Note: This page is used to set up the bios and photos for the Connections plug-in, which sets up the Musicians page.
Ruth Berry – cello, Artistic Director of In Praise of Music
Ruth is cellist and founding member of the Fenimore String Quartet, the Magellan String Quartet, the Continuo Collective of the South, and Trio d’Esprit. She gives recitals of popular classics with Ensembles Intermezzo, performs with and is Artistic Director of the musician-run chamber orchestra, Lyra Vivace, and manages a unique musician booking service, In Praise of Music. During the summers, she performs with Glimmerglass Opera, where she specializes in solo continuo work for 17th- and 18th-century repertoire.
Ruth has designed entertaining educational programs for chamber ensembles: Her Tin Pail Tales interactive performances for pre-school children are popular at Early Childhood learning centers and other literacy development programs; her Global Navigation with the Magellan String Quartet programs were for many years enjoyed by K-6 graders throughout the state of Georgia.
She has taught cello, music theory and music appreciation at Georgia Southern University during the 18-year faculty residency of the Magellan String Quartet. She has taught at Mansfield University, did research for the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and wrote program notes for Encore. Ruth has performed in masterclasses for Yo Yo Ma and Janos Starker, held several principal cello positions (including 16 years as Principal Cello of the Augusta Symphony and over 20 years of the Augusta Opera) and has recorded with the Syracuse Society for New Music. She has worked as education director and grants administrator with the Greenville (SC) Symphony, and has worked as orchestra personnel manager for the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra and the Binghamton Philharmonic.
Ruth received a B.Mus from Boston University (where she studied cello with Leslie Parnas and received the Edwin E. Stein Award for Excellence in the Arts). Her graduate degree and studies at Cornell University were in musicology, analytical techniques and performance practice. A native of upstate New York, she is the proud owner of the historic Kitt Shipman Catlin Memorial Chapel in Springfield Center, NY.
Jonathan Aceto – violin, viola, conductor, composer
Dr. Jonathan Aceto holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Arizona State University and has studied with Eric Rosenblith, Catherine Tait, Ronald Copes and Dr. Marla Mutschler. He has received training the chamber music from members of the Juilliard and Fine Arts String Quartets and at summer festivals, including Kneisel Hall, Yellowbarn and Meadowmount.
Jonathan has extensive experience in higher education, teaching at Augusta State University, the University of South Carolina at Aiken, Mercer University and Georgia Southern University. He has taught at several summer institutes, including the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Augusta State University Conservatory Orchestra Camp and the Maine A.S.T.A. Summer Conference. Currently, he teaches at East Georgia State College and is the Director of the Statesboro String Program.
Jonathan’s experience extends to orchestral playing, having performed in numerous professional orchestras including the Phoenix and Hilton Head Symphonies and the Heidelberg Festival Orchestra. He has been concertmaster of the North Arkansas and Macon Symphonies and the Augusta Opera Company and is equally at home leading the second violin section, having been principal second of the Augusta Symphony for eight years. Jonathan enjoys playing opera and had the rare experience of performing Wagner’s Ring Cycle twice as a long-time member of the Arizona Opera Orchestra. He has also performed in the orchestra for the Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, and its American counterpart, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston.
Another source of pride for Jonathan is playing chamber music. He has been a member of the Magellan String Quartet, which has performed over much of Eastern America, from Valdosta, GA. to Saranac, N.Y., and abroad, including Vienna, Prague, Bavaria and Xalapa, Mexico. Jonathan is also a founding member of the chamber orchestra Lyra Vivace and the piano trio Trio d’Esprit.
Marina Alexandra, guitar
Marina Alexandra has established herself as a dynamic performer with a powerful stage presence. Finger Style Guitar Magazine described her as an "amazing player that commands the guitar with world-class technique and musicianship that is uncommon." She has received awards in several guitar competitions, including the Music Teachers National Association State and Regional Competitions and semifinalist in the 6th annual Edwin H. and Leigh W. Schadt National String Competition for classical guitar.
Marina has a concert career spanning the last fifteen years, taking her to Piccolo Spoleto Festival, National Public Radio, Allentown Radio, and hundreds of venues, including colleges and museums throughout USA. She has released two albums including, Timeless Enchantment (Baroque, Classical, Modern, and Latin-American music) and A Moment of Magic (modern music by Russian composer, Nikita Koshkin). Her last CD received high praises from such prestigious music magazines as Soundboard, Classical Guitar (UK) and American Record Guide.
Marina Alexandra was born in the Ukraine, where she began her guitar studies at the age of six. In 1996, she immigrated with her family to the United States, and in 1998, she was awarded an assistantship to earn her Master of Music degree at the University of South Carolina. She has served on the faculties of Furman University, University of South Carolina-Aiken, SC, Wingate University, and Columbia College. Marina is both founder and director of the Guitar Muse Society and the Southern Guitar Festival and Competitions. Her foundations have given opportunities for young guitarists to learn and compete in the southeast and around the entire United States.
Linda Banister, vocalist (mezzo-soprano)
A frequent solo recitalist and guest artist, Linda has performed on concert stages throughout the central and southeastern United States, Hong Kong, and central Italy. She is popular at conferences, clinics, workshops and symposiums around the country with a variety of choral and vocal music genres and subjects, and has served as a vocal adjudicator throughout the United States, and over the oceans to Europe and East Asia.
Linda has sung a wide range of operatic roles and has shared her talent and experience with several regional arts organizations, including the Augusta Opera, Augusta Choral Society and the Aiken Choral Society. Her devotion to the arts in Augusta, Georgia, also extends to artistic leadership with several groups, including the Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society, the Augusta Opera, the Morris Museum, and the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. Linda also serves as a member of the governor’s cabinet for the Southeast Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
A native North Dakotan, Linda holds a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Missouri in Columbia and earned a Doctor of Music degree in voice performance from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She teaches studio voice and opera workshop at Augusta State University in Augusta, Georgia.
Richard D. Brasco – conductor, educator
Richard is an educator and conductor, specializing in (but not limited to) wind ensembles. Richard teaches at Augusta State University, where he conducts the ASU Conservatory Wind Symphony and high school division of the ASU Summer Band Camp. His active retirement, following thirty-five years of work in Georgia and South Carolina as a music educator and conductor, also includes directing professional CSRA wind players as the Conductor of Savannah River Winds. Under his direction, the Savannah River Winds has received many honors, including the John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Silver Scroll Award and a recording contract with the C.L. Barnhouse Publishing Company.
Richard is frequently engaged as clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor all over the globe, including opportunities in London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland and Alaska, and throughout the USA, including the SouthEast tour of the United States Army Field Band, the University of Georgia Winter Music Festival, and numerous national conventions and symposiums. He has trained concert, jazz, and marching bands to perform high level music on a high level (consistent Superior ratings), including national tours to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London, and the Easter Festival in Maastricht, Netherlands.
Richard was nationally featured with the "Educators Who Make A Difference" article in Band and Orchestra. His other honors include four National Band Association Citations of Excellence, three ASBDA/Stanbury Awards, the ASBDA Career Achievement Award, the Teacher of the Year Award, three Star Teacher Awards, and the WJBF "Golden Apple Award."
A native of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, Richard has a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. He lives in North Augusta, South Carolina, with his wife Barbara. Their son, Craig, lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife Erika, daughter Natalie, and son Nicklaus. Their daughter Mia, lives in Aiken, South Carolina, with her husband C. Allen Miller and their daughter Penelope.
Neil Casey – violin, conductor
An active violinist, Neil often serves as Concertmaster with the Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society. He is a member of the Excelsior Trio, which placed third in the nation at the MTNA Collegiate Chamber Music Competition. Neil was Concertmaster and soloist for the premiere performance of the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra in 2010. He served as Associate Concertmaster of the Augusta Symphony for many years and performed as guest concertmaster for the South Carolina Philharmonic and Savannah Sinfonietta.
Neil is Assistant Director of orchestras at the University of South Carolina, as well as the conductor of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra in Savannah, Georgia. At USC, he teaches conducting, violin, chamber music, conducts Opera at USC and the USC Campus Orchestra. His numerous conducting opportunities range from a post as Assistant Conductor of the Augusta Symphony, across the USA as guest conductor for orchestras such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Richmond Symphony (in his native state of Virginia), and to international acclaim as guest conductor Karelian Philharmonic Orchestra (Petrazovodsk, Russia). He was the founding conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras and Resident Conductor of the Shenandoah Performing Arts Camp.
Neil earned both his B.A. in music education and violin performance, and his M.M. in orchestral conducting from the University of South Carolina.
Manda Cawthon – oboe
Manda is an oboist and music educator. She studied oboe with Kelly Odell and then earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Georgia. While attending the University of Georgia, she was chosen to travel to Porto Alegra, Brazil, to perform with the Orquestra Sinfonica de Porto Alegre. After college, she went on to teach elementary music in Georgia and North Carolina. She has also directed elementary and high school choirs.
An Augusta native, Manda returned to Augusta in 2005. She has performed throughout Georgia and South Carolina and enjoys playing in many different settings. She is a preschool music teacher and volunteers her time to teach literacy through music to Kindergarteners. She also directs a children’s choir at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church.
Manda and her husband, Matt, live in Augusta with their four children. She enjoys adventure racing, singing and dancing with her many young students and, of course, making reeds.
Kathryn Cheney – trumpet
Kathryn performs regularly with the Augusta Choral Society, other regional collaborative orchestras, and with the Crescent Brass Quintet. She teaches at Augusta State University and in her private studio. Kathryn lives in Appling, GA, where she works on the music staff of Kiokee Baptist Church. Kathryn received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, and a Master’s at Ithaca College. She is a native of Conyers, GA.
Barbara Cook – oboe
Barbara is a member of the Azalea Trio (www.azaleatrio.com), in addition to serving as oboe instructor for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program and working as a free-lance oboist and private oboe teacher.
Barbara has served on the faculty of Agnes Scott College as an Artist Affiliate. She also worked for over twenty-five years as a Senior Learning Designer for Delta Air Lines, Inc. Barbara has performed with orchestras throughout California, Oregon, Colorado, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Opera Orchestra and Atlanta Ballet Orchestra.
Trained as a violinist from the age of 9, Barbara Goorevitch Cook started playing the oboe when she was 12. Six years later, heeding the advice of famed violin professor Stanley Plummer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Barbara began devoting her full attention to the oboe, winning prizes in the Atwater Kent and Frank Sinatra Musical Performance Awards solo competitions.
She earned a B.A in Music Performance from UCLA, then continued her studies with Laila Storch of Seattle’s Soni Ventorum Quintet and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She spends her free hours making reeds, jogging, playing tennis, hiking, and traveling.
Carol Cook – piano, accompanist
Carol Cook has appeared in recitals with singers from the Metropolitan Opera as well as with numerous other performing artists. She has performed with the Stuttgart Opera and Ballet companies in Germany, The German-American Chorus of Stuttgart, the Young Artist’s Opera Theater, UNC-Greensboro Opera Theatre, Greensboro Opera Company, Saint Petersburg (FL) Opera, the Burlington Boys’ Choir, The Schools of Music and Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Department of Music at Wake Forest University, and the North State Sinfonia. Her New York credits include performances with the Asian-American Dance Theatre and the New York Academy of Ballet. She has worked at Wake Forest University, Salem College, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts She currently accompanies the Opera Theatre of Georgia Regents University, and performs with Trio d’Esprit.
An enthusiastic educator, Carol is past-president of the Winston-Salem Piano Teachers’ Association, and has been an active member of the Piano Teachers’ Guild and the American Federation of Music Clubs. Many of her students have won awards in piano performance and theory.
In addition to her work as an accompanist, she is president of Noteworthy Engraving, and has collaborated with composers such as Libby Larsen, Hillary Tann, Calvin Hampton, and Margaret Vardell Sandresky. Her company regularly works under contract with Boosey & Hawkes and Oxford University Press.
Carol holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; an Master of Music from the College-Conservatory of the Music, University of Cincinnati; and Diplomas for advanced study from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as The American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria.
Richard Cook, conductor, tenor
Richard is the Director of Music at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, GA, serves as Resident Conductor of the Augusta Opera, and is Music Director of the NOVUS Chamber Orchestra in Winston-Salem, NC.
Richard has served as Resident Conductor of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra in Winston-Salem, and for 17 seasons as Artistic Director of the North State Chorale. He has also served as assistant conductor for both Piedmont Opera Theatre and the Greensboro Opera Company. Richard’s many conducting opportunities have taken him to Romania (Baccau Philharmonic), to Missouri (St. Louis Symphony Chorus), to the NY City based Gregg Smith Singers, as well as throughout North Carolina on the podiums for various professional, college and youth orchestras. Richard has taught on the faculties of Elon University, High Point University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
A native North Carolinian, Richard earned a BA from Pfeiffer University, an MM in opera from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a DMA in orchestral conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Diploma in orchestral conducting from the University of Catania, Sicily.
In addition to his conducting activities, Dr. Cook has appeared as a tenor soloist in opera and oratorio performances in the United States and Europe, most recently performing with Carolina Baroque. He resides in Augusta with his wife, Carol, and their son, John.
Ken Courtney – harpsichord, organ
Ken has served as Director of Music/Organist at First Presbyterian Church, Aiken, SC since 1988, where he directs an active Music Ministry that includes the Midday Music Concert Series. In addition to his position at First Presbyterian Church, he is an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina Aiken, where he teaches Organ, World Music, and Introduction to Music, in the Visual and Performing Arts Department.
He is a member of PAM (Presbyterian Association of Musicians), a PAM Certified Church Musician, past President of the PAM Executive Board, and has been the Conference Director of the 2010 Montreat Worship and Music Conference. Ken has served as a member of a Presbytery Worship Committee, led Presbytery workshops on The Presbyterian Hymnal, Organ Music for Advent, and played concerts in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, Augusta Chapter.
Ken received his Bachelor of Music degree, Cum Laude, in Organ Performance from the University of Memphis, and his Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has also studied choral conducting and group vocal techniques at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey.
Christine Crookall, cello
Christine Crookall is currently a Professor of Music in the Music Department at Augusta University, Georgia. Christine teaches applied cello lessons, music history, humanities, ear training, sightsinging, and string methods. From 1999 to 2001 Christine Crookall served as Director for the University of Texas String Project, a nationally respected teacher-training program for graduate and undergraduate students at The University of Texas in Austin.
Christine Crookall earned her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Cello Performance at The University of Texas at Austin where she studied cello and pedagogy with internationally acclaimed pedagogue Professor Phyllis Young. A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Crookall started playing cello with Audrey Nodwell at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of British Columbia with former Emerson Quartet cellist Eric Wilson.
Christine has given workshops and masterclasses at public schools, universities and summer conferences located in Western Canada, Texas, Georgia and Europe. She has also performed in solo and chamber music recitals in Canada, the United States and Europe. Dr. Crookall was a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2001, and is currently a member of the Symphony Orchestra Augusta and Trio Augusta.
Christine lives in Evans, GA with her husband Ryan Kho and their son Aidan.
Vonda Darr – harp
Vonda Darr has been the principal harpist for the Augusta Symphony (GA) since 1993, and the Augusta Opera since 1998. She also performs with the North Carolina Symphony, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra (SC), and the South Carolina Philharmonic.
Vonda was recently featured with the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra in an Augusta Opera production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, in addition to the December 2010 premiere concert of Lyra Vivace with the Augusta Children’s Chorale. Vonda and Lyra Vivace violinist Neil Casey often perform as a duet, and were presented by the Tuesday Live concert series a few years ago.
She has been a soloist with the the Magellan String Quartet, Augusta Symphony String Quartet, the Florence Symphony, the University of South Carolina Chamber Orchestra, and the Georgia Southern University Orchestra. Mrs. Darr appeared in the PBS Christmas special, "Home for the Holidays," with opera singer Jessye Norman, recorded in 1998 in Augusta.
Vonda began studying the harp at age six with Gladys Hubner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and played with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies through childhood. She studied with Gretchen Van Hoesen in Pittsburgh, while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in harp performance from Geneva College.
Mrs. Darr performs regularly throughout North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina, and has recorded a compact disc of solo harp. She also maintains a private harp teaching studio. Click here for more information.
Tim Easter – double bass
Tim works as principal double bass for the Greenville Symphony, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Augusta Opera. He teaches double bass at Furman University, works in a "day job" in sales at Northhampton Wines in downtown Greenville, SC, and freelances with many regional orchestras, including the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, Charleston, and Charlotte Symphonies.
Tim has appeared as soloist with the LA Piano Quartet, and has been featured in performances with double bass virtuosos Edgar Meyer, Hal Robinson, and Jack Budrow. He worked for many years on the double bass faculty at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and for many regional orchestras, including the Savannah Symphony, and as Assistant Principal with the Augusta Symphony.
Tim received a Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance from Furman University, where he was a pupil of Peter Rickett, conductor emeritus of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. He plays a full sized master copy of a Domenico Montagnana, circa 1750’s, made by master luthier Barrie Kolstein. His hobbies include golf, cycling, wine and cooking.
Jason Economides – violin, mandolin, mandola, composer
Jason is a violinist with the Magellan String Quartet, and is the Concertmaster of the Macon Symphony. He teaches Violin at Wesleyan College in Macon, and performs in many orchestras throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Jason has enjoyed many years as music director of the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival on Beaver Island, MI.
Prior to moving to Georgia, he served as a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony, as Artist-in Residence at Alma College, and taught violin at Aquinas and Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Jason was a member of the Chicago Opera Theater, New World Symphony, Greater Lansing Symphony, Flint Symphony, Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra and served as concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony.
Jason has also developed his talents in other music styles; he is a Scottish Fiddling Champion, and performs regularly on mandolin and mandola with the Atlanta Mandolin Society. Jason earned a BM in violin performance from Arizona State University and a MM in violin performance from the University of Michigan. His principal teachers were Camilla Wicks, Frank Spinosa, and William Magers. He has performed in master classes for Josef Gingold, Daniel Majeski, Mischa Mischakoff and Samuel Thaviu and he has been coached in chamber music by Martin Katz, Eckhart Sellheim, and members of the Emerson Quartet.
He has made a home in Macon, GA with his wife, violinist/violist/public school music educator Patty Baser, and their two daughters.
Hartwig Eichberg – pianist and conductor
Hartwig was born and raised in Germany, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Tübingen, Germany with a dissertation about piano music by Johann Sebastian Bach. He moved to Seattle 1992 and has made it his home ever since.
A pillar of his professional life here is church music, currently being organist/pianist at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church. Hartwig has a strong background as opera conductor and coach, having worked in this capacity in Germany, Italy, Brazil, and being involved in many opera projects and activities in the Seattle area.
Coming from the European classical background, he has ventured into the American music, especially the Spiritual Songs of the Afro-Americans. He is also the director of the Jubilee Singers, a chorus devoted to the tradition of acapella singing of the Spirituals.
As a pianist, Hartwig made his first steps into the limelight as a prizewinner of the Steinway Competition in Hamburg, Germany. He enjoys exploring the repertoire of the usual as well as the unusual kind as a solo pianist, vocal accompanist, and chamber musician.
Teri Forscher-Milter – flute
Teri is a highly accomplished flutist, expressive performer and winner of 1994 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. A recipient of the first prize at the prestigious Arts Recognition and Talent Search Competition in Miami, Florida, Teri was subsequently named Presidential Scholar by the National Foundation for the Arts. She was honored by President Clinton for her playing in a ceremony held at the White House following her performance at the Kennedy Center for the Arts. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts invited Teri to return to Washington D.C. to perform in concert as honored guest. Teri is a captivating performer in solo, chamber and orchestral works and is equally known for her strong passion as an educator. Teri founded Duo de Vista with guitarist, Marina Alexandra and concertizes as a charismatic duo throughout the U.S.
Teri studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Joshua Smith from 1994-1999 and during this time spent two summers at the Blossom Music Festival. She received the Maurice Sharp Flute Award at the Blossom Music Festival in 1996. In Cleveland, she founded the Juniper Wind Quintet and won prizes at Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. At the young age of nineteen, Teri was named second flutist and piccoloist for the American Sinfonietta and played with the orchestra for six years, including a European tour in 2001. In 1999, Teri was named principal flutist for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and toured as soloist with the orchestra in 2000. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Columbus Symphony and the South Carolina Philharmonic. She has played under the direction of Robert Shaw, Robert Spano, Leonard Slatkin, Louis Lane, Alan Gilbert, Michael Morgan, and Michael Palmer.
Forscher-Milter has had an extensive teaching and coaching career dating back over twenty years including faculty positions at University of South Carolina- Aiken, Newberry College, Maranatha College, Presbyterian College, and numerous other institutions and summer festivals in the US. Teri was Vice President of the South Carolina Flute Society and is an active member of the National Flute Association. Teri is also an active advocate in education for young musicians in the area of injury prevention in professional musicians. In 2002, Teri was diagnosed with focal dystonia, a neurological condition affecting two fingers on her left hand. As this condition changed the course of her musical journey, Teri finds importance in sharing this story with others and particularly the triumph of her return to playing with her modified flute. She continues to play with eight functioning fingers.
Rob Foster – flute, alto flute, bass flute, shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), Irish flute, saxophones, composer, arranger
Dr. Robert Foster integrates a wide range of interests and experiences into the music he performs and composes. A versatile woodwind performer, he honed his musical skills in Detroit, where he was immersed in the varied sounds that city is known for — jazz, blues, Motown, funk, rock, and classical music. He furthered his studies and professional experience in Los Angeles and Colorado, where he obtained his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado and played lead alto sax in the Downbeat award winning Lab Band I.
His recent explorations into the world of the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) have influenced his musical endeavors to encompass inclusive global/spiritual perspectives.
As a Professor of Music in the Department of Music at Georgia Regents University (formerly Augusta State University), Dr. Foster directs the jazz ensembles, teaches courses in improvisation, theory, jazz history, and World Humanities. He also teaches and coordinates applied instruction on woodwinds.
In addition to extensive experience in chamber music and orchestral settings, Dr. Foster has performed with jazz artists such as Ralph Alessi, Louis Bellson, Dave Brubeck, Ravi Coltrane, Michael Dease, Dizzy Gillespie, Wycliffe Gordon, Lalo, Art Lande, James Newton, Terrell Stafford, Clark Terry, and Rodney Whitaker, as well as with popular artists such as Joey Bishop, Albert Collins, Charlie Daniels, John Denver, The Four Tops, Crystal Gayle, The Ink Spots, Melissa Manchester, Maureen McGovern, Bob Newhart, Olivia Newton-John, Mitch Ryder, The Temptations, The Platters, etc.
He currently performs with several musical groups, including UTAKÉ, Rob Foster & Pulsar, Foster-Jones Duo, Rob Foster Jazz Quartet, ABBA (Augusta Big Band Aggregate), Columbia County Orchestra, Ed Turner and Number 9, Mood Indigo, and Symphony Orchestra Augusta.
Education: University of Northern Colorado – Doctor of Arts (Music Theory & Composition); Wayne State University – Master of Music (Flute Performance); Oakland University – Bachelor of Music (Jazz Woodwinds).
Barry Garman – double bass, conductor
Barry serves on the faculty at Augusta State University as Instructor of Double Bass and String Methods, and teaches strings/ directs orchestras in the Richmond County (Georgia) public schools, He often leads and performs in double bass sections for area professional organizations, including the Augusta Choral Society, the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, in which he served as principal from 1981-1988.
He holds degrees in Music Education with an emphasis on string pedagogy, having earned both the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Music from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor of Music from Augusta College.
John Glaeser – french horn
John Glaeser grew up in New Orleans, LA, where he began playing horn at age 12. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies in Music at the University of Southern Mississippi, John joined the Army, playing horn in two different bands in Georgia.
Since leaving military service, he has continued to work as a freelance performer and private teacher in the Augusta area. John received a Master of Music degree in Horn Performance from the University of South Carolina, and he currently teaches horn at the University of South Carolina Aiken.
Katie Glaeser – violin, french horn
Katie has been an active professional musician for over 12 years. After studying horn performance at the University of Southern Mississippi, she spent over four years performing as an enlisted member of the Army Ground Forces Band, Ft. McPherson, GA, where she completed two tours performing for troops in Kuwait.
After completing her enlistment term, Katie was drawn to pursue a career in music librarianship. She completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Music at Excelsior College and enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Science program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Today, Katie a full-time graduate student and an active member of the Music Library Association, American Library Association and Society of American Archivists.
Katie has a Master’s in Library Science and is an active member of the Music Library Association, American Library Association and Society of American Archivists. She recently served as Senior Library Assistant at Georgia Regents University, and is currently Assistant Professor – Access Services Librarian at Sweet Briar College.
In addition to performing horn and violin extensively as a freelance musician, she plays an active role promoting local music and music education in the CSRA through volunteer activities with several area music organizations.
Keith Gregory, vocalist, guitar, songwriter
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Keith “has spent most of my adult my life eating, drinking, and dreaming music.” He is based in Augusta, GA, and like all regional sought-after musicians, drives to cities in the SouthEast to perform for all occasions. A glance at his busy schedule is a glimpse into his versatility as a musician. In one day he can be heard providing comfortable background music during brunch at an elegant restaurant in Augusta, serenading a wedding party in the afternoon in Aiken, and then in the evening adding just the right styles and character to enhance a private social gathering.
When people ask Keith, "how would you describe your music?" his reply is “My music is fast, slow, stop and go; it’s happy, sad, good and bad. It’s new school, old school, alternative, pop, and sometimes it rolls, but mostly it rocks.”
Keith’s performance schedule, song lists, videos, audio clips and links to albums can be found on his website.
Edwin Genavus Hamiliton – percussion, keyboards
Edwin was born into a musical family. He inherited a natural vocal gift from his mother, and his keyboard and percussion skills from his father. He began playing piano at age 5, and soon after learned the drums (Edwin did not ever own a drum set until age 19… he practiced his craft at church, at school and at home — on pillows!). He listened to all styles and genres of music with his parents, listening and playing behind the radio and the many different records his father and mother had at home. One day he stumbled upon Jazz and fell in love “at first sound.”
Edwin has become one of the most sought after drummer/percussionists in the Southeast and across the USA. He is currently the drummer for the Mike Frost Band and the Rob Foster Jazz Quartet. At his young age he has already performed, recorded and/or worked with notable names such as: Teddy Adams, Explorer’s Club, Chris Crenshaw, Michael Dease, Calvin Edwards, Delbert Felix, Mike Frost, Aaron Goldberg, Wycliffe Gordon, Niki Haris, Enrique Hernandez, Charmaine Neville, Delfeayo Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Shannon Powell, Marcus Printup, Vinny Raniola, Herlin Riley, Christian Sands, Tye Tribbet, Frank Vignola, Christian Winther and many more. Edwin has also played on big stages/arenas in front of crowds of over 10,000 and has toured the United States, extensively.
Edwin serves as the Minister of Music at Olive Branch Baptist Church in Batesburg-Leesville South Carolina. Edwin endorses four companies: Arti Dixon Bass Drum Lift, Beato Inc. (drum bags), Kopf Percussion (cajons) and Stellar Custom Drums (wood hoops). In 2014 he earned a Jazz Fellowship to go study in New Orleans, Louisiana under the great Herlin Riley.
Please click here for further information about Edwin.
Diane Haslam, vocalist (mezzo-soprano)
Diane was born in Mansfield, England, and graduated in Vocal Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. As a soloist she has performed in operas and orchestral concerts in England, Europe, and the United States, singing with orchestras, including the English Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra.
She sang for seven years on a full-time contract with the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. Her operatic roles have included Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Siebel (Faust), and Isabella (Italiana in Algeri). Diane has appeared in numerous Arts Festivals and concert series, specializing in presenting themed concerts combining song and poetry. American composer Rick Sowash has written extensively for her voice, dedicating 28 songs and song cycles to her.
She has been a respected teacher for more than 25 years and her private voice studio, Vocal Dimensions, is in Aiken, SC. For three years she taught as Adjunct Professor of Voice at Newberry College, South Carolina, where she created courses in Vocal Literature and Vocal Diction, coaching students in six languages. She is currently on the faculty of USC Aiken as Lecturer in Voice.
Diane has given Master Classes in vocal performance and led workshops
in holistic singing in England and the United States. She is the founder and music director of the Aiken Singers. Her book, "The Heart of Singing: Steps on the Path to Becoming the Singer You Want to Be," is now available through Amazon.com or Diane’s own website and as an eBook on Kindle. Diane writes about singing in a monthly blog.
Amos Hoffman, guitar, oud
Amos is an Israeli Jazz Guitarist and Oudist known worldwide as a pioneer in fusing the rhythms and melodic themes of the Middle East with Modern Jazz. Hoffman started playing guitar at the age of 6, and oud a few years later. He studied guitar privately, and later attended the prestigious Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem.
His search for new musical experiences led him first to Amsterdam, and then to New York City, where he played jazz with both established musicians and up and coming talents like Jason Lindler, bassists and fellow Israelis Omer Avital and Avishai Cohen, and Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuna. Hoffman has recorded 4 solo albums, The Dreamer (1999), Na’ama (2006), Evolution (2008) and Carving (2010).
Hoffman has performed at venues both small and large in Israel and around the world. He has also contributed on dozens more for artists in Israel (Idan Reichel and Nurit Galron) and worldwide including Avishai Cohen, Kiko Berenguer (Spain), and Jan Mlynarski (Poland). He was featured in Mezzo TV’s (France) Jazzmix Tel Aviv broadcast, and headlined at festivals in Israel, Turkey, Spain, Romania and France.
In 2014, Amos was awarded one of Israel’s most prestigious prizes – The Landau Prize for Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in the field of Jazz. Hoffman’s most recent release, BACK TO THE CITY (2015 follows in the tradition of the great guitarists of the old school – Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell – while bringing a fresh interpretation to the language of jazz guitar. BACK TO THE CITY features both original compositions and standards, with stellar lineup of old friends completing the : bassist Omer Avital, drummer Vince Ector, saxophonist Asaf Yuria, trumpeter Duane Eubanks and special guest Itai Kriss on flute.
Now based in Columbia, S.C., Hoffman looks forward to sharing his unique musical worldview with American audiences through his performances with the Rob Foster Jazz Quartet and other collaborations.
Joy Hoffman, bassoon
Bassoonist Joy Hoffman is a freelance musician and private teacher, originally from a suburb of Washington, D.C. At the age of seventeen, she appeared on National Public Radio’s program,"From the Top," and also gave a solo performance with the United States Navy Band.
Joy graduated summa cum laude in bassoon performance, first with her B.M. from Florida State University in 2009, and then with her M.M. from University of Maryland (2011), where she was a concerto competition finalist in 2009. She held an adjunct teaching position with Pensacola State College from 2012-2014, teaching various music courses, as well as performing with the faculty woodwind quintet.
Joy has played throughout the Gulf Coast region, including solo appearances with the Magnolia Chamber Orchestra, playing principal bassoon with the Northwest Florida Symphony, second bassoon with the Gulf Coast Symphony (Gulfport, Mississippi), and substituting regularly with the Pensacola Symphony. Since moving to Evans, Georgia, Joy has played with the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, Hilton Head Symphony, Savannah Philharmonic, and the Albany Symphony, in addition to returning to Florida to play with the Pensacola Symphony.
Washington Isaac Holmes, vocalist (baritone)
Equally at home on both the concert and theatrical stage, Isaac has performed as a vocal soloist, dancer, instrumentalist, and chorister all over the world, including performance tours in the Netherlands, Central and Eastern Europe, Great Britain and East Asia. The Augusta, GA region has benefited from his versatile talents in roles ranging from musical theatre and opera to Shakespeare and narration for symphonic works. The Augusta Opera, Augusta Players, USC Philharmonic, Augusta Symphony, Paine College, the Morris Museum, and Aiken Community Theatre are among the organizations who have featured Isaac as a vocal artist and actor.
Isaac is an assistant professor of music and Concert Choir Director at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, and served for many years as artistic director and conductor of the Columbia County Choral Society
An Augusta, GA native, Isaac received a B.M.A. from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), where he majored in vocal performance, studying with George Shirley, and Leslie Guinn.
Richard House – trumpet
Richard is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of University Bands at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, where he directs the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band, teaches music education classes and applied lessons in trumpet. An active professional trumpet performer, he has performed with Symphony Orchestra Augusta (GA), the Augusta Choral Society, the Charleston (SC) Symphony Orchestra and continues to perform recitals, wedding ceremonies, and church services.
Richard has held prior band/music teaching positions at Claflin University, Augusta State University, Bridgewater College, as well as Middle and High School in Raleigh, NC and Chesterfield, SC. His degrees include both a Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Music and Masters in Trumpet Performance from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from East Carolina University.
Kate Jenkins – trombone
Kate is the principal trombonist of the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra and the second trombonist of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. She also performs with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, the South Carolina Philharmonic and performed for many years as principal trombonist of the Augusta Opera Orchestra. Kate is a founding member of the Crescent Brass. She has toured the United States and Europe with the Kings Brass and Eurobrass.
Kate has served on faculty as the low brass instructor at Charleston Southern University, Brevard College and Augusta State University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Ithaca College and a Master’s degree in trombone performance from the University of Georgia. A Vermont native, she has made her home in North Augusta, SC with her husband, professional trumpet player and conductor, Todd Jenkins. They have a young son named Will.
Todd Jenkins – trumpet, conductor
Todd is the principal trumpet of the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the Crescent Brass. Todd performs regularly throughout the region with several orchestras, including the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, North Charleston Pops! and the Symphony Orchestra Augusta. He is the director of bands at Augusta Christian Schools and the director of instrumental music at Warren Baptist Church. He also serves as conductor of the Aiken Concert Band.
Todd earned a Master’s degree in music from Ithaca College, and a Bachelor’s from the University of South Carolina. He has also studied at the University of Georgia, Shenandoah University and Messiah College. Before returning to North Augusta in 2014, Todd taught at Brevard College and worked with the music programs at Wando High School and Charleston School of the Arts.
Jeanie Joesbury – vocalist, conductor
Jeanie has served as Director of Music at Thomson First United Methodist Church since August 2010, after having served as Organist and Director of the Canterbury Choir since 2006 and participating in the music program at TFUMC since 1975. She studied Music Performance and Music Education at the University of Texas and graduated from Augusta State University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education.
Jeanie has appeared as a soloist with the Augusta Opera and the Augusta Symphony and served as music teacher at Briarwood Academy for over 20 years. While at Briarwood, Jeanie produced 10 Broadway musicals and also directed musicals at the Washington Little Theatre in Washington, GA. During her teaching career, she was a two-time recipient of the State of Georgia Star Teacher award. In Praise of Music ensembles are often engaged to perform under Jeanie’s direction, as well as in recital performance at Thomson First United Methodist.
Eliza Johnson – violin
Born in Augusta, GA, Eliza began taking violin lessons at the age of three. As a member of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, she has toured Europe and Canada, and has performed in major concert halls, including the Berliner Philharmonie, Musikgebouw in Amsterdam, and El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia.
She graduated from University of South Carolina magna cum laude, receiving both a Presser Foundation Scholarship and the Arthur M. Frasier Music Excellence Award. At the University of South Carolina, she was a concerto competition winner and served as concertmaster in the university’s orchestra during her senior year. She was named the Aiken County Young Artist in 2001, which resulted in her performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Augusta Symphony. While obtaining her Masters at Arizona State University, she held a position in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She also played in several ensembles at Arizona State, including a string quartet, which was coached by both the Juilliard and Brentano String Quartets, as part of the university’s string quartet residency program.
In the summer of 2007, she was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra, and performed throughout Colorado. In the spring of 2008, she was the concertmaster for the Spoleto Festival’s premiere show, Monkey: Journey to the West, in which she collaborated with Damon Albarn from Gorillaz/Blur and famed director Shi Zheng Chen. She has participated in music festivals, including the Rome Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Castleton Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festival.
Joseph Johnson – french horn
Joseph has performed in numerous collegiate ensembles and is active as a freelance musician. He currently holds the 2nd Horn position with the Johnstown Symphony in PA, and has performed as a substitute/extra with the following orchestras: Columbia County Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Oak Ridge Symphony, River Cities Symphony, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, West Virginia Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, and Wheeling Symphony.
Originally from the state of Georgia, Joseph grew up in a small town and went on to obtain his Bachelors degree in Music Education from Augusta State University in Augusta, GA. Before pursuing his Masters degree, He taught for a year at Curtis Baptist School, a private Christian school in Augusta, GA. His duties included teaching Elementary Music and Band to both Middle and High School students. Desiring a career in higher education, Joseph accepted a Graduate Assistantship from the University of Tennessee where he received a Masters in Horn Performance.
After graduation in 2009, he then accepted another Assistantship, allowing him to pursue his Doctorate in Horn Performance at West Virginia University. At WVU, Joseph conducted the University Horn Choir, taught Undergraduate and Graduate lessons within the Horn studio, and performed with the Graduate Wind Quintet, as well as other student ensembles. He was also fortunate enough to perform a concerto with the WVU Chamber Winds during his tenure in Morgantown.
Dr. Johnson completed his D.M.A. in May of 2012. His primary horn teachers were Dr. Carrie Strickland, Dr. Darian Washington, Robert Pruzin, Calvin Smith, and Dr. Virginia Thompson. He has also had lessons with or performed in masterclasses for Bill Caballero, Gail Williams, David Jolley, Adam Unsworth, Lowell Greer, and Marian Hesse. Joseph is a member of the International Horn Society and served as the State Representative for West Virginia from 2009 until 12/2012.
Natalie Johnson, banjo, guitar, vocalist
Natalie has performed with numerous bluegrass luminaries including Sam Bush and Bela Fleck. She has performed at the prestigious MerleFest in North Carolina, and has performed with Custer’s Last Band as a founding member since 1990. Along with her fellow Custer’s Last Band members, Natalie is annually featured on the Southeastern Natural Science Academy Phinizy Swamp Soiree on the banks of the Savannah River, and is a regular performer on Appleby Library concert series in Augusta, Georgia. She gave the world premiere of Benji the Banjo with Carl Purdy and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra at the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre in 2003.
In addition to being an extraordinary banjoist and guitarist Natalie is a composer; among her compositions is Powerful which showcases her virtuosity on the banjo. Natalie lives in Augusta, GA with her husband Wayne and is Administrative Nursing Supervisor of the ICU at University Hospital.
Lorraine Jones – flute
Lorraine is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra Program. She is the flute instructor at AASU and conducts the Coastal Flute Choir. She is currently the principal flutist with the Hilton Head Orchestra, the Augusta Opera, and the Augusta Choral Society. Lorraine performs with the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra and has performed with the Jacksonville, Alabama, Charleston, Augusta, Greenville and Toledo Symphonies; as well as The Atlanta Pops, Piccolo Spoleto, and the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.
Lorraine was a member of the former Savannah Symphony Orchestra, playing flute and piccolo since 1983. Prior to joining the Savannah Symphony, Lorraine was a member of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, and toured extensively throughout Mexico, Europe, Japan, and the United States. She also performed with the Camerata Pan America Woodwind Quintet and was principal flutist with the Orquesta Sinfonico de Mineria for many summer seasons.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, she is a graduate of the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University (Ohio). Her primary teachers have been Judith Bentley and William Hebert.
Bill Karp, keyboards
Bill Karp performs a modern interpretation of timeless American jazz. Voted "Best of Augusta" by readers of Augusta Magazine and a "Choice Award" Nominee, his jazz has a broad spectrum of sound. It can be soft and in-the-background (Bill calls this "jazak") and be used for corporate or private parties, receptions, weddings, art exhibit openings, wine tastings and a variety of settings. His jazz can also be more "in front" and used for larger, higher energy events. In addition, he can perform 30 – 120 minute American jazz concerts as stand-alone events or as a featured part of your celebration. He performs in homes, gardens, restaurants and event spaces like exhibit halls, museums, art galleries, catering halls, and concert venus. He is known for his emotional, yet intelligent, interpretation of all that great American jazz you love. You can get a better idea of what he does by visiting his website.
He has been performing jazz his entire life and is a seasoned musician and performer. He has different formats for presenting his formal or casual programs, either with an orchestra, a smaller combo, or with backing tracks, which is the most cost effective. His fees are reasonable and negotiable. He performs in and around Augusta, Aiken, Savannah, Lake Oconee, Hilton Head, Atlanta, Columbia, Macon, Charlotte and points in-between. Send him an email or phone (762) 233-7205 if you have specific inquiries.
Ryan Kho – violin, conductor
Ryan teaches Mathematics at Augusta Preparatory Day School and Violin at the Augusta State University Conservatory Program, where he also serves as Conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras. He has recently performed as Guest Conductor for orchestras including the SC Allstate Orchestra, the SC Region Orchestra, the Suzuki Festival, the MENC Georgia District 10 Honors Orchestra, and the Augusta State Orchestra String Jamboree. He served as Concertmaster of the Augusta Symphony for 19 years and first violinist with the Magellan String Quartet during its residency at Georgia Southern University.
Following his retirement from those positions, Ryan received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Augusta State University, with teaching certifications in both Music and Mathematics. In addition to his Concertmaster work in Augusta, GA for the Augusta Symphony, Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society, Ryan served as Guest Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and held the position of Principal Second Violin with Symphony Nova Scotia for many years. He has worked under many world-class conductors, including Charles Dutoit, Pierre Boulez, Simon Streatfield, Leon Fleisher and Klaus Tennestedt.
For many summers, he performed as Principal Violinist with the New Hampshire Music Festival, taught on the violin faculty of the University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, and USC Columbia School of Music. Ryan’s chamber performances have also taken him worldwide across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, including performances in Carnegie Hall with Boston Musica Viva, and with Walter Trampler, Malcolm Lowe, Gary Hoffman, Charles Wadsworth and Colin Carr.
His performances have been broadcasts on the CBC Radio Canada, WQXR, and NPR. Ryan received a BM from the New England Conservatory of Music on full scholarship, and studied violin with notables such as Dorothy Delay, Paul Kantor, Tibor Vaghy and Thomas Wang. He lives in Augusta with his wife, cellist Christine Crookall, and their young son.
Pawel Kozak, violin
Pawel Kozak is an adjunct violin and viola instructor at the Presbyterian College and Lander University. He received his D.M.A. from The University of Georgia, where he studied violin with Professor Levon Ambartsumian and viola with Dr. Mark Neumann. His dissertation, “Pedagogical Examination of Henryk Wieniawski’s L’École Moderne Opus 10,” presents specific challenges found in these caprices and demonstrates how each difficulty can be resolved through proper practice techniques.
Dr. Kozak began his violin training at the Bydgoszcz (Poland) Music School. After moving to the US with his family he won the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Competition and the Southwest Young Artist Competition, resulting in solo performances with orchestras in New Mexico and San Francisco. His principal teachers were: Leonard Felberg, Krzysztof Zimowski, and Pawel Radzinski.
In addition to being a member of the Continuo Collective of the South, Pawel frequently performs as a member of Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Greenville Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and South Carolina Philharmonic. He can be heard as a section violinist in ARCO (UGA) Chamber Orchestra’s numerous recordings and as a soloist in Vivaldi’s concerto for four violins.
Chris Lee, steel drums
Chris hammers out the stylish sounds of summer in Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley, Santana and Calypso classics on his hand crafted 55-gallon oil drum. With his custom computerized midi backing tracks, Chris is a one-man band, with an enthusiastic following (especially those in the conga lines!) with his versions of Calypso, Reggae, and island favorites. Chris received his Bachelors in Music degree from the University of Maryland and Masters in Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Percussion Performance from the University of South Carolina. He began playing steel drums in 1990 as a graduate student at USC and his love for the instrument has taken him to Trinidad and Tobago (the “birthplace” of steel drums).
Sara Neal Lokey – double bass
Sara Neal Lokey is a talented and experienced professional double bassist who brings energy and passion to many different styles of music. A virtual double bass "chameleon," Sara enjoys performing in various classical, jazz and bluegrass settings throughout the Central Savannah River Area and the state of Georgia. From churches to front porches, symphony hall stages to late night dives, she is versatile and comfortable in all musical settings.
In 2007, Sara’s passion for sharing music led her into the classroom, where she has taught both elementary general music and string orchestra classes. She currently resides in Augusta, Georgia, and is an instructor for the Richmond County School System Orchestra Program.
Sara trained classically with Dr. Barry Garman at Augusta State University, where she received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Double Bass Performance. She was a 2003 ASU Concerto Competition winner and recipient of the Powers Baldwin Outstanding musician award. Her jazz skills were honed under the direction of Dr. Rob Foster and have afforded her the opportunity to perform with the great jazz trombonist and vocalist, Wycliffe Gordon.
Sara began expanding her horizons and exploring bluegrass music after hearing the album "Uncommon Ritual" by one of her idols, bassist Edgar Meyer. She began "pickin" with Carl Purdy soon thereafter, and has been performing with him for nearly a decade. Sara is a founding member of the groups Event Horizons and Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra.
Chris Mangelly – keyboards, accordian
Chis is the son of a prevalent Augusta Georgia musical family. He has performed nationally and internationally as a touring musician (including several cruise lines) with such stars a Red Skelton and David ‘Fathead’ Newman. He has directed orchestras for “Summer Stock Theater” in the Philadelphia area., and is a sought-after solo artist for unique programs with symphony orchestras and various bands, including the Augusta Symphony and with the fusion band “John Doe.”
As the “vision driver” for the Jazz ensemble The Garden City Allstars, Chris became the band’s leader and introduced the first SouthEastern USA community big band jazz ensemble. After working as pianist for the Augusta Jazz Project Big Band, Chris now currently plays with the Channellheimer Oompah Band, with his own group at Augusta’s Historic Partridge Inn, the Augusta Big Band Aggregate (ABBA) and the Rob Foster Jazz Quartet.
He studied at Augusta College and The Philadelphia Music Academy resulting in a degree in performance and composition from the latter in 1971. Chris is the Network Administrator for Augusta Technical College.
Angela Massey – flute
Angela Massey holds the position of third flute and piccolo with the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Augusta Choral Society, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra Augusta. As a soloist she has performed on the Chase Series, Covenant Series, Midday Music Series, Tuesday’s Music Live, the National Flute Association Convention in Charlotte, and at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City. In regards to chamber music, she is a member of the Continuo Collective of the South, Duo Astralis, and the Massey Duo. She maintains an active teaching studio and has served as flute instructor at Presbyterian College. Her debut album, The Elements, was released in 2014 with pianist, Vahan Sargsyan, which is available through cdbaby.com.
Angela was awarded prizes in the Alexander and Buono International Flute Competition, Frank Bowen Competition, Myrna Brown Competition, and elected president of the South Carolina Flute Society. She received a Certificate in Advanced Flute Studies from Carnegie Mellon University, Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her instructors have been Alberto Almarza, Jeanne Baxtresser, Brooks de Wetter-Smith, Brad Garner, Martha Kitterman, and Jack Wellbaum. Angela is currently based in New York City with her husband, clarinetist Taylor Massey.
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Taylor Massey – clarinet
Taylor Massey has been in much demand as a performer and instructor throughout the southeast region. He has been a featured artist of the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, performing the Brahms Clarinet Quintet and Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. He
has also presented many chamber performances in the United States, as well as in Morges, Switzerland, and Lucca, Italy. While in Italy he served as principal clarinetist of the Lucca Theatre Opera orchestra.
Taylor is currently on faculty at Augusta State University and the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music and has previously been visiting instructor at Georgia Southern University. He maintains a strong interest in new music and has given many performances of new works while in Cincinnati and as a part of MusicX, a contemporary music festival in Cincinnati, OH.
His principal instructors have been Steven Cohen, Russell Dagon, and Ronald de Kant. He has received additional bass clarinet instruction from Ronald Aufmann of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and J. Lawrie Bloom of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Taylor earned a Bachelors degree in Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Masters degree from the Northwestern University School of Music. He lives in Augusta with his wife, flutist Angela Massey.
Larry Millen – keyboards, composer, conductor
Larry began playing the piano as a child growing up in New York. He quickly progressed as a young pianist, winning numerous young artist competitions and awards, studying with William Hargrove and Herbert Rogers of the Juilliard School. Larry completed a bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Indiana University, studying with Alberto Reyes and John Keeton, and later finishing a Master’s degree in Music in New York.
While in New York, Larry was the artistic director and conductor of the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra, performing throughout the New York area to considerable acclaim. Larry developed a strong reputation while in New York as a vocal coach, accompanist, chamber music performer, teacher, and conductor.
Later, he pursued a career in medicine, bringing him to Augusta, where he is now working as an endocrinologist. He has appeared with the Augusta Symphony numerous times since his return to Augusta, performing as a pianist with the orchestra, as a soloist with the chamber orchestra, in concert with the chamber players, as soloist on the Appleby series concerts and Westobou festival, and is a regular performer in the area. His compositions have been performed by the Augusta Choral Society and St John Choir.
David Moody, piano
David Moody is a pianist, harpsichordist, conductor and vocal coach based in New York City. He is a faculty member of The Juilliard School, where he has since 2009 served as coach and chorus master. He is also currently the chorus master for the Glimmerglass Festival, having been a member of the Festival’s music staff since 2004.
As a conductor, David has led productions at The Juilliard School and at Glimmerglass, including productions of Mozart’s La finta giardiniera (directed by Mary Birnbaum); a triple bill of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, and Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley (directed by Edward Berkeley); David Lang’s little match girl passion (directed by Francesca Zambello); and the world premiere of Ben Moore’s and Kelley Rourke’s opera for young people, Odyssey (also directed by Francesca Zambello).
As chorus master, he has prepared ensembles for productions led such conductors as James Levine, Alan Gilbert, Jane Glover, and Joseph Colaneri. Highlights have included productions of Aida, Candide, Macbeth, and Dido and Aeneas.
As harpsichordist and assistant conductor, David has performed with the conductors Harry Bickett, Jane Glover, Christian Curnyn, and Julian Wachner, among others.
David attended the University of Illinois as a pupil of John Wustman, and continued his studies at The National Opera Studio in London, UK. He lives in Brooklyn NY with his wife, Katy Clark, and their children Nye and Ruby.
Jennifer Reuning Myers, violin
Jennifer, an Ithaca, New York native, is an active violinist in New York State, performing with the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra concert and chamber music series. She also performs with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. As a member of the Catskill Chamber Players, she worked with composers Lou Harrison, Henry Brant, Virgil Thomson and George Crumb, and performed the New York premiere of Henry Cowell’s Trio for flute, violin and harp at Weill Recital Hall.
Ms. Myers studied with Raphael Bronstein and Charles Treger at the Hartt School of Music and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, where she studied with Linda Case. As a youngster, she was fortunate to have participated in classes led by Shinichi Suzuki. She now maintains a private Suzuki studio in Corning, NY and teaches at Ithaca Talent Education school.
Mark Nabholz, conductor, tenor
Mark is music director of the Augusta Youth Chorale, Assistant Professor of Music at Erskine College, and directs the music ministry at Christ Church Presbyterian in Evans, GA. He is also the Assistant Conductor of the University of South Carolina University Chorus.
Mark headed the Choral and Vocal Department at Brevard College, served for ten years as Director of Music on the staff of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, and was Director of Music in Memphis Tennessee at the Second Presbyterian Church. He has guest conducted student and adult choral organizations throughout the Southeastern United States, and over to Europe (Odessa Philharmonic and Chorus in the Ukraine). Mark has also enjoyed opportunities as a tenor soloist with the Brevard Chamber Orchestra, the Hendersonville Symphony and the Asheville Bach Festival.
Mark was born into a parsonage family in northern Minnesota, and grew up in the midwest. He earned a DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of South Carolina Columbia, a M.Mus. degree from the Eastman School of Music, and Bachelor of Music degree from Houghton College. He lives with his wife, Fran, and their four children in Evans, Georgia.
Rob is Founder/Music Director of the Columbia County Orchestra Association (CCOA) in Evans, Georgia. He is also the conductor of the Columbia County Civic Orchestra (CCCO) and Columbia County Youth Orchestra (CCYO).
Rob has been active professionally in church music, conducting, and music teaching since 1974. He has studied conducting under Robert Burton, Donald Portnoy, and Florin Totan. Rob’s first private music instruction was through his father, Clarence Nordan, Jr.
His other private trumpet instructors have included: Mike Brescia, Homer Phillips (Navy Band), Doug Phillips (Navy Band), Emerson Head (University of Maryland), Chuck Gallagher (University of Maryland), and Willie Hammett (Valdosta State University). He received his Bachelor of Music in 1978, and his Master of Music in 1982.
When not conducting, Rob enjoys the company of his beautiful and musically talented wife, Elizabeth, and spending time with their extended family. He has resided in the Augusta, Georgia, area since 1996.
Kelly Odell – oboe
Kelly has an undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and a Performance Certificate from the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. She was a winner of the Concerto Competition at the University of Massachusetts, where she received her Master’s degree. She has been on the faculty of Bates College and Georgia Southern University and is presently the oboe instructor at Augusta State University.
Kelly has performed as guest soloist with the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Pittsfield Symphony, and Savannah Sinfonietta. She has played with the Portland Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Savannah Sinfonietta, Greenville Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic, the Pittsfield Symphony and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She has toured Western Europe with the Ricciotti Ensemble, an orchestra dedicated to performing new music.
Kelly performs oboe and english horn with Ensembles Intermezzo, the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, the Augusta Opera, Augusta Choral Society, the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, and with the Hilton Head Orchestra. She is highly sought after as an expert reed-maker and oboe instructor. She has studied with Ray Still, Carlo Ravelli, Fred Cohen, and Yvonne Powers.
Ying-Li Pan, violin
Ying-Li is currently pursuing her M.M degree in violin performance at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, studying violin with Dr. Donald Portnoy. She holds the positions of Concertmaster with the USC Chamber Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster with the USC Symphony Orchestra, in addition to membership with the USC Graduate String Quartet. Ying-Li is a graduate from National Taiwan Normal University, where she studied with Nanette Chen.
She has participated in chamber and violin master classes with Qian Zhou, Nai-Yuan Hu, James Buswell, Yehonatan Berick, Lynn Chan, Vadim Mazo, Vadim Gluzman and Michael Ludwig. She has toured with NTNU Symphony Orchestra and Asia Youth Orchestra throughout Asia, Australia and USA. Ying-Li was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Her first instrument, at the age of five, was piano, which was quickly followed by her first lessons on the violin at the age of six.
Jennifer Parker – violin, vocalist, viola, mandolin, guitar
Jennifer Parker, an Augusta native, started her musical journey at the age of 10 when starting violin through the Richmond County Orchestra program. At the age of 12, Jennifer picked up the guitar and began writing songs, and has been a singer-songwriter ever since. Throughout her teens, Jennifer also picked up the bass, piano, ukuleles, viola, and more. An avid bluegrass and folk music lover, Jennifer has played with bands such as the Tom Miller Project and Mamie Foreman and The Rosebuds, and has also recorded with local Augusta bands, the Radar Cinema, Jokers & Thieves, and Mann Ray.
Jennifer is often a featured performer with Event Horizons. She is also a part of the Sand Hills String Band, the Augusta State University (ASU) Orchestra, and is a student assistant for the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras. Jennifer is also a strings teacher at East Aiken School for the Arts, a secretary and violin teacher at the Carolina Academy of Music, and teaches private lessons in the Augusta area for violin, guitar, and mandolin.
Jennifer received a degree from ASU as a Music Education major, and studied with Laura Tomlin and Carl Purdy. She is currently Assistant Orchestra Director at Durham Middle School in Acworth, GA.
Josef was born and raised in Georgia. He became serious about the piano in his teens, began study with Vola Jacobs, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in piano performance from Augusta College. He received a fellowship and scholarship to complete Masters course work in music theory at the Eastman School, where he studied piano with Robert Spillman.
Josef Patchen, piano/keyboards, composer
Patchen began work writing and arranging popular music while at Eastman and received a job offer as house arranger at Studio South in Augusta. He worked on a wide variety of music projects and styles while there. In 1991 he began work scoring original video for large corporate clients through Edge Media in Aiken, South Carolina. His work has won regional and national awards. Throughout his composition and production work, he has maintained his performance skills in jazz, pop, and classical music and is heard in the Augusta area on a regular basis. He currently teaches at Portman’s Music Academy.
Though fluent in many modern styles, Patchen is most at home providing tuneful, well-known music from the classical era through the first half of the twentieth century – Gershwin, Arlen, Kern, Mercer, Carmichael, Cole Porter – in short, the golden age of American song – to provide a sophisticated atmosphere. Click here for more information.
Links to samples of his music and performances can be found at the following sites:
Lisa Pham, cello
Lisa Pham began studying Violoncello at the University of North Georgia where she received her Associate of Arts in Music. She moved to Augusta in 2012 to further her music studies and received her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Augusta University. She often performs with various chamber ensembles and orchestras in the South East. During the summer, she works as a Camp Counselor at Laurel Ridge Music Camp, and during the school year, she is an Orchestra Director at East Aiken School of the Arts.
Kevin Pollock – piano
Kevin has been an active musician and teacher in the Southeast for more than twenty years. He is an acclaimed pianist, baritone soloist, and conductor. In addition to his busy performing schedule with Ensembles Intermezzo, Kevin serves as Music Director at Warren Baptist Church, and is owner and principal instructor of Pollock Music Studios at Turner’s Keyboards in Augusta.
He has also served as Choral Director at Augusta Preparatory School and as Prep School Chorus Director at Westminster Schools of Augusta, GA. Staying close to his boyhood home, Kevin attended Augusta College as a Vocal and Piano Performance major. He studied piano with Artemesia Thevaos from 1987 until her retirement from teaching in 2001.
Kevin currently studies with Lydia Porro Milham, Artemesia’s duo-concert partner. He has also studied in the vocal studio of William F. Toole from 1988-2004. Music is a binding thread within the Pollock household. Kevin’s wife, Andrea Pollock, is an active lyric soprano, as well as a voice and piano instructor at Pollock Music Studios. They have one daughter, Sophie, who has recently received state-wide recognition in piano competitions.
Jason Pooler – violin
Jason Pooler has been recently featured in the Morris Museum Concert Series and will appear as soloist with the Columbia County Orchestra in Augusta, GA in May of 2013. He regularly performs with the Augusta Choral Society, Columbia County Orchestra, and several other venues and churches around the CSRA in addition to traveling to perform with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
During his undergraduate studies with Dr. Angela Morgan at Augusta State University, Jason was an ASU Concerto Competition Winner in 2009 and 2011, a Warren Baptist Performing Scholar, an ASU Maxwell Scholarship recipient, and held the positions of co-concertmaster of ASU Orchestra, 1st violin of the ASU Student String Quartet, and participant with the Symphony Orchestra Augusta Mentoring Program.
Jason works as Box Office Coordinator at the Georgia Regents University Maxwell Theatre, and is a member of the Empyrean String Quartet. Jason loves to listen and play all sorts of music, and is hoping one day to learn how to play Latin and Eastern Indian music.
Carl Purdy – viola, violin, mandolin, guitar, pennywhistle, harmonica, bagpipes, recorder, composer
Carl’s versatility as an instrumentalist and vocalist has enabled him to perform many styles of music, including Classical, Jazz, Traditional British Isles, Classic American Folk, New Age Country Western, and Bluegrass. Carl is violist and founding member of the Magellan String Quartet and Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra. He also performs as principal viola with the Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society.
At Augusta State University, Carl teaches viola, humanities, and directs the Sand Hills String Band. Carl also performs as soloist and chamber musician on the faculty of the International Music Festival at Vale Veneto, Brazil. He has recorded and toured internationally on the viola, jazz violin and viola, recorder, classical guitar, and folk guitar, in addition to composing and arranging for symphonies and chamber ensembles.
Carl performed with the members of the Franciscan Chamber Players in residence at the Summer Music Monterey music camp for many years, during which they recorded a compact disc with legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. He developed his talents as a folk musician with the Boston-based Celtic band, St. James Gate, while attending New England Conservatory of Music in the 1980s. He was the principal violist of the La Crosse Symphony in Wisconsin before moving to Georgia for the position of Principal Viola with the Augusta Symphony.
Carl studied viola with Heidi Castleman and Walter Trampler at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Stan Pylant – Viola, Violin, Conductor, Vocalist
Since 1994, Stan Pylant has performed as a violist with the Augusta Symphony (Symphony Orchestra Augusta), and with the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra since 2000. He frequently supports the CSRA professional music culture by performing with local accompanying orchestras for professional and community productions, including the Augusta Opera and the Augusta Choral Society.
Stan is a minister at First Baptist Church of Augusta, GA, where he was called to serve in 1993. Before moving to Augusta, Stan served as church minister in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma; everywhere Stan has served, the regional professional orchestras have been grateful for his availability to perform on both viola and violin.
Stan is also a gifted vocalist (tenor), and travels throughout the USA and internationally to perform with and lead several distinguished choruses, including the CenturyMen and Sons of Jubal.
Stan received a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a Master of Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Institute of Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also a licensed multi-instrument private pilot!
Michael Ray – guitar, keyboards, conductor
Michael currently serves as choral music director at both the upper- and middle-divisions of Augusta Preparatory Day School, where he has been musical director for the following productions: Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof, Batboy, Chorus Line, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Grease. In addition, he has coached many state winners in vocal solo, trio, and quartet competitions, as well as in piano.
Aside from his work at Augusta Prep, Michael is also director of the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, a nonprofit, after-school arts program for economically challenged youth in Augusta.
As a performer in his own right, Michael plays keys and guitar and provides back-up vocals for two area bands, "My Instant Lunch" and "Eleventhe Hour." “My Instant Lunch,” has received numerous accolades, including: Augusta Magazine’s Best Rock Band of 2010. They also won the Band-Aide Competition in 2010, and were named Best New Band of 2009 by Lokal Loudness. "My Instant Lunch" had the unique honor of performing a joint program with the Augusta Ballet, and most recently, performed for an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field.
As an accompanist and solo pianist, Michael accompanied Nicole Sponberg, former lead singer for SELAH, opened for "The Charlie Daniels Band," and regularly plays for the Augusta Comedy Troupe, “Schoedinger’s Cat.”
Michael holds a bachelor of music degree from Ohio University and is currently enrolled in a master’s program at Augusta State University in choral conducting.
Justin Resley – cello
Justin Resley comes from a musical family in West Texas and New Mexico where most all of his family play an instrument (fiddle, guitar, etc.) He left El Paso to go to center city Philadelphia and study with the late Orlando Cole of the Curtis String Quartet, from there he moved to Cleveland to study with the prinicpal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Stephen Geber at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he graduated with a BM and MM.
Justin played with Cleveland Opera and Ballet while going back to school for Cardiovascular Perfusion at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He worked at INOVA Fairfax Hospital for 14 years before moving to Augusta to become the chief Perfusionist at the Medical College of Georgia. He has played with Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Augusta Opera, as well as The South Carolina Philharmonic. Currently he is a staff perfusionist at University Hospital and is on the search committee for the new conductor of the Symphony Orchestra Augusta.
Paul Roberts – keyboards, conductor, composer
Paul’s primary area of musical endeavor is church music. After singing in professional choirs at Emmanuel Church in Boston and St. Thomas Chapel in New York, he held the positions of Organist and Choirmaster at the First Alliance Church in New York and the First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia, where currently he is Music Director and Organist.
His experience includes virtually all aspects of church music: choral and orchestral conducting, organ and piano performance, and composing and arranging a sizeable body of works for choir, organ, and various instrumental ensembles. Paul is also active in concert music. In addition to organizing and directing chamber choir/orchestra performances in Boston, New York, and Augusta, he has participated as director and performer in various instrumental and choral ensembles, including directing a Christmas performance of the Augusta Symphony.
Another interest of Paul’s is theater music. He has directed, performed, and arranged music for community and school theatrical productions in Boston and Augusta. Finally, Paul has a vital interest in folk music. He maintains an affectionate interest in American jazz and bluegrass music, Middle-Eastern dance music, and traditional Celtic music of the U.K., writing arrangements and performing on several traditional folk instruments.
Paul has published works in several genres. His Three Carols for Trumpets and Organ is published by GIA Publications. His work for choir and solo flute, The Word Became Flesh, is published by Augsburg Fortress Publications. His Greek and Jew for unaccompanied flute is published by Flute World, Inc. Many other of his works are published privately through Paul’s website, Fresh Music All-Star Bands.
Paul was born in Richmond, Virginia and began private piano instruction at the age of 7. He continued musical studies in theory and ear training during high school years at the Cleveland Institute of Music, private study in organ and cello in Boston, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition and conducting at Boston University and the Manhattan School of Music, respectively, and additional conducting study at the Juilliard School. He won composition and arranging contests at both Boston and Harvard Universities during the same year. Paul studied composition with Nicholas Flagello and Vittorio Giannini. His conducting teachers included Hugh Ross and Jean Morel.
Erin Russ, guitar, vocals
Erin Russ is an Augusta native who has been singing and playing music since elementary school. She started her music career with piano lessons when she was young and picked up the guitar at the age of 11. She has studied under the tutelage of Carl Purdy at Augusta State University. She loves performing and listening to a wide range of genres from bluegrass to musical show tunes. She is a member of the Sand Hills String Band, and has recorded and performed internationally through Augusta State University, including two successful trips to Ireland.
She currently studies at the University of Georgia completing her degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Disability Studies.
Vahan Sargsyan, piano
Vahan Sargsyan holds graduate and post graduate degrees from the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatoire, where he studied with honorary teacher of Armenia, Elza Tandilyan, and his father, renowned Armenian pianist Villi Sargsyan. Vahan’s honors include 1991 Laureate of the International Piano Competition in Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil, and multiple awards in solo and chamber music categories from the Pittsburgh Concert Society. His recordings are released by Alanna, Aerophon, and Ablaze Records. His most recent compact disc recording, The Elements, is with his duet ensemble, Duo Astralis. The Elements is available through cdbaby.com.
As a member of Duo Astralis (with Angela Massey, flute) and as a soloist, Vahan has performed in Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, USA and Canada. He travels across the country and around the world to perform, conduct masterclasses, and participate in collaborative work at festivals, colleges, and subscription concert series. His solo concerto performance in 2004 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra led to regular appearances at the orchestra’s keyboards.
Vahan has worked in higher education institutions since 1988. He has held positions as assistant professor at the Yerevan State Conservatoire in Armenia and as faculty and staff pianist at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for over a decade. Currently, he is a collaborative pianist and chamber music coach at Carnegie Mellon University.
Amy Sawicz, cello
Amy is a native of Augusta, GA. She has studied cello with Ruth Berry, Douglas Graves and David Starkweather. She is a certified Kindermusik instructor and holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University in music performance. She is currently working on a degree in Nursing.
Amy has been performing and teaching in the Augusta area for the past 5 years, and is employed at both Augusta State University and Carolina Music Academy. When she has spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and play with her dogs.
Debra Schab – violin, viola
Debra currently performs violin and viola with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Pops, Augusta Opera, and Augusta Choral Society, and the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra. She is on the Athens Academy music faculty and teaches orchestra for grades ranging from 2 through 12. In addition to her position at the Academy, she has an active private studio of over 50 violinists and violists.
Prior to her work at the Academy, Debra was fifth grade orchestra teacher in Clarke County. She has taught Suzuki violin for over 22 years (receiving extensive Suzuki training from Alice Joy Lewis, Kay Sloan and Almita Vamo), including work as the director of Suzuki programs at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, and Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, and is currently on faculty of the Morningside College Suzuki Institute and Advanced String Camp in Sioux City, Iowa.
She is often a clinician for Suzuki workshops in a region that expands from Georgia to Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Illinois and Iowa. Debra was a violinist in the Savannah Symphony Orchestra for over 10 years and while living in Savannah, served on the educational staff of the Savannah Symphony and directed the Savannah Symphony’s Junior String Ensemble.
She also taught violin, string methods/pedagogy and directed the Suzuki Program at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia, and at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Prior to her faculty positions in Athens GA, Debra had time to perform with the Hilton Head Chamber Orchestra, Augusta, Charleston and Greenville Symphonies. Debra received her Master’s degree in violin performance from Western Illinois University and Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Karl Schab – viola, conductor
Karl Schab founded and directed the Athens String Ensemble from 1996-2000 and was appointed the first Music Director of the Athens Youth Symphony in November, 2000. He has been a member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra since 1984 and travels to Colorado during the summers, where he works as Principal Violist of the Crested Butte Music Festival. Karl also travels to perform with various orchestras in the South East, including the Augusta Opera, Augusta Choral Society, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Augusta, Charleston and Savannah Symphonies.
Following his undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and completion as Master’s degree in viola performance from Indiana University, Karl took positions with the Venezuelan National Symphony and the Pro-Arte Quartet of Caracas, touring extensively in Latin America and performing the entire cycle of Beethoven string quartets.
Settling in the Atlanta area in 1980, he continued his chamber music work with the Atlanta Virtuosi and became Principal violist of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and Chattanooga Symphony. Karl studied viola and violin with Abraham Skernick, Richard Young, and Dorothy Mauney.
Karl and his wife, Debra, a violinist, share their home in Athens, GA with eight cats and countless students. His hobbies include building and restoring harpsichords and golfing.
Angela Shaw – violin, viola
Angela regularly performs with the Augusta Opera, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and Augusta Choral Society. She is often guest violinist and violist with the Magellan String Quartet and the Kiokee Quintet. Angela teaches private violin/viola lessons at the Carolina String Academy in Aiken and the Augusta State University Conservatory Program.
She attended Augusta State University, where she received a Bachelor in Music Education. She was violin pupil of Dr. Angela Morgan, and studied viola with Carl Purdy. Angela is an Augusta, Georgia, native. Angela lives in Augusta with her husband, double bassist Travis Shaw, and their daughter Caeden.
Travis Shaw – double bass, guitar
Travis Shaw is an Augusta, Georgia, native. Travis is well-versed in many styles of music, including jazz, rock, bluegrass, and classical styles. Travis is an active teacher in Augusta (Southeast Music Academy) and Aiken (Carolina Music Academy) and is in special demand as a performer in the jazz genre. Some of his notable collaborations have been with Ravi Coltrane, Rob Foster, Wycliff Gordon, Pulsar, A Step Up, and The Jazz Collective. Travis is often featured with Carl Purdy’s groups, including the In Praise of Music ensemble Event Horizons.
Travis has studied at the Atlanta Institute of Music, where he studied bass guitar under the well known virtuoso, Adam Nitti, and local working musicians, Alan Barnes and Gary Wilkins, and at Augusta State University, where he studied double bass with Barry Garman.
Travis has also spent time in the flourishing music scene of Athens, GA, where he studied jazz bass with Chris Enghauser of UGA, and performed in master classes with John Clayton and Rufus Reid. He currently lives in Augusta doing freelance work and teaching guitar and bass at The Carolina String Academy and The Southeast Music Academy.
Debra Sherrill – french horn
Debra is in her 6th season as a core member of Chamber Music Charleston. In addition, she maintains an active teaching studio and performs frequently with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, the Augusta Choral Society, the Savannah Philharmonic, the Greenville Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony and the Colorado Symphony.
During the summers, she is a participant with the Endless Mountain Music Festival, Loon Lake Live, the St. Augustine Music Festival and the Mozart in the South Festival. Before moving to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she held the positions of Associate Principal Horn of the Barcelona (Spain) Symphony and Principal Horn of the South Dakota Symphony.
Debra has studied with Roger Collins at Western Illinois University, Erik Ralske at Manhattan School of Music, and Jerome Ashby at the Juilliard School. Outside of playing her horn, Debra’s hobbies include traveling, karate, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving and she is an avid birder. Originally from Danville, Illinois, Debra currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina.
Laurin Smith – violin, viola, conductor
Laurin Smith’s distinguished music background includes two higher education degrees in both violin and viola, studies with Itzhak Perlman, Masao Kawasaki, Dorothy Delay, and Andrew Galos, and experiences performing as a violinist, violist and conductor in Europe, Asia, and across the U.S.A. (including orchestra director and chamber music coach along with the Colorado String Quartet at Soundfest in Falmouth, MA).
Laurin makes his home in northern Georgia, is the music director and conductor of the North Georgia Chamber Symphony, and works as adjunct professor of violin, viola, and string division director at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, GA.
Additionally, Laurin regularly travels to perform with several southeastern professional music ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Augusta Choral Society, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and the Augusta Opera. He also serves the southeastern professional music culture by performing with and leading various regional chamber music and educational organizations, including work as both performer and teacher at the Laurel Ridge Music Camp.
Anne Marie Thomas – clarinet
Anne Marie is a clarinetist, administrator and teacher. She has performed for over a decade with The Augusta Symphony, Augusta Choral Society and Augusta Opera. Anne Marie created the Augusta Preparatory Day School Music and Dance conservatory (voted Best of Augusta in 2010), and has maintained a successful clarinet studio for seventeen years. Her students’ honors include All-State Band, District, Governors Honors, and The Augusta Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition.
Her teachers were Hymie Voxman, Dr. Maurita Meade, Doug Graham, Laura Arden, and James Pyne. Anne Marie graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance. During her senior year, she earned the Donald E. McGinnis award, given annually to one band member whose musicianship, leadership, and personality emulate the professional standards of Donald E. McGinnis, who served as the director of bands for twenty seven years.
Laura Tomlin – violin, composer, conductor
Laura is the director of the Orchestra and string program at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta. She is the founder and director of the Carolina String Academy in Aiken and the conductor of the Aiken Youth Orchestras. She is an adjunct professor at Augusta State University and the University of South Carolina, Aiken, and teaches violin and viola privately at the Carolina Academy of Music and for the ASU Conservatory Program. She also served for several years as conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras.
She has extensive experience as a chamber musician, including eleven years with the Augusta Symphony String Quartet, three years with the Magellan String Quartet as artist-in-residence at Georgia Southern University, and four years with the Southern Arts Piano Trio. Laura’s students, colleagues and audiences benefit from her expertise and versatility as a music arranger.
She has participated in music festivals in New York, California, Michigan, North Carolina, and Maine, and has performed throughout the United States and Europe, most recently in Weill Recital Hall in New York as a member of the ARCO Chamber Orchestra. She was awarded a 2001 research grant to attend the International Colourstrings Symposium in Helsinki, Finland.
Laura has been a member of Symphony Orchestra Augusta since 1987, serving one year as concertmaster, ten years as principal second violin, and currently as assistant concertmaster. Laura’s students have won numerous awards and competitions. She also directs the ASU Summer String Camp, as well as the ASU Honors String Jamboree, and coaches chamber music for the ASU Chamber Music Camp. She received a Bachelor of Music from North Carolina School of the Arts, a Master of Music from the University of Southern California, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia.
Caroline Ulrich, flute
Caroline is Principal Flute with the Greenville (SC) Symphony Orchestra and is on the faculty at South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities. She has frequently been featured soloist with the GSO and other ensembles, performing works of Bach, Mozart, Chaminade, Gluck, Godard, and most recently, Lukas Foss.
Caroline is active in chamber music, both in solo recitals and part of the GSO Spotlight Series. She has held positions with the Springfield (IL) Symphony, Cedar Falls/Waterloo Symphony, Asheville Symphony, and Augusta Opera, and has played in the orchestras of Broadway Touring shows at the Peace Center.
Caroline earned Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University. Her primary teachers were Charles DeLaney, Alexander Murray, and Felix Skowronek. She has also worked with William Bennett, Carl Hall, Paula Robison, Stephen Preston, and Kyril Magg.
Jamison Walker – vocalist (tenor)
Jamison Walker received his Bachelors of Music, Cum Laude, from Stetson University, and his Masters of Music from Florida State University. Jamison has been heard recently with the Augusta Choral Society, and the Augusta Opera. He has performed leading roles with the Florida State University Opera Theater, The Stetson University Opera Theater, the Augusta Opera, First Coast Opera and Central Florida Lyric Opera. His roles include Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme, Tito in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, as well as leading roles in the operas of Rossini, Flotow, Donizetti, Bellini and Handel.
Jamison served in the Army as the soloist with the Signal Corps Band and Signal Center of Excellence. He is currently enrolled in the Florida State University’s Doctoral Program.
Jeffrey Wells – opera singer
Jeffrey has enjoyed success across the globe as an international opera singer for more than 34 years, performing throughout Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand. In the United States, Mr. Wells has sung leading roles in every major opera house, including San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, and a plethora of other regional opera companies. Jeffrey has also been a principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera for the past 22 years. On Opening Night of the 1988/89 Metropolitan Opera Season, Mr. Wells made his debut as Ferrando in Il Trovatore as a part of a star-studded cast, including Luciano Pavarotti and Sherill Milnes, with James Levine conducting. Since this auspicious debut, he has sung over 450 performances at the Met. In 2013, Jeffrey returned to the Metropolitan Opera for his 23rd season, performing in operas that included Tosca and Andrea Chenier. Jeffrey is currently serving as Artistic Director for the Oconee Performing Arts Society and makes his home in Greene County Georgia.
Matt Whittington – guitar
Matthew began playing guitar at the age of 12 and was soon performing with small groups. He began formal study in 1973 at Daytona State College and began playing professionally at the age of 17. In 1976 Matthew attended the University of Miami as a Jazz Guitar Performance Major. Matthew came to Augusta in 1981 and played with many of the area’s finest jazz musicians at local venues, as well as other jazz venues throughout the Southeast.
In 1986 Matthew moved to New York City, where he performed with fellow musicians and friends, the currently famous Ed Fuqua and Randy Johnston.
Matthew’s influences include the great saxophonist Charlie Parker and guitarists Charlie Christian and Jimmy Raney.
Since returning to Augusta in 2007, Matthew has been featured at the Cullum Series at Georgia Regents University, the Spoleto festival in Charleston, South Carolina, and Augusta’s Candlelight Jazz Series. He has also performed at various clubs and concerts in Augusta, Atlanta, and Columbia, South Carolina. Matthew was also a featured artist in the Augusta Chronicle’s “Sonic Spotlight” series.
Matthew currently teaches guitar at the Georgia Regents University Music Conservatory and at Portman’s Music Academy.
Cameron Wilson, Percussion
Cameron is currently a junior at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, Georgia. He has been selected for the Georgia All-State Band three times and twice as the principal percussionist. He has been selected as the vibraphonist of the All-State Jazz Band three times and looks forward to performing with the All-State Jazz Band in 2015 on drum set.
Cameron performs regularly with the Greater Augusta Youth Theater and has been teaching younger percussion students at Davidson since the 7th grade.
Cameron is available to teach beginning to intermediate percussionists and for performance opportunities. He currently studies with Dr. Scott Herring, professor of percussion at USC Columbia.
Dan Worley – bassoon
Dan is principal bassoon of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, the Dekalb Symphony, the Augusta Opera, Augusta Choral Society, and performs regularly with the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra. He is a member of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and performs with the Atlanta Lyric Opera, Augusta Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony.
He has performed extensively in the U.S. and Europe with the quintet Arioso, which he founded. Arioso was selected as one of two chamber music groups from North America to perform at the first International Chamber Music Festival in Berkshire, Massachusetts, in 1976. Worley has played with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, under the direction of James Levine, and has played principal bassoon with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Spoleto, Italy.
As its youngest member, Worley won a position with the American Wind Symphony in Pittsburgh. He has also been featured as solo bassoonist with the Engadinger Festival Orchestra in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Dan was a scholarship student of William Polisi at the Juilliard School of Music.