Current PAVA Board of Directors
President: Aaron Johnson
Like most vocologists, Aaron Johnson’s career path has been varied and multidisciplinary. He began as a singer, studying vocal performance at Northwestern University, and then sang professionally and taught singing for over a decade. In 2005 he shifted his focus to the health and science of the voice and discovered his passion for voice research at the Summer Vocology Institute. He earned a master of science in speech-language pathology from Rush University and a research doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent four years on the faculty in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2016 he joined the New York University (NYU) Voice Center as an assistant professor of otolaryngology in the NYU School of Medicine. At NYU he is able to draw upon his multidisciplinary background as a clinician, researcher, and educator. As a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist, he evaluates and treats voice disorders in performers. He also directs an NIH-funded research laboratory investigating the neuromuscular mechanisms underlying vocal exercise. Through collaborations across NYU he is able to direct singing-voice research, teach future vocologists, and move the field of vocology forward.
Past President: Leda Scearce
Leda Scearce, MM, MS, CCC-SLP is a clinical singing voice specialist, clinical associate faculty, director of performing voice programs and development at Duke Voice Care Center, and coordinator of community engagement for the Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine. A singer and voice teacher for over 30 years, she provides voice evaluation and rehabilitation therapy to singers, actors, and other vocal performers with voice injuries. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice performance from Indiana University, and a master’s degree in speech pathology from Boston University. Scearce is a frequent speaker at national and international voice conferences. Her performance experience includes appearances as leading soprano and soloist with opera companies, orchestras, and music festivals across the US. She is the author of Manual of Singing Voice Rehabilitation: A Practical Approach to Vocal Health and Wellness (Plural), and is a founding member of PAVA.
Vice President: Kenneth Bozeman
Kenneth Bozeman, BM, MM, professor emeritus of music, taught at Lawrence University for 42 years where he chaired the voice department and from which he received two awards for excellence in teaching. He holds performance degrees from Baylor University and the University of Arizona, and studied at the Conservatory of Music in Munich. He was awarded the Van Lawrence Fellowship by the Voice Foundation for his interest in voice science and is the chair of the editorial board of the Journal of Singing. He was inducted into the American Academy of Teachers of Singing in 2019. His writings on acoustic voice pedagogy include the books, Practical Vocal Acoustics: Pedagogic Applications for Teachers and Singers and Kinesthetic Voice Pedagogy: Motivating Acoustic Efficiency. Bozeman’s students have sung with Houston Grand, Boston Lyric, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Dresden Opera, San Francisco, New York City, the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric, and Santa Fe Opera.
Treasurer: Tara Nixon
Tara Nixon, MM, MS, CCC-SLP, is a senior clinical speech-language pathologist and clinical singing voice specialist at Duke Voice Care Center and independent voice teacher from her studio in Durham, NC. She received dual master’s degrees from Appalachian State University in vocal performance and speech-language pathology, following a baccalaureate at New College of Florida. Passionate about sharing vocal health knowledge with singers from all walks of life, Nixon frequently presents on various aspects of singing voice rehabilitation and performs professionally as a classical soprano, jazz vocalist, and blues chanteuse. In 2017, Nixon was chosen to participate in the NATS Intern Program in Toronto. In addition to her involvement in NATS and PAVA, Nixon is also an active member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).
Rachel Velarde is currently associate professor of music at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ, teaching voice, song literature, and voice pedagogy to undergraduate students. She grew up in Bloomington, IN (Mary Goetze, then-director of the Indiana University Children’s Choir, has continued to be a musical mentor). When she was six years old, her family moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for two years. Her experiences gave her a lasting impression about the universality of humanity. She has traveled to France and Austria, and has regularly traveled to Italy, as a performer and as voice faculty. Dr. Velarde received her BA in Music from Smith College in Northampton, MA in 1994. She earned two master of music degrees, in vocal performance and vocal pedagogy, from Arizona State University in 1997, and her DMA in vocal performance from from the same institution in 2013. Dr. Velarde began teaching private voice and piano lessons in 1993 and became a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) in 1996, and has served in multiple board positions. In 2012, Rachel received Honorable Mention for the Van L. Lawrence Fellowship in vocal pedagogy research, and completed the Wicklund Singing Voice Specialist (SVS) Certification. She became a PAVA member in 2016 and is passionate about spreading the PAVA mission to colleagues worldwide.
Communications Director: Anna Hersey
A noted expert on Scandinavian music, soprano Anna Hersey was a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Her articles have been published in the Journal of Singing, VOICEPrints, and The Opera Journal. Her first book, Scandinavian Song, was published by Rowman & Littlefield. Hersey completed the Vocal Pedagogy Certificate at the University of Minnesota, and has studied vocology with Johan Sundberg at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and with Ingo Titze at the Summer Vocology Institute. She was the 2015 recipient of the NATS Pedagogy Award. She is an active member of professional organizations, has presented at NATS, ACDA, NOA, MTNA, CMS, and PAVA conferences, and is former editor-in-chief of VOICEPrints. She holds master’s degrees in performance and ethnomusicology from the University of Minnesota, and a DMA from the University of Miami. She is currently associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and lecture-recitals editor for the College Music Symposium.
Latin American Governor: Ana Flavia Zuim
Ana Flavia is an award-winning musical director, an accomplished conductor, pianist, singing health specialist, and electric bassist. She is a music assistant professor serving as director of vocal performance at Steinhardt School at NYU. She earned her bachelor's at State University of Londrina (UEL - 2003) in her native country, Brazil. She holds a master’s in piano performance (Lynn University, 2006), a doctorate fine and performing arts (Florida Atlantic University, 2012) and a vocology certificate (University of Utah, 2015). Prior to joining NYU, she served as director of contemporary voice at the Frost School of Music with a secondary appointment as lecturer of otolaryngology at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami. Among her credits are the Broadway musical Hamilton (rehearsal pianist), the Broadway Across America tours of Billy Elliot (associate conductor/vocal coach), and key’s sub on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Matilda, Kinky Boots, The Wizard of Oz, Annie, and The Sound of Music.
Western Governor: Brian Manternach
Brian Manternach holds three degrees in voice performance, including a doctor of music degree from Indiana University, and has completed the first block of the Summer Vocology Institute. He has performed professionally in music theater, opera, and oratorio, and currently teaches studio voice to music theater majors and acting majors in a BFA degree program at the University of Utah, where he also teaches a singing voice class to acting majors. Previously, Manternach was a high school music teacher for seven years (choir, music theory, music theater) and directed choirs for churches of various denominations for more than a decade. He is associate editor for the Journal of Singing, a columnist for Classical Singer magazine, and has given peer-reviewed or invited national/international presentations for PAVA, NATS, the Voice Foundation, NCVS, the University of Utah Voice Disorders Center, and TEDxSaltLakeCity. He was recipient of the 2016 NATS Foundation Voice Pedagogy Award.
Central Governor: Matt Schloneger
Matthew Schloneger is associate professor of voice at Friends University, where he teaches applied voice, pedagogy, diction, opera, and musical theatre. He holds a PhD in vocal pedagogy from the University of Kansas, an MM in voice from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA from Goshen College. He was a Rotary Scholar at the Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano and holds a certificate in French language from the Sorbonne. An active performer, Schloneger has performed principal roles with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Wichita Grand Opera, Opera Kansas, and Operafestival di Roma, among others. His ongoing singing voice research, focusing on singers’ health, resulted in the Van Lawrence Fellowship of NATS and the Voice Foundation in 2017 and Best Research Poster at the NATS National Convention in 2014. His research has been published in the Journal of Voice, the Journal of Singing, the Journal of Research in Music Education, the Choral Journal and the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing.
Eastern Governor: Rachelle Fleming
Rachelle Fleming is nationally recognized in the training and vocal health of the contemporary vocal artist and is an NCVS-trained vocologist. Dr. Fleming holds a doctorate in vocal pedagogy and performance from the University of Miami, a research master's degree in music education from the Eastman School of Music, and a bachelor of music in voice performance. Additional coursework includes pedagogical coursework in two of the leading commercial vocal music training programs. Dr. Fleming is an associate professor at Temple University and on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival. She was previously an assistant professor at The Catholic University of America, and has taught for The Eastman School of Music, The Actors Studio MFA program at The New School, The Eastman School of Music Community Division, and the University of Miami. Dr. Fleming’s students perform on Broadway, in National Tours, at Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Signature Theater, regional theaters and in film. She is in-demand internationally for master classes and as an artist-in-residence.
Canadian Governor: Melanie Tapson
Melanie Tapson is a singer and speech-language pathologist focused on voice care for professional voice users and performers and transgender voice and communication training. She holds a BFA in jazz voice, a BEd in senior vocal music/drama, and an MSc in SLP. She maintains multiple professional designations and a certificate in performing arts health from PAMA and ACSM.
Tapson keeps up with current research in therapeutic interventions for voice. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto, lectures at the Glenn Gould School, and frequently gives workshops by invitation. Her twenty years as a professional performer, combined with her training and experience as an educator and SLP provides her with a unique perspective. She believes that treating the voice requires treating the whole person through a collaborative approach. She empathizes with the demands of the professional voice user’s schedule and lifestyle first-hand, and she fiercely advocates for preventative voice care. Tapson remains active singing in musical theatre productions and doing voiceover work.