Faculty

Dave Calkins is a guitarist, singer, pianist, conductor, producer, composer and filmmaker who brings an eclectic blend of classical, jazz, rock, flamenco and Indian classical styles to his music and films. He has released more than three dozen recordings as a solo artist and producer, and his films include documentaries, features, and music productions. He has been conductor, producer and artistic director of Orchestra 21; the Expedition and Explorations series of recordings and films; Scottsbluff Chamber Ensemble and is now head of Ancova Empowerment Project. 

He was a featured singer and conductor at the NAMN Conference in Los Angeles, (sponsored by Yamaha), and conducted the world premiere of the first staged performance of John Rutter's choral opera "Wind in the Willows" in Jackson, Wyoming. He was also featured in a solo concert at that conference. He has performed three times at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, twice as guitarist-composer and once to debut his original musical theater work "Precipice," in September 2008. He released his film "Debut: The Road to Carnegie Hall" at Carnegie Hall in April 2006.

His first film "Wilderness Journeys," was under contract with National Public Television from 2001 through 2004 which played in all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. His other music films include "Journey to the Passage," which was partially shot in Yellowstone Park, and "Music of the Isles," which was filmed in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. He produced and composed music for Dr. Anne Talbot's film "Bosnian Spring: Transformation of Cleansing," which was shot in Sarajevo and debuted at the International Seminar on Psychological Trauma at the University of Denver. He released the feature film "Alexandra the Great" in 2005 and has three feature films in production: "St. Peter's Crew," "Both Sides of Midnight," and "Precipice." All recordings and films are distributed internationally by CMG Distribution.

Calkins has also been featured on numerous television and radio shows. He continues to teach music and film, and many of his students have become professional performers with appearances on the New York stage as well as on national television. He studied with Nicholas Laurienti at the Denver Opera Company at the Manhattan School of Music, and with Grammy Award-winning singer George Shirley. He has a Master's degree in Music Performance from the University of Wyoming.

Tim Ostdiek is a playful, uplifting, and engaging singer, songwriter and performer. He writes feel-good, big-hearted folk with a drop of something funky. With hopeful and purposeful songs, Ostdiek doesn't shy from the deep and heavy. A tasteful and dynamic guitarist, Ostdiek often fits fingerpicking, strumming, and lead elements into one song. Whether in a concert hall, club, brewery, or living room, Ostdiek always reaches the hearts of his listeners and sends them out a little brighter than they came in.

 

His songwriting has garnered accolades such as honorable mention in the Telluride Troubadour and finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. His song “Goodbye” was featured in the PBS show Roadtrip Nation. Ostdiek has opened for some of the nation's best singer/songwriters, such as Sarah Jarosz and Steve Forbert. and played several prominent Colorado venues such as Swallow Hill. Ostdiek is an important figure in the Longmont, CO, music scene, hosting a weekly open mic/jam and a monthly songwriting group. He plays upwards of 150 shows a year.

 

Originally from Scottsbluff, Nebraska, his love for music was born in a middle school guitar class. “Once I learned two chords I figured I could start making up my own songs,” Ostdiek said. He studied music at Western Nebraska Community College, then communications at the University of Nebraska before moving to Longmont,  where he still lives. The move was brought about by the death of a close friend, a breakup, and the desire to start over and heal. This season in his life became the EP “Temporary Home.” In the fall of 2016 Ostdiek quit his job at a coffee shop and dropped out of his online classes to pursue music full time. 

Joey Taylor is a California native who was raised primarily in Scottsbluff, NE. Upon graduating from high school Joey attended the University of Northern Colorado as a musical-theater major. After leaving Colorado he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. For the past five years he has worked as an extras casting director for film, television, commercials, and music videos. Casting credits include Another Period, Battlecreek, 20th Century Women, Vice, If Beale Street Could Talk, the Perfect Illusion music video for Lady Gaga, and many more. At this time he has stepped down as a casting director and is working as a scheduler and in billing for Options in Psychology while attending school for social work and still pursuing his acting career in Los Angeles.

Lauren Newell, from Cody, Wyoming, has been performing as a solo country and jazz singer
entertaining at many bars, dude ranches, county fairs, and country clubs across Wyoming from age
5. Although her background was based in country music, she soon found that her voice lent itself to
opera and musical theatre. After high school, she received a scholarship to perform with the musical
theatre touring troupe, Centennial Singers, at the University of Wyoming where she completed the
BFA program in Theatre Performance, concentration in Musical Theatre. Throughout college, Lauren
has received many honors such as winning the NWDC Musical Theatre Competition and competing
in the Irene Ryan's final and semi-final rounds for the regional KC/ACTF Region 7. During her senior
year, she originated the role of Zoe in the musical Rainy Day People written by New York City
composer, Sean Stone. She graduated from UW in Spring of 2012 and spent the following year
traveling with her husband, Patrick, from Washington State and Los Angeles to New York City and
Pittsburgh studying with various professionals, performing with various companies, and auditioning
for more performance opportunities. In 2014 and 2015, Lauren taught Musical Theatre voice for the
Theatre Department at the University of Wyoming, then relocated to Los Angeles to pursue
performance opportunities. While there, Lauren was able to star in several short films and work as a
background performer on Comedy Central’s hit show Another Period. The Newells now live in
Scottsbluff, teaching in the Vocal Music department, and after spending several of the past summers
performing for Theatre West Repertory in Scottsbluff, it’s been a blessing to find permanent work
and residency in this wonderful corner where Wyoming and Nebraska meet. Lauren continues to
write, record, and perform her own music, traveling to Nashville on occasion to market her songs.