Pre-Conference Workshop

Pop/Rock Vocalism for the Music Theater Singer

Friday, July 8 • 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Presenters: Melissa Cross, Sheri Sanders, Mary Saunders-Barton
Introduced by: Norman Spivey
Location: Chicago Ballroom ABC (5th floor)

Get in the trenches with this team of presenters and increase your skill in finding those perfect auditions  cuts for pop/rock auditions and healthy approaches to singing rock “in the key of screaming.” Watch the  process as singers discover the right cuts for them, and take home new skills and processes that will serve your students.


About Melissa Cross

Cross-NEW.jpgVoice coach Melissa Cross, a New York-based classically trained singer and former punk rocker, has developed a method to help vocalists belt out their lyrics — without ruining their voices. Her client list includes Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God, Slipknot's Corey Taylor and Kevin Bacon. Her instructional DVD/CD sets, The Zen of Screaming and The Zen of Screaming 2, are designed to present a no-nonsense approach to singing hard rock and screaming, while focusing on solid vocal technique. Cross has presented her “New Breed Vocal Seminars” – workshops “dedicated to the enlightenment of modern rock and extreme vocalists” – worldwide. 


About Sheri Sanders

sanders-NEW.jpgIn 2004, Sheri Sanders noticed that the radio was changing the climate of Musical Theatre and created Rock The Audition, a masterclass in auditioning for Rock Musicals. The class became a cult hit in NYC- and Sheri became the worlds preeminent popular music repertoire coach. Sanders cold-called Hal Leonard Publishing, and in 2011 became the first author to publish a book on the new relationship between popular music and Musical Theatre. Rock The Audition: How to Prepare for and Get Cast in Musicals brought her to 55 Musical Theatre programs in 4 years providing students, teachers and coaches the skills to successfully research, prepare and perform all styles of popular music currently represented on Broadway- Motown, 70s Folk/Rock, Disco, 80s Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Hip Hop, Rock/Punk/Emo, Faeies and Country/ Bluegrass. 

Sheri approached Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Hunter Arnold with an innovative idea to expand the reach of her unique training.  Together, they created Rock The Performance- an online platform that provides instructional videos, industry guest content, and custom sheet music and accompaniment in all styles that sounds awesome on piano. Her interactive 8-week On-Line Rock Musical Theatre Training Program makes it possible for Musical Theatre programs and individual professional performers and coaches to study directly with Sheri from every corner of the world.

About Mary Saunders-Barton

Saunders_Barton-NEW.jpgMary Saunders-Barton is a Cum Laude Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a Master's degree from Middlebury College and the Sorbonne, Paris. While in Paris, she studied with Pierre Bernac and received a diploma from the Ecole Normale de Musique. She serves as head of voice for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Musical Theatre and as program head for the Master of Fine Arts in Voice Pedagogy for Musical Theatre at Penn State University. In addition to her university teaching, Mary maintains a studio in Manhattan for professional performers. In recent Broadway seasons, her students could be seen on Broadway in Wicked, Mamma Mia, The Lion King, Kinky Boots, Book of Mormon, Chicago, Newsies and Beautiful, among others. In 2013, Mary was the keynote musical theatre speaker at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Brisbane, Australia. In 2014, she was a master teacher for the The National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program. She is a frequent master class presenter at universities and professional organizations in the US and Europe. Mary has produced two DVD’s on Musical Theatre Singing, Bel Canto Can Belto: Teaching Women to Sing Musical Theatre and a companion DVD, What About the Boys?


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