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Southern Lights Vocal Academy

Quality training & development of the voice & performance
  • 02 42 608 103

All the teachers on the steps at the 2015 concert posing for a photo

Principal Teacher

Danny Benn is an incredibly dedicated, hard-working Vocal teacher, with over 12 years’ experience. He started his singing lessons at 8 years of age with well-known and respected soprano De-arn Clout. Danny had great success as a boy soprano. Danny then started tuition with world renown baritone Robert Bickerstaff, developing into a great Tenor. Danny has also studied through the Conservatorium of Music. He has since studied at Monash University in Victoria in both the Estill Technique/Vocal Pedagogy. Danny has also studied at the Conservatorium of Music. Danny also spent three years studying in Sydney with the Talent Development Program and is now a Registered Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing Limited Teacher.

Danny works as Vocal Teacher at Dapto High School, starting in 2015 after previously have being the Vocal Teacher at Wollongong High School of Performing Arts. Danny has worked as a Vocal Teacher with Southern Stars School Spectacular, as well as with the Department of Education’s Music Camp. Danny has also been asked to adjudicate a number of local eisteddfods as well as interstate Eisteddfods.

Danny also has extensive experience with performing, including working with Mr Jonathon Welch AM, in Street Requiem, which is a performance that incites a positive outlook on life, as well as creating possibilities for the future amongst performers who come from a background of homelessness. This involvement includes both the 2015 Sydney and Brisbane performances.

Danny is very passionate about teaching children, students and adults of all levels, believing anyone can sing, be it to perform at public functions, competitions, theatre productions, or maybe for self-esteem, self-confidence, or just for fun. Danny is an essential part of the Studio; founding all of the community Choirs, such as the Australasian Open Community Choir 2015 Champions, the Choir of Southern Lights. He works closely with both the teachers and the students to ensure that vocal lessons are both fun and educational and work to increase confidence.

Danny is the founder of Southern Lights Vocal Academy, is the Principal Teacher and is available to teach both Private lessons, as well as some Group Classes.

Senior Associate Teacher; Vocal

Emma has been teaching at Southern Lights since it was opened in 2009. She has trained vocally under both our Head Teacher Danny Benn and the world renowned Robert Bickerstaff.

Emma is a highly experienced performer, starting her on-stage career at the age of nine, and has been performing for over fifteen years. She graduated Wollongong High School of Performing Arts in 2008 and since then has become a soloist and ensemble performer in events such as Shellharbour Carols, Kiama Carols as well as Southern Stars. In 2015 Emma was a featured artist for the Illawarra Youth Arts Project Superclub Cabaret.

Her extensive performance knowledge has allowed her to successfully showcase a number of her group classes in local Eisteddfods where they have received high praise and awards from the adjudicators.

Emma is an incredibly passionate and dedicated teacher, working persistently to create a fun environment but still places a lot of emphasis on the need for hard work and practice.

Senior Male Associate; Piano and Vocal

Evan is an extremely skilled and talented Piano and Vocal Teacher, beginning playing the piano when he was six years old. He studied Classical Piano for 8 years, and has achieved AMEB Grade 7.

As well as teaching at Southern Lights Vocal Academy, Evan also collaborates with The Drama Studio @ IPAC writing shows for students. On top of this, he has also composed audio for international projects, such as the National Theatre in London, as well as The Shakespeare Project, run in association with the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. He also wrote the music for a parody musical, Jurassic! That Is One Big Pile Of Musical; which was voted as Audience Choice for best show as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival 2014.

Evan is an active musician, as both a pianist and vocalist for Tommy M and the Mastersounds, and in The Tornadoes which is one of the oldest ever established rock and roll bands in Australia. Evan also plays a key role in arranging the pieces that the Studio’s choirs’ perform. Evan's expertise lies mainly in music theory and the practical application of that knowledge to the voice and the piano.

Evan is very dedicated to music and believes there is no correct or incorrect way to approach it- as any approach is a step forward in musical thinking.

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Kylie Morgan has worked at Southern Lights Vocal Academy for five years, teaching both the Girls Ensemble as well as the Performance Class. Kylie also works closely with the Choir of Southern Lights, both as the choreographer, as well as a conductor alongside Danny Benn.

Kylie is also a primary school teacher, completing her Undergraduate in Primary Education with a focus on Music. She has worked extensively with varying regional music programs, including being a leading organiser of the Department of Education’s Music Camp on an annual basis. She has also been heavily involved with Southern Stars as well as Choral Festival.

Kylie has trained under various conducting specialists which makes her an irreplaceable asset at the Studio due to her knowledge and expertise. Kylie is very focused, dedicated with a strong work ethic, and this attitude is reflected in her high calibre of work. 

Associate Teacher; Drama

Bec is currently studying her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Wollongong. She has always had a passion for the dramatic arts, and is constantly seeking ways to be creative in her life. She is a graduate of The Drama Studio @ IPAC, studying under Fiona Finley. In July 2015, she directed her first full length stage production, Accidental Death of An Anarchist by Dario Fo, at the Wollongong Workshop Theatre. Previously, she has worked as a Lighting Technician for Our Neighbourhood: A Play with Songs as well as Johnny Come Lately.

Her original works such as The Reality of the World and The Garden of Steve have been performed in conjunction with The Drama Studio, under the Young Playwrights Project at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. Her short play, Colour Me Red, was also debuted at Wollongong Workshop in 2014. Bec believes that drama should be learnt on your feet, through experience, as well as through study. 

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Tim is an up and coming vocalist and performer from the Illawarra with an array of performing experience. He is has completed his Undergraduate in Music through the Australian Institute of Music. Tim has performed extensively in both local and Sydney shows; such as Spamalot with the Arcadians Theatre Group, Keating! The Musical, as well as working in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Music on How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

He has also performed in Crazy for You, Hairspray (Moonglow Productions) and Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar (Roo Theatre Company). Tim’s large experience in performing onstage is an asset for anyone looking to pursue music and performance.

Tim performed in the prestigious Wollongong Eisteddfod Show Case of Talent 2012 with a musical theatre number; he has also performed at the Sydney Opera House recently as part of the Choir in the Christmas at the House Concerts.

Tim is incredibly patient and focuses on all aspects of vocal technique.

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Isabelle is a seasoned performer, having started being onstage at a young age. She has performed in Wollongong High School of Performing Arts School Musical’s for the past four years, as well as being a featured artist in Southern Stars for the past two years. She has also performed extensively at both charity functions as well as events such as Kiama Carols.

Isabelle has been trained vocally under Danny Benn as well as receiving piano tuition from Evan Kerr. She has been a part of the Choir of Southern Lights since 2009. She is currently studying her Bachelor of Music (Contemporary) at the Australian Institute of Music.

Isabelle is a very comfortable performer, and will be able to integrate extensive performance experience into her tuition along with proper vocal technique. 

Head of Instrumental; Guitar

Paul has recently joined the Southern Lights family as our new Head of Instrumental Teacher.

He is an incredibly experienced teacher, with over 12 years of experience in running his own studio in the Isle of Man. His passion is guitar but also loves teaching bass guitar as well as drums.

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Hayden is currently studying a Bachelor of Music through the Contemporary Performance Department at the Australian Institute of Music. He completed his HSC in 2015 where he achieved a Band 6 in Music.

Hayden has been singing at Southern Lights Vocal Academy 5 years and during that time has performed in a number of Eisteddfods as well as other performances. Hayden’s passion in life is music and is excited to be able to help people with their singing. Hayden is a dedicated student both vocally and in guitar and hopes to inspire the same excitement for music in his students.

Associate Teacher; Guitar

Nathaniel is currently studying a Bachelor of Music through the Audio Department of the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) and plans to major in Live Sound Engineering. Nathaniel has been studying music in different forms for many years, starting singing lessons with Danny Benn in 2013, Guitar lessons with Scott Thornton in 2014, Completing his HSC in 2016 with a band 5 in Music, 4th Grade AMEB theory as well as other instrumental tuition.

Nathaniel loves performing in all forms of music, performing in the St Joseph’s Junior and Senior Jazz Band program, The 2014 Jazz ‘Megaband’ Program run by the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, Numerous Theatre performances as a part of the Arcadians Theatre Group, Roo theatre Group and the St Joseph’s High School Productions, as well as being a part of the Southern Brothers and Choir of Southern Lights.

He hopes to share his love of all things musical with his students and hope they find their own love of music.

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Ryleigh is a seasoned performer, having been onstage since a young age. She has been performing in Eisteddfods since she was 10 and has received a very high praise from adjudicators as well as a large array of awards. She has also performed at many charity events as well as annually performing at the Green-acres Christmas Party. Throughout her school life she has performed at many showcases and school events.

She began singing at Southern Lights Vocal Academy in 2010, studying under Danny. She was a member of the Choir of Southern Lights from 2010-2015. In 2011 she was the recipient of the Hayworth Music Award through her school. She also won many competitions, including first place in Popstars Junior Section.

Ryleigh states that her number one passion is music and is excited to have the opportunity to experience this with other people.

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Francesca is an experienced performer from Rockhampton who has been singing since the age of 8 and has competed in the Rockhampton Eisteddfod over the years. Francesca has performed in musicals such as; Annie Get Your Gun, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seussical: The Musical, The Boy From Oz and many more.

Francesca was a member of the Rockhampton Musical Union choir which travelled around Queensland to perform at the Queenland Eisteddfod, she has attended workshops with Harvest Rain Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre and WotOpera. Francesca has completed her grade 6 AMEB and has completed her Bachelor of Music specialising in Music Theatre at the Australian Institute of Music in 2015.

Francesca performed in The Australian Institute of Music’s production of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and she also had the pleasure of performing at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Choir in the Christmas at the House concerts.

Francesca’s aim is to nurture and encourage her student’s passion for singing and performing so that they become confident performers for the future.

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Genevieve has had an extensive history with the performing arts having begun her dance career at age 3 and later singing at age 8. Genevieve began teaching singing in 2013 and is extremely passionate about her work supporting people of all ages in their singing endeavors. Genevieve has been a part of many amateur theatre productions starting her musical theatre experience in 2014. Genevieve has also had the privilege of being the Musical Director in IYAP’s 13 the Musical (2017) and Elf Jr the Musical (2017).

Genevieve has had the privilege to study all styles of music, from classical to jazz and completed her HSC in 2015 with a band 6 in music. Genevieve has also attended many vocal workshops including NIDA workshops, seminars with Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing.