Hope to see you in 2015 - Our 11th Season!

Staff Bios

2014 RSMC Faculty and Professional Staff

Amy Shirk, Director (Spotsylvania)

B.S. Music Education from Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, piano and saxophone. Before moving to Virginia, Amy taught piano and organ at the Mohawk Valley School of Music in Utica, NY. With 20 years teaching experience, she now runs a very active private studio in Spotsylvania, teaching piano, organ, and saxophone. Amy was the Instrumental Music Director for eight years at Holy Cross Academy, Stafford, where she directed the band, strings, piano, and recorder programs. She currently directs FAYM - Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians - band, orchestra, and music classes for homeschooled students in the greater Fredericksburg area.

As an accompanist, Amy has accompanied numerous All-County, District, and All-State choral festivals and competitions in Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia. As a pianist and saxophonist, Amy has performed with the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra, Fredericksburg Jazz Ensemble, the Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony, the Spotswood Community Orchestra, and played saxophone and keyboards for Alias, a local dance and wedding horn band.

Amy has served as Organist and Choir Director at numerous churches throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia since age 14. Some of the positions include the Mountaintop Presbyterian Church in Mountaintop, PA, Griffis Air Force Base in Rome, NY, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Utica, NY. She currently serves as Organist at the Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church.

At the Encore Music Camp of PA, Amy taught piano classes and accompanied several choirs, soloists, and theater groups. She has served as an adjudicator for piano festivals and competitions in both New York state and Virginia. Amy performs regularly as both a soloist and accompanist in the Fredericksburg area. Professional affiliations include VFMC, MTNA, NAfME, and the Rappahannock Music Society. Amy is also the author of several early level methods for rhythm and music literacy.

Christian Aldridge (Fredericksburg), Violin

Violinist Christian Aldridge began his violin studies as a Suzuki student of William Wassum in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia. As an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina, he studied with with Dr. William Terwilliger, was a member of the Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, and regularly appeared with the South Carolina Philharmonic. Currently in Louisiana, he has served as concertmaster of the Louisiana State University Philharmonia and Opera orchestras, is a member of the Louisiana Sinfonietta, and regularly appears with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony, Lake Charles Symphony, New Orleans Opera, and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Christian has been selected to perform in solo masterclasses with renowned violinists Anne Akiko Meyers, David Kim, Vadim Gluzman, and Kimberly Fisher, among others. He has also performed in chamber music masterclass for Lawrence Dutton of the Emerson String Quartet, Andrew Bulbrook of the Calder Quartet, and Norman Paulu of the Pro Arte Quartet.

In 2012, Christian attended Green Mountain Chamber music festival, where he studied with Chin Kim, Professor of Violin at the Mannes School of Music. The following summer he studied with renowned pedagogue David Russell as part of the selective Mountaintop Mastercourse. Mr. Russell was formerly the concertmaster of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Christian will return to Mountaintop later this summer.

Christian made his professional recital debut in June, 2013 on the Pan-Harmonia chamber music series in Asheville, North Carolina with cellist Elizabeth Gergel. The duo concert was described by the Classical Voice of North Carolina as being, “performed with a high degree of poise and musicality.”

Graduating in 2013 from the University of South Carolina, Christian earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, Summa Cum Laude with Honors from the South Carolina Honors College. Currently, he is a Masters student at Louisiana State University where he studies with Dr. Lin He and serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Christian performs on an 1886 violin by Charles Jean Baptiste Collin-Mezin made in Paris.

Veronica Allison (Stafford), Theory, Composition

Veronica Allison has been teaching piano and composition as well as serving as accompanist for school choirs and special events in the area for the last 24 years. A graduate of both Westminster Choir College (Bachelor of Music in Music Education) and George Mason University (Master of Music in Performance, Choral Conducting) she has used her education to develop a 3 year old through High School graded music program that includes vocal and bell choirs as well as drama at New Life in Christ Church in Fredericksburg. As the Assistant Music Director, she serves as the accompanist and warmup conductor for the Adult Choir as well as Music Director for the church's musical performances. Currently she is teaching a theory class to high school students and adults. She has composed music for her congregation and choral groups and is looking to continue her composing and her education in the future.

Erika Batalla (Fredericksburg), Clarinet

Erika Batalla has a degree in Music Education and Clarinet Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory. She studied clarinet with Professor Garrick Zoeter, percussion with Professor Earl Yowell, and conducting with Dr. Emily Threinen and Dr. Damon Talley.

Throughout her years at Shenandoah Conservatory she has performed in Masterclasses with 8th Black Bird, The United States Air Force Clarinet Quartet, Jean Francois Bescond, and Senior Chief Musician James Logan from the United States Navy Band. She is a member of the Con Fuoco clarinet quartet, which won the Virginia MTNA Chamber Music Competition in 2010 and 1st Alternate in the Southern Divisional MTNA Chamber Music Competition in 2011. The Con Fuoco clarinet quartet performed in the Virginia’s Music Education Association Convention in Norfolk, VA in 2011.

Currently Erika Batalla teaches at Fredericksburg Academy as the Band Director for both Middle and Upper School. She also teaches clarinet privately and plays regularly in wind and chamber ensembles. Her goal as an educator is to provide her students with all the necessary tools and knowledge in music, to perform diverse repertoire, and to leave with a strong foundation and understanding of music through performance.

Damien Bollino (Fredericksburg), French Horn, Music Theory, Ear Training

Damien earmed a Bachelor of Music in performance at West Virginia University, where he received a full tuition scholarship and studied with Dr. Virginia Thompson. He also studied with William (Bill) Caballero at Duquesne University. There he earned a Master of Music in performance/pedagogy and was awarded a John Hunter endowment and assistantship. He taught two years of musianship/theory at Duquesne and is an active clinician and adjudicator. He participated in the Duquesne Wind Symphony -- including a performance at Carnegie Hall -- as well as the Symphony Orchestra, Contemporary Ensemble and Chamber Ensemble. At WVU he performed with the Horn Choir, the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Winds Ensemble and Jazz Band.

Mr. Bollino also played with the International Horn Society Collegiate Horn Choir, Potomac Concert Band, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, Seneca Chamber Winds and Arion Band. He has performed with the Mary Washington Orchestra, the Spotswood Community Orchestra. He participated in  the Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra and the Fairfax Symphony. On various occasions he has taken part in performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Mr. Bollino is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony, St. George's Chamber Ensemble, Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra and the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra. He is principal horn with the Washington Sinfonietta and performs regularly with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Bollino auditioned with performers from around the nation and was selected to play principal horn with the American Musical Ambassadors European Concert Tour. During six weeks with the tour, he took part in concerts in London, Paris, Milan, Venice, Belgium and other parts of Europe.

"A favorite quote to sum up my philosophy," says Mr. Bollino, is: 'In a moment of crisis, you will not rise to the challenge. Rather, you will default to your level of preparation.' I'm not sure who said it, but I love it." As a teacher, he adds: "I focus on simplicity and drill the fundamentals, because if you learn to master the instrument and everything it can do, making music with it is easy!"

Austin Boyer (Spotsylvania), Trumpet

Trumpeter Austin Boyer performs with orchestras, jazz bands, and brass ensembles in the mid-Atlantic US and beyond. Principal Trumpet with the Peabody Concert Orchestra, member of the Peabody Jazz Orchestra, and founding member of the Eastern Edge Brass Quintet, Austin performs many different genres of music at any given time. Always looking to provide an authentic musical experience for his audience, he studies classical and jazz trumpet while at Peabody. To ensure the continuation of music in our culture and schools, he also studies Music Education. ​

He has performed on all three stages in the Kennedy Center; once along side the members of the National Symphony Orchestra Brass in a performance of Aaron Copland's Fanfare to the Common Man. Austin has also had the privilege of performing in masterclasses for: The Canadian Brass, Joe Burgstaller, Vince DiMartino, Ken Larson, Rodney Mack, Roy Poper, Allen Vizzutti, and Wynton Marsalis.

As a member of Eastern Edge Brass, he performs interactive and educational concerts to ensure that the audience is as engaged as possible. The group often programs pieces arranged by Austin created specifically for Eastern Edge. They have attended the Brass Chamber Music Seminar held at the prestigious Curtis Institute where they recently placed Second in competition and held the position of Quintet in Residence.​

In the summmer of 2013 Austin enjoyed being a counselor and member of the Faculty Brass Quintet at the Luzerne Music Festival in Lake Luzerne, NY. He is also a brass intern with the Peabody Youth Orchestra where he coaches a brass quintet and runs sectionals.

When Austin isn't performing, teaching, or arranging, he enjoys spending time with his family, designing, and photography.

Gary Carper (Spotsylvania), Tuba, Euphonium, Tenor and Bass Trombone

In a professional music career spanning more than 38 years, Gary has performed in 39 states and Europe. While majoring in Music Education for three years at Shenandoah Conservatory, he studied Tuba with Fred J. Marzan. After transferring to The University of North Texas, he was the first Tuba player in history to be awarded a Bachelor of Music/Performance Degree in Jazz Studies, where he studied Tuba with Don Little and Dr. Dave Kuehn and Jazz Improvisation with Rich Matteson and Dan Haerle.

Career highlights include being a founding member of The Dallas Brass (6 years), an artist in residence at Southern Methodist University and a clinician for Yamaha Band Instrument Corporation. Gary has been a finalist in national and international Jazz Improvisation competitions and an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University. Other featured ensembles include Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians, The Dallas Cowboy’s Band (6 seasons), The Collection Jazz Orchestra and The Swing of Things Big Band directed by Don ‘Jake’ Jacoby.

Gary has appeared with and/or the opening act for Bob Hope, Spyro Gyra, Cleo Laine, Loretta Lynn, Dr. John, Bill Monroe, Judy Collins, James Moody, Charlie Pride, Steve Allen, Lou Marini, The Light Crust Doughboys and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band to name a few.

Current performance ensembles include The Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, The Aaron Noe Jazz Band, The Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony, The Rappahannock Pops Orchestra, The Alte Kumpel Polka Band, The Fredericksburg Big Band, The Sheiks of Dixie and The Gangplank Ragtime Band; plus numerous other ensembles from Washington D.C. to Baltimore and Richmond, Virginia. Gary has been a faculty member of The Rappahannock Summer Music Camp since 2007 and is currently the Adjunct Instructor of Low Brass at The University of Mary Washington where he performs with The UMW Faculty Brass Quintet and The UMW Faculty Jazz Sextet while also teaching Low Brass at his home studio in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Scott Cuellar (Minnesota), Piano, Music Theory, Accompanist

In reviewing pianist Scott Cuellar’s debut recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, David LaMarche of the New York Concert Review described Mr. Cuellar’s performance as “virtuosic in scope and expression, like a great man of the theater,” and praised his “ability to illuminate both the external structure and the emotional core of the work he plays.” He has been described by Cleveland Classical as possessing “nerves of steel, a formidable technique, and an architect’s understanding of structure,” and the Lima News lauded his “poignant sensitivity to the expressive demands of the music that far surpasses his years.” Mr. Cuellar was the 1st place winner of the 2013 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition (solo division), where he also took 2nd place in the concerto division, and was the winner of the Krenek Prize for the best performance of a sonata by Ernst Krenek. He was the winner of the Oberlin Concerto Competition, and was a prizewinner in the Jefferson Symphony International Young Artists Competition, the Crescendo Music Awards, and many others. He has appeared as a soloist with several orchestras, including the Oberlin Orchestra, the Lima Symphony Orchestra, the Waring Festival Orchestra, both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Civic Symphonies, and several others. He has been heard in venues nationwide including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Newport Music Festival, Minneapolis’s Orchestra Hall, as a guest recitalist at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and at the Greene Space of WQXR New York.

Mr. Cuellar has attended the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, and was one of ten pianists invited to study under Jerome Lowenthal at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. He has performed in masterclasses wth some of the world’s foremost pianists and pedagogues, including Stephen Hough, Angela Hewitt, Jeffrey Kahane, Robert McDonald, Nelita True, and many others. Mr. Cuellar hold a Master of Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Julian Martin, and holds a Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Alvin Chow. During his time at Oberlin, he won three of the largest prizes offered to pianists: the Oberlin Concerto Competition, the Arthur Dann Competition, and the John Elvin Prize for Juniors. Mr. Cuellar is now a doctoral student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where he studies with Jon Kimura Parker.

Brittany Frompovich (Fredericksburg), Double Bass

Brittany Frompovich is a well-respected bassist, multi-instrumentalist (guitar, drums, percussion, cello, electric and double bass), vocalist, songwriter, community builder, clinician, writer, and music educator who has performed regularly in the Mid-Atlantic region for 20 years. 

She is actively exploring cutting edge bass concepts, such as solo bass performance and looping.  Her journey in the exploration of such concepts has literally taken her coast to coast to perform and give clinics.  In the past two years alone, she has performed or given clinics at the Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, Bass BreakLive, NAMM, Bass Up!, the LoDo Bass Bash, Gerald Veasley's Bass Boot Camp, Adam Nitti's Music Dojo, the RVA "Girls Rock!" Camp, the Bass Coalition's Summer Bass Workshop at Shenandoah University, the Alpha Music Bass Forum, the Virginia Bass Forum, house concerts, festivals, and many other events

As a free lance bassist, she performs in a wide range of settings; pit work for theater and choral productions, double bass in classical ensembles, electric and double bass in jazz ensembles, Celtic groups (traditional and fusion), funk, rock, and acoustic groups.  Her free lance work regularly sees her traveling all over Mid-Altantic region; Richmond, DC, Central Virginia, Virginia Beach, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia.  She continues her own ongoing growth by taking lessons with bassist Anthony Wellington (bassist for the Victor Wooten band).  

Ms. Frompovich graduated Cum Laude from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in applied double-bass and audio recording.  During a necessary break from playing double bass due to an injury, she discovered and fell in love with the electric bass.  It was the perfect medium to reconcile her backgrounds as a working guitarist and as a classically trained double bassist.  She rapidly moved from fretted four string to playing fretless (successfully defretting the instrument herself) and then to fretted 6 string bass.  After a period of healing, she was gradually able to return to performing on the double bass as well.

Brittany has a gift for community building.  She combined that talent with her love for bass, leading her to create the Virginia Bass Forum.  The Forum is an organization that hosts events to build bass community and assist bass players in the NoVa/DC/MD areas in improving their craft. Through the Forum, she has had the privilege of hosting major artists such as Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani band, solo artist), Bryan Beller (Dethklok, Steve Vai band, solo artist), Adam Nitti (solo artist), Michael Dimin (solo artist, author), Kevin Walker (Kayne West, Wilson Picket band), Steve Lawson (solo artist), Trip Wamsley (solo artist), and Dr. Donovan Stokes (solo artist, bass instructor at Shenandoah University Conservatory).  She hosts, promotes and organizes every Forum event and teaches at least two Bass Forum clinics per year. Ms. Frompovich is also the founder of "Kids Jamming For Kids," a yearly benefit concert raising donations for Guitars Not Guns and the Fredericksburg Food Bank.

Jim George (Chesapeake), Orchestra, Viola

Jim George began playing the viola at the age of thirteen in Lynchburg, VA. While qualifying for the Regional Orchestra every year he was eligible, he served as principal violist for his high school, the Lynchburg City Combined School Orchestra, and was asked to perform with the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra his junior and senior year. He furthered his studies on viola and ensemble playing at James Madison University where he held the principal viola position in JMU's Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Opera/Theatre Orchestra. He has also performed with the Roanoke Symphony, the Oratorio Society of Virginia, the University and Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, and played principal for the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra while also having extensive chamber group performing experience both as a recording artist and live.

As a conductor, Mr. George was the Orchestra Director for Fredericksburg City Schools for six years where he built the program up to earning a "Superior" rating at District Assessment for both schools. He also created several classes, including a Chamber Ensembles Class and a Beginning Orchestra Class, while also re-writing the Division String Curriculum. Under his baton, he was the music director for the James Monroe High School productions of Into the WoodsOnce Upon a MattressGuys and Dolls, and Sweeney Todd. He has also guest directed several ensembles around the state including recently directing the Hanover All-County High School Strings Orchestra.

Recently Mr. George earned his Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from James Madison University under the tutelage of Dr. Robert D. McCashin, the Director of Orchestras at JMU. At the university, Mr. George conducted the James Madison University Chamber Orchestra and the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra while also assisting with teaching the Instrumental Conducting class and co-coaching the Camerata Strings, a director-less string chamber ensemble. Mr. George also took Choral Conducting Lessons at JMU from Dr. Jo-Anne Van der Vat-Chromy, Director of Choral Activities. For the past twenty years, Mr. George has also worked at JMU’s Spring String Thing, a string music camp, as counselor, clinician, and Head Boys Dorm Counselor.

Currently, Mr. George is the Director of Orchestras at Great Bridge High School and Fifth Grade Strings Teacher at Great Bridge Intermediate School in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he also resides. At the high school level, he directs three different orchestras and just recently was the music director for the school’s production of The Sound of Music.

Meredith Jackson (Fredericksburg), Percussion, Juniors

Meredith Jackson is a percussionist; having played the drums and an assortment of other percussion instruments for nine years. She graduated from Hollins University in the Spring 2014, majoring in music performance. She is currently a member of the World Music Ensemble learning to play the steel pan and african marimba. While attending Fredericksburg Academy, having graduated in 2010, she was a part of the Concert Band, Jazz Band, Rock Band, and for two years worked as a teaching assistant for the after school 5th Grade Band program.

Veronica Jackson (Fredericksburg), Orchestra

After graduating from W. G. Enloe High School (Raleigh, North Carolina) in 1985, Ms. Jackson studied violin at the University of Miami (Coral Gables) with Dr. Marla Meutschler (Paul Rolland protégé) and Dr. Earl Sanders at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). After graduating summa cum laude from NCCU, she began teaching orchestra in Wake County Schools on the elementary, middle and high schools in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Jackson has recently accepted the position of Orchestra Director at Francis Hammond Middle School in Alexandria City Public Schools. Ms. Jackson moved to Richmond in 1994 and began teaching in Henrico County, where she worked for 17 years at several schools including Byrd Middle School, Godwin High School. Freeman High School, and Tucker High School. In Henrico County, she coordinated the Strings Discovery Program designed to introduce stringed instruments to rising 6th graders. Ms. Jackson’s orchestras are known for outstanding performances throughout the county. Recently, her high school orchestras performed at the Virginia Music Educators’ State Convention in Norfolk, VA. Her orchestras have also received superior ratings in national competitions in Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Boston. Locally, Ms. Jackson’s middle and high school orchestras consistently receive superior and excellent ratings in District Orchestra Assessments. Ms. Jackson’s students have received numerous individual awards and recognition for their performances.
Ms. Jackson has also participated in several conducting workshops with such names as 
Dr. William Jones of Iowa State University, Dr. Anthony Maiello of George Mason University, and Dr. Marvin Rabin. In May of 2012, Ms. Jackson was selected from 150 applicants to be 1 of 30 music educators to participate in the Conducting Workshop for Music Educators held at The Juilliard School in New York City. She has served as guest conductor and clinician for the Virginia’s Central Regional Orchestra Event, North Central Regional Orchestra Event, Southeastern Regional Orchestra Event, JMU’s Spring String Thing, Chesterfield County Schools All-County Orchestra, Richmond City Schools All-City Orchestra for three years, Newport News City Schools All-City Orchestra, Fauquier County Schools, Norfolk City Schools, and Spotsylvania County Schools All County Orchestra. She serves as the orchestra director for the Sinfonia Orchestra at Shenandoah Performing Arts Camp at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Ms. Jackson has served as guest clinician and conductor for the Pitt County All County Fifth Grade Orchestra and Nash Rocky Mounty Public Schools inNorth Carolina for four years. Ms. Jackson also served three years as conductor for Richmond Symphony’s Youth Concert Orchestra, an intermediate full orchestra. 
Ms. Jackson has judged several district orchestra festivals in North Carolina and throughout Virginia. In addition to her commitment to her students, Ms. Jackson was appointed director of the Rappahannock Youth Symphony Orchestra in Fredericksburg, Virginia in October 2008. 
In July 2012, Ms. Jackson was selected to participate in the Music Educators’ Conducting Workshop at The Julliard School. This week-long program was for the 35 music educators from around the country who were selected resume and video-audition. Ms. Jackson was a 2010 finalist for the R. E. B. Award for Teaching Excellence. Other affiliations include membership and past president of the Virginia Chapter of the American String Teachers’ Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Music Educators’ National Conference, and active membership at First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Maryland. 
Ms. Jackson is lovingly supported by her two gems, Camille and Phillip.

Kate Martin (Texas), Flute

Kate Martin is currently the Associate Principal Flutist of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale in Midland, TX. As a substitute musician, she has performed with the San Antonio Symphony, the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Rapides Symphony and the Louisiana Philharmonic in New Orleans. Kate received her Bachelor of Music from the City University of New York at Queens College, a Master of Music from the University of Denver, Colorado and an Artist Certificate in flute performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas. Her principal teachers include Bradley Garner, Pamela Endsley, and Kara Kirkendoll-Welch.

Aaron Noë (Spotsylvania), Trumpet, Symphonic Band, Jazz Improv

M.M., Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University , B.S., Music Education from Greensboro College (NC). 
Aaron Noe conducted high school bands in Virginia since 1999 and currently serves as Director of Bands at Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, VA (Spotsylvania County).  Under his direction, ensembles have been recognized with top honors at district, state, and national festivals and have been invited to perform at various civic and public occasions.  
In the spring of 2010, Aaron Noe founded the Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony. This wind ensemble is comprised of music professionals from throughout the Fredericksburg and Northern Virginia region.  The goal of the ensemble is to bring professional level wind band performances to the Fredericksburg area and to promote the American Wind Band tradition through the music performance of classic and contemporary wind band composers.
Aaron Noe is also recognized as a performing artist on trumpet. The Aaron Noe jazz ensembles have performed at clubs and events throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and have backed some of the top performing artists in the business including James Moody and Eric Marienthal. Aaron Noe is also heard regularly in church events performing his own arrangements of Traditional and Contemporary Christian music.
Aaron Noe has taught music at all levels through college, including the University of South Carolina (Jazz T.A., 1997-8) and the University of Mary Washington (Private Trumpet & Class Brass, 2007-10).

Paul Rawlins (Fredericksburg), Trombone

Paul is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and graduated from the University of Miami in 1968 with a major in Music Theory/Composition. His major professors were Clifton Williams and Alfred Reed. He backed Frank Sinatra, Ann-Margret and a myriad of headliners when Miami Beach was the "Las Vegas of the East," and appeared in Las Vegas and the state fair circuit with The Impact of Brass. He toured with his group 'Shadberry Street' for six years, playing resorts across the U. S., Acapulco and Europe.

Paul retired from the USAF Band, Washington, D.C. in 1993 after a career as Bass Trombonist and Arranger for the Air Force's Premier Jazz Ensemble, The Airmen of Note, and the USAF Ceremonial Brass. He taught brass instruments and guitar privately while still on active duty. After retirement Paul toured with U2, Pia Zadora, Bud Forrest and In the Mood, Hanson, Michael Crawford and performed with his duo, Driftwood, on board the cruise ship Norway. When life "on the road" no longer was viable, Paul came home to Fredericksburg where he is actively teaching and performing with several organizations.

Rebecka Rose (Sneads Farm, NC), Oboe

Rebecka Rose, oboist and woodwind teacher, currently serves as principal oboist with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, NC. She was a featured soloist with the Wilmington Symphony during the 2013-2014 season, performing Bohuslav Martinů’s Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra. Ms. Rose has served as the principal oboist of the Rappahannock POPS Orchestra, VA and has performed with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, VA and the Long Bay Symphony, SC. In addition, she has performed as a freelance oboist in the northern Virginia/DC area and across the eastern North Carolina area. She also maintains a private teaching studio of woodwind students, teaching oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and oboe reed making. Her students have been accepted to Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, and various all-state bands. Ms. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Oboe Performance from Pensacola Christian College.

Sara Speer (Stafford), Euphonium

Sara Speer graduated from the Honors College in 2013 and holds a degree in Music Education from George Mason University. There, she studied euphonium with Roger Behrend, formerly of the United States Navy Band, and Andrew Hitz, previously of the Boston Brass. In high school, Sara successfully auditioned into the All-Virginia Honor Band for two years on euphonium, twice performed with the United States Navy Band, and has since guest-conducted the Band of America’s Few – a band of Marine musicians. Sara has taught at the Rappahannock Summer Music Camp since 2009 and was selected to be an Instrumental Teaching Scholar, a program which allows selected collegiate music education majors to work with elementary students through the Potomac Arts Academy, for the 2012-2013 school year. She has stayed involved in the band community by working VBODA-sponsored events and by serving on the instructional staff of several high school marching bands. Sara has also worked with other groups, including the Riverbend Brass Ensemble, classes in the music program at the Salvation Army in Fredericksburg, and the Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians. Sara previously performed with the Fairfax Wind Symphony and currently does so with the Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony. Additionally, she is an initiated member of Kappa Kappa Psi – a national honorary service fraternity for college band members. 

Kiefer Strickland (King George), Bassoon

Kiefer Strickland has a degree in Bassoon Performance from Shenandoah Conservatory, where he studied both bassoon and contrabassoon with Dr. Ryan Romine. Kiefer has performed in masterclasses with The Imani Winds, The PEN Trio, Dr. Bruce Hammel, Dr. Christopher Weait, and many other notable bassoonists. He has performed as the principal bassoon in many ensembles at Shenandoah including the Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and Pit Orchestras.

In January 2014, Kiefer took first place in the Conservatory's Concerto Competition where he performed the Weber Bassoon Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra. In March 2014, Kiefer had the pleasure of playing alongside the Symphony Orchestra in many concerts all across Spain. During his time at Shenandoah, Kiefer has become a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. In the fall, Kiefer will be attending Arizona State University to pursue two Masters Degrees in in Bassoon Performance and Bassoon Pedagogy. In his spare time, Kiefer is often found making reeds, baking, and teaching lessons.

Rana Strickland (Spotsylvania), Piano

Rana Strickland has a B.A. from UMW with a double major in Music and Elementary Education. She teaches private piano (25 + years); chorus and music theory at FAYM during the school year; and FAYM Chorus Camp in the summer.  She was the principal pianist/organist for Marlow Heights Baptist Church in Front Royal for 4 years of high school, and currently leads worship for Covenant Community Church in Fredericksburg. 

Mrs. Strickland has taught vocal classes for CYT Fredericksburg since 2007, and plays keyboard in the CYT orchestra for many of their main stage shows. She has worked with RSMC for the past 8 years administratively and teaching class piano, theory,  and assisting with chorus/vocal classes.

Ben Titus (Milwaukee, WI), Clarinet, Bass Guitar

Ben holds a BM in Music Education (PreK-12 Instrumental) from Longwood University and an MM in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. While he majored in clarinet and performs primarily on bass and guitar outside of the concert band world, Ben is a multi-instrumentalist, performing with numerous ensembles on a number of different instruments. Past credits include the Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony (principal clarinet, bass clarinet), Aaron Noë All-Stars (electric and upright bass), Christian Youth Theater (electric and upright bass), Fredericksburg Academy Players (bass, drumset, guitar, auxiliary percussion), and the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra (clarinet, bass clarinet, timpani/aux. percussion). 


As an educator, Ben has a wide variety of experience. His busy career so far has included conducting concert bands, jazz ensembles, orchestras, and chamber groups during his tenure at Fredericksburg Academy in Virginia (2007-2013), Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians in Virginia (2011-2013), RSMC, and Whitefish Bay Middle School in Wisconsin (2014). Ben is also an in demand clinician, presenting clinics and performances for Gerald Veasley’s Bass Bootcamp, The Virginia Bass Forum, and various schools and lesson programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and southeast Wisconsin. Ben maintains a small but thriving private studio of guitar, bass, clarinet, and theory students in Milwaukee and via Skype.


Since 2005, Ben has developed a reputation as a first-call jazz, blues, fusion, and rock bassist. He has shared the stage with the late great tenor saxophonist James Moody, Grammy Award-Winning alto saxophonist Eric Marienthal, John DeSalme (tenor sax, US Army Blues), and Duffy Jackson (drums). He has also opened for Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Edwin McCain Band, and Chase Rice. Ben has been an integral member of bands playing events ranging from inaugural balls to state fairs to Wisconsin’s Summerfest Music Festival. 

Megan Von Dreau (Denton, TX), Percussion

Megan G. Von Dreau is currently the 5th and 6th grade music teacher for Eubanks Intermediate School.  She is the 2008-2009 K-6 District Teacher of the Year for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, TX.  She is also a percussionist with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Drum Sergeant of the Metroplex United Pipe Band, and a free-lance performer, adjudicator, and instructor in the Dallas area.  Megan received degrees from the University of Colorado (B.M.) and the University of Oklahoma (M.M.).  Her major instructors have been Dr. Richard Gipson, Dr. Doug Walter, Leigh Howard Stevens, Steve Yates and Ralph Hardimon.
She has maintained a busy career instructing students at elementary through university levels including experience at the University of Oklahoma, Encore Music Camp of Pennsylvania, Rappahannock Summer Music Camp (VA), Western Chamber Music Institute (CO), Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps, University of North Texas Summer Drumline Camp, and several high school programs throughout Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma.

Megan has performed in the United States, Europe, and Japan with such ensembles as the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic, Arapahoe Philharmonic, University of Colorado Wind Ensemble, Colorado Honor Band, Texas Wind Symphony, Metropolitan Winds, and the University of Oklahoma's Percussion Ensemble, Steel Drum Band, and Symphony Orchestra.  She has won two concerto competitions and performed Sarmientos' "Concerto para Marimba y Orquesta" in 2000 with the Springfield, MO Symphony Orchestra.  She can be heard on the Lone Star Wind Orchestra release "American Tapestry" on the Naxos Label.

Megan has achieved a multitude of honors and awards including graduating cum laude from the University of Colorado, Best in Section with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in 1993, and the Ronald J. Dyer Award for outstanding percussionist at the University of Oklahoma.  In addition, Megan is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Society, the National Honor Society, and the Texas Music Educators Association.

Megan resides in Texas with her husband Ron and their two amazing daughters Ella and Lilly. 

Ron Von Dreau (Denton, TX), Tuba

Mr. Von Dreau began playing the tuba in the spring of fourth grade at the age of 10 in the Williamsport (PA) public school system. Immediately, the following summer he began private lessons with George Sheriff, a local musician and educator. By seventh grade Mr. Von Dreau had successfully auditioned for a local community band and through a successful audition he became a member of the famed Repasz Band. A few years later he was asked to play in the Scottish Rite Imperial Teteque Band of Williamsport. During High School he accomplished several honors at state and national levels, including national finalist in the Yamaha sponsored MTNA Brass Soloist Competition. In addition to this, he won the Williamsport Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition and was for three consecutive summers awarded positions in the Empire Brass Seminar at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute.

Mr. Von Dreau currently holds a Bachelors degree in Music Performance from Eastman School of Music and a Masters Degree in Performance from University of Colorado, Boulder. While attending CU Ron was a member of the University’s Wind Ensemble which was honored with a performance at the 1995 WASBE Convention in Hamamatsu, Japan. Principle instructors include: Patrick Sheridan, J. Samuel Pilafian, Michael Allen, Cherry Beauregard, Donald Hary, and Donald Stanley.

In the past, Mr. Von Dreau has held positions in Centennial Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic, and several Brass Quintets throughout the US. Most notably, Mr. Von Dreau is a Founding Member of the Newcastle Brass Quintet, which was a featured artist on the University of North Texas Wind Symphony’s recording entitled Convergence. Since relocating to Texas, Mr. Von Dreau is a sought after clinician, judge and instructor of low brass. He has maintained a private lesson studio in several school districts including: Lewisville ISD, Duncanville ISD, Denton ISD and Argyle ISD. In 2002-2011, he was Adjunct Instructor of Tuba and Euphonium at Oklahoma City University’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music and also held the same position with Southern Nazarene University from 2003-2006. Ron has spent summers instructing programs that include Western State University Chamber Music Institute in Colorado, Rappahannock Summer Music Camp in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Encore Music Camp of Pennsylvania and OCU’s Summer Brass Camp.

In 2011, Mr. Von Dreau became the Assistant Director of Bands at Tidwell Middle School, where he is the school’s brass specialist and conducts the Symphonic Band.  The Band has received numerous awards and consistently receives top ratings at festivals and contests throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. 

Mr. Von Dreau spends his free time at home with his wife Megan and their two daughters Ella and Lilly.

William Wassum (Spotsylvania), Violin

William Wassum is a native of Huntington, West Virginia, where he received his BA in music education and his MA in violin performance from Marshall University.  Having been taught in the traditions of Carl Flesch, Szymon Goldberg, and Ivan Galamian, his major teachers were Alfred P. Lanegger, Patricia Green, Lucie Furlie, and Dr. Reed Smith.


William is Director of Orchestras at Thornburg Middle School in Spotsylvania, Virginia where he helped found the orchestra program 14 years ago. During his 38 years as a music educator, he has directed award-winning ensembles from the elementary through high school levels in Texas, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Virginia.  In Virginia, he has had the honor of guest conducting several orchestras including, the Hanover All-County Orchestra, the Chesterfield All-County Orchestra, the Central Virginia Junior Regional Orchestra, and the Maryland Tri-County Honors Orchestra.


He is a member of the American String Teachers Association, the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the Suzuki Association of the Greater Washington Area, the Early Music Association, the National Music Teachers Association, The Virginia String Teachers Association, the Virginia Music Teachers Association, the Music Educators National Conference, and the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, as well as the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 123 Richmond, VA and Local 161-710 Washington DC.


He was previously President for the state of West Virginia String Teachers Association and chairs the North Central Virginia Regional Orchestra Audition Prep Day in Virginia.


Mr. Wassum has performed in master classes with Benny Kim, Alcestis Perry, and Gerald Fischbach.  He has attended master classes with Charles Castleman, Robert Lipsett, Yitzhak Schotten (viola),William Preucil, Sr.(viola), Brian Lewis, Helen Kwalwasser, Katie McLin, Mimi Zweig, Midori, Dorothy DeLay, Sergiu Schwartz, Jerrie Lucktenburg, Paul Rolland, Lara St. John, and the Turtle Island String Quartet; and has studied advanced violin technique with Sally O’Reilly, Katie Lansdale, and Peter Sacco.


He has studied string class pedagogy at summer workshops with Paul Rolland, Dr. Marvin Rabin, George Bornoff, Jackie Dillon, Jim Kjelland, Bob Culver, Dr. Robert Gillespie, Kathleen Goodrich, and Dean Angeles.  Mr. Wassum is a registered Suzuki teacher and has had short term training with Kay Collier Slone, Geri Tata Arnold, Ronda Cole, and Stevie Sandven.


William has taken master classes in conducting with Elizabeth Green, Michael McArtor, and Dr. Marvin Rabin.


William has 35 years of professional experience performing in symphony orchestras, chamber music groups, opera orchestras, and for numerous musicals and oratorios.  Mr. Wassum has performed with Gary Karr, Sarah Brightman, Aaron Rosand, Anner Bylsma, Andres Cardenes, Sergiu Schwartz, William Warfield, Marcus Thompson, Zuill Bailey, Claude Frank, Leon Bates, Sandi Patty, Jimmy and Donna Dean, Rita Coolidge, Ray Stevens, Shirley Jones, Faith Prince, and many others.  Previous orchestral positions include:  Marshall University Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Huntington Chamber Orchestra, Brazos Symphony, Brazos Valley Symphony, ASTA National String Orchestra, Huntington Pops Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony, Ohio Valley Symphony, Lilliput Orchestra, West Virginia Opera Theater, East Carolina Suzuki Institute Orchestra, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Festival Orchestra, Blue Lake Faculty International String Orchestra, Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic, Charlotte Philharmonic, Petersburg Symphony, Washington Symphony, Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra, and the Spotswood Community Orchestra.


Mr. Wassum toured France in the summer of 2000 as a member of the American String Quartet and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Faculty Chamber Orchestra, which performed in the Festival de Paris and at many historic churches throughout the south of France.  Some other performance venues have been: the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the National D-day Memorial, JFK Stadium, and the Greenbrier Resort.  In February 2006, he had the honor of performing with the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Musical Group Orchestra at the Pentagon as a Valentine’s Day tribute to our troops around the world, performs with them at their annual Veteran’s Day and Congressional Flag Day concerts at the National Basilica in Washington, D. C.  Mr. Wassum believes that continuing to perform makes for a more dynamic teacher and continues to perform with the Lynchburg Symphony and the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra.


He has performed under the baton of many conductors including Anshel Brusilow, former concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, Donald Portnoy, Franz Krager, Paul W. Whear, William Scott, and Richard Hayman, chief arranger and assistant conductor of the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler.


William Wassum has been an orchestra conductor, violin and viola instructor, and chamber music coach for the Sam Houston State University String Camp, and the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. 


As a private violin and viola instructor Mr. Wassum taught for the Marshall University Preparatory Department and the Converse College Pre-College Department.  This past fall he was appointed as adjunct professor of string class pedagogy at the University of Mary Washington.  Mr. Wassum continues to teach private violin and viola in the Fredericksburg community through the Wassum String Academy at New Life in Christ Church.


Mr. Wassum has presented sessions at the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 ASTA National Conferences.  At the 2010 Conference in Santa Clara, California he presented his first national conference session entitled, “The Secret of the Universe Bow Stroke, or How I Learned to Love the Crooked Bow Stroke”.  At the 2011 National Conference in Kansas City, MO, William presented a highly successful session entitled, “Vibrato Strategies with Bouncy Balls, Race Cars, Coat Hangers, Chinese Finger Traps, and More”.  He will be presenting again at the 2014 ASTA National Conference a session entitled, “Monkey Legs and Curly Fries:  100 Code Words and Motivational Games and Strategies for the Classroom”.


William Wassum resides in Spotsylvania, Virginia with his God given wife.