Matthew Vala

Education Director 

Matthew Vala received his Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Illinois State University, Masters of  Public Administration with Certification in Management of Nonprofit Organizations from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas studying with American tenor, Ricard Croft.


Central Illinois stage credits include Aeneas in Dido & Aeneas, Martin the Copland’s The Tender Land, John Adams in 1776, and Illinois State University’s Night of Opera singing works from La Traviata and Candide. He has worked professionally in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area in Lyric Stage’s Sweeney Todd and Ragtime; Watertower Theatre’s Urinetown: The Musical and Man of La Mancha; and Casa Manana’s South Pacific. He has played Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda, Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The Repertory Theatre Company and Hoogland Center for the Arts, Shrek in Shrek the Musical, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in Concert and Jamie in The Last Five Years.


Matthew is the Education Director at the Hoogland Center for the Arts (HCFTA) in Springfield, Illinois.  Since its creation in 2012, his vision for fine arts education has provided Central Illinois with the premier youth and adult performing arts education program fostering a safe environment nurturing creative talent, supporting positive self-image, and infusing artistic leaders into the community.  Some of the productions he has directed for HCFTA include Joseph and the Amazing Tehcnicolor Dreamcoat, Frozen, Matilda, Beauty & the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, James and the Giant Peach, Tarzan, the 2014 Hoogland Gala - La Cage Aux Folles, Shrek: The Musical, Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr., and the 2011 Hoogland Gala production of Ragtime. He also directed and designed the Springfield Muni Opera's The Wizard of Oz, musical directed Gordon Productions/HCFTA’s Smokey Joe's Cafe, The Fantasticks, Nunsense and Ain’t Misbehavin’, Springfield Theatre Centre’s (STC) Company, Over the Moon Productions/HCFTA’s Parade, and also directed HCFTA’s hit teen production of Grease.  At Sangamon Auditorium, he has music directed the Central Illinois premieres of both High School Musical and High School Musical 2. 


Before Matthew’s move to the Hoogland, he was the music teacher at Calvary Academy (directing both Seussical: The Musical and Cinderella), continues to teach as a private voice in central Illinois, and is a guest clinician in middle school and high schools helping instill high levels of artistry in presenting musical theatre.




Autumn Meyer

Director of Dance

Autumn is a graduate of Millikin University, with her degree in Nursing and Minor in Dance. She is currently working at St. John's Children's Hospital as a registered nurse in pediatrics.  Autumn is an alumnus and choreographer for the Hoogland Education Program.  At Millikin, she has performed with the Alabama Ballet Company in the Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Moscow Ballet Company in the Great Russian Nutcracker, as well Millikin's Solstice Dance Concert. Locally, she has performed with Springfield Muni Opera, in her most recent production of Legally Blonde the Musical last summer, as well as many productions since 2011. She has also performed in many productions with the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield Theatre Centre, Springfield Ballet Company, and other organizations.