Our daughter Jasmine first showed an interest in singing when she was about 10 years old. We noticed she could hold a tune quite well and she was always singing around the house.

It was not until she was in year 6 at primary school that she joined the school choir and we were told that she had a lovely voice with lots of potential. She started private singing lessons once a week at school with the singing teacher. We noticed her voice slowly improving and she was placed in different contemporary bands and vocal ensembles at school. Whilst she enjoys being part of these bands she does not always enjoy the type of music she has to sing. Jasmine loves songs from musical theatre and we noticed her singing more and more of this type of song around the house. We felt it was time to find someone who had extensive knowledge and training in this type of singing to help Jasmine further her vocal training.

I contacted the David Academy of Performing Arts. I had not heard of them before and did some research online and was a little unsure at first as there were no local testimonials or reviews about the company at the time. Well, I decided to phone them and have a chat. I spoke to the very lovely Dinali who told me more about DAPA, its Director Andre and his teaching talents. After a 10 minute conversation I was sure that this would be the right place for Jasmine. I arranged for Jasmine to have a private trial lesson with Andre and now almost 18 months later I am so glad I did!

Andre has a way of making Jasmine feel so at ease and relaxed. He has improved her vocal range so much in such a short time that I wish we had found him earlier! He is able to make her lessons fun and enjoyable – there is always laughter. Andre’s knowledge of vocal training, musical theatre and his teaching techniques have helped Jasmine to not only improve as a singer but to understand more about her voice and just how much potential it has and the range to which it can reach. It is not enough to sing the notes but Andre also explains and teaches how important correct posture, breathing, exercise, rest, food – basically things you would not think of that would be important to be able to sing, he has shown are necessary to achieve greatness. Andre’s skill in picking out parts of songs listening to every little sound and nuance and his ability to “correct” and “adjust” just amazes me. Once Jasmine is shown the correct technique it is amazing how different the notes sound.

Andre is very generous with his time and he will make sure Jasmine is happy with everything and understands what is expected of her for the next lesson. He is very focused on Jasmine when he teaches, and is very calm in his methods. Andre is an extremely likable person who is easy to be around and Jasmine is very comfortable and looks forward to attending his lessons. I know Andre and DAPA are very proud of Jasmine and how far she has come.

In August Jasmine entered a local singing competition which was scheduled for a date whilst Andre and his family were holidaying overseas. The morning of the competition we received an email from Andre wishing Jasmine all the best and that he and Dinali send their love. This was very much appreciated by both Jasmine and us as her parents to know that no matter how well she did that he/DAPA were there supporting her and wishing her well.

Then in September, at 15 years old, Jasmine entered her first WA Regional vocal competition in which she came first and qualified for the National Finals in Melbourne in January. We have no doubt that without the specialised training she has received from Andre she would not have achieved such a fantastic result.

Jasmine’s dream is to get into Musical Theatre at WAPA and further on to a career in Musical Theatre. We know that Andre will be there every step of the way to help her fulfil her dreams. We are excited for the future of Jasmine and for the future of DAPA.

Hayley Dos Santos – mother of Jasmine Dos Santos

Andre and Dinali are both such talented, experienced individuals who are full of passion for music and performing arts that I feel so lucky to be able to be taught, inspired and mentored by them and hope that I might be lucky enough for some of that talent to rub off on me.

I have gained more confidence and inspiration to sing and perform and I truly think you are fabulous and very inspirational.

Lucy Davies – Adult Solo Student

It was on the 2nd of May 2005, that I walked in as a 6 year old girl to the Auditorium together with my mum and dad, to audition for the school. Since then this class has just become a part of me. And now I stand here as a 15 year old, so grateful and ever in debt to my teacher Andre, for moulding me into the person I am today!

This class wasn’t merely a session of vocal training, but dancing, exercising, games and a whole lot of laughter! Andre has not only helped me to grow as a performer but also helped me achieve things I didn’t even know I was capable of. Andre has the talent in making whatever he teaches interesting and a whole lot of fun! With the guidance of Mary Anne and Andre I have secured Silver, Gold, Nation-wide and Out-standing awards at the SLFFA, under Classical, Semi Classical, Ensemble and Choir categories. I have also had the privilege in performing in concerts directed and choreographed by Andre, which I would like to call ‘an experience of a life time’.

I have been immensely blessed to have Andre as my teacher and I am truly grateful to him, for what I have achieved.

Lee-Anne Juriansz – 15 years old

I joined Andre’s classes at the age of 5 and was part of it for 9 years while I was an expat in Sri Lanka. During that period, I was able to take part in several concerts, national competitions, and even a television show, thanks to Andre.
I really miss his classes since they were always fun and different. The physical activities introduced in his classes include performing with chairs, running or hopping around while singing, and lying down lifting legs to the beat while singing really helped me stay fit as well as socialize with many people, which led to many friendships that I still cherish today.
What makes these classes taught by Andre unique, from my perspective, is that not only does he teach his students to improve on their singing ability but also teaches them to really interact with the audience and make them enjoy the show through acting and dancing. Andre taught me to be confident and enjoy interacting with people, which encouraged me to socialize with many different people and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone – not only in his classes but at school and other “life situations” as well.
I can honestly say that these experiences moulded me into who I am today as I learned many life lessons and I encourage everyone to take his classes for I am sure that it will positively impact your life in a big way, as it did for many others.

Jurin Flores – 17 years old

Andre is one of the best teachers I have ever had. He was always there supporting me and giving me advice, not only in the performing aspect, but in life as well. He really cared for each and every one of us, and he was more than just a singing or performance teacher – He was a great mentor for me to have when I was growing up.

As I was a very active kid, I absolutely loved that Andre would have a small fitness or dance session before we began singing in every class. It made the class so much more interesting for me, because sometimes we would have to partner up, and I was able to meet different people in my class, and get to socialize and make friends. Andre also choreographed all of our up tempo numbers and he always played to our strengths as a group. I absolutely loved dancing, so this was another big reason why I loved this school. It was an all round performance based school, and without Andre, it would NOT have been the same.

Aitana Gunaratne – 18 years old

The dream begins, most of the time with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes, and leads you onto the next plateau; sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth and that is how we see “Andre”. Andre & Dinali together will guide and tell you what they expect of you and awaken your child’s own expectation.

Their dedication towards exposing Manil’s hidden talent, believing in him, building his confidence, unlimited attention…….words are truly not enough to express our feelings.

Yet after all the hard work Andre put in for Manil, when he won the Gold at the British Federation Festivals Singing Competition all he had to say was “ It’s the parents true dedication which lead to this” and transferred his glory on to us….

This experience and achievement transformed our son into a different person, he started believing in himself and he started loving what he did….We are waiting to tell him how it all happened and who was behind his musical success story. …………..

All the very best to you both!!!

May you get the opportunity to wave your magic wand to many children……..

SULARI PEREIRA – Parent (Manil’s Mom)

It was at a mere age of 5, when I took my first step into the world of performing arts. The concept of going up on stage was an extra-terrestrial one but the day I joined the Andre’s classes, my life took a tremendous turn. Being a child who could not be active in the field of sport due to health issues, Andre and Mary Anne helped me to gain an opportunity to involve myself in the field of performing arts. Andre, you’ve been the sole reason as to why I am able to step on to the stage and project my voice and you have and will always be my idol when it comes to the world of performing arts.
All young and prospective singers and actors, I urge you to allow yourself to be directed by this maestro, being Andre, and you will be destined to achieve greatness.
On a personal note, I can still recollect the day I auditioned to enter the school, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. It astounds me when I realize how far I’ve come, going on to sing Broadway hits, such as “There’s no business like show business” and more humorous and attention grabbing songs, such as “If I Were A Rich Man” and “Ladies of Calcutta”. It is solely due to Andre’s and Aunty Mary Anne’s direction and teaching and due to their sheer experience and knowledge in this field that I was able to go beyond boundaries and involve myself more in the performing arts and life.
Allow me to extend my view of this fine institution further. The productions and musicals Andre stages are ones of sheer class and unprecedented success. The effort Andre exerts during rehearsals and the manner in which he keeps his students motivated is quite sensational. Mark my word, the hours of rehearsals and the hard work done will be truly rewarded following a concert staged by DAPA or MAS.
Well, Andre, we as your students in Sri Lanka miss your guidance and teachings dearly, yet, we do realize that there is much to gain for all Australians who will be guided by you. Anyone who is or will be directed by Andre is one who is truly blessed as Andre is a true maestro in this field. Andre, sir, thanks for all the memories.
With gratitude and appreciation,

Viren Beruwalage – 16 years old

I started learning under André in 2005 (almost 9 years ago), I was a shy little 6-year-old girl when André first met me but in the past 9 years in the making André made me the person I am today. I try to take part in almost all school activities and I’m a much more social and confident person now, and I know for a fact that if not for Andre I would still be that shy little girl who had only 2 friends. André’s style of teaching is extraordinary he touches each an every one of students hearts and brings out the best in them. He hardly ever gives up on his students and I now this because he never gave up on me. He taught me to believe in myself no matter what people said or thought about me. No matter where I am or how old I get I will always be grateful to André.

Medhusa Amarasinghe – 15 years old

Our three girls were delighted with the experience of attending classes, and being a part of the concerts. It built up their confidence and I also believe they felt in some way satisfied that the privilege their peers had with similar opportunities was theirs also to enjoy – even though they came from an institution and had to live away from parental care.
It also really pleased us to see the marked improvement in the girls ability to sing with confidence.
Thank you for making it possible, even for the less privileged to be a part of DAPA.
DAPA accepted girls from our Childrens home – regardless of their background and social status and offered them the same facilities and opportunities as did kids from well to do families. I say this with gratitude because we have come across those who refused to accept our kids for the simple reason that they came from an institution. We are very grateful to DAPA for their kindness shown – one girl was given the opportunity to sing a solo at the concert and that certainly was a glorious moment for us.

Shanthini Gnaniah: Directress, Ebenezer Gardens Childrens’ Home

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