Music Therapy Bachelor of Music
Music Therapy is an allied health profession as well as a field of research. Music therapists use their skills to improve the health of their clients’ physical and/or mental functioning as well as their quality of life. Degree students take classes in, music, psychology, clinical foundations, music therapy, general education, and liberal arts. This degree is approved by NASM (National Association of Schools of Music) and AMTA (American Music Therapy Association)
Candidates completing the 4 year curriculum followed by a 6-month internship will be eligible to sit for the exam for the Music Therapist Certification Board (MT-BC)
Nathan Hess has appeared throughout the United States and Europe in solo, chamber, and concerto settings. He has soloed with the Manassas Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, and York Symphony Orchestra, among others. Recent recital appearances and masterclasses have included the American Liszt Society Festival; The Americas Society in New York City; The Second Sunday Recital Series in Binghamton, NY; The Southwest String Quartet in Tucson, AZ; Duke University; University of Wisconsin Eau Claire; Bowling Green State University; West Chester University; Morgan State University; Buffalo Piano Teachers Forum; and the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Pittsburgh.
Hess holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, from James Madison University, where he was named a Presser Scholar. He has performed in chamber music settings with members of orchestras such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and Buffalo Philharmonic. Hess has also acted as orchestral pianist with the Erie Philharmonic.
Dr. Hess is especially interested in twentieth and twenty-first century American music. He presented a lecture-recital on Ned Rorem’s music at the 2014 College Music Society Northeast Regional Conference, and in April 2014 he performed Lukas Foss’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird at the Americas Society in New York City. Upcoming recitals and masterclasses include Randolph College, Duquesne University, and the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania. For five years Hess chaired the piano program at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in Erie, teaching piano to some of the state's most talented pre-college students. He performed in and produced a set of recordings for the textbook Harmony in Context, published by McGraw-Hill and written by Miguel Roig-Francoli. In addition to teaching and performing, Dr. Hess is active in Music Teachers National Association and also adjudicates frequently throughout the region and East Coast. He is Chair of the D’Angelo Department of Music and Assistant Professor of Piano at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. Each August he teaches on the piano faculty at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colorado. He can be heard on the Centaur label in a recording with flutist Susan Royal and in a recent recording of Bach arias produced by the International Trumpet Guild.
Louisa Jonason, Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of the Opera Program, holds a Bachelor of Music from Morehead State University, and an Master of Music from New York University.
Jonason’s European debut was at L’Opera de Nice. Other international debuts were at the National Theater in Taiwan, in Caracas, Venezuela and Hamilton, Canada. Jonason also sang Queen Isabella for the North American premier of Darius Milhaud’s Christopher Columbus with Madame Milhaud in attendance and created the role of the Queen in the world premiere of Seymour Barab’s Sleeping Beauty.
Jonasons’s New York debut as a stage director was with the American Singers’ Opera Project’s (ASOP). She is currently affiliated with the After Dinner Opera Company of New York City.
Scott Meier, Associate Professor of Saxophone and Music Education, began his studies at the University of Wyoming, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in music education. After seven years of teaching instrumental and choral music in the Arizona public schools, he earned his Master of Music in woodwind doubling at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California where he studied saxophone and conducting with Eddie R. Smith. Later, during his doctoral work at The Florida State University he studied conducting with James Croft, Rodney Eichenberger, and Andre Thomas.
Meier is currently an associate professor of music education in the D’Angelo Department of Music. He teaches applied saxophone, conducts the wind and jazz ensembles, teaches music education and technology courses, and is conducting research in multimedia education and the transfer of learning.
Jonathan Moser – conductor, violinist, violist, vocalist and teacher – has loved music ever since childhood when he would sit under the family piano listening to his parents and grandmother playing Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff. His formal musical education began at five years old as a violin student, an education he pursued through a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree from Shenandoah University and a Master of Music in Performance degree from Arizona State University, with additional Doctoral studies in performance. Mr. Moser has enjoyed working with many outstanding teachers including Dara Morales, Katie McLin, James Stern, Sergiu Schwartz, Linda Cerone, and Ronda Cole, and he has performed in master classes with Jaime Laredo, Claude Frank, Sylvia Rosenberg, Shlomo Mintz, and Sergiu Luca.
During his studies, Mr. Moser enjoyed minoring in voice, studying viola, and discovering his love of conducting. Now entering his second year as director of the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra, he has already enjoyed leading the orchestra into new and exciting adventures. He has expanded the performance schedule to include three full symphonic concerts and is accompanying the opera as well. He instituted an annual concerto competition, led the ensemble through the shift from a chamber group to a full symphony, and has exponentially expanded the membership. Summers, he can be found working as the Orchestra Program and Adjudication Director for the Philadelphia International Music Festival where he organizes and oversees between 7-10 orchestras reaching four to five hundred students. Recent prior posts include Orchestra Director at Kutztown University and Music Director of the Wilmington Community Orchestra. Before moving to Philadelphia, he was the Director of Orchestras and Instructor of Music at Westminster College and served as Adjunct Faculty for Grove City College. He has also been the Director of Music at University Presbyterian Church, Providence Presbyterian Church, and Proclamation Presbyterian Church.
An active performer, Mr. Moser regularly concertizes with chamber ensembles, as a recitalist, and with orchestras. This year he begins his tenure as Principal Second Violin with the Erie Philharmonic. Mr. Moser also will be performing as Soloist with the Mercyhurst Civic Orchestra and the Bloomsburg Symphony Orchestra. This year he will also be performing at SUNY Fredonia and in Virginia. This past December 2016, Mr. Moser enjoyed the opportunity to participate in an expansive ten city orchestra tour of China. For two years he toured extensively with Sandip Burman – an internationally renowned tabla artist. Mr. Moser was also a member of the Wheeling Symphony, Music at Ethical: Concerts on the Square players and the Bay-Atlantic Symphony. Mr. Moser has served as concertmaster for Pittsburgh Opera Theater, Music on the Edge, the Erie Philharmonic, and Musica Nova, among others. He has served as Principal Second with the Bay-Atlantic Symphony and the Wheeling Symphony. Mr. Moser was winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Solo Competition, the Philadelphia College of Bible Solo Competition (2 years), the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association Solo Competition, the Shenandoah University Concerto competition, and was a finalist in the National Symphony Orchestra's Young Soloists Competition. Mr. Moser was a founding member of the Arizona State University’s Katherine K. Herberger Graduate String Quartet.
Mr. Moser and his wife are blessed with three children.
Craig Stevens MA, MT-BC, NMT is the founder and director of the Music Therapy program at Mercyhurst University. His duties include the building and teaching of all the required Music Therapy courses, which offer the students a wide range of theoretical and clinical foundations, as well as application through in-the-field training. He also teaches the Music Technology classes.
During his time at Hamot, Mr. Stevens also forged a working relationship as a Neurologic Music Therapist with Health South Rehabilitation, allowing for a continuum of care from an acute care setting to a neuro-rehabilitation setting for those living with Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Parkinson's Disease. His graduate work focused heavily on Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities as well as Teen Mental Health. Currently, Craig Stevens maintains a part-time private practice with his company Lake Erie Music Therapy Services, which focuses mainly on Neurologic disorders.
Mr. Stevens has a Bachelors degree from the University of Dayton in Journalism and Psychology, a second Bachelors degree in Audio Recording and Music Business from Middle Tennessee State, and holds a Masters Degree in Music Therapy and Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder Colorado. Mr. Stevens also received his certification in Neurologic Music Therapy from Colorado State University. He is a published songwriter/producer and many of his compositions have been licensed into film and television productions around the world. In his spare time, Mr. Stevens like to produce original music in his recording studio, scuba dive, read Music Therapy research journals, and go on adventures with his wife.
Rebecca Wunch graduated from Duquesne University where she studied clarinet performance and minored in saxophone and piano. She received her Master’s degree from Bowling Green University with a dual in Music Theory and Performance. Additionally, while there, she had a teaching assistantship in Music Theory/Aural Skills. As a performer, she has played in various venues, including a composer’s series at Carnegie Hall, the Nutcracker with the Toledo Ballet Company, and a soloist with the Mercyhurst Orchestra. As a teacher, Rebecca developed the curriculum for the Perseus House Charter School of Excellence Middle School music program, where she previously taught. In addition to teaching at Mercyhurst University, she currently works for local after-school music programs, performances with the Misery Bay Big Band, the woodwind trio Reed’m & Weep, and the Presque Isle Sax Quartet.
Brittany Barko, M.M., MT-BC, NMT is a neurologic music therapist native to Erie, who was the first graduate of the Mercyhurst Music Therapy program in 2013. She completed her internship at University Hospital's Case Medical Center in Cleveland, OH, where she gained clinical experience in oncology, hospice, at-risk preschoolers, sickle cell disease, and medical/surgical populations. She completed graduate studies at Western Michigan University in Music Therapy where she gained invaluable research experience and further developed her clinical skills in neurological rehabilitation.
Brittany's passion for music therapy stems from her roots in music ministry and music education. Since 2000, Brittany served as cantor/pianist/organist/choir member for several Erie churches including Our Lady of Mercy Church, Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church, and Mercyhurst's Christ the King Chapel. While completing her Masters, she served as music director for 2 parishes in Three Rivers, MI, accompanying liturgies on piano/organ/guitar, directing the choirs, and planning music for weekend and special liturgies. Brittany has also enjoyed providing private piano/voice/guitar/ukulele lessons over the years to all ages, both in PA and MI.
Now back in her hometown, Brittany is the newest member of Prof. Craig Stevens' private music therapy practice, Lake Erie Music Therapy, and teaches voice and guitar classes for Mercyhurst music therapy students. She is highly motivated to advocate for music therapy services in the Erie community, both through increasing clientele in the private practice and expanding the undergraduate program at Mercyhurst.
Dr. Elizabeth Etter holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Harpsichord performance and a Master of Music as a double major in Collaborative Piano and Harpsichord performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Anne Epperson and Doris Ornstein. She graduated from Allegheny College with a B.A., where she subsequently served on the piano faculty while maintaining a thriving independent studio from which many students were launched with illustrious careers. She founded the Summer Music Festival and Music Outreach Program at Allegheny College and served as Executive and Artistic Director of the celebrated international festival for young chamber musicians. She has performed on many stages throughout the eastern United States including the Chautauqua Institution, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Carnegie Music Hall. She has mentored and taught hundreds of young performers, and has served as a juror for national and international competitions, presented arts-in-education workshops for preschool through college audiences, and moderated as a panelist for national music conferences. Her performances and interviews have been aired on WQED, WCLV, and WQLN. Specializing in early keyboard performance and chamber music, her passion lies in the collaboration and communication involved in playing chamber music. Her performances include the Erie Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Chautauqua Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Baroque Ensemble, Cleveland Camerata, Erie Chamber Orchestra, and the Holter Chamber Music Festival in Italy. She currently serves as piano faculty at Edinboro University and is a staff pianist at Mercyhurst University and Duquesne University.
Bradley T. Amidon, Adjunct Instructor of Percussion, is also the director of percussion studies at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA. Mr. Amidon holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Edinboro University and an MFA in Percussion Performance from State University of New York at Buffalo. His teachers have included Jan Williams, Lynn Harbold, Cosmo A. Barbaro, Alan Zimmerman, and M’Baye Rama Diagne.
Mr. Amidon currently performs in the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, the Erie Chamber Orchestra, and the Misery Bay Big Band, as well as a host of other small chamber groups in the northwest PA area.
In addition to keeping an active teaching studio at Mercyhurst University and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and to directing the percussion ensemble, Mr. Amidon also maintains a private teaching studio in the northwest PA area. He has also served as assistant marching band director at McDowell High School in the Millcreek Township School District, Erie, PA.
Mr. Amidon is currently ABD in the music theory doctoral program at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
Gino Faraci is a freelance double bassist, teacher, and chamber music impresario living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh in 2005, Gino served as the assistant principal bass for the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and performed with numerous orchestras in the northeast including the Connecticut Grand Opera Orchestra, Binghamton Philharmonic, Ridgefield Symphony, Orchestra of New England, and Norwalk Symphony. He was a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland from 2001 to 2004 performing internationally in Europe, Asia, and South America under the direction of conductors James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Wolfgang Sawallish, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Paavo Jarvi, and Yuri Temirkanov. Gino performed with the Italian chamber ensemble Sinfonietta Umbria at Carnegie Hall and has played with renowned soloists Dimitry Sitkovetsky, Vadim Repim, and Lang Lang. He has performed chamber music at Caramoor and has played bass in several Off Broadway musical productions.
In 2010 Gino founded Classical Revolution Pittsburgh, an internationally recognized chamber music organization committed to taking music out of the concert hall and performing high quality classical music concerts in accessible venues such as bars, cafes, galleries, and public spaces. In recognition of his work with Classical Revolution Pittsburgh, Gino was featured in an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette for their “Person of Interest” column in April of 2012.
Currently, Gino is highly in demand as an orchestra and chamber music performer with ensembles such as the Pittsburgh Opera, Erie Philharmonic, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony, Albany Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Altoona Symphony, Westmoreland Symphony, Butler County Symphony and many, many more.
In addition to performing, Gino is a committed teacher. He is the orchestra director at Sewickley Academy, a co-educational college preparatory independent school in Sewickley, PA where he teaches strings at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He has been a double bass coach for the Pittsburgh Youth Pops Orchestra, Bridgeport Youth Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division, and maintains a private double bass studio. Not limited to music, Gino is also a ski instructor at 7 Springs Mountain Resort where he teaches group and private lessons to skiers of all ability levels from beginner to expert.
Gino Faraci studied double bass with Timothy Cobb and Jeffrey Turner. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance and Master of Music degree from the Orchestral Performance program. Beyond music, his favorite activities are running and skiing. Gino lives in the Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh with his wife Tanya and daughter Nora.
Glinsky has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the A&E Network, various National Public Radio programs, and on Canada’s CBC network and England’s BBC Radio. His book, _Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage_, published by the University of Illinois Press, with a foreword by electronic music pioneer Robert Moog, won the 2001 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.
Albert Glinsky has received critical praise for his music, which has been performed widely, and in such settings as Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Aspen Music Festival, Wolf Trapp, and throughout Europe and the Far East. Performing organizations as diverse as the Boys Choir of Harlem and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra have premiered his works. Dance has played a large role in Glinsky's musical output. His works have been presented at the Lexington and Wilkes-Barre Ballets, the Merce Cunningham Dance Theatre, Les Grandes Ballets Canadiennes, Marin Ballet and at universities around the country. The Joffrey II Company presented a three-season international tour of his ballet, Flights, which was subsequently filmed for cable television.
Among the awards Glinsky has received are grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Smithsonian Institution, the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, Music at La Gesse Foundation, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, the Haydn Foundation, and New York State CAPS (Fellowship). The Astral Foundation awarded him a major career grant, and, later, a consortium commission for his piano concerto. Among the prizes Glinsky has received are two awards at the Alienor International Competition in Washington D.C., and a prize in the Composers Guild Choral Competition. He has been a Ucross Foundation resident artist in Wyoming. His music includes vocal, chamber, solo, and symphonic works and is recorded on the RCA Red Seal, Koch International Classics, Centaur, BMG Catalyst, and Leonore labels, and is published by C.F. Peters, E.C. Schirmer, Hinshaw Press, and American Composers Alliance. Performances and commissions of his works have been presented by such groups as the Cavani, Oregon, and Biava String Quartets, Relache, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, and the Erie Philharmonic, and with conductors Walter Hendl, Eiji Oue, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and Daniel Meyer. Recent works include his Allegheny Quartet, commissioned by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the city of Pittsburgh, and Sun Chanter, commissioned by the Erie Philharmonic in honor of the orchestra’s 100th Anniversary.
Albert Glinsky is the author of Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, published by the University of Illinois Press, with a foreword by Robert Moog. Theremin won the prestigious ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 2001 and received worldwide press acclaim. A gifted lecturer, Glinsky has delivered his multimedia “Termen-ology” presentation (on the life and work of Leon Theremin) across the U.S. and in Europe. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the A&E Network, the Science Channel, various National Public Radio programs, and on Canada’s CBC network and England’s BBC Radio. Recently he was featured on an episode of the PBS show, “History Detectives,” and on CBS Sunday Morning. Currently he is writing the authorized biography of synthesizer pioneer, Bob Moog.
Glinsky has served on the faculty of Montclair State University, was BMI Composer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, and has taught at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Born in New York City, Albert Glinsky studied composition principally with Joan Tower and David Diamond. He holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School, and a Ph.D. from New York University. He is a member of the American Composers Alliance and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).
Linda Kobler, ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR OF MUSIC APPRECIATION (ONLINE), holds bachelors degrees in Piano and Harpsichord from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Master of Music degree in Piano from the Juilliard School. She has studied musicology at the City University of New York, and has served on the faculty of the Juilliard School, and The New School for Social Research. Currently she teaches online for numerous colleges and universities around the country.
Kobler has been concerto soloist with such ensembles as the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Bach Gesellschaft, and New York’s “Y” Chamber Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio’s "Performance Today” and has written liner notes for Sony Classical.
Belle Valley Elementary School
Elementary Music Department Chair, 2000-2010
30 years Millcreek Township School District
5 years Oil City School District
Master Music Ed. - Indiana University of PA, 1988
Bachelor Music Ed. - College Misericordia, 1982
Associate in Music – Mount Aloysius, 1980
Citation of Excellence Award/PMEA, 1996
Walmart/Sam’s Club Teacher of Year in PA, 2003
Member of PMEA and Erie Philharmonic Orchestra Education Committee
Erie Philharmonic Award for volunteering, 1995
Adjunct Faculty Member, Mercyhurst University, 2012-present
Melany Myers is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Music Education in the D'Angelo Department of Music.
Lindsay Riggs is currently an Adjunct Instructor of World Music in the D'Angelo Department of Music.
Amanda Sage is a flutist and private teacher in the Greater Pittsburgh area. She has served as principal flute with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, principal flute and second flute/piccolo with the Undercroft Opera, and has performed with the Edgewood, Westmoreland, and Johnstown Symphonies. She also performs in various solo, chamber, and/or larger ensemble roles in a variety of venues throughout the Pittsburgh area, including the newly formed Bel Suono Ensemble of which she is a founding member. An ardent advocate of early music and historical performance, Amanda also plays the baroque flute. She has performed in masterclasses for baroque flutists Kim Pineda, Janet See, and Barthold Kuijken.
As an educator, she has nearly 10 years of experience in private instruction, in addition to her many years of experience teaching both instrumental and general music (K-12). In addition to her private studio, Amanda also teaches at West Virginia Northern Community College as an adjunct instructor.
Beyond music, Amanda is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She strives to incorporate her knowledge of health and fitness into her teaching, especially stressing the importance of proper body alignment, breath, and injury prevention with her students. Amanda has presented on the topic of performance health at several different events including the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention in Washington D.C., and the National Flute Association annual convention. Amanda received a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Seton Hill University, and a Master of Music degree in flute performance from Duquesne University, located in Pittsburgh PA.
Mezzo Soprano Katherine Soroka is known for her passion for connecting with audiences and conveying a song text. Her singing has been acclaimed as “masterful” and with “heartfelt vocalism” (Post Gazette). Katherine’s appearance with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble was hailed for “finding both lush lines and dramatic intensity… commanding the stage””. (TribLive)
A proponent of contemporary music since her study with Jan DeGaetani, Katherine has performed premiers by composers Judith Shatin and David Stock, and appeared at the Aspen Music Festival and in New York City with the Continuum Ensemble and at The Kitchen, The Julliard School, The Greenwich House, Columbia University and City University of New York.
A winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Auditions, Katherine has sung recitals in New York City at Cami Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and on the Trinity Church and Christ & Saint Stephens Church concert series; in Pittsburgh in Kresge Theatre, PNC Recital Hall and The Church of the Redeemer; on The Silberman Recital Series at Allegheny College and for Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts. With Pittsburgh’s Chatham Baroque, Katherine performed a Frick Museum Music For Exhibitions concert in conjunction with the exhibition “From Michelangelo to Annibale Carraci, A Century of Italian Drawings From the Prado”.
Performances with orchestra include Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Edgewood Symphony, Copland’s Old American Songs with the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra, and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. She has narrated and sung with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Tiny Tots and Schooltime educational concerts under the batons of Lawrence Loh and Daniel Meyer.
Operatic roles in 2017-18 include Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera and Klytaemnestra in Elektra with the Chatham University Opera in Pittsburgh. Katherine has appeared as the Witch in Into the Woods with the Barrow Civic Theatre, Vera in Pal Joey with the Colonial Theatre, and Jenny in Company with the Pittsburgh Playhouse. She has performed cabaret in NYC at Don’t Tell Mama and Panache.
Katherine also has worked professionally “backstage” in the senior management of the New York Philharmonic; as Executive Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival and Children’s Festival Chorus; and on the faculty and administration of Manhattan School of Music, where she founded MUSIC IN ACTION: A Community and Educational ArtReach Program and founded and directed the Program in Orchestral Performance. She has conducted workshops on outreach performance techniques at national conferences and has authored articles published in OPERA America publications. Katherine serves on Mercyhurst’s adjunct voice faculty and teaches voice privately in Pittsburgh and Foxburg. Katherine is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University.
Kent Tucker is an adjunct faculty member at Mercyhurst University, serving as the trombone instructor, overseeing the Recital Attendance Requirement, and teaching the core course, Music in Society.
Kent performs frequently throughout the tri-state region as a professional trombonist. He has performed with the Erie Philharmonic, the Erie Chamber Orchestra, the Erie Ballet Orchestra, the Bemus Bay Pops Orchestra, Presque Isle Brass, 7th and Sass Brass, and numerous other ensembles.
As a jazz player, he has performed with the Misery Bay Big Band, the Dave Stevens Big Band, the Dixie Doodlers, the Parade Street Dixieland Jazz Band, Sack of Bones, and many others.
Kent has performed with the Four Freshmen, Bobby Vinton, and the Temptations. He is a member of the award-winning Erie funk band, The Groove.
Kent founded and directs the band program at Villa Maria Elementary School in Erie. In addition, he has an active private lessons studio from which his low brass students have earned many regional and state honors.
Christopher J. Von Volkenburg is currently an adjunct professor of Music Education at Mercyhurst University. Mr. Von Volkenburg is a proud graduate of Mercyhurst earning his Bachelor of Music in 2009, summa cum laude. He also holds a Master of Science in Education from Wilkes University. While at Mercyhurst, he studied String Bass and played in many ensembles including Jazz Band and Orchestra. He was also selected to conduct Mercyhurst’s production of “Sweet Charity.”
Mr. Von Volkenburg is currently teaching music in the Millcreek Township School District at Asbury Elementary School. In 2014, he was honored with the “Golden Apple Award” for his commitment to students in the music classroom. Mr. Von Volkenburg was also an instructor for the McDowell Marching Band.
In addition to teaching, Mr. Von Volkenburg is an active performer in the community. He is a member of the Misery Bay Big Band and the Presque Isle Jazz Orchestra. He also performs at various venues in the Erie area playing acoustic guitar with the band Delaware Gap, a finalist for the 2016 Rock Erie Music Awards. He is an active mentor for the Erie Jr. Philharmonic, working with students in the string section. He hopes to share his passion for teaching with future music educators.
Allen Zurcher has a wide and varied musical experience in his more than thirty-five years as a professional musician, composer, arranger and educator; including holding teaching positions in saxophone and jazz studies at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA, where he was the program director for the Bill Evans jazz festival. Dr. Zurcher has been a saxophonist with the Erie Philharmonic and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra as well as Music Dir. and bandleader for Premier and Princess Cruise Lines. He has performed with notable musicians and entertainers such as The Manhattan Transfer, Bryan Lynch, Conrad Herwig, Clark Terry, Don Menza, Vic Damone, and Diane Carroll. Allen can be heard on recordings Waiting in the Alley (2001) with Andy Nevala, For the Last Time (2001) with the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab I, and Armed and Dangerous (2008) with One World Tribe. In addition he maintains an active career as a performer and clinician in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York tri-state area Dr. Zurcher currently teaches jazz studies at Mercyhurst University and music appreciation at Gannon University.