Retreat Mentors

Every Throga Retreat utilizes a combination of different Retreat Mentors to fit the needs of each Event and location. Below is a list of past and present mentors with more to come. To view a complete listing of all upcoming events, visit the Events page.

Richard Fink IV is the creator of THROGA, #1 best-selling author in vocal education and labeled as the “world’s leading online vocal coach” by the Wall Street Journal. Richard has worked with clients in over 100 countries spanning all 7 continents. He has taught his techniques to multi-platinum selling artists, actors, political leaders, Broadway stars and singers featured on Disney, Nickelodeon, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, Australia’s Got Talent, The X Factor, American Idol, MTV, CMT, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show, Live with Kelly, Yo Soy El Artista, Dancing with the Stars and many others.

As a vocalist, Richard is a 2x Guinness World Record breaker and award-winning singer for solo performances as Jesus (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Jean Valjean (Les Miserables). He released multiple albums as a songwriter and vocal-producer between 1991 and 2011, which led to co-writing and demoing songs for artists signed to Sony, Warner Bros., Universal and many others.

Other career highlights as a vocal coach include touring with Big Time Rush, judging the European Suncane Skale vocal competition in Montenegro and speaking at Talent Camp at Universal Studios in the United States and all three JMC Academy locations in Australia. Most recently, Richard became the first person in U.S. history to be awarded a full-utility patent on a vocal training technique as a method of use, with his 7 Dimensions of Singing and is expanding the THROGA certification program for coaches of all styles around the world.

Johnny Cummings is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer from Rochester, NY. As a performer, Johnny has been on stage thousands of times throughout his career, including venues in New York City, Los Angels, Amalfi Coast, Nashville, Seattle and Herceg Novi, as well as opening for major label artists such as Kenny Chesney and Gin Blossoms. For the past 12 years, he’s been a member of one of Rochester’s top cover/wedding bands, “Something Else”, and previously served as lead singer for the critically acclaimed Psychedelic Pop group, “My Plastic Sun”.

Johnny has co-written and produced hundreds of songs spanning Pop, Rock, Country, R&B, and Progressive genres working with multi-platinum artists signed with Sony/ATV, Warner Bros., EMI, and RCA Records. His song, “Ostani (Tonight)” in 2008 and “Predate (Surrender)” in 2010, each won first prize at the international Suncane Skale competition, televised throughout Europe. In 2014, Johnny enjoyed radio success with his song “Couldn’t Love You More”, which was picked up by a Sirius XM station and became their most played song for over 4 months.

Most recently, Johnny has been collaborating with American Idol’s Chris Daughtry and band member Elvio Fernandes on songs for Daughtry’s upcoming album.

Cesar De La Rosa is a performance coach, singer-songwriter and seasoned entertainer.

Hailing from the enchanted island of Puerto Rico, Cesar grew up surrounded by his large, musical family. Performing from the young age of 8, Cesar came to Florida to study vocal performance, choir, drama, and dance.

Throughout his middle and high school years, Cesar received acknowledgments from teachers and peers alike as the winner of numerous awards and recognitions. Including, “Best Solo Performance,” “Best Duet Performance,” and “Best Actor in A Play/Musical,” during district and state Thespian competitions. After graduating high school, Cesar collaborated with some of the world’s leading entertainment companies, including Walt Disney World and Universal studios (Orlando and Japan).

Cesar has since performed in National competitions such as American Idol, The X-Factor, and was the runner-up for Telemundo’s first season of Yo Soy El Artista (“I Am The Artist”). He has also released a debut studio album, toured Europe, Japan, and America, and has been involved in songwriting projects for companies such as Telemundo and MTV.

A recent graduate of Full Sail (Entertainment Business Master’s), Cesar has created Push-Love, a production company, in Orlando, Florida.

Nanci Dorau is a choreographer, rhythm specialist, dance instructor and musical theater director.

Hailing from New York, Nanci has owned five award-winning dance and arts studios, certified by Dance Masters of America. She was also the director of the University of Rochester’s dance company “PIZZAZZ” and the Educational Director of the “Downstairs Cabaret Theater”. 

Throughout her career, Nanci has choreographed over 200 professional, university and community musicals. In addition to being a recipient of many awards, including “Choreographer of the Year” at Rhee Gold competitions in Toronto (Canada), Nanci’s students have also won national recognition, such as becoming “Garth Fagan Dance” company members, “Radio City Rockets” and Broadway performers.

Utilizing her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Disabilities, Nanci is currently working with VSA where she teaches the arts to children and adults with disabilities and incarcerated teens in the juvenile justice systems, along with her regular teaching schedule.

Alysia Fink is a singer/songwriter, Owner of the Bergen School of the Arts and Music Director at the United Methodist Church (Bergen NY). Alysia started her career and education in the Arts as a dancer for a total of 16 years, including 2 years at collegiate level and 4 years as an assistant dance instructor. Throughout High School, Alysia performed in several Musicals, sang in the select Women’s Satin Sound’s choir, and was 1st Flautist in the High School band.

At 18 years old, Alysia joined the Army Reserve and attended SUNY Brockport as a Dance Major with a minor in Arts for Children until she was deployed to Afghanistan in October of 2002. Upon returning, Alysia began performing with Dave McGrath and singing in the VIP room at numerous WBEE Guitars and Stars concerts, as well as sharing the stage with many well-known artists such as Charlie Daniels, Jason Michael Carrol, Sarah Buxton, and Josh Gracin.

Alysia continued her education at Ashford University where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, and graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a member of both the Alpha Sigma Lambda and Golden Key National Honor Societies. Since then, she launched a School of the Arts in her home town, released an album of original music (Lined With Silver), works as a professional studio singer for various artists and sings the National Anthem at the Blue Cross Arena, Sahlen’s Stadium, and at various Veteran events when her schedule allows.

Ami Kawailani Gent began her journey in and joy for performing at age 3! Her love for the arts and her culture has presented a wide range of experience from Hawaiian arts such as hula and music, to attending and graduating from performing arts high schools, classical vocal training ( 8 years ), placing 3rd in NATS Arizona vocal competition (at age 17), working for and performing at numerous professional and community theatres in Arizona and Utah, and teaching and choreographing in many theatres and studios. Currently, Ami is the founder and owner of Wish Entertainment which focuses on both education and performance.

A few of her favorite roles and positions have included- ‘ Luisa’ in The Fantasticks, ‘Puck’ in A Midsummers Night Dream, ‘Dorothy’ in The Wizard of OZ, Director and Creator of Our Expressions, Choreographer for Hello Dolly, ‘Narrator’ in Joesph and The Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat,  Runner-up for Hawaiian Idol on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Hostess/Emcee for Tihatit Productions (2 years), and Kumu/teacher and owner of the former Mrs. Ami’s Dance Studio ( Ballet, creative movement, jazz, and tap, 5 years ) to the current Amikawailaniakealii Hula Studio (Hawaiian culture, hula and ‘oli).

Ami is very excited to bring the Throga training method to Utah! Recently certified as a Throga vocal instructor she is thrilled to be joining Richard for his 3rd retreat as a student and mentor.

Troy Gent was first introduced to fitness when he was a freshman in high school and his father encouraged him to start weight training in order to build strength for all of the athletic programs he participated in. Since then, Troy has been passionate about the importance of fitness and nutrition, and has set multiple Utah state weightlifting records. In addition to weightlifting, Troy won 4 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conference titles in the discus and hammer throws, and was an NCAA All American.

Troy was able to continue this passion into the Marine Corps, where he served for eight years leading and instructing Marines in combat training, combat operations and fitness. After leaving the Marines, Troy drew upon his personal experiences and studios to became a personal fitness trainer and health and wellness coach.

Troy’s first certifications were through International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and now has three certifications through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Troy’s specialty is instructing individuals and groups on the importance of health and wellness.

Kerri Hardwick is an established Singer, Recording Artist, Worship Leader, and Vocal Coach. 

She has been singing on stage since she was only 2 years old!  Kerri graduated from Virginia Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Music.  She then went on to teach Music, Chorus, and Private Voice at Elementary and Middle schools for 5 years, with a total of over 14 years as a Vocal Instructor with Academies, Dance Studios, and Theaters before opening up her very own studio, Kerri Hardwick Voice Studio, which has now been listed as one of the Best Voice Teachers in Virginia Beach for both 2017 & 2018 by 

When not teaching voice, Kerri continues her music passion working as a Worship Leader for her church.  She also sings with the professional a capella group, The Doorway Singers and local Country band, Southern Heartland.

Kerri produced a CD of her very own entitled Never Walk Alone, which was released in 2011. In 2012, she won the First Place Award for her outstanding vocal performances in an elite vocal competition held in Virginia Beach. Kerri has taken the next step in vocal coaching to include becoming a Certified THROGA instructor in 2015, and is excited to work closely with Richard as a mentor at the THROGA Retreats.
online voice coach anita g houser

Anita G Houser has over 30 years collective experience performing as a singer and pianist. She has performed in musical theatre productions, R&B bands, Jazz bands, choirs, and has led ministry programs as a Music Director in churches both in South Carolina and Georgia over the last 7 years.

In 1989, Anita earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors (Magna Cum Laude) from Spelman College (Atlanta, GA), with additional training at College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. Anita utilizes her diverse background in education, music, meditation, martial arts, intuition, and nutrition into her teaching style. In 2013, Anita was hand-picked to train and become THROGA’s first Certified Teacher and is passionate about passing her knowledge and experience on to her students.

“A big part of my purpose in life is to teach, train, coach, and empower others in life. Music is a main vehicle. I am deeply inspired to use my talents, gifts, and skills to guide others in developing their own unique abilities while thoroughly enjoying the creative process of music.” – Anita G. Houser

Anita continues her independent studies with vocal development, as well as Jazz Piano with Master Teacher, Donald Macey.

Michelle Lindahl is the music director and vocal coach for several Orlando theme park productions, Worship leader at Northland (A Church Distributed) and professional recording session contractor. Full bio coming soon.

Sam Polizzi is a highly sought after mixing engineer and music producer from Rochester, NY with a keen ear who keeps his finger on the pulse of what’s fresh in the music scene. His clients include multi-platinum selling artists such as Lou Graham (Foreigner) and Chris Daughtry, along with several other award-winning artists signed to RCA, Sony, Warner, Nettwerk and BMG Publishing. 

Sam’s seamless mixing and iconic drum programming has also led to teaching a master class at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL, mixing for Grammy nominated songwriters in Los Angeles, CA (Lady GaGa) and producing up-and-coming singers from around the world, including the United States, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Paraguay and Japan. 

In addition to local media programming, Sam’s work has also been placed in several national commercials. Most recently, Sam’s productIon has landed artists on the top viral playlists of Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music.

Sarah Thiele, a Las Vegas native, is a professional singer-songwriter for Universal Records, accomplished pianist, and studio musician. Full biography to come…