Current Graduate Students in Music
Will Childress is pursuing a master's of musicology at MTSU where he previously graduated
with a bachelor's of art in music education with a minor in anthropology, and where
he currently works under Dr. Mei Han at the Center for Chinese Music and Culture.
His main instrument is the sheng, the Chinese wind organ, but due to his past degree
is proficient in quite a few wind instruments. Will's areas of study include ethnomusicology
focused on eastern Asia, cultural exchange, archaeomusicology, and the musicology
of wind band.
Coming from Bowling Green, KY, Andrew Dyer graduated from Western Kentucky University
where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. As a percussionist, his
instrument of choice is the steel pan. During his time at WKU, Andrew enjoyed performing
with the steel band and percussion ensemble, and playing vibes in the jazz ensemble.
He was also the principal percussionist for the wind ensemble and a cellist in the
orchestra. Through recitals he has performed percussion solos, chamber music, and
jazz combo pieces. Andrew has arranged pieces for steel band, jazz combo, and percussion
ensemble that have been performed at WKU, with his most recent steel band arrangement
being performed at WKU’s 2022 annual PRISM Concert. He plays hand drums for Glasgow’s
High Fidelity as a guest performer and he has played steel pan with tuners from Mannette
Musical Instruments for a performance/demonstration. While attending WKU, he worked
as a band manager for the concert and marching bands and as percussion coordinator
for his studio where he managed inventory, transported equipment, and set up for rehearsals.
He has also worked as a percussion instructor for schools in Bowling Green and Franklin,
KY since 2018 and for WKU’s front ensemble in 2020. Andrew is excited to be attending
MTSU and working towards his M.M. in Jazz Studies.
Gyuhee Kim is from Seoul, South Korea. She was a distinguished scholarship student
at Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, where her undergraduate studies
were with Dr. Sooyeon Lee. She has participated in the East/West International Piano
Festival, numerous masterclasses, and has been a prizewinner in the Ulsan University
Music Competition. She has extensive experience as a church musician and piano teacher
of all ages. Her students have received prizes and special recognitions in numerous
competitions and events. In 2019 she completed training with ConKo, one of Korea’s
most prestigious early music instruction programs. Ms. Kim is a Graduate Assistant
in the piano area, where she accompanies students and teaches class piano.
Taylor Kosman comes from the Birmingham, AL area and has been a resident there for
the past decade. A 2020 graduate of the University of Montevallo Music Department,
he studied woodwinds under Dr. Lori Ardovino, the art of jazz under Dr. Joe Ardovino,
and several other genres and disciplines under various faculty members during his
time there. Taylor is a bandleader in the 151st Alabama Army National Guard Band,
where he fronts a contemporary brass band - the Youngbucks Brass Band - and performs
on saxophones across the state of Alabama and in the Mobile, AL area for Mardi Gras
festivities each year. He serves as a regular substitute for several ensembles across
the central Alabama region on saxophone and woodwinds, is a regular at jam sessions
in the local Birmingham scene, while providing private instruction since moving to
the area at schools and music stores alike. He can also be seen occasionally sporting
a trumpet in his home studio or to honor fallen veterans at funerals. aylor will be
beginning his journey towards a M.M. in Jazz Studies starting in the Fall of 2022
after a short hiatus to perform full-time Army duties and perform in his community
in his free time.
Emma Maguire graduated Magna Cum Laude from North Greenville University in 2018, where
she studied Piano Performance with Mr. Fabio Parrini and Spanish with Dr. Victor Prieto.
While at NGU, she also became a member of the Kappa Eta Chapter of the Society of
Pi Kappa Lambda. Emma has continued to engage in music through several different avenues
since graduating, including maintaining a teaching studio in Clemson, SC, serving
as the choir accompanist/assistant music director at Young Memorial ARP Church in
Anderson, SC, and working as a staff accompanist at Clemson University. Emma will
begin her MM in Collaborative Piano in Fall 2022 under Dr. Arunesh Nadgir, under whom
she'll also be completing her GTA as an accompanist. In her spare time, Emma enjoys
playing concertina with Irish music groups, maintaining her skills in Spanish, and
staying active through Cuong Nhu (a Vietnamese martial arts style), kayaking, and hiking.
Transplant from Germantown, MD, Hunter McDonald is thrilled to be pursuing his MM
in Clarinet Performance at MTSU! He previously earned his bachelors degree in clarinet
performance from Towson University, where he studied with Dr. Lynda Dembowski, principal
clarinet of the US Naval Academy Band. During his time at TU he had performed as the
concertmaster with the TU Wind Ensemble and principal clarinet of the TU Symphony
Orchestra. After winning the 2022 Concerto Competition, he also performed as a soloist
with the TU Wind Ensemble. He has performed under the baton of renowned conductors,
such as Victoria Gau of the National Symphony Orchestra, and Col. Timothy Holtan of
the US Military. Additionally he has performed in sample recordings for composer Brian
Balmages and Grammy-nominated composer Jonathan Leshnoff. A passionate educator, Hunter
has co-hosted multiple online workshops about preparing for undergraduate music auditions
as well as how to learn to double on multiple woodwinds. He also maintains a private
studio where his students have excelled in their band classes and have found a new
love for clarinet under his instruction. To learn more, you can visit hlmcdonaldmusic.com
Seth is a native of Franklin, Tennessee. He recently graduated from Lipscomb University
with a Bachelors of Arts in music. While at Lipscomb he studied with professor Jeffery
Scot Wills and professor Simon Yeh. While attending Lipscomb he played lead tenor
saxophone in the jazz ensemble and Baritone saxophone in the wind ensemble. He is
excited to pursue a masters in jazz studies!
I am currently teaching at McEwen High school! I teach k-12 while the elementary
school does not have a music teacher. I normally teach 6-12. I completed my Undergrad
at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. I have been in the classroom for 4
years and hope to be here a while longer. In my free time I enjoy quilting!
Sarah Queener was raised in Knoxville, TN. After graduating with honors from East
Tennessee State University with her Bachelor's of Music, specialized in vocal performance,
she has decided to pursue her Master's in Vocal Performance here at MTSU. She has
participated in vocal competitions and won first place in the Voce Virtuoso Competition
'22, as well as being part of many different singing groups during her undergraduate
degree. She will be one of the graduate teaching assistants for the department. Sarah
is very excited for the opportunity to learn about, share, and make music with the
students and faculty of MTSU.
Shawn Reed currently serves as the Assistant Conductor of the Concert Orchestra at
Middle Tennessee State University where she is earning her Masters in Music, specializing
in Orchestral Conducting. She also serves as the director of the String Ensemble for
Nashville Notes in Franklin, TN. Having received her Bachelors degree in Piano Performance
from Colorado Mesa University in her early twenties, she has spent the time in-between
her collegiate studies: teaching music, running worship departments, teaching private
lessons, raising a family, and traveling extensively with her husband as worship leaders
and worship team consultants. Shawn has a passion for leading and directing musicians
of all ages and is honored to be a part of the music department at MTSU.
Originally from St. Louis Missiouri, Carly began playing piano at the age of two,
and violin at the age of eight. Her debut quartet performance with the Concord String
Quartet allowed her to perform with Quartet San Francisco in 2011. She holds a Bachelors
in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Violin Performance from Belmont University. Before
her years of missionary work, she spent her time serving as Concertmaster of the Belmont
Symphony & Chamber Orchestras, playing concerts at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center,
and studio recording in Nashville. Her violin has taken her around the world for concerts
and festivals in NYC, LA, Disney World, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Carly has
performed in masterclasses for Josef Spacek and Jun Iwasaki, and studied with Tena
White. Dabbling in commercial and CCM bands, she’s opened for Eli Young Band and Kaycee
Musgraves, toured with The Vigil Project, and performed in the FOCUS Collective with
Sarah Kroger and Ricky Vazquez at the annual SEEK conference. She is currently pursuing
her masters degree from Middle Tennessee State University and resides in Murfreesboro
TN. She has been teaching privately for nine years. When she’s not playing violin,
Carly enjoys any sport that gets her outside, reading in her hammock drinking quality
coffee, golfing, and lake life at her family cabin in Wisconsin.
Performing user-friendly music, Sophia Suante creates stories without needing to speak a word. Her audience sees the clarity in
her performances and understands the story it's trying to speak using percussion as
her medium. Programming music with unambiguous melodic lines, Sophia captivates the
audience with her wit and charm on stage. During her undergrad, she was involved with several ensembles. For example, she has
studied and performed in Advanced South Indian with Poovular Sriji, Advanced Afro-Cuban
with Jose Aponte, and the 2 O’Clock Steel Band with Mark Ford. Sophia is also a contracted
member of the Santa Clara Vanguard's front ensemble for the 2020 and 2021 season.
As an educator, Sophia has worked with Highland Park High School from Dallas, Texas,
winning several drumline competitions in the DFW Area such as HEB Drumline Contest
and the Lonestar Classic Drumline Competition in 2021. Currently, she is a private
lesson instructor at Forney ISD. Currently, she is a front ensemble technician at
various Williamson County Schools and the Band of Blue at Middle Tennessee State University.
Sophia has a degree in Percussion Performance at the University of North Texas. She
has studied with the UNT faculty with big names such as Mark Ford, Paul Rennick, and
Christopher Deane, as well as Dallas-Fort Worth educators John Bingaman, Team Islas,
and Drew Lang. Sophia keeps up to date with her social media account on Instagram (@sophia_suante) and posts bloopers of outtakes she has from recording sessions from several projects
she is working on. Presenting as transparent, she updates her followers with current
performances or upcoming projects by showing the behind the scenes look into an involved
María Angélica Trujillo
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Maria obtained her Music degree with an emphasis on cello
performance at the Sergio Arboleda University, in Bogotá. In this institution she
began her experience in chamber ensembles and popular music with Latin American rhythms.
Since 2017, she has been a cello, double bass and musical initiation teacher for children
at the Musical Training Project of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a space
in which she developed a series of audiovisual tools to enhance musical learning with
playful activities, as well as her own adaptations and arrangements to engage children
in different musical genres as part of their instrumental practice. Currently, she’s
seeking a new path in the Master’s program in Musicology, and is a Graduate Assistant
in the same department.
Christine Whelchel has been a piano and violin teacher, church organist, and choir
director in Middle Tennessee for 20 years. She is a graduate of The University of
Memphis where she studied piano with Daniel Fletcher. Christine is a piano performance
major and GTA at MTSU studying with Dr. Adam Clark. When not at school and work, she
enjoys spending time with her husband and three teenagers. Her hobby is trivia and
she was a Jeopardy contestant in 2022.
Coming from Northeast Ohio, Charlotte Daugherty is a 2020 graduate of Kent State University
where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She will be a first year
GTA for the MTSU percussion studio while pursuing her MM in Percussion Performance.
Charlotte was the principal percussionist for the KSU Wind Ensemble and was a featured
soloist/chamber player in the KSU Percussion Ensemble. At Kent State she was named
the 2019 Bandsperson of the Year, President of KSU’s OCMEA chapter, Vice President
of KSU’s Percussion Society, and a member of Delta Omicron. In 2019, Charlotte was
selected to perform in the PASIC All-Star Collegiate Percussion Ensemble where she
worked personally with Anders Astrand, James Campbell, Fransisco Perez, and other
world-renowned percussionists. Amidst her studies and concert percussion priorities,
she also has a passion for the marching arts due to her heavy involvement in Winterguard
International and Drum Corps International. She marched three seasons of Matrix Performing
Arts and two seasons of The Phantom Regiment where she was named Member of the Year
in 2019. During her time at MTSU, Charlotte will help out with the Band of Blue and
looks forward to working and learning with the faculty and students at MTSU.
Gavyn Frankenfield is a graduate from West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCU),
where he studied Music Education. Gavyn was a part of the Sudler Trophy recipient
West Chester University Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band where he served as
section leader. During his time at WCU, he was instructed by Dr. Jonathan Fowler on
tuba. Gavyn will be pursuing a Master of Music degree in tuba performance at Middle
Tennessee State University starting the fall of 2021. Gavyn has performed at the College
Band Director’s National Association national conference in Tempe, Arizona with the
WCU Wind ensemble as well as recorded multiple CDs with the group. Gavyn went on to
serve as the principal tubist for West Chester’s top ensemble the following year.
Gavyn has been fortunate to be able to perform in masterclasses for Mr. Jonathan Dorn,
Mr. Andrew Hitz, and Dr. Aaron Tindall. Gavyn will be dividing his GTA time with Dr.
Reed Thomas helping with the bands, and Dr. Christopher Combest in the low brass department.
Mark-Aaron Hilliard is the band director at Columbia Academy, having held that position
since 2018. He teaches all levels of band and a guitar class. Mark-Aaron previously
taught at Zion Christian Academy for sixteen years. In 2002 he received a Bachelor
of Music in Music Education (Summa Cum Laude, In Cursu Honorum) from Tennessee Technological
University. As a drummer, he recently recorded an album as part of the duo Blind
Shelley with his uncle Kevin Jones. He is married to Celeste, and together they have
three children: Charlie, Isaac, and William.
Carl Keating’s spark for music was ignited when his sister gifted him a Disney’s Great Composers record album at age six. A native of Southeast Texas, he played the trombone and
once marched at the Astrodome. He earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education
from Lamar University, studying voice under Joseph Truncale. He sang in all university
choirs and performed in its production of La bohème and the Cardinal Singers show choir. Carl taught music at the elementary level in Texas and Tennessee for many years and
is now in his third year as Choir/General Music teacher at La Vergne High School.
He also enjoys playing guitar, piano, and harmonica in local restaurants and clubs.
DAVE RAGLAND is a four-time EMMY-nominated composer, vocalist, and educator. Hailed
as “über-talented” and “Nashville’s go-to composer” by the Nashville Scene, Dave received
an EMMY nomination for composition and music direction for the Frist Art Museum’s
Nick Cave FEAT. Nashville. Dave is the recipient of the 2022 Adams-Owens Composition
Prize from the African-American art Song Alliance. Dave was awarded Outstanding Music
Director by First Night Honors for Nashville Repertory Theater’s “Ragtime”.
Dave received the 2021 American Prize in Composition, two Telly Awards, and two EMMY
nominations for Nashville Opera’s first ever commission, ONE VOTE WON - an opera commemorating
the centennial of Women’s Suffrage. Dave has also served as Artist-in-Residence for
OZ Arts Nashville during its 2020-2021 Season as he prepared for the debut of his
opera STEAL AWAY in collaboration with Inversion Vocal Ensemble, Diaspora Orchestra,
and shackled feet DANCE. Dave arranged “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for GRAMMY-nominated opera singer Lawrence
Brownlee for “Concert for Inauguration Day” presented by Washington National Opera. Additional compositional credits include Los Angeles Opera, Portland Opera, Cedar
Rapids Opera, Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Intersection
Contemporary Ensemble, chatterbird, and GRAMMY-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble.
Born in Winchester, Kentucky, Devin Smith received his Bachelor’s degree in Music
Performance at Eastern Kentucky University where he studied with Meg Saunders, Dr.
Colleen Ferguson, and Dr. Sila Darville. He has an eclectic taste in music and has
always enjoyed playing music of many genres. He has been a member of the Eastern Kentucky
University Bluegrass Ensemble since it was created in 2016, and performed a series
of concerts in Colombia, South America playing fiddle under the direction of Pam Perry.
In his time in the EKU Symphony Orchestra, he served as Concert Master for 4 years.
He has played in masterclasses with Dr. Timothy Cuffman, Robert Simonds, Dr. Andrea
Dawson, Chauncey Patterson, Annie Fullard, Jeanita Vriens and Dr. Miroslav Hristov.
He is now pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance at Middle Tennessee
State University studying with Dr. Andrea Dawson.
Logan Barrett is a native of Murfreesboro, TN, and as a recent graduate of MTSU in
saxophone performance (BM, 2019) he is looking forward to exploring the other side
of the baton as a graduate student in conducting. Logan is currently serving his third
year in a row as a staff member of the Mount Juliet High School Band of Gold, as well
as a saxophone and clarinet instructor with Music & Arts. In his spare time, he enjoys
cooking, reading fantasy novels, watching anime with friends and studying new wind
band repertoire. Logan's goal during his time at MTSU is to establish an official
saxophone choir that will last long after he graduates.
Jesse Gibens is a first year GTA for the trumpet area pursuing his master’s degree
in performance. A native of Ripley, MS, Jesse performed at Carnegie Hall with the
Honors Performance series and was a two-year member of the all-state band while in
high school. Jesse received his bachelor’s degree in performance from the University
of Mississippi. While attending Ole Miss, Jesse was the principle trumpet with the
University of Mississippi Wind Ensemble, LOU Orchestra, and Mississippians Jazz Ensemble
and was also the second trumpet in the University Faculty Brass Quintet. He has performed
with the Ohio Light Opera Company, North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Corinth Symphony
Orchestra, his own jazz combo, DU5T, and also with The Bonfire Orchestra, a rock and
country cover band. Outside of performing, Jesse graduated from the Sally McDonnell
Barksdale Honors College and was the president of the University of Mississippi chapter
of Phi Mu Alpha.
Andre Madatian is a guitarist and film composer currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. Andre holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Film Scoring with a minor in Contemporary Conducting
from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He has become inspired by
film music to pursue a career in composition and has written many orchestral and concert
works including an original holiday inspired composition for full orchestra and vocal
duet premiering with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, and a string orchestra
piece entitled "Obliquity for String Orchestra" for the renown Kalistos Chamber Orchestra
in Boston, MA to name a few. Andre composes for numerous music licensing companies and has over 60 placements on 6 television
networks. His recent credits include composing additional music cues for national
television shows including “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, the PGA Tour Championships
Learning Center show on the Golf Channel, "Say Yes to The Dress Atlanta: Season 9"
on TLC, "NFL Monday QB” on CBS Sports, and "The Book of John Gray" on the Oprah Winfrey
Network to name a few. Aside from composing, Andre is also an active touring guitarist as well as an educator
both privately and with an online music company called Soundfly, where he mentors
students from all around the globe in several areas including composition, arranging,
orchestration, and music theory. Andre recently accepted a Graduate Teaching Assistantship with Middle Tennessee State University
and will also be working towards his Masters degree in Music Composition starting
in the Fall of 2020.
Gretta Maguire is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Greenville University, where
she studied Piano Performance with Fabio Parrini. She is currently pursuing her M.M.
with a specialization in Musicology under Dr. Joseph Morgan while working as a graduate
teaching assistant at the MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture under Dr. Mei
Han. A member of the MTSU Chinese Music Ensemble, Ms. Maguire studies erhu (Chinese
two string fiddle) with master performer Xiao Dong Wei. As part of her studies, she
continues her nine-year pursuit of Mandarin. In her spare time, she enjoys playing
cello and piano and visiting her home town of Clemson, SC.
Wendy Payne, a Nashville native in year 9 of teaching, is currently teaching Choir/General
Music/Musical Theatre at Blackman High School. Ms. Payne is a graduate of MTSU with
degrees in Vocal Performance, 2005 and Music Education, 2011. While at MTSU, Ms.
Payne was a member of the Chamber Chorus, Schola Cantorum and the Nashville Opera
Chorus for the performances of Die Fledermaus, La Traviata, and The Magic Flute, all
under the direction of Dr. Raphael Bundage. For the MTSU Opera, Ms. Payne sang the
roles of La Ciesca in Gianni Schicci, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and
Elizabeth in The Crucible. In 1997 Ms. Payne Earned 2nd place at the Beethoven Competition
in Memphis, TN and earned the Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera Regional
Competition. Ms. Payne served as a Music Counselor for Governor’s School for the
Arts from 1995-1998 and also served as the Female Dean of Students for GSFTA from
2016-2019. Ms. Payne is a member of NAfMe, MTVA, TMEA, and ACDA.
Robin Scheufele is a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University with a
Bachelor of Music degree in performance from the Eastern Illinois University. Their
main instructors include Rebecca Johnson, Abigail Walsh, and Deanna Little. They have
been playing the flute for 14 years and have experience teaching private lessons,
directing flute choirs, and managing flute trios.
Eugenia Sosa Barboza
Eugenia Sosa Barboza has a degree in Percussion Performance from Berry College, where
she studied with renowned jazz drummer John David. Sosa is from Montevideo, Uruguay,
therefore setting off her passion for Latin percussion. She is currently pursuing
a Master of Music in Musicology and is a graduate teaching assistant for music appreciation.
Wes Denkins is currently attending Middle Tennessee State University where he is pursuing
his Master of Music in Percussion Performance. He is currently studying under Professor
Lalo Davila and Dr. Brian Mueller. Formerly, Mr. Denkins was the band director at
Morgan County Middle School in West Liberty, Kentucky. Wes received his B.M.E. at
Morehead State University as a student of Dr. Brian S. Mason and Dr. Matthew Geiger.
During his time at Morehead State University, he was a member of the percussion ensemble,
marching band, symphony band, jazz band, concert choir, as well as the Cave Run Symphony
Orchestra. Wes is currently a member of the D’Addario Education Collective and his
professional memberships include the Percussive Arts Society, the National Association
for Music Educators, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. Wes is also a performing
artist for Artifact Percussion
Jared Gabrielle is pursuing a Master of Music degree specializing in Music Performance.
He is studying under Dr. Arunesh Nadgir and serves as a graduate assistant for the
piano department. Jared grew up in Gallatin, Tennessee and studied piano with Mrs.
Cynthia Poole. In 2018 he earned a degree in Music Performance from Tennessee Technological
University under the direction of Dr. Catherine Godes and graduated with honors. While
at Tennessee Tech, Jared was a student liaison and student recruiter for the piano
department. When not doing music related things, he enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending
time with family. In the future, Jared plans to pursue a doctorate degree in his field
and hopes to obtain his dream job of becoming a piano professor.
Sarah Wilfong Joblin
Chicagoian Sarah Wilfong Joblin began her collegiate studies at Berklee College of
Music in Boston, but took a left turn and ended up as a fiddle player in Nashville
before she graduated. After touring the globe as part of the country act Mustang Sally,
she decided to finish her undergraduate degree at MTSU and graduated summa cum laude
in 2018. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Music in violin performance. Sarah’s interest in music extends beyond performance, and in January, 2020, she presented
a paper at the Royal Musical Association/ British Forum for Ethnomusicology’s annual
conference in England. In 2019 she founded the Fiddle and Banjo Society, a student
organization that teaches and plays traditional bluegrass and celtic music. Sarah has worked as a session musician, arrangerG, and educator in Nashville for 15
years; she has released two solo albums of original and traditional fiddle music,
and her playing and arranging have been featured on numerous albums, including the
25th anniversary reissue of Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl album.
Jeffrey Keever, conductor, was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jeffrey graduated
from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music with a Bachelors Degree of Music
in Trumpet Performance in May 2019. He is now pursuing a Master of Music Degree in
Orchestral Conducting under Dr. Carol Nies at Middle Tennessee State University. Jeffrey is currently the head conductor of Middle Tennessee State University’s Concert
Orchestra, and the Assistant Conductor of both the Middle Tennessee State University’s
Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He is additionally a Conducting Assistant and frequent
Guest Conductor to the Curb Youth Symphony and the Middle Tennessee High School Honors
Orchestra. He has previously conducted the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, Vanderbilt
University Chamber Ensembles, the Vanderbilt Opera Studio, the IES Vienna Music Ensemble,
the IES Vienna Vocal Studio, the Blair School of Music Vocal Studio, and the Boston
Conservatory Conductor’s Orchestra. For more information, visit www.jeffreykeever.com.
Born and raised in Morton, Illinois, Adam Kujawa began playing the violin in the 6th
grade through his school district’s orchestra program. In 2015, Adam moved to Nashville,
Tennessee to continue his musical studies at Belmont University. He graduated from
Belmont in 2019, receiving two Bachelor of Music degrees:one in Violin Performance
and one in Commercial Music. Adam’s past performances include concerts with the Peoria
Pops Orchestra, Belmont Symphony, Belmont Chamber Orchestra, Belmont New Music Ensemble,
Trevecca Symphony Orchestra, and Heartland Festival Orchestra. He has also recorded
and toured with a folk-rock band, been a part of many studio sessions, appeared in
music videos, performed in pit orchestras for musicals, operas, and ballets, and performed
in televised specials with artists including Kathy Mattea and Sheryl Crow. Adam is
currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at MTSU, where he is a graduate assistant
for the orchestral studies and string departments. For more information, visit www.adamkujawaviolin.com
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Desmond Ng is a new trombonist to the Nashville scene. Desmond
earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from California State University Northridge,
studying under teachers like Bob McChesney, John Daversa, Gary Pratt, and Matt Harris.
While in college, Desmond played in the university’s top ensembles, including the
internationally ranked Jazz “A” Band, which performed in the 55th Annual Monterey
Jazz Festival. After completing his undergraduate studies, Desmond toured around many
different countries on the Norwegian Pearl as a member of the showband orchestra.
Soon after finishing his contract, Desmond moved to Nashville, where he quickly established
himself as a reputable trombonist. He has performed alongside groups like Judah and
the Lion, the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Jazz Orchestra, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
In 2018, Desmond joined Scott Bradlee’s PostModern Jukebox and toured around the world,
performing for thousands of people. In addition to these artists, other highlights
of Desmond’s performing career include playing with Lee Konitz, Tigran Hamasyan, Alan
Ferber, Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, and Bill Holman.
Jeremy Smith (b.1992) is a composer of chamber works, symphonic works, vocal works,
and music for dance whose influences range from popular music to Bach. His music has
been performed across the Southeast by ensembles such as The Shoals Symphony, Perimeter
Flute Quartet, Shoals Chamber Singers, The Nashville Composers Collective, and Trill
Ensemble. In 2017 he premiered his ballet The Singularity to sell out crowds in Florence, Alabama and has received a steady stream of commissions,
residences, and performances since. Beyond the concert stage, he is a sought after collaborator across genres. He has
worked with a number of DCI and WGI groups including Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps,
Music City Drum Corps, Clarksville Audio Theatre, and Chattanooga Independent. He
currently works as a designer, arranger, and consultant for a myriad of marching ensembles
across the Country. Jeremy is an Alumnus of the University of North Alabama where he received a Bachelors
of Science in Instrumental Music with a Minor in Philosophy.
Syneva Colle is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Tulsa, where she received
her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano and Cello Performance. Since 2010, she has worked
as a collaborative pianist with Nashville professionals and Belmont University students.
As a cellist, she does frequent session work and is a founding member of the Corwin
Trio (www.thecorwintrio.com).Syneva is an accomplished arranger and composer, published through Sheet Music Press.
She has taught private music lessons for over 15 years, and has led seminars and classes
on music history and appreciation. One of her greatest interests is promoting a more
widespread understanding of classical music. Syneva studies cello with Dr. Christine Kim and is pursuing an M.M. in Cello Performance.
She is a proud resident of East Nashville.
David Crosslin began learning guitar at age 11 and was self taught prior to college,
he is currently pursuing his M. M. in Guitar Performance with Dr. William Yelverton.
He graduated from MTSU in 2016 with his B. M. in Guitar Performance where he also
performed in the MTSU Band of Blue (Saxophone), Guitar Ensembles, and Concert Orchestra
(Double Bass). He has performed in master classes with guitarists Jorge Caballero
and Matt Palmer, maintained an active concert performance schedule, teaches privately,
and composes. David is from Tullahoma, Tennessee, where he also participated in Marching
Band, Wind Band, Concert Band, and Jazz Ensemble as a saxophonist growing up. When
not doing anything music related, David works at Walker Library Technology Services
and enjoys playing ping pong, reading, and fishing.
Michaela Cundari is currently pursuing her M.M. in Clarinet Performance. She studies
with Dr. Todd Waldecker and is a graduate teaching assistant for the clarinet studio.
Michaela grew up in Hendersonville, Tennessee. She graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee Technological University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in Music
Education. While at Tennessee Tech, Michaela won the 2016 Derryberry Concerto Competition;
this gave her the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the Bryan Symphony Orchestra. Michaela is a current member of the 572nd Air Force Band- the Air National Guard Band
of the South.
Amber Den Exter
Amber began training as a cellist aged 6 in Australia with Anthea Scott-Mitchell (Newcastle
Conservatorium) and later Susan Blake (Sydney Conservatorium). After moving to New
Zealand in 2006, Amber won places in the Christchurch National Concerto Competition,
the Mazda Foundation National Young Performer of the Year Competition and the Chamber
Music New Zealand National Chamber Music Contest. In 2008 she successfully auditioned
for a place at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany, studying with Professor
Christoph Henkel in the Bachelor of Music program. Whilst studying in Germany, Amber
performed as Associate Section Leader with the Hochschule Kammerorchester, directed
by Prof. Wolfram Christ (Berliner Philharmonika). She also performed solos in studio
concerts and other Hochschule events. In 2011 Amber returned to NZ and obtained
her degree from the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington.
Amber has recently performed in masterclasses for such International artists as Joseph
Lin, Josef Luptak and Alisa Weilerstein. Whist studying in Wellington, Amber also
performed in the NZ premier of Steve Reich’s ’Different Trains’ for string quartet with backing tape. In 2016 Amber began her Masters degree in cello
performance studying with Dr Christine Kim at Middle Tennessee State University. Amber
is also a Graduate Assistant with the string department.
Ke Ding is currently pursuing the Master of Music degree specializing in Music Education
under Dr. Jamila L. McWhirter. Her hometown is Henan province China. She began playing
flute at the age of nine and received her Bachelor’s Degree in music performance at
Jiangxi Agriculture University. During her undergraduate study, she participated in
symphony orchestra for four years and assisted with the music director Wei Yang in
Symphony band. Before attending MTSU she worked in the Léman International School,
which is a premier international school operated by Nord Anglia Education under the
approval of the Ministry of Education of China. In her spare time, she enjoys songwriting
and is fond of learning different musical instruments.
Dakota Dooley is pursuing his M.M. in music education at MTSU. A native of Corinth
MS, Dakota started his musical career with trombone at age eleven. Wanting a stronger
music education than his school could offer, Dakota pursued private lessons under
Bass trombonist Dr. Jason Beghtol. Through Dr. Beghtol’s mentorship, Dakota discovered
a shared passion for bass trombone and this became his primary instrument of choice
by the end of his high school career. Dakota continued his education at the university
of Mississippi under the direction of Dr. Micah Everett, Mr. David Willson, and Dr.
Michael Worthy. At the University of MS, Dakota participated in the wind ensemble
as well as, the Missippian’s, the university’s top jazz ensemble. During his time
with the Mississippians, they received outstanding performance rewards at the Notre
Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival. Dakota concluded his undergraduate education by student
teaching at Booneville High school, a consistently superior performing ensemble, and
one the best in Mississippi. Dakota is now the graduate assistant for all orchestras
at MTSU under the direction of Dr. Carol Nies. During Dakota’s free time, he enjoys
composing and arranging and performing with MTSU’s Jazz ensemble.
Kyle Etges is a Jazz Studies student with a saxophone and composition emphasis, as
well as the graduate assistant for professor James Simmons.Kyle grew up in Denver,
CO, and was an active member of the jazz community there for several years. In 2012,
Kyle graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor's
degree in Music Education and Jazz Studies. Before relocating to Tennessee, Kyle was
a member of the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Denver's premeire big band. He was a
member of Bop Skizzum, who placed 2nd worldwide in Hard Rock Cafe's 2013 International
Battle of the Bands. He also taught woodwinds and violin with El Sistema Colorado,
a nonprofit orchestra program for at-risk youth. Kyle is also an orchestra musician
for Celebrity Cruises. As a composer, Kyle has won multiple contests through the University
of Northern Colorado and Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. In 2011, his arrangement
of John Coltrane's "Resolution" was selected to be performed at the UNC Jazz Festival
with Jeff Coffin and Donny McCaslin. Kyle currently resides with his fiance outside
of Nashville, where he hopes to continue his writing and performing career.
Sarah Hoff is currently pursuing her Masters in Flute Performance. She grew up in
Middle TN and studied Music Education at Tennessee Technological University. While
there she studied under Dr. Roger Martin and attended master classes with flutist
such as Rhonda Larson, Brad Garner, and John McMurtery. Sarah is currently the graduate
assistant for the flute studio under Dr. Deanna Little, and teaches private lessons
at the Music and Art Center.
H.A. Hoffman is pursuing his M.M. in Horn Performance. He is a graduate assistant
for the Brass area, studying with Prof. Angela DeBoer. H.A. is from Salisbury, North
Carolina, and graduated from Western Carolina University in 2016 with a B.S. in Music
Education and a B.M. in Instrumental Music. While attending WCU, he participated regularly
in the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Band, and Artist in Residence Orchestra,
in collaboration with the Asheville Symphony. H.A. was also a member of the Phantom
Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from 2014-2015. Apart from his studies, H.A. is an active
music arranger and brass technician for marching band programs in both North Carolina
Sandra is a Dickson, TN native pursuing a Master of Music degree specializing in Music
Education. She currently teaches K-8 music and chorus in Wilson County. She completed
her first Bachelor’s degree in Music Business at Belmont University and her second
Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Austin Peay State University where she received
the Mabry Music Scholarship for voice and graduated summa cum laude. Sandra has been
performing on stage since the age of nine particularly within the genres of Rock,
R&B, Country, and Funk. She has been a part of many singing groups including collegiate
choirs and a cappella vocal ensembles. Her musical interests also include guitar,
songwriting, and percussion, but her passion for music is rooted in commercial voice
and music education.
Chris Lowry is currently pursing the Master of Music degree in Conducting. He completed
his undergraduate work in Music Education from MTSU, and served for 3 years as a band
director at LaVergne and Smyrna Middle Schools before returning to MTSU. He is a Graduate
Assistant with the MTSU Bands. Originally a native of Morristown, TN, Chris now resides
in Smyrna. Chris is an Innovative Percussion Artist; he is a member of NAfME, TMEA,
and is the current webmaster for MTSBOA.
Taylor Meyers was born in Okinawa, Japan, and was raised in Springfield, Virginia,
right outside of Washington, D.C. In high school, Taylor studied with Mrs. Lois Wynn,
and was a finalist in her school's senior concerto competition in 2012, having the
opportunity to perform The Carnival of Venice with the Lake Braddock Secondary School
Symphony Orchestra. She moved to Morgantown, West Virginia to earn her Bachelor of
Music degree in Music Performance at West Virginia University with a talent-and-merit-based
tuition waiver, studying with Professor Nina Assimakopoulos. While at WVU, Taylor
participated in the Pride of West Virginia marching band and performed in Wind Symphony,
flute choir, and a woodwind quintet. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi for two years.
Taylor was a semifinalist in the school's 2015 Young Artist Concerto Competition,
and was an active performer as both a soloist and a quintet member in many recitals.
Taylor is studying flute performance under Dr. Deanna Little, pursuing the Master
of Music degree in Music Performance. She is a graduate assistant with the flute studio,
as well as a member of MTSU's graduate woodwind trio for a portion of her assistantship
duties. Taylor is also a member of the MTSU Wind Ensemble.
A native of Gallatin Tennessee, Nelson Moore is currently pursuing a Master of Music
in performance specializing in classical saxophone. He is serving as a graduate assistant
for the band department for which he is responsible for maintaining and repairing
instruments owned by the university. Nelson earned his Bachelor of Music in saxophone
performance from MTSU where he studied with Don Aliquo and Dr. Paula Van-Goes. Upon
graduation in 2014, Nelson accepted a staff position at MTSU as an Instrument Repair
Technician and founded his instrument repair business Moore Music Repair. Since its
conception in 2014 Moore Music Repair has developed into a leading instrument repair
source for the Murfreesboro community and is proud to act as the band repair department
for Concert Musical Supply in downtown Murfreesboro. Apart from his work with instrument
repair Nelson is also an active educator and performer. He maintains a private studio
composed of students of all ages, and works with multiple public schools as saxophone
and woodwind instructor. He can be seen performing with the Tennessee Valley Winds
Community Band, Music City Swing, and the Murfreesboro Symphony. Nelson is an active
member of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) and the National Association
of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT).
Nicole Neeley is originally from Murfreesboro, TN and is currently pursuing a Master
of Music degree in performance with a specialization in bassoon with the help of a
graduate teaching assistantship. Her undergraduate degree in music performance was
obtained from the University of Memphis. Professionally she holds the principal bassoon
position in the Corinth Symphony and performs with the Grace Chamber Players. She
is also a recurring guest artist with the Jackson Symphony, the Balmoral Chamber Orchestra,
the Memphis Repertory Orchestra and many other organizations in the Mid-South. She
has released several recordings with different organizations within the past few years
and has been awarded several recognitions including First place in Bach Festival in
2010 and 2011, and Honorable Mention in the MTNA competition in 2009.
Jon Ortiz is a Music Performance student specializing in Percussion under the direction
of Lalo Davila. He is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and works with the Band of Blue
Drumline and assists with any other needs of the Percussion Studio.
Jon grew up in Odessa, Texas and studied percussion with Mr. Jimmy Olague. He graduated
Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Music Education from Texas Tech University in 2016.
While at Texas Tech, he studied with Alan Shinn, Lisa Rogers, David Becker, and Sarah
Mckoin. He is a member of the national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and received
the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Collegiate Music Educator award. He worked
as an ambassador and student recruiter for the Texas Tech College of Visual and Performing
Under the direction of Dr. Lisa Rogers, Jon travelled to Canada and Scotland to perform
with the Steel Band, Apocalypso Now. He was also a member of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland,
Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Opera productions.
While receiving his degree, he performed with the Lubbock Symphony, and with artists
Joshua Bell, Liam Teague, Victor Provost, Mike Mixtacki, Fausto Cuevas, Andres Forero,
and Lalo Davila.
Chris Pfeifer is a graduate teaching assistant in musicology, studying under the direction
of Dr. Stephen Shearon and Dr. Joseph Morgan. Chris grew up on Maryland’s Eastern
Shore and worked as a mechanical designer until 2011, at which point he moved to Lynchburg,
VA to pursue a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar at Liberty University. Upon graduating
summa cum laude in 2014, he returned to mechanical design while working as a church
music director prior to beginning his master’s degree program at MTSU in 2016.
Johnny Richeson is a Jazz Studies student specializing in drum set and percussion.
He is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Percussion Department under the direction
of Lalo Davila. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance
(Percussion) from Coastal Carolina University. Born in Woodbridge, Virginia, Johnny
moved to Pawleys Island, South Carolina in 2005, and began teaching himself to play
the drums. By the age of 16, he was an active member of the live music scene in the
Myrtle Beach area. While at CCU, Johnny performed in a variety of ensembles including:
World Percussion (winner of the 2015 Percussive Arts Society World Percussion Ensemble
Competition), Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensembles, Marching Band (front ensemble and
drumline), and Jazz After Hours (top big band), in addition to starting his own jazz
combo. He was a performer in the South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band (2014,
cond. Dr. Ray Cramer; 2016, cond. Eugene M. Corporon), and the National Intercollegiate
Honor Band (2015, cond. Dr. Ray Cramer), as well as the South Carolina Honors Percussion
Ensemble. He was also a member of a collaborative project called A Hushed Thrill: Brookgreen Gardens, which involved the composition, arranging, and recording of musical ideas by Ron Daise
of the hit children’s television show Gullah Gullah Island. Some of the artists he has performed with include: Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band,
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), Howard Levy, Steve Bailey, Liam Teague, Gregg Bisonnette,
Chris Tanner, Scott Kettner, and Lalo Davila.
Robin Winkowski is pursuing an MM in Orchestral Conducting. She received her BM (Instrumental
Music Education) from MTSU in 2004. Ms. Winkowski has been the director of bands at
Wright Middle Prep and assistant director at Glencliff High School in Nashville since
2005. Under her direction ensembles from Wright have performed at the MTSBOA Concert
Performance Assessment and the Annual Music Advocacy Concert sponsored by the Blair
School of Music. Ms. Winkowski has been the Related Arts team leader, yearbook sponsor
and the assistant director of the 2015 production of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland
at Wright Middle. Ms. Winkowski has performed as a member of the French horn section
with the Rome Festival Orchestra (Italy), the MTSU Symphony, the Curb Youth Symphony,
the Nashville Summer Orchestral Institute and Tennessee Valley Winds. She currently
serves as the orchestral GA, studying conducting with Dr. Carol Nies. Ms. Winkowski
teaches 5th grade music at Wright Middle, is the assistant director of the Glencliff
High School Band, the assistant conductor of the Curb Youth Symphony, the assistant
conductor of the Philharmonia, substitute conductor of the Repertory Orchestra and
assistant conductor of the Nashville Summer Orchestral Institute.
Shan Zheng is from Hangzhou, China. She starts learning music when she was six years
old. The first Chinese instrument that she learned was Guzheng and then she starts
learning other Chinese instrument called Qin when she was in middle school until now.
Shan graduated in spring 2017 from MTSU with a bachelor degree in Music. Her major
is Music Industry in Vocal. Shan is currently pursuing her M.M degree in Music Education
under Dr. Jamila L. McWhirter. Also, she is working at the Center for Chinese Music
and Culture as a graduate teaching assistant. She is helping Dr. Mei Han to teach
Guzheng at the center. Shan has many experiences on the Guzheng. She received a level
ten Guzheng certificate once she was an elementary student meaning the highest award
given. Shan continued on showing her best skills on playing the Guzheng and Qin. She
performed in China's prestigious concert of West Lake Expo in Hangzhou.