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 for 20 years. At Roosevelt since 2011, Starks Holcomb has watched the program grow to over 600 singers every day. She is the conductor of Concert Choir, Executive Chamber, Executive Suite and together with John Parezo, Mixed Chorus. Under her direction, the Roosevelt Concert Choir appeared in performance at the 2016 NC-ACDA Regional Conference. The choir has also performed by invitation at state and regional conferences and in-services, twice at the State Capitol, as a guest choir with college choirs and celebrity talents, in Carnegie Hall, the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York City, the Kennedy Center and in Los Angeles on a project with composer, Dan Forrest. The group is very much looking forward to performing in San Francisco in 2019.
Starks Holcomb spends time outside of Roosevelt High School in demand as a guest conductor, musical director, choreographer and judge/critique for choral festivals, vocal contests and competitions. Most recently, she spent three weeks conducting, studying 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. She has recently served on judging panels for regional ACDA performance choirs and honor choirs, and recently led a reading session at the combined Central/North Central ACDA conference in Chicago, 2018. Recognition for her choral work and teaching have included: 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 that time, she taught multiple forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, and two art forms she pioneered in the state of South Dakota, Broadway and Adaptive Movement for students with Down Syndrome. She also spent four years touring and teaching literally thousands of students annually as a professional Artist in Residence through the South Dakota Arts Council’s Artists in Schools and Communities program; as well as serving as a guest clinician for in- services, workshops and college 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 running 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 The Wizard of Oz and Spamalot!
Robyn Starks Holcomb completed a portion of her 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 Chorale, President’s Men and Capitol Harmony women's show choir. Along with head vocal director, Robyn Starks Holcomb, he co-directs the over 200 voices in Mixed Chorus. Under his direction, the Roosevelt President's Men have been invited to participate in and serve as a featured performance choir for both the 2017 Augustana University first annual "Vikesing" Men's Festival, the 2018 SDSU Choral Inservice. Coming Fall of 2018, the group will also be featured at the "Real Men Sing" Men's Festival at Wartburg College.
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. He has also served as the musical director for several theater productions including Legally Blonde the Musical and Guys and Dolls. Currently, Parezo serves as the Technology Chair for the South Dakota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the State Show Choir Chair for the South Dakota High School Activities Association. He was the 2017 SD-ACDA Overture Award recipient - an award given to outstanding choral directors in their first five years of teaching. Outside of music, Parezo enjoys flying and giving passenger rides in his hot air balloon, cooking and painting. Parezo holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from South Dakota State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Education from Morningside College in Sioux City, IA.
Randi Van Der Sloot, Assistant Vocal Director
Randi Van Der Sloot is honored to be joining Roosevelt’s vocal music program of excellence as Assistant Director this Fall of 2018. She will be directing Freshman Chorus, Rider Revolution and First Ladies along with teaching the RISE fundamentals of music classes. Prior to joining the Roosevelt team, Mrs. V spent four years as director of choral activities at Harrisburg South Middle School, and seven years with O’Gorman Junior High and High School directing various choirs and show choirs as well as teaching general music. She is currently in her eleventh year of teaching. 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,” 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