Columbia State offers one of the more prestigious commercial entertainment programs in the nation, thanks to its relationship with Nashville, and because of the talented instructors. Known as Music City, Nashville is home to many performers and industry veterans, some of whom are employed by Columbia State.

Our talented staff includes:

photo of Cathy Hudnall
Cathy Hudnall, Program Director – Commercial Voice, Digital Audio Recording, Music

Hudnall has served as department director for the Commercial Entertainment program at Columbia State in Franklin, Tenn., for more than 12 years. She directs all aspects of the department, as well as teaching classes each semester. Her courses include commercial voice, MIDI sequencing, digital audio recording and studio vocal techniques. She also performs musical direction, selection and editing for all shows. In her home studio, Hudnall teaches voice and records artist demo and album projects, serving as producer, engineer, co-writer and vocal coach for those who are ready for advanced vocal technique.

She has worked professionally in recording studios as a singer and violinist for many years and has performed for films, television, commercials and recordings. She spent several years as a featured singer and composer on NBC’s Emmy Award winning Santa Barbara television series that was syndicated in 24 countries. She has sequenced and composed computer scoring for computer software products released by Dynamix Inc., including the original version of the popular game Red Baron. She performed vocally for the soundtrack of Disney’s Never Cry Wolf as well as for commercials in Los Angeles and San Francisco for such clients as Mazda and The Gap. She was soloist and backup vocalist for Columbia Records, Windham Hill Records and Fortuna Records.

Hudnall taught private voice in the San Francisco Bay area for 15 years. She spent several years as choir director and arranger for the Tigard Pops Choir in Oregon before relocating to Tennessee in 1995, where she has continued her private vocal practice.

Interested in signing up for Commercial Entertainment? Call Cathy at 615.790.4420.

Laura Carroll – Dance/Choreography
Carroll is in her seventh year of teaching for the Commercial Entertainment Department at Columbia State. She also holds the position of Artistic Director for the Ann Carroll School of Dance at the Factory of Franklin. Before moving to the Nashville area, Carroll performed for Norwegian Cruise Lines and the Toronto Raptors basketball team, and she toured the country with Sesame Street Live. She lived on the island of St. Martin for a year where she performed at the Maho Beach Resort.

Some of her favorite roles include Agnes Nolan in George M, Patty Simcox in Grease and Anytime Annie in 42nd Street. Carroll has worked as a choreographer and assistant choreographer for Jean Ann Ryan Productions in Florida. She was on the production team for the premiere of Hey, Mr. Producer! for Norwegian Cruise Lines. This project gave her the opportunity to work with Cameron Mackintosh’s production team from London. Carroll has worked locally for the past three years with country singer Pam Tillis as her choreographer for The Pam Tillis Christmas Dinner Party at Opryland Hotel. She holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors in Dance from York University in Toronto.

Lili Parham – Stagecraft
A Nashville native, Parham has been involved in theatre from age 11, where she trained at Nashville Academy Theatre and helped with her family’s display and exhibit business. She graduated from Memphis University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre. She worked as a designer at Opryland for 11 years before opening her own business. Her company has built scenery and decorations for stage, film, video and convention shows. She has designed and built sets for Coca-Cola, Opryland and Al Gore.

Thom Yzaguirre – Ballet
Yzaguirre began his relationship with the Nashville Figure Skating Club in 1994, teaching ballet class for both the pair and freestyle skaters. He also works privately with the skaters, assisting with and choreographing their competition programs. He has been an integral part of the training of regional, national and international level skaters, traveling with the skaters’ as an assistant coach. A native of Montana, Yzaguirre began his dance training at Minnesota Dance Theatre. He continued his training on scholarship at the Milwaukee Ballet, the School of American Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet.

He has danced professionally with Nevada Dance Theatre, Ballet Arizona, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet and Tennessee Dance Theatre. He has danced principal roles in classical, neo-classical and contemporary works by such eminent choreographers as Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Choo-San Goh and Graham Lustig. He has worked with such dance luminaries as Loyce Houlton, Janek Schergen and Vassili Sulich.

Yzaguirre has taught and choreographed for the Academy of Nevada Dance Theatre, the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Dance Plus Studios in Gallatin, Tenn., Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Education, the Franklin School of Performing Arts and Columbia State Community College. In 1993, Yzaguirre received the best contemporary choreography award for the pas de deux Etchings In Glass at the Panoply Arts Festival in Huntsville, Ala. In 1999, he choreographed the piece, “2 (Movements) X 5 (Dancers),” using dancers from Tennessee Dance Theatre. “2 X 5” was presented as part of ARTStravaganza ’99. He was a Company Teacher and Rehearsal Director for Tennessee Dance Theatre from 1997-1999. He received his Beginning Mat Class Certification from Power Pilates in 2003.

David Rivers – Commercial Songwriting
Rivers is a veteran of both the business and creative sides of the music industry. He served for six years at the Nashville Songwriters Association International, where he handled a variety of roles including National Workshops Director where he developed educational programs for the world’s largest songwriters trade organization. Prior to that, he worked for six years as the Creative Manager for Criterion Music Publishing and Crossfire Entertainment in Nashville, representing a wide range of songwriters including Dave Berg, Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Mark McGuinn and Matthew Ryan.

On the creative side, Rivers is a songwriter and former bass player for the Americana band, SaddleTramp. His recent writing credits include cuts by Ken Mellons and 2006 European CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Lucie Diamond. He currently writes full-time and teaches commercial songwriting at Columbia State Community College in Nashville. In the early 1990s, Rivers was a prominent member of the Los Angeles music scene, having founded the popular L.A. rock band Mr. Dangerous (whose self-titled 1990 CD was recently reissued on the Retrospect Records label). While on the West Coast, he also composed music for corporate videos and MTV. A native of Springfield, Va., Rivers earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music with a concentration in songwriting and record production from James Madison University in the Shenandoah Valley.

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