Tami Barry     Jean Buccola     Christy Cook     Chris Hernandez   Jolene Grinstead  

APPLAUSE is an ensemble of talented individuals dedicated to teaching the performing arts to children, kindergarten through 12th grade. Instruction is given through a variety of fun-filled classes and live onstage productions. The teachers have worked together for many years in Diamond Bar and Walnut. With a common commitment to children and teens, APPLAUSE is the result of their desire to develop a child's character, positive values, and self-esteem through the teaching and performing arts.
Jolene has her teaching credential in performing arts and occupational theater and has 16 years of experience directing children's theater. She also created and directed a fine arts program at Maple Hill Elementary School and Castle Rock Elementary School. Not only has she taught 6th, 7th and 8th grade drama at Chaparral Middle School, but managed to create magic with multiple casts and concurrent productions. She does this through warmth, humor, creativity, and skillful direction. She feels the process is just as important as the wonderful unique production itself. Some of the many plays to her credit are Little Shop of Horrors, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book, My Emperor's New Clothes, Bye-Bye Birdie, Cinderella and L'il Abner. Building a child's self-esteem and convincing them that they are capable of anything through the arts is Jolene's passion and gift.

Tami has twelve years of teaching experience in kindergarten, second, third, and fouth grades. She currently teaches fourth grade at Maple Hill Elementary School in Diamond Bar. Tami holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and a Master of Arts in Education. Tami has an extensive background in the performing arts. She is proficient in both the piano and flute. Tami believes that the performing arts are an integral part of quality education. She incorporates singing and drama into the curriculum and leads her class in musical productions during the school year. Tami has worked with APPLAUSE since 1995.

Kathy has a degree in Child Development and has taught elementary school for fourteen years. She is currently a Special Education teacher at Maple Hill Elementary School. Kathy has been involved in choreographing and directing for APPLAUSE since 1995. Kathy has choreographed and directed musical theater at Chaparral Middle School. Combining her dance background with a love for teaching, Kathy creates a warm, caring atmosphere which allows the child's inner talents to emerge. "Believe in yourself and you can do anything."

Since 1995, Sang has been performing in and around the city of Walnut. Four years ago, he graduated from Walnut High School, where he sang with his barbershop quartet, "Spittles", and with the WHS Chamber Singers. Currently, he is completing his bachelor's degree in Music Education, vocal/choral emphasis, at CSU, Fullerton. He has been on tour with the CSUF Chamber Singers, and has performed with the Boston Pops on several occasions, and once with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Through APPLAUSE, Sang anticipates creating beautiful music beyond what his students first thought possible.

Chris has nine years experience assisting and directing children's theater at Maple Hill Elementary School and Chaparral Middle School. A few of the plays she has worked on are Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Fools, My Emperor's New Clothes, Little Shop of Horrors, Bye-Bye Birdie and Cinderella. Chris is an expert at creating a fun atmosphere which enables children to reach their potential.

Nyleen studied for two years under the direction of world-renowned Mack Wilber at Brigham Young University, and performed with the Mormom Tabernacle Choir. Nyleen completed her education at California State University, Fullerton, studying with noted conductors John Alexander, Dr. Vance Wolverton, and Dr. Gordon Paine. She has taught at several schools, most notably at Valencia High School in Placentia, Ca. where she singlehandedly built the program to five highly competitive and recognized performance ensembles. Constantly in high demand as a solist and accompanist at church and abroad, Nyleen finds time to participate as a member of the world-famous Pacific Chorale, and regularly performs with them at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. She is excited to be part of APPLAUSE, and looks forward to enriching the musical lives of the students she teaches.

Christy Cook has taught voice for over twenty years. She received her BA from Cal State Fullerton in Voice and Music Education. While touring with the University Singers, Christy also performed with the Orange County Master Chorale under the direction of the late Maurice Allard. Christy has an extensive background in musical theatre. You may have seen her perform at Griswold's Candlelight Dinner Theatre, Elizabeth Howard's Dinner Theatre, Fullerton Civic Light Opera, and other Southland theatres. Some of her favorite characters she has portrayed are: Anna and Lady Thiang in "The King and I", Marion in "The Music Man", Laurey in "Oklahoma", and Sarah in "Guys and Dolls". For the past two years, Christy has taught choir at Rancho Starbuck Intermediate School in Whittier. Christy's philosophy is that everyone has a voice that is worth being heard and that anyone who wants to improve and is willing to put in the effort can become a better singer and develop confidence that they will carry throughout their life.

A special opportunity for some APPLAUSE students is becoming a student director. AFter years of stage experience, many of our young actors express interest in teaching and/or theater as a career. Many of these young actors have become student directors for us. It is a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Directing, choreographing, and administrating is a great way to learn and discover their leadership talents.

2016. Applause Foundation.