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 Managing Partner . Visual 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.
Her graphic 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.
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.
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. She studies guitar with Wayne Gray at BlackBox.
Christian is a honors graduate of Texas A&M San Antonio, with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and a minor in English. She is currently working as a freelance writer.
CHRIS MONTEMAYOR guitar. bass. ukulele. brass
Chris Montemayor is a talented multi-instrumentalist and music instructor who is passionate about teaching guitar, bass, ukulele, and brass instruments. With over 15 years of experience playing and teaching in various musical genres such as blues rock, country, pop, jazz, mariachi, and classical, Chris has a wealth of knowledge to share with his students.
Born and raised in Edinburg, Texas, Chris was introduced to music early in life through the church, where he began playing guitar. He continued to pursue music throughout his youth, and in his senior year of high school, he won top chair in the state as a jazz trombonist. Chris has had the privilege of performing alongside renowned artists such as LA studio musician Jay Mason and multi-Grammy nominated trumpeter and composer Jose Hernández.
During his undergraduate studies, Chris had the opportunity to play in ensembles that performed with world-class jazz musicians such as Byron Stripling, Wycliffe Gordon, and Eric Marienthal. Today, he enjoys featuring as a guitarist for several local musical acts in the San Antonio area.
Chris's teaching approach is centered around the use of music as a form of self-expression and creativity, as well as a tool for self-development that lasts a lifetime. He recognizes that every student has unique needs and strives to create a tailored experience for each individual. Regardless of the student's skill level or musical interests, Chris believes that everyone can find joy in playing music individually or as part of a group.
Edisel Cruz Actor. Writer . Filmmaker (from theatres - movies). Videographer . Photographer
Edisel Cruz graduated in 2001 from the Cuban Ballet School with a degree in the Arts. He served as the Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of Ecuador from 2001 to 2010. In 2011 Edisel started performing in Physical Theater in Mexico City and attended several acclaimed acting workshops in Mexico.
In 2016 Edisel created his first script named Algoritmo Peter Pan, based on the life of the James Mathew Barrie Peter Pan writer. That same year, he won second place at the Mexico City Awards for Contemporary Creation with the piece ‘ Filminutos’, a look at how to produce Cinema. In 2017 Edisel won the Choreographer National Award for the creation of “ El espectador” inspired by how we become viewers of our own life.
After 6 years of studying acting, scripting and Cinema, Edisel began facilitating Workshops across the country in diverse schools and studios with Cinema Corporal, an initiative that unifies Theater, Dance, and Filming. Edisel continued his work as a master teacher and actor, performing across Africa and Europe, and finally landed in the USA where he is currently pursuing his passions as an Acting Instructor, Photographer, Videographer, Choreographer and Master Teacher.
SUSANA ESPINOSA Violin . Viola . Cello . Double Bass
Certified Strings Instructor -- online 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.
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.
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
MICHAEL MADISON Drummer . Percussionist instructor
Michael Madison is a life long musician. Drumming is his passion. He played and taught djembe for the Drum Café in San Antonio for over 24 years. He also played and performed in Tokyo, Japan in corporate, educational, and private party settings. Michael earned a Masters of Science in the Management of Technology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
ADRIAN TOLER Artist . Art instructor
Adrian is a lifetime student of BlackBox lead artist, Susan A. Toler. Over the years he has won numerous awards and recognitions. Adrain also works as freelance artist and has produced commissions for paintings, character development and logos. He is pursuing a degree in fine arts.
Deneatra Mashan Terry . Administrator
(Dee Neat Rah)
Home Town: Ariton, Alabama
A Touch about me: I am a 38 yr old mom of 2 boys. I am a lifelong student. I have countless degrees, meaning after the second one I lost count. Thanks to my time in the United States Air Force, I was able to complete a Bachelor’s and 2 Master’s degrees to include my MBA. I plan on going for the gusto and getting my PhD but that will have to wait for my youngest (13), to leave my home/graduate from high school. I’ve studied multiple languages and after years of studying Korean and Japanese, I can’t speak either one.