I am so thrilled to be celebrating our 18th Year of Art and Sol! I started Art and Sol while working as a full time teacher in the Arcadia neighborhood 17 years ago. It started as a small after school class I held once a week. As much as I loved teaching in the classroom, I poured my heart into Art and Sol. I was thrilled that it kept growing year after year, and I made it my full time job while raising my children at home. After 17 years, Art and Sol has grown and flourished across the valley. I am so proud that we have three locations, with six classes, and over 300 children every session. It is the greatest honor to teach children of all ages the love and joy of performing and musical theatre. I feel so blessed to have the BEST JOB EVER! I get to sing, dance, act, and help children SHINE on and off stage through Art and Sol!
Arcadia and Central Phoenix Vocal Director
“You can’t make a song with just one note.”
My love for teaching began at a very early age when I used to play “school” with my younger brother; he was the student and I was always the teacher. I fell in love with music at age 8 when I started playing the viola and joined my elementary school orchestra. By the time that I graduated high school, I was studying the viola, violin piano and voice and I realized that teaching music was my passion. I have performed with numerous youth and professional orchestras and choirs and have performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, various venues throughout Europe, and even performed on the street corner in Washington D.C.!
I earned my degree in Music Education with a concentration in viola and piano from Marywood University before I moved to Phoenix in 2005. I previously taught general music and choir in the Phoenix Elementary School District for nine years and I am currently choral director and general music teacher at Madison Meadows Middle School.
I’m so blessed to join the Art and Sol team as the newest vocal director. I love working with children everyday and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together!
Scottsdale Vocal Director
I am so excited to join the Art and Sol team as the Scottsdale Vocal Director!
I was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania where I was involved in every musical opportunity available to me. I took dance classes, got involved in community theater, was a part of every choral ensemble available, vocal jazz, church choir, took private voice lessons, participated in marching band, color guard, and indoor percussion, I performed in school musicals, and went on to major in vocal performance and education in college. While in college, I had the opportunity to sing with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marvin Hamlish. I am very thankful that I had so many opportunities for performing and learning growing up!
My family and I moved to Arizona in 2010. I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in liberal arts and a post baccalaureate degree in music education from Rio Salado’s teacher in residence program. I currently teach kindergarten through 8th grade music,band, and choir at Marionneaux Elementary School along with color guard and marching band at Buckeye Union High School. I love teaching music and getting to share something I love with hundreds of students each week. I was honored to be the Passionate About Student Success award winner 2018 and the Teacher of the Year award winner in 2019.
My husband is also a music teacher and we have three children. Music is a central part of our family and our lives. We always joke that we live in a musical because we are constantly singing and dancing in our house.
Summer Vocal Director
Art and Sol has become the frosting on the layer cake of my life.
I was born in Minnesota and raised in a house full of instruments – two pianos, two violins, an oboe and a clarinet, not to mention my dad’s many harmonicas and his musical saw! We sang table graces, duetted and quartetted, and generally made a joyful noise.
Piano and violin study continued through my years at Iowa’s Luther College and then at Arizona State University with courses including Piano Accompanying, Chamber Music and Opera, and Jazz and Caribbean styles.
Theater has always been a feature in my life – I tend to recall memories according to which show I was working on at the time. Past gigs have ranged from pit orchestra violinist/pianist to composer/arranger and thanks to Art and Sol’s “Broadway Bound” camp I can add – playwright!
It is my joy to get to do what I love for a living, now in my fifteenth year of teaching elementary music full time. Sharing lessons and activities I have created with other teachers is one of the latest layers on this ever-growing cake. If you would like to see and hear more, go to: www.keyofeflat.com
I have been in love with musical theatre for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Southern California, I had many opportunities to perform in programs like this, talent shows, and even a commercial. I knew that I wanted to make this a part of my life forever, and I am so excited to be on this amazing team! I was enrolled in Art and Sol when I was younger, then moved to volunteering backstage, and am now honored to be an Assistant Director for Central Phoenix! This program has brought me so much love and light in my life and I can’t wait to spread that magic to each and every one of these talented young actors.
I am currently a working on my degree at Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!) in Communications. I am a sophomore and hope to graduate in the Spring of 2022. I can’t wait to begin this incredible journey with Art and Sol!
Monica Sampson is an award-winning Phoenix-based journalist, actress, and entertainer. Having just graduated summa cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, in Broadcast Journalism and Theater with a Pre-Law minor; Monica understands the power storytelling has to educate, inspire, and inform and is delighted to join Art and Sol as their newest Assistant Director.
As an Actress, Sampson has acted for local theaters across Arizona and just arrived back in Arizona, after spending the summer acting at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London, where worked on a production of Hamlet. Monica is trained in dialect; the international phonetic alphabet and can’t wait to work on fun accents with a young audience! Some of Monica’s favorite roles have been, Ado Annie, in, ‘Oklahoma’ and William Barfee in, ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,’ where she performed and competed at Disney’s Fullerton College.
Sampson is no stranger to all different types of performances, serving as the former Assistant News Director for KASC Blaze Radio and a co-host of the radio show “Mojo In The Morning.” Monica’s work experience includes NPR, PBS and Cronkite News where she served as a reporter, broadcasting live on the 5pm evening newscast.
Monica is looking forward to sharing her knowledge, and love of theater with a new generation of performers. Outside of her professional life, Monica enjoys musicals, bunny rabbits, and singing along to Barbra Streisand.
Art and Sol Photographer
I was born in Denver, Colorado but moved to a suburb of Boston at 2 years old. My family then moved to Phoenix when I was in the fifth grade and while it was a hard transition for me to go from New England to the desert, I ended up moving back after getting my B.S. at Brigham Young University and am now happy to be raising two little Phoenicians of my own!
My educational background is in human development and elementary education but after I had my kids and was staying at home I found I wanted a creative outlet and a way to document their lives as they were changing so fast. I come from a creative family, and my mother is a professional artist so I took a page from her book at flexed my photography muscles. What started off with buying my first dslr, reading books on exposure on portraiture, and taking pictures of friends’ kids ended up blossoming into a business.
And now I am lucky enough to join the Art and Sol family. I look forward to documenting these exciting experiences with your families and hope that I am able to capture the joy and magic of the theater, friendship, and childhood that you will be able to keep as treasures forever. For more information on me and to see some examples of my work, please visit rachaelannelewisphotography.com