RSMC 2017 Counselors
Robert Leong (Locust Grove), Counselor
Robert Leong is a multi-instrumentalist (with a focus in Violin) from Locust Grove, Virginia. Music has been a part of his life for about 8 years and has studied under Bill Wassum, Daniel Crook, John-Rine Zabanal, Diego Gabete, Phillip Ducreay, and Robert Schiavinato. He has participated in many ensembles throughout the area. These include the Spotsylvania All-County Orchestra, the NCV Regional Orchestra, The Virginia Medical Music Ensemble, The Mid-Atlantic Invitational, The Rappahannock Youth Symphony, and the Rappahannock POPs Orchestra. Throughout the years, he has been under the baton of Dennis Layendecker, Terry Austin, Victor Wahby, Jan Wagner, Rebecca Jilcott, Robert McCashin, Armenio Suzanno, Russel Robinson, and, currently, Dr. Mitchell Arnold.
Robert is currently a Sophomore at West Virginia University. There, he is majoring in Violin Performance under Dr. Mikylah McTeer and minoring in Viola Performance under Professor Andrea Houde. He participates in various chamber ensembles, the Morgantown Community Orchestra, and the West Virginia University Symphony Orchestra.
Tony Moran (Spotsylvania), Counselor
Connor Skelly (Glen Allen), Counselor
Connor is currently a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, who has been playing violin since age 10. His principal teachers were Robyn Bauer and Tim Judd. He was a longtime member of the Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians youth orchestra and joined the Rappahannock POPS Orchestra four years ago. He has participated multiple times in Junior Regional Orchestra and Senior Regional Orchestra, and in 2014 was concertmaster of SRO. He has previously been a member of the All Virginia Orchestra, and placed third in the Fredericksburg Festival of the Performing Arts Young Artist Competition.
Becky Talmadge (Spotsylvania), Counselor
Becky Talmadge is currently entering her sophomore year at Mississippi State University. She's been playing alto saxophone for 8 years, and plays in the marching band at MSU. She made the All-Spotsylvania County high school band three years in a row and made the All-District band for two years. She loves to write and read books. Along with band, she was in Massaponax's production of Les Miserablés and Young Frankenstein. She was in the orchestra for Spotsylvania High School's production of Spamalot last year. Becky has been to RSMC seven consecutive years, and is very excited to be a CIT for the second time.
Matthew Zisi (Fredericksburg), Counselor
Matthew Zisi, resident of Fredericksburg, VA, has been playing piano for 15 years. In 2012, he won the Mary Smart Scholarship Competition, a state competition sponsored by the Virginia Federation of Music Clubs (VFMC). Matthew also competed for four years in the Rappahannock Music Society (RMS) competition (2011-14), winning first place twice and second place the other two times for his division. Currently, he attends the University of Oklahoma, where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Piano Performance) as well as a Bachelor’s in Political Science. At college, he studies under Dr. Stephen Beus and has also been privileged to work with Dr. Jane Magrath and Dr. Jonathan Shames. He has won multiple piano scholarships while at college. For most of his first 14 years, he studied under Jeanine Zisi. Matthew plays piano at Bethel Reformed Presbyterian Church in Fredericksburg; when at school, he plays at Northgate Baptist Church in Norman, OK. Piano has always been his favorite instrument, evidenced by the fact that his top two favorite composers are Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt.
Matthew has other musical interests as well. An avid composer, he has written seven sonatas, eight ballades, and numerous other piano pieces. He has also written two orchestral pieces, a symphony (four movements) and a clarinet concerto (three movements). In 2014, he finished second in the VFMC Junior Composers Contest. Matthew also plays viola, having studied in Fredericksburg under Ron Barricklow. He is a member of the University of Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Dr. Jonathan Shames) and has previously been a member of the Rappahannock Youth Symphony (2008-11), the Forte Jr. Symphony Orchestra (2009-12), Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians (2010-14), and the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra (2012-14). His first two years in RYS, he was named Most Dedicated after never missing a rehearsal. He was able to represent FAYM in the North Central Virginia Regional Orchestra all four years of his tenure, and in 2014, he represented them in the All-Virginia Orchestra. In Fredericksburg, he has worked with several great conductors, including Amy Shirk, Elizabeth Piller, Brandon Bangle, and Kirk Wilke.
When not playing an instrument, Matthew has many other interests. He is an avid sports fan, even though he never played any. In 2010, he competed in the National Spelling Bee. He enjoys writing children’s mysteries and has ten books available on Amazon.com, including the Anderson Family Mystery Series. Other passions of his include reading, railroads, and sports cards. Having attended RSMC the past two years, he is thrilled to be a counselor this year and looks forward to working with so many talented musicians once again!