Our People

Students | Faculty | Staff and Board

MANC Students

Many former MANC students are now active professional musicians and/or educators in well-respected colleges and universities, including teaching at MANC. Generally, students:

  • Place in local, regional, and national competitions
  • win awards
  • earn college scholarships.

Current or returning students. You may register for lessons online, in person, or over the phone by contacting Chris Rachal, Director of Student Relations at 336.379.8748 x 100.

New students? Click here.

MANC Faculty

(Jump to: Strings | Piano | Voice | Woodwind, Brass, & Percussion | Guitar)

More than 35 highly qualified faculty members offer the finest in music lessons to a thousand students of all ages. They have trained in our nation’s best music schools, including Eastman, Northwestern, Berklee, Juilliard, Oberlin, Peabody, and Indiana. The majority hold advanced degrees. They also:

  • have recorded with music publishers
  • performed nationwide and abroad with major symphonies and commercial groups
  • are in strong demand to adjudicate at state and regional competitions.

Some have been teaching for more than 30 years and/or teach at nearby colleges and universities.


Diane Bonds, Cello
Kellie Burgess, Cello
Colleen Chenail, Violin
Theresa Fox, Violin and Viola
Steve Landis, Bass and Composition
Heather Lofdahl, Violin and Viola
Ruth Metheny, Violin
Katherine Miller, Violin
Dave Phillips, Viola
Jorge Rodriguez Ochoa, Violin

DIANE BONDS, cello faculty, comes to MANC with extensive teacher training and many years of teaching and performing experience. After receiving a BM from UNC-Chapel Hill and MM from the University of Texas at Austin, she completed All-Level Music Certification at the University of Houston and Suzuki Cello training from teachers across the country. One of the highlights was participating in 1999 at the International Suzuki Teachers Conference in Matsumoto, Japan. Up until 2005, most of Diane’s teaching was centered in Houston, TX. She taught for over 20 years at Parker Music Academy, a music magnet school, building the program from just a few to over 55 cello students. During that time her students were honored with the invitation to perform in both 1996 and 1998 for the National Suzuki Teachers Conference in Chicago. Former students have gone on to major music schools and conservatories including Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, one student being a top prize winner in the 2001 Rostropovich Competition and the XII Tchaikovsky Competition in 2002. Returning to Greensboro in 2005, Diane first held an adjunct position at Greensboro College and now continues as teaching artist for the Community Music School at Appalachian Sate University. When not teaching in Texas or here in Greensboro, she freelances having performed in such orchestras as the Austin and Galveston Symphonies, Opera in the Heights in Houston, Opera Roanoke and Roanoke Symphony and the Greensboro Symphony. Diane can be reached at dbonds@musicacademync.org.

KELLIE BURGESS, Executive Director of The Music Academy of North Carolina, received her Master and Bachelor of Music degrees in cello performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Before transitioning to her current role, Kellie held the position of Dean of Faculty; chaired the String and Early Childhood departments; and was the Artistic Director for The Music Academy of NC Cello, Violin, and Viola Competition. Trained in Musikgarten, Kindermusik, Orff, and Suzuki cello, Kellie enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities. In addition to twenty years of experience teaching cello, she has extensive experience teaching early childhood music, exceptional children, beginner violin, and was the curriculum writer and teacher for EMF Kids Camp from its first year through 2011. Kellie is a Music Academy Master Teacher, the recipient of a 1997 Teaching Excellence Award, and a 2002 Merit and Service Award. She is an active freelance artist in the Piedmont and Triad area. She can be reached at 336.379.8748, ext. 106 or kburgess@musicacademync.org.


COLLEEN CHENAIL, a violin faculty member since 2001 at The Music Academy of North Carolina, is also the chair of the string faculty. She received her Master of Music in Violin Performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and her Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and Education from Ithaca College. Colleen is an active freelance artist who performs throughout North Carolina and Virginia. She currently performs with the Greensboro Symphony and has been the concertmaster of the Danville Symphony Orchestra. Colleen is the conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Philharmonic. She is Suzuki certified in books one through six and has taught private and group lessons to preschool through college students at all levels. In addition, Colleen is a North Carolina certified teacher with experience teaching chorus, general music and orchestra. Colleen received the Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award in 2004 and has been a master teacher at the Music Academy of North Carolina since 2005. She can be reached at 336.379.8748, ext. 104, or cchenail@musicacademync.org.

THERESA FOX, a native of Greensboro, studied violin and viola performance at UNCG. The viola mentor for the Danville Symphony Orchestra for the past ten years, Theresa has also played with several other orchestras and ensembles in North Carolina and Virginia: notably, she is a member of the Danville String Quartet. Theresa also plays violin on the praise-and-worship team at We Are One Christian Fellowship. Theresa performed chamber music with MANC faculty a few years ago and currently performs with a piano Quintet in Greensboro. Theresa is currently accepting new violin and viola students and can be reached at tfox@musicacademync.org.



As a composer, STEVEN LANDIS works with many mediums including solo instrumental, mixed chamber groups, large ensembles, digital and mixed media, as well as film and theater. As a double bassist, Steven performs in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings.
Steven earned his DMA in Composition at The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, where he studied composition with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and James Mobberley, and studied double bass with Jeffery Kail. Steven earned an MM in Composition from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studied with Mark Engebretson and Alejandro Rutty. He previously earned an MM in Double Bass Performance and a BM in Composition from The University of Florida, where he studied double bass with Kevin Casseday and composition with Paul Richards and James Paul Sain.
Currently, Steven is the bassist for the North Carolina Improvisatory New Music collective COLLAPSS, teaches double bass at the Music Academy of North Carolina, and is an Adjunct Instructor of music theory, aural skills, and computer music for non-majors at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Steven is a recent recipient of the Millay Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Wildacres Artist Retreat.
For more information please visit Steven online at www.slandismusic.com. Steven is available for upright bass lessons, composition instruction, and music theory tutoring. He can be reached at slandis@musicacademync.org.

Ruth MethenyRUTH METHENY received her B.S. in Music Education on a full music scholarship in 1976 at Austin Peay State University. She and husband Gary moved to Greensboro, where Ruth joined the Greensboro Symphony. After teaching strings in the Guilford County School System, she received a Graduate Assistantship to attend Graduate School at UNCG, studying under Dr. David Moskovitz. Ruth received her Master’s Degree in Violin Performance in 1983, during which time she also became a member of the Winston-Salem Symphony. She has been the lead violinist of the Greensboro and Winston-Salem Symphony string education ensembles, developing educational programs and concerts for third- through fifth-grade elementary students, as well as performing with the Fun with Fiddles ensemble, providing concerts and hands-on activities for Kindergarteners in the Forsyth County Schools. Ruth attended Suzuki training in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, and had a private studio of 24 students, where she taught violin technique to students through Book 6. She held the position of Principal First Violin and then Associate Concertmaster of the Winston-Salem Symphony, while also a member of various other chamber ensembles, such as the Greensboro Chamber Players, Greensboro Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and the Carolina Chamber Symphony. She has performed solo and ensemble recordings with Kindermusik International. Ruth can be reached at rmetheny@musicacademync.org.

Katherine MillerKATHERINE MILLER, originally from North Carolina, started her violin career as a young Suzuki student. She believes strongly that the Suzuki Method is the key to musical and educational development in children. Katherine graduated “Suma Cum Laude” from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance. During her time at Appalachian State University she held many coveted chairs in the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra including Concertmaster. Katherine has performed for celebrity Maya Angelou and was back up performer for the band Kansas during their 2012 tour. Professional orchestras that she has performed with include Western Piedmont Symphony, Johnson City Symphony, and Salisbury Symphony where she was a featured guest soloist. Katherine has received many awards for her violin performances both in and out of the music industry including the Preliminary Talent Award at Miss North Carolina in both 2013 and 2015. She is certified in Suzuki Books 1-3, and plans to continue her training further. Before joining the Music Academy of North Carolina, Katherine taught private and group classes at the University of Miami Preparatory School and in Key Biscayne, FL. Katherine can be reached at kmiller@musicacademync.org.

David PhillipsDAVID PHILLIPS is an active freelance violist in North Carolina and the Northeast. Originally from Albany, NY, he holds the BM from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam and the MM and Professional Performers Certificate from Penn State University. His major professors include Scott Rawls, Tim Deighton and Shelly Tramposh.
David has held the principal chairs of the Williamport (PA) Symphony and the Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra. Currently, he is a member of the Greensboro and Fayetteville Symphonies. He has performed with the Carolina Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Northern New York, the Eleva Chamber Players (VT) with summer engagements at Music at Penn’s Woods and the National Music Festival. He currently is principal violist of the UNCG Symphony Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, David has appeared as an Emerging Artist Fellow at Garth Newel Music Center and participated in the summerQuartet workshop at NYU. He has appeared as a guest artist at Loon Lake Live!, a chamber music series in Northern New York. His string trio won second prize at the Penn State Graduate Exhibition.
While at Penn State, David served as a Classical Music Student Ambassador, as which he facilitated guest artist residency activities and created arts outreach activities for the student community.
Currently, David is a DMA student in viola performance at The University of North Carolina Greensboro, where he is an assistant for the music theory department. He lives in Greensboro with his fiancee, Kate, their cats, Tucker and Nico, and their dog, Petunia. David can be reached at dphillips@musicacademync.org.

JORGE RODRIGUEZ OCHOA is an international violinist from Latin America. He started his musical studies at the age of 4 with piano and then included violin to his formation at age 7. Jorge grew up in Monterrey City, Mexico and graduated from the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey (La Superior) and Tec de Monterrey (ITESM) in 2007. That same year, he spent a semester abroad as an international student in Greensboro, NC.George now holds a MM degree in Violin Performance from Baylor University and has held various principal positions in regional orchestras in NC and the surrounding states after coming back to the Triad in 2012. He currently has contracts with Greensboro Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Roanoke Symphony and Symphony of the Mountains in TN. Mr. Jorge also performs as a guest with groups as the Charleston Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Wilmington Symphony, Western Piedmont Symphony, Salisbury Symphony and Asheville Symphony. In 2013, he received an O-1 Visa (Extraordinary Alien Work Authorization Permit) with Roanoke Symphony and the Music Academy of NC. Jorge is now a permanent resident in the US and lives happily with his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Leddy Ochoa; who is chair of the piano department at MANC. They both enjoy teaching common students in their studios and contribute to their overall musical formation when students are learning both violin and piano at the same time. Before joining the string faculty at MANC, Jorge served as an adjunct faculty with Southeastern Community College and taught at the American Institute of Monterrey, in Monterrey City. Mr. Jorge enjoys playing and teaching crossover styles of classical music as well as folk style music and has toured Portugal and Spain with folk music groups. Jorge is comfortable teaching both in English and Spanish and tries to include some of his piano formation in the study of music theory for all of his string students. Link to Syllabus He can be reached at jrochoa@musicacademync.org.

HEATHER LOFDAHL is a string teacher, violist, and violinist living in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she is also pursuing a PhD in Music Education at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Heather teaches orchestra classes at Cone and Peck Elementary Schools. She is the conductor of the Greensboro Youth Symphony Strings and assistant conductor of the UNCG Sinfonia. Prior to returning to Greensboro in 2019, Heather taught orchestra in Cobb County (GA). She has also taught elementary through university orchestra students in Illinois and North Carolina. While living in Greensboro from 2012-2015, she even taught at The Music Academy of North Carolina, where she was awarded the Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award in 2014. She also serves on the faculty of the Florida State University String Orchestra Camp every summer.

Heather holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music Education and Viola Performance from Augustana College and Master of Music degrees in Music Education and Viola Performance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an active guest conductor, clinician, and violist throughout the United States. She can be reached at hlofdahl@musicacademync.org.

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Lisa Duerr
Elizabeth Leddy Ochoa
Nancy Revzen
Thomas Swenson
Janice Wells
Christy Wisuthseriwong
Shiori Yamaguchi

Lisa and Walker Fall '96 - Version 3LISA DUERR, piano faculty member, joined the Music Academy of North Carolina in fall of 2014. With 30 years of teaching experience, Ms. Duerr has also taught at Salem College Community Music School, the Community Music School of UNCSA, The Community Music School of The University of Alabama, and Southern Arts Academy in suburban Atlanta. As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association since 1989, her students have consistently received Superior and Excellent ratings and
have performed at North Carolina Music Teachers Association State Conferences. Several of her pre-college students have been accepted into established and reputable collegiate music programs. Ms. Duerr holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, with a secondary emphasis in science, from Agnes Scott College, and a Master of Music in
piano performance, with secondary emphasis in piano pedagogy, from Georgia State University. While at GSU she was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity. Her primary teachers include Anna Hayward, and Cary Lewis of the Lanier Trio. As a performer, Ms. Duerr was a freelance pianist in Atlanta and Tuscaloosa , and participated in the 2002 UNCG Pianoforte Workshop taught by Andrew Willis. She received her Musikgarten certification in 2002. At the CMS of UNCSA, she developed
and taught a successful Musikgarten program for toddlers from 2005-2013. Piano students range in age from 4 1/2 to 70+ years and include beginners of every age, music enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as students auditioning for competitions and college music programs. Approaching each student as an individual, Ms. Duerr encourages communication between the parent-child-teacher triangle and uses unique instructional strategies that combine tradition with modern eclectic flair. She can be reached at lduerr@musicacademync.org.


SHIORI YAMAGUCHI began her piano studies at the age of five in Tokyo, Japan. After moving to the United States, she continued her studies at the Community Division at Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. At fourteen, Shiori won the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition, earning an opportunity to perform as a soloist with Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra. Shortly after, she was admitted to the Precollege Division of Manhattan School of Music where she studied solo piano, collaborative piano, theory, literature, and aural skills.

A merit scholarship recipient, Shiori holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from
Ithaca College. As a first-year student, she won the Concerto Competition at the school, earning a solo performance with the Symphony Orchestra. In her second year, she was invited to perform at the United Nations for its CD Launch Event. During her time at Ithaca, Shiori also received three years of training in piano pedagogy through Piano Teaching Intern Program hosted by the school. In her last year at Ithaca, she won a scholarship through Mary Hayes North Senior Piano Competition. Shiori holds a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Manhattan School of Music where she also taught at the school’s Sunday Program for two years.

Shiori is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Post-graduate Music Theory Pedagogy certificate at the University of North Carolina– Greensboro. Her dissertation research explores how and why using certain young beginner method books interfere with learning good technique. As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association, she serves as the president of UNCG’s Collegiate Chapter. In 2018, Shiori was invited to present Developing Comprehensive Musicianship at the Fifty-Ninth Annual North Carolina Music Teachers
Association State Conference. Her current studio at the Music Academy consist of students between the ages of four and eighteen. Shiori believes that students learn best through interactive and
integrated learning. Her students are encouraged to be curious, critical, and creative thinkers. She can be reached at syamaguchi@musicacademync.org.

IMG_2660ELIZABETH LEDDY OCHOA, piano faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina, received her Master of Music in Piano Performance at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Baylor University. In addition to managing a private piano studio in Texas, Elizabeth also taught in the Piano Laboratory Program community piano program at Baylor University. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association as well as NCMTA. She is also a certified Musikgarten instructor, and teaches early childhood music classes through Gate City Musikgarten.
Elizabeth is an active collaborative pianist and freelance artist in the Triad area and works as a freelance vocal, string, woodwind and brass accompanist at UNCG. She has performed as part of the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, the Liszt Bicentennial Keyboard Concert at Baylor University, as an accompanist for the Texas All-State Choir Camp, and with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Greensboro Philharmonia. Masterclass performances include Marialena Fernandes, Martin Katz, and Jane Magrath. She can be reached at eleddy@musicacademync.org.

DR. THOMAS SWENSON, Master Teacher at MANC, has distinguished himself as a national leader in the field of piano pedagogy. He is a permanent Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (from the Music Teachers National Association) and has received several other teaching awards including the Steinway Top Educator certificate. With over 25 years of teaching experience his students are often recognized for excellent keyboard technique, interpretation, musicianship, and their compositions. Pre-college students regularly participate in recitals, music festivals, and competitions.
Thomas has served in many leadership roles for the Music Teachers National Association, the North Carolina Music Teachers Association (including President) and the Greensboro Music Teachers Association. He is published in several books and journals, and is a regular contributor to Clavier Companion. He has given presentations and workshops at the Music Teachers National Association National Conference, Music Educators National Conference, the World Music Symposium along with many state and local events. As a leader in adult piano teaching he taught a unique Recreational Music Making curriculum throughout the world and is a member of the Committee on Teaching Adults, a division of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.
Currently also on faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts he has also taught at Salem College, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro Summer Music Camp. He regularly performs as a soloist, collaborative pianist, church musician, and is half of the piano duo Zwei & Zwanzig (two and twenty, with Ellyses Kuan).
Dr. Swenson holds degrees from Minnesota State University (BM), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM), and the University of Oklahoma (PhD). He has also studied at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. His primary teachers include Jane Magrath (editor of many piano music collections), Barbara Fast, Howard Lubin, John Salmon, Olga Gross, and Nancy Harris.
Other areas of interest and research include keyboard technique from the beginning, the art of practicing, composition and creativity, and partner lesson pedagogy.
As a hobbyist composer, Dr. Swenson has a number of completed works, mostly for church use. He can be reached at tswenson@musicacademync.org.

JANICE WELLS, piano faculty member and Master Teacher at The Music Academy of North Carolina, earned her Master of Music degree in Piano from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano from Newberry College. She has taught private and class piano since 1990, and enjoys teaching Suzuki-style lessons for young beginners. She is also an active freelance accompanist in the Triad area. Janice began teaching at MANC in 2002. She was a recipient of the 2004 Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award. She can be reached at jwells@musicacademync.org


DR. CHRISTY WISUTHSERIWONG, Master Teacher, has been teaching at the Music Academy of North Carolina since 2006. She received her Bachelor’s of Music in piano performance and pedagogy at Meredith College in Raleigh and studied Collaborative Piano at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned her Master’s of Music in 2001 and Doctor of Musical Arts in 2011. Christy is a member of NCMTA and is active in the musical life of the Triad area. She currently works as a staff accompanist at Elon University, and is the accompanist for Bel Canto Company. From 2009-2012, she taught piano and accompanied students at at Guilford College in Greensboro. Christy has been an accompanist for the American Singers’ Opera Project in Winston-Salem, the Greensboro Opera Company, NC-NATS auditions, Community Theatre of Greensboro, and the Cello Competition and Vocal Festival at MANC. She has worked frequently as an accompanist for the UNCG Opera Theatre Department, playing for the Opera Tour to the Schools and the North Carolina premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women, among other shows. She has performed chamber music recitals as a guest artist at various schools around the country, including Elon University, Furman University, Duquesne University, and Ball State University. In the summer of 2006, Christy participated in the Summer Piano Pedagogy Institute at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Internationally, Christy attended the opera performance and language study program Oberlin in Italy in 2001 and the University of Miami Frost School of Music German lieder program for singers and pianists in Salzburg, Austriain 2007. Christy was a recipient of the Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award for 2008-2009. She can be reached at cwisuthseriwong@musicacademync.org.

NANCY REVZEN was born and raised in NYC and began playing the piano at the age of 3. At 6 years old, she began her musical studies at the Henry Street Settlement School and then quickly received an offer to join the Chatham Square Music School, a school for gifted children affiliated with NBC television studios.
Ms. Revzen later entered Juilliard Prep and had already begun giving concerts around the US. From the prep division, she entered Juilliard Conservatory and studied with Ania Dorfmann, the first woman pianist to play under the baton of Maestro Toscanni; Edward Aldwell, who has recorded the definitive CD of the Bach Well-Tempered Clavier; and Renee Longy, a teacher who taught Leonard Bernstein, James Conlin and many other reknown musicians.
Nancy was then offered the head of the accompanying department at Florida State University where she taught piano, accompanying, lyric diction and solfege. After three years, she returned to NYC to be an assistant conductor and coach at the NYC Opera, work on her Masters at the Manhattan School of Music and teach piano privately.
Ms. Revzen has taught for 40 years, and has also been a member of the faculties of Washington University in St Louis, a member of the St. Louis Conservatory faculty and Wenster College. She has also been on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and has had the honor of accompanying Dawn Upshaw, Zara Nelsova, Gerard Souzay, Claudine Carlson, Paul Sperry and numerous other well-known artists. She was also awarded a fellowship to the renowned Tanglewood festival in the Berkshires.
Ms Revzen was the head and artistic director of the International Music Festival in Greece, which she started ,and the Apple Trio, for piano, soprano and flute. They did their Merkin Concert Hall debut in NYC and received supurb reviews. She has also recorded a CD with Soprano Beranic Bramson, and a CD of the Dvorak Slavonic Dances with pianist Susan Grossman.
Ms. Revzen lived and concertised in Europe for 6 years, speaks 4 languages and also plays the flute, piccolo, guitar, and oboe. She holds degrees from Juilliard, and a degree in Music History from New York State University. At present, she is giving concerts in and around the Greensboro area, and teaching at the Music Academy of North Carolina. She can be reached at nrevzen@musicacademync.org.

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Christian Blackburn
Woodson Faulkner
Stephanie Foley Davis
Emily Ford-Coates
Charlene Marchant
Clarice Weiseman

CHRISTIAN BLACKBURN is a baritone originally from Lakin, Kansas and received his B.M. in voice performance under Dr. Reginald Pittman in 2016 from Kansas State University. While at Kansas State Christian had the opportunity to perform many style of music. He was a part of KSU’s premier acapella group In-A-Chord performing pop, jazz, rock and folk songs arranged for acapella. Christian performed with a vocal jazz group and joined the jazz combo Swing Machine for a small concert at KSU. He also had the opportunity to sing two roles with K-State Opera Theatre as Peter in Hansel and Gretel and Mr. Kofner in The Consul.
Christian will complete his Masters in Music at UNCG in May of 2019 under Dr. Carla LeFevre. Of his recent performance as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte for the UNCG Opera Theatre, Classical Voice North Carolina said, “Blackburn’s Papageno lit up the stage; his hearty singing and great comic acting was wonderful. In the summer of 2016, Christian sang with Opera in the Ozarks as a Studio Artist, performing in a touring opera throughout Northwest Arkansas. He performed as a chorus member for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in productions of Dead Man Walking, where he sand a small chorus role and The Pirates of Penzance in 2017. Christian has also recently been seen in productions of Hänsel and Gretel (Peter cover) for Greensboro Opera, Madama Butterfly (Imperial Commissioner) for Greensboro Opera and Talk Opera (Rigoletto) for UNCG Opera Theatre. Recently he made his first appearance with North Carolina Opera in their production of Carmen in 2019. Christian will also make two role debuts in 2019, singing as Ford in UNCG’s Falstaff and Masetto in North Carolina Summer Opera’s Don Giovanni.
He is thrilled to be joining the esteemed faculty of the Music Academy and has a passion for teaching singing. Christian has taught privately since 2016 and has enjoyed teaching many styles including classical, music theatre, jazz and pop. More about Christian can be found at ChristianJBlackburn.com. He can be reached at cblackburn@musicacademync.org.

Hinshaw music photoWOODSON E. FAULKNER, II is a graduate of Greensboro College with a Bachelor of Music degree subsequently attending UNCG for post-graduate study in choral conducting, voice training and music education. He was a featured soloist with the Bel Canto Company in their appearance at the Hinshaw Music Festival held in Raleigh August of 2014 and also in 2015 where he was again soloist in the 2nd Premier of John Rutter’s “Six Canticles of Light”. In 2007 Mr. Faulkner became the Choir Director/Organist at Wake Forest Baptist Church, Winston-Salem and on Sept. 11, 2011 in Wait Chapel, Mr. Faulkner conducted the premier performance of “Angels and Fireflies” written by Kevin Malone for solo flute and string orchestra for the 10th anniversary commemorating the tragic events of 9-11. The performance was simulcast to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England and radio broadcast live from Wake Forest on local NPR station WFDD. In addition, Mr. Faulkner serves as Accompanist, Assistant Director, and Vocal Coach for the Burlington Boys Choir since 1999, with tours to New York, Atlanta, Toronto, Mexico and Vienna.
Mr. Faulkner was Artistic Director and Founding Conductor of the Triad Pride Men’s Chorus from 1998 – 2012. His professional credits include appearances conducting TPMC at the International Festival of Gay and Lesbian Choruses (GALA) in Montreal, Miami, Denver, and at a regional conference in Cincinnati, OH. He has also sung professionally under the direction of the late Robert Shaw at Carnegie Hall and has performed as singer/assistant director of The Desert Chorale of Santa Fe, NM in four summer seasons.
Among his other artistic endeavors, Mr. Faulkner is a past Board President of Greensboro Opera and was recently a featured writer for the O.Henry Magazine in the July 2014 issue. He has been a presenter/speaker at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Didactic Seminar on Arts and Healing for Chaplaincy program – May 25, 2012, a guest presenter at the SEA (Southern Entrepreneur in the Arts) Conference at UNCG in Feb. 2012, Music Director/Arranger/Actor for the Touring Theatre Ensemble of NC from 1995-2004. He sang with the Bel Canto Company of Greensboro for 20+ years appearing numerous times with the ensemble as soloist. Mr. Faulkner also holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University. He can be reached at wfaulkner@musicacademync.org.

STEPHANIE FOLEY DAVIS was praised by the New York Times in her Glimmerglass Festival debut in The Tender Land as “a poised, touching Ma Moss” and Opera News said she was “a loving, careworn Ma, warm of voice and presence.” Ms. Davis subsequently returned to Glimmerglass to create the role of Mary McCarthy in the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s A Blizzard in Marblehead Neck. Of her role debut as Charlotte in Nightingale Opera Theatre’s production of Werther, Cleveland Classical said, “…Foley Davis and Culver were terrific in their singing and in delineating their sadness.”
Ms. Davis has appeared in leading roles throughout the US with companies such as Arizona Opera, Nashville Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Nightingale Opera Theatre, Orlando Philharmonic and almost every professional opera company in North Carolina, including Opera Carolina, Piedmont Opera, North Carolina Opera, and Greensboro Opera, to which she will return as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly in November of 2018. Stephanie makes her company and role debut with Opera Roanoke, singing Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in May 2019. Also this season will see her with North Carolina Opera as Mercedes in Carmen and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Greensboro Opera. Stephanie will make her debut with Memphis Symphony Orchestra for the Messiah under the baton of Robert Moody.
Stephanie also made her debut with the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) to perform the mezzo-soprano solos in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” and Jenkins’ The Armed Man under the baton of Robert Moody, after which they reprised the concert with the Winston-Salem Symphony. Other recent credits include Mercedes in Greensboro Opera‘s Carmen, her first Suzuki in Piedmont Opera’s Madama Butterfly, the mezzo soloist in the Winston-Salem Symphony’s Beethoven’s 9th, and as a distinguished alumna in Verdi’s Requiem at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Joseph Newsome (Voix des Arts) said, “Verdi entrusted the first phrases of ‘Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine’ to the mezzo-soprano soloist, and it is difficult to imagine that he could have expected them to be sung more handsomely and incisively than Foley Davis sang them in Greensboro.” Stephanie created the role of Flo in the World Premiere of Libby Larsen’s Picnic in April 2009, commissioned by the UNCG School of Music.
Ms. Davis is currently Chair of the Voice Faculty and Associate Director at The Music Academy of North Carolina, where she has been teaching voice since 2011. She can be reached at sfoley_davis@musicacademync.org.

Emily Ford-CoatesEMILY FORD-COATES, soprano, is thrilled to join the faculty of the Music Academy of North Carolina with a combined 5 years teaching experience of private voice lessons and middle school instruction of students within the exceptional education program. Ms. Ford-Coates is originally from Florida and recently appeared as Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites with University of North Carolina Greensboro Opera. She has also performed with the Sarasota Opera Company as the Second Spirit in Die Zauberflöte and with the Orlando Philharmonic as Cio Cio San’s Cousin in Madama Butterfly. Other roles include Amelia in Amelia Goes to the Ball, and Geraldine in A Hand of Bridge. Along with stage work she has also been the soloist for concert works such as Mozart’s Missa Brevis in F, Mozart’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Ms. Ford-Coates holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando where she studied with Thomas Potter and Priscilla Bagley. She completed her coursework for a Master of Music degree at the University of North Carolina Greensboro under the guidance of Dr. Robert Wells in 2017. It is her strong belief that every student can learn and, in conjunction, every teacher has the privilege of discovering the unique and varying ways to make the information accessible – no two students are alike therefore there must be more than one way to teach a student to become both an expressive artist and a healthy singer. Ms. Ford-Coates has an extensive background with classical singing and also enjoys teaching Musical Theater and Jazz repertoire. Emily can be reached at eford-coates@musicacademync.org.

Charlene MarchantCHARLENE MARCHANT joined the voice faculty when she moved to Greensboro in 2012. She received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The Catholic University of America and her A.B. cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard College. She brings extensive teaching experience having been adjunct faculty in the Music Department of Hampton University (fourteen years), Chowan University (one year), and the Vocal Music department (eleven years) of The Governor’s School for the Arts, a magnet school for gifted high school students in Norfolk, Virginia. She has taught madrigals and opera workshop and lyric diction, specializing in the major languages, including English, using the International Phonetic Alphabet. She has major professional performing experience having sung in the choruses of over 30 different operas with the following companies: The Washington (National) Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Virginia Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Opera Ayr (Scotland). She has performed all styles of music from chamber music to Music Theater and cabaret. She is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and a lifetime member of the music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI). She will rejoin the Greensboro Opera Board of Trustees for a second term in 2018. She can be reached at cmarchant@musicacademync.org.

CLARICE WEISEMAN, from Ypsilanti, Michigan, holds an MM in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BM in Voice Performance from Eastern Michigan University. She currently sings in the soprano sections of Bel Canto Company, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra’s Master Chorale, and the Greensboro Opera Chorus. She has performed frequently with many other opera theatres and chorales, including The Straits Chorale, UNCG and EMU Choirs, UNCG Opera Theatre, EMU Opera Theatre, Pittsfield Opera Theatre, and Arbor Opera Theatre. Her most notable roles include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), and Geraldine in Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge. Equally at home on and off the stage, she is the choir director at Union Ridge Church in Union Ridge, NC, and teaches private voice and piano lessons.
As a teacher, Clarice’s mission is to support every student in whatever musical endeavors they want to pursue. A specialist in cross-training singers, she believes that every student has their own individual voice, and one’s goal as their private teacher is to help them develop a healthy technique while still keeping the integrity of their unique singing voice and style. Additionally, she aims to help students develop proficient musical skills and to become artistic and expressive singers. Clarice’s ultimate goal as a private voice teacher is to create a safe and calming environment where students are free to explore their artistic selves, develop a healthy singing technique, and unlock their full potential as performers.  She can be reached at cweiseman@musicacademync.org.
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Woodwind, Brass, & Percussion

Elizabeth Church, Flute
Cat Keen Hock, Clarinet
Rebecca Libera, Bassoon
Kurt Phelps, Brass
Brandon West, Percussion and Drumset

ELIZABETH CHURCH joins the Woodwind Department at The Music Academy as flute instructor.  Passionate about collaborating with other musicians and artists, flutist, Elizabeth Church, commissions and composes works that utilize the surrounding community as well as her colleagues.  Through these collaborations, Church aspires to convey deeper meanings and bring awareness to topics such as mental health, social justice, and spirituality. She believes that as a performer, she has a unique opportunity to raise questions, spread hope, and share the things that she believes to be important in this world.
 As a soloist, Elizabeth is the recipient of many awards and honors. Most recently, she was a winner and recipient of the Euterpe Foundation Scholarship; a scholarship awarded to undergraduate college students pursuing a degree in music, and a selected flutist in the National Flute Convention’s Collegiate Flute Choir Competition (2019). Further, she has been named a winner in the Raleigh Area Flute Association’s Review and Contest (2017,2018) and performs with the Piedmont Wind Symphony as a substitute flutist and piccolist.
As an avid educator, Church serves as a flute instructor at Grimsley High School in Greensboro while also teaching privately. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music dual major in Flute Performance under Dr. Erika Boysen and Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Elizabeth has a joy in working with children and a love for teaching general music at the elementary level.  Additionally, she spends her summers on staff as a counselor at UNCG’s Summer Music Camp.
When Elizabeth is not teaching or playing the flute, she loves to spend her time playing the banjo, guitar, and working on calligraphy.  She can be reached at echurch@musicacademync.org.

DR. CATHERINE KEEN HOCK exemplifies the innovative spirit of the contemporary classical musician. Living in Greensboro, North Carolina, Cat (as she is called by her friends) performs and teaches throughout the southeastern United States. Cat is an avid supporter of new music, especially chamber music, and frequently collaborates with local composers and performers. Currently, Cat is the bass clarinetist for the Fayetteville and Salisbury Symphony Orchestras and has recently performed with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Western Piedmont Symphony, and Greensboro Ballet. Cat is a founding member of the award-winning reed ensemble Quintet Sirocco, performing in a variety of locations around North and South Carolina, and as a featured ensemble for the SMIA Chamber Competition, Classical Revolution Greensboro, and the MANC Summer Artist Series. Cat completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) in clarinet performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2012 where she was a graduate teaching assistant for the clarinet studio and jazz studies program. Her degree includes a cognate in jazz studies, and she also completed a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Historical Musicology during her doctoral studies. While at UNCG, she was a member of the Wind Ensemble, University Symphony Orchestra, Casella Sinfonietta and Jazz Ensemble II. Cat also earned a MM in Clarinet Performance from UNCG in 2007 and a BA with Honors in Music Performance with a minor in International Studies from Wake Forest University in 2005. At Wake Forest, Cat was a William L. Poteat Scholar, winner of the Concerto Competition and Giles-Harris Competition for Performance, and a drum major for the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black Marching Band. Also while at Wake Forest, Cat spent a semester studying in Venice, Italy, where she studied at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello and traveled Europe experiencing performances by the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. She studied with Kelly Burke, Anthony Taylor, Edwin Riley, Eileen Young and Michael Waddell. You are invited to learn about Cat by visiting her website: www.catkeenhockclarinet.com. Cat can be reached at ckeen-hock@musicacademync.org.

RLibera-250-2DR. REBECCA LIBERA, bassoon faculty, currently performs with the Quintet Sirocco, Fayetteville Symphony, Salisbury Symphony, and Western Piedmont Symphony, and has also performed with the North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Arizona Wind Symphony. Never content to sit still, Rebecca is also an arts administrator, teacher, performer, advocate, hearing specialist, researcher, health nut, and recreational athlete. As the Executive Director of Music for a Great Space, a local arts non-profit organization, Rebecca has a deep commitment to bringing great chamber music to the great spaces of Greensboro and to providing educational opportunities to music lovers of all ages. Before relocating back to the Piedmont Triad in 2011, Rebecca was a K-8 Elementary General Music and Band teacher in Phoenix, AZ. Also a published author, her articles have appeared in the Journal of Band Research as well as Arizona Music News. In addition to her music teaching and performance, Rebecca is an Occupational Hearing Conservationist and a Hearing Instrument Specialist, working for a private audiology practice in Greensboro. When “relaxing,” Rebecca has become a recreational runner and always enjoys a hike in the NC mountains. Dr. Libera is a two-degree graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM 2006, DMA 2009) and her undergraduate dual degree in music performance and music education is from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY (2004). Rebecca can be reached at rlibera@musicacademync.org.

Brandon WestBRANDON WEST is a percussionist and music educator based in Mebane, NC. He has taught concert and marching percussion throughout the southeastern portion of North Carolina. Some of these schools include: Cape Fear High School, South View High School, Terry Sanford High School, Douglas Byrd High School, Grays Creek High School, and Scotland High School. Brandon has served these programs as a percussion instructor, arranger, show designer, and drill writer.
As a performer Brandon has performed in many wind ensembles, concert bands, percussion ensembles, and marching ensembles. More notably, he was a member of the 2017 NC Day of Percussion All-Star Percussion Ensemble directed by Mark Ford, a performing member on the Focus Day Concert at the 2017 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in San Antonio, Texas, and was a member of the 2014 edition of the Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps. Brandon has had the opportunity to learn from many world-renowned percussionists; a few of those include: Nancy Zeltsman, Pius Cheung, Casey Cangelosi, and members of NEXUS.
Brandon received his Bachelor degree in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, studying percussion under Dr. Joseph Van Hassel and Dr. Tracy Wiggins. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Percussion Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studying percussion under Dr. Eric Willie. Brandon is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and is endorsed by Evans drumheads and Promark drumsticks. Brandon can be reached at bwest@musicacademync.org.

DR. KURT PHELPS is a freelance trumpeter and member of the 208th “Wildcat” Army Band stationed in Concord, North Carolina. Kurt received his DMA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While at UNCG, he served as a graduate assistant where he taught graduates and undergraduates, trumpet ensemble, and coached a student brass quintet. Alongside those duties, he was a member of the Graduate Brass Quintet and has taken part in educational concerts across the Greensboro community.
As an Army musician, Kurt has had the pleasure of performing in various military and civilian functions throughout North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi. Kurt is a native Floridian and has had the opportunity to perform as a marching toy soldier at the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World. He also performed as the first trumpet for the Penguin Brass Quintet at SeaWorld Orlando. Kurt was also a founding member of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Space Coast Oratorio Society. Kurt has performed internationally as well. In 2011, he traveled to Melk, Austria to perform in the Schagerl Brass Festival alongside Europe’s most accomplished brass players. Kurt is dedicated to music education. He has served as a guest clinician for middle and high schools in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. He can be reached at kphelps@musicacademync.org.

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Ken Brown, Guitar, Sitar
Brad Dickerson, Guitar
Greyson Leybourne, Banjo
Mark Mazzatenta, Guitar

KEN BROWN, guitar and sitar faculty member, began studying classical guitar at the age of eleven and has studied in master classes and privately with many of the top classical guitarists of today. In addition to classical guitar, Ken has performed in a wide array of musical genres including both Jazz, and Rock, and in settings ranging from film scores, to musical theater. In 2009 Ken has appeared as a guest artist at Arizona Musikfest, and with Nascar’s Kyle Petty at the Reckless Kelley Celebrity Softball Jam, an event organized to help fund programs for exceptional children in Austin, TX. His compositions range in scope from classical to electronic, three of which were recently featured in a modern dance premier in New York City. Ken holds degrees in both music and psychology, and works in depth with students with autism, ADHD, Downs syndrome, and cerebral palsy. He is currently in the process of revising three guitar method books and interactive DVD’s, one of which is written specifically for exceptional children. In addition to guitar, Ken plays sitar, mandolin, pedal steel, and bass. He is an avid visual artist whose artwork was featured on the cover of Soundboard in the spring of 2009. Ken can be reached at kbrown@musicacademync.org.

BRAD DICKERSON, guitar faculty, received his bachelors degree in classical guitar performance from Appalachian State University, cum laude, where he studied with Douglass James and Roger Cope. He has performed in master classes for artists such as Stephen Aaron and Elliot Frank. He has worked at the Music Academy of North Carolina since 2006 where he enjoys playing and teaching many styles such as classical, rock, blues, jazz, folk, bluegrass, and songwriting. His students have been recognized in statewide guitar competitions and have passed college auditions. In 2007 he received the Mary Elizabeth King Brown excellence in teaching award. As a performer he has appeared with the Greensboro Symphony, the Allamance Chorale, and his music has been featured on N.P.R. He performs regularly in the Piedmont area. He can be reached at bdickerson@musicacademync.org.

Greyson LeybourneGREYSON LEYBOURNE, Banjo, Guitar and Mandolin faculty member, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2013 with a Bachelor of Music in Choral Education, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition. He is currently performing with various different projects, including the Gate City Railbenders and The Hothouse Cucumbers. Greyson primarily plays banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and piano, with a particular focus on Bluegrass, and Old-time music.
In addition to Bluegrass and Old-time music, Greyson has a personal passion for choral music and also sings with the Greensboro-based early music choir Musica Anima as well as serving as the choir director and accompanist at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Gibsonville, NC. Greyson can be reached at gleybourne@musicacademync.org.


MARK MAZZATENTA recently celebrated his 30th year of teaching at the University level. He is an active performer of many styles of guitar music—from solo classical to jazz to electric fusion. After receiving his Master of Music degree from the Florida State University, he taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and at High Point University. He is also a composer who records as a soloist, with his twin brother (piano) in the Mazz Brothers Duo, and with his band Mazzjazz. In 2010 he won a Central Piedmont Regional Artists Hub Program grant. He is published in the American Music Teacher and his guitar arrangements are published by LudwigMasters. Find out more about Mark by visiting musicbymazz.com. At MANC, he teaches all ages of guitar students at all levels of performance and can be reached at mmazzatenta@musicacademync.org.

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Staff and Board

Directors and Department Chairs

Kellie Burgess, Executive Director

Stephanie Foley Davis, Associate Director and Chair of the Voice Department

Katherine Miller, Director of Partnerships and Outreach

Elizabeth Leddy Ochoa, Chair of the Piano Department

Brad Dickerson, Chair of the Guitar Department

Diane Bonds, Chair of the Strings Department

Clarice Weiseman, Summer Camp Director


CHRIS RACHAL, Director of Student Relations and Recording Engineer at The Music Academy of North Carolina, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech/Mass Communications from the University of West Georgia. Following an 18-year career in radio broadcasting as a Disc Jockey, Chris embarked on a career in music and music production by attending The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio. Chris has worked in the Music Technology Department at the Music Loft, also as a sound editor and score creator at Notion Music in Greensboro. Chris also owns Spin It On Entertainment Professional Mobile DJ business and has over 30 years experience recording everything from radio voiceovers, recitals, school choral performances, church choirs to solo artists and rock ‘n’ roll bands. Chris also plays guitar and sings, and he is back on the radio after a 13-year “break” and can be heard on WQFS 90.9 FM. Chris can be reached at crachal@musicacademync.org.

Board of Directors

Kathryn Larson, Board Chair
David McDonald, Immediate Past Chair
Dianne Berberich, Treasurer
Eddie Bass, Secretary
Dr. William Carroll
Detra Davis
Pamela Murphy
Robert Frederick
Mitzie Weatherly
Dr. John Locke
Sam Seyedin
Kathy Sohn
Kai Tomalski

Interested in volunteering or other ways to support The Music Academy? We’d love to hear from you.

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