Meet the Team

Meet the BaDaBoom team of percussionists, drummers, puppeteers and circus artists.
Jess

Jess Hix is the Creative Director and one of the percussive performers in BaDaBoom Ltd.

Jess has enthusiastically immersed herself in music since she made her first beat with a pot and a wooden spoon three decades ago and nothing much has changed, she's still up-cycling discarded odds and ends to make music and Badaboom is her greatest groove yet.

After a Bachelor of Music at the University of Canterbury, five and half years playing percussion with the Royal NZ Navy Band and teaching music in various intermediate and secondary schools in Auckland, NZ, Jess has finally realised her dream to share what she has learnt about music, education and conservation with the tamariki of Aotearoa by creating BaDaBoom. 

As well as running a company, Jess is also involved as a mentor for the Girls Rock! Camp Aotearoa inspiring young females, trans and non-binary identifying musicians to build a career in the music industry. Her other musical credits include playing for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Manukau Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Strike Percussion NZ, National Brass Band of NZ and playing the drum kit for several local bands.

Jess hopes that through BaDaBoom, children can have fun, get creative and be inspired to participate in music and conservation.

Hayley 

Hayley Robertson is a multidisciplinary creative and is the puppet maker and one of the puppeteers, usually playing the part of Maki the Orca, in BaDaBoom.

Being a musician herself, Hayley befriended Jess (creative director) through the live music scene in Auckland where they both perform regularly. When Jess asked her to create the puppets for the story of Maki, she felt she had been gifted the project of her dreams.
As well as designing and making the puppets, Hayley helped co-writing the story, compose some of the music and hosted all the rehearsals at the creative art space charity that she runs in Mt Wellington, Auckland. 

Hayley has a keen interest in highly collaborative projects, where she has the opportunity to use her creative skills to support other artists in the realisation of a combined dream. She chooses projects carefully, favouring those with humanitarian and community-based outcomes. 

Hayley wants to show children that just like hers, their creative voice is valuable and can be heard, they just need to make a sufficient racket! 

Rebecca C

Rebecca Celebuski is a professional percussionist and music teacher and is one of the musicians involved with BaDaBoom Ltd. Hailing from the mighty Gurnee, Illinois, Rebecca began playing percussion at age 11 in order to annoy her parents. She quickly fell in love with the instrument through the many wind bands, orchestras and marching bands of her youth and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree (Hons) from the Royal College of Music and a Master of Arts from the Royal Academy of Music, London. 

Now based in Auckland, New Zealand, Rebecca works regularly with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and teaches percussion and percussion ensemble at several high schools. For four years previously, Rebecca also worked for Sistema Aotearoa where she led the percussion programme and wind band. 

Melissa

Melissa Choo is a multi-instrumentalist based in Auckland and is one of the musicians involved with BaDaBoom Ltd. Originally from Malaysia, her musical journey began with the melodica as a pre-schooler, progressing to the piano, flute and oboe throughout her schooling years. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Auckland, studying composition with Eve deCastro-Robinson and John Elmsly.  Following a prolonged hiatus – in which she built a career in the finance industry, a chance encounter led Melissa to taiko drumming several years ago. It reignited her passion for music and led to her return to the classical music world. She now regularly performs with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra and Kumo Taiko, and is involved in various projects including musical theatre and BaDaBoom. Melissa loves the energy and variety of playing percussion and is eager to impart her passion and knowledge of music to the next generation.

Evelyn

Evelyn Coulson is a full-time circus artist based in Auckland specialising in aerial hoop, hula hoop and partner acrobatics. Starting off recreationally in Wellington when she was 20, it soon became a passion that led her to Montreal, the home of Cirque du Soleil, where she trained full-time for a year from some of the most prestigious coaches and performers in Canada. She has performed in various corporate and community events as well as festivals in Canada, Central America, Indonesia, Australia and of course back home here in New Zealand. In 2016/2017 she toured with Momentom Collective throughout California, Mexico and Central America as a performer and teacher. In 2019 she toured again with the Wandering Circus around Australia as a performer and teacher. Festivals she has performed at include Coastella (2019, New Zealand), Newtown Festival (2018, New Zealand) Wanderlust (Canada, 2018), Cosmic Convergence (Guatemala, 2017) and Envision Festival (Costa Rica, 2017).

Evelyn now teaches circus in Auckland at Circability and performs for various circus companies in New Zealand for corporate events, festivals and local community events. She has joined Badaboom as a puppeteer/physical performer to narrate Maki’s story through the ocean with puppets and circus inspired props

Becks B

Rebecca Bilyard is an Auckland based circus artist specializing in hoops, character work and family entertainment. Rebecca trained professionally in circus arts in Christchurch in 2010 including learning mime, mask work and clowning; the perfect skill set to bring the wildlife puppets in the BaDaBoom show to life! Rebecca has a passion for creative performance arts for families and young people to share joy, inspiration and positive messages, especially about our environment. Her regular work as a circus artist includes a unique hula hoop and contortion show; teaching social circus for fun, fitness and confidence; as well as collaborative circus stage shows with juggling, hooping, comedy, partner acrobatics and acrobatic chair balance. She has toured with pantomime, magic and circus shows around New Zealand sharing her artistry and performance skills. Rebecca is excited about collaborating with the team of professional musicians, composers, prop builders, and other performance artists bringing BaDaBoom to life and using art to inspire young people to be involved in caring for our environment.

Ben

Ben Sarten is BaDaBoom's exclusive photographer, videographer and hype man. 

Inspired by the kaupapa of BaDaBoom, Ben joined the team to bring Maki’s story to the world.
He has worked collaboratively for over a decade with local creatives like Te Pou Maori Theatre, The Dust Palace Circus Company, Circability Company and local bands including Cricket Farm, Tweed & Those Lethals.

He is not shy of danger, working on the front lines of environmental and social activism with organisations such as Greenpeace and the Choose Clean Water Campaign. Travelling to Nepal, Mexico, Fiji, the USA and all over New Zealand searching for stories of passionate people fighting to change the world.

Ben loves working with BaDaBoom and hopes to continue bringing children into conservation in a fun and creative way.