Directors and Coaches

Dr. Chris Ludwa, Artistic Director; Conductor – Festival Orchestra, Choir and Musical

(231) 225-8877 •

Newly named Assistant Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College and Artistic Director of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, Chris has served as Artistic Director of Bay View Music Festival since 2007. Prior to his appointment in Kalamazoo, he served as Director of Performing Arts and Ensembles for Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH before accepting the position of Music Director for The Federated Church from 2014-2017. He also served for 10 years as Artistic Director of Encore Vocal Arts in Indianapolis, Conductor of Bloomington Pops and Bloomington Symphony, and is founder of Kaleidosong, a professional vocal sextet.

Sarah Stone, Stage Director (S.O.A.R.S.)

A founding member of the S.O.A.R.S. program, Sarah Stone returns for her fifth season at the Bay View Music Festival. Mainstage credits include Titanic, Falstaff, and Così fan tutte. The Petoskey News Review states her work is “fast paced, full of action, tightly as well as imaginatively her typical style”, and “It doesn’t get any better than this!”. Stone currently serves as Chair of Fine Arts at the Kentucky Country Day School in Louisville, KY.

Gene Roberts, Stage Director

Gene Roberts is the Director of Opera Theatre at MSU Denver. He holds a B.M. in vocal performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, where he also studied stage direction, and a M.M. in vocal performance from the University of Houston.

After graduate school, Gene followed an apprenticeship at Des Moines Metro Opera by accepting an engagement in Basel, Switzerland to be part of the Swiss premier cast of Lloyd Webber's das Phantom der Oper. This production remains to date, the only dual language production of the show, given six times a week in German and twice in English. Phantom led to many other opportunities throughout Europe in stage and television, including starring as Beast in the German production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast (die Schone und das Biest), a role Roberts performed over 500 times. Altogether, throughout the U.S. and Europe, Roberts sang over 30 roles in musical theater including Tony in West Side Story and Snoopy in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, and 20 roles in opera including Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro, Normano in Lucia di Lammermoor and Bardolfo in Falstaff. His students have been seen in U.S. touring productions including Billy Elliot, European productions including Cabaret, Little Shop of Horrors and Miss Saigon, and on the West End in London - The King and I.

Roberts is a regular guest director of universities throughout the U.S. and spends part of each summer on the faculty of the Naked Voice Institute at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, where he is the opera scenes director and acting teacher. He directs opera and musical theatre productions throughout his native Colorado, where he lives with his wife Gwen and their three sons Jake, Mitchell and Jeremiah.


Casey Robards is a collaborative pianist and vocal coach known for her versatility, imagination, and sensitive musicality.  Dr. Robards has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, as well as France, Brazil and Costa Rica.  2012-2013 performances include recitals with Karen Slack, soprano; Ollie Watts Davis, soprano, (Univ. of Illinois); Alex Hurd, baritone, (SUNY-Fredonia); Bonita Boyd, flute,(Eastman School of Music); Anthony Patterson (Alma College), piano; and the KO Trio (Donna Shin, Univ. of Washington; Ji Yon Shim, cellist, Faculdade Cantareira, São Paulo, Brazil). 

A committed coach and pedagogue, Dr. Robards is currently a vocal collaborative pianist at the Oberlin Conservatory and faculty pianist/vocal coach at the Bay View Music Festival.  She has been on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Collaborative Piano/Voice), Central Michigan University (Piano) and numerous festivals including Young Musicians Inc. (Evanston, WY); the Weathersfield Music Festival, (Castleton, VT); the Plymouth Music Festival, (Plymouth, MA); and the StudiO Vocal Arts Institute, (Monticello, IL).  She was the Resident Pianist/Coach with Indianapolis Opera in 2011 and has also been pianist/coach for Indiana Opera Theatre, and Illinois Opera Theatre (Urbana, Illinois).

Casey has recorded a CD of African American spirituals with soprano, Ollie Watts Davis, (“Here’s One”), and appears on recordings with oboist, Nancy Clauter (“Meridian: The Ascending Journey”), Jacek Muzyk, horn (“Horn Constellation”), the Eden String Quartet (“A Bountiful Blessing DVD”) and a TV special for a PBS fundraiser with soprano, Courtney Huffman.  Her performances are regularly broadcast on Interlochen Public Radio.  

Dr. Robards completed the B.M. (Piano Performance), M.M. (Piano Pedagogy) and D.M.A. (Vocal Coaching and Accompanying) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She was a Tanglewood Music Festival Fellow in 2004 and 2005 and recipient of the Henri Kohn Memorial Award.  Her doctoral dissertation is on the life and music of John Carter, African-American pianist-composer (1932-1981) and may be found at

Nick Gisonde, Stage Director and Fight Coordinator (SOARS)

Nick was the co-stage director and fight coordinator for last year’s SOARS Opera a la Carte Scenes Program. Nick has coordinated fights and stunts for film, theater and opera for over 25 years. He has been the resident fight coordinator for Bay View since 2001. Nick appeared in and was assistant fight choreographer for the 1998 Broadway Tony Award Winner A View from the Bridge, directed by Michael Mayer and starring Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney.

Everett McCorvey, Director (American Spiritual Intensive)

Dr. Everett McCorvey is a tenor soloist, conductor, and professor of voice. He is the founder and music director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, the director and executive producer of University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, and president of Global Creative Connections, a production and management company for musical and theatrical events. Dr. McCorvey is also the artistic director of the National Chorale for the 2014-2015 season.

Mariah Boucher, Coach

Active as a chamber musician, and vocal coach, Mariah Boucher frequently performs in recitals featuring singers and instrumentalists, and has been a featured soloist with orchestras performing the concerti of Mendelssohn and Ravel. She has joined with chamber partners Dennis Carter, Lisa Raschiatore, and Jennifer Goltz to perform at the art space Trinosophes. She has worked closely with composers Michael Daugherty, Gabriela Lena Frank and Evan Chambers premiering and exploring new music. As an opera enthusiast, Mariah has performed and coached Puccini’s La Boheme, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

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The Bay View Association is located just outside of Petoskey, Michigan on the shore of Little Traverse Bay.

1715 Encampment Ave
P.O. Box 583
Petoskey, MI 49770

Phone: 231-347-6225