Instructors

Urmi Batavia

Urmi Batavia – Owner and Founder of Batavia Music Studios

Batavia Studios was founded by Urmi Batavia, who began teaching music out of her home in 2001. In 2003, she opened the studio to offer more students the opportunity to learn what she loves to teach.

Urmi has been playing the piano since she was 4 years old and started playing violin at age 8. She went on to become a respiratory therapist, but her passion was always in music. She loves working with all the families she gets to teach, and she especially loves that she can share her passion for music with them.

In 2013, Urmi opened Batavia Musical Theater School, which has grown Batavia Studios into a successful studio for musical theater education and production. In 2018, Batavia Art Studios was added as an extension of the studios’ mission of providing young artists with opportunities to explore their creative sides. Batavia Dance Studios opened in 2022, offering dance classes for all ages and skill levels.

Antonia Botti-Lodovico

Antonia Botti-Lodovico – Voice Instructor, Piano Instructor, Director of Senior and Junior Musical Theater Programs

Lyric Mezzo-Soprano Antonia Botti-Lodovico has been teaching voice and piano with Batavia Studios since 2014. Along with Urmi Batavia, she built Batavia Studio’s Musical Theater Program in 2015. In 2018, they welcomed Susie Sant as choreographer and together, the three have continued to build an education-based performance program.

She has served as Director and Music Director for eighteen shows with Batavia Studios including The Wizard of Oz Young Performer’s Edition (2022), The Little Mermaid (2022), The Addams Family(2021), Batavia Follies(2021), Lion King Jr. (2021), Annie Jr. (2021), The Show Must Go Online (2020) Matilda(2019), Peter Pan Jr.(2019), Beauty and the Beast Jr.(2018), Once Upon A Mattress(2018), James and the Giant Peach Jr.(2017), Kids on Broadway(2016), Into the Woods Jr.(2016), Aladdin Jr.(2015), The Little Mermaid Jr.(2015) and the upcoming Once Upon a Mattress (2023) and Matilda Jr. (2023).

As a performer, Ms. Botti-Lodovico is a Resident Artist Alumna with Pittsburgh Opera. Most recently in the 2019-2020 season she has been seen on stage as Zerlina in Kristine McIntyre’s Film Noir production of Don Giovanni, Ruggiero in Alcina, and DeeDee Reyes in The Last American Hammer where the Wall Street Journal noted her “rich mezzo [bringing] a grounded practicality” to her character while Pittsburgh in the Round has noted her as a “versatile mezzo-soprano…a consummate artist who always makes an excellent impression.” In the 2018-2019 season with Pittsburgh Opera Ms. Botti-Lodovico performed the role of Idamante in afterWARrds: Mozart’s Idomeneo Reimagined with a “smooth, appealingly warm mezzo-soprano voice” (Pittsburgh in the Round). In 2018 she sang the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly as well as a performance of Hansel in Pittsburgh Opera’s Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Botti-Lodovico was a Young Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera in the summers of 2016 and 2017 where she performed the role of Rosette in their Emmy Award winning production of Manon and covered the role of Petra in A Little Night Music. As a crossover artist Ms. Botti-Lodovico performed the role of Franca in The Light In The Piazza with Front Porch Theatricals in 2015 and was described as having a “voice that could fuel a small city” (Pittsburgh City Paper).

As a teacher, Ms. Botti-Lodovico has current and former students at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School as well as top collegiate musical theater programs. She greatly values teaching her students how to find their own unique voices through structure-based technique and connection to the music to make singing not only more enjoyable for her students, but more open, free, and easy. She is proficient in teaching all styles of voice to all age ranges including Musical Theater Crossover/Belt/Mix, Classical, Jazz, and Pop. She also specializes in Audition Techniques for students looking to further their studies at Performing Arts Schools and in other performance spaces.

As a piano instructor, Ms. Botti-Lodovico teaches students of all levels; beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

She currently is the Stage Director and Music Director for Batavia’s Senior and Junior Musical Theater Programs. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Ms. Botti-Lodovico holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Roosevelt University, Chicago College of the Performing Arts.

Megan Culpepper

Megan Culpepper – Piano and Voice

Megan Culpepper has been playing the piano since age 5 yrs old.  She loves teaching everyone to express themselves in a creative way.  She teaches voice and piano at the studio and has been working at Batavia Studios since 2018.  She has also worked backstage theater for Batavia musical theater productions .  Megan loves kids and is excited to be exploring each one’s talents and aspirations.

Headshot of Susan Garcia-Barragan, an instructor at Batavia Performing Arts Studio.

Susana Garcia-Barragan

Susana Garcia-BarraganChoreographer

Susana Garcia-Barragan is thrilled to join Batavia Studios! She has been performing her entire life, and began directing and choreographing 12 years ago.  Most recent experiences as a choreographer have been: “West Side Story” & “Mamma Mia” at Comtra Theatre, “Newsies” at RGMS and “Mary Poppins” at SVSD All School Musical.  Some of her favorite acting experiences have been: Camila Rosario in Lincoln Park’s “In The Heights” where she had the honor of performing with the original Broadway cast;  Tanya in “Mamma Mia” (twice); Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar” (twice); Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” to name a few.  Susana has worked with theatre companies all over the Pittsburgh area such as: Prime Stage, Steel City Shakespeare, Throughline, Mon River Arts, among others. She has also composed and performed songs for a few plays such as: Throughline’s productions of “Julius Caesar” and “A Streetcar Named Desire; as well as Steel City Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”.  Susana has also been directing the St. Gregory School’s Drama Club since 2014. She hopes to be involved in theatre for many years to come.

Brian Hecht

Brian Hecht – Music Instructor

Brian began piano lessons in 2nd grade, switching to guitar around age 14. Thanks to encouragement from his first guitar instructor Jim Petroff, and a confidence-building experience playing in the 2003 PMEA district jazz band, he decided to continue his music education at Duquesne University, earning his Bachelor of Music in 2007.

Brian has been teaching music lessons for over 15 years, including 4 years at the Shady Side Academy Junior School, as part of their After School Explorers program.

Above all, Brian is a fan of music and loves helping other music fans find a way to play the songs they love. He enjoys creating playable arrangements so even beginning students can start playing their favorite music.

Kate Lynd

Kate Lynd – Student Voice Instructor

Kate is a sophomore Musical Theatre major at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. At Lincoln Kate has recently been in The World Goes Round, Catch Me If You Can, Freaky Friday, Puffs, and Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer. She has also been in many musicals with Batavia Studios, including Mean Girls, Spongebob, The Little Mermaid, Addams Family, Annie, and Matilda. – She has also been in productions at The Strand, including Spamalot, and Crazy For you.  

Outside of school She is trained Film and Tv Acting by Joshua LeBar, from Joshua LeBar Studios, voice by Antonia Botti-Lodovico from Batavia Studios, and she is Represented by LA Talent – Jeremy Apody, Katalyst – Kat McEntee, and she is Managed by Jody Orellana with 7sailsmgmt. At Lincoln Park she has been taught/trained by many professionals including Sharron Schaller, Tom Schaller, Krista Shovlin, Madeline Cononge, Alexandra Stevenson, Rosh Raines, Sarah Misko, and Alessia Duffe.

Kate recently had the opportunity to be a student assistant for Finding Nemo Jr at Batavia Studios, and in the past has been an Assistant Choreographer for Crazy For You at The Strand, and helped with choreography for Mean Girls at Batavia Studios. This summer and winter you can see Kate in Suessical The Musical, and Chicago!

Mary Grace Nichol

Mary Grace Nichol – Art Instructor

Mary Grace Nichol is an artist, art teacher, and muralist. She started her love of art at a very young age and began dabbling in oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolor, drawing and colored pencils, scratchboard and more.
She earned the prestigious student of the year award from the Mahoning County Joint Vocational School Commercial Arts Program and a partial scholarship to attend the Art Institutes of Art Programs. Following her education, she worked as a freelance illustrator and muralist before deciding to focus more of her energies on teaching paint parties and private students.

Her goal is to share her love of art with all children through her unique style of instruction. She enjoys seeing how each student develops their own unique style and ability to express themselves through various mediums such as pencils, watercolors, or acrylic paints.

Danielle Pastin

Danielle Pastin – Voice Instructor

Quoted as having “a lovely demeanor and irresistible creamy timbre” by Opera News, American soprano Danielle Pastin is gaining accolades from opera houses around the country. Last season, Pastin returned to Pittsburgh Opera as Micaëla in Carmen and made her house and role debut as Nella in Gianni Schicchi with Tulsa Opera. On the concert stage, she joined the Glacier Symphony for their Mozart and Mahler Spring Festival, with repertoire including Mozart’s Requiem and Mahler’s “Liebst du um Schönheit”. This season will see return to the role of Nedda in Pagliacci.

Ms. Pastin has performed with esteemed companies around the country in roles such as Desdemona in Otello at Pittsburgh Opera and Dayton Opera, Nedda in Pagliacci and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at Austin Lyric Opera, Donna Elvira in Palm Beach Opera’s Don Giovanni, Cio-Cio San in Virginia Opera’s Madama Butterfly, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Opera Naples, Liù in Turandot at Nashville Opera, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte at Pittsburgh Opera, Hanna in The Merry Widow at Pensacola Opera, and Masha in the world premiere of Ben Moore’s new opera Enemies, A Love Story at Palm Beach Opera, which she later reprised with Kentucky Opera. She also starred in the World Premiere of Robert Paterson’s Three Way (as Connie in “Masquerade” and Maya in “The Companion”) with Nashville Opera and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which was recorded for release. In addition, she performed Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles with Toledo Opera, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with Pittsburgh Opera and for Opera Maine, sang Verdi’s Requiem with DCINY in Barcelona and with the Dayton Philharmonic, Bruckner’s Te Deum for the Reno Chamber Orchestra, and performed a Gala Concert for The Society of The Four Arts, and a Gala Concert with Macau-Beijing Festival in China.

She made her mainstage Metropolitan Opera debut singing Masha and covering Chloë in The Queen of Spades and has since been invited back to perform as Nedda in Pagliacci, Javotte in a new production of Massenet’s Manon, Frasquita in Carmen (a role she also performed in her debut with the Dallas Opera) as well as cover Samaritana in Francesca da Rimini.

Ms. Pastin triumphed in her Santa Fe Opera debut, stepping in as Mimì in La bohème under the direction of Maestro Leo Vordoni on just a few hours’ notice, for which she subsequently received the company’s Judith Raskin Memorial Award for Singers. She has since performed the role to international critical acclaim in such venues as The Royal Albert Hall in London, Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera, Manitoba Opera, and most recently with Syracuse Opera. Other recent highlights include performing the role of Gazardiel in the world premiere of Free Will with the Savonlinna Opera Festival in her European debut; Violetta in La traviata and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with Syracuse Opera; Micaëla in Carmen at Fresno Grand Opera, Northern Lights Music Festival, and Finger Lakes Opera; and Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Annapolis Opera.

Also recognized for her recital and concert performances, Ms. Pastin made her Pittsburgh Symphony debut singing Juliet in Tchaikovsky’s rarely performed Romeo and Juliet. Additionally, she debuted with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra as the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem, returning soon after for Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, as well as performing as a distinguished alumna at a concert with The Pittsburgh Concert Society.

As a first-year Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera, she was featured as Nedda in a scene from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and upon returning to Santa Fe for a second year performed as the title character in the famous Saint-Sulpice scene from Massenet’s Manon. As a Resident Artist at Pittsburgh Opera, Ms. Pastin delighted audiences in her main-stage debut in the East Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s epic opera, The Grapes of Wrath as Rosasharn, then returned as Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Mimì in La bohème, and The Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. Ms. Pastin was also a Resident Artist at the Intermezzo Opera Festival Training Program, and an Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera in Colorado, where she received the Fine Arts Fellowship and performed the role of Lucinda in the world premiere of Henry Mollicone’s Gabriel’s Daughter.

An alumna of the University of Maryland, Danielle Pastin has been the recipient of a Sullivan Foundation Award winner, Second Place in The Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition and won the Opera Index Vocal Competition.

Elliott Ratliff

Elliott Ratliff – Music Instructor

Elliott Ratliff is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and has dedicated his life to music. He received his Bachelor’s in Music Education and Trombone Performance from Edinboro University of PA. He received his Master’s degree in Music Education from New Jersey City University.

For years, he has been a music teacher in different private schools as well as teaching private music lessons in Brass, Strings, Woodwinds, Beginning and Intermediate piano, music composition, and singer-songwriting in various music stores/studios all over Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. He is also the Brass instructor for the Steel City Drum and Bugle Corp and a music teacher for Chatham University Music and Arts Summer Day Camp. He is a member and elected delegate/representative of the Pittsburgh Musicians Union Local 60-471 and a Vice President of the Eastern Conference for the American Federation of Musicians of the US and Canada. As a professional trombonist, he has performed with Harold Betters, Roger Humphries, and Nelson Harrison. He has also performed with various jazz groups like the Bone Forum Big Band and the Jazz in Your Face Big Band in Johnstown, Pa. He is also the band leader/booking manager of the SteelCity Jazz Katts jazz ensemble. He has also performed on the Netflix TV show Archive 81.
He lives by the moto, “Music is not what I do……….It’s who I am.”

Patricia Reavel

Patricia Reavel – Music Instructor

Patricia Reavel is delighted to be teaching piano and voice at Batavia Studios! Patti began teaching piano at the age of 12 and has taught in full or part-time capacity all of her life. She earned her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree from the Philadelphia University of the Arts. She has served as
the staff accompanist for Chautauqua Institution and regularly performs as a piano/vocalist for retirement communities. Patti has been a church musician for over 25 years, and enjoys directing and accompanying choirs, as well.

Patti has sung all of her life and has served as vocal director for musical productions in
Pittsburgh and Erie. Nowadays, she enjoys leading congregational singing in church and performing for the elderly.

In her free time Patti loves walking her dogs, drawing portraits and spending time in the summer in her house in Erie, PA.

Samantha Roth

Samantha Roth – Dance Instructor

As a recent graduate of Point Park University with a BFA in Acting and Minor in Dance, Sami can be seen in multiple film and theatre productions. Some credits include “Baked”, a short film currently nominated in both LA and NYC film festivals, and featured in an upcoming Netflix movie. This past winter, Sami made her National Tour debut for “Bright Star Touring Theatre” in their Holiday production. Since pursuing a minor in Dance from one of the Top 3 dance programs in the country, she has fallen in love with Choreography and Dance Education. To name a few of her dance credits, Sami has had resident choreography at “French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts”, performing in “Primestage Theatre’s” production of “A Wrinkle in Time”, and tapping in “Everybody” at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Outside of the arts, Sami is also active in pageantry, as the reigning Miss White Rose City’ for the “Miss America Organization”.

View her dance reel here.

Susie Sant

Susie Sant – Musical Theatre Choreographer/Assistant Director

Susie started performing in musicals at the age of 10.  Her love of theater and dance continued all the way through college where she performed in musicals, assisted behind the scenes, and taught dance.  She also received a minor in musical theater dance from Clarion University.  Susie started working at Batavia Studios in 2019 as a choreographer and assistant director thanks to her daughter also sharing her love for the stage.  She loves working with children to help them fall in love with dance and the arts.  Susie thinks the kids are amazing at what they are able to produce at such a young age.

Todd Seitz

Todd Seitz – Music Instructor

Todd Seitz is a pro-level guitarist and instructor of over ten years. He has worked at numerous studios in both Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Formerly, Todd was the Music Director at the School of Rock in Wexford, PA. Much of his approach comes from the song-first method, deriving music theory and technique from songs you can relate to.
 
Specializations include neo-classical, shred, and progressive lead guitar techniques. Todd graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2009. At Berklee, he studied under many of the best guitar instructors in the country, including renowned guitar virtuoso Joe Stump. Todd’s former recording project, Stygia, featured many talented and well-known musicians from the metal and rock scene, including Mike Mangini (Dream Theater), Vitalij Kuprij (TSO), Chris McCarvill (Dokken), and Mike Vescera (Obsession, Former Loudness, and Yngwie Malmsteen). He has also performed locally with several Pittsburgh bands opening for Devin Townsend, Otep, and Hawthorne Heights.
 
Recent feats include recording a guest solo on Cellador’s “Off the Grid’ album in 2017 and in 2018, recording a guest solo alongside Michael Angelo Batio (Nitro) and Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake, TSO) in Portraits by Candlight’s track ‘Timeless Infinity’. Genres and styles covered in lessons can include Acoustic, Rock, Beginner Jazz, Metal, Pop, Prog, and Neo-Classical music.

Fugi Sisca

Fugi Sisca – Music Instructor

Fugi Sisca returns to Batavia Studios after a brief foray into retirement. Fugi was a founding, original employee when Batavia Studios first opened its doors. She has been teaching music for over 25 years and have taught many students from first grade all the was through to graduation.
She has a minor in music from the University of Pittsburgh and has been a songwriter and performer for many years.

Paul Stamegna

Paul Stamegna – Music and Theater Instructor, Adult and Beginner Musical Theater Program Director

Paul began studying percussion and jazz in elementary school and started classical voice and music theater soon after. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Applied Voice with Distinction from the University of Delaware in 2009 and was awarded the Theodore Presser Foundation Scholarship for excellence in academics and music. There, he sang lead roles in the Opera Workshop program, participated in the steel drum and percussion ensembles, and founded the student improv comedy troupe, Riot Act, which has been active for over a decade.

Following school, Paul began directing musicals and facilitating improv workshops for local schools and youth programs in Greater Philadelphia. He worked for Apple as a creative software trainer, using their method of discovery-based learning to teach apps like GarageBand and Final Cut Pro. He performed with many groups and organizations in the area including the Philadelphia Pan Stars Steel Drum Orchestra, The Brandywiners, The Mastersingers of Wilmington, and the Newark Symphony Orchestra. He was a featured performer in the Philly Podcast Festival, competed in Philly’s Phunniest at Helium Comedy Club, and performed sketch and improv comedy at Philly Improv Theater and Good Good Comedy Theatre.

As a freelancer, he edits and produces original music, audio, video, and voiceover.

At Batavia Studios, Paul teaches private voice, percussion, and directs the Adult and Beginner Musical Theater Programs. He helps his students develop healthy techniques, excellent practice habits, and an understanding of music theory by studying the repertoire they are most passionate about. As performers, he challenges them to rely on these skills to make confident choices and informed decisions.

Donna Weber

Donna Weber – Musical Theater Choreographer / Assistant Director

Donna has 45 years dance experience and has appeared in over 500 performances on stage, in stadiums, TV, and film.  Her extensive training includes being Principal Dancer with the East Coast Dance Theatre under Erika Rappa (Stuttgart Ballet), Dartmouth College Dance Ensemble under Pepe and Vickie deChiazza (Royal Ballet), Stanford University under Kristine Elliot (ABT), Zohar Dance Company under Ehud Krauss (Joffrey).  Most recently she has performed with PBT at the Benedum, Point Park University, and Batavia’s very own Adult Musical Program. 

Donna’s musical theatre roles have included Anita in West Side Story, Pirate King in Penzance, Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, Donna in Mamma Mia, and Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.  She has been the Choreographer for Aladdin, Frozen, Mamma Mia, and currently Beauty and the Beast.  Past choreography experience includes pieces and productions for Zohar Dance Ensemble, Melbourne Dance Ensemble, Dartmouth College, and MTV.   She has taught ballet, tap, and jazz to ages 3 – 60+.

Donna’s passion is arts and education.  In addition to her role as Choreographer, she serves her community on several Boards and Committees including for PBT, Quantum Theatre, Dartmouth College, and runs the Chess Club program at St. Kilian Parish School.