2017 Speakers

Check out who joined us last summer, and stay tuned for updates on this year’s conference.

Candice Davenport

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Candice Davenport

Assistant Professor and the Area Coordinator of Music Education at Florida International University

Candice Davenport is an Assistant Professor and the Area Coordinator of Music Education at Florida International University. Her research has focused on musical creativity through technology integration, blended and online teaching and learning, social issues and psychology, and interdisciplinary and project-based learning in music education. She interned with the Music Technology Leadership Academy, sponsored by TI:ME and NAMM program grants, and earned certification from the Smithsonian Folkways World Music Pedagogy. Her grant team was also co-recipients of the 2012 Next Generation Learning Challenges Grant for the development of innovative school models, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining FIU, Candice was Chair of Fine Arts and taught secondary general music, electronic music and studio production, and contemporary instrumental and vocal ensembles in Chicago Public Schools and after-school programs in the Chicago area. Her earlier teaching positions include high school band and WGI indoor percussion ensembles throughout the Gulf Coast region.


Beth Lambert

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Beth Lambert

Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Maine Department of Education

Beth Lambert is the Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine Department of Education. Before joining the Maine DOE, Beth was a performing arts teacher for 10 years at the middle and high school levels where she served in a leadership capacity around standards, curriculum and assessment, proficiency-based assessments, student-centered teaching, and teacher leadership. In addition to her time as classroom teacher, Ms. Lambert was the Assistant Director of the Maine State GEAR UP program and served as a research assistant at HGSE.

Beth holds a Master in Education degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in teacher leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, theatre, and vocal performance from Lawrence University.


Beth Lambert

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Cassandra Eisenreich

Flute and Music Education Faculty, Slippery Rock University

Dr. Cassandra Eisenreich is on the flute and music education faculty at Slippery Rock University. Cassandra also serves as the Music Education Specialist for Nuvo Instrumental and has extensive training and teaching experience in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Orff Schulwerk, Suzuki Flute, Conversational Solfege, and Kindermusik.


Steve Venz

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Steve Venz

Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Orange County Department of Education

Steve Venz is the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, a public education organization recognized as a national leader in serving and preparing over 500,000 K-12 students from 27 school districts in college and career readiness. Under his leadership, he has tripled in size the arts resources provided to OC school districts and increased professional development to administrators and teachers by 43%. He leads the Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties Arts + STEM Collaborative, an initiative to support districts with STEAM education. Steve’s a faculty member for the Longy School of Music of Bard College’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program in Los Angeles; member of the Americans for the Arts State Policy Pilot CA Team; Advocacy Representative for the CA Music Educators Association; and advisor for the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. He is a member of the Little Kids Rock National Board, GRAMMY Music Educator Award Blue Ribbon Panel, and Arts OC Board.

Steve was the co-architect/principal of the award-winning Quincy Jones Elementary School, a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) jazz and arts-focused Title I school in Historic South Central Los Angeles. Within three years of being established, “Q Elementary” received awards and accolades recognizing it as a successful model for urban elementary schools, addressing student equity and social justice with significant increases in student academic achievement, attendance, and parent engagement. Throughout his leadership role as the music administrator for the LAUSD, student enrollment in middle and high school music classes increased from 31,636 (2003) to 50,966 (2009). During the 2008 launch of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), he served as the music director for the pilot orchestra at the City of LA Expo Center. As a life-long artist, Steve continues to perform acoustic and electric bass with artists such as Ariana Savalas and the Edmund Velasco Quintet.


Tiffany Kerns

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Tiffany Kerns

Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Maine Department of Education

Tiffany Kerns is the Director of Community Outreach for the Country Music Association, the premier trade association for the Country genre. Tiffany is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she received a BA in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration.

After graduation, Tiffany launched her career in Knoxville, TN with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This led to career with CFF for over 6 years in various roles in special events and development. It was in this capacity that she implemented new fundraising initiatives and opportunities to the Southeast and Pacific Northwest region offices. After expanding her expertise in non-profit management and learning the bio-tech industry in San Francisco, Kerns moved to Nashville to expand the donor portfolio for CFF.

Kerns expertise led her to the Country Music Association. As Director of Community Outreach, Kerns is responsible for developing relationships throughout the community for CMA on behalf of the Foundation. Kerns oversees all charitable investments for the CMA Foundation ($17.5 million to date), which include 44 grant recipients nationwide. Kerns works with each organization to provide strategic planning, compliance, project management and community impact. She oversees advocacy efforts for the CMA Foundation at the state and federal level which include working with more than a dozen community partners to elevate the cause.
Kerns also oversees the CMA’s collegiate program CMA EDU. CMA EDU currently has 25 collegiate Chapters nationwide and aims to educate students on the music industry by giving them opportunities to hear from industry professionals, work on marketing projects and tour promotion.


Barbara Murray

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Barbara Murray

Director of Music, New York City Department of Education, Office of the Arts and Special Projects


Barbara Anne Murray remembers her education by saying, “I have no doubt that the foundation that I received at Roberts Wesleyan College during those four brief years, over four decades ago, have served me exceedingly well and continue to do so until the present time. The knowledge, values, skills-set, nurturing, and abiding sense of ‘who it is that I am’ were a collective gift….”

And, indeed, for this self-described shy and sheltered teenage girl from Harlem, the years before her college education were prophetic, and the years after nothing short of productive and adventurous.

Her musical life began in her neighborhood Baptist church, a church populated by a host of family members. At age seven she began private piano lessons, and these were augmented by opportunities to play hymns “by ear,” training that enabled her to attend a middle school outside of her Harlem neighborhood.

At her new middle school she learned the violin, then eventually was admitted to the acclaimed “Fame” school, where she switched to viola.

<>When she graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in 1968, she began teaching vocal music at an elementary school in New Rochelle. Soon, she grew tired of the commute and began teaching music in a nearby Bronx elementary school. Later she was hired as vocal director at the middle school she had attended.

Ms. Murray’s accomplishments along the way to her current position are far-ranging: She sang with and wrote lead sheets for a female singing group, The Chantels; her classroom was used by administrators for observing best practices; and she taught in Italy at the Overseas School of Rome. When she became homesick for New York City, she returned to teaching, this time in Harlem.

Yet, she continued to be fascinated with travel and accepted a position as an Italian-language qualified flight attendant. But she says, “The musician-teacher that had been created and nurtured in me all those years prior would not remain dormant.”

By 1985, she was flying on weekends and teaching full-time at the high school where she would spend the next 19 years of her professional teaching career.

In 2005, she was invited to become Director of Music for the New York City Department of Education, a position where she now oversees and develops music education programs for 1.5 million students and 1,000 music teachers. Today, Ms. Murray and her colleagues have expanded access to and the quality of music instruction in the largest single school system in the world.

Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY
Bachelor of Science, Music Education/Vocal Music, 1968


Bradley Olesen

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Bradley Olesen

Director of Choral, General and Elementary Music for Dallas Independent School District

Dr. Olesen is the Director of Choral, General and Elementary Music for Dallas Independent School District – overseeing 334 programs at 236 Secondary and Elementary Schools with 160,000 students. Last year he was directly responsible for a $3.5 million music purchase for all secondary music teachers – the largest music purchase from JW Pepper Music Company. Dr. Olesen earned his Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Masters of Music Performance – Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University. He taught in Mesquite ISD and Round Rock ISD before completing his PhD in Music Education with Choral Conducting/Quantitative Research cognates from the University of Miami – Frost School of Music. Before coming home to Dallas ISD, he was Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Schwob Conservatory of Music at CSU, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and Louisiana State University College of Music and Dramatic Arts. He has been actively engaged in conducting/presenting regionally and nationally. He was the director of the Voices of the Valley Children’s Chorus (CSU), Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus Director, Illinois High School Honor Choir, Baltimore, Maryland Middle School Honor Choir, Archdiocese of Philadelphia 4th-6th grade Honor Choir (2013 & 2014), University of Miami Maelström – Men’s Choir, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Guest Choral Reading Session presenter, ACDA – Eastern Division Research Presentation (Rhode Island, 2012), ACDA-Pennsylvania, Louisiana Music Educators Association Presentation, and most recently (March 2017) the Area V Pennsylvania High School Honor Choir Conductor. He and the Dallas Symphony Chorus have commissioned Jake Runestad a new work to be performed by Dallas ISD students and the DSC in October 2017. On November 15-18, 2018, he will be conducting the Alaska All-State High School Mixed Choir.

Brad credits Dr. William Westney, Dr. Ken Davis, Dr. Jo Michael-Scheibe as well as Alfred Mann, Paul Salamunovich, Ron Lange, Karl Dent, Michele Heerema Sargent, Drs. Ed Asmus, Nick and Joyce DeCarbo, Dean Southern, Joshua Habermann, and Stephen Zdzinski for their incredible mentorship.

Among the several presentations and articles to his credit, Dr. Olesen’s research was selected for presentation at the 2010 International Society for Music Education World Conference, Beijing, China. Brad is a member of TMEA, ACDA, TCDA, TMAC, NAfME, NMTA, TMTA, and ISME.

He is a Sig Ep, Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society, and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha, Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi Music Fraternities.


Bryce Merrill

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Bryce Merrill

Music Programs Manager, Bohemian Foundation

Dr. Bryce Merrill is Music Programs Manager at Bohemian Foundation in Northern Colorado. Bryce is an expert on public sector support of music and has helped public and private entities build sustainable and equitable music ecosystems. He has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder and is an affiliate faculty at Colorado State University. Bryce is a co-author Understanding Society through Popular Music (Routledge) and Interactionists Take on Popular Music (Emerald), and he’s a musician and co-owner of Misra Records.


Bryce Merrill

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Bryce Merrill

Music Programs Manager, Bohemian Foundation

Dr. Bryce Merrill is Music Programs Manager at Bohemian Foundation in Northern Colorado. Bryce is an expert on public sector support of music and has helped public and private entities build sustainable and equitable music ecosystems. He has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder and is an affiliate faculty at Colorado State University. Bryce is a co-author Understanding Society through Popular Music (Routledge) and Interactionists Take on Popular Music (Emerald), and he’s a musician and co-owner of Misra Records.


Amy Martinson

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Marcia McCaffrey

Music Instructional Curriculum Specialist, Denver Public Schools

Dr. Amy Martinson is currently the Instructional Curriculum Specialist for Music in Denver Public Schools where she is responsible for music educators professional development, music curriculum and student assessments. She taught both general music and middle school band and orchestra for 21 years in Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Denver Public School districts before leaving the classroom to go into administration.

Amy has her bachelor’s degree in music education/music therapy from Wartburg College, her master’s degree in music education from Northwestern University, and her Ph.D in culturally relevant music education at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In addition to teaching, Amy has presented at state and national music education conferences on topics ranging from the history and influence of women music educators to differentiation strategies for teaching culturally diverse students in instrumental ensembles.


Amy Martinson

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Marcia McCaffrey

Music Instructional Curriculum Specialist, Denver Public Schools


Melanie Faulkner

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Melanie Faulkner

Supervisor, Elementary Music Education, Hillsborough County Public Schools

Melanie Faulkner serves as the Supervisor of Elementary Fine Arts in Hillsborough County Public Schools. She received a B.M.E. from Lee University and an M.A. in music education from the University of South Florida. She has been a music educator at the elementary and middle school levels and served as the grant manager for Lift Every Voice for Literacy, a federal Arts in Education. She has presented at conferences of the National Association for Music Education and the International Society for Music Education. Ms. Faulkner received the Florida Music Educators Leadership award in 2015 and has been nominated twice as Teacher of the Year.


Frank Machos

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Frank Machos

Executive Director, Office of The Arts & Academic Enrichment, School District of Philadelphia

Frank Machos serves as Executive Director for the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of The Arts & Academic Enrichment. Originally from Edison New Jersey, he relocated to Philadelphia to attend the University of the Arts where he earned his Bachelor’s in Music Composition and Master’s in Music Education. Upon graduation, he joined the School District of Philadelphia teaching instrumental music first at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School and later at School of the Future, specializing in instrumental music and focusing on expanding innovation in music education by integrating popular and contemporary music, technology, and college and career skill development. In addition to teaching, a growing interest in partnerships and community development inspired Frank to found Limelight Arts, a community based performing arts non-profit organization focused on developing and supporting artists of all ages, abilities, and interests. Combining these experiences, Frank pursued and earned his Master’s in School Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, before transitioning from the classroom to administration to serve as the School District of Philadelphia’s Director of Music Education. He later accepted an expanded role as Executive Director, the position he currently holds, overseeing all aspects of Arts education in the district. Away from the office, Frank remains active in the Philadelphia music community as a saxophonist, performing with a variety of musicians and performing artists, covering a wide range of musical genres, and enjoys spending time with his wife and two young sons.


Cheryl Zimlich

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Cheryl Zimlich

Executive Director, Bohemian Foundation

Cheryl Zimlich serves as executive director and as a member of the board for Bohemian Foundation, a philanthropic, grantmaking institution based in Fort Collins, Colo. The foundation works to empower citizens and is committed to the care and enrichment of local, national and global communities. Through the foundation’s Community Programs area, the organization seeks to support youth, economic stability and the vibrancy of the Fort Collins community. The foundation’s Music Programs area works to build community through music. Through its Civic Programs area, the foundation funds organizations that aim to strengthen democracy. Zimlich has been responsible for the development of the foundation’s fourth program area, Global Programs, which seeks to identify and support organizations addressing some of our most serious global challenges at the intersection of public health, poverty and the environment.

Zimlich is a respected community leader and 20-year volunteer in the nonprofit sector. In addition to serving Bohemian Foundation, Zimlich has held board and leadership positions with more than a dozen organizations. Locally, she serves on the Colorado State University Global Leadership Council and on the Poudre School District Community Facilities Advisory Committee, as well as on the boards of UniverCity Connections, the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority and Homeward 2020. Zimlich currently serves several national nonprofits as well. She is on the boards of Little Kids Rock and Book Trust, and is a management committee member for AmpUp NYC. In the past, she has served on the boards of the following organizations: the Women’s Center, Beet Street and the Colorado State University Center for Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise. She has participated in Leadership Fort Collins and was part of the City of Fort Collins Community Development Block Grant Commission; the Colorado State Forest Advisory Committee; and the UniverCity Connections Transit and Mobility Task Group.

Zimlich has filled numerous roles for Poudre School District, including work as a member of the 2010 Mill and Bond Committee, the District Advisory Board, the Student Based Budgeting Advisory Committee, and the Audit Committee. She also has been part of Site Improvement Teams and a variety of task force teams. In recognition of her contributions, Zimlich was honored by Poudre School District Foundation with the Outstanding Community Education Advocate Award in 2015. Zimlich is a certified public accountant, and prior to her service at Bohemian Foundation she worked for Coopers & Lybrand in Denver, and later for Sample & Bailey, PC, in Fort Collins. She worked in the audit departments at both firms. She later worked as an accounting consultant in the Fort Collins area.

Zimlich earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Colorado State University. In 2014, the Colorado State University College of Business recognized her with the Distinguished Alumni Award.


David Williams

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David Williams

Associate Professor of Music Education and the Associate Director of the School of Music at the University of South Florida

David A. Williams is an Associate Professor of Music Education and the Associate Director of the School of Music at the University of South Florida. He joined the faculty at USF in the fall of 1998. He holds a Ph.D. in music education from Northwestern University. His research interests involve the use of student-centered and informal learning pedagogies and how these impact teaching and learning in music education.


Ken Owen

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Ken Owen

Director of Musical Futures Australia

Ken is a Director of Musical Futures Australia where the rollout of Musical Futures has been supported by the Victorian Government and The Dept of Education and Training.

Working with Musical Futures Australia and the Musical Futures International core teams of teachers and practitioners, he continues to provide teacher professional learning to Australian Educators as well as heading up the development of new approaches
and resources for teachers across Australia and beyond.


Anna Gower

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Anna Gower

Head of Academic Governance at Trinity College London

Anna Gower is currently working as Head of Academic Governance at Trinity College London, after many years teaching music in secondary schools and as a freelance music education consultant in the U.K.

In many senior roles at Musical Futures, Anna has created and developed resources, training and approaches to music education for teachers in the UK and overseas.


Alex Skolnick

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Alex Skolnick

Guitar Virtuoso (Testament, Alex Skolnick Trio)

Alex Skolnick is well known for defying expectations, first by becoming – as an early member of Testament – one of the emerging thrash metal movement’s few lead guitar virtuosos (alongside Megadeth’s Marty Friedman) to achieve respect outside the genre. Within a few years, Alex would trade his native Berkeley for Brooklyn, earn a BfA in jazz from The New School and become a New York improvisor of multiple styles. His various instrumental associations include his own outfit, Alex Skolnick Trio, reviewed by jazz journalist and “Jaco” author Bill Milkowski: “Skolnick runs the guitaristic gamut from lush chord melodies to Wes Montgomery-style octaves to screaming Sonny Sharrock-esque skronking” (Downbeat Jan 2017). He is also a first call player for virtuosos such as bassist Stu Hamm, Jane Getter Premonition (with Adam Holzman and Chad Wackerman), pianist Larry Klein and others. In addition, Alex founded the acclaimed acoustic project Planetary Coalition (featuring world artists such as Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Kiran Ahluwalia and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez) and is active as an educator, conducting masterclasses (including at the camp of his former instructor Joe Satriani, teaching alongside Eric Johnson, Steve Vai and Mike Keneally) and penning columns in the top guitar magazines. Whether shredding loudly with Testament and other hard music projects or delicately improvising and accompanying the world’s great instrumentalists, Skolnick has found his own niche as a guitarist. “Though he’s pretty much a household name in heavy metal, Alex defies categorization by musical genre.” (Making Music, Jan 2015).


Stuart Hamm

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Stuart Hamm

Bass Virtuoso (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani)

Through his innovative work as a solo artist and his contributions as a sideman to Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, Stuart Hamm has firmly established himself as one of the most influential electric bassists of the past half-century. Extending the non-traditional function of the electric bass previously revolutionized by Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke in the 1970s, Hamm helped to reshape the contemporary concept of the bass guitar as an unaccompanied instrument with the utilization of polyphonic, two-handed tapping, slapping and popping techniques, chords, and harmonics. He was the first bassist to have a Signature Model Electric Bass with Fender, and has designed sounds and gear for the Hartke, Washburn, Zoom and Korg musical corporations. As one of today’s leading bassists, Hamm has released six critically-acclaimed studio recordings and has enjoyed recording and touring stints with guitar icons Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Greg Howe and Frank Gambale. His long-time associations with Vai and Satriani garnered him award-winning recognition on a global scale, and as a result, Hamm has received an extensive list of accolades such as being voted “Best Jazz Bassist” and “Best Rock Bassist” multiple times in magazine polls conducted by several major print publications worldwide. As an educator, Hamm has released multiple best selling instructional courses and taught at the Berklee School of Music, Blue Bear School of Music and served as Bass Program Chair at Musicians Institute. For more info about Stu, visit www.stuarthamm.net.


Ruth Wright

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Ruth Wright

Professor of Music Education, Western University, Canada

Dr. Ruth Wright is Professor of Music Education in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University in Canada. She has served as Chair of Music Education and Assistant Dean of Research at this university. Her 2010 book Sociology and Music Education, Ashgate Press, is a frequently used textbook in courses exploring this field. Ruth was engaged in music education in the UK for 20 years. She has been a secondary school music teacher and a lecturer in music education.


Gareth Dylan Smith

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Gareth Dylan Smith

Drummer and Educator, Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

Gareth Dylan Smith is a drummer and educator from London, England. He learned to play in concert bands and a Boys’ Brigade marching band before training at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He cut his teeth on the UK’s rock, jazz and musical theatre scenes, performing and recording with members and alumni of Deep Purple, Ian Dury’s Blockheads and Iron Maiden, and with cast members of Wicked, Dreamboats and Petticoats and Evita. He teaches at London’s Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, and has given guest lectures in Norway, Mexico and across the US, from California, via Michigan and Ohio, to New York. Gareth has written for music encyclopedias, and drummers’ magazines, Rhythm and Drummer. He published a book in 2013 entitled I Drum, Therefore I am: Being and Becoming a Drummer, exploring drummers’ practices, identities and learning. Gareth is currently working on four drumming books and plays with NWOBHM band, V1.


Michael Blakeslee

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Michael Blakeslee

Executive Director of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME)

Michael Blakeslee is Executive Director of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He received B.A.s in music and psychology and an M.A. in music composition from the University of Virginia, where he managed the electronic music lab. He has taught at institutions in the United States and abroad, notably at Northern Virginia Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Universidad de Los Andes, and the Universidad Nacional Pedagógica de Colombia. He has composed musical works for a variety of media, and is the author of articles on music and music education.
At NAfME Blakeslee has served as editor of the award-winning Music Educators Journal and of Teaching Music magazine, and many NAfME publications. He has directed the development of music education initiatives and innovative online tools for music education. In 1994, he was editor of the National Standards for Arts Education: What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able to Do in the Arts. In 2010, he managed the process that resulted in the 21st Century Arts Skills Map, published by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. And he served on the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards leadership team in the development of the 2014 Core Arts Standards.

Blakeslee’s work at NAfME has also involved overseeing a number of significant cooperative ventures resulting in the development of teachers’ materials and other support for teachers and the public, and the institution of initiatives encouraging all decision-makers to engage more effectively in supporting music education.

In 2006, Blakeslee was designated a Lowell Mason Fellow, a distinction awarded to outstanding individuals in music education. He serves on the board of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, a youth orchestra in the Washington, DC, area.


Denese Odegaard

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Denese Odegaard

NAfME President

Denese Odegaard, National Association for Music Education (NAfME) President (June 2016), is currently the Fargo (North Dakota) Public Schools Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist, and has taught orchestra for 33 years. National service includes service as a board member on both the American String Teachers Association Board (ASTA) and the NAfME Board. While on the ASTA Board, she was chair of the Committee on School Orchestra and Strings and received the ASTA Citation for Leadership twice.


Victor Wooten

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Victor Wooten

Grammy Award-Winning Bassist, Composer, Author and Educator

He is an innovator, composer, arranger, lecturer, producer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. He is a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician, husband and father of four, and a five-time Grammy award winner. But those gifts only begin to tell the tale of this Tennessee titan.

Victor, known for his solo recordings and tours, and as a member of the Grammy-winning super group, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, has won most every major award given to a bass guitarist. He was voted Bassist of the year by Bass Player Magazine three times and is the only person to have won the award more than once. Full Bio


Carmine Appice

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Carmine Appice

Heavy Rock Drummer (Vanilla Fudge)

As drummer for Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice set the grooves for the groundbreaking band’s 1967 psychedelic debut, inadvertently inventing Stoner Rock in the process. The Fudge had no precedent. The band was totally unique. Post-Fudge, Bogert and Appice formed Cactus (seen as an influence on King’s X and Van Halen). Post-Cactus, the rhythm section found Grammy-winning Guitar Hero Jeff Beck to form the first supergroup: Beck, Bogert & Appice (BBA).

As an educator, Carmine was the first to legitimize rock drumming with his landmark book, “The Realistic Rock Drum Method“, selling over 500,000 copies (now in video format). He was the first Rock Drummer and Rock Musician to conduct instructional clinics and symposiums around the world, a tradition he continues.

 

Brian Hardgroove

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Brian Hardgroove

Record Producer, Multi-Instrumentalist (on hiatus from Public Enemy)

Hardgroove is a record producer, multi-instrumentalist and is on hiatus from the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy. His productions include the extraordinary talents of Chuck D (Public Enemy), Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Burning Spear, Marc Anthony, Supertramp and The Fine Arts Militia. Hardgroove’s most cherished work is his production of two of China’s premier punk rock bands Demerit and Brain Failure.


Joe Robinson

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Joe Robinson

Virtuoso Guitarist, Singer/Songwriter

Twenty­four year old Joe Robinson is considered uniquely gifted as a virtuoso guitarist and singer/songwriter. Hailing from backwoods Temagog, on the mid north coast of NSW, Australia his six­string ability and compositional insight have already earned him a worldwide following.

Based in Nashville, TN since 2010, Joe has toured China, Japan, Europe, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, defining himself as a budding world visionary. He walks a tightrope between the instrumental music that’s put him in the spotlight and a unique fusion of vocally based rock, blues, jazz, and R&B that’s entirely his own. His latest project is “Gemini Vol.2”, a four­song EP out through his own label, JOE’s GARAGE.


Christine Ohlman

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Christine Ohlman

The Beehive Queen”, Vocalist, Songwriter & Musicologist (Long-Time Vocalist Saturday Night Live Band)

“I’ve come here tonight to set your souls on fire,” she’ll tell an audience. And she will.

Long-time Saturday Night Live Band’s vocalist (since 1992), Christine’s legendary voice and stage presence (known as “The Beehive Queen” for her towering blonde hairdo) have most recently been featured on:

  • Five national Top 10 lists for her 2010 The Deep End
  • Top Americana vocalist on Alternate Root.com’s 2013 Readers’ Poll
  • Her voice graced the recent 40th Anniversary SNL Broadcast, and she wowed the crowd at the SNL40 post-show concert onstage with Jimmy Fallon, Elvis Costello and the B-52s
  • The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (guest shot with Black 47)
  • The 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland (filmed by HBO)
  • The Carnegie Hall tribute to the Rolling Stones
  • . . . and much, much more


Elaine Thomas

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Elaine Thomas

Director in the Visual and Performing Arts Department, Dallas Independent School District

Elaine Thomas is a Director in the Visual and Performing Arts Department for the Dallas Independent School District. Prior to becoming a director, she was the Instructional Specialist for Elementary Fine Arts and an elementary music teacher in Dallas ISD for 35 years. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 1970 with a Bachelor of Music Education and in 1997 from Dallas Baptist University with a Masters of Educational Administration. Her achievements include PTA Life membership; Station KDFW-TV “Class Act” Teacher of the Year 1992; Who’s Who in American Education 2007 and 2011; and Who’s Who in America 2010 and 2011. She was one of four finalists for Teacher of the Year for the Dallas Independent School District in 1999-2000 and 2004-2005.


Hal Abeles

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Hal Abeles

Professor of Music and Music Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Harold Abeles is a Professor of Music and Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University where he serves as the Co-director of the Center for Arts Education Research. He has written numerous articles and books on music education. He is the co-author of the Foundations of Music Education and the co-editor of Critical Issues in Music Education: Contemporary Theory and Practice. His research has focused on the evaluation of community-based arts organizations, the assessment of instrumental instruction, the sex-stereotyping of musical instruments, and the evaluation of applied music instructors.


Scott C. Shuler

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Scott C. Shuler

Arts Education Presenter/Consultant

Arts education presenter/consultant Scott C. Shuler formerly served as Connecticut’s Arts Education specialist as well as a school district assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, college professor, K-12 instrumental and general music teacher, and church choir director. Dr. Shuler helped write America’s first National Music Standards in 1994; co-chaired writing the National Core Music standards issued in 2014; co-chaired the 1997 music NAEP Assessment and CCSSO’s SCASS/Arts interstate arts assessment consortium; served as president of NAfME: The National Association for Music Education; and currently co-chairs NAfME’s Model Cornerstone Assessment Task Force. He holds awards for teaching, writing, service and leadership from several state and national organizations.


Erik Tarkiainen

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Erik Tarkiainen

Vice President Global Marketing, HARMAN

Erik Tarkiainen joined HARMAN as the Vice President, Global Marketing for the Professional Division in June 2014. Erik is responsible for driving the global marketing strategy and execution of marketing initiatives across the Professional Division. He is a seasoned marketing and product management leader with more than 24 years of experience holding senior roles with Professional Audio and Consumer companies, including Bose, Cakewalk, iZotope, Line 6, and Lynda.com. Erik has a BSEE with a minor in Electronic Music from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, graduate coursework in acoustics and audio signal processing from Penn State and an MBA in marketing from Boston University.


Warren Zanes

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Warren Zanes

Rock and Roll Forever Foundation

Dr. Warren Zanes joined The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation as executive director after several years as Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. At the Rock Hall he rebuilt the K-12 programming, launched a new distance learning project, and served as a visiting professor at Case Western Reserve University, in addition to producing public programs featuring artists from Aretha Franklin to Jerry Lee Lewis, Grandmaster Flash, and many more.


Robert Cutietta

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Robert Cutietta

USC Thornton School of Music

Robert Cutietta is Dean of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Since 2002, he has overseen and expansion in endowment, programs, and space while building on the traditional quality of education that is the school’s trademark. Under his leadership, the school has introduced innovative new degrees in music education, arts journalism visual and performing arts studies, choral music, vocal jazz and the groundbreaking popular music performance program.


Patricia Shehan Campbell

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Patricia Shehan Campbell

University of Washington School of Music

Patricia Shehan Campbell teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, including music for children, world music pedagogy, sociology of music, and research methods. In Fall 2010, she was appointed chair of the Ethnomusicology program and holds dual appointments in Music Education and Ethnomusicology. She was named Donald E. Petersen Professor of Music in 2000, and continues to hold this appointment offered to accomplished faculty at the University of Washington.


Bob Morrison

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Bob Morrison

Quadrant Arts Education Research

Robert B. Morrison has a long history as a supporter of music education and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading advocates for music and arts in education and in society. He is the founder of Quadrant Arts Education Research, the nation’s leading arts education research and intelligence organization. Mr. Morrison’s leadership in research, public policy and advocacy efforts has led to significant advancements in access to music and arts education programs across the nation.


Paula Fuga

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Paula Fuga

 

Praised for her originality in song composition and ability to stir the deepest emotions with spellbinding and soulful vocals, Paula Fuga has established herself as one of Hawai’i’s most respected live performers.

At an early age, she faced the vulnerabilities of living homeless on the beach, seeing the destruction of drugs and violence. Despite having overcome such adversity quite successfully, she is living her career with much gratitude and humility. Fuga relentlessly strives to inspire youth across the world, sharing her story of perseverance and hope.


Roger Brown

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Roger Brown

Berklee College of Music

When Berklee College of Music President Roger H. Brown assumed his post at the college in 2004, he brought a rich palette of professional and life experiences to the job. Skills accrued playing recording sessions as a drummer in New York, administering United Nations humanitarian operations in Southeast Asia and Africa, and founding a company with his wife that became a corporation valued at over $1 billion and employing 19,000 people have contributed to his effective leadership at the world’s largest college of contemporary music.


John Kratus

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John Kratus

Michigan State University

John Kratus is professor of music education at Michigan State University. He has published his ideas on music curriculum and creativity in leading journals and has presented his ideas to teachers around the world.


Nadine Levitt

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Nadine Levitt

Wurrly

Nadine is a Swiss born, German, Kiwi, US transplant, wine collector, mom of two toddlers and holds several patents in the fitness and technology sector. A professional opera singer and songwriter who has performed extensively all over the United States, and the world, Nadine has shared the stage with David Foster, Roger Daltry, Christina Perri, and Steven Tyler to name but a few. In 2013 she founded a label & publishing company (Feel Like A Giant & FLAG Publishing), and through those deals formed partnerships with TAP Management and Interscope Records. The need for a platform such as Wurrly was born out of her personal need as a singer. “Not everyone can afford a pianist to accompany them, and location and economic differences should not be a barrier to entry for self expression.” Nadine also holds a Law and Arts Degree (Majoring in languages and translation) from Auckland University (New Zealand). Nadine joined the Little Kids Rock board of directors in 2016 as an independent voting member.


Liberty DeVitto

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Liberty DeVitto

Legendary Drummer & Recording Artist (Billy Joel)

DeVitto’s life was changed forever on February 9, 1964, the night he saw The Beatles on TV. The camera showed girls screaming and crying at the band’s performance, and the young DeVitto thought, “What a great way to meet girls!” In November of 1968, Liberty was on the road with Detroit rocker Mitch Ryder banging out Mitch’s hits “Jenny Take A Ride,” “Devil With A Blue Dress On,” and “Sock It To Me Baby.” Right after Mitch Ryder, Liberty got a gig with Long Island alumni Richie Supa, and had his first recording experience. The album Supa’s Jamboree was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1969/1970, and was produced by Buddy Buie of Classics IV and Atlanta Rhythm Section fame.

Liberty was driving Supa’s equipment van when it hit some black ice and flipped. Liberty sustained serious injures, and for a year he was unable to play the drums. To ease back in to playing, he took a steady gig at a catering hall on Long Island. During this period the group Topper was formed, featuring Liberty on drums, Doug Stegmeyer on bass, Russell Javors on guitar and vocals, and Howie Emerson on guitar. With the addition of sax player Richie Cannata and the replacement of Emerson with David Brown in 1978, Topper became Billy Joel’s band.

Liberty resides in Brooklyn, New York and loves what he was born to do—play drums. Liberty’s years on tour and experiences with numerous artists brings insight to The Sessions along with his gift of communications skills and motivational speaking.


David Wish

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David Wish

Little Kids Rock

Dave Wish is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that funds and runs one of the largest, free instrumental music programs in US public schools today, having served nearly 500,000 low-income children in 14 states. A recognized social entrepreneur, Dave has been awarded numerous honors for his work in the field, including prestigious fellowships from Ashoka, The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, The Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation, and The Goldhirsh Foundation.


Previous Featured Modern Band Rockfest Speakers

We've had some amazing speakers join us at Modern Band Rockfest in past years.