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Southern Lights Vocal Academy

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

Director and Principal Teacher

Danny Benn is an incredibly dedicated, hard-working Vocal teacher/adjudicator, with over 15 years’ experience.

He started his singing lessons at 8 years of age with a well-known and respected soprano De-arn Clout. Danny had great success as a boy soprano. Danny then started learning from with world renown baritone Robert Bickerstaff, developing into a great tenor. Danny has also studied through the Conservatorium of Music and also spent three years studying in Sydney with the Talent Development Program . He has since studied at Monash University in Victoria in both the Estill Technique & Vocal Pedagogy and is a Registered Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing Limited Teacher.

Danny has worked as Vocal Teacher at Dapto High School during 2015 after previously have being the Vocal Teacher at Wollongong High School of Performing Arts for several years. Danny has been as a Vocal advisor 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 and interstate eisteddfods and casually lectures at universities throughout Australia .

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 the 2015 Sydney performance.

Danny is very passionate about teaching children 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 and director of Southern Lights Vocal Academy.

Principal Teacher; Vocal

Emma has been teaching at Southern Lights since it was opened in 2009. She has trained vocally under both our Principal 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.

Emma has also been heavily involved in community theatre in the last few years, some of her major roles are
Margret White in ‘Carrie’ the musical, Justice Charlier in ‘Rock Of Ages and Alex Spofford in ‘Witches Of Eastwick’ just to name a few.

She has also been privileged enough to be able to bring her knowledge to the youth of the Illawarra
Being musical director for a number of productions.
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.

Principal Teacher; 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 in The Tornadoes which is one of the oldest established rock and roll bands in Australia. He often spends his weekends performing at weddings or working with other musicians in the area to create new shows. 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 eight years, and teaches 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

Isabelle is a seasoned performer, having started being onstage at a young age. She was an auditioned music student at Wollongong High School of Performing Arts, majoring in Vocals and was also selected as a featured artist in Southern Stars during 2014 and 2015.

Isabelle has been trained vocally under Danny Benn in styles ranging from rock to operatic arias and everything in between, 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 where she continues to expand her knowledge of music and experiences within the industry.

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

Associate Teacher; Vocal

Hayden has completed a Bachelor of Music through the Contemporary Performance Department at the Australian Institute of Music. He also 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; 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

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.

Senior Teacher; Guitar

Antonio (Tony) Lenzo started playing guitar at the age of ten. By the age of sixteen he had joined a very popular band “The Latin Beats” which performed at almost all Illawarra venues and restaurants, including some 25 years at the Fraternity Club.

At the age of 19, he took time off his university studies to teach and play the guitar full time. The early styles included Classical, Latin and Rock & Roll styles.
In the ensuing years, Tony studied music and composition as well as developing his reading skills with a two-year stint with “The Starlights”, a band which primarily
backed artists at the Port Kembla Leagues club, followed by some ten years writing, arranging and playing in club bands.

During this time, Tony completed his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Dip.Ed. and taught Maths and Science at High School level for ten years before going into his own business. Tony was also very involved with the school’s music program and played guitar synthesiser in the band backing a Roo Theatre production.
In the year 2000, Tony joined the South Coast Country Music Association(SCCMA) and has developed his style for country music licks and backing. More recently he joined the Wollongong Brass Band playing guitar and developing his jazz style both practically and online for the theory.

Tony has been heavily involved over the last ten years in the promotion of young talent, has organised the Yearly Talent Quests for the past five years as well as vocal and instrumental workshops and guitar (theoretical and practical) seminars.

Tony has been responsible for the booking of artists for monthly performances at the Master Builders Club and the SCCMA. In the last few months he has become involved with Yo-Yo Enterprises, based at the Illawarra Leagues Club, for the promotion of original music in the Illawarra.

Tony has an unquenchable thirst for music and love for the guitar which is reflected in his method of teaching theoretical, practical and creative playing according to a student’s needs and wants.

Tony’s motto is taken from Hagar’s page: “The road to success is always under construction”.