Please join us in welcoming our new instructors for the 2017-18 year: David Berry and Jacinda Stahly and Yi Ping as Youth Symphony Conductor!
Preparatory Music Instructors
Clement Acevedo has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in the Philippines, China and the United States. He has performed in venues such as the Merkin Concert Hall in New York and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Described by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as having “a biting rhythmic drive,” he has performed with the Metro Manila Concert Orchestra, the University of Santo Tomas Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, with the James Madison Symphony Orchestra.
Clement won first prize in the 2004 National Competition for Young Artists in the Philippines; in 2009 he participated as a semi-finalist in the Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition. He holds degrees from the University of the Philippines, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. Currently a DMA candidate at James Madison University, he is under the tutelage of “master among Lieder pianists” Gabriel Dobner. His other teachers include Igor Resnianski, Carl Cranmer, and Harvey Wedeen. A passionate educator he has presented lectures and masterclasses in the US and the Philippines. His current research interest is on the Russian composer Nikolai Medtner.
David Berry is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Eastern Mennonite University where he teaches piano and music history. David’s performances have been featured in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, the UW World Series at the University of Washington, as well as live broadcasts of WQXR (New York City). An avid chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of many of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the New Jersey, Houston, St. Louis, Dallas, and Seattle symphonies. David has toured and concertized as a resident member of the Jacksonville, Florida based Ritz Chamber Players, The Harlem Chamber Players, and the innovative chamber music theater group, the Core Ensemble. He was also Grand Prize Winner of the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, as well as a prizewinner in the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition.
David received his Bachelor of Music with High Distinction from the Eastman School of Music, and Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance from the Juilliard School. His piano teachers have included Martin Canin, Douglas Humpherys, and George Skafidas, with collaborative piano coachings under Russell Miller and chamber music studies under Seymour Lipkin, Jacob Lateiner, and Jonathan Feldman.
In addition to his accomplishments and background as a classical musician, David is an avid improviser of jazz, gospel, and popular contemporary piano styles, and also enjoys composing his own concert arrangements of hymns. David is an energetic and caring teacher who loves working with his students.
A native of Harrisonburg,VA, Tana recently received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from James Madison University, where she has studied under Paulo Steinberg and Gabriel Dobner. She began teaching private piano as an undergraduate and currently works with students of all ages in the Preparatory program. She has received extensive training in Musikgarten, a music and movement program for kids ages birth-7, and recently took over EMU’s Musikgarten program. Tana has worked as a freelance musician performing and accompanying for recitals, choirs, musicals, and other special events.
Hannah Shultz began her piano studies in Cusco, Peru with Flor Canelo, director of Qantu Cultural Association. She studied under Mrs. Canelo for six years before returning to the States and continuing piano with Maurita Eberly. Miss Eberly currently accompanies for the Shenandoah Valley Childrens Choir. Ms. Shultz is pursuing a Music Education degree at Eastern Mennonite Univeristy with piano as her primary instrument. She studied with Dr. Anne Waltner for her first two years and will continue with Dr. Clement Acevedo this academic year 2016-2017. When asked why she enjoys teaching piano, Hannah says, "I love the way music transends cultural barriers, communicates when words cannot and can be used as a tool to worship God. It warms my heart to see piano students wrestle with technique and blossom from their efforts or see their face light up during an “aha!” moment".
Joanna earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Elizabethtown College under the instruction of Ms. Debra Ronning. Shortly following, she served in the Middle East with MCC as a piano instructor at the Peace Center for the Blind with young girls who are blind and vision impaired and served as an instructor/coordinator for Al Malath Charitable Society’s music program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Since, she has studied at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding while earning her Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation. She currently serves as a piano instructor for the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music program and as the Office Manager for Eastern Mennonite University’s Music Department. Most recently, Joanna has begun serving on the board for Harrisonburg’s upcoming Family Music Project, a program integrating ESL and Musikgarten, and has begun collaboration with Rocktown Music Collective. Joanna enjoys playing the violin as well and will begin assisting with the City School Suzuki Violin Program and participating in the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra this fall.
A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, cellist Ryan Hoffman’s degrees include a Doctor of Musical Arts in performance and pedagogy from James Madison University, a Master of Music in Performance from Penn State University and a B.A. in Music from Susquehanna University. Ryan began teaching cello during his undergraduate degree, as part of Susquehanna University’s preparatory program. He continued to teach cello as part of his graduate assistantships at both Penn State and JMU, and also began teaching private lessons while at Penn State. In addition to EMU’s prep program, Ryan currently teaches cello at Bridgewater College and Shenandoah Valley Academy, and is a cello section coach at JMU’s Spring String Thing each year. Besides teaching, Ryan is a freelance musician, performing in both orchestral and chamber settings. He has played professionally since joining the Williamsport Symphony while at Susquehanna University. Currently he is a regular or substitute cellist in several orchestras, including Fairfax Symphony, Huntington Symphony, and Altoona Symphony. He plays chamber music with a variety of groups including the Harrisonburg String Duo and Two Rivers Chamber Music.
Violin & Viola
Tara Davis, Suzuki violin, Suzuki piano – B.M.A. University of Western Ontario, Suzuki teacher training
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Musical Arts in Music Performance from the University of Western Ontario, Tara Davis has worked as a freelance musician on both violin and piano for over 20 years, performing around the world in various orchestras, small ensembles, theater productions and as a soloist and guest artist for many different types of concerts, recitals, church services and special events. Tara is a registered Suzuki teacher, having studied Suzuki Music Pedagogy with Mrs. Daphne Hughes in Ontario Canada and more recently with Sharon Miller at EMU.
Joan Griffing is currently Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Eastern Mennonite University where she teaches violin and viola, coaches chamber music and conducts the EMU orchestra. She is also concertmaster of the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Virginia Symphony, and violinist with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. In the spring of 1999, she premiered a Violin Concerto written for her by Terry Vosbein, composer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University. She earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University where she studied with Tadeusz Wronski, and her Doctor of Musical Arts in violin performance from The Ohio State University Dr. Griffing has performed as concertmaster with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Austria and Italy as well as with the Coronado, Grand Teton, Norfolk and Spoleto Festivals in this country. Recent international appearances include a tour of Taiwan in 2004 with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, a series of recitals and master classes in May of 2006 in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a lecture recital in Adelaide, Australia at the International Viola Congress in June of 2007, and a set of recitals and master classes in the northeastern part of Brazil in August of 2007 and November of 2008. She is a founding member and tours regularly with the chamber music group Musica Harmonia, formed to promote peace and cultural understanding through musical collaboration.
Christa is a native of Greencastle, PA and began playing violin in the Suzuki method (age 5-11). She earned a BA in Music and a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College in IL, moving to Harrisonburg in 2012. She plays with the Waynesboro Symphony and at her church, and teaches Suzuki violin through EMU’s Preparatory Music program and after-school group classes for the Harrisonburg City Schools.
Katya Kirilyuk, a Senior in Harrisonburg High School, started playing violin at age 8 under the EMU Prep. Program until the end of Sophomore year where she transferred to JMU with Dr. Wanchi Huang. She has played in several orchestras and groups including Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra, Senior Regional Orchestra, All-State Orchestra, and Waynesboro Choral Society. In addition to playing, Katya has done some teaching in the past in our community, including teaching an ensemble containing small students.
Sharon Miller, administrative director, Suzuki violin, viola, Jr. Strings conductor, Suzuki Pedagogy – M.M. East Carolina University
Sharon Miller is the administrative director of the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music Program at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, VA that currently serves over 370 students from 5 Virginia counties and West Virginia. She also teaches violin, viola, and Suzuki Pedagogy to preparatory and university students and conducts the Junior Strings ensemble. She enjoys playing with the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra and other groups in the valley.
Ms. Miller received her M.Ed. (music) from Towson State University and M.M. (Suzuki Pedagogy) from East Carolina University. She is a registered Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer with the SAA and has taught at Institutes and workshops throughout the United States. She is pleased to have the opportunity to both teach pre-college students and to mentor young teachers.
Steffany Shock, a native of Toledo, Ohio, began her musical studies on the violin through a public school string program. At the age of 14 she joined the violin section of the Bowling Green (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra and went on to play in many other orchestras in the area, including the University of Toledo Orchestra, the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, and the Lima Symphony Orchestra. She received her Bachelor of Music from Bowling Green State University, where she studied with Penny Thompson Kruse. She then received her Master of Music from the Pennsylvania State University, where she studied with James Lyon. She recently received her Doctorate of Music from James Madison University, where she studied with Wanchi Huang. Steffany currently performs in the violin sections of the National String Symphonia, the McLean Orchestra, the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, and the Northern Tier Symphony Orchestra.
Jacinda Stahly is from Atmore, Alabama, where she studied violin under Dr. Elizabeth French and played with the Escambia County Youth Orchestra in Pensacola, Florida. Currently a senior Music Performance major at EMU, Jacinda studies with Dr. Joan Griffing and has been concertmaster of the EMU Orchestra for several years. Throughout her time at EMU, she has played violin in various instrumental chamber ensembles and musicals. She also plays in the violin section of the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. Jacinda is a registered Suzuki teacher, having studied under Sharon Miller, and has been teaching violin lessons in the Preparatory Music program since her sophomore year at EMU. She is also an assistant teacher in the Harrisonburg City Schools’ group violin classes.
Megan is originally from southwest Virginia where she grew up as a Suzuki violin student from the age of 4. She is now in her 13th year of teaching Suzuki violin classes in EMU’s Preparatory Music Program and in the Harrisonburg City Public Schools. In 2010, she started Tiller Strings, a local violin and specialty stringed instrument shop.
In addition to teaching private and group classes to students of all ages, Megan works closely with EMUand Harrisonburg administration to advocate for stringed instrument classes to be taught alongside traditional band programs in school. Megan also has particular interest in old-time fiddle music, often teaching and attending fiddle workshops throughout the year, and she has a passion for providing this outlet to students who come from all backgrounds. In 2015 she helped launch the first Red Wing Fiddle Workshop with The Steel Wheels and in 2017 became director of the expanded Red Wing Academy.
When she is not teaching, Megan is actively involved in the local music scene and enjoys working in a variety of musical environments across the country, on staff at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Red Wing Roots Music Festival, and Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival.
Kelly Wiedemann is originally from the Shenandoah Valley and was in the EMU Suzuki violin program from age 4 through high school. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Washington Adventist University in Maryland. While at WAU, Kelly studied violin with Zino Bogachek, a violinist with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. She also had the opportunity to tour with the New England Symphonic Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse. The ensemble frequently toured internationally and throughout the United States, including performances at Carnegie Hall. Kelly has been teaching Suzuki violin since 2003. Most recently, from 2008 to 2011 Kelly served as Director of K-12 Music at Hinsdale Adventist Academy located just outside of Chicago, teaching strings, small ensembles, choir, and band, as well as directing school musicals and concerts. Kelly enjoys making all types of music with family and friends and introducing her students to the fascinating realm of world music.
Lindsay Lam, from Denver, Colorado, started playing Double Bass at the age of 7 while still living in Mississippi. After moving to Denver, she attended Denver School of the Arts, where she earned her Arts Endorsed Diploma. While beginning her college studies in Denver, she served as Section Bass with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, also performing with the Cheyenne (WY) Symphony. After transferring to the University of Maryland, she was a finalist in the UMD Symphony Orchestra’s 2009 Concerto Competition before graduating with her Bachelors of Music in Double Bass Performance in 2011. She has also served as the Double Bass instructor at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD. Currently, she enjoys playing with local folk bands, teaching privately, and performing with the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. Her primary teachers include the late Kenneth Harper (Assistant Principle, Colorado Symphony), Susan Cahill (Colorado Symphony), Ali Yazdanfar (Principle, Montreal Symphony), and Robert Oppelt (Principle, National Symphony). She also enjoys working in theatrical costuming at Wolf Trap Opera, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, and James Madison University. She and her husband Mike welcomed their first child, Lydia, in December of 2016.
Elizabeth Brightbill (D. M., Indiana University) performs in the prize-winning flute and cello duo, Terra Voce. Previously, she held the position of Principal Flute with the Tulsa Philharmonic and Opera orchestras for ten years. She has also performed with a number of other orchestras across the country, including the Alabama Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Britt, Wintergreen, and OK Mozart Festival orchestras. She has appeared as soloist with the Tulsa Philharmonic, has performed in concerts at numerous National Flute Association conventions, and with Terra Voce has appeared at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. A recipient of multiple awards, Elizabeth has been a prize-winner and finalist in several national and regional competitions. She has taught at all levels of instruction for over fifteen years and her devotion to teaching is demonstrated in the success of her students at the local, regional, and national levels. www.terravoce.com
Devoted to influencing future music lovers and educators, Dr. Yi-Ping Chen is thrilled to begin her position as the conductor of Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony. Her connection with the Harrisonburg community is strengthened by her work as conducting instructor at James Madison University and executive director of JMU’s Spring String Thing camp. Previously she served as the Orchestra Director of the join-orchestra of University Orchestra at Minnesota State University Moorhead and North Dakota State University. She conducted the Northern Valley Youth Orchestras in Grand Forks for five years. Having established the importance of live music for ballet, she will be serving her fifth year as conductor of Fargo-Moorhead Ballet Company’s Wonderland Orchestra in their annual production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. She received the Distinguished Service Award from North Dakota String Teacher’s Association for her efforts as a music educator. Dr. Chen holds a DMA degree in conducting from University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University.