Life in the Arts

Life in the Arts awardees are those alumni who have the character, talent, drive and determination to pursue their passion as their livelihood. Our inductees come from the stage, screen, classroom, backstage and rehearsal halls. They are passionate about their art and create at the highest level within their domain. For more information about Life in the Arts, contact

2023-24 Awardee

Dav Yendler

Dav Yendler ’03 – Theater

  • At Harker: Van Helsing in “Dracula,” Dentist in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” among others.
  • Theater degree with focus on acting from University of California, San Diego
  • Spent junior year in London, with focus on directing and running his own improv team
  • At UCSD was the coach of a short form comedy team called “Foosh”
  • After college worked as intern, directing assistant, dramaturg and director for various Chicago theaters
  • Designed marketing art for Chicago’s premier queer theater About Face Theatre, and eventually became full-time illustrator

2022-23 Awardee


Grace Hudkins ’08 – Theater

  • At Harker: Bel Canto, Cantilena, four fall plays and four spring musicals, and was a Student Directed Showcase director
  • Holds an M.A. in theater education from University of Northern Colorado, 2019
  • Launched and expanded the elementary drama program at Chadwick International School in Songdo, South Korea
  • Since 2020 has worked at Hanoi International School in Vietnam, greatly expanding the school’s theater program to all secondary grade levels

2021-22 Awardee


Steve Boyle ’06 – Theater

  • Performed in Conservatory productions of “Hamlet” (2003), “A Comedy of Errors” (2005) and “Guys and Dolls” (2006)
  • Studied artistic entrepreneurship, directing and producing at New York University
  • Designed and directed immersive theater experiences for History San Jose
  • Founded Epic Immersive, which creates 360-degree theater experiences, in 2014

2020-21 Awardees


Daniel Cho ‘11 – Musical Theater

  • Inspired to join performing arts as a seventh grader after seeing Downbeat perform
  • Member of the 2011 “Pippin” cast that performed at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Trained in the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program
  • Danced professionally for two years with Ohio’s Verb Ballets
  • Performed “Romeo and Juliet” in Havana, Cuba
  • Now lives and works as a performer in New York City

Audrey Kwong ’07 – Instrumental Music

  • Began playing violin at 2 ½ years old
  • Toured Europe as a member of Harker’s orchestra
  • Performed with Cantilena and Bel Canto, and in middle school dance productions
  • Received bachelor’s degree in music from USC and master’s in arts management from Carnegie Mellon
  • Performed under John Williams and Michael Tilson Thomas while at USC
  • Now works as artistic operations manager at St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

2019-20 Awardees


Kim Wong ’05 – Musical Theater

  • Harker Lifer
  • Harker highlights: 42nd Street (Peggy Sawyer); Dracula (Mina Harker), Hamlet (Gertrude), Downbeat, Cantilena, and 12 years of dance production
  • Drama degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts
  • Recurring and guest starring roles on HBO, NBC, CBS, The CW, Netflix, including Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, FBI: Most Wanted
  • Co-founder/co-artistic director of New York City’s Accidental Shakespeare Company, 2011-14.
  • Has performed in 31 Shakespeare productions, spanning 18 plays and 66+ different roles

Diana Nichols (1942-2018) – Performing Arts Visionary

  • Dedicated her final years at Harker to opening the Rothschild Performing Arts Center
  • Longtime lover of the arts
  • Constant support to the performing arts department at every division, and especially during the formation of the Conservatory

2018-19 Awardees


Gabrielle DeMers ’03

  • Performed in productions of “Little Shop of Horrors” (2001) and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2002)
  • Received Conservatory certificates in Vocal Music and Theater
  • Holds a bachelor’s degree in music from USC’s Thornton School of Music and a master of music in opera performance from University of Maryland, College Park
  • Has performed as a principal artist or soloist with Maryland Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, The Young Victorian Theatre Company and Opera AACC

DJ Blickenstaff ‘09

  • Appeared in Conservatory productions of “Urinetown” (2007), “Annie Get Your Gun” (2008) and “The Music Man” (2009)
  • Received Harker Conservatory certificate in Musical Theater
  • Part of Harker’s first-ever group to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Earned BFA from the University of Southern California
  • Professional credits include roles in NBC’s “Colony” and “Sean Saves the World” and Netflix’s “Dear White People”
  • Appeared in Geffen Playhouse’s 2022 production of “The Inheritance”