About us


Crystal McDaniel

Owner & Head Voice Instructor

Crystal McDaniel has performed extensively, both nationally and internationally.  She has been a featured soloist in venues including The Royal Albert Hall (England), the Sydney Opera House (Australia), Carnegie Hall (New York), and The Crystal Cathedral (California, Nationally televised).  She earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has studied with Neil Semer (Germany and New York City) for the past 16 years.

She continues to perform regularly, utilizing a variety of styles including Opera, Musical Theater, Country, Jazz, Pop, and Adult Contemporary Christian.  Her CD "One True Love" was released nationally by Lamon Records in 2007.  In 2009, Crystal performed to a sold out crowd, with the Hendersonville Symphony in their season opener celebrating the composer Irving Berlin.  In October 2010, Crystal performed in the Asheville Lyric Opera's production of "The Magic Flute," by Mozart.  She appeared in recital with Tony award winning Baritone Eugene Brancoveanu Dec. 4, 2010 on the campus of Gardner-Webb University, again on Mar. 20, 2011 at Hoyle Memorial UMC, and also in Black Mountain, NC in Nov. of the same year.  Additionally, Crystal was invited to perform a special recital in May 2011 for the Asheville Lyric Opera, and also starred in the role of "Nettie" in ALO's 2013 production of Carousel.

Crystal is the 2009 recipient of the " Best of Cleveland County," for local musicians.  

Delphon “D.J” Curtis Jr.

Adjunct Vocal instructor- Portland, Oregon Branch

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D.J. is an Equity Membership Candidate and has performed extensively on the East and West Coasts as well as throughout Midwest. He won gold in The Ultimate Modeling and Talent Competition in New York City in 2017, the first of its kind, as well as performed vocally at New York Fashion Week (2.0) in 2018. He has collaborated with the North Carolina Symphony as a soloist in the William Peace Theatre Love Feast in conjunction with the Manning Chamber Series in 2014 and again in 2017. He was also fortunate to perform with the North Carolina Symphony on a staged reading of "A Soldier's Tale."

He performed as well as earning high placement at NATS, for Musical Theatre in 2016, where he placed third, and in 2017 in which he placed second. He was invited to regionals on both occasions.

Most recently, D.J. earned and completed an Acting Apprenticeship with Portland Playhouse and has performed in productions within the company's season and in the community simultaneously. He was a recipient of an award for "Best Pit Ensemble" as well as "Best Ensemble" for his performance in Portland Playhouse's production of "Crowns" in which he also was an assistant director under Patdro Harris this past Spring. Additionally, he was an assistant director for Arts and Communication Magnet Academy's production of "Much Ado About Nothing" in Portland Playhouse's Fall Festival of Shakespeare under the Direction of Tina Mascaro in the Fall of 2018.

D.J. graduated from William Peace University(WPU) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. During his time at his alma mater, he was the singular voice tutor for the Musical Theatre department as well as the Assistant Music Director for two mainstage productions at the university. In addition to his studies at WPU, D.J. has continued his vocal education with McDaniel Music Studios. He has been a student with the studio and assisted in numerous vocal lessons over the past five years. He has been teaching privately for several years.

Rachel Richards

Assistant Director/Instrumental instructor

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Rachel Richards has been working with McDaniel Music Studios from a very young age. While working at McDaniel Music Studios, she has worked as an assistant in vocal workshop and currently provides private lessons for beginning to intermediate level cello. Richards has recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in music performance with her concentration being in the cello. Most recently, Richards has performed as an orchestra member during the UNCG opera productions of The Consul and Dialogues of the Carmelites. She has also performed in well known compositions, such as The Planets by Holst, The Massa da Requiem by Verdi, and numerous other orchestral productions at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Richards has studied with great cello instructors such as Kathleen Foster, Alexander Ezerman, Jonathan Lewis, and has performed on a master class with world renowned cellist and performer Lynn Harrell.


Rosemary Richards

Director of theatrical Studies

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Rosemary Richards has been both student and intern at McDaniel Musical Studios since the tender age of seven.  She recently graduated from William Peace University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree for Musical Theatre and was also named Valedictorian of her class. During her college career, Richards has been a part of various productions which have shaped her as a performer. Some of her favorites include Spring Awakening (Thea), Spelling Bee (Logainne), and American Idiot (Alysha/Ensemble). Most recently, Richards starred as the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Other productions include Theatre Raleigh’s Hot Summer Nights concert in 2013 as well as NRACT’s Heathers: The Musical . Richards has also been a part of various Shakespeare plays, including Much Ado About Nothing (Antonio), Twelfth Night (Olivia), and the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s Henry V (Boy).

Mara Jennings

Technical/personal Assistant

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Mara Jennings has been a student with McDaniel Music Studios since May
of 2014. She began working for the studio as technical assistant and
as personal assistant to Ms. Crystal McDaniel since Summer of 2016.
Mara helps to keep communication open between the studio and students,
assists in studio with student’s lessons, as well as helping the studio’s social media presence. Mara has also won various competitions as both singer and songwriter. Most recently she won the Onebluestringhubcity singer/songwriter competition in Spartanburg SC (2017). She won third place in Smiley’s Acoustic Café Open Mic
Competition in May 2013. She was one of the winners at Walt Disney
World’s American Idol Experience in October of 2012.  She continues to
write songs and pursue her bachelor’s degree in Music Education.

Sherry Young

Studio Accompanist


Sherry Young is getting ready to begin her 30th year as a music educator in North Carolina.  She is employed by Cleveland County Schools at Kings Mountain Middle School where she teaches Chorus and Piano.  She received her Music Education degree from Gardner-Webb University with a major concentration in piano, studying with Dr. Carolyn Billings and a minor in voice. The Kings Mountain Middle School choral groups have consistently received Superior/Excellent Ratings at State Music Performance Adjudications for performances and sight-reading. KMMS has been fortunate enough to have had choral students consistently chosen to participate in the North Carolina Middle School Honor Chorus and Sherry has been blessed to have been able to serve as the accompanist for this NC Honor Chorus on several occasions over the years as well.  She has served as the accompanist for the Cleveland County High School All-County Choral Clinic for the last 21 years and has also accompanied the Cleveland County Elementary Honor Chorus. She regularly fills in as guest organist/pianist in several Shelby/Cleveland County area churches and is pleased to work with the instructors and students of McDaniel Music Studios.  


"Your voice is like no one else's in the world so don't try to sound like anyone else" 

- Ed Sheeran


Artist in Residence: Eugene Brancoveanu

The Romanian born baritone's virile voice and superior stagecraft have earned him critical acclaim in both North America, Europe, Israel and Japan. Following recent performances of San Francisco Opera's The Little Prince, the San Francisco Chronicle lauds the performances as being "led by extravagantly gifted baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, as the Pilot. With his unforced charisma, vocal clarity, and tonal heft, Brancoveanu managed the tricky feat of doing most of the show's heavy lifting..."

His recent credits include Ned Keene, in Peter Grimes, in a return to SF Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, a first appearance as Rigoletto and Der Kaiser in Victor Uhlmann's Kaiser von Atlantis for Festival Opera to great critical acclaim. In the sumer of 2014 he returned to Mendocino Music Festival, in a new production as Don Giovanni which he also directed. A feat that he repeated for Bizet's Carmen singing Escamillo for Livermore Opera, as well as Marcello in La Boheme in 2013. For the same role he was awarded the Tony Award in Puccini's La Boheme on Broadway, directed by acclaimed Hollywood director Baz Luhrmann. He also received the Los Angeles Ovation Award for the same role.

Between 2005-2012 he originated the role of young Boris in MTT's The Thomashefskys with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. A national tour followed which took him to sing with the Chicago Symphony, Tanglewood Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Symphony and the Boston Symphony. He can also be seen in the same role on PBS TV directed by Gary Halvorson which was also released on PBS Video and Netflix. His continued affiliation with LA Philharmonic saw him return as Creon for Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex under Sallonen and Sellars, with whom Mr. Brancoveanu sang the title role in Shostakovich's newly discovered opera, Orango, which marked its world premiere at LA Philharmonic and was recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.

He appeared as soloist in Carmina Burana and Mozart's Requiem with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. And made his Sun Valley Music Festival Debut under Alasdair Neale, singing Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and continues his extensive recital career as solo recitalist for the Schwabacher recitals and the prestigious San Francisco Young Masters Series.

He was the featured soloist with the Santa Cruz Orchestra in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and impressed audiences and critics alike in Carmina Burana and Faure's Requiem with Spokane Symphony Orchestra. A place that he also performed with Sacramento Symphony and Marin Symphony together with Brian Asawa.

Other highlights include the role of Scapin in Gluck's rarely performed comic opera L'ile de Merlin for Spoleto Charleston, directed by David Alden, Marcello in La Boheme and Lancelot in Camelot with Virginia Opera.

He sang the role of Gonsalvo in the American Premiere of Franz Schreker's Die Gezeichneten which is part of James Conlon’s effort to publish Jewish composer's work which were banned during the Nazi's reign in Germany. 

It was recorded for Decca Classics and broadcast live on NPR Classics.

Soon after he sang Yeletzky in Pique Dame with the Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, conducted by Carol Lynn Wilson was followed by him singing Tomsky in the same opera under Seiji Ozawa in Matsumoto Japan.

An appearance in Opera Parallel's production of Orphee in the title role, and a return to San Francisco Opera as Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, Karnak in Lalo's Le Roi d'Ys with the American Symphony Orchestra at Lincoln Center, Count in Le Nozze di Figaro with Livermore Valley Opera. Other highlights include his New York City Opera debut as Pandolfe in Cendrillon, soloist in Brahm's Requiem with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as well as San Francisco Choral Societies production of the same piece at SF Davies Hall.

He held a prestigious appointment as an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera for two seasons, directly following his critically acclaimed summer 2004 performances of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with the company's Merola Opera Program in which Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco chronicle noted "Eugene Brancoveanu as Tarquinius boasts a phenomenally resonant voice which he manages with wondrous ease and assurance."

As an Adler fellow (05-06 with San Francisco Opera he performed Sivano in Un ballo in maschera, Marco Amiliato, Marullo in Rigoletto, Stephen Lord; Morales in Carmen, George Cleve; Frank in Die Fledermaus, Donald Runnicles; Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia and the Innkeeper and the Captain in Manon Lescault also under Donald Runnicles. Later that season he sang the lead role, Boris, in Shostakovich's Moskau, Tscherekomuschki at Staatstheater Stuttgart.

Other career highlights include performing the role of Nicomedes in the rarely heard Lou Harrison opera, Young Caesar, for Opera Parallele; the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with the International Music Festival in Gut-Immling, Germany; and the title role in Philip Glass's Orphee with the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg under Dennis Russell Davis.

Mr. Brancoveanu numerous performances with the Romanian State Opera include the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Escamillo in Carmen, and Uberto in La serva pedrona as well as Ottone in Incoronazione di Poppea. 

Mr. Brancoveanu is a graduate of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, the Academia de Musica Cluj Romania and the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg. He is also a recent winner of the National Young Opera Singer Competition in Leipzig, the International Music Award in Loenberg, and the International Opera contest "Ferruccio Tagliavini", under the patronage of the late Dame Sutherland. In addition he was among the winners of last years Nedra Zachary foundation opera contest in Los Angeles.