Kris is the co-founder and owner of HSMT with over 25 years of experience as a worship and music director, teacher and performer, Kris holds an M.A. in Theology and degrees in both Music and Theater from Concordia University Irvine. She manages and directs HSMT while raising her 3 boys who are also active in performing arts. Kris and her husband, Dru, recorded multiple albums and ran their own tours before taking full-time music jobs. Along with directing shows, teaching classes, and running two Musical Theater competition groups, Kris also teaches Voice, Acting, Musical Theater, Beginning Piano, Audition Coaching and Worship Band at HSMT.
Carolynn Schmahl has been part of the Huston Performing Arts faculty since 2015. She earned her BA in Music from Chapman University's Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music, where she was classically trained as a mezzo-soprano. Carolynn has acted as music director for several shows with HPA, including Honk, Annie, James and the Giant Peach, Shrek, A Christmas Story, and Seussical. Especially dear to Carolynn are her private-lesson students, many of whom have been cast as leading roles in local productions and have placed in the Musical Theater Competitions of America in the soloist category. She has also designed and directed several camps at HPA to teach musicianship skills such as sight reading, knowledge of music theory, composition, music history, and audition preparation. She loves to watch her students grow in their abilities and confidence, and believes that everyday she gets to make music is a good day.
Dru Huston is not only the co-founder and owner of HSMT but is also the drum and percussion teacher. Dru studied music at the prestigious Chapman University School of Music and has a diverse background in classical and modern percussion and drums. He has extensive knowledge of percussive instruments in both the live and studio settings. He also leads various tasks at HSMT including set design, costume design, sound engineering and writing drum & percussion composing.
Thomas Blumberg is a educator and performing musician from Placentia, California. He started his musical education studying classical violin and eventually shifted his focus to Guitar and Piano. Thomas has studied music at Fullerton College and is in the process of completing his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance at Cal State Northridge.
Mark started his lifelong musical journey in the Bay Area, when he joined the Ragazzi Boy's Chorus at age seven. He eventually ended up in Southern California, where he graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance summa cum laude. Mark has performed a wide variety of styles that range from Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown, to Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro and Betto in Gianni Schicchi. His collaborations with OCYSO, the Chapman Orchestra, and Pacific Symphony has led him to perform in venues such as the Musco Center and Segerstrom Concert Hall. An active performer and teacher, Mark also works as a musical director. Mark strives for all his students to develop a lasting love and passion for music.
Shannon is a former Los Angeles Laker Girl and currently the choreographer of the Nickelodeon children's show Mutt and Stuff. She is also the choreographer for the children's television series and touring stage shows for Yo Gabba Gabba. She has been performing and choreographing for many years and has several film/TV credits. She also teaches technique to several Orange County high schools and studios and is the coach of El Dorado's award winning dance team in Placentia. Shannon loves working with kids and sharing her passion for dance and she is excited to be a part of Huston School Of Music and Theatre.
Avery Smith is a multi-instrumentalist and mix engineer, currently pursuing her music production and education degree with a dual emphasis in multiple woodwinds and jazz at Fullerton College. Her main instruments are bassoon and saxophone, and over the years she has found great joy in teaching her private students and students at various middle schools. Avery’s passion for bringing difficult concepts to light for other young musicians has led her to continue her teaching career here at Huston Performing Arts. In terms of production, she is currently an intern at Music & Production Studios in Fullerton, CA as well as a tech at her church, Redemption Hill. She loves to run recording sessions and mix music for bands and artists. Avery also works with Fullerton College Theatre Operations as a theatre technician, handling audio, lighting, and stage management for an array of events. She feels very blessed to be a part of the Huston team and looks forward to getting students excited about music!
Carla started her dance training at 3 where she studied at the Kindorf Dance Studio in Cerritos now known as “Impact Dance”. After being picked up by a talent agency at a dance competition at age 5 she began to work professionally. Her professional dance credits include the First Star Search Junior, The People’s choice awards, Kids Incorporated, “TAP” with Gregory Hines and Savion Glover, a Tribute to Michael Jackson, along with numerous National commercials. She continued her dance training and education at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, auditioned and was accepted at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City and has studied with renowned master teacher Paula Morgan. Her teaching career started at age 15 where her students ranged from adults to 3 year olds
Katie graduated in 2020 with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from California State University Long Beach with special emphasis on performance and pedagogy. There she trained in classical ballet, modern, jazz, dance improvisation, and Pilates. She has been performing professionally for the past 4 years in regional theatre productions including at the Welk Resort Theatre, Barn Stage Company, and the GEM Theatre and was nominated for LA Regional Theatre’s Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her role of Lucy in the GEM Theatre’s production of Bright Star. Katie has been teaching since 2012 and is passionate about creating a next generation of performing artists who possess kindness and respect for their fellow artist. In her classes she focuses on performance skills, individual student success, and injury recognition and prevention. She loves calling Huston Performing Arts her home for teaching!
Christie Poetoehena received her B.A. in Music/Liberal Arts, with an emphasis on Piano from California State University, Fullerton in 2012. With over twenty years of piano experience and over a decade as a keyboard instructor, Christie teaches beginning to late intermediate students, as young as 3 years old to adults. Utilizing various pedagogical methods, she incorporates aural and written skills, as well as embedding technology in her curriculum and strengthening musicianship. For students interested in qualifying for the Certificate of Merit (CM) and/or the ABRSM exams, preparations can be tailored to their needs. Christie is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC), Associated Board of Royal School of Music (ABRSM), The Piano Guild, and Mu Phi Epsilon. Christie also received her AA from Riverside Community College, and studied with Dr. I-Ching Tsai (RCC), Dr. Melissa Sky-Eagle (CBU), and Dr. Robert Watson (CSUF).
Nathan Shube is a recent graduate from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in Cinema and Television. He has been dancing and acting all over Southern California since grade school, and he is so excited to be teaching at Huston Performing Arts. He hopes to spark a passion for the arts and a love for performance in the students that he works with.
Lucy Franco is a vocalist and keyboardist in the Orange County area. Having graduated from Chapman University in Vocal Performance, she has been involved with musical theatre, choral, and piano work for many years. Before coming to Southern California, Ms. Franco was the winner of the Washington State Solo and Ensemble mixed vocal competition and placed first in the musical theatre category at Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside. Her musical theatre roles include Éponine in Les Misérables and Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music.
Yllary started off her career in the choral scene from the age of 6 & has been preforming around the SoCal area since. She has a BM in Vocal Performance at Chapman University & was also involved with many of their Operatic Productions. She has appeared in roles such as Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Johanna in Sweeny Todd, Judas in Godspell, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, & Le feu in L’enfant et les sortileges. In 2015, she won the Chapman University Vocal Concerto Competition which granted her the opportunity to be the first undergraduate student to perform solo in the new Musco Center for the Arts. She has been with Huston School of Music for 2 years & has musically directed several shows such as Willy Wonka, Highschool Musical, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This year she made her directorial debut at HPA in their recent production of, Honk! Jr. She teaches as well as freelance performs around the Southern California.
Evan Haymond began touring professionally as a guitarist at age 18. After several years on the road w/ various artists, he decided to focus his attention on studio guitar playing & music composition. Evan currently composes and performs music for the Television show “American Pickers” on History Channel. His other Television credits include Disney Channel’s “Bunk’d”, Hollywood Medium on E! Entertainment Television, and other various projects w/ Oxygen Network, Animal Planet, Walt Disney Records, & Paramount Pictures. In 2018 he was awarded an RIAJ certified Gold Record & Billboard #1 Plaque for his work on the album “The Best From Now On” by the Japanese group SHINEE. Along with working in the music industry, Evan has always had a passion for music education. He believes that theoretical music knowledge and being provided the opportunity for performance experience is crucial in a music student’s development. Evan is committed to providing his students with a well-rounded musical education.
Kristyn began dancing at the age of 6 and continued competitively for 13 years. At 19, she was discovered by a dance agency in Los Angeles and a month later she was living in North Hollywood auditioning and training with some of the greats. She has studied under amazing teachers such as the late Andre Fuentes who was one of Britney Spears’ dancers and choreographers, and Galen Hooks where she also assisted in teaching intensives. Teaching dance is one of Kristyn’s biggest passions. She gains inspiration from the students that enter the room and she’s so excited to be a part of the incredible team at Huston Performing Arts.
Nico picked up the guitar when he was 13. Inspired by John Mayer, BB King, and U2, he began playing at church multiple times a week – later exploring genres like jazz and folk – and decided to pursue music full-time as a session musician in Southern California. His teaching emphasizes conversation, practical music theory/technique, and development of the student’s ear. The goal is a well-rounded, confident, and performance-ready musician with a growing appreciation for the artform. Nico received an Associates of Arts Degree in Guitar Performance from the Los Angeles College of Music and is currently completing his Bachelor’s degree at Concordia University in Irvine, CA.
Notably, Nico has performed or worked with…
- Billy Cobham: jazz drummer (Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra)
- Dave Beyer: rock drummer (Loggins and Messina, Melissa Etheridge, Christopher Cross, Michael McDonald)
- Adam Levy: guitarist/songwriter (Tracy Chapman, Norah Jones)
- JoLi: songwriting duo (“Everything Is Awesome!!!” from the LEGO Movie) @ Comic-Con Palm Springs
- Neonomora: Indonesian singer/songwriter @ A&R Worldwide MUSEXPO2017 Kira Morrison: jazz/pop vocalist