Valley of the Sun Chapter 



Board of Directors 2018-19

Kaarin Safsten —President

Not filled at this time —1st VP Programs

Corinne Walker—2nd VP Membership

Stephanie Weiss—Treasurer

Amanda DeMaris—Secretary

Stephen Crawford—Advisor

Nichole Jensen—Advisor

Abigail Kimball—Advisor

Jennifer Nagy—Past President

Stephanie Fox—AZ District Governor

Officer Bios

Kaarrin Safsten, President

Kaarin Safsten, President

Kaarin Safsten, soprano and music educator, has taught voice lessons over a period of 15 years in her private studio (Joyful Music Studio) and on a collegiate level at University of Evansville, Southern Virginia University, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She is also an instructor of music humanities courses at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (2006-present). At Arizona Academy she has been a music instructor in piano and voice for the past eight years.

Kaarin enjoys teaching students of all ages and skill. Her students have received numerous awards, performance scholarships, graduated with degrees in music performance, education, and therapy. Kaarin’s greatest satisfaction as a teacher is to help students realize their potential and find joy in making music, no matter the path they choose.

In addition to her teaching career, Kaarin has sung several operatic roles, including Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Marie (Wozzeck) and Electra (Idomeneo), Antonia (Tales of Hoffman), and Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro). She was a member of the acclaimed Arizona Opera Chorus (2011-2015).  She has sung, recorded, and toured the United States as a member of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University (Provo, UT), a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Performance Diploma in Professional Opera Studies from Indiana University (Bloomington).

Kaarin has been a member of NATS since 2008, and has served in leadership roles in the NATS Valley of the Sun chapter (President, 2017-present; Secretary, 2008-2010). She is also an active member of The SpeakEasy Cooperative, a co-working community of voice teachers.

Dr. Amanda Demaris

Dr. Amanda DeMaris, Secretary

Amanda DeMaris, soprano, has been heard on opera, recital, and concert stages singing such repertoire as Lucy in The Telephone, Papagena in The Magic Flute, and soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Vesperae. She holds the degree BM in vocal performance from Ithaca College, MM in vocal performance from New England Conservatory, and EdD from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

DeMaris has taught at Cornell University as a visiting lecturer, Ithaca College as a lecturer and assistant professor, and at Columbia University and the New England Conservatory as a teaching assistant. Her students have gone on to perform with Forbidden Broadway, Vocal Essence Ensemble Singers, cruise ships, and numerous summer stock companies. In 2015, she joins the faculty of Arizona State University as Clinical Assistant Professor of Voice.

DeMaris is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, New York Singing Teachers Association, and Pi Kappa Lambda. Her conference presentations have included the Voice Foundation’s 38th Annual Symposium, ISME’s World Conference in Bologna, Italy, Arizona Music Educators Association, and NATS National Conference. Her research interests include musicianship for singing, and self-directed learning in the applied voice studio. Her work has been published in the Journal of Singing.


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Dr. Stephanie Weiss, Treasurer

Stephanie Weiss, mezzo-soprano, is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music. She earned her  Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory (voice), Bachelor of Science from Tufts University (biology and drama), Master of Music from University of Missouri-Kansas City, Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes College of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of Voice at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a Teaching Fellow with the Metropolitan Opera Education Department, and has served on the faculty of COSI (Centre for Opera Studies in Italy) in Sulmona, Italy. Since 2010, she has been on the voice faculty at AIMS in Graz.

A San Diego native, she was a Midwest Regional Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and at Mannes College of Music, a recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. As the winner of the American Berlin Opera Foundation Competition (now called Opera Foundation), she became a member of Deutsche Oper Berlin as a Stipendiatin and continues to be a regular guest artist with the company. Roles at the Deutsche Oper Berlin have included Frasquita (Carmen), Musetta (La bohème), Erste Dame and Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Gerhilde and Grimgerde (Die Walküre), and Schlafittchen (Berlin premiere of Das Traumfresserchen), Marianne Leitmetzerin (Der Rosenkavalier), Aufseherin (Elektra), Johanna [cover] (Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna), and Venus [cover] (Tannhäuser) in the company’s tour to Beijing.

In the U.S., her most recent appearances have included the Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) with Opera Company of Middlebury, Berta (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and Suzuki (Madama Butterfly) with Opera Las Vegas, and Marianne Leitmetzerin (Der Rosenkavalier) and Giannetta in L´elisir d´amore with the San Diego Opera.

On the concert stage, she debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic as the Cook in Le Rossignol under the baton of Pierre Boulez. She has also sung the role of Rose in Lakmé at Carnegie Hall with Opera Orchestra of New York under Eve Queler. She performed Wesendonck Lieder with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen and Symphony No. 4 with the L’viv Philharmonic (Ukraine), and Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana with Singakademie Potsdam.

A versatile performer, she has also been seen on other European stages, such as Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden as Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro) and Marthe (Faust), Oper Frankfurt as Musetta, Oper Leipzig as Grimgerde (Die Walküre) and Stadttheater Bern, Oper Dortmund, and Oper Köln as Marianne Leitmetzerin. Other notable performances have included Venus in Tannhäuser with Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater Schwerin, and the title role of Johanna in Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna by Walter Braunfels at Oper Köln.

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