Central Florida Vocal Arts | Institute

Our Instructors

KIT CLETO | VOICE, STUDIO DIRECTOR:     was born in Chicago, Illinois and showed interest in music at an early age. He actively sang in choirs from elementary school through high school. Kit received a bachelor of music in vocal performance from the University of Central Florida, studying under Dr. Jeremy Hunt and Priscilla Bagley. During his time at UCF, Kit sang solos with the University Chorus, Chamber Singers, and UCF Symphony Orchestra and performed with UCF Opera, Orlando Opera Company, Orlando Philharmonic and Valencia Opera Theater Workshop. Kit holds a master of music in voice performance & literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied with Jerold Siena, an internationally acclaimed tenor who has appeared regularly at the Metropolitan Opera and the world's leading opera houses. While at the U of Illinois, he performed with the Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, U of I Opera Studio & Opera Scenes, Danville Symphony Station Theatre, Sinfonia da Camera, and the Allerton Music Barn Festival. He spent the summers of 2010 and 2013 performing operatic scenes and studying the Italian language with La Scuola Italia per Cantanti Lirici in Urbania and St’Angelo in Vado, Italy.

After returning to Orlando, Kit has performed with Central Florida Vocal Arts, Opera Orlando, and Opera del Sol, as well as successfully crossing over into the musical theatre genre performing with many Central Florida theatre companies. Theatre credits include: In The Heights (Orlando Shakes), Hunchback of Notre Dame (CFCArts, Titusville Playhouse), Jesus Christ Superstar (Garden Theatre), ThanksKilling (Orlando Fringe), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Beth Marshall Presents), A Christmas Carol (Athens Theatre), Bonnie & Clyde (Garden Theatre), Spamalot (Athens Theatre), Hands On A Hardbody (TheatreWorks Florida), The Secret Garden (Mad Cow Theatre). Recently, Kit was featured as a principal soloist with Opera del Sol’s Music of the Night Masquerade Gala and has worked behind the scenes as the vocal coach for Big Fish (Valencia College Theatre) and music director for Evita (Osceola Arts). As a voice faculty member at Valencia College, his students have been accepted into programs on scholarship from Rollins College and Stetson University. Kit enjoys singing and teaching many styles of music, from opera to pop to musical theatre. He believes that learning and loving music is a gift that enriches our daily lives. 

GABRIELLE PITCHFORD | VOICE, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION:  received a Bachelor of Arts from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where she studied voice with soprano, Arisa Kusumi, and German,and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she studied with mezzo-soprano, Clara O’Brien.  Feeling most comfortable on the stage and in front of an audience, Gabrielle has enjoyed a life of performing in recitals, and opera. Participating in competitions, school productions, and community events, Gabrielle placed 3rd in her division at NATS in 2014, has performed the roles of Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Morgana in Alcina as part of a scenes production at Rollins College, has played the role of Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica, and Pamina in The Magic Flute with the Vienna Summer Music Festival, Pamina in The Magic Flute for the Opera at The Carolina's outreach program, and First Lady in The Magic Flute with UNCG Opera. In addition to opera productions, Gabrielle loves programming and singing in recitals. At the completion of her Masters degree, she performed a recital comprised of all female composers ranging from the Baroque to present day. Gabrielle has studied extensively in Europe, learning German as a second language, and studying with world-renowned coaches, teachers, and conductors, including vocal coach Daniel Sarge, and conductor Christian Schultz. Having a diverse experience in training both in the States and abroad, Gabrielle uses this hybrid of vocal technique to teach what she has found to be the most effective from all areas of her training. Having a passion for teaching and singing, Gabrielle enthusiastically works with all her students to help them produce the most healthy, beautiful sound possible to communicate and express effectively. 

SHAWN LOWE | DANCE:  is a Florida native, and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from New World School of the Arts. Lowe has extensive training in contemporary, ballet, modern, jazz and tap. He has taught and choreographed at various institutions from Central Florida to South Florida; In Motion Dance Project, X-Factor Dance and Gymnastics, Coral Reef Senior High School and New Image Dance Center. He has also worked with production companies such as Disney Special Events, Odd-O-T’s Entertainment, Metropolis Productions, and Harddrive Productions. Throughout his career Lowe has been spotted performing at Walt Disney World, Seaworld and Universal Studios. Lowe currently performs with Yow Dance! at various venues across Central Florida.

DANIELLE K. SMITH | VOICE: is an active and versatile performer, and a passionate and energetic music educator.  She has sung professionally with Opera Orlando, Orlando Light Opera, and Central Florida Vocal Arts, and some of her favorite performed roles include Brigitta from Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Nella from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Jenny from Sondheim’s Company.  Danielle is a frequent recitalist and has performed for the University Club of Winter Park, Westminster Winter Park, the Woman’s Club of Winter Park, and for various galas and benefit concerts in the central Florida area.  Danielle cantors at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, and is a member of the all female holiday a cappella group, Belles and Bows. Danielle holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from Rollins College and a Master’s of Music degree in Voice Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.  She is a Teaching Artist for the School of the Arts at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.  She has also taught voice and directed with Central Florida Vocal Arts and Central Florida Community Arts, and teaches private voice lessons out of her home studio in Winter Park.

BRYAN HAYES | VOICE, SONGWRITING:   is a working vocalist with a background ranging many genres including Classical, Jazz, Blues, Soul, R&B, Rock, Pop and more. In fall 2013 he received bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Florida in the studies of Classical voice and in Jazz Studies, primary instrument being voice.

He has performed and continues to perform in countless concerts, he has performed major roles in numerous operas, oratorios and theatrical productions, and has toured with different groups in many different countries, including but not limited to; the University of North Florida and University of British Columbia Opera ensembles in two separate productions in the Czech Republic, the University of North Florida Chorale 2010 tour of Italy, the St. John’s Cathedral Choir of Jacksonville 2014 tour of Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral, a contract with Carnival Cruise Lines in 2014, and numerous shows with the Orlando Philharmonic and Opera Orlando.

He has performed onstage with such noted artists and ensembles, including but not limited to; The Royal Symphony of England, Reggie Wooten, Ben Folds and Andrea Bocelli.

In 2015 Bryan released his first album of original compositions entitled “This Is Me”.

Bryan aspires to continue a career of performance and composition.

STEPHAN CAULEY| VOICE, ACTING: was born in Miami, Florida and has been involved in music and theatre since elementary school. He started by playing Cello in String Fever in elementary school and eventually started acting in high school plays and musicals where the music bug truly bit him. He started his post secondary training in musical theatre receiving his B.F.A. at Jacksonville University where he studied under Rachel Clifton and Devlinn Mann learning the skills and developing connections that led him into professional theatre in the area. He became a full time performer and eventually signed up with touring companies such as Worklight and NETworks production companies taking shows on the road and performing all around the United States. This led to other ventures with different companies that brought him to other countries like Italy and Japan to sing with the Bologna Opera Company and GEOS Marie respectively. After years of performing, Stephen returned to Florida to further his education and received his M.A.T. in Music Education at Rollins College studying under Dr. Julia Foster and famed tenor, Curtis Rayam. 

Some of his professional musical theatre credits include  Phantom of the Opera (Worklight), The Fantasticks (GP Productions), A Chorus Line (Alhambra), Sweeney Todd (NETworks), Little Shop of Horrors (Alhambra), Camelot (Phoenix Productions), Batboy: The Musical (News Journal Center), I Love you, You're Perfect, Now Change (Jacksonville Stage 

Company), and many more. He has also performed in various operas and operettas such as The Gondoliers, Serse, La Boehme, and Der Rosenkavalier. In Japan, he took on the life of a concert performer, mixing his passions for both musical theatre and opera into one career. He has most recently been seen on the CFVA stage as Barsad in Tale of Two Cities and as Ko-Ko in The Mikado. He currently works as a music teacher and Director of performing arts at Central Florida Leadership Academy and loves seeing music enrich the lives of his students much in the same way it did his own.

STEPHANIE MCCRANIE | VOICE: A Florida native, Ms. McCranie has an extensive background in the arts, from performing on stage to teaching and working in arts administration. Miss McCranie performs locally with Opera Tampa and St. Pete Opera. Miss McCranie was recently seen performing in Central Florida with Space Coast Symphony, Opera del Sol and Central Florida Vocal Arts in their Mikado and Masquerade programs. Stephanie also currently performs with the acclaimed Classical Crossover group, Klassika. Ms. McCranie had the privilege of serving as faculty at Texas A&M University Commerce, University of the Incarnate Word and University of Tampa. While in Texas, Ms. McCranie was a member of the esteemed Dallas Opera Chorus and was also chosen as a Semi-Finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild competition. Favorite roles include Beauty (Beauty and the Beast), Miss Silverpeal (Impresario), and Micaela (La Tragedie de Carmen). In addition to a Bachelors degree in Music Education from Stetson University, Ms. McCranie has a Masters in Vocal Performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

ASHLEY EASON | VOICE: A native of Orlando, Florida, is an operatic mezzo-soprano and music educator whose experience encompasses a variety of styles including opera, chanson, lieder, and world music. In 2017, Ms. Eason completed her Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois under the tutorship of former performer and master teacher, Julia Faulkner, current Director of Vocal studies for the Patrick G. And Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the same year, Ms. Eason became an ensemble member for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus in Chicago, Illinois and has since performed three seasons with the organization. Recent engagements
include Verdi’s Aida conducted by Riccardo Muti (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Mahler Symphony No. 8 conducted by Marin Alsop (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) at the world-famous Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois. Future engagements include Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (Chicago Symphony Orchestra). In addition to ensemble work, Ms. Eason has performed a variety of operatic roles throughout her expanding career including Dido in Dido and Aeneas (DePaul University), Speranza in L’Orfeo (DePaul University), La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi (Urbino, Italy- Musica nelle Marche). 

Prior to her studies at DePaul University, Ms. Eason received a Master of Business Administration degree from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida where she was awarded with both a talent scholarship and
graduate assistantship. During her time at Stetson, Ms. Eason also completed her BM in Vocal Performance under the mentorship of accomplished mezzo-soprano, Jane Christeson and internationally acclaimed dramatic soprano, Susan Neves (Metropolitan Opera) where she was the recipient of the Doris William Davis and William McClure Davis endowed award. 

Ms. Eason’s teaching philosophies mirror those of her mentors by guiding her students to find their “true voice”, free of manipulations and manifestations, and by helping them to organically develop their natural instrument through a unique application of these techniques tailored for each individual student.