Robin Attas (Ph.D., University of British Columbia, 2011) joined the Department of Music as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2013. Trained primarily as a music theorist, she teaches courses in the Materials of Music and Aural Skills sequences, as well as COR 110: The Global Experience.
Her main repertoire focus is popular music, with research encompassing a variety of perspectives, including rhythm and meter, form, text-music connections, and the analysis of popular music of other cultures, especially those of Central America and the Caribbean. Current research projects include investigating the relationship between typical rhythmic/metric patterns in popular music and moves on the dance floor; the development of meter in popular music introductions based on groove buildups; and the interaction of lyrics and music in the work of singer-songwriter John K. Samson and his band The Weakerthans. Dr. Attas is also interested more broadly in the inclusion of women composers in music analysis, and in advocating for women in the field of music theory.
As a teacher, she is interested in pursuing ways to adapt the standard music theory curriculum to include more writing and student engagement activities, and in exploring the use of new technologies both in and out of the classroom. She is also working to expand the traditional repertoire limits of music theory to include the analysis of popular and world music, and music by composers of diverse genders, races, and ethnicities, alongside common-practice art music.
Todd Coleman is a composer and video artist who works in the contemporary "Classical" concert music tradition, but whose works increasingly defy simple categorizations. Recent compositions have incorporated visual elements of multiple projected layers of digital video interwoven with live performers and immersive surround digital audio, blending studio recording and film scoring techniques with prerecorded electronic music and live sound. Coleman has a strong background in technology and the arts, with many commissions and jobs which blur the boundaries between creative disciplines.
Coleman earned his Bachelor of Music degree in composition from Brigham Young University, winning a number of awards and commissions for his work. He went on to study composition and double bass performance at the famed Eastman School of Music on a prestigious Jackno Fellowship, earning his Doctorate in 2002. His composition teachers included Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Rouse, Augusta Read Thomas and David Liptak, and he studied double bass with James VanDemark. During that time he received awards for his orchestral and chamber music as well as several commissioned works.
Coleman is an associate professor of music at Elon University in North Carolina where he coordinates the Music Technology program. Prior to coming to Elon, Coleman taught at Grinnell College for four years.
POLLY BUTLER CORNELIUS, soprano, is an international performer of opera, oratorio, chamber music, music theatre, and song recitals. In 2008 and 2010, she was invited to perform recitals of American music at the Universita per Stranieri and San Dominica Auditorium in Umbria, Italy with Victoria Fischer Faw, piano. She has created an niche for herself by performing American Art songs written by living composers. Dr. Cornelius performed a recital of songs by Libby Larsen at the Duffy Composers Institute in June, 2010, and music by Paul Bowles with the Norfolk Chamber Consort in 2011. She has premiered several works by Steve Heitzeg. In June, 2011 she was invited to perform at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. with the Imaginary Friends Ensemble, and most recently performed as a guest artist with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and with Zeitgeist in Minneapolis, MN (2013). She has previously received awards and recognition from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (Artist Award), the Orpheus Vocal Artist Competition, the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Fort Worth Opera Company, and Shreveport Opera. Leading roles have been performed with The Opera Company of North Carolina, Greensboro Opera Company, the Piedmont Opera Theatre, Brevard Music Festival, and Opera Carolina. She has been a featured soloist with the North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra, American Institute of Musical Studies Orchestra in Graz, Austria, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, and in the Duke Chapel. She has sung under the baton of distinguished conductors Robert Moody, Ted Taylor, Evan Rogister, Valery Ryvkin, Benton Hess, Ricardo Muti, and Rodney Wynkoop. Her solo cd, WILD SONGS, was released on the Innova label in April, 2012, and has received many accolades from Gramophone and other prestigious classical music journals.
A dedicated voice teacher, Polly is a Senior Lecturer of music and Coordinator of Vocal Studies at Elon University. Her students are performing leading roles on Broadway, off-Broadway, on the hit-television series Glee, in regional theatres and opera houses, and with National equity and non-equity touring companies. Her pupils also continuously win national, state, and regional vocal competitions, and are chosen to participate in masterclasses throughout the United States. Other former voice students are performing in professional choirs, singing leading roles with professional opera companies, performing as soloists with regional symphonies, and teaching music in public and private schools throughout the United States.
Hailed as "The Master" by Saxophone Journal magazine and whose articles are described as "Always Insightful" by the International Trumpet Guild Journal, Dr. Thomas R. Erdmann is Director of the Elon University Symphony Orchestra. He holds degrees from The University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign (D.M.A.), Illinois State University (M.M.), and The State University of New York at Fredonia (B.M.P., B.M.E.).
Erdmann has been featured in two books. The first is Trumpet Greats: A Biographical Dictionary by David Hickman, Michel Laplace, Edward H. Tarr (published by HME). The book includes biographies of important trumpeters since 1542 - the date of the invention of the precursor to the modern trumpet. The book presents only the most significant soloists, orchestra players, jazz musicians, instrument designers and manufacturers, teachers, historians, authors, band and chamber players, studio and freelance artists, etc., from the founding days of the modern trumpet until today. In all musicians from 64 different countries are represented. The second is The Mastery of Music, Ten Pathways to True Artistry by Barry Green (published by Broadway - Doubleday Books). Erdmann, along with fellow trumpeters Doc Severensen (jazz soloist), Clark Terry (jazz soloist), John Copola (studio musician), George Graham, (studio musician), Maria Speziale (Cincinnati Symphony/Rice University), Phil Collins (Cincinnati Symphony), Andrew McCandless (Toronto Symphony/Dallas Symphony), Susan Slaughter (St. Louis Symphony), Barbara Butler (Northwestern University), Vincent Cichowicz (formerly Chicago Symphony), Michael Sachs (Cleveland Orchestra), Charles Schlueter (Boston Symphony), John Wallace (United Kingdom soloist), and John Miller (United Kingdom Manchester School), is a featured interviewee.
Dr. Erdmann is Elon's most published author with over 260 articles published in journals as diverse as Currents in Musical Thought, Journal of the Conductors Guild, Jazz Player, Saxophone Journal, Women Of Note Quarterly, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, and The International Trumpet Guild Journal, to name a few. In addition, he has published over 300 reviews of compact discs, books and music in a wide variety of journals, magazines and newspapers. Currently Dr. Erdmann writes front cover articles for Saxophone Today, serves as the Jazz Editor of the International Trumpet Guild Journal, and is on the Editorial Board of WomenArts Quarterly Journal. Dr. Erdmann is the author of four books (the first, An Annotated Bibliography and Guide To The Published Trumpet Music Of Sigmund Hering, was published in 1997, his second, Problems and Solutions in Band Conducting, was published in early 2001 and has already gone into a second printing, his third, How Jazz Trumpeters Understand Their Music, was published in 2010, and his fourth, How Jazz Trumpeters Play Music Today, was published in 2016) and the editor of two books of posthumously published trumpet etudes by Sigmund Hering published by Carl Fischer Inc. (Double and Triple Tonguing, A Complete Approach for the Trumpet, and Studies on Ornamentation for Trumpet). He is past Jazz CD reviewer for the Monterey County Weekly newspaper in California.
Dr. Erdmann held the position of Principal Trumpet with the Illinois Symphony and Second Trumpet with the Vermont Symphony. He is also the only two-time Chair of the world's only international trumpet jazz improvisation competition, the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition. Dr. Erdmann is also a pianist — having worked with Phyllis Diller and Mark Preston — and an adjudicator / clinician and conductor who has performed and conducted throughout the East and Midwest regions of the United States.
VICTORIA FISCHER FAW is a pianist, teacher and scholar with a special emphasis on the music of Béla Bartók and the issues that defined his unique and influential style. The history of Dr. Fischer’s fascination with Bartók’s music began in graduate school: As she was completing her dissertation about the sources and performance practice of Bartók’s Fourteen Bagatelles, Op. 6, she attended, and took the first prize, at Radford University’s 1990 Bartók-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition. Dr. Fischer joined the music faculty of Elon University in North Carolina that same year. Through the years her concerts and lectures have taken her around the world and across the country to share her theories and discoveries about the issues that inform performance practice in Bartók’s music. Because of her ongoing specialization in Bartók studies as scholar and performer, she was invited to direct an international Bartók Symposium at Radford in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. The Radford University Bartók Symposium proved to be a momentous meeting of many of the greatest scholars and performers working in the Bartók world, contributing eventually to “Bartók Perspectives: Man, Composer, & Ethnomusicologist” edited by Elliott Antokoletz, Victoria Fischer, and Benjamin Suchoff, an Oxford University Press book which included the lectures presented at Radford. Other publications include a chapter contributed to A Bartók Companion (Cambridge University Press) and articles in Studia Musicology and The International Journal of Musicology.
Dr. Fischer received her musical education at Centenary College of Louisiana (B.M. in piano performance), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.A. in musicology), the University of Texas at Austin (M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance), and the Vienna Conservatory in Vienna, Austria. She has received grants from Rotary Foundation International, Fulbright, and IREX. She pursues an active career as performer, scholar, teacher and adjudicator, with activities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Italy, Hungary, England, Greece, Germany, Austria, and Belize. Now in her twenty-fourth year on the music faculty at Elon University, she has also served as Visiting Professor at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and the University of Belize. At Elon she teaches piano, piano pedagogy, and music research. Recipient of a full-year sabbatical leave from Elon 2012 -2013, she is deeply engaged in her present research, which continues to explore the scholarship of performance and pedagogy in the piano music of Bartok. When not at Elon, she lives on a Christmas tree farm in Glade Valley, NC with husband Stephen.
Stephen A. Futrell joined the faculty in 1999 as Director of Choral Activities at Elon University, North Carolina. At Elon, Dr. Futrell teaches conducting, conducts the Elon Camerata, an auditioned choir, and élan, an auditioned a cappella, vocal jazz, commercial/studio ensemble. He was instrumental in developing Elon’s Music Technology degree program. His research of various curricula resulted in establishing a foundational curriculum with an emphasis on the creative process, critical listening and both live and studio techniques. Now entitled Music Production & Recording Arts, the program boasts its own record label, tech lab, and digital recording studio.
Futrell earned the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music, studying with Dr. Eph Ehly, and the Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from Louisiana State University. He studied conducting with Frank Wickes, James Yestadt, Victor Klimash, Kenneth Fulton, Gary Hill and George Skipworth.
Dr. Futrell made his European conducting debut in June 2002, appearing with the Sinfonia Dell’Arte di Arezzo at the Teatro Petrarca in Arezzo, Italy and has made appearances as a featured vocalist and conductor at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. In 2006, he served as conductor for the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall for Field Studies International and appeared as Associate Conductor/Chorus Master for the Aegean Verdi Festival on the Greek island of Lesvos. His modern performance editions of three Classical motets by Anna Amalia von Sachsen (1739-1807) are published and available through Fred Bock Music Publishers.
Futrell has over twenty-five years experience as a professional live and studio vocalist/trumpeter/writer/arranger/producer and as on-screen talent—performing extensively throughout the gulf coast region, the Kansas City metropolitan area, Chicago, Orlando and Nashville—and has worked internationally as a music producer for Dreamworks~SKG. He co-wrote and co-produced the musical theme and a promotional CD for the Ever Elon campaign with Dr. Todd Coleman, Coordinator of Music Production & Recording Arts at Elon. He has offered professional clinics and presentations on conducting, rehearsal techniques, sound reinforcement, vocal jazz style & technique, vocal jazz ensemble technique and literature and improvisation for state conferences for North Carolina, Louisiana and Arizona ACDA and MEA and has appeared as a guest soloist and clinician at high school and collegiate jazz festivals.
Dr. Futrell has conducted a variety of instrumental ensembles including jazz ensembles, chamber orchestras, and pit orchestras for musicals and ballet; as well as numerous choral ensembles of all types. He has made appearances in fifteen states and in Europe as guest conductor for district and state honor choirs, and clinician and adjudicator for large and solo & ensemble festivals. With classical and studio experience as an instrumental musician, Futrell has also appeared as adjudicator and clinician for instrumental and festivals and workshops. He has served as Jazz R&S Chair for ACDA Southern Division and is currently serving as Jazz R&S Chair for North Carolina ACDA.
Tyson Hankins holds a B.M. from Jacksonville University in both piano performance and composition & theory studying under Mary Lou-Wesley Krosnick and Dr. William Schirmer, respectively.
While in Jacksonville, Tyson achieved recognition for his work as pianist and composer attaining such awards as the Delius Composition Award and the Presser Scholar Award from Jacksonville University as well as the Madge Cathcart Gerke Collegiate Artist Award in Piano from Mu Phi Epsilon, an international professional music fraternity.
It was in Jacksonville that his love for piano transformed into a desire to pursue a career as an accompanist engaging in such activities as accompanying for the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, playing keyboard in Sondheim’s Assassins as well as a steady religious engagement and many collaborative student recitals.
In 2007, he received his M.M. from UNC-Greensboro in accompanying & chamber music studying under Dr. Andrew Harley. While there, Tyson had extensive opportunities for collaborative recitals covering many different genres of music as well as many different instrumental and vocal types. He also held a graduate assistantship as an audition accompanist for UNC-Greensboro’s School of Music.
While in Greensboro, he has continued his pursuit of accompanying through such organizations as the American Singer’s Opera Project of North Carolina, the Community Theatre of Greensboro, the Barn Dinner Theatre, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Theatre Conference and other community theatre organizations as well as various religious institutions.
After four years as an adjunct staff accompanist at Elon University, Tyson was hired as a full-time staff accompanist for the Performing Arts and Music Departments at the start of the 2010-11 academic year.
FRED JOHNSON has enjoyed an audio career covering many areas. He has worked in live sound reinforcement and recording for concerts and theater, broadcast for radio and television, audio consulting, video editing, animation production and church sound design. His specialties are the genres of classical and jazz, with his research interests being microphone technique.
He earned a BS in Music and a MS in Recording Arts from the University of Colorado-Denver and served on their faculty from 2008-16, teaching classes in Audio Production, Critical Listening and Surround Sound. Prior to that he spent time as the Audio Engineer for the University of Colorado-Boulder, College of Music, served as the Recording Engineer for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and was the Production Director for two different non-profits, producing audio/video materials for training and broadcast.
Professor Johnson has worked with the Colorado Symphony, the Takacs String Quartet, Dave and Don Grusin, the Colorado Music Festival, Christopher O’Riley, Carter Brey, the Boulder Bach Festival, the International Trombone Society, the Crested Butte Music Festival, Angela Cheng, Tom Myer, Chuck Wolzien and many others. His work has been heard on NPR’s "Performance Today" and several television networks. He has also produced audio/video projects with groups in France, Lithuania and Senegal.
Dr. Adam Kehl currently serves as the Director of Bands at Elon University where he oversees all aspects of the band program, conducts the wind ensemble, directs the marching band and basketball band, and teaches courses in music education. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Kehl holds Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Percussion Performance from the University of Oregon, a Master of Music in conducting from the University of New Mexico, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of South Carolina. Prior to graduate studies, he served five years as Director of Bands at John W. North High School in Riverside, California.
Dr. Kehl maintains an active research agenda focusing on the wind music of the French Revolution, specifically the creation of historically accurate critical editions for the purposes of modern performance, as well as Laban Movement Analysis and its usage in conducting pedogogy and ensemble rehearsals.
Dr. Kehl is active as a guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and music arranger for high school concert and marching bands throughout the United States. He also served as an Associate Producer for the University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble’s critically acclaimed recording, “Bernstein: The Transcriptions for Wind Band” for Naxos Records. Abroad, he has completed two musical tours of China and one of Italy, most recently serving as an associate conductor of the University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble in China, making six conducting appearances in five cities including Beijing and Shanghai. In 2009 and 2007, respectively, he served as Director for the John W. North High School China tour and Assistant Director for the Riverside Community College All-Stars Italy tour.
He is a keen advocate for new music and creative programming, as well as inter-arts collaboration including recent performances, "A Little Song and Dance," a collaboration with the Elon Dance Program, “Mozart in Popular Culture”, an exploration of the use of Mozart’s “Gran Partita” in television and film, and "Blessed Are They" a collaboration with Elon Choral Activities. He is highly active in the premiering and commissioning of new works, regularly engaging in both consortiums and solo commissions, bringing to life works from composers such as Adrienne Albert, Donald Grantham, Kevin Walcyk, David Clay Mettens, Carter Pann, Todd Coleman, Ted King-Smith and David Garner. Dr. Kehl holds memberships in the College Band Directors Association, the National Band Association, the North Carolina Music Educators Association, the North Carolina Band Director’s Association, and NAfME.
Gerald Knight, tenor, is a graduate of The Florida State University (Ph.D. in Music Education and Conducting); the University of South Carolina (Master of Music Education and the Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance); and Benedict College (Bachelor of Science in Music Education). Knight is an Associate Professor of Music and serves as Coordinator of Music Education, Director of the Elon University Chorale, and Director of the Music in the Village, a successful community outreach project that recently received the Chapter of Excellence Award from the North Carolina Music Educator’s Association. The project also received the Chapter of Excellence Award form the National Association for Music Education.
In 2013 Knight sang in master classes during the Mozarteum Internationale Sommerakademie at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria. In the summer of 2012 Knight appeared in recital for the 2012 season of the Salzburg International Chamber Music Concert Series in Salzburg, Austria. The recital was dedicated to the works of American and African American composers. In addition, he has studied voice and vocal pedagogy with renowned opera singer and Kennedy Center Honoree Grace Bumbry for the past five years. He also continues to coach with distinguished soprano, Louise Toppin, Chair of the Vocal Area at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Knight’s scholarship focus is the research and performance of music of Black composers, multicultural music, the music of lesser-known or unknown composers, and newly composed music. His scholarly work also investigates the intersections of race and classical music, for example, examining perceptions of African American musicians as performers and teachers of the Western classical tradition. Another scholarship focus is vocal pedagogy, an area he has had the opportunity to research and study with Ms. Bumbry.
Under Knight’s direction, the University Chorale recently gave the world premiere performance of the choral work “Of Dance and Struggle: A Musical Tribute to the Life of Nelson Mandela” composed by Karen Walwyn. The performance was a multimedia presentation consisting of singing, dance, African drummers, and visual technology. He has made scholarly presentations in the area of his research interests at national conferences. Knight, recently presented a lecture presentation The Sacred Works of Margaret Bonds at the national conference “Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1972) and the Women of Chicago”, the conference was held on the campuses of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.
Sharon Moss LaRocco is in her 24th year on the Music Faculty at Elon University as University Accompanist and Instructor in Music. She is a graduate of the high school and college divisions of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem where she studied piano with Rebecca Penneys and Cliton Matthews and organ with John Mueller at Salem College. While at UNCSA, she participated in masterclasses with Claude Frank, Erwin Freundlich, Leon Fleischer, and Andre Previn and studied at the NCSA International Summer Program in Siena, Italy as vocalist and organist with The Camerata Singers for concerts in Italy, Switzerland and Austria. She has also toured Spain with the Burlington Boys Choir as pianist, organist and assistant director. Ms. LaRocco previously taught in the public schools and maintained a private piano studio for many years with special interest in teaching individuals with autism and other disabilities.
'A star vibist” and 'a flawless vibist,” as he has been trumpeted by Jazztimes and Cadence respectively, Jon Metzger has achieved an international presence through extensive touring, recording, and lecturing. A winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant for Performance, he has appeared throughout the United States and Europe and has served as a jazz ambassador in more than 25 foreign countries in the Near East, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America under the auspices of the United States Information Agency's Arts America Program. A Musser endorsee and clinician for 28 years and a three-time Grammy nominee, Metzger has appeared on more than 35 recordings for the VSOP, Soul Note, Jazz Karma, Summit, Brown Boulevard, and Elon Improvibes labels with artists Fred Hersch, Marc Johnson, Joey Baron, Harvie Swartz, Ron Elliston, Ronnie Wells, Phil Markowitz, Jack Wilkins, Allison Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Herlin Riley, Vincent Gardner, Tom Brantley, Danny Gottlieb, Neena Freelon, and Tony Martucci, among many others. The author of The Art and Language of Jazz Vibes (now in its second edition) and an active composer with more than 50 published compositions to his credit, he has served as the Associate Editor of the International Association of Jazz Educators Journal and currently is the Artist in Residence at Elon University, where he was presented with the University Distinguished Scholar Award for 2005. A recipient of the North Carolina Miles Davis Jazz Education Service Award, Metzger's signature vibraphone mallet was released recently by the Pro-Mark Corporation, and he also recently served as a Cultural Envoy for the US Department of State assisting Haceteppe State University in Ankara, Turkey on the formation of their new Jazz Studies Program. Metzger has been named to the Jazz Times Critics' Poll and the Downbeat Magazine Readers' Poll and Critics Poll in the vibes category.
Virginia Novine Whittaker serves as instructor of saxophone and chamber ensembles at Elon University. In addition, she is founder and director of the Elon Music Ambassaors, a premiere touring ensemble that showcases Elon’s music department with performances across the country. Prior to her appointment at Elon University in 1992, Virginia served as instructor of saxophone at the State University of New York at Potsdam and the University of Arizona.
A respected educator and clinician, Virginia’s students perform professionally in classical, jazz, and popular music styles. Many of her students work as freelance musicians in major cities on both coasts, performing in musicals and saxophone quartets, working in the recording industry, and managing, conducting and performing in jazz ensembles. Her students are also very successful at winning positions in military bands and several of her saxophone students have won national and international performance competitions. Those students who wish to teach have been employed by public and private schools at the middle school, high school and university levels.
An active musician, Virginia has performed with the Greensboro, Salisbury, Tucson, and Lake Charles (LA) symphony orchestras. She has also performed with the Eastern Music Festival Philharmonic and with off-Broadway productions in Tucson, Charlotte and Raleigh. She has toured with the US Air Jazz Orchestra throughout Europe and the United States and has backed up entertainers such as the Temptations, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore and Tony Bennett.
Ms. Novine Whittaker holds degrees in music from SUNY-Potsdam and Northern Illinois University, and has studied saxophone and oboe at the doctoral level at the University of Arizona. Her major teachers have included James Stoltie, Steve Duke, Elizabeth Ervin, Carl Sonik, Marion Buswell and Wayne Sutherland.
Cora S. Palfy is an Assistant Professor of music theory at Elon University. Her research focuses on the blend of music cognition with music theory, and specifically deals with the way that music expresses and engages human behavioral traits that encourage listeners to form a relationship with it. She is a singer with a background in jazz and opera training.
Katherine Thomas is a pianist, vocalist, and teacher, who currently resides in Burlington, NC. Katherine works at her undergraduate alma mater, Elon University, as an adjunct accompanist in the music department. There she earned a B.A. in Piano Performance under the instruction of Dr. Victoria Fischer Faw. After Elon, Katherine did her graduate studies at Florida State University, where she received an M.M. in Vocal Accompanying. She was able to work and study under many noted faculty members at Florida State, including Dr. Carolyn Bridger, Dr. Timothy Hoekman, Valerie Trujillo, Stanford Olsen, David Okerlund, and Dr. Andre Thomas. Throughout her graduate years, she had the opportunity to perform in master classes for such guest artists as Graham Johnson, Bo Skovhus, Barbara Bonney, and Warren Jones. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Accompanying/Chamber Music at UNCG.
Katherine's interest and love of culture and language has brought about several visits to Europe, two of which have yielded concert performances. Her participation in the summer festival AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies) in Graz, Austria allowed for multiple public performances with talented singers. Then, in the spring of 2011, she and soprano Carrie Cooley performed a tribute concert on the Greek island of Paros, dedicated to the Aegean Center for the Arts.
Katherine is also an encouraging teacher of music, focusing on students' individual strengths and needs. She received a solid foundation of teaching fundamentals through Elon's Piano Pedagogy Program, instructed by Dr. Victoria Fischer Faw. At both Elon and Florida State, Katherine has come in contact with many excellent voice pedagogues, who have passed knowledge of vocal teaching on to her from both a singer and a pianist's standpoint. She used these valuable lessons in teaching her own private piano and voice students at Mason's School of Music in Tallahassee.
Music Theory, Aural Skills, and Horn - MM
Lynn Huntzinger Beck is a member of the Greensboro and Winston-Salem Symphonies. Formerly Principal Horn with the Nevada Symphony, she has also performed with the Knoxville, North Carolina, and Charlotte Symphonies, and has appeared as a soloist at the International Horn Society Workshop.
Before moving to North Carolina, Ms. Beck was the Horn Professor and Music Theory Coordinator at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As a member of the Sierra Wind Quintet, she toured extensively and was involved with many commission and recording projects. Ms. Beck is featured as a chamber musician on recordings distributed by Equilibrium, Centaur, and Cambria. Also active as a commercial musician in Las Vegas, she traveled internationally with the Frank Sinatra Orchestra.
At Elon, Ms. Beck teaches music theory, aural skills, and horn. She has also served as a member of the music theory faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Salem College, and as Education Director for the Greensboro Symphony. She holds performance and education degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, and studied horn with Verne Reynolds, James Decker, and Vincent DeRosa.
Dr. Wayne Bennett teaches trumpet, chamber brass, brass instrumental methods, music theory, and aural skills at Elon. Dr. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Georgia, as well as the Master of Music and the Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Trumpet Performance from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he also taught trumpet and music theory. His trumpet teachers include Edward Bach and the late Fred Mills.
In addition to his work at Elon, Dr. Bennett currently teaches trumpet at Guilford College. He has previously held music teaching positions at several schools in the North Carolina Community College System, including at Guilford Technical, Vance-Granville, James Sprunt, Randolph, and Surry Community Colleges. Bennett previously taught at the Music Academy of North Carolina, where he was also the Artistic Director of the annual Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion Festival. He has taught marching bands, led brass sectionals, and presented clinics for middle schools and high schools throughout the southeastern United States. Bennett has performed with ensembles including Market Street Brass, The Georgia Brass, The Classic City Opera, the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, the Hickory Choral Society, the Greensboro Opera Company, the Fibonacci Chamber Orchestra, and the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra. He was semi-finalist in the Masters Solo Division of the National Trumpet Competition in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Andy Bonner teaches at Duke and Elon Universities and performs actively on modern and baroque violin. He has performed with five professional symphonies and with acclaimed smaller ensembles including Ossia, the Duke New Music Ensemble, the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, and participated in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival (with Chamber Music Charleston) and the Boston Early Music Fringe Festival (with the Duke Vespers Ensemble).
Eden Esters Brown, NCTM is a pianist and independent music teacher in Elon, NC. Raised in New Jersey, she received classical and jazz training from the late, Mr. Morris Nanton, a nationally renowned jazz artist and Julliard graduate. In 2007, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance at Elon University in North Carolina, under the tutelage of Dr. Victoria Fischer Faw. In 2009, she completed a Master of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy at Louisiana State University under the acclaimed classical and jazz artist, Dr. Willis Delony. While at LSU, Eden coordinated the LSU Music Academy, served as a graduate teaching assistant in Group Piano for music majors, and taught a studio of 18 private students ranging from age four through adult.
At Elon, Eden teaches applied piano to non-piano music majors and non-majors, as well as class piano and piano pedagogy. Eden is experienced in teaching students of all ages and ability levels, in private and group settings; however, she has a special affinity towards elementary school-aged children. Her professional affiliations include the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) with national certification, Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Eden is the current president of the Alamance County Piano Teachers Association, and is the Certification and Technology chair for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association.
Eden also teaches a private studio of beginner and intermediate students based in Elon, NC since 2009, and she is committed to cultivating the arts in Alamance County. She co-directs the Children's Music and Handbells program at Elon Community Church, which includes a preschol Musikgarten class. Making music at the piano is a true passion of hers, and she is dedicated to increasing the availability of classical music training for children and families of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Lisbeth Brittain-Carter received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a concentration in Opera Performance. She was a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera competition and studied for a year in London on a scholarship from the Met. Returning to the USA, she spent two summers as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, and performed leading roles with several regional opera companies in New England. In 1975 she was accepted into the auditions program of the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, which led to a series of long term engagements with various opera houses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The roles sung during that time include 'Musetta', 'Zdenka' (Arabella), 'Sophie' (Der Rosenkavalier), 'Despina', 'Papagena', 'Xenia' (Boris Godunov) and many more in operetta as well.
For the next sixteen years, Ms. Carter performed more than forty roles in opera houses and summer festivals in Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Mainz, Dortmund, Bonn, Berlin, Wiesbaden, Eutin, etc She then branched out into Musical Theater, starring as 'Maria' in West Side Story for more than 70 performances in Berlin, Vienna and Zurich, and 'Laurie' in Oklahoma for another forty performances. In 1986 she began a long term engagement with the Hamburg production of CATS as first cast 'Jenny Anydots' and also 'Grizabella'. She was also the voice coach for the company and after leaving the show two years later, worked with the European casts of Les Miserables and Starlight Express in Vienna and Bochum, and with the cast of the Paris production of CATS. Ms. Carter and a colleague also produced and performed in a Sondheim Review at the Macadam Theater in Hamburg.
Before leaving Europe in 1990, Ms. Carter assisted in the establishment of the Stella School of Music Theater in Hamburg, Germany.
In 1994 Ms. Carter completed her Masters of Music in Performance and Pedagogy at Meredith College and has taught voice since then at Meredith College, for several years at UNC Chapel Hill, and for 15 years at Elon University, and once again will be directing the Opera Workshop there this Spring. She is also a long time member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Julie Celona-VanGorden is an award-winning lyric coloratura soprano originally from upstate New York. She earned her both the Doctorate of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her undergraduate work at the State University of New York at Fredonia where she earned simultaneous music and biology degrees. Specializing in vocal pedagogy during her doctoral work, she attended the Summer Vocology Institute in Denver, Colorado and is a certified vocologist. Dr. Celona-VanGorden has also attended the Musical Theatre Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University.
An active performer, Dr. Celona-VanGorden has sung opera, oratorio, and is a frequent recitalist. Her most recent stage appearance was in August 2015 when she sang the role of Clorinda in Greensboro Opera's production of La Cenerentola.? Other roles include Adina in L'elisir d'amore Capitol Opera, and the title roles in Lakme and The Ballad of Baby Doe. Additionally, Dr. Celona-VanGorden is a section leader and soloist at the First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro.
Dr. Celona-VanGorden's ability to perform and delight audiences has been recognized in several competitions. In March 2008 she was a finalist in the Long Leaf Opera National Vocal Competition where she won the Audience Favorite Award and "charmed the audience with her bel canto selections and beautiful stage appearance."
Dr. Celona-VanGorden has been on the voice faculty at Elon University for 14 years where she teaches a variety of students including music performance, education, and musical theatre majors. Her students have sung lead roles in productions at Elon as well as on Broadway and with national touring musical theatre companies.
LINDA CYKERT , Flutist, teaches at Elon University and is a member of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the Roanoke Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and NC Symphony. She was a winner of the National Flute Association’s Solo Masterclass Competition, won positions in the 1993-1996 NFA Professional Flute Choirs, and was a judge for the 1997-2000 and 2002 Newly Published Music Contests. Ms. Cykert performed with Sheridan Stokes, Hollywood Flutist and Professor of Flute at UCLA at the 2001 and 2005 National Flute Association Conventions. In August 2005, Ms. Cykert performed with Los Angeles Composer-Guitarist Christopher Caliendo at MusikFest in Bethlehem,PA. Ms Cykert , a Conn-Selmer Artist, along with Ohio’s Katie DeJongh, presented “New Strategies for Student Flute Performance” at the August 2006 National Flute Association Convention. Cykert also performs frequently in the Triad of North Carolina area.
Guitarist Carey Harwood has presented concerts throughout the United States and in Central and Sout America. Performances with the Greensboro Opera Company, the Greensboro Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, the Central City Opera, the Triad Guitar Quartet, the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, the Conundrum Duo (voice and guitar), the Longmont Symphony and the Colorado Light Opera as well as solo concerts on guitar, electric guitar, lute, mandolin and banjo are evidence of his wide ranging musical interests. Carey's collaboration with tenor Robert Glaubitz, (the Conundrum Duo) won first prize and the audience favorite award at Colorado's prestigious Bruce Ekstrand Competition.
He has served on the faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina, the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, the University of Colorado (where he headed the guitar program after receiving his doctorate in 2005), and Elon University.
Carey lives in Burlington with his wife cellist Darcy Dennison and their 3 year old twins Pepper and Gray who are (sometimes overly) enthusiastic ukelele players.
April Hill specializes in teaching musical theater vocal technique and styles. In addition to Elon, she has worked at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia as the Music Theater Specialist. A native of North Carolina, April received both her MM in Vocal Performance and her BM in Choral Music Education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNCG). She taught choral music in the public schools for 4 years and has been teaching private studio voice since 1998. Musical Direction is one of April’s favorite activities and she has been involved in numerous productions. Past shows include The Full Monty, A Chorus Line, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes, The Wizard of Oz, Falsettos, Closer Than Ever, Oklahoma! and Side By Side By Sondheim with NC professional and community theaters. April has been Mezzo-Soprano soloist with Greensboro Oratorio Society (NC), Choral Society of Greensboro (NC), Alamance Chorale (NC), and various churches. She has sung professionally with the Bel Canto Company (Greensboro, NC) and the Carolina Chamber Chorale (Charleston, SC). In the fall of 2009, she premiered the role of Camala in a concert version Sorrel Hays’ new opera, Toowhopera at the Georgia Music Teachers’ Association’s fall conference in Rome, GA.
On the college level, April has musically directed at Elon University, Shorter College, and UNC-Greensboro doing shows such as The Wedding Singer, Songs for a New World, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Guys & Dolls, Godspell, Batboy, Urinetown, and Cabaret. Her work with musical theater majors at Shorter College and Elon University has allowed her students to go on to Broadway, the National Tours of Spring Awakening and Footloose as well as many regional theaters, cruise lines, Disneyworld, and Universal Studios in Florida. April is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Baritone Kenneth Lee currently teaches voice as an adjunct Associate Professor of Music at Elon University. Since joining the faculty in 1997, he has served as Coordinator of Vocal Studies, Chair of the Music Department and director of Elon's opera workshop. He also served as the music director and conductor for Elon's Music Theatre program for many years. Previously, Dr. Lee taught on the faculties of Vanderbilt University and Millikin University, where he served as Director of Opera.
Dr. Lee has appeared as a guest artist with such organizations as the Nashville Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, Eastman Opera Theatre, Nashville Opera Association and at the national convention of the National Opera Association. He has sung under the baton of the renowned conductors John Rutter, Anshel Brusilow, Kenneth Schermerhorn and David Effron in opera, oratorio, and symphonic vocal works. He performed Mahler’s orchestral song cycle, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, in performances that were choreographed and danced by Rudolf Nureyev and members of the Paris Opera Ballet. Dr. Lee was invited to appear as a recitalist at the Cleveland Art Song Festival, Michigan Music Teachers Association, North Carolina State Music Teachers Association and at the national convention of the Composers Society, Inc. He has appeared in recital and oratorio in major cities throughout the US and in Austria, Italy and Great Britain. Dr. Lee is featured on the Mark Custom Label CD of the Holsinger Easter Symphony. A few favorite of his roles include the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Ford in Falstaff, John Buchanan in Hoiby's Summer and Smoke, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Paul in Carnival and Patrick in Mame.
Dr. Lee's students have performed leading roles on Broadway, National and International tours, in major American opera companies, and have received full scholarships to conservatories such as Juilliard and Oberlin. He is a winner of the teaching award for studio teaching at the Eastman School of Music.
Dr. Lee studied voice with Jeannine Crader, Marcia Baldwin, Marion Pratnicki, Sharon Mabry, and in master classes with Arleen Auger, Benjamin Luxon, Gerard Souzay, Dalton Baldwin, and Martin Katz. His coaches include Arlene Shrut, John Wustman, Harold Heiberg, and Kenneth Merrill. At the Eastman School of Music, he studied early music performance practice with Paul O’Dette and Malcom Bilson.
Chip Newton began playing guitar at the age of 12. First learning blues and rock songs, he also learned to play some classical and jazz by ear from his mothers' record collection. He formally studied at Concord University (Athens, W.V.) and while there, was nominated in 1995 as a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, an international contest that recognizes talented up-and-coming performers. Further classical studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro followed and he earned his M.M. in Performance from this institution. He now heads the guitar department at Elon University in North Carolina. Jazz music has also figured prominently in his career and he was featured as a member of the Dave Fox Group on their recording "If These Songs Could Talk," released in 2007. This recording received numerous favorable reviews, the most important among them being New York's "All About Jazz." Read the review here: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=26552 He is also a current member of the Django Reinhardt-inspired trio, Swing Triade. This group revitalizes 1930's swing era music and features some of Chip's compositions. Currently, Chip is working on his second jazz recording, "At Midnight" which will feature his solo arrangements of well-known standards.
Jim Roberts has been a highly passionate member of the Elon music faculty since joining in 2007. He teaches drum set, 2 courses on the music of the 1960's and 1970's and he is the director for the Elon World Percussion Ensemble. He has performed and/or recorded with such renowned artists as bassist Victor Wooten, drummer Futureman, The Horse Flies, and Billy Dean to name a few. His career illustrates a lifelong passion and dedication to music, rhythm and sound. He brings a wide range of experiences to his teaching studio.
His passion began at a very age, beating on pots and pans and anything he could find. This innate interest in music has led him to explore numerous musical genres over the years. He bought his second drum set at the age of 12 with his own money from working in tobacco in eastern North Carolina. He played in rock bands in high school as well as the school’s concert and marching bands. He absorbed the popular music of the 1960’s and 1970’s by acquiring over 1000 albums and tapes in his collection. He also studied piano in high school. His experience in marching bands led to his participation in East Carolina Marching Pirates and a top 12 Drum Corps International drum corps. Over the years the list of musical interests expanded. It included West African Djembe, Zairian Soukous, Afro-Cuban Folkloric percussion, alternative rock, jazz, progressive rock, roots rock-n-roll, singer-songwriter, soul, rockabilly, funk, rhythm and blues, classical, bluegrass, old-time, world influenced music and more. Music from cultures across the globe became and remains one of his strongest passions. In Nashville he earned, a diploma in Audio Technology from SAE Institute of Technology in 2000. He also became a producer and studio musician, operating Kalimba Studio from 2000 till 2007, recording a wide range of music well beyond the country music genres for which Nashville is noted.
He earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education in 1981 at East Carolina University. He studied with Harold Jones, a nationally known educator and performer. During his time at East Carolina, he made winter rehearsals and was a member of the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps (summer of 1979 – 1980). He completed his Master of Music at Northern Illinois in 1985 in percussion performance. He was a student of Rich Holly and Robert Chappell. He also performed with the NIU Steel Band, the oldest university steel band in the country. Upon graduating, he taught high school band at Southern Nash Senior High School in eastern North Carolina from 1985-1987. In 1987, he moved to Durham, NC and became a freelance musician which began with a summer job as a performer with the North Carolina Symphony. He also taught corps style drumming to high schools throughout eastern North Carolina and adjudicated in numerous marching contests. He began playing in local groups once he relocated to Durham. During that time, he began an intensive study of West African djembe, dundun, congas and other African based percussion with Djembefola Khalid Saleem. He also met and began a lifelong friendship with percussionist Steve Bloom of Washington, DC through whom he developed an intense passion for Afro-Cuban music. He continues to play and perform with Steve to present day.
In addition to studying with Khalid Saleem, he traveled to West Africa in 1991 and studied music in Senegal and The Gambia with various djembe and balafon masters. This was a time of great growth and professional advancement. He toured nationally with the Chuck Davis African-American Dance Ensemble. He performed and was exposed to traditional djembe ensemble music of West Africa. He began organizing community dance classes and workshops. With this knowledge he has pursued a career that integrated world music with classical training and contemporary popular and folk music forms. He was the percussionist for Mbonda Afrika, a central African and Zairian Soukous band from 1990 to 1992. Starting in 1989, he also began playing regularly for Footloose; a contra dance in the area which he still performs and tours nationally with to this day. Since 1991, he began teaching drum classes in his home as well as at various festivals. He has taught workshops at Grassroots Festival (Ithaca), Augusta Heritage (West Virginia), The Black Mountain and LEAF Festivals (Black Mountain, NC) and the Eno River Festival (Durham, NC) and various others workshops around the country.
In 1995, Jim made a major life transition by moving to Washington, DC and then immediately to Nashville, TN where he started the next phase of his career. He was in search of more playing opportunities in both live and studio music. He got it. Within two months of moving to Nashville, he got a job with Billy Dean, the opening act on the 1996 Reba McEntire tour and was playing weekly in town with the Wooten Brothers band in between gigs. He toured nationally with Billy Dean and performed at the Grand Ole Opry in June of 1996. From 1995-1999 he traveled to Ithaca where meet a number of musicians associated with the Grassroots Festival, a large festival organized by the members of the roots Americana band, Donna the Buffalo. In a period of three to four years, he had performed with a number of Ithaca based bands including The Horse Flies, Hank Roberts (cellist for Bill Frisell), The Burns Sisters Band, and Donna the Buffalo. Through the festival in 1995, he met the members of the Hix, an alternative old-time band which featured the renowned fiddler, Chad Crumm. The next weekend, he met them at an old-time music festival at Clifftop in West Virginia and took 1st place in the non-traditional contest. He became the drummer in the summer of 1996 and performed with them for several years. During this time, The Hix performed at Merlefest near Wilkesboro, NC where Jim was invited to perform at the “Jam on the Hill”. Other artists participating in the jam that day were Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Futureman, and Victor Wooten. In recent times, Jim has been invited to sit in with Sam Bush and Victor Wooten when they were in the triangle area.
In the years after performing with Billy Dean, Jim remained busy in Nashville performing and recording. He recorded with Victor Wooten on his albums What Did He Say? and Ying Yang. He also played on Victor and Steve Bailey’s Bass Extreme, Cookbook album. Additionally, he played with Victor on a Taylor Guitar compilation project called Wood and Steel 2 which also featured guitarist Reggie Wooten. Jim began producing his own works in 1998 with the release of Ancient Hand, Tranze is the Danze. This collection of alternative neo-contemporary, traditional works features artists Beth Nielson Chapman, Victor Wooten, members of the Horse Flies and others. He also co-produced Two Traditions: Balaphon, Banjo, Fiddle and Drum with the Horse Flies of Ithaca, NY in 1999. This project features traditional fiddle music with ethnic percussion performed in a contemporary fashion. In 2000, Jim graduated from the SAE School of Technology. He completed a 9 month audio engineering and music production program which covered analog, digital, small and big console recording. After remodeling his house, he opened up Kalimba Studio, a state of the art mid-sized tracking and mixing room. The renovation included tearing down an old barn and hand planing 100 year old oak, cherry and chestnut wood which became the walls of the main tracking room. Futureman, a futuristic inventor, composer and percussionist recorded on his album, The Seamless Script in Jim’s Kalimba studio in 2002. Along with his brother Victor Wooten, he is a member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Jim played percussion on the epic 25 minute work, The Seamless Script, the title track along with tabla master Aloke Dutta. In 2002 formed the Afro-pop group Cape Town and released Waka Waka with South African singer Paul Petersen. Other production credits include 3 albums with American-Irish fiddler Cady Finlayson (Shine Like Silver, Harp and Shamrock, Irish Coffee). Additional projects include Secret Commonwealth, The Uninvited Guest which was nominated for Best Celtic Album and Best Celtic Song in the 2004 Just Plain Folks Independent Music Awards, Sons of Steel, produced by Andy Narrell and Tracy Thornton and Chere Lunn Raw. In 1997, he co-produced the critically acclaimed album, Highway 90, by Shane Theriot, the former guitarist for the Neville Brothers, Leann Rimes, Boz Scaggs and others. Jim also worked with former Cyndi Lauper producer and Thompson Twins member, Jan Pulsford. In 2004, he performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with both Theresa Andersson and Larry Siebert. His time in Nashville was busy, productive and helped Jim understand the intricacies of the music business.
In 2006, Jim returned to the triangle area of North Carolina to begin a new phase in his life. In the summer of 2006, he was an accompanist for the American Dance Festival in Durham and toured California with his old band Footloose. He married Susan DeLaney in 2007 and began teaching percussion students at Elon in the absence of Professor Jon Metzger who was on sabbatical. When Dr. Metzger returned, Jim continued to teach drum set and founded the Elon World Percussion Ensemble which specializes in music influenced by the traditions which stem from the African Diaspora. In the winter of 2008, Jim created his first course for Elon entitled Woodstock, Hippies and Other Enduring Legacies: The Music of the 1960‘s and 1970’s. This course has been at capacity since its inception. This class parallels the music of the era with the many culture and societal changes of the times. In the spring of 2013, realizing the need for more history of the era, Jim began a more in-depth course called Beyond the Beatles: The Transcendent Music of the Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. This class is has also been met with enthusiasm as the class explores the waves of British artists who filled a crack created by Beatlemania in 1964. Timelines are created in both classes to give the student who is typically born after 1990 a better understanding of the development of popular music that continues to influence the artists of today.
Since 2008, Jim helped formed the band Craicdown (craic – gaelic term for fun, party – pronounced crack) with accordion extraordinaire David DiGiuseppe and front man Rob Sharer, a wellspring of Irish folk tunes, songs and popular music from his many years of European travels. Together, they have recorded one album called, Roads. Their music is called, “world acousticana”, a hybrid term coined in reference to their world travels and roots music experiences.
Jim continues to lecture, perform, teach, record and live in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina where he commutes to Elon twice weekly. He has maintained a private teaching studio in Chapel Hill since 2007 teaching djembe, congas, drum set, drum classes and guitar. He performed twice for concerts recreating music from Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the groundbreaking 1972 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 3 album set which exposed a new generation of players to traditional, country and music of Appalachia. In September 2013, he will be performing with an Elon faculty band opening for Carmine Appice, the former drummer for Vanilla Fudge. They will be performing all tunes from the Led Zeppelin catalog. He will also be performing in a Gram Parsons tribute concert with triangle musicians at the Cat’s Cradle, one of the oldest live music nightclubs in North Carolina. He continues to perform contra dances with Footloose. In the summer of 2013 he has started doing gigs with nationally known touring artist Lipbone Reading, a charismatic artist and writer from Greenville and New York. More information can be found at www.jimrobertspercussion.com and www.Craicdown.com. Recordings for Ancient Hand, CapeTown and Two Traditions can be sampled at cdbaby.com and Apple Itunes.
A native of High Point, North Carolina, Rusty Smith recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro along with a post-graduate certificate in jazz studies. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Education from Appalachian State University and a Master of Music in trumpet performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. He also spent two years of post-graduate studies at the prestigious Indiana University School of Music.
Rusty was the trumpet player for the Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN from 1997-2005. Currently he is a charter member of Winston-Salem's Camel City Jazz Orchestra and serves on the group’s board of directors. He is also a member of the internationally acclaimed North Carolina Brass Band. Frequently, Rusty travels with the Carolina Horns, backing such groups as the Four Tops and the Temptations. In addition he has performed with the Spinners, Olivia Newton-John, Aretha Franklin, Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, the Pointer Sisters, Clay Aiken, the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Woody Herman Band, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and many others.
Rusty has toured both in the US and abroad with the Ray Charles tribute I Can’t Stop Loving You, the world premier tour of Ziegfeld: a Night At The Follies, the Motown Christmas Spectacular, and the Motown Legends Tour. He has performed regionally with the national touring companies of Peter Pan, Dreamgirls, Young Frankenstein,Anything Goes, Motown and Matilda. As the featured soloist with the Spirit of America National Honor Band, he worked with hundreds of high school and college aged kids from across the United States, touring Europe and winning first place in the festival division of the World Music Contest in Kekrade, Holland.
He has recorded with several national and regional acts and released his first solo CD Oceanfront in 2002 on the Aural Designs Group label (www.cdbaby.com/rustysmith). Rusty’s television appearances include The Road with the Four Tops (PBS), The Louise Mandrell Celebrity Shoot (TNN), Motown Live with the Four Tops, Gerald Levert and Anastacia, Lee Ann Womac’s Christmas Special (GAC), and most recently Shout Hallelujah by the Firebird Arts Alliance. He can also be seen on the Four Tops 40th Anniversary Special.
For further information check out Rusty’s website at www.rustysmithmusic.com