MEET THE ORCHESTRA
CHRISTINA CRUDER (Flute), from Cleveland Ohio, is happy to be returning for her 4th year with the Nebraska Theatre Caravan. Previously the last 3 years she has been on clarinet and will be on flute this year. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a Master's Degree in Music and a Bachelor's Degree in Music from the University of Florida. Some of her recent work includes performances with national tours of: Il Divo, Celtic Thunder, Indigo Girls, SuperTramp, Alan Parson's Project, Disney at the Movies, Franki Valli, Video Games Live, Zelda Symphony, and For UA Tribute to Prince. Recently she has performed with The Lake Dillon Theatre Company and The Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Shows include: West Side Story, South Pacific, La Cage Aux Follies, Once Upon a Mattress, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Mikado, Sister Act, Ghost, A Chorus Line, Annie, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, and The Full Monty.
NYKETA DICESARE (Bassoon) is excited to join the tour for the first time this year. A freelance bassoonist and contrabassoonist from Chicago, she is a graduate of the School of Music at DePaul University. Nyketa is the bassoonist for the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago and contrabassoonist for both the Chicago Composers Orchestra and Symphony of Oak Park River Forrest.
STEPHEN MERRITT (Music Director/Pianist) started his performance career at age 17 as the youngest ever Music Director at a regional theater in Central California. Then it burned down. Next he was hired as an all around utility pianist with Disney, performing extensively at six of their parks and on four of their ships, but after 28 solidly successful years, discovered that wasn't really working out after all - everyone around him stayed younger, but somehow, he didn't. So now Stephen spends summers directing and performing at the "Music of Denali" show in Alaska, fall/winter doing National Tours such as this one (previous ones were Miracle on 34th Street and Route 66), and winter/spring doing regional theater in Central Florida (he directed 9 to 5, was Music Director for Sweeney Todd, Gutenberg! The Musical! and Lady Day At Emerson's Bar and Grill, and conducted Next to Normal). His next project is directing and starring in Souvenir: A Fantasia On the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins at the Historic State Theater in Eustis. After that, it's back to Denali Alaska where in addition to resuming his responsibilities as Music Director and pianist, he'll also reclaim his 4th consecutive title of "Highest Paid Busboy West of the Yukon".
BETH SANDHOLM (Clarinet) learned to read music at the same time she learned to read books. She has played the piano since the age of 3, and clarinet since the age of 9. Ms. Sandholm holds a Bachelors of Music (performance) from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and a Masters of Music Education (clarinet pedagogy) from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and has performed in orchestras, wind ensembles, and solo and chamber ensembles in Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Colorado, Arizona, Ontario, and the Northewest Territories, and on several traveling tours. She could also be heard on-air as a raido DJ at KRUI, WWSP, KRCC, and CJCD. Ms. Sandholm has been on university faculty as a clarinet and music theory pedagogue, and has taught clarinet privately since 2002. She also teaches master classes at the primary and secondary levels in clarinet, music theory, music history, and composition. Beth currently lives in Ottawa, ON with her husband and two dogs.