Jessica Mitchell has been playing and studying the cello from a young age. She previously attended the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University, where she studied with Jeffrey Solow and was a member of the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, as well as several smaller orchestras and chamber ensembles. While at Temple, she received chamber music coaching from David Kim and Sidney Curtis of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Jessica is a graduate of Moravian College with a bachelor degree of music in education. While at Moravian, she won the student concerto competition in 2010 and was a member of the piano trio, baroque ensemble, and section leader of the Moravian College Community Orchestra. In 2011, she created the Strike A Chord Community Orchestra, a summer group in Walnutport, PA, that gives adult students and students with no orchestra programs in their schools the opportunity to play in an ensemble. Currently, Jessica is the orchestra director at Lebanon Middle/High School and cellist with the Lancaster-based quartet, Vivace Strings. She teaches cello privately at the Community Music Institute at Lebanon Valley College in Annville PA and Strike a Chord Music in Walnutport PA. As a private instructor for many years, her specialty is catering each lesson to the individual student. Jessica is in the process of obtaining her M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from Messiah College and is the 2014 recipient of the PADESTA "Outstanding New String Teacher" award.
Guitarist Joseph D. Mixon, longtime adjunct assistant professor of music at Lebanon Valley College is the 2008 recipient of the College’s highest honor for its adjunct faculty-the Nevelyn J. Knisley Award for Inspirational teaching. Mixon has performed internationally as an artist and clinician doing teacher trainings and musical missions in India, Nepal, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. He has studied guitar with Dennis Sandoli, Vic Juris, Tony Ventura, Frank DiBussolo and Joseph Mays, among others and is the founder of The Big Wahu Caribbean Band. He is also the artist and teacher for TRUEFIRE.COM, an online guitar study site. Joe is also the founder and current director of RPM productions Inc. In addition to his commitments to Lebanon Valley College, Mixon is the guitarist in residence at the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Arts in Bethlehem and the house guitarist at The Sands Casino in Bethlehem. A graduate of Moravian College, Mixon went on to earn a Master’s in Music from Combs College of Music.
Philip Morgan, professor emeritus of music at Lebanon Valley College, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Pittsburg (Kan.) State University and has since studied and performed in Paris, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Frankfurt, and New York. His professional activities include performance with the Chautauqua Opera Association, Jeunesses Musicales de France, Central City Opera Company, and the Kansas City Lyric Theatre.
He also has conducted numerous seminars in the United States on the care and use of the singing and speaking voice. Morgan appears frequently in solo recitals, oratorios, operas, musical theater, and chamber music programs. He served for 14 years, as vocal coach to the Hersheypark summer productions. Phil Morgan is a judge at the Lancaster Opera Workshop Advanced Vocal competition.
Robert A. Nowak is a member of the music faculty at Lebanon Valley College. In addition to teaching Introduction to music classes, percussion, and percussion methods, Nowak directs the mallet and percussion ensembles at LVC, and serves as the percussion consultant for the Pottsville Area and Tamaqua Are high schools. He is principal-percussionist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Reading Symphony Orchestra. As a busy freelance percussionist, he performs at the F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre; the Scranton Cultural Center, Scranton; the Sovereign Center for the Performing Arts, Giant Center, and Hersheypark, Hershey. He is a graduate of Mansfield State College and the University of Miami.
Nowak has performed with Al Martino, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Regis Philbin, Olivia Newton John, and the National Tours of,
, among others. Despite his very busy schedule, Nowak gives private lesions in his self-designed studio in Shenandoah, Pa., and manufactures mahogany log drums, triangle holders, and goose neck cymbal holders used by major symphony orchestras and music schools around the world. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and the Educational Team of Vic Firth, Inc.
Kim Potocny is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College where
she earned a bachelor of music degree in sacred music with a concentration in
organ performance. She attended The
Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where she completed all of
the credits for graduate degree in musicology/music history.
Her principal instructors have been Robert Grogin, Dr.
Pierce Getz, and Ruth Killian, organ, Dr. Dennis Sweigert, Merl Freeland, and
Esther Fortna, piano, and Victoria Rose and Jeffrey Riehl, voice.
After forty years of service as a church organist and
musician, Potocny retired from church work in June 2014. For the past 24 years, she had held the
position of organist, adult choir, and solo accompanist at the Annville United
Methodist Church. In 2000 she became the
director of The Bells of Glory Handbell choir and in 2005, she became the
director of the adult choir.
In addition to her semesters of private organ and piano
lessons, as well as handbell training, Potocny had several semesters of choral
training and studied voice privately while in college. She was a member of the 60-voice Lebanon
Valley College touring concert choir.
With the choir, she performed in numerous states and, on one occasion,
with the Harrisburg Symphony. She was
also selected to sing in an 18-voice chamber choir for touring and special
performances. She has been a member of
the Lebanon County Choral Society since 1996 and has sung for many years in the
massed choir directed by numerous contemporary composers of church anthems at
the Tabernacle in Mt. Gretna. She has
expanded her opportunity to sing challenging music by becoming an auditioned
member of the Hershey Symphony Festival Chorus where, as a member, she recently
performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Hershey Symphony at the Hershey
Presently, Potocny is serving as a substitute organist
and accompanist. She provides special
music as a pianist, vocalist, and as a handbell soloist. She has had many years of experience as a
handbell performer and has been a member of the massed handbell choir
performances at the Tabernacle in Mt. Gretna.
Louise Pouss, Kindermusik and Piano
Louise Pouss, a fully-licensed Kindermusik teacher, received a bachelor of science degree in music education from Gettysburg College. She completed 20 credits in graduate music workshops through Peabody Conservatory of Music.
Before starting a family, she taught classroom and vocal music for several years in Connecticut and in the Harrisburg area. Currently, Pouss teaches piano and is an active member of Salem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, where she sings in the adult choir and leads bell choir. She also directs the junior choir, a position she has held since 1983.
Dina Slechta, Suzuki and Taditional Cello
Dina Slechta is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College with a bachelor of science degree in biology and a minor in music. Other musical studies include the Suzuki Cello Teacher Training program through the Ithaca Suzuki Institute and the American Suzuki Institute at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has taught traditional cello methods since 1983.
Slechta performs with the Reading Pops Orchestra. In recent years, she has enjoyed the wonderful opportunities to perform along with her sons and husband in the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra and in their own family ensemble. She played with the Pottstown Symphony for 19 years.
Additionally she has performed with the Music In The Schools program, LVC Alumni Chorale¹s Chamber Orchestra, Berks Chamber Orchestra, Dave Stahl Sacred Orchestra, and various other ensembles in Southeast and Central Pennsylvania.
Scott Ramirez, Brass
Mr. Ramirez received his BS in music education from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. As a music educator in New York, Mr. Ramirez earned his Masters in Education from the City University of New York/Aaron Copland School of Music and was granted New York State Teacher permanent Certification. Mr. Ramirez was also a Fellow at the University of Illinois from 1993-1997. Mr. Ramirez is presently a member of the Adjunct Music Faculty at Lebanon Valley College and is a member of the Music Ministry at Derry presbyterian Church. Mr. Ramirez has over 33 years experience as a music educator.
Susan Szydlowski, Kindermusik
Susan Szydlowski received a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Colby College and attended Temple University for graduate studies. While in Philadelphia, she became involved with the Madrigal Singers in the Temple University School of Music and continued to participate in choral singing in the Philadelphia area. While spending two years in Virginia with her husband, she sang with the Norfolk Oratorio Society in collaboration with the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra. She is a member of the Lebanon County Choral Society and continues to study voice privately.
A native of New York City, Szydlowski taught music for five years at Jack and Jill Kindergarten and coordinated joint performances with the residents at Oakview Nursing Home. In addition to her involvement with Kindermusik, she has served on the board of directors of Penn Laurel Girl Scout Council. She is currently on the governing board of the Lebanon County Choral Society and the Board of Lebanon Family Health Services. Szydlowski is a fully-licensed Kindermusik educator and has just retired as the director of the Community Music Institute.
Sarah Topping '13, Strings and Woodwinds
Sarah Topping earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Music
Education and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sacred Music from Lebanon Valley
College in 2013. During her time at LVC,
Sarah served as cello section leader for the Symphony Orchestra and was a
member of the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and
String Quartet; she studied organ and piano under Dr. Shelly Moorman-Stahlman,
cello under Dr. Marie-Aline Cadieux, and voice under Dr. Rebecca Lister. Sarah currently teaches elementary band in
the Susquehanna Township School District, is a member of the Hershey Symphony
Orchestra, and enjoys singing with the Lebanon Mannerchor Chorus. Along with her husband, Matthew Topping, she
frequently plays wedding ceremonies, accompanies various choirs on piano, and
serves as a substitute organist.
Ibrook Tower, Clarinet and Saxophone
Known internationally as an arranger, conductor, composer, clarinetist, and educator, Ibrook Tower’s diverse background ranges from nightclubs to symphony orchestras. His professional performing career began at age 12 and since then, Tower has held positions in more than 20 orchestras and numerous chamber groups. He has appeared as a guest artist with the Altoona Symphony, New York Woodwind Quintet, Nittany Valley Symphony, American Youth Philharmonic, Peabody Wind Ensemble, and the United States Navy Band.
Tower earned bachelor’s degrees in clarinet and music education at the Peabody Conservatory. A Settlement Music School teaching fellow at Temple University, he completed a master’s degree in clarinet performance. Tower’s principal clarinet teachers were Ronald Baltazar, Harold Wright, Sidney Forrest, Franklin Cohen, Ronald de Kant, and Anthony Gigliotti. He studied saxophone under Baltazar and Rick VanMatre. Tower holds a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under maestro Eugene Migliaro Corporon, and also a conducting diploma from the University of Calgary in Canada. Tower was associate conductor of the Cincinnati Wind Symphony at the start of their celebrated recording series.
Tower has taught students at levels ranging from elementary through college. He directed college bands for 26 years, serving two terms as Pennsylvania chair of the College Band Directors National Association. Juniata College’s students and faculty honored him with the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. He coauthored three volumes of Teaching Music Through Performance in Band.
Karen Umberger, Piano and Kindermusik
Karen Umberger is the director and founder of “Kindermusik with Karen.” A licensed Kindermusik educator, Umberger holds a bachelor of music degree in sacred music from Lebanon Valley College and has over 20 years of piano, organ, bell choir, and vocal training. She is a professional church musician, currently serving at St. Luke’s UCC in Lititz, where she is responsible for the graded choir program, handbell choir and organ service music. She also accompanies the Lebanon County Choral Society. Umberger has taught piano since 1980 and now teaches at the Lititz Academy of Music.
Cherie Van Zant, Kindermusik, Flute
Cherie Van Zant is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sound recording technology and music composition/theory. Cherie then went on to receive her teacher’s certification in music education, and a master’s degree in music education from Duquesne University. Currently, Cherie is the Graduate and Community Programs Administrator for the Department of Music at Lebanon Valley College. She has worked in the entertainment industry and freelances as a production manager. Cherie has taught flute privately in her own studio and with CMI, and has been a handbell director for a local United Methodist Church.
Sarah Wagner, Violin,
Sarah Wagner is a 2012
graduate of Lebanon Valley College where she earned a Bachelor of Science in
Chemistry degree with a Minor in Music. She began studying piano and
violin in elementary school. While at LVC, she studied violin under Dr.
Johannes Dietrich and organ under Dr. Shelly Moorman Stahlman. She
participated in several LVC music ensembles including the LVC Symphony
Orchestra, where she was concertmistress, Chamber Orchestra, String Quartet,
Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir. One of the highlights of her musical
career at LVC was performing with the Concert Choir on tour in Norway and
Denmark. Sarah is also an active community musician. She frequently
plays piano, violin, and organ for weddings, church events and services, and
Tim Wolfe, Bass
Bassist Tim Wolfe, Jr. keeps a busy schedule as both a performer and educator. Having played all along the eastern seaboard, as well as internationally, Tim performs mostly in the greater Philadelphia area and Central Pennsylvania, performing almost 100 dates a year. In 2008 Tim earned his master's degree in jazz studies from the University of the Arts, setting him on the path to teach. He is an adjunct professor of music at Lebanon Valley College, where he teaches double bass, bass guitar, jazz improvisation and directs small-group jazz combos. Working with students of all ages,Tim also teaches workshops, clinics, and master classes at high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools in Pennsylvania and Maryland, as well as keeping a private teaching studio out of his Bucks County home.