MA Transpersonal Psychology, Creativity & Innovation Specialization
BM Music Education & Vocal Performance from Ithaca College
Elisa has been teaching voice and world music workshops since 2003. She is the founder of the Freeing Your Voice workshop for adults and the Music for Unity and Social Change program for public schools. Elisa has been a guest presenter for Threshold Choirs, Religious Organizations, Community Choruses, College Music Majors, Public Schools, and Staff Community Building Retreats.
Since 2011, Elisa has been a co-teacher of the Hidden Treasure Program, a 3-year course in personal and spiritual growth, at Light on the Hill Retreat Center in Van Etten, NY. In 2019, she scripted and recorded meditations for Valera Health, a mental health app.
Elisa has taken singing workshops with Bobby McFerrin, Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and some of NYC's top contemporary music singing coaches. She combines some of their approaches along with her music education and healing training to form her celebrated Freeing Your Voice classes and workshops.
Elisa is the lead singer and songwriter for the band Elisa & The YesMen and most recently led and sang with The Honey Child Soul Quintet. Formerly the lead singer of Solstice and Mutron Warriors, Elisa's deep and resonating voice has been compared to Nina Simone. She has also had the honor of performing onstage with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the State Theater in Ithaca, NY.
Her first band, Solstice, was Elisa's foray into original songwriting, embracing the style of soul with elements of R&B, funk, reggae, Latin, jazz and gospel. Her initiation to the band scene began in 2004 with '60s Motown cover band The Destination. From 2007-2008 she sang with Kevin Kinsella (founder of John Brown's Body) in the bands Food, Clothes and Shelter and Millionaires of Love.
Solstice released a debut album, Red Sky on November 6, 2009. Elisa's next album Soul of the Earth was released on March 28, 2019. In 2020 during the worldwide pandemic, Elisa composed over a dozen songs and released a single called "Life As We Knew It" and her first choral piece, "Lift Each Other Higher". In 2021, Elisa released Songs for the Circle, a collection of original songs and chants for group singing which includes a songbook. Elisa's music is available on all streaming platforms.
Quarantine Stories with Esther Racoosin - WRFI - 2020
The Weather of the Mind with Doug Krisch – Podcast (2-part series) - 2019
The Made of Clay Report with Eric Clay – WRFI - 2014
Ithaca College – WICB - 2010-2012
Out of Bounds with Tish Pearlman – WEOS-FM and WSKG-FM - 2010
Video Interviews (view to the right)
Grants and Awards:
Artist in Community Grant - Community Arts Partnership - 2020-2021
Specific Opportunity Stipend Grant - Community Arts Partnership - 2020-2021
Arts in Education Grant - The Arts Council of the Southern Fingerlakes - 2020-2021
Arts in Education Grant - Community Arts Partnership - 2019-2021
Women Building Community Grant - City Federation of Women's Organizations - 2019-2020
Arts in Education Grant - CNY Arts - 2020
Teacher Grants - Ithaca Education Public Initiative - 2014-2020
Jill Mellick Creative Expression Award - Sofia University - 2017