CHSMA Welcomes Salome Sandoval and Laura Blankenship to our Faculty!

salome_sandrovalSALOME SANDOVAL MCNUTT, guitar, lute, voice

Salomé Sandoval sings and plays lutes, early and classical guitars. A native of Venezuela, she holds a Graduate Performance Diploma in Early Music voice and lute thanks to a scholarship awarded by Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. She also completed a Master’s in Arts with an assistantship from Middle Tennessee State University and a Bachelor in Music from Instituto Universitario de Estudios Musicales in Caracas, Venezuela, both in classical guitar. 

Salomé‘s experience extends to master classes, radio shows, theater, movie soundtracks and television, performing early, Latin American, and contemporary music in Venezuela and the US with groups such as Camerata de Caracas, the Church of the Advent choir, Harvard Early Music Society, Canto Armonico, Revels, El Mundo, Newberry Consort and the Boston Camerata Salomé‘s CDs “Singing with the Fire” and “Potions” as well as videos are available in ITunes and YouTube. In 2010, Salomé founded “El Fuego Early Music Ensemble” featuring Hispanic Baroque vocal music.

As a teacher Salome loves tailoring lessons to fulfill the needs of a diverse group of students, using the latest technology to appeal to younger generations as well as giving students live performance experiences. Believing that it is never too late to learn a musical instrument, she thrives on helping students succeed in their personal and academic goals. She understands that every student learns in a different way, and bases her teaching on the different sensory styles of learning. She believes that with patience and fun educational exercises, learning music is possible for anyone, and she also specializes in helping students self-accompany while singing their favorite songs.


laura_blankenship1LAURA BLANKENSHIP, violin & viola

Laura comes to us with a bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from UNCG and a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming. Equally comfortable with performing and teaching, she has performed with the Cheyenne and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and orchestras at both UNCG and UW.

Her teaching experience encompasses private teaching with violin and viola students of all ages as well as work with students in public school orchestras. Her college coursework included specialized training in working with children and in the teaching styles of Suzuki, Galamian and Havas, all of whom approached the teaching of strings with contemporary ideas and new methods.

Ms. Blankenship is very much looking forward to working with the students at CHSMA and enjoys the challenge of helping them find their own special pathway to musical growth and enjoyment.

Welcome to CHSMA’s Newest Teachers: Minji, Natalee, Jennifer and Chad!


mkimannouncementMINJI KIM (Piano, Voice)

New to the Triangle area, Minji brings us a wonderful musical background and education; she obtained her Bachelor of Music degree at Seoul National University, South Korea, and her Master’s degree from the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. She also received a Performer’s Diploma from Indiana University in 2011. An active performer, she has done leading roles in operatic and choral works as well as participating in various vocal competitions.

Equally comfortable teaching piano and voice, she has studied both extensively and has taught both voice and piano since she was an undergraduate student.  Her teaching experience has encompassed teaching the vocational student of all ages, the student preparing for a music degree and even semi-professionals who are recent college graduates.

While her background is classical in nature, she is more than happy to also help students who wish to venture into other genres such as musical theater and popular music. Her philosophy in teaching is to help students develop a life-long love of music and to achieve their musical aspirations. Teaching is her passion and joy.

nmcreynoldsannouncementNATALEE MCREYNOLDS (Voice)

Originally from Knoxville, TN. Natalee graduated from Otterbein University in 2011 with her B.M. in Vocal Performance. Shortly thereafter, she moved back to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee, where she received her Master of Music in Voice Performance in 2013.  Her performance career has allowed her to travel to China, Austria, and throughout the United States. She has been a featured soloist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, and with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra in Maine. Her show credits include leading roles in The Secret Garden, Will You Marry Me?, La Boheme, Le nozze di figaro, The Medium, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, The Beggar’s Opera, The Magic Flute, and The Tender Land.

Regarding teaching, Natalee states: “I believe that my job is to help students set and accomplish their singing goals. I tailor my teaching techniques and strategies to fit each student, taking into account the student’s age, his/her experience, and his/her optimal learning style. I believe that it is also my job to be a good communicator and role model for my students. Since the voice is such a personal and intimate instrument, I like to create a mutually comfortable atmosphere in which we can work most effectively. Ultimately, and most importantly, singing is for enjoyment and personal enrichment!”

jwilliamsannouncementJENNIFER SHRADER WILLIAMS (Musical Theater Specialist – Acting)

Jennifer, whose extensive resume of musical theater roles includes the coveted part of Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway, has been an active professional performer for many years.

She made her Broadway debut as principal vocalist in the musical “Swing” and her national tour credits include roles in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Sunset Boulevard” and “Annie” and “Beauty and the Beast” among others. Now located in Raleigh with her family, she still actively performs professionally in regional theater and elsewhere.

She received her BFA in Musical Theater from the Boston Conservatory and now shares her experience and training with students in one-on-one coaching. Says Jennifer, “I believe performers and artists grow and flourish most when in an emotionally safe and supportive environment. Creating a setting where my students feel comfortable is my first priority. From this place of ease and comfort their natural acting instincts arise. I help my students find their own voices from an acting and vocal standpoint. Drawing on over 20 years of professional show business experience I understand what performers need in order to put their best foot forward and shine!”


Originally from rural North Carolina, “where sitting at home playing around on the piano was about the ‘funnest’ thing to do!”, Chad has been passionate about music since the sixth grade. His main instrument was originally the trombone, which he played throughout school, but during his years at North Carolina Central University studying music education, he was drawn more and more to the piano. Eventually Chad changed his major instrument to piano and began focusing on mastering that instrument instead, studying the classical piano repertoire seriously. He loves the strong history that the piano has had in the development of music and it’s range and scope in creating various musical experiences.

After receiving his Bachelor’s in Music Education, Chad taught both middle school and high school bands, sharing his love of music and it’s many gifts with his students and learning how to work with students of all abilities and backgrounds.  He believes that studying music helps develop many skills, and says that he loves “teaching students diverse techniques to master their instrument as well prompting them to discover what it is that they love most about their instrument and music.” He believes that a teacher’s greatest reward is “watching a student cultivate his or her gifts and seeing the progress that takes place.”  One of his goals as an instructor is to “keep the fun in being a musician” and he is looking forward to teaching at CHSMA, and to being a great asset to the students, parents and the school.