OUR TEAM

Our team is made up of a diverse group of performing and visual artists. We are actively involved in the arts and have extensive experience within the industry. Each is an independent instructor with his/her own curriculum and method of teaching. We believe every student is different with a unique set of goals. It is our unified desire to help our students reach their specific goals allowing for fun and creative input. 

photo of musician Dwayne Toler



DWAYNE TOLER Partner . Music Director . Producer . Vocals . Writer . Keyboardist . Guitar

DWAYNE is a retired San Antonio Fire Department EMS Lieutenant with 33 years of service. He has been a musician/vocalist for more than 35 years. He brings with him a rich resumé of experience in the music industry which includes over 14 years as a minister of music (for a 2,000 plus congregation) and a long list of local music connections. He is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, guitar player and songwriter, gifted with the ability to play by ear. During his early years as a musician he co-founded and co-managed the groups “Friends” and “Master Jam” and performed on stage before large audiences as opening acts for a myriad of national artists such as Millie Jackson, James Brown, and Sybil.

Dwayne has an intimate knowledge of what it takes to make it as a performing artist. He released an EP entitled "Next Level" in 2018 and performed lead vocals for "When I Whisper" on the 2019 release RIZE ABOVE by local group Europa Jazz.

Susan A Toler

SUSAN A. TOLER Managing Partner . Visual Artist . Graphic Artist 

SUSAN is a visual artist and an award winning graphic artist and creative director. She began her career early having completed training in Commercial Art at San Antonio’s Texas Vocational School at the age of 19. She migrated to the Art Institute of Houston where she earned her associates degree and went on to earn her bachelors degree from the University of Arlington where she focused her studies in the major areas of communications and business. 

Susan’s work has appeared locally in the form of company websites, brands, book covers, brochures and other collateral materials as well as in national print publications such as Cooks Magazine, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine and Vibe Magazine. Susan’s AWARDS AND ACCOLADES include: APEX Award 1999 for Sensitivity in Advertising & Marketing in domestic destination print advertising; PRIMA Award1999 for Excellence in Marketing by the American Society of Association Executives; PRAME Award in 1999; PRAME Award in 1998; Silver ADDY Award in 1997; 40 Under 40 Award in 1997 awarded by the San Antonio Business Journal; Voices Along the River San Antonio Poetry Fair 2002 Anthology Honorable Mention.

photo of Chris Nichole


CHRISTIAN TOLER  Vocalist . Pianist . Writer . Visual Artist 

CHRISTIAN released two singles in 2018 "Toy Soldier" and "Story of My LIfe". She also wrote and performed "The King" on Dwayne Toler's "The Next Level" EP. In 2019 Christian began working with Grammy award-winning producer and songwriter Billy Dorsey to produce her first EP scheduled to be released in 2020.

Christian studied at the Vivace Music Academy of San Antonio with Vida Scott, where she trained in 'classical' piano and voice until the age of ten. She has continued her training of classical and contemporary piano and voice through private instruction. Christian has studied vocals under the direction of local vocal coaches: Dwayne Toler, Anthony Modeste, Alisa Claridy and Sonya Folrie. Christian is currently studying guitar and is enrolled at Texas A&M where she is pursuing her bachelors degree in Communications.

instructor Susana Espinosa holding violin

SUSANA ESPINOSA  Violin . Viola . Cello . Double Bass
Certified Strings Instructor 

SUSANA is a Certified music teacher EC-12 and a variety of string instruments. She has taught 5 years privately for the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and 7 years in public education.

Susana is a motivated and dedicated Orchestra educator. In her twelve years of teaching she has raised the standard in her program to emphasize music literacy and performance excellence in private and public education. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and during her time there she held the Associate Directors position for the String Project Program. She received a Master's in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. Her experiences range from piloting an orchestra program for underprivileged students ages 4-13 in partnership with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, to teaching middle and high school Mariachi and Orchestra in public schools across TX, most recently including NISD.

Susana has a love for sharing her knowledge and passion for music with others, allowing them to unveil their musical potential.

Photo of  William Wayne Gray



WILLIAM "WAYNE" GRAY   Guitar . Bass . Ukulele Instructor

WAYNE grew up in Delaware, in the small town of Frederica, where he received his first guitar at the age of 14. During his youth he played bass drum in the marching band in high school. During his 40 pus years as a musician, Wayne has played guitar for Hubert AME Church in Frederica Delaware as well as a number of bands of varying genre in position of bass guitar, lead guitar and percussionist on congo drums. Additionally, Wayne went on to study music and education at Delaware State University.

Wayne is a retired veteran of the US Army. He served in Vietnam in 1969, where he toured with the USO special service band as a guitarist. He has had the privilege or being mentored and tutored by renowned musicians such as his cousin, blues musician "Guitar Frank" Hovington, lead guitar of the Ambassdors, Tommy Coursey and lead guitar of the Gospel group The Cavaliers, Melvin Hitchens.

Wayne now dedicates his time and talents to teaching music to aspiring guitarists, and playing for churches and other non profit groups such as, nursing homes and churches.


photo of Rene Ford saxophone instructor

RENE FORD  Saxophone . Composer . Ensemble Coordinator

RENE's work as a Composer and Performance Artist seeks the common truth that dwells in each of us through collaborative improvisation.

As Collaborating Artist: Holy Ghost Dance, 1995 Walker Arts Gallery 8; Punic Wars, 1995 Walker Arts Center Auditorium; Monday Morning Body Count, 1996 Hennepin Center for the Arts; Porch Swing, 1997 Southern Theater; Theology, 1998 Southern Theater; Father, Sons and Brothers, 1999 African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, Miami FL; An Isolated Incident, 1999 Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; An Isolated Incident, 1999 Lorraine Hansberry Theater, San Francisco CA; Memory Dances, 2000, Southern Theater; O Black and Unknown Bards, 2000, Buetow Music Auditorium; Stigmatism, 2001, Intermedia Arts; 2704, 2004 Capri Theater, Mpls. MN; Cactus in the Desert, 2005 Pillsbury Theater, Mpls. MN; Pork Chop Wars, 2006 Oscar Brockett Theatre, Austin Texas; Draptomania, 2007; As Producer: Reunion 2001 Artist Quarter; The American Dream, 2002 Intermedia Arts; As a Composer: Unsentimental Released by the American Composers Forum on the Innova Label 2004 

photo of Heather Hatchett vocalist piano instructor



HEATHER HATCHETT  Vocalist . Pianist . Worship Leader

HEATHER began teaching music, performing arts and drama to children and teens in the Late 90’s in her local church in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She later took on the duties as the Worship Leader on Sunday and Wednesday nights in addition to her duties with the children and youth. She led, directed and produced Easter Plays, Christmas Programs, State Youth Drama Teams, Children and Youth Choir Teams and coached Solo and Small Ensemble Groups in 4 churches over the course of a 15 year time period. During this time many of these groups won 1st and 2nd place in the competitions in both Texas and Oklahoma.

Heather has been a featured Soloist, Motivational Speaker and Worship Leader in Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Arkansas. She has Classical Vocal Training as well as Contemporary and Gospel Worship experience. She has had the pleasure to be involved in Gospel Choirs in Muskogee, Oklahoma and San Antonio, Texas and is currently a member of True Vine Baptist Church Saints of Praise Choir and Praise Team. Most recently she has been a featured performer here in San Antonio, Texas for several events: 2015 Ministry and Performing Arts Conference (MPAC), This Is It Conference, National Anthem Singer for Labor Day, Founders Day and Veterans Day at the VA Fisher House

photo of Lawrence Bierria Acting Coach



LAWRENCE BIERRIA Actor • Director • Singer • Dancer • Musician • Comedian

LAWRENCE is a multi discipline instructor. For the past 9 years he has performed, directed and coached in Texas, New Orleans, New York and London. Lawrence earned his BFA in Acting and Directing from Ithaca College in Upstate New York. He is an award winning director and extremely talented actor, tapper and jazz saxophonist. Lawrence is also an EMC and SAG-AFTRA member with certifications in stage combat and dialects. Lawrence has coached auditions that landed his students Academy Award winning roles, Emmy winning roles, Broadway roles, guest star, speaking and supporting roles and background roles.

Some of Lawrence's performance credits include: The Walking Dead, Marvel's The Gifted, STAR, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival, Ithaca Shakespeare Festival, Jazz Festival New Orleans, Miss Black San Antonio and A Quiet Storm.

Some of his Directorial Credits include: The Little Mermaid Jr at Dillard University, Rock of Ages Jr at Independent Lake Camp, Fences by August Willson at Ithaca College and Actor Reels.

ABOUT

Founded in 2015, Family owned and operated by retired
San Antonio Fire Department EMS LT. Dwayne Toler, and his wife, visual artist Susan A. Toler. BlackBox Music & Arts is a creative space where performing and visual artists gather to learn, collaborate, celebrate and contemplate; are encouraged to reach their full potential; and are challenged to a higher standard.

CONTACT US

EMAIL: studio@blackboxmusicarts.com 
PHONE: 210. 660.3838
1401 Dezarae #6
San Antonio TX 78253

ART SERVICES 
Graphic Design
CD Design
Logo Design
Website Design
Digital Images