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

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, where she double majored in violin and piano. She and husband Gary moved to Greensboro, where Ruth joined the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. After teaching strings in the Guilford County School System, she received an 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 won an audition with the Winston-Salem Symphony. She has been the lead violinist of the Greensboro Symphony and Winston-Salem Symphony string education ensembles, developing educational programs and concerts for third- through fifth-grade elementary students. In 1983 Ruth attended Suzuki training in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, and began her home private teaching with a studio of 24 students. She has taught violin technique to students through Suzuki Book 10. Ruth joined the faculty of the Music Academy of NC in 2013 where she continues to enjoy teaching. She developed and presented the Fiddle Fun Program for string quartet that is currently lead by her, and performed with MANC string faculty, introducing Pre-K through second-grade students to string instruments and music in Title One Schools. During the Winter of 2020 she designed and developed a Children’s Concert program to be performed virtually for ages 4-8. This program is unique in that it involves MANC faculty playing Bass, Banjo, and Piano, along with Ruth playing Violin. She has held a variety of titled positions, including Principal First Violin and Associate Concertmaster of the Winston-Salem Symphony. Ruth has performed with many 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 several local professional recording studios, including Ovation Sound and Kindermusik International. She has been the ground floor violinist for the start-up and continuation of the GSO/Cone Health CaringSounds program, performing various types of music for children of all ages from infancy to 17 years in the Pediatric Unit at Cone Hospital. This has been continued virtually during 2020-June 2021. She and husband Gary have two daughters who also live in Greensboro.  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 1-4, 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.

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 Music Director and Conductor of the Greensboro Youth Symphony Orchestra 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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Elizabeth Davis
Lisa Duerr
Elizabeth Leddy Ochoa
Ali Hordeski
Thomas Swenson
Janice Wells
Christy Wisuthseriwong

DR. ELIZABETH DAVIS comes to The Music Academy of North Carolina with 14 years of private, group piano and classroom teaching experience in private studios, community music schools, pre-college and university music programs including The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Conservatory, The University of South Carolina Center for Piano Studies, Columbia International University, and most recently, The Piano Academy of North Carolina where she served as Artist Teacher and Assistant Director.

Elizabeth specializes in teaching young students age 4-6, exceptional learners and students with disabilities including Autism, ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, and Savant Syndrome. Her students have successfully participated in festivals and competitions including top scores on the Royal Conservatory of Music Exams. Elizabeth enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities and is passionate about creating inclusive spaces to help each student discover and develop their unique musical voice and talents.

Elizabeth is an active presenter for local, state and national music conferences and university pedagogy programs, and has served as an adjudicator for local, state and national piano festivals and competitions.

As a performer, Elizabeth is a prolific improviser of sacred, jazz and classical music for piano and organ and has served as a church musician and collaborative pianist for over 14 years.

Dr. Davis is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she completed the DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy with Dr. Scott Price and Dr. Sara Ernst. Her dissertation, “Approaches for Teaching Music Reading to Piano Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” is the first published document of its kind in the field. Elizabeth and is also a graduate of UNC-Greensboro with a MM in Piano Pedagogy under Dr. Paul Stewart and has a B.A. in Music Education/Piano and Organ.

When she’s not teaching, writing or practicing, Elizabeth enjoys traveling with her sister, cooking, trying to keep her plants alive and reading mysteries.  She can be reached at edavis@musicacademync.org.

LISA DUERR, Associate Master Teacher at MANC, joined the Music Academy of North Carolina in fall of 2014. With over 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. Locally, she was a participant-performer in a UNCG Pianoforte Workshop taught by Andrew Willis, and currently, through a partnership with MANC, is the accompanist for the Well Spring Singers volunteer choir. 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.

ALI HORDESKI’s passion for teaching piano developed through her rewarding experiences as a piano instructor over the past 8 years. Her first step on this journey was teaching piano at Burn Brae Day Camp of the Creative Arts in her hometown outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2020, Ali received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Susquehanna University. Through Susquehanna’s Music Preparatory Program, Ali taught numerous piano students, ranging from age 3 to adult. Now, Ali is currently working toward a Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

​In addition to her background in piano education, Ali has equal practice in the realm of performance. She has played a large range of keyboard repertoire spanning everywhere from harpsichord pieces of the baroque era to contemporary ensemble pieces written by her talented colleagues at University. Besides dozens of solo and collaborative performances at Susquehanna University and UNCG, Ali has performed with the West Shore Symphony Orchestra in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and at Niigata University during her study abroad experience in Japan.

Ali’s central goal as a piano educator is to cultivate enthusiasm, fulfillment, and a lifelong appreciation for music in her piano students. Learning to play piano should be a positive experience, and Ali strives to create a supportive, fun, and honest learning environment for all students. When she is not immersed in teaching or playing piano, Ali can often be found dancing. Dance has always been a part of Ali’s life, and she believes this type of creative movement has a definite place in the field of music education. Her piano students move, sing, laugh, and learn while becoming well-rounded, skillful musicians. Ali can be reached at ahordeski@musicacademync.org.

ELIZABETH 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.

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Woodson Faulkner
Stephanie Foley Davis
Charlene Marchant
Clarice Weiseman

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.

Charlene MarchantCHARLENE MARCHANT joined the voice faculty of The Music Academy of NC in 2012 when she moved toGreensboro from Hampton, VA. She is a graduate of Harvard College with an A.B. cum laude in Visual and Environmental Studies, and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from The Catholic Univ. in Washington, D.C. She has served as adjunct faculty at Hampton Univ., Chowan Univ., and The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, VA. In Greensboro, she has taught voice at Bennett College, and music at several area schools.
She sang professionally in the choruses of over 30 different operas with Washington (National) Opera, Washington Concert Opera, Virginia Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and Opera Ayr (Scotland). She is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, former member of British Equity, and a lifetime member of the music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota. She is a Board of Trustees member of Greensboro Opera, where she serves as co-VP of the Education Committee and leader of the Task Force for Social Justice.  She has lived in India, Kenya, and England; has a son in Seattle, and a daughter, son-in-law, and two lively grandsons who live in London.  She is a voice teacher for students who want a strong foundation in vocal technique. Her students range in age from eleven to eighty and learn repertoire from Disney to Debussy. She also teaches a lyric diction class at MANC using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). 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

Isabel Aviles, Flute
Matthew Covington, Oboe
Kaisi Deng, Saxophone
Cat Keen Hock, Clarinet
Rebecca Libera, Bassoon
Kurt Phelps, Brass
Zac Covington, Percussion and Drumset


ISABEL AVILES is currently studying for her Master of Music in Flute Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with Dr. Tadeu Coelho. She received her BM in Flute Performance at the University of Central Florida under Dr. Nora Lee Garcia. Currently, she works as a flute teacher at the Music Academy of North Carolina and is the Aural Skills Graduate Teaching Assistant at UNCSA. In the summer of 2021, she worked as a Marketing Intern for Orbis Technologies. Previously she was the President of the Flute Club at UCF and was the 2020 UCF Performance Excellence Competition winner. In Florida, she worked as a flute teacher at the Orlando School of Music, Avalon School of Music, a Woodwind Tech at Timber Creek High School, a counselor at the UCF Flute Institute/Bootcamp, and taught private music students in the local Orlando area. Her music festival experiences include the Camino Spain Flute Camp, Interharmony Music Festivals in Italy and Germany, and Flauti al Castello in Italy. Professionally she has performed with the Villages Orchestra, Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, Bach Festival Orchestra, and several local churches in Florida.



MATTHEW COVINGTON is a native of North Carolina and has been immersed in classical music all his life beginning with singing and going to hear his mother play violin in symphonies. He followed this passion for music to UNC-Greensboro on the oboe where he studied with Ashley Barret and has also performed in masterclasses for Joseph Robinson, Mark Ostoich, Jacqueline Leclair, and Andrew Parker.

Now, Matthew holds positions with orchestras across NC including the Greensboro Symphony, Western Piedmont Symphony, Carolina Philharmonic, Fayetteville Symphony, and Piedmont Wind Symphony; he also enjoys engaging in many types of chamber music.  He can be reached at mcovington@musicacademync.org.



Born in China, KAISI DENG is an engaging saxophonist of the younger generation of China. He began studying saxophone at the age of nigh and holds Bachelor of Music performance at saxophone degree (2016) from Chongqing Normal university and Master of music performance at saxophone degree (2019) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

As a performer, Kaisi was the principle of the UNCG Symphonic Band (2018-2019) and CQNU woodwind band and Marching Band (2013-2014). He also joined many saxophone quartets. He and his saxophone quartet performed many pieces in UNCG and won the Chengdu Yamaha Saxophone Quartet Competition (2013).  As a saxophone instructor, Kaisi was the saxophone instructor at the Chongqing Leipeng Arts Training Center, the Chongqing 17th Middle School, the Chongqing 29th Middle School.  Kaisi Deng is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in saxophone performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  He can be reached at kdeng@musicacademync.org.

Clarinet instructor, Dr. CATHERINE KEEN HOCK serves as the Assistant Director of the UNCG School of Music. Cat is a founding member of the award-winning reed ensemble Quintet Sirocco, and is also a member of the Piedmont Winds, the bass clarinetist for the Fayetteville Symphony and Salisbury Symphony Orchestras, and teaches on the woodwind faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina.  Cat also enjoys sharing her love of music history as program essayist and lecturer for the Eastern Music Festival.

Cat completed her DMA in clarinet performance at UNCG in 2012 where she was a graduate teaching assistant for the clarinet studio and jazz studies program. She completed a cognate in jazz studies and a Post-Baccaleureate Certificate in Historical Musicology during her doctoral studies.  Cat also earned a MM in Clarinet Performance from UNCG in 2007, and a BA with Honors in Music Performance and a minor in International Studies from Wake Forest University in 2005. Cat made her international recital debut, performing in Hangzhou, China in September of 2018.  She studied clarinet with Kelly Burke, Edwin Riley, Anthony Taylor, Michael Waddell and Eileen Young. Cat’s clarinet students at MANC range from young beginners to advanced performers.  School aged students have routinely auditioned into their All-County and All-District Honors Bands, and have been accepted into the North Carolina Governor’s School for Music, the Canon Music Camp at Appalachian State University, the North Carolina Youth Wind Ensemble and the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra.  Cat is currently accepting new students into her studio!  To learn more about Cat, visit her on the web at 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

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.

ZAC COVINGTON is a North Carolina native drummer, singer, composer/arranger, session musician, videographer, video producer, and kind soul. His musical nature comes from his family who have a long history of being musicians.  At age 18, Zac decided to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to major in jazz performance. His professors Chad Eby, Steve Haines, Thomas Heflin, Brandon Lee, and Thomas Taylor were dedicated to making Zac the best musician and human being that he could be. During his time in school, he had opportunities to play with so many great guest artists including Lage Lund, Becca Stevens, Alexa Tarantino, Leo Manzari, Mark Tonelli, Adam Larson, and many more.  While pursing his degree, Zac found his love for videography and has been learning/honing the craft ever since. Aside from small projects he has done for himself, he has been the all-in-one video guy for his band “Reliably Bad”, and has done many live studio sessions and music videos for various artists such as Jacqui Otano, the Aaron Matson Quartet, and Catchfire Collective.

Zac has been lucky to be able to play in studio session with his friends and colleagues for a few years now, ranging from competition auditions and masters degree auditions, to full EP’s and albums in both the jazz and funk/pop genres. He has recently been doing a lot of remote recording sessions from his home studio, “PfaffSounds” in Pfafftown, NC (pronounced “pofftown”).  Aside from playing, Zac loves to teach. He has been teaching the West Forsyth High School drumline (his alma mater) for the past 4 years, and has done other marching band clinics/teaching at other local high schools. He also enjoys teaching private students in his studio, or over the internet.  When Zac is not playing drums or doing his dishes, he enjoys cooking new foods, hanging out with his partner Ally, and playing tennis. He is willing to take on new challengers, but be prepared for his 115 mph serve and competitive nature.  He can be reached at zcovington@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 and Mark’s YouTube Channel! 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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