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 

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.

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. 

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.

photo of actress Delani Chambers

DELANI CHAMBERS Actress . Director . Producer , Editor . Writer

DELANI is a 22 year old actress with a BFA in Dramatic Media. She has been both an actress and director for various theatre and short-film projects. She is best known for her recent role as Willie Hale in "Killers of the Flower Moon" where she worked alongside Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Delani has a background in childcare as a nanny and homeschool teacher. She loves working with kids and helping teach younger generations about the wonderful world of Fine Arts.  Delani is a dedicated artist and always eager/excited for her next role.

photo of Edisel Cruz

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. 

instructor Susana Espinosa holding violin

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.

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 Kyle Phaneu

Kyle Phaneuf  Composer . Guitar . Bass . Ukulele Instructor 

Kyle Phaneuf began his musical studies from a young age as his own teacher, ardently buying and studying literature on music. He made his recital debut on the classical guitar at the age of eighteen, and has since performed in concerto, chamber, and recital settings.

Kyle holds two degrees, a B.M. in Music Performance and a B.A. in Music Composition, and is currently completing his Master’s degree in Music Education to further expand his abilities as an instructor. He has studied mainly with grammy-nominated guitarist Jose Lezcano, but has also frequented masterclasses by world-class musicians such as Rafael Padron, and Scott Borg. Phaneuf has performed as a soloist for the KSC Orchestra directed by Don Baldini, and also for the KSC Guitar Orchestra in Boston, where he also premiered as an emerging artist before the renowned virtuoso Roland Dyens. He gave a performance before the governor of NH, Maggie Hassan, and her executive councilors upon request where she hailed, "Kyle Phaneuf is a talented young musician who exemplifies our strong tradition of talented Granite State musicians and Artists." After graduating, Kyle was drafted into the Boston Guitar Ensemble and made his debut with them as a soloist at the distinguished Jordan Hall.

Aside from performing, Kyle is also an emerging composer. Phaneuf's composition for piano and solo soprano "Falling In," was very well-received when premiered at the Redfern Arts Center and described as "heart-warming and romantic." His most recent work "An Evening," is a lyrical and technical exploration of the piano. 

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 Artist Adrian Toler

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.

photo of Admin Deneatra Terry

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.


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.


EMAIL: admin@blackboxmusicarts.com
PHONE: 210.748.5599
1401 Dezarae #6
San Antonio TX 78253

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