Choral Festival at Wartburg College. Capitol Harmony show choir has earned several grand champion placements in women’s division competition along with several evening finals placements.
Prior to his appointment at Roosevelt, Parezo has worked with elementary, middle and high school level general music, choirs and show choirs in South Dakota and Iowa. In 2016, Parezo served as the NC-ACDA Middle Level Men’s Honor Choir Co-Chair, and he currently serves as the Technology Chair for the South Dakota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Show Choir Chair for the South Dakota High School Activities Association. Parezo was named Roosevelt High School Assistant Director of the Year for both this 2018-19 and the 2016-2017 school years. He was also the 2017 SD-ACDA Overture Award recipient - an award given to outstanding choral directors in their first five years of teaching.
Parezo holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from South Dakota State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, IA.
Randi Van Der Sloot, Assistant Vocal Director
Randi Van Der Sloot is honored to have joined Roosevelt’s vocal music program of excellence as Assistant Director this Fall of 2018. She is the co-director of Roosevelt’s Mixed Chorus and Freshman Chorus, as well as the director of Rider Revolution mixed prep show choir and Unity, Inc. inclusive show choir. She also teaches the RISE fundamentals of music classes.
Prior to joining the Roosevelt team, Van Der Sloot spent four years as director of choral activities at Harrisburg South Middle School, and seven years with O’Gorman Junior High and High School in Sioux Falls, directing various choirs and show choirs as well as teaching general music.
Mrs. Van Der Sloot is a graduate of The University of Sioux Falls where she received a bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master’s degree in education. She has been the director of several show choirs that have received numerous accolades throughout the region. She is a motivational clinician and team building specialist for show choirs, choirs, and theater productions across South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.
Tasondra Huyck, Show Choir Band Director
Tasondra J. Huyck, “TJ,” serves adjunct as Roosevelt High School Choral Department’s Show Choir Band Director. She is in her ninth year serving as Director of Music at Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls, leading their Concert Band, Concert Choir, and small instrumental and vocal ensembles, in addition to teaching Music Theory, Music Appreciation, and private instrumental and vocal lessons. Ms. Huyck is in her sixth year as Instructor of Clarinet and Saxophone at the University of Sioux Falls.
In addition to her positions at LHSSF and USF, she teaches individual instrumental lessons at Sioux Falls Lutheran School and maintains a private studio of clarinet and saxophone students. She regularly performs on clarinet and saxophone with local and regional ensembles including the High Plains Woodwind Ensemble, the Sioux Falls Municipal Band, and local theater and church orchestras.
Ms. Huyck studied Music Education at South Dakota State University and Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Iowa.