crescendo: building the future of the arts


Fostering Authentic Community Engagement (w/Dr. Darius Gillard) crescendo: building the future of the arts

  1. Fostering Authentic Community Engagement (w/Dr. Darius Gillard)
  2. Parenthood and Caregiving in the Performing Arts (w/Bergen Baker)
  3. Developing a Versatile Skill Set (w/Symone Harcum)
  4. Giving and Taking Artistic Feedback (w/Charles H. Eaton)
  5. Maintaining a Positive Self-Image (w/Keely Futterer)

the concept

Let’s shake things up!
Hosts Rick X. Hoops (they/he) and Jared Mikach (he/him) are both members of the Impact team at MN Opera, who have been friends for nearly 10 years. They are also two young, queer artists and educators who prioritize creating affirming, accessible spaces that foster sustainability and holism in the arts. crescendo is a new podcast that aims to provide young artists and anyone curious about a career in the arts with current perspectives on navigating performance art industries–from classical music to musical theater, from the stage to behind the curtain. Jared and Rick bring their experiences as young professionals who have built careers in performing, education, administration, and creative direction. Please join our hosts as they break down current topics with care, critical lenses, and a lot of laughter. 

guiding principles

young, queer perspectives 

artist-educator perspectives

recognition of problematic historical practices in performance industries 

holistic, trauma-informed approaches  

prioritizing sustainability (global, local, mental-emotional, physical, etc.) 

your hosts


Rick X. Hoops (they/he) is a trans & queer, disabled performance artist, administrator, and educator. They currently work as the Program Manager at the Gender & Sexuality Center for Queer & Trans Life at UMN and as one of the Youth Programs Music Directors at MN Opera. Rick has two Bachelor’s degrees from St. Olaf College in Vocal Performance and Theater, a Graduate Certificate in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion from UMN, and will graduate with a master’s in arts & Cultural Leadership from UMN in May 2025. He also operates a voice and piano studio in Saint Paul. 

As a performer, Rick is a coloratura soprano who has sung on stages across North America, Europe, and Asia. Some of their operatic roles include: Adele (Die Fledermaus), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Gilda (Rigoletto), Rose Maybud (Ruddigore), and Musetta (La boheme). They have also performed many musical theater role, including Olive (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Carlotta (The Phantom of the Opera), Meredith Parker (Bat Boy), Fraulein Schneider (Cabaret), and more! They have also directed several productions and have a broad background in technical theater.  


Jared Mikach (he/him) is a Mexican-American collaborative pianist and educator based in the Twin Cities. He graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in Music and an Asian Studies Concentration and completed a master’s degree in Collaborative Piano and Coaching at the University of Minnesota. Jared has served as pianist, assistant music director, and repetiteur for productions of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Big Fish, Der Vampyr, Die Fledermaus, Cabaret, Sister Act, Addams Family, Ruddigore, Into the Woods, Chicago, Mamma Mia, Little Shop of Horrors, The Consul, The Rape of Lucretia, Proving Up, and Dark Sisters. As an educator, he works with the music department at North High School in North St. Paul, as the music department pianist, is a Youth Program Music Director at MN Opera, as well as a core faculty member for the Ordway’s BIPOC musical theater training fellowship, GreenRoom

As a freelance pianist in the Twin Cities, Jared has worked with groups and organizations including BorderCrosSing, Heritage Choir, South Metro Chorale, Schubert Club, Source Song Festival, OOPS MN, Mississippi Valley Orchestra, Skylark Opera, AOT, Journey North Opera Company, MN Opera, and The Ordway Center for Performing Arts. Jared strives to bring a holistic approach to every facet of his art making, creating spaces that foster sustainability in the arts. 

blog post

Meet the hosts of MN Opera’s new podcast, crescendo 

We caught up with two members of MN Opera’s Impact team, Rick Hoops (he/they) and Jared Miller (he/him) to discuss their upcoming podcast, crescendo, debuting April 16. Learn a bit about what they will discuss and don’t forget to tune in! (read more)

production team


Rocky Jones (he/him) will produce and edit.


Emilia Mettenbrink (she/her) will handle guest relations, scheduling, and logistics. 

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