The faculty you'll work with at SFA is at the top of its game. Whether your area of study is instrumental, voice, theory, education, composition or technology, our talented and internationally acclaimed professors will feed your passion and provide the care and guidance you need to grow and thrive.
Dr. Stephen Lias
The music of adventurer-composer Dr. Stephen Lias is regularly performed in concert and recital throughout the United States and abroad by soloists and ensembles including the Arianna Quartet, the Anchorage Symphony, the Oasis Quartet, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, the Ensamble de Trompetas Simón Bolívar, the Boulder Philharmonic and the Russian String Orchestra. His music is published by Alias Press and distributed worldwide exclusively by Theodore Presser. His pieces are regularly featured at major national and international conferences including the International Trumpet Guild, the North American Saxophone Alliance and the International Society for Contemporary Music World Music Days. Lias served for eleven years as Composer in Residence and Music Director at the Texas Shakespeare Festival.
His passion for wilderness and outdoor pursuits has led to a sizable series of works about the national parks of the United States. Lias has served as artist-in-residence at Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Denali, Glacier Bay, Bering Land Bridge and Gates of the Arctic National Parks, and has written over a dozen park-related pieces that have been performed in such far-flung places as Colorado, New Hampshire, Texas, Alaska, Sydney and Taiwan. In 2017, his "All the Songs that Nature Sings" was commissioned by the Boulder Philharmonic with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and performed at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Lias is the creator of The Composers Site (now operated by Vox Novus) and the founder and leader of the annual Composing in the Wilderness program offered by the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and Alaska Geographic.
Lias received degrees from Messiah College, SFA and Louisiana State University. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the College Music Society, the Society of Composers, Inc and the American Composers Forum, and is the Texas delegate to the International Society of Contemporary Music. He currently resides in Nacogdoches, where he is professor of composition at SFA. When not composing and teaching, Lias enjoys reading, backpacking, kayaking, skiing, travel and photography.
James Adams is the director of Sound Recording Technology at SFA. He teaches many courses in undergraduate and graduate SRT programs and is the director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Prior to his role at SFA, Adams lived and worked in Los Angeles, California, where he was a technical producer and engineer for Incite, a design and production company.
While working as a producer and engineer at Incite, Adams contributed to the design of MAUD — a large synthesizer which has been featured at several installations and performances throughout Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Since joining SFA in 2016, Adams continued to work with several companies to produce music experience installations for major music festivals such as the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Orlando. From 2010 to 2013, while attending Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, he was an audio engineer at the C. Crane Company where he co-founded their specialized audio division Center Point Audio and the Senta product brand, contributing to the design and production of several successful audio products.
Adams studied music technology at the University of Akon in Ohio, where he earned his Master of Music and held a graduate teaching assistant position under professor Douglas Hicks. While at UA, Adams also studied electronic and electro-acoustic composition under Drs. Resanovic, Brownlow and McCarthy.
Adams completed his Bachelor of Music at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he studied composition, piano, guitar and vocals. Prior to his formal music education, he received a certificate in computer electronics technologies from College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California.
As a professional musician, Adams was the lead guitarist and vocalist for a West Coast rock group named The Malone from 2006 to 2011, which created over 60 original compositions, had several live radio broadcast performances and performed frequently throughout northern California.
Special areas of interest for Adams, in addition to music technology, include the evolving field of music cognition's study of the relationship between music and the brain, new spatial audio mixing formats such as Dolby Atmos, Audio Over IP (AOIP) technologies, music composition and sound as reinforcement for plot and themes in video games, and opportunities for using interactive visual media in live music performances.
He is currently serving as an academic advisor on The National Association of Music Merchants GenNext advisory committee.
Dr. Mario Ajero
Dr. Mario Ajero earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Temple University in Philadelphia, and his PhD in Music Education with a concentration in piano pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining SFA, he served as coordinator of class piano for Temple University's Music Prep Division and a lecturer in piano for Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Ajero has authored articles for Piano Magazine and American Music Teacher and has presented at the Music Teachers National Association National Conference and National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. He has been featured in a series of webinars from The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy entitled Teaching in the Time of COVID-19: Resources for Online Instruction.
Internationally recognized as an authority in incorporating technology in piano pedagogy and music education, he has presented at every major piano pedagogy conference in the United States and has been invited to perform and present in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and Germany.
Ajero's engagements include being:
- keynote presenter at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference
- featured presenter at the Summer Summit at The Royal Conservatory
- and being invited to present on technology to teach keyboard remotely for The Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
His piano pedagogy students also have given presentations at the Texas Music Teachers Association Convention and judged for a number of competitions and festivals across the nation.
Dr. Alexander Amato
Dr. Alexander Amato joined SFA's School of Music in fall 2014 and his research interests include:
- Schenkerian theory and analysis
- Hindemith's analytical technique
- musical narrative
- theory pedagogy
- the history of music theory from 1600 to 1900
- and analysis of the music of Ottorino Respighi.
He has presented at international, national, and regional conferences.
Amato earned his bachelor's degree in composition and music theory at Michigan State University, his master's in music theory at University of Arizona, and his PhD in Music Theory at University of North Texas.
Dr. Tamey Anglley
Dr. Tamey Anglley is director of bands at SFA. She also conducts the Wind Ensemble, oversees the instrumental conducting graduate program and teaches music education courses. Her previous experience at SFA also includes associate director of bands, director of the Lumberjack Marching Band, conductor of the Wind Symphony, assistant director of bands, associate director of the Lumberjack Marching Band, conductor of the Symphonic Band and director of the basketball band.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music faculty, Anglley was director of bands at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, where she oversaw the winds/brass/percussion department, including concert, athletic and jazz bands and all instrumental music education courses.
Anglley was a doctoral conducting teaching assistant at Texas Tech University from 2006-09, where she studied with Dr. Sarah McKoin. While at Texas Tech, Anglley worked with the four university bands, the Goin' Band from Raiderland and the basketball pep bands. She was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award for the School of Music in 2009.
She was associate director of bands at Cooper High School in Abilene from 2003-06, where she conducted the second and fourth bands and taught at the two feeder middle schools.
Anglley is an active clinician and teacher, conducting honor bands and clinicing band programs in Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Her professional associations include:
- Texas Music Educators Association
- College Band Directors National Association
- College Music Society
- Sigma Alpha Iota
- Kappa Kappa Psi
- and Tau Beta Sigma.
Anglley resides in Nacogdoches with her husband, Jeff, and their son, Harry.
Dr. Christopher Ayer
Dr. Christopher Ayer, a native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, coordinates undergraduate and graduate clarinet study and performs with the Stone Fort Wind Quintet.
Prior joining the SFA School of Music faculty, Ayer was the clarinet professor and orchestra conductor at Eastern New Mexico University. He holds graduate performance degrees in clarinet from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
He has studied with Thomas Martin, associate principal clarinetist with the Boston Symphony, and Ronald de Kant, former principal clarinetist of the Vancouver Symphony.
Ayer is active as a recitalist, often performing with his wife, pianist Kae Hosoda-Ayer, as Duo Karudan. He has performed chamber recitals and presented master classes throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Ayer has performed as principal clarinetist with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra in Louisiana, and presented lectures at conferences of the International Clarinet Association, the Midwest Clinic, Texas Music Educators Association and the Texas Bandmasters Association.
Ayer is a Yamaha Performing Artist clinician.
Debbie Berry, soprano, is a native of Wichita Falls. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in voice performance from SFA. After a teaching stint at Wayland Baptist University, she moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where she did post-graduate work at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While in Kansas City, Berry worked with notable artist-teachers James King and Boris Goldovsky.
She spent five years in Denver performing and teaching before working at John Marshall High School in San Antonio as a private voice instructor.
Berry's performance credits include solo performances with the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the Longview Opera Repertory Company, the Central City Singers of the Central City Opera House Association and regular appearances as a recitalist in Denver, Kansas City and the East Texas region.
She has performed many operatic roles, including:
- Violetta in "La Traviata" (Verdi)
- Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" (Mozart)
- Miss Wordsworth in "Albert Herring" (Britten)
- Musetta in "La Boheme" (Puccini)
- Baby Doe in "The Ballad of Baby Doe"
- Norina in "Don Pasquale" (Donizetti)
- Rosina in "The Barber of Seville" (Rossini)
- the Witch in "Hansel and Gretel" (Humperdinck)
- and Gilda in "Rigoletto" (Verdi).
Her oratorio repertoire includes the soprano solos in:
- "Requiem" (Mozart)
- "Ein deutches" Requiem (Brahms)
- "Carmina Burana" (Orff)
- "The Creation" (Haydn)
- and "Gloria" (Poulenc).
She has performed extensively in musical comedy, including:
- Widow Corney in "Oliver" (Bart)
- Maria in "The Sound of Music" (Rodgers)
- Sarah Brown in "Guys and Dolls" (Loesser)
- Julie Jordan in "Carousel" (Rodgers)
- Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" (Lerner)
- Hodel in "Fiddler on the Roof" (Bock)
- Fiona McLaren in "Brigadoon" (Lerner)
- Magnolia in "Show Boat"
- and Lilly in "Kiss Me Kate."
Dr. Richard Berry
Dr. Richard Berry, tenor, is a professor of music at Stephen F. Austin State University. He holds degrees from Kilgore College, SFA and the University of Missouri Kansas City. Along with SFA, he has also taught at the University of Kansas, University of Denver and University of Texas at San Antonio.
Berry teaches voice, voice pedagogy and directs SFA's opera theatre. He has directed shows such as "A Little Night Music," "Albert Herring," "The Consul," "Carmen," "Signor Deluso," "The Bartered Bride," "Sister Angelica," "Calvary," "Rita," "Cavalleria Rusticana," "Susannah," "The Tales of Hoffman," "Pagliacci," "Hansel and Gretel," "Falstaff," "Die Fledermaus," "The Barber of Seville," "Don Pasquale," "Rigoletto" and "Romeo and Juliet."
As a performer, he has served as a soloist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Chamber Orchestra, Denver Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of Santa Fe, Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Central City Singers, Great Falls Symphony Orchestra, Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society, Valley Symphony Orchestra, Longview Opera Company and San Antonio Choral Society. He also has performed with many noted conductors, including Roger Cantrell, Jurgen de Lemos, Margaret Hillis and Robert Shaw. Performances include the tenor solos in Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem," Ludwig van Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis," George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Requiem" and Joseph Haydn's "Lord Nelson Mass."
Berry formerly served as dean of the College of Fine Arts, dean of the graduate school, associate provost and provost and vice-president for the Division of Academic Affairs.
Dr. Jennifer Dalmas
Dr. Jennifer Dalmas joined SFA's School of Music faculty in 2003. Since then, the strings program has grown considerably, developing into an even more vital component of the School of Music.
A graduate of the Virginia School of the Arts, Dalmas holds both master's and doctoral degrees in violin performance from Florida State University, where she studied with professors Karen Clarke, Eliot Chapo and Dr. Gary Kosloski. After earning her Doctor of Music degree, she served as a visiting violin instructor at Florida State University.
While living in Florida, she regularly performed with the Tallahassee, Jacksonville and New World symphonies. Dalmas also has played with several period orchestras, including the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and the Apollo Ensemble.
She has performed various concerti with orchestras in the United States and Europe, and has given recitals and master classes both in the United States and Central America as part of the Promising Artists of the 21st Century program.
In 2015, she also toured in Asia with a faculty piano trio from SFA, visiting universities in both Hong Kong and Macau to give masterclasses and performances. In July 2015, she served as string faculty for the Interharmony International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy, and recently performed for the festival's chamber music series at Carnegie Hall.
In Texas, Dalmas has been an active orchestral musician and is currently the concertmaster for the Longview Symphony. An avid chamber music player, she has been a member of both the Alazan Piano Trio and East Texas Baroque, and performs with her cellist husband Evgeni Raychev in the Hachidori Duo. She is active as an adjudicator and clinician, and has presented at the national American String Teachers Association convention. Dalmas also has recorded for Centaur Records.
Her string students have won numerous awards and competitions, and have enjoyed summer studies at prestigious music festivals such as Brevard, Eastern and Meadowmount.
Dr. Deborah Dalton
Dr. Deborah Dalton is a mezzo-soprano and native of San Antonio. She holds degrees in vocal performance from Trinity University in San Antonio, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. She had additional training at Seagle Music Colony in New York, the Wesley Balk Institute in Minneapolis and the American Institute of European Studies in Vienna, Austria.
Directing credits include "La Traviata", "Susannah", "The Bartered Bride", "Cavalleria rusticana", "Die Fledermaus", "The Merry Wives of Windsor", "The Marriage of Figaro", "Gianni Schicchi" and "The Magic Flute."
Dalton's performance credits include solo performances with the San Antonio Symphony, Victoria Bach Festival, Laredo Philharmonic, Texas All-State Choir and Texas Bach Choir.
She has performed many operatic roles, including:
- Madame Flora in "The Medium" (Menotti)
- Jezibaba in "Rusalka" (Dvorak)
- Dorabella in "Così fan tutte" (Dorabella)
- Miss Todd in "The Old Maid and the Thief" (Menotti)
- and Zita in "Gianni Schicchi" (Puccini).
Her oratorio repertoire includes the alto solos in:
- Brahms "Alto Rhapsodie"
- Bach B "Minor Mass" and "St. Matthew Passion"
- Mendelssohn "Elijah"
- Verdi "Requiem"
- Mozart "Mass in C"
- and Rossini "Petite messe solennelle."
She also enjoys performing in musical comedy. Favorite roles include:
- Madame Armfeldt in "A Little Night Music"
- Eulalie Shinn in "The Music Man"
- Mother Abbess in "The Sound of Music"
- Bloody Mary in "South Pacific"
- Reno Sweeney in "Anything Goes"
- Sister Hubert in "Nunsense" and "Nunsense II"
- and Nettie Fowler in "Carousel."
Dr. Andrea Denis
Dr. Andrea Denis is a native Texan but grew up outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. She joined SFA's School of Music faculty fall 2021 and performs regularly with the Pineywoods Brass Quintet and the Stone Fort Woodwind Quintet. She also has been a featured soloist with the SFA Symphony Orchestra and the East Texas Symphonic Band.
Denis graduated with her doctorate from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, where she studied with Christopher M. Smith. While attending Texas Tech, she received a teaching assistantship, as well as a CH Foundation Doctoral fellowship. Denis received her bachelor's and master's degrees in music at SFA, studying under Dr. Charles Gavin.
Prior to joining SFA's faculty, Denis was the adjunct professor of horn and music at Texas Woman's University in Denton and also maintained a large private studio of horn students for Coppell Independent School District and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.
Throughout her career, she has taught private lessons throughout the state of Texas, and held horn teaching positions at Brookhaven College, Eastern New Mexico University, East Texas Baptist University and Kilgore College. She also taught various music classes for Texas Woman's University, Collin College, Tyler Junior College and Texas A&M Commerce.
She is an avid performer perviously soloing with the Texas Woman's University wind ensemble and choirs, and freelanced around the Dallas-Fort Worth area with various ensembles.
She also is a returning feature hornist with the Leland Chamber Arts Festival in Leland, Michigan, and has played and held positions with:
- Lubbock Symphony
- Amarillo Symphony
- Plainview Symphony
- and the East Texas Symphonic Band.
In 2014, Denis was the winner of the MidSouth Horn Graduate Solo Competition and in the summer of 2015 she attended the Nebraska Chamber Music Institute as a member of the Texas Tech Graduate Woodwind Quintet.
She has performed at numerous conferences including MidSouth and Southeast horn workshops, Texas Music Educators Association, the International Horn Society symposiums and the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute.
Her professional organizations include the:
- International Horn Society
- College Music Society
- Texas Music Educators Association
- Pi Kappa Lambda
- and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.
She is married to Oscar Denis, the head band director of Garrison High School, and they have two daughters, Madeline and Eliana, who keep them on their toes. During her free time, she enjoys gardening, painting and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Robert Eason
Hailed by Fanfare magazine (Issue 40:5) for his “exceptional feel for elegance, wit… and tonal beauty,” Dr. Bob Eason is a saxophonist, educator and clinician.
Eason holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Houston and completed his master's and doctoral degrees at Indiana University. His primary teachers include Otis Murphy, Thomas Walsh, Dan Gelok, Valerie Vidal, Karen Wylie, Chris Patterson and Theron Sharp.
A native of Houston, Eason founded the Young Saxophonist's Institute and continues to teach summer camps in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas for middle school and high school saxophonists.
Eason maintains an active performing career, with guest artist residencies including the:
- 2020 Rio Winds Festival in Rio de Janerio
- 2019 XVIII Encuentro Universitario Internacional de Saxofón México in Mexico City
- and 2018 SaxoBang Festival in Taipei.
He is the soprano saxophonist and a founding member of the Kenari Quartet, an ensemble that has garnered acclaim through engaging performances, festival and educational residencies, and commissioning projects.
Among several competition wins, the Kenari Quartet was awarded first prize in the inaugural M-Prize competition in 2016. In collaboration with the Naxos music label, the Kenari Quartet released the album French Saxophone Quartets, which contains many of the saxophone quartet's most important compositions.
Bob Eason is an endorsing artist for Légère Reeds and plays exclusively on the Signature Series reeds.
James Faucett earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music at SFA. Also certified in piano pedagogy, Faucett teaches private lessons through the SFA Music Preparatory division.
Faucett served as an instructor during 2003-07 at Panola College in Carthage teaching applied piano, class piano and serving as accompanist for the show choir. Faucett has performed regionally as a soloist, accompanist and chamber pianist.
Dr. Tod Fish
Dr. Tod Fish received his bachelor's and master's degrees in music from SFA. He studied conducting with Dr. Terry Eder and Dr. Tim King while studying voice with Dr. David Jones. In 2009, Dr. Fish completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas under the tutelage of Dr. Paul Tucker and Dr. John Paul Johnson. Under the direction of Fish, the University of Kansas Men's Glee Club was the only collegiate choir selected for the 2008 Kansas Music Educators Association conference.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music faculty, he enjoyed a successful 13-year career as a high school and middle school choral director. While teaching in Seguin, Round Rock and Lubbock, his choirs earned numerous sweepstakes awards, significantly increased enrollment and saw several former students pursue careers in the music field.
Fish has conducted several Texas Music Educators Association All-Region Choirs and guest conducted in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. He served as a Texas All-State Mixed Choir section leader in 2005 and 2012. Fish made his international clinician debut through a series of lectures at the VocalTerra International Choral Festival in 2020. This festival served choral directors from upwards of twenty nations on four different continents.
Fish leads the Kantorei (treble choir) and the Singin' Axes (tenor-bass choir) at SFA. In 2020, Kantorei was the only collegiate treble choir to sing at the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was the first time for a non-auditioned choir from SFA to perform at a peer-reviewed conference.
Fish is the founder of the Stone Fort Chorale, a community chorus for the greater East Texas area.
Carlos Gaviria, a native of Cali, Colombia, began his musical education at the Conservatorio Antonio Maria Valencia. While in Cali, Gaviria joined the Orquesta Simfónica del Vallés, where he spent three seasons performing as a bass section member.
Gaviria came to the United States on a scholarship to study at the University of North Texas, where he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in music. While at UNT, he worked as a teaching assistant to the world-renowned bass teacher Jeff Bradetich.
He's currently a member of Symphony of South East Texas and has performed regularly with many ensembles, including the symphony orchestras of San Angelo, Abilene, Irving, Plano, University of North Texas and University of Houston. He also has been a member of festival orchestras, including the American Institute of Musical Studies orchestra in Graz, Austria, and the Texas Music Festival Orchestra.
As a music theorist, Gaviria's areas of research include the music of Alberto Ginastera. He published a thesis on the use of the guitar chord by Ginastera and gave a lecture on the topic at the Latin American Composers Conference in 2009.
Many of his students have been placed in All-State orchestras and have gone on to be accepted into music programs at major American universities.
Gaviria is a dedicated pedagogue and was active as a bass instructor in the Dallas and Houston areas for several years. He has taught at the Abilene Summer Music Festival and at the Bradetich Annual Summer Bass Camps since 2009, and he has presented master classes at UNT and UT Panamerican.
Additionally, Gaviria has taught music theory and ear training classes at the University of North Texas and the University of Houston. He currently resides in Houston, where he maintains a full private teaching studio. Gaviria joined the faculty of SFA's School of Music in 2012.
Dr. Gregory Grabowski
Dr. Gregory Grabowski earned his bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Texas, his Master of Music from Southern Methodist University and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas, under primary conducting teachers David Itkin and Paul Phillips.
Grabowski grew up in Edison, New Jersey, where he began his musical studies as a jazz saxophone player and woodwind specialist.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music faculty, Grabowski served as orchestra director at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, the Susquehanna University Orchestra increased in size and prestige and was featured in two nationally broadcast public television performances aired in 2017.
He has led several orchestras, including the:
- Longview Symphony Orchestra
- Bakersfield Symphony
- Baltimore Chamber Orchestra
- Richardson Symphony
- Flower Mound Symphony
- Lewisville Lake Symphony
- and Fairbanks Festival Orchestra.
He also has studied conducting under Don Schleicher, Nicolás Pasquet, Markand Thakar, Robert Franz, Paul Vermell, Samuel Jones, Harold Farberman and Leon Botstein.
Upon moving to Texas, Grabowski served as interim director of the Flower Mound Symphony Orchestra. He also was the assistant conductor for the Lewisville Lake Symphony, guest conductor with the Richardson Symphony and the Dallas Asian-American Youth Orchestra, and served as graduate assistant conductor at both the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University.
Other performance highlights include a benefit performance of the Mozart Requiem, a performance of Shostakovich’s rarely-heard chamber opera, Anti-Formalist Rayok and a gala concert in the newly opened Winspear Opera House in Dallas with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra.
Grabowski has taught and advocated for music education at every level from elementary school to professional. He began his career in the public schools of Frisco, where he was the associate director of winds and percussion at Roach Middle School for three years.
Since beginning his orchestral career, he has conducted youth orchestras, regional honor orchestras and has been a guest clinician at numerous high schools. He also has been an adjudicator for orchestra and band competitions as well as student solo competitions.
Larry Greer earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music at SFA with additional guitar study at the University of Texas and has additional study in music therapy from Sam Houston State University. He studied classic guitar with David Kennedy, Bill Krouse, Frank Kimlicko and Ricardo Cobo. He also studied jazz guitar with Garrison Fewell (Berklee), Jack Peterson and played in master classes with Matt Dunn at the University of Texas-San Antonio and the late jazz guitarist Herb Ellis.
In addition to teaching classical and jazz guitar at SFA, Greer teaches guitar and bass at Angelina College and previously taught classical guitar at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, and Eastern New Mexico University in Taos, New Mexico. He has served as an adjudicator and clinician at high school and college jazz festivals around the state, and served as jazz organizer for the Texas Community College Band Directors Association.
He directs, arranges for, and oversees the SFA electric guitar ensemble. This unique ensemble performs repertoire from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras as well as jazz standards and contemporary rock.
Greer maintains an active freelance performance schedule in the East Texas area and has performed with Eddie Daniels, Carlos Fontana, Dennis Dotson, Bobby Shew, Chris Brubeck, the vocal quartet The Diamonds, The Tom Houston Big Band and the late Darrell Holt big band Just Friends. He has recorded four CDs, two as leader, "Shades of Blue/On the Edge" and "Shades of Blue/Jazz Divas." He also has appeared on "An East Texas Christmas" Volume I and Volume II, recorded and produced by the Mixing Room.
Dr. Christina Guenther
Flutist Dr. Christina Guenther joined SFA's School of Music faculty in 2005.
She performs actively in the greater East Texas area, throughout the United States, and also has performed in Central and South America, Germany and Australia.
Guenther performs regularly with her husband, pianist Dr. Ron Petti, and with the Stone Fort Wind Quintet. She also was principal flute of the former regional Orchestra of the Pines from 2005-08.
She has performed/presented/adjudicated at the festivals/conferences of the:
- National Flute Association
- Florida Flute Association
- Mid-South Flute Society
- Society of Composers, Inc.
- Classical Music Society
- Texas Music Educators Association
- Texas Flute Society
- Houston Flute Club
- and at the Flute Society of Kentucky as winner of the Young Artist and Concerto competitions.
Guenther has played as a member of the symphony orchestras in:
- Shreveport, Louisiana
- and Texarkana.
She performed Christopher Rouse's Flute Concerto in 2007 and the Bach Suite in B Minor in 2013, both with the Orchestra of the Pines.
An enthusiastic proponent of new music, Guenther has commissioned and premiered several works for flute, including:
- "Zodiacal Light" for flute, clarinet and piano by Dr. Roger Zare
- "I Might Speak" for flute, bassoon and piano by Kyle Hoyatter
- and "Duo Concertante" for flute and percussion by Dr. Laurence Sherr.
Several other composers have written works for her, which she has premiered, including:
- "By a Spirit of Uselessness" for flute and piano by Kyle Hoyatter
- "Mountain Roads" for flute, bassoon and piano by Dr. Chelsea Williamson
- "The Ghosts of Mesa Verde" for two flutes by Dr. Stephen Lias
- "Duo" for flute and piano by Dr. Alan Scott
- "3NF" for flute and marimba by Dr. Alan Scott
- "Currents" for two flutes by Dr. Alan Scott
- and "CRUSH" for flute and marimba by Dr. James Barry.
Guenther can be heard on Dr. Stephen Lias's 2015 CD "Encounters: Music Inspired by our National Parks", performing "The Ghosts of Mesa Verde."
Her talented students have been winners in regional competitions, accepted into advanced degree music programs, and gone on to successful music careers in education and arts administration upon graduating from SFA.
She is published in the National Flute Association's "FQ Plus", "Flute Talk" magazine, "The Flute View" and the Texas Bandmasters Association's "Bandmaster Review." Guenther plays Emanuel silver flute #117 and a Roosen ebony flute.
Guenther earned her bachelor's degree in music from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and her masters and doctoral degrees from Florida State University. Her primary teachers were Eva Amsler, Stephanie Jutt, Charles DeLaney, Bart Feller and Laura Carnibucci.
Dr. Daniel Haddad
Dr. Daniel Haddad serves as the associate director of bands and the director of the Lumberjack Marching Band at SFA. He also conducts the Wind Symphony and teaches music education courses.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music, he was the associate director of bands and the director of athletic bands at Georgia Southern University. He directed their Southern Pride Marching Band, Wind Symphony and pep bands in addition to teaching marching band techniques and graduate drill writing and arranging.
Haddad received his:
- PhD in education with a cognate in curriculum and instruction and an emphasis in music education and wind conducting from Kansas State University
- Master of Arts with an emphasis in music education and instrumental conducting from Florida Atlantic University
- and a Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Arts in percussion performance from the University of Washington.
He also spent seven years as the director of bands and the arts department chair at Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, Nevada, where his groups traveled and performed at a high level throughout the United States.
He is a member of the:
- National Association for Music Education
- Texas Music Educators Association
- College Band Directors National Association
- Vic Firth Educational Team
- and an honorary member of both Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.
He resides in Nacogdoches with his wife, Amanda, and his three daughters Zoey, Heidi and Opal.
Margaret (Maggie) Hinchliffe received a Master of Music in collaborative piano from the Eastman School of Music and Bachelor of Music in piano performance and pedagogy from Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music.
She is a pianist with a focus in the collaborative arts. Before joining SFA, she was the pianist for Boulder Opera Company in Boulder, Colorado, playing for productions of "Il Trovatore", "Le Nozze di Figaro", "La Bohème" and "L'enfant et les sortilèges."
Hinchliffe has performed with vocal partners in the United States, Austria and Germany, including master classes for Julius Drake, Graham Johnson, Martin Katz, Libby Larsen and Alan Smith. An advocate for new music and interdisciplinary art, Hinchliffe has:
- premiered operas, art songs and other works with piano
- commissioned composers and poets through her podcast "How It's Musically Made"
- and written poems for musical commissions.
In 2021, she was awarded the Career Performance Grant from Sigma Alpha Iota and the Virginia Allison Collaborative Piano Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs. She has spent summers as a pianist and fellow for:
- Classic Lyric Arts
- Hawaii Performing Arts Festival
- Aspen Music Festival and School
- and others.
Hinchliffe has a private piano studio and enjoys running, hiking, reading and traveling.
Nita Hudson teaches private voice and works extensively with the opera workshop program as assistant director and stage manager at SFA.
Hudson has assisted in over 35 operas at SFA, including:
- "Susannah" (Floyd)
- "The Tales of Hoffmann" (Offenbach)
- "Die Fledermaus" (J. Strauss)
- "Carmen" (Bizet)
- and "Romeo and Juliet" (Gounod).
Hudson also has assisted with the Longview Opera Company on the works "The Merry Widow" (Lehar), "Suor Angelica" (Puccini), and "Gianni Schicchi" (Puccini).
She is very active in musical theatre performing and some of her favorite roles include:
- Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls"
- Lady Thiang in "King and I"
- Sister Amnesia in "Nunsense"
- and Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun."
Dr. Cody Hunter
Dr. Cody Hunter earned his bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, his master's degree in music from the University of MN-Twin Cities and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Memphis. His primary bassoon teachers were Dr. Patricia Holland, John Miller, Norbert Nielubowski and Lecolion Washington.
Hunter joined SFA's School of Music in 2022 teaching bassoon and music theory. He also is the bassoonist with the Stone Fort Wind Quintet.
Prior to his appointment at SFA, Hunter served as assistant professor of music and director of fine arts at Mayville State University and lecturer of bassoon at North Dakota State University. Additionally, Hunter taught for East Hardy schools in West Virginia and Harding University in Arkansas.
He has presented at music education conferences in West Virginia and South Dakota on pedagogical aspects of the bassoon and has a webinar available through the National Association for Music Education titled "Bassoon for Band Directors." His article "History and Current Use of Bassoon Speaker Keys" was published in the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors journal in the spring of 2021.
As a bassoonist, Hunter has performed with:
- the Memphis Symphony
- Arkansas Symphony
- Symphony Orchestra Augusta
- Fargo-Moorhead Symphony
- Eroica Ensemble of Memphis
- and served as Principal Bassoon with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.
He was a finalist for the 2021 American Prize in professional instrumental performance and the recipient of the Musik Link "International Sounds" fellowship, a program supporting community outreach and engagement through bassoon performance.
An advocate for new bassoon works, Hunter has commissioned and premiered pieces by Alex Manton, Adam Berndt, Lindsey Wiehl and Daniel Baldwin. In addition to performing for the 2021 International Double Reed Society Virtual Symposium, he also premiered the bassoon version of "Crepusculos" by Jose Elizando at the 2022 International Double Reed Society conference in Boulder, Colorado.
As a soloist, Hunter performed the Mozart bassoon concerto with Sinfonietta Memphis in 2017 and Villa-Lobos' Ciranda das Sete Notes with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2022.
Dr. Samantha Inman
Dr. Samantha Inman earned a bachelor's degree in music with a concentration on music theory and flute performance from Baldwin-Wallace College, a master's degree in music with a concentration in music theory from the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music and a PhD in music theory from University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music faculty, she taught at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include form, Schenkerian analysis, music theory pedagogy and the music of Haydn and Bach.
She has presented at national and regional conferences including the Society for Music Theory, Pedagogy into Practice, and the Texas Society for Music Theory. Her publications appear in:
- Theory and Practice
- the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy
- BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute
- and Haydn: The Online Journal of the Haydn Society of North America.
American organist, conductor and harpsichordist Weston Jennings joined SFA's School of Music faculty in the fall of 2020. Before moving to Texas in 2017, he was instructor of undergraduate and secondary organ at Yale College. Jennings also has served on the faculty of the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Michigan, the Department of Music at The King’s School, in Canterbury, England, and taught and performed at several Pipe Organ Encounters across America.
Having first encountered the pipe organ at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp at the age of 16, Jennings later graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree and the prestigious Performer's Certificate at the Eastman School of Music. He graduated from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music with his Master of Music degree.
Prior to his studies at Yale, he completed two years in England as the Organ Scholar of Canterbury Cathedral and Chelmsford Cathedral. During this time, he also was appointed the first Organ Scholar to the Royal Festival Hall, London.
Following his recital debut at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2009, Mr. Jennings has performed across the United States and Europe, including:
- Westminster Abbey in London
- St. Paul’s Cathedral in London
- Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles
- The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver
- the Chapel of the Queen’s College in Oxford, England
- The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow, Russia
- Royaumont Abbey in France
- and the Berliner Dom in Germany.
As a soloist, Jennings has performed with:
- The Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale
- The Yale Concert Band
- the New Haven Chorale
- The Yale Symphony Orchestra
- and members of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.
As a part of the London Handel Festival, he collaborated with the Apollo Baroque Consort in a concert of Handel Organ Concertos from Mayfair's Grosvenor Chapel. His performances and interviews have been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and American Public Media's Pipedreams.
Jennings currently resides in Tyler where he serves as director of music and organist of First Presbyterian Church, as well as artistic and executive director of the Tyler Civic Chorale. He also is the music director of New Texas Sinfonia, Texas' newest chamber orchestra.
Chris Kaatz earned his bachelor's degree in music education from Michigan State University and his Master of Music with a concentration in conducting from University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying with Steven D. Davis. He also has completed a coursework residency towards a doctoral degree at Northwestern University where he studied with Dr. Mallory Thompson.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music faculty, Kaatz served three years as the director of bands at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese, Illinois. During his tenure at Mater Dei, he was the sole administrator of the music program, conducted the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Marching Knights, basketball pep band, Jazz Combo and Noon Chorus. He also taught courses in both beginning chorus and music appreciation.
He is the assistant director of bands at SFA, serving as the associate director of the Lumberjack Marching Band and director of the Roarin' Buzzsaws Pep Band. He also conducts the Symphonic Band, teaches courses in undergraduate conducting, mentors music education majors as a student teaching supervisor and teaches at the SFA band camps.
Kaatz has been an instructor at Smith Walbridge: Music for All Summer Symposium and the Drum Major Clinic. Outside of his professional ventures, he enjoys a wonderful community of friends in Nacogdoches and treasures his regular travels to visit family in Michigan.
Dr. Scott LaGraff
Dr. Scott LaGraff, professor of voice, is a graduate of the Tri-Cities Opera Resident Artist Training Program in Binghamton, New York, where he sang the title roles in “Don Giovanni" and "Le Nozze di Figaro," the villains in "Les Contes d’Hoffmann" and Capulet in "Roméo et Juliette," among others, and was a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant. He has appeared multiple times with Opera East Texas in such roles as Schaunard in "La Bohème" and Dick Deadeye in "H.M.S. Pinafore," and also has sung roles with the Syracuse, Tulsa, Pensacola and Westchester Hudson opera companies.
A selected list of his concert engagements includes appearances as the baritone soloist in Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" and Brahms “Requiem" with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances of:
- Fauré "Requiem" and Handel’s "Messiah" with the Syracuse Symphony
- "Dvořak Te Deum" with the Baton Rouge Symphony
- Mozart "Mass in C Minor" with the Canterbury Choral Society in Oklahoma City
- "Bruckner Te Deum at Carnegie Hall
- and solo appearances with the Longview Symphony, the Ocean City Pops, the Binghamton Pops, the Orchestra of the Pines and the Syracuse Oratorio Society.
LaGraff is an advocate of contemporary American song, and his first CD, "Songs by Stephen Lias, Michael Patterson and Lee Hoiby," was released by Centaur Records in 2009. A second CD, entitled "Incline Thine Ear and Other Sacred Songs," was released in 2017, also with Centaur. In addition to being the first to record several of Lee Hoiby's pieces, he also gave the first performances of Hoiby's "Chants d’Exil" and the solo arrangement of "Last Letter Home," and commissioned and premiered Stephen Lias’s "Songs of a Sourdough."
He created a video series on YouTube, entitled All-State Diction Tips, which have proven to be extremely popular with high school choir directors and students as they prepare for All-State Choir auditions.
LaGraff's students have sung with professional opera companies and young artist programs, in international and domestic summer programs, gained admission to prestigious graduate schools and are successful music teachers in Texas schools.
The Athens, Ohio, native received his Bachelor of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music from the State University of New York at Binghamton and his Doctor of Musical Arts from Louisiana State University.
Prior to joining the SFA faculty in 2004, he held teaching positions at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Ping-Ting Lan
Dr. Ping-Ting Lan earned her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in piano performance from the University of North Texas, where she was awarded a teaching fellowship to teach applied piano lessons and class piano. She studied with Professor Adam Wodnicki.
Lan joined SFA's School of Music faculty in 2000, frequently performing both solo and chamber recitals. She also performs duo piano recitals with her husband, Dr. James Pitts. Lan has performed with the SFA choirs and with the SFA Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to teaching within the School of Music, Lan teaches an intermediate-adult piano class through the SFA Music Preparatory Division and maintains a large private piano studio. She also teaches in the annual SFA summer piano camp, Piano in the Pines.
Lan has served as an adjudicator for several festivals and competitions, including the Music Teachers' Association for Dallas, Plano, Waco, Kilgore and Midland. She is the president of the Nacogdoches Music Teachers Association.
Lan is the organist of Christ Episcopal Church in Nacogdoches.
Dr. Minhae Lee
Dr. Minhae Lee earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. She also attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and the Manhattan School of Music, where she was awarded a full scholarship to study with Dr. Solomon Mikowsky. At Michigan State University, Lee earned the following degrees:
- Master of Music in piano pedagogy
- Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance
- and Doctor of Musical Arts in collaborative piano.
While completing her degrees, Lee worked as an adjunct faculty member of piano at Alma College, Michigan State University's College of Music and its Community Music School in East Lansing and Detroit, and as an instructor at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Equally at home as both a solo and collaborative pianist, she has held a staff position as collaborative pianist at:
- the Jeju International Brass Competition
- the Manhattan School of Music
- the Manhattan in the Mountains Summer Festival
- Michigan State University
- Central Michigan State University
- and the Aspen Music Festival and School as a full scholarship pianist.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music in 2021, Lee played for numerous master classes and recitals at Yale School of Music in 2020, during which time she was named as the only Collaborative Piano Fellow and worked closely with renowned musicians and pedagogues such as:
- Ani Kavafian
- Shoko Aki
- Ettore Causa
- Paul Watkins
- Ransom Wilson
- Stephen Taylor
- and David Shifrin.
As an active chamber musician and strong supporter of new music, Lee has premiered numerous works for piano and varied chamber music ensembles. She was a prize winner in the Barbara Wagner Chamber Music Competition at Michigan State University as a member of the Lumi Trio (clarinet, violin and piano).
Lee has been a winner at the:
- North Shore Musicians Club Competition in Chicago
- Honors Concerto Competition at Michigan State University
- NTD International Piano Competition
- Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition
- TBC Daegu Broadcasting Competition
- and the Daejin University Piano Competition.
Alba Madrid is the director of the Music Preparatory Division in the School of Music and has more than 10 years of experience teaching elementary, middle, high school and college level students.
Before joining the SFA School of Music, she held the position of head orchestra director at Nikki Rowe High School in McAllen, and assistant orchestra director at Economedes High School in Edinburg. She also taught in the Gulfport School District and Houston Independent School District, both as a music teacher and orchestra director. Many of her students have qualified for All-State and All-Region Orchestras.
An active performer, Madrid has performed with many symphony orchestras including the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Texarkana Symphony Orchestra and Longview Symphony Orchestra. Prior to moving to Nacogdoches, she performed with many ensembles, including:
- Sinfonia da Camera
- Peoria Symphony Orchestra
- Heartland Festival Orchestra
- Mobile Symphony Orchestra
- Pensacola Symphony Orchestra
- Gulf coast Symphony Orchestra
- and the Valley Symphony Orchestra, where she held the position of principal second violin and performed in the orchestra’s chamber music series.
A native of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, she holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in violin performance from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she studied with professor Stephen Redfield. She also studied with violinist Alexander Brussilovsky at the Rencontres Musicales Internationales des Graves in France, and has continued her studies at the:
- String Project at the University of Michigan
- Dorothy Delay Symposium at the Julliard School of Music
- and the Retreat for Professional Violinists at the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana.
Dr. Brad Meyer
Dr. Brad Meyer is a percussion educator, artist, and composer with an extensive and diverse background. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Kentucky, his master's degree at the University of South Carolina under the direction of Dr. Scott Herring and his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Kentucky. He also completed his Pedagogy of Music Theory certificate at the University of Kentucky.
At the University of South Carolina, he ran the Palmetto Pans, arranged and coordinated the USC drumline and debuted his first percussion ensemble composition, "Your Three Favorite Colors."
While pursuing his doctoral degree, he studied under James Campbell and was the Wildcat Marching Band's percussion director, University of Kentucky Steel Band/Blue Steel coordinator and percussion studio lesson instructor.
Meyer directs the percussion ensemble and steel band, teaches private percussion lessons and the percussion methods course, and is the coordinator/arranger for the Lumberjack Marching Band's percussion sections.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music, Meyer was the visiting instructor of music in percussion and percussion ensemble director at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, and adjunct professor of percussion at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee.
He frequently tours universities and high schools both nationally and internationally to present recitals, workshops, masterclasses and clinics on various topics, including:
- electro-acoustic percussion
- contemporary marimba
- concert snare drum
- marching percussion
- percussion ensemble
- steel band
- and world music.
His international performances and clinics have taken him to Austria, Taiwan, France, South Africa and Slovenia.
Meyer has been an active presenter/performer at numerous festivals and conventions, including:
- Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic
- Texas Music Educators Association's national convention
- Percussive Arts Society's International Convention
- International Computer Music Conference
- Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States' Convention
- New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival
- Graz's Night of Percussion, in Austria
- Chiayi's International Band Festival in Taiwan
- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis's Intermedia Festival
- and Transylvania University's Studio 300 Festival.
He serves on the Percussive Arts Society's Texas Chapter and PAS Health and Wellness Committee. Meyer is a past member of the PAS Technology Committee and vice president of the PAS Kentucky Chapter.
From 2002-05, Meyer was a part of The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps' front ensemble, where he accumulated one world championship, three "high-drum" trophies and three "outstanding service" awards. After holding the position of front ensemble technician for the Madison Drum and Bugle Corps for two years, Meyer became the front ensemble caption head in 2009. In 2010, he was the pit manager for the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps.
His extensive training in the core percussion instruments (snare drum, keyboard, timpani, drum set, multi-percussion) as well as world music, particularly on the Caribbean steel pan, Korean P'ungmul, mbira (Zimbabwe finger piano), Joropo maracas, and both Javanese and Balinese gamelan has provided a global perspective for his performances and research areas.
He is a composer with several compositions for snare drum, multi-percussion and percussion ensemble published through Bachovich Publications. Meyer is a proud endorsee of Yamaha Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Evans Drumheads and Tycoon Percussion.
A four-time SFA graduate, Herbert Midgley earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music theory and composition, a Master of Education in secondary education and a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking and cinematography. His composition instructors include Californian composers Mr. Delbert Bump and Dr. Mac Cooks, and SFA faculty member Dr. Dan Beaty.
Midgley has been an active composer for the last two decades, with numerous compositions during both his professional and collegiate career including one symphony, 12 original works for band, other large-form compositions, many works of electronic music for both tape and live performers and many Avant-garde compositions. He also has written a great number of chamber works, including quartets and quintets for wind and string instruments, solo piano works and solo works for many other instruments.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music faculty, Midgley taught in the Texas public school system as an all-level music teacher and was the first music teacher in the city of Zavalla. During his time there, he produced many elementary music programs using his compositional and performing talents.
He works closely with Musical Instrument Digital Interface technology and is considered an expert in music software, instructing students in the utilization of computer technology for music, including music notation, sequencing and CAI software. He has presented many music technology sessions at various conferences all over Texas, including the Texas Musical Educators Association and Technology in Music Education, and served as a music technology coordinator and instructor for younger children in the SFA Music Preparatory Division.
Midgley also is an active filmmaker. He has more than 1,000 videos on YouTube on various subjects: education, music theory, composition, guitar, music videos, short film and sci-fi film shorts. He is a director, screenwriter, editor, film composer and a noted actor, appearing in short and independent films in his career. Midgley is a sought-after film composer due to his background in filmmaking.
Midgley is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Pi Kappa Lambda, National Music Honorary Society and Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society.
He maintains a private guitar studio with the SFA Music Preparatory Division.
Dr. Pablo Moreno
Born in Manizales, Colombia, and currently residing in Houston, Dr. Pablo Moreno is an oboist with a passion for performing a wide and diverse range of music, from baroque to experimental.
He earned his Bachelor of Music from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, artist diploma from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, Master of Music from Depaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Houston. His teachers included Dr. Tracy Russell, Alex Klein, Robert Walters, Kathryn Montoya, Eugene Izotov, Bob Atherholt and Jonathan Fischer.
Moreno has played with ensembles and festivals such as:
- Ensamble Sinsonte in Bogotá, Colombia
- Youth Orchestra of the Americas
- Oberlin Improvisation and New Music Collective
- Fifth House Ensemble in Chicago, Illinois
- Houston Symphony
- National Orchestra of Colombia
- Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogotá
- and Música Ocupa in Quito, Ecuador.
He currently is an active teacher in Houston-area schools and is a member of the historical performance ensembles Ars Lyrica Houston, Mercury Chamber Orchestra and Bach Society of Houston.
Dr. Ben Morris
Dr. Ben Morris is a Texas-based composer and jazz pianist whose music tells unconventional stories and crosses genre boundaries. He earned his bachelor's degree in music composition at University of Miami, master's degree at Rice University and his Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition at University of Colorado Boulder.
Morris's creative work and research is inspired by his Norwegian heritage. He lived in Oslo, Norway, on a Fulbright Grant composing a work for extended big band and video and received an American-Scandinavian Foundation Grant to research the influence of folk music on Norwegian jazz.
His debut album, "Pocket Guides," was released in June 2022 on Origin/OA2 Records and takes elements from Norwegian folk music, jazz and contemporary chamber music. The album garnered him two Downbeat Awards, an ASCAP Herb Alpert Award, a big band commission from New York Youth Symphony's First Music and an invitation to perform with his quintet at Newport Jazz Festival.
Also a versatile film, theatre and opera composer, Morris scored the documentary films "American River," which premiered at Montclair Film in 2021, and "Saving the Great Swamp: The Battle to Defeat the Jetport," which won best documentary at the 2017 New Jersey Film Festival.
A frequent collaborator with librettist Laura Fuentes, he premiered a 20-minute opera, "Las Auténticas," for the Washington National Opera American Opera Initiative, presented a multimedia opera, "The Fall of Man and Other Tales," at the ATLAS B2 Black Box and is currently working with Fuentes on commissions for Glimmerglass Opera and Art Song Colorado.
Morris seeks opportunities to write for unique ensembles that blur established genre expectations. He has worked with:
- American Composers Orchestra
- Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
- Jazz at Lincoln Center trombonist Vincent Gardner
- Unassisted fold
- NOW Ensemble
- Imani Winds
- Boulder Altitude Directive
- The Living Earth Show
- Playground Ensemble
- and the NDR Big Band.
He has been a composer fellow at music festivals and workshops including:
- Aspen Music Festival
- American Composers Orchestra Jazz Composers Institute
- Red Note Festival
- Sibelius Academy Creative Dialogue
- New Music on the Point
- International Gugak Workshop
- Source Song Festival
- and the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival.
His concert music has received accolades including an ASCAP Morton Gould Award and the International Society of Bassists Composition Contest Grand Prize.
Claire Murphy earned a bachelor's degree in vocal performance, an all-level teaching certification and a Master of Music Education at East Carolina University.
Before joining SFA's School of Music faculty, Murphy was the chair of the music education program at the University of Idaho, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, coordinated and supervised the student teacher program and conducted the Women's Chorus. While at the University of Idaho, she was named Professor of the Year. Prior to moving to Idaho, Murphy served as adjunct faculty at Barton College and East Carolina University.
Murphy, originally certified to teach kindergarten through 12th grade in North Carolina, has taught all levels over the past 22 years in North Carolina, Florida and Texas, both in public and college preparatory schools. After moving to Texas in 2017, Murphy obtained her early childhood through grade 12 teaching certification in music while teaching at Nettie Marshall Academy of Dual Language in Nacogdoches.
She served as conductor for the Greenville Choral Society Children's Chorus in North Carolina and was the founding conductor of the Palouse Choral Society Children's Choir in Idaho. Murphy was dedicated to creating and developing children's choirs for every public and private school in which she's been employed as a means to connect students through quality choral programs that focus on developing the adolescent voice.
Murphy has been actively involved in the National Association for Music Education, North Carolina Music Educators Association, Florida Music Eduction Association, Idaho Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association and Texas Music Educators Association. While in Idaho, she served as the IMEA elementary repertoire and standards chair.
Dr. Michael Murphy
Dr. Michael Murphy is the director of choral activities and a professor in SFA's School of Music where he teaches choral conducting, ensembles, repertoire and methods courses, and oversees the graduate conducting program.
Before joining the School of Music faculty in 2017, Murphy was the director of choral activities and associate professor at the University of Idaho for nine years. During this time, he was founder and artistic director of the Idaho Bach Festival and was recognized with the UI Faculty Award for outstanding scholarship, teaching and engagement.
He is an active clinician, adjudicator and author, and research interests include training and developing the holistic conductor, rehearsal techniques, new choral compositions and investing and creating impactful connections in our global community through music.
Murphy's international conducting and teaching experiences include Austria, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, England, Germany, Norway, Panama and Sweden. The Confucius Institute awarded Murphy with the "Understanding China Fellowship" and asked him to serve as visiting scholar at Sun Yat-sen University, South China University of Technology and Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies.
Murphy is the coauthor and editor of "Conducting Primer in Practice,"" has been published several times in "Choral Journal" and contributed to volume four of "Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir."
As a passionate champion of music for all, Murphy has experience teaching all ages and levels and several auditioned and nonauditioned collegiate, community, school and church choirs. His choirs have been invited to perform for several state and regional American Choral Directors Association and The National Association for Music Education conferences. He also has held several international, national and state leadership positions in International Choral Conductors Federation, ACDA, NAfME, and National Collegiate Choral Organization.
Murphy received his degrees in conducting and choral music education from Florida State University and East Carolina University.
A native of Urbana, Illinois, Melissa Nabb earned a bachelor's degree in viola performance, cum laude, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying with Rudolf Haken, and a master's degree in viola performance at Northwestern University, studying with renowned pedagogue Roland Vamos.
Nabb is an active performer, playing on both violin and viola in ensembles in East Texas and surrounding areas, including the Shreveport Symphony and Longview Symphony. Prior to moving to Nacogdoches, Nabb performed with ensembles including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Lexington Philharmonic, Sinfonia Da Camera and Evansville Symphony.
She is a certified Suzuki Method instructor and maintains an active teaching career. She has enjoyed large studios in Naperville, Illinois, and Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and now teaches violin and viola in her home in Nacogdoches.
Dr. Nathan Nabb
Dr. Nathan Nabb earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with Professor Debra Richtmeyer, and his Master of Music and Doctor of Music, both in saxophone performance, from Northwestern University, where he studied with Dr. Frederick Hemke. Nabb was a two-time winner of the Northwestern University Chamber Music competition.
Nabb maintains a vibrant and diverse international schedule as a performer, clinician and teacher. A regular performer with the St. Louis and Houston symphonies, he has worked with renowned conductors Michael Tilson-Thomas, David Robertson, Hans Graf, Marin Alsop, Michael Stern and Keith Lockhart.
His solo and chamber recordings on the Amp, BIS and Innova labels have clearly positioned Nabb as a bold champion of new music, featuring acclaimed performances of composers ranging from Luciano Berio and Milton Babbitt to Philip Glass and Mari Takano.
In addition to other engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra, New World Symphony and IRIS Chamber Orchestra, Nabb performed in the second major staging of John Adams' Nixon in China in 2004. As a chamber musician, Nabb is the soprano chair of the Oasis Quartet, whose debut recording was released in the spring of 2011 on Innova Recordings. His solo CD, "Tangled Loops," was released in 2009 on AMP Recordings.
He was a finalist at the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition and a three-time semifinalist at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, winning the silver medal in 2001. His current activities span the United States, Europe and Asia, and his career is featured in the March/April 2010 issue of the "Saxophone Journal."
Prior to moving to Texas, Nabb taught at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Nabb's students have won many competitions both in solo and chamber music settings and have been featured in performances and master classes at North American Saxophone Alliance regional and national conferences, as well as other local and regional clinics.
Nabb proudly endorses Vandoren and Selmer products and performs on Vandoren mouthpieces, ligatures and reeds and Selmer Paris Saxophones exclusively.
Dr. Kristen Nelson
Dr. Kirsten Nelson received her Bachelor of Music in bassoon from West Texas State University, and her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in bassoon and music theory from The University of Georgia. Her bassoon instructors have included Bruce Hammel, Tina Carpenter and William Davis.
While in Georgia, Nelson performed with the Macon Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra and South Carolina's Greenville Symphony Orchestra. She also has performed at:
- Texas Music Educators Conventions
- International Double Reed Society Conferences
- and the National Association of Collegiate Wind and Percussion Instructors Symposium.
She joined the SFA faculty in 1997 and has been the principal bassoonist in the SFA Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Stone Fort Wind Quintet. She also has performed with the Longview Symphony Orchestra.
Nelson is a member of the:
- Texas Music Educators Association
- International Double Reed Society
- National Association of Collegiate Wind and Percussion Instructors
- Mu Phi Epsilon
- Pi Kappa Lambda
- and Phi Kappa Phi.
Dr. Thomas Nixon
Dr. Thomas Nixon received his bachelor's degree in piano performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he was a student of Eugene and Elisabeth Pridonoff. His master's degree in piano performance and Doctor of Musical Arts in collaborative piano were earned at Arizona State University, where he was a student of Russell Ryan and Robert Hamilton.
Nixon is a prizewinner of numerous competitions including the:
- Jacob Flier International Piano Competition
- ASU Concert of Soloists Concerto Competition
- and the Nashville Symphony Curb Records Competition.
He has performed with:
- Carmel Bach Festival
- Phoenix Symphony
- Arizona Opera
- Ballet Arizona
- Phoenix Boys Choir
- Lyric Opera Theatre
- Arizona State University Orchestra
- Knoxville Symphony
- and Knoxville Choral Society.
Nixon also has participated in master classes with Phillip Kawin, Vladimir Feltsman, Warren Jones, Martin Katz and Denyce Graves.
In high demand as a collaborative pianist, Nixon has worked with many important artists, including:
- Maestro Charles Bruffy
- conductor of the Grammy Award winning Phoenix Chorale
- and several stars from Broadway and television, including Megan Hilty and Alfie Boe.
Dr. Nixon joined SFA's School of Music faculty in 2018.
Dr. Ron Petti
Pianist Dr. Ron Petti joined SFA's School of Music faculty in 1999. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance at Heidelberg College and Bowling Green State University, and his Doctor of Music in piano performance/chamber music and accompanying from Florida State University.
Petti is the accompanist for many ongoing events in the School of Music, including: faculty and guest artist recitals, choral ensembles, opera productions, and student degree recitals.
He also coaches graduate and undergraduate vocal majors at SFA. Prior to this appointment, he was the staff accompanist at SFA, and has served as vocal coach with the Florida State Opera, coach/accompanist for the Opera Program and instructor of piano in the Preparatory Department at Heidelberg College in Ohio, and instructor of piano at The Saint Francis School of Music in Tiffin in Ohio.
As a collaborative artist, Petti maintains a demanding concert schedule with SFA guest artists and faculty, including regular performances with his wife, flutist Christina Guenther. As a soloist, he has performed recitals and presented masterclasses in piano, served as an adjudicator in piano competitions and has concertized throughout the United States.
He has been an accompanist at the Music Teachers National Association's National Convention in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has served as accompanist for SFA's A Cappella Choir for several European tours.
Petti recorded the album "Playing Favorites" with trombonist Dr. Deb Scott and is on an album featuring the works of composer Dr. Stephen Lias.
He was a presenter at the 2019 and 2013 Texas Music Teachers Association conventions and also is published in Clavier Companion. Petti has been a member of the musical staff at Opera East Texas and performed at various conferences and festivals, including:
- National Association of Composers/USA composition conference
- Estes Park Chamber Music Festival in Colorado
- National Association of Teachers of Singing Conventions throughout Texas and Oklahoma
- NASA Saxophone Convention
- Texas Flute Society
- Mid-South Flute Festival
- and the International Trombone Festival.
Dr. James Pitts
Dr. James Pitts began his piano studies with his mother, Dr. Ruth Pitts. He earned his bachelor's degree at Baylor University and received his master's degree and Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of North Texas, where he was a pupil of the eminent artist, Vladimir Viardo.
Pitts joined SFA's School of Music fall 2000. He is an active solo performer, giving recitals frequently and was a semi-finalist in the International Competition of 20th Century Piano Music in Orleans, France. He also been a soloist with:
- Waco Symphony Orchestra
- Central Texas Orchestra
- Houston Civic Orchestra
- North Dallas Symphony Orchestra
- and the University of North Texas Orchestra.
He maintains a very active schedule as a collaborative pianist, performing in faculty, guest artist and student recitals, competitions, auditions and master classes. He also has taught applied piano, class piano and a two-semester survey of piano literature.
Dr. Evgeni Raychev
Born in Russe, Bulgaria, Dr. Evgeni Raychev began his studies on the violoncello at the Vesselin Stoyanov School of Music in Russe with Elka Effremova as his teacher. He further continued his music education with professor Zdravko Yordanov at the Bulgarian Music Academy in Sofia, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees. Upon arriving to the United States in 1997, he attended Florida State University, where he completed his second master's degree and his Doctor of Music with professor Lubomir Georgiev.
Winner of several competitions, Raychev has performed as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Colombia. His chamber and solo music experience includes performances in the United States, Bulgaria, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Costa Rica and Italy.
He played for the Bulgarian National Symphony Orchestra for five years during his undergraduate pursuit and served as a principal cellist of FSU Symphony, Chamber and Opera Orchestras, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Southeast Symphony Orchestra, SFA Symphony Orchestra, Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, Longview Symphony Orchestra and East Texas Symphony Orchestra.
For seven years, Raychev played in the Douzet, an ensemble of 12 cellos, alongside the Yodanov, his teacher and ensemble founder. The ensemble was commissioned and premiered several compositions by leading Bulgarian composers.
He joined SFA's School of Music in 2003 and is continuously working on innovative collaborative music projects promoting classical music to high school and college students. He is the founder of Piney Woods Camerata, a student/faculty collaborative conductorless ensemble, Piney Woods Youth Orchestra, and a founding member of the Alazan Piano Trio, an ensemble dedicated to performing compositions by American composers.
In addition to his performance activities, Raychev is a dedicated pedagogue and an ardent advocate of cello ensemble playing who loves workings with musicians of different ages. In fall 2014, he participated in the foundation of the Cello Club, an organization where cello enthusiasts of all ages are prepared online to gather together for a concert at SFA.
Raychev has recorded for Gega New Ltd. and Centaur Records. He currently plays together with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Dalmas, as the Hachidori Duo. In October 2015, the Hachidori Duo was invited to perform Ravel's sonata for violin and cello in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Byron Reinhardt began his college education studying music composition at Lamar University in Beaumont. He continued his music composition studies at SFA, where he participated in both the jazz band and the SFA Symphony Orchestra.
Reinhardt worked extensively in live sound as a sound technician and consultant both locally and regionally. He provided sound for many top regional artist as well as numerous Grammy nominees and award winners.
Reinhardt and the sound recording services student team are responsible for the recording and archiving of all concerts and recitals on campus each term.
Kayla Roth teaches music theory and ear-training courses. Originally from Lufkin, she is a graduate of Lufkin High School.
Roth earned her bachelor's degree in percussion performance at SFA, where she studied percussion with Dr. Scott Harris and music theory with Dr. Kirsten Nelson. She earned her master's degree in music theory from Texas State University, where she studied with Dr. Nico Schuler and Dr. Kevin Mooney. Her independent studies focused on popular music theory and recording techniques, culminating in her thesis, "Son of Beatles: A Historical and Analytical Study of the Music of Electric Light Orchestra," which studied the salient aural traits of the band and analyzed both the theory of the music and technical aspects of the recording processes used.
She has composed and arranged pieces for solo instruments and chamber ensembles. "Loblolly" premiered at the 2017 Tuba-Euphonium Conference of the Rockies, and, after her participation in the 2018 Composing in the Wilderness field course as part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, "Terrae Borealis" premiered at Federal Hall in New York City. Roth also won second place in the Falcone Festival's 2020 call for compositions with "Modal Suite for Solo Euphonium." She is published with Cimarron Music Press and Atticus Sounds Publications.
Roth grew up playing guitar(s), drum set and singing with her siblings and other local rock bands, and later worked as a pianist, drummer, guitarist and vocalist at audience-driven and all-request in sing-along piano venues across Texas, Florida and Arkansas.
Dr. JD Salas
Dr. JD Salas received his bachelor's degree in tuba performance from Baylor University in Waco, where he studied with Dr. Michael A. Fischer, and his master's degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Kentucky where he served as the teaching assistant studying under Dr. Skip Gray.
Prior to joining SFA's School of Music in 2006, Salas served as Bangkok, Thailand's, first full-time tuba-euphonium professor served as artist/instructor of Tuba and Euphonium Studies at Mahidol University. Other previous teaching appointments include adjunct positions at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he taught low brass and jazz bass, and instructor of tuba at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
Salas currently performs with the Longview Symphony, The Four Horsemen Tuba-Euphonium Quartet, and the SFA Jazz Doctors. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia through invited participation in many International Tuba Euphonium Association Conferences and solo tours. He also has presented panel discussions and clinics on the tuba's use in the Mexican regional music of Banda Sinaloense.
An accomplished jazz bass player, Salas serves as the director of jazz studies at SFA, coordinating jazz minor studies and directing SFA's Swingin' Axes.
He's performed with:
- Temple Symphony Orchestra
- Louisville Orchestra
- Lexington Philharmonic
- Shreveport Symphony Orchestra
- Disneyland All-American College Band in Anaheim, California
- and the Disneyland Paris International Show Band in Paris, France.
He's performed with many musical legends, including:
- Bobby Shew
- Jiggs Wigham
- Steve Houghton
- Rick Baptist
- and Marvin Stamm.
Salas is a performing artist with Buffet-Crampon U.S.A. and performs on B&S tubas.
Dr. Jamie Weaver
Dr. Jamie Weaver holds a Bachelor of Music from Brigham Young University and a Master of Music from Texas Christian University, specializing in vocal performance and pedagogy. She earned her PhD in music history, with a secondary area in vocal performance from the University of Oregon.
As the recipient of an International Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, Weaver conducted her dissertation research in Bologna, Italy, exploring compositional ethics of composers in Florence and in northern Italy during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. She continues to perform actively with early music and contemporary music ensembles.
James Taylor earned both his Master of Fine Arts and his Bachelor of Music with an additional major in general business at SFA, where he studied music composition under Darrell Holt and Dr. Dan Beaty.
Taylor has been a recording engineer for over 30 years and had the great honor of being the head recording engineer on Willie Nelson's album, “Nacogdoches.”
In 2005, Taylor opened The Mixing Room Recording Studio, where he continues to produce and record projects. Before opening his own studio, Taylor also was a live sound engineer working with over 100 regional and national artists and bands. He worked with a variety of artists and musical styles including Vanilla Ice, Jerry Jeff Walker and The Outfield.
Taylor has been a professional composer of commercial music since 1994 when he started writing songs for the Muzak Environmental Channel. Many of his works are still being played on Muzak. Taylor continues to write and record songs for several music libraries which has resulted in multiple song placements on HGTV and the BBC.
Dr. Frances Fonza Smith
Dr. Frances Fonza Smith earned a bachelor's degree in music education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a master's degree in music education and her PhD in music education/choral conducting at Florida State University.
Smith taught choral music at the middle school and high school levels in Kentucky for several years. Additionally, she served as assistant professor of music education and director of choral activities at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Her responsibilities included teaching music education courses, aural skills, choral conducting, supervising music education interns and directing the Wittenberg choirs.
Choirs under her direction have participated in state, regional and national music festivals. Smith is an active singer, clinician and adjudicator. A frequent guest conductor, she has conducted several honor, public school and church choirs. Her research interests are community partnerships, healthy singing in Gospel music and tone building strategies used in the choral classroom.
Smith holds professional membership in the National Association for Music Educators and the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. Chris Turner
Chris Turner, baritone, is a native of Pascagoula, Mississippi. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in church music and vocal performance, double majoring at the undergraduate level, from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. His Doctor of Musical Arts in voice performance with a minor in vocal pedagogy was earned at Louisiana State University under the guidance of Robert Grayson, formerly a tenor at the New York City opera. His post-doctoral study was in vocal pedagogy at the Eastman School of Music under the experienced tutelage of Dr. Robert McIver.
Turner also gained experience through years of coaching with Virginia Botkin and Harold Heiburg of the University of North Texas and the internationally renowned pedagogue Richard Miller of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Turner served as minister of music at several prominent churches for more than 20 years, including First Baptist Natchez, Mississippi and First Baptist, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
After graduation from LSU, he accepted at position at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he served as voice area coordinator and also taught and mentored students on the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels for five years. Turner also served on the voice faculty of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.
Turner's performance experience in opera and musical theater includes roles such as:
- Count Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro" (Mozart)
- Don Alfonso in "Cosi Fan Tutte" (Mozart)
- Silvio in "I Pagliacci" (Leoncavallo)
- Maletesta in "Don Pasquale" (Donizetti)
- Figaro in "Barber of Seville" (Rossini)
- Neville Craven in "The Secret Garden" (Burnett)
- and Farmer in "The Music Man" (Wilson).
His oratorio credits include baritone solos in:
- "Ein Deutches Requiem" (Brahms)
- "The Creation" (Haydn)
- "Messiah" (Handel)
- "Elijah" (Mendelssohn)
- "Mass in G" (Schubert)
- "In Terra Pax" (Finzi)
- "The Crucifixion" (Stainer)
- "St. Matthew Passion" (Bach)
- "Requiem" (Duruflé)
- and "Christmas Oratorio" (Saint-Saëns).
His professional affiliations include membership in the Houston Chapter, Texas-Oklahoma Chapter, and National Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Texas Music Educator's Association and the National Voice Foundation.
Luke Vacca earned his bachelor's degree in music education at SFA and his Master of Music in trombone performance at the Univerity of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Nathaniel Brickens and Paul Deemer.
During his time as a student at SFA, he studied trombone with Dr. Deb Scott and held several leadership roles in the School of Music's top performing ensembles. Vacca was a featured soloist with multiple groups and was named a finalist in SFA's annual concerto competition. He student-taught at Lufkin ISD under the mentorship of George Little and Tommy Smith and earned his teaching certificate in music for grades early childhood through 12th grade.
While attending UT-Austin, Vacca performed regularly with several of the their top ensembles including the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra, New Music Ensemble and Trombone Choir.
In addition to teaching various courses at SFA, he teaches private lessons and masterclasses at several districts in the northern Houston area and serves on the faculty and board of the Texas Trombone Institute.
Vacca currently resides in the northern Houston area. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys spending time with family.
Lance Treviño is an aficionado of films, video games and the music that accompanies them. His musical achievements can be heard worldwide in collaborations that cross borders and cultures, and some of his most notable work includes contributions to the:
- thrilling soundscapes of AMC's "The Walking Dead"
- vibrant battle music of the Japanese anime, "Beyblade Burst Evolution"
- post-apocalyptic score of Warner Brother's "Mortal Kombat Legends"
- and muscular hybrid orchestral sounds of Apple TV's "See."
A graduate of both SFA and the University of Southern California's Screen Scoring program, Treviño began his professional journey as a freelance composer and assistant in Los Angeles working on many high-profile projects, including assisting the inimitable composer Edward Shearmur on:
- "Diary of a Wimpy Kid IV" (Fox)
- "Escape at Dannemora" (Showtime)
- and "Cruel Intentions" (NBC).
There, he sharpened his skills in both recording and production while simultaneously working independently on games and many TV projects including:
- "Chef's Table" (Netflix)
- "Beyblade Burst Evolution" (Disney XD)
- "My Little Pony Equestria Girls" (Hasbro)
- "Blindspot" (PS4)
- "Kelipot" (Steam)
- "Secret Mystery of Comics" (History Channel)
- and "Hanazuki" (Hasbro).
A stalwart in the studio, Treviño's skills as a studio tech and team leader brought him to many of the most prolific recording studios across the nation, once even setting up a composition workstation in the piano booth of Ocean Way Nashville for Ben Stiller's brooding drama, "Escape at Dannemora." Following that session, he was the recipient of a gracious dinner toast by both Shearmur and Stiller which serendipitously began the next stage in his career.
In the months following, his talent and patience would pay off, and he was brought on as part of the contract composer team at Sparks and Shadows where he quickly ascended the ranks, contributing music to some of the biggest shows in television, including:
- "The Walking Dead" (AMC)
- season 2 of "See" (Apple TV)
- and the first season of "Snowpiercer" (TNT).
In the midst of the 2020 pandemic, Lance joined up with his friend and colleague, Mason Lieberman '17, and contributed string arrangements to his official Cowboy Bebop charity single, "The Real Folk Blues," made in collaboration with Funimation, Sunrise, featuring special guest artists including Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts, Steve Blum, Substantial and countless others.
Following this monumental success, Treviño would contribute even more string arrangements to another Lieberman project, the Charity Fan Performance of "You Say Run" from My Hero Academia. Combined, these two projects generated thousands of dollars for charities and brought joy to millions.
Treviño continues to seek out work as an international composer in all genres, lending his expertise to various media projects, art installations, video games and broadcasts while maintaining a remote adjunct faculty position at SFA, teaching various courses to aspiring creators while maintaining his established career in professional audio.
Dr. Deb Scott
Professor of trombone and bass trombone, Dr. Deb Scott is active worldwide as a teacher and performer. She is a performing artist for Rath Trombones, England, and the director of the Composers’ Workshop for the International Trombone Festival, which helps bring new music compositions for trombone.
Scott is a performing member of Monarch Brass, a group that represents "the very best women brass... players throughout North America and Europe." She also was a featured artist at Trombonanza in Argentina and has been featured at other international venues including Germany, Brazil and the Czech Republic.
Her solo CD, "Playing Favorites," was released in 2017 by Navona Records, and she has been described as “one of the premiere soloists for her instrument” (Cinemusical 2017). She was part of the Christopher Bill's "Bonehemian Rhapsody" Youtube sensation featuring 28 trombonists from throughout the world. She also is regularly featured in radio broadcasts throughout North America and the world.
Scott has performed several times as a soloist and within groups at the International Trombone Festival, and under her direction, the SFA Trombone Octet has been featured twice. She also performs regularly throughout North America with her trio, TexiCali.
She has been a member of the:
- Shreveport Symphony
- Shreveport Opera
- Longview Symphony
- Twentieth Century Unlimited Orchestra in Santa Fe
- New Mexico Music Festival Orchestra in Taos
- SFA Symphony Orchestra
- Lubbock Symphony Orchestra
- Greeley Philharmonic in Colorado
- and Barnum and Bailey Greatest Show on Earth Circus Band.
As a jazz artist, Scott performed frequently in the Houston area as the lead trombonist for the Ronnie Renfrow Big Band where she also often freelanced. She has performed with such artists as JJ Johnson, Louis Bellson, Diane Reeves, Frank Mantooth, Phil Woods, Lee Greenwood, Kay Starr, the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. Scott conducted jazz bands for over 30 years and was formerly the director of jazz studies at SFA.
She remains active as a clinician and performer for All-Region jazz ensembles and jazz festivals. Scott has twice directed the Texas All-State Community College Jazz Ensemble at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference.
Scott graduated with top honors from Texas Tech University with two bachelor's degrees. She received the dean’s award for her master’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado. Scott also was the the first doctoral trombone performance candidate at University of North Texas to earn a 4.0 GPA and first woman to complete a doctorate in trombone performance at UNT. She was the first woman to direct a university jazz band in the state of Texas.
Dr. James Vilseck
Dr. James Vilseck earned his bachelor's degree in music education with a concentration on percussion for kindergarten through 12th grade at Morehead State University. His master's in percussion performance was earned at Southern Illinois University, and he received his Doctor of Musical Arts in percussion performance and pedagogy at the University of Kentucky.
As an undergraduate at Morehead State University, he was the director of Blue Steel, a small steel drum ensemble, and held the position of adjunct professor, teaching private lessons, pedagogy and percussion methods.
During his doctoral studies at the University of Kentucky, Vilseck taught private percussion lessons, coached chamber ensembles and conducted the award-winning Percussion Ensemble. He also worked closely with the band department and served as the percussion coordinator and arranger for the Wildcat Marching Band for three seasons.
While much of his time is devoted to teaching, Vilseck also is an eclectic performer, composer and researcher. He enjoys his frequent concerts with jazz ensembles, steel drum bands, percussion ensembles, wind ensembles and contemporary chamber music groups.
He was a section performer for the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra and sits on the sub list for the Lexington Philharmonic. He has performed internationally in Tianjin and Beijing, China, and Dublin, Ireland.
Vilseck's research is based around percussion pedagogy, marching percussion, and health and wellness practices. His dissertation was based upon the percussion music of New Zealand composer John Psathas, specifically centered around his work "Cloud Folk."
One of the primary influences on Vilseck's musical career has remained marching percussion. Serendipity led him to his first drum corps show in 2007, and he was immediately hooked. Spending his high school years in Dayton, Ohio, he was always near many celebrated indoor percussion ensembles and attended many Winter Guard International and Drum Corps International championships.
James was a marching member of the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps in Dubuque, Iowa, and the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps in Madison, Wisconsin, and also performed with Winter Guard International ensembles, including Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble in Lexington, Kentucky, and Matrix in Akron, Ohio.
Vilseck continues to work as a designer, arranger and instructor for competitive ensembles throughout the region. This includes serving on staff with both battery and front ensemble sections with various groups, including Tates Creek Indoor Ensemble, Cincinnati Tradition and Matrix Open.
Vilseck is a member of the Percussive Arts Society Health and Wellness Committee and a freelance performer. His compositions are published by Tap Space. In his free time, he loves to travel, spend time with his wife and play video games while eating great food and experimenting with new recipes.
Dr. Jacob Walburn
Dr. Jacob Walburn holds degrees in trumpet performance from Bowling Green State University, where he studied with Todd Davidson, and the University of Southern Mississippi, where he studied with Joel Treybig. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in trumpet performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with Michael Ewald, Ronald Romm and Tito Carrillo. His previous teaching experience includes appointments at Oklahoma State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
While a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Walburn performed extensively with the Illinois Brass Quintet and was a featured artist and clinician throughout the United States and Europe, having played recitals and given masterclasses at:
- the University of Miami
- the University of South Florida
- the University of Central Florida
- Florida State University
- Bowling Green State University
- the University of Michigan
- Michigan State University
- Eastern Michigan University
- the University of North Texas
- the University of Texas-Austin
- Baylor University
- the University of Texas-Arlington
- and Texas A&M Uiversity-Commerce.
The Illinois Brass Quintet also was featured at the inaugural Master Class for Brass in Bornem, Belgium, and at the International Trombone Federation Conference in Warsaw, Poland.
Walburn joined the SFA School of Music faculty in 2017, where he teaches applied trumpet, trumpet repertoire, brass methods and jazz improvization. He also directs the Trumpet Ensemble and the Swingin' Aces jazz ensemble, and performs as a member of the SFA Faculty Brass Quintet. Walburn also performs regularly with The Jazz Doctors, a jazz combo comprised of members from the SFA School of Music. He plays second trumpet with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to his appointment at SFA, Walburn taught for six years at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, where he was a frequent clinician, adjudicator and performed as principal trumpet with the Valley Symphony Orchestra.
He also has taught on the faculties of the Illinois Summer Youth Music Trumpet Camp and at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan.
Walburn has been featured as a soloist with:
- the University of Southern Mississippi Wind Ensemble
- the University of Illinois Brass Choir
- Southern Arts Pro Musica
- Valley Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series
- and the SFA Wind Ensemble, where he performed John Mackey's "Antique Violences for Solo Trumpet and Wind Ensemble."
He was a featured soloist on the “New Works Recital” at the 2014 International Trumpet Guild Conference in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and was invited to perform as a soloist at the 2021 ITG Conference in Anaheim, California.
He has performed with orchestras in Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, Texas and Louisiana, including:
- Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
- Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra
- Sinfonia da Camera
- Peoria Symphony Orchestra
- Texarkana Symphony Orchestra
- Longview Symphony Orchestra
- and Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.
As a clinician, Walburn has presented sessions and master classes at:
- Texas Music Educators Association convention
- Texas Bandmasters Association convention
- the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Brass Day
- SFA Brass Day
- inaugural Master Class for Brass in Bornem, Belgium
- and Frederick Chopin Conservatory in Warsaw, Poland.
He is married to Alba Madrid, the director of the SFA Music Preparatory Division. Together, they live in Nacogdoches with their two children, Melanie and Jacob.
Dr. Kathryn Fenton
Dr. Kathryn M. Fenton earned her honors bachelor's degree at McGill University, her master's degree the University of Notre Dame and her PhD in musicology from The University of Western Ontario.
Fenton teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate music history courses, believing them to be an opportunity to give students a sense of how individual works fit into a network of historical and cultural contexts and to expand their musical literacy, and also as a chance to encourage students to develop their critical thinking and writing skills.
Prior to coming to SFA, Fenton taught at several universities in the United States and Canada, including Eastern Illinois University, Middle Tennessee State University, The University of Western Ontario and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Her research focuses on the music of the long nineteenth century, particularly French and Italian opera. She also studies musical life and institutions in the United States during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the development of an American musical identity.
Her 2019 book, "Puccini and the American Musical Identity" published by Routledge, explores the intersection of nationalism, cosmopolitanism and nativism in the early New York City reception of Giacomo Puccini’s opera "La fanciulla del West ". Fenton has presented her research at local, national and international conferences in the fields of Musicology, Literature and American History, and contributed several articles on opera singers to the 2013 "Cambridge Verdi Encyclopedia. "
Erica Lopez joined SFA's School of Music in fall 2017 and she works full time as a librarian at the University of Houston. Her research and writing have focused on inequities in academia, specifically the childcare-conference conundrum and dysfunctional hiring practices in academic librarianship.
Richard Birk has taught jazz pedagogy and jazz scoring and arranging as an adjunct instructor at SFA since 2022.
In his other life, Birk is both the coordinator of music and an associate professor of music at Brazosport College where he has served the college and community for 38 years. Twice recognized as Brazosport College's Piper Professor Nominee and Teacher of Excellence, Birk directs the BC Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble as well the professional big band the Brazosport Jazz Orchestra.
Birk served as the clinician/director of the 2001 IAJE Community College All- Star Jazz Ensemble at the International Association of Jazz Educators conference in New York. Birk also codirected the BC Coasters in their performance at 1993 IAJE Convention in San Antonio and has conducted BC Jazz Band performances at the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley Jazz Festival, the Wichita Jazz Festival, as well as numerous other festivals. Birk's students have been selected to both the National Community College All-Star Jazz Ensemble and the Texas Community College All-State Jazz Ensemble and have gone on to highly successful careers as professional musicians and music educators.
As a performer, Birk has performed in big bands accompanying:
- John Pizzarelli
- Mike Tomaro
- Rita Coolidge
- Byron Stripling
- Diane Schuur
- David Benoit
- Yvonne Washington
- Mindi Abair
- Kevin Eubanks
- Molly Ringwald
- Paquito D'Rivera
- Billy Stritch
- David Sanborn
- Dee Dee Bridgewater
- Patti Austin
- Paul Shaffer
- Delfeayo Marsalis
- Chris Vadala
- Mike Steinel
- Dennis DiBlasio
- Bobby Shew
- Frank Mantooth
- John Adams
- Bob Mintzer
- Gary Smulyan
- Phil Woods
- Conrad Herwig
- Andre Hayward
- Dan Haerle
- and James Carter.
As a writer, Birk has written big band arrangements for:
- Rita Coolidge
- David Benoit
- Mindi Abair
- Kevin Eubanks
- Casey Abrams
- Molly Ringwald
- Billy Stritch
- and David Sanborn.
Influential in many capacities beyond his teaching role, Birk has served as president of the IAJE-Texas Unit and is a founding director of the Texas Jazz Educators Association. He also is former editor of the TJEA Journal and Texas All-State Jazz Audition Etudes and he served as organizer of the Texas Community College All-State Jazz Ensemble featuring guest soloists Jeff Jarvis in 1996 and Denis DiBlasio in 1997.
Birk also is the leader/founder of the Christian jazz group, Jazz Sunday, which has recorded and released four CDs with their most recent being “Rejoice and Sing!” Additionally, the Brazosport Big Band released an album of all Birk originals entitled “Birkland.”
When he isn't making music, Birk can often be found on the golf course wondering why he ever took up the game.
Dr. Jenna Sehmann
Dr. Jenna Sehmann holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in oboe performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa, Master of Music degree in oboe performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree in both music performance and music industry from Eastern Kentucky University. Major influences on Sehmann's career include Dr. Courtney Miller, Dr. Mark Ostoich and Dr. Julie Smith.
Prior to joining SFA's faculty in 2023, Sehmann served as instructor of Double Reeds and Music History at Southeast Missouri State University, oboe faculty at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and oboe faculty at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Professionally, Sehmann has performed with:
- Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra
- Orchestra Iowa
- Dubuque Symphony
- Paducah Symphony Orchestra
- Ottumwa Symphony
- Dayton Philharmonic
- Evansville Philharmonic
- Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas
Additional performances in orchestral and chamber music settings include:
- Taneycomo Festival Orchestra
- Bay View Music Festival
- Marrowstone Music Festival
- Trentino Music Festival
- Sault Ste. Marie Opera Orchestra
She is an accomplished soloist and has won several competitions and awards. Most notably, she was the Kentucky chapter winner of the 2018 National Society of Arts and Letters Woodwinds competition, competing nationally in Chautauqua, New York. Sehmann also was the second-place winner of the Mary Ann Starring Memorial Award in Woodwinds/Brass as part of the 2018 Sigma Alpha Iota Triennial Graduate Performance Awards.
Other accomplishments include:
- winning the Kentucky division of the 2017 Music Teachers National Association Woodwinds Young Artist Competition
- and being the 2016 recipient of the NAfME Carolyn Nelson Double Reed Award.
Sehmann has developed and taught several musicology courses, and completed her secondary area studies in musicology during her doctoral degree.
Her research, which can be found in her doctoral capstone project, focuses on literary connections and narrative in instrumental music, and features recordings of works for oboe inspired by literature. This project highlighted two of Sehmann’s greatest interests: oboe performance and theatrical performance literature. Sehmann was named the sole recipient of the 2020 Sigma Alpha Iota Doctoral Grant to further her studies on this subject. Additional areas of interest in musicology include ethnomusicology and American popular music.
A devoted chamber musician, Sehmann is the oboist and Director of Operations for the Wild Prairie Winds, a 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of the Wild Prairie Winds is to promote the performance, education and accessibility of chamber music through diverse programming and creative concert settings. The organization performs throughout the Midwest and serves as artists-in-residence at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Milford, Iowa.
At SFA, Sehmann serves as the oboist for the Stone Fort Wind Quintet. She resides in Nacogdoches with her retired racing greyhound, Peggy Sue.
Dr. Travis Scott
Dr. Travis Scott joined the SFA School of Music faculty fall 2023 as an adjunct faculty member teaching euphonium courses.
Scott also serves as an associate professor of music with the Lone Star College System at the North Harris campus in Houston, where he is director of bands and teaches courses in music theory.
He has previously taught similar courses and low-brass instruction at:
- Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans
- University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada
- University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy in Detroit, Michigan
- and Brookhaven University in Dallas.
Scott holds degrees in music performance and music theory from Michigan State University, the University of North Texas and the University of Akron. He studied with Philip Sinder, Dr. Brian Bowman and Tucker Jolly, respectively.
His arrangements are published with Cimarron Music, Wingert-Jones, Potenza and Gramercy music publishers. He is a current member of the Four Horsemen tuba quartet and the Blossom Festival Band.