PRODUCER, JUDGES, BAND & More
Carole Anne Kaufman
PRODUCER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Carole Anne Kaufman, The Whistling Diva, is a Southern California native who has been whistling for 40 years. As a contestant at the International Whistlers Convention, Carole received two World Championship titles; the first in Japan in 2008, and again in 2009 in North Carolina. She was also recognized as the 2012 International Entertainer of the Year Award winner in recognition of her contributions to whistling including PBS's Visiting with Huell Howser, interviews on NPR, and many public and private shows.
Carole Anne Kaufman's passion for performance and people lead her to create Studio C Productions, an event production company dedicated to bringing communities together through music and art. She is available for regional and international performances and speaking engagements.
Carole recently completed her Master's thesis at California State University, Los Angeles. Heresy to Artistry: The Upward Mobility of Musical Whistling through Rhetorical Reframing discusses the history of whistling, the repression of whistling and how gendered communication has restricted women's expression with regards to whistling.
Carole's mission is for each individual to appreciate the artist within themselves. "If it comes from the heart... its art!"
Download a free copy of Carole's Master's Thesis about whistling -
Ryosuke Takeuchi: Head Judge
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Internationally Recognized Musical Whistler, Ryosuke Takeuchi has spent a lifetime finding new possibilities for the art of whistling. A professional whistler,
Ryosuke has been performing diverse musical genres such as popular, jazz, Brazilian, and classical for over a decade. He has been featured on television, radio and performance venues around the world, often accompanying himself on guitar. In addition, he has invented an iPhone application called “WhistleTuner,” available for upload and designed to check the pitch of notes for the practice of whistling.
Ryosuke is currently the producer, director, and head judge for the World Whistlers Convention, which draws superb whistlers from around the world to Japan every other year to meet and compete. He is also the director of the Japan Whistling Confederation.
Mr. Takeuchi has contributed to the world of whistling for well over a decade and continues to expand the practice and recognition of whistling as a musical art form across the globe and has received the MMW's highest recognition, the Allan deHart Award.
2008 - Director of Events for the 38th International Whistlers Convention (IWC) in Japan.
2010 & 2012 - Organizer for “Puckerama!” Whistling Festival in Japan.
2012 - CD release, “Baroque Whistling – Ballet Des Champs-Élysées.”
2013 - 1st Runner Up, Allied Arts Division at the 40th International Whistlers Convention in the US.
2014 - Director of Events for the final the 41st International Whistlers Convention (IWC) in Japan.
2015 - Special award recipient of the 1st “Allen deHart Award” for Whistling Artist of the Year - Expanding the Awareness, Enjoyment, and Respect of Musical Whistling as a Fine Art, and
1st Runner Up “Hikifuki” (aka Self-Accompaniment) Division at The Masters of Musical Whistling International Festival and Competition in the US.
2015 - Began his ongoing Whistling Workshop in Tokyo
2016 - 2nd CD release, “Whistling from the Heart.”
2016 – Event producer, director, and head judge for The World Whistlers Convention (WWC) in Japan. This event aims to pass on the traditions and style of the original International Whistlers Convention.
2017 - 3rd place for Classical Pre-recorded Accompaniment Division at The Masters of Musical Whistling International Festival and Competition in the US.
2018/ 2020 - Event producer, director, and head judge for The World Whistlers Convention (WWC) in Japan. This event draws superb whistlers from around the world to Japan every other year meet and compete. This event is a globally recognized elite competition which attracts whistlers and audiences from all over the world.
is a professional whistler of 10 years standing and the
He is also the creator of the WhistleTutor, an app he created for the "practice of the musical whistling, especially, designed for long-tone and/or crescendo - decrescendo practice."
Derek Bodkin: Judge
Derek Bodkin is a multi-instrumentalist who received his B.A. in orchestral composition, conducting and music theory with and percussion studies at San Diego State University. Graduate studies include Music Editing and Sound Design from UCLA. His musical background includes percussionist in numerous percussion ensembles, big bands, jazz combos.
In addition to his percussion work, he has toured with numerous projects on banjo, guitar, vocals, and whistling. Derek is also a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and worked as a voice actor on documentaries, films, and network television shows, including CBS’s “Diagnosis Murder” and ABC’s “Sabrina The Teenage Witch.” In September 2017, Derek Bodkin competed in and won the title of 2017 WORLD CHAMPION at the “Masters of Musical Whistling Competition” held in Los Angeles, bringing home a startling 5 trophies!
Derek is the leader of his own band “The Hovering Breadcat Folk Ensemble” and continues to perform vocals, percussion, bluegrass banjo, guitar, ukulele and whistle with an eclectic mix of musical shenanigans and continues to release original albums.
Derek is thrilled to be the newest cast member of Cirque de Soleil 's "Corteo" as Monsieur Loyale, a.k.a 'The Loyal Whistler'.
Derek is honored to be invited to judge this year’s Master’s of Musical Whistling Competition!
Melodee Fernandez: Judge
Melodee Fernández, soprano and recent past president of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Los Angeles Chapter, is an avid amateur whistler and active as a private voice instructor, performing vocalist, music lecturer, stage director, conductor, adjudicator and Zarzuela specialist. She has sung professionally with various Opera, Zarzuela and theater companies in the United States and Europe and was a semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Western Regional Auditions. As the lead teaching artist and featured soprano, Ms. Fernández has led LA Opera’s Zarzuela Project since its inception in 2012. She has been a featured soloist with the Pacific Symphony and the Miami City Ballet, Opera Pacific, Westchester Symphony, Zoo District Theatre, Opera Theatre of Lucca (Italy), Comedy Central and “Música en Compostela” (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) who presented her with the Joaquín Rodrigo Award for excellence in the interpretation of Spanish music. She sang with Opera Pacific for ten years at Segerstrom Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the Laguna Bowl. Melodee has been a featured soloist with the Roger Wagner Chorale in two concert tours of Japan, sang with Opera Cómica de Madrid in a national tour of Spain, and has been a featured soloist in Zarzuela productions with the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts and Santa Barbara Grand Opera. Recently Ms. Fernández presented two music lectures (Zarzuela and El Gato Montés: After 25 Years the Wildcat Returns) for the Opera League of Los Angeles and was interviewed for their BRAVO newsletter (Issue 51, Spring 2019) and website. She has been an adjunct music professor at the University of Southern California and Cal State Los Angeles and has also taught at Cal State Fresno, College of the Canyons, Mount St. Mary’s College and the California College of Music. Ms. Fernández earned her Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in Voice from the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music, and was a
Voice Fellow at the Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara). In a benefit concert headlined by Christina Aguilera, Melodee sang backup for singer-songwriter, Linda Perry. You can hear Melodee on the live dvd release of Cast a Long Shadow: A Tribute to Joe Strummer.
Al Nocita: Master of Ceremonies
Al Nocita has been making events special for most of his life. His hosting career has been fast and furious, being that he was raised in a family that ran their own special events venue through their 50's and 60's muscle car museum which served as a stage for regional parties, fundraisers, auctions, weddings, and receptions. He has been seen adding his unique touch to productions across Los Angeles County for decades. Al has generously contributed this skills to Women of
Vision, Arroyo Pacific Academy, Foothill Unity Center, local police and fire
departments as well as at The Irwindale Speedway.
Ajay Satsangi: Musical Director, Guitar
Ajay Satsangi is a Composer, Producer, Songwriter, Music Director, Instructor and Guitarist, currently residing in LA, known for his unique ability to tell intriguing stories through his music. He has performed on some of the most elite stages in the US, including the Pre-MTV Movie Awards, NAMM and has also appeared on televised shows on major Networks including CBS.
He acquired his Associate of Arts in Guitar Performance from Musicians Institute, an institution known worldwide for the quality of scholastic achievement, where he was educated by foremost instructors such as Vadim Zilberstein (Earth Wind and Fire), Russell
Ferrante (Yellowjackets), and obtained a formidable background of superior knowledge and musical insight.
His notable engagements include performing at some of the most elite venues in the US including the Catalina Jazz Club, "The Style Mansion" Pre-MTV Movie Awards, The Globe Theater, Exchange LA, Fountain Valley Summerfest, The Mint, Genghis Cohen, Whisky a Go-Go, and so forth. Ajay also appeared in numerous radio and TV interviews such as Film on TV, Radio Azad, etc. Additionally, as a film composer, he has scored music for Movies, TV Shows, Commercials and Documentaries both in the US and India.
Ajay’s brainchild “The Ajay Project” is a creative platform/outlet which combines top-notch music production services, music studio services, band services all rolled into one brand
providing the perfect platform for Ajay to express his artistic ability to create vivid imagery through his music. The Ajay Project’s songs can be heard on multiple TV shows Networks and radios including CBS, Also the songs can be purchased at all the major online stores
including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play.
As a guitar player and performer, Ajay is also endorsed by Peavey Electronics brand. .Accolades of his work can be found on some of the world’s best-recognized music magazines/journals including Music connection, Top 40 Charts, Vents magazine etc.
With a conceptual approach, he makes work that deals with the documentation of emotional events and the question of how they can be presented. And with the aid of his natural talent
to paint, he can clearly see and present those concepts into reality. Residing in Los Angeles,CA , gives Ajay the perfect surrounding and environment to serve, utilize and master his recipe with the melting pot that is Los Angeles.
Keys - Andrew Lederman
Andrew Lederman is a music director, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and actor. He graduated from New York University with a degree in Jazz Piano Performance. He has performed around the world as a cruise ship pianist for Holland America Line, with tours in the Mediterranean, South America, and Antarctica. Andrew was the Music Director for the Gospel Christmas musical ‘The First Noel’ at the world-famous Apollo Theater. Associate Conductor for Bebe Winan’s gospel musical ‘Born For This’ at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Pianist for Love Actually Live at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills. Ragtime Pianist at Universal Studios Hollywood, and the LA audition accompanist for the Dear Evan Hansen movie. Andrew has played multiple roles as an actor/musician for film and TV. You can see him on screen as the horse-masked accordion player in Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, and in the Star Wars Universe as a Mandalorian Drummer in season 3 of the Mandalorian.
Drums - Virshawn Green
Virshawn Green is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, engineer, producer and band owner born and raised in Inglewood, California. Coming from a fairly musically inclined family, it was just a matter of time until he would pick up and instrument. Beginning with drums at the age of 14, Virshawn started out playing for his home church St. Augustine, in South Central, where he began to find his passion for not only playing music, but arranging and directing. He eventually moved to piano after getting comfortable enough on drums and continues to expand his knowledge on the two. Artists that he has played alongside or sang for include Umi, Big Sean, John Legend, UraelB, and he has collaborated with many more artists, groups, and choirs.
Bass - Damani Holland
My name is Damani Holland. I’m 21 years old and I have been playing bass for 6 years. While I’m currently enrolled at LACC as a bass major, I also play at the Fernando Community Performing Arts Center in the Jazz Band. We have played numerous music festivals such as; Jazz at Drew, Gardena Jazz Festival, Sutro Jazz Festival, NAMM, and many more. I have done live recordings and produced content of my own over the last few years. I have also gained experience in music recording and producing for other people mixing and mastering small indie projects. I have put together a few combos for local organized events to expand my reach into more of a music director position.
Geert Chatrou: Remote Judge, Advisor
Geert is currently touring around the world with Cirque du Soleil's Corteo as a whistler in the key role of Monsieur Loyal. His busy schedule does not stop our 2017 head judge from participating in MMW 2019. Chatrou is an instrumental part of the MMW team, his years of music and whistling expertise is an invaluable contribution to the success of our event.
Growing up in the Netherlands, Geert Chatrou began whistling at the age of 4 to his parents’ classical music. At 6 years old his dad, a recorder teacher, bought him - you guessed it - a recorder! Geert found love and talent for this instrument, and many more, as he went on to study flute, saxophone, and oboe throughout his musical career.
But the whistling never stopped. Growing older, Geert’s musical interests struck a broad range from hard rock to jazz, and world music to gypsy swing. All inspiring, and all ‘whistable’.
In 2004 a friend played a practical joke on Geert and signed him up as a contestant at the International Whistlers Convention in North Carolina. Geert decided that, yes indeed, he would compete in the world championships of whistling. Geerts virtuosic tone and rhythm lead him to win his first of many whistling championships that year. After his first spontaneous and unexpected success, he competed again in 2005 (United States) and 2008 (Japan), again taking first place. In 2010 Geert was invited to be a distinguished judge at the whistling world championships, hosted in China, and a few years later served as a judge at Japan’s World Whistling Convention.
Geert never ceases to amaze and move those who experience his whistling artistry and always leaves his audiences wanting more. Geert has been touring non-stop since 2004. He has been invited to whistle on stages all over the world. From Tokyo to Boston, and Helsinki to Berlin he has been the featured soloist in many chamber orchestra’s, jazz ensembles, symphonic orchestras and string quartets. His whistling can be heard on several recordings including a children's audio book written about his life, movie scores, and a collaboration with Klaus Badelt. Geert has recorded a variety of CD’s that have been distributed worldwide including Ornithology and Chatroubadour.
Diane DeFranco Browne: Creative Advisor
Diane De Franco Browne is an award-winning choreographer who received her MFA in Dance from the University of California at Irvine. She has worked with noted choreographers Eugene Loring, Antony Tudor, and Kurt Jooss. She studied ballet and modern jazz extensively in Los Angeles and New York, and was a founding member of Los Angeles Dance Theater, a modern company specializing in reviving classic contemporary works. Diane served as Artistic Director, choreographer, and dancer with Dime-a-Dance Co., a modern collective that toured nationally and internationally. She is a long-time professor of dance at the college level, and frequently creates choreography for nationally known dance companies. She is currently working on two collaborative projects with Dance Through Life Inc. and Desmonet Dance. Diane is also the owner of Theater Threads, a costume design company specializing in custom dancewear.
Emma Andres: Website Design & Dancer
Emma Andres is a classically trained dancer and choreographer who has experience working in the techniques of jazz, contemporary, modern, and ballet. Andres earned her degree in Dance Choreography at UC Irvine where she was a recipient of the merit-based William Gillespie Scholarship. She has performed nationally and internationally, including in Shanghai, China, and Panama. Most recently, Andres performed as a soloist in Petra Conti & Eris Nezha’s covid-friendly production of Giselle and has created several new ballet works that combine technique and whimsy, including Little Women and American In Paris. She is currently the Studio Manager, a teacher, and resident choreographer for Pasadena Civic Ballet (PCB). Andres is a Ballet Teaching Artist for the Music Center in Los Angeles and is the Co-Artistic Director of SCOPIXdance, a new dance organization emphasizing exciting choreography from up-in-coming choreographers. Emma Andres is the artistic director and choreographer of Little Women Ballet, a ballet and interactive immersive experience that is pioneering more ballets about women and their stories.