All faculty members have extensive teaching, playing and performing/exhibiting experience.
Bassoon, Oboe - Shelly Unger
Founding director of Summer Bassoon Extravaganza, is a freelance bassoon and contrabassoon player as well as an artist affiliate bassoon instructor at Emory University. She earned a bachelor of music degree from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University where she studied with Sidney Rosenberg. After completing her master’s degree in bassoon performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University as a student of Benjamin Kamins, she pursued post-graduate study with Bernard Garfield, former principal bassoonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
She earned her DMA in bassoon performance from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. Dr. Unger plays in metro Atlanta, in regional orchestras throughout the Southeast and on occasion performs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She is the second bassoonist with Symphony Orchestra Augusta.
Cello - Anna McCoy
Anna McCoy has been teaching private cello lessons for 9 years. She specializes in training students to play with beautiful tone and artistry in the beginner stages and as students progress into advanced repertoire. Anna has significant orchestral and solo performance experience. She has played with numerous symphonies and was a member of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra (a professional symphony in California) from 2013-2020. Anna studied with private cello teachers for 10 years and completed her training in private cello lessons with Joseph Mendoes at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, CA.
Guitar - Reid Stevens
Reid Stevens is an American record producer, singer-songwriter & multi-instrumentalist, based out of Atlanta, GA. With a degree in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina, Stevens founded the music production & promotion label, 33 1/3 Records, in 1999, to serve as a platform for releasing his work as a producer and songwriter.
Stevens has performed with Grammy winners and recently produced the Contemporary Christian album, Shine for 33 1/3 Records. He has also been featured in the "At Home for Christmas" series, a global charity relief project assisting St. Jude's and Project Half Way, Reid has participated in various television series and has performed alongside #1 multi-hit songwriters.
Stevens is a recurring guest speaker in the Music Industry, a regular contributor for Sirius XM, Listeners Connect, Westwood One, TeachRock, music panel judge for National PTA Reflections music competitions, multi Instrumentalist/instructor, vocal coach and has produced audition recordings that have granted students acceptance to top music college programs & assisted in the development of multiple music students landing them roles in television series for ABC, Disney and national commercials.
Guitar - Wagner Gracciano
Wagner Gracciano is a Brazilian record producer, songwriter, composer, arranger & multi-instrumentalist based out of Atlanta, GA. He studied Music Education and Classical Guitar at The Federal University of Goiás (Brazil). He has played for a long time in Caroço de Pequi, a recognized student group under the recency of Maestro Jarbas Cavendish (in memory of). He has also played in several Jazz/Fusion bands, including Jazz Nervoso. Wagner has performed and recorded albums and a DVD with many Brazilian artists, and has had some of his songs recorded by famous Christian Brazilian singers.
In 2013 Wagner recorded his first solo album which he composed, produced, and played all of the songs with the participation of great musicians. This album was a success among critics and garnered extensive media coverage. Living in Atlanta for 6 years, Wagner has played, produced, and directed several artists, and won the tenth edition of the Prayze Factor Awards as producer of the year and international song of the year (his song As a Prayer).
In 2022, Wagner released four songs on his new solo album with the participation of great musicians.
Percussion, Drumset - Christian Kilgore
Christian is a current Performance Major at Kennesaw State University and has been playing percussion for 9 years. He often performs with the KSU Wind Ensemble as well as multiple local orchestras. He has had the opportunity to teach at West Jackson Middle School, Whitefield Academy, Jackson County Comprehensive High School, Lost Mountain Middle School, Encore Band Camp, Wheeler High School, and more. He is currently studying under John Lawless and hopes to perform and teach percussion professionally for the rest of his career.
Piano - Rebekah Cottingham
Received her Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from University of Miami, Fl. and her Masters of Music in Organ Performance from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has served as a church organist and pianist for the last 43 years. She currently is one of the Organist/Pianists at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, where she has played for over 30 years.
Piano - Laurel H. Harrell
Laurel H. Harrell earned her Bachelor and Masters degrees in piano performance from Georgia State University and has over 35 years of experience teaching private piano lessons. She also has extensive experience as a collaborative pianist with area school choral programs. She has served as staff accompanist for Walton High School choruses since 2014. Mrs. Harrell is a member of JFBC, but she has also served as church pianist/music associate locally for 30+ years. Her students have regularly taken part in National Piano Guild Auditions and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Graded Exams.
Piano and Voice - Kate O'Rourke
Kate O’Rourke is an alumnus of Shorter College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. More recently, she attended the Shenandoah CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute to deepen her technical knowledge and skills as an educator. Kate has spent the last several years teaching music at Atlanta Classical Academy, where she focused on curriculum development based on the Kodály method. During her tenure at ACA, she taught kindergarten, K-3 music, lower school choir, and middle school choir. Kate loves to grow as an educator and is deeply interested in vocal and piano pedagogy. She loves using repertoire that her students find engaging, exciting, and challenging in order to apply these pedagogical techniques. Kate a great deal of experience singing classically, chorally, and in contemporary worship settings. She enjoys bringing this breadth of experience and attentiveness to vocal style and nuance to her lessons. Kate deeply enjoys the process of building relationships with her students and learning how they thrive as individuals. She loves to learn and to pursue beauty, and she seeks to gently instill those drives in all of her students as well.
Piano - Lenard Martin Jr.
Lenard Martin Jr. earned a Bachelor's degree in performance with a double concentration in Piano and Percussion from Georgia Southwestern State University and a Master's degree in Piano Pedagogy from Georgia State University. He has served as accompanist for various choral groups, theatre companies, and as a staff accompanist at the university level. Lenard currently serves as the Director of Music and service pianist for Norcross Presbyterian Church. Along with private piano instruction, Lenard also enjoys teaching Music Theory and Music History.
Piano - Ariel Montero
Earned a Bachelor's of Music in Music Education with a Concentration in Piano from Kennesaw State University in 2013. While at KSU, she also earned a Global Learning Certification as a result of her student teaching experience at Colegio Menor de San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. She currently teaches music theory and piano at the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts, a magnet school for the arts housed at Pebblebrook High School, where she is also a staff accompanist. Her philosophy of private piano lessons is focused on a strong understanding of music theory, a healthy physical technique, and exposure to a variety of musical styles with the goal of building an ongoing love of music.
Piano - Keith Phillips
Bachelor of Music from University of Georgia with piano and composing emphasis. Also studied Piano Performance at Furman University. Solo CD’s include many original piano compositions.
Piano - Lois Seeger
Music Education degree, BS in Elementary Education, and MA in Human Development with thesis topic: Children, Music and Spirituality. She loves to teach young kids the joy of music and has developed some wonderful curriculum for 4-6 year olds.
Piano - Cynthia Weisbrod
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Masters of Music in Church Music. Extensive teaching experience from grade school to collegiate level. She has also been on staff as a Choir Director and staff pianist.
Piano - Christina Sutton
Christina Sutton received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Purdue University in 2015. She is a classically trained pianist who studied for a total of 9 years under former Depauw University professor Mary Heller and piano teacher Nadya Dubikovsky, who specializes in music theory and education. Over the years she has had the opportunity to perform in a variety of competitions and recitals, and also accompany various choral groups. Her love of music and passion for teaching is the driving force behind her piano instruction.
Her goal is to help her students experience the joy of music, develop a solid foundation in technique and music theory, and grow a lifelong love for music.
Saxophone, Clarinet - Bill Van Dyke
Bill holds a Bachelor's Degree in music in Jazz Studies from Auburn University and also a Masters in Music Education from Auburn University . Bill has been a performing musician as well as a much sought after woodwind clinician with many different schools in the Atlanta metro area. Bill has taught many young musicians their first notes many of which have gone on to be local band directors and musicians.
Trombone - George Blevins
Graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, emphasis in Trombone Performance. George has played the trombone for over 30 years and has had the opportunity to perform in numerous concerts around the world as well playing with the Atlanta Passion Play. He currently plays in multiple groups including The Johnson Ferry Orchestra, Gospel Jazz Band, and the premier community band, "Tara Winds." George has also enjoyed playing on mission trips to Quito, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Romania, Cuba and Moscow.
Trumpet - David Klausman
Graduated from Furman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, emphasis in Trumpet Performance; toured the 25th Anniversary Tour with the contemporary Christian group TRUTH and played with artists Ron Kenoly, “Annointed,” Pat Boone, Sheila E., Dave Boyer, and Babbie Mason. David has also played for Aretha Franklin, Brian Wilson(Beach Boys) and Johnny Mathis. David founded the Victory Jazz Orchestra, an 18 piece big band, and is a free-lance artist in the Metro Atlanta area. David also conducts Trumpet Master Classes for area middle schools and high schools.
Trumpet - Jonathan Klausman
Jonathan Klausman is a trumpeter and educator. Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia, he comes from a long line of musicians that include his father, mother and grandfather, all of whom are professional musicians in the metro-Atlanta area. Mr. Klausman earned a Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from the University of Texas at Austin.
Viola/Violin - Felix Farrar
Attended the Manhattan School of Music and Brooklyn College School of Performing Arts. He is founding and executive director of the Harlem Festival Orchestra based in New York. He has been a string instructor for the Dekalb School of the Arts, The Atlanta Girl’s School and the Atlanta University Center. He is a core member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and performs with the Greenville Symphony. Felix tours the US and contracts musicians for many famous artists and acts. He can be heard on many recordings from radio to TV.
Viola/Violin - Cheree Mitchem
For the past 17 years, Cheree Mitchem has taught private violin and viola lessons in the Marietta area. As a private music instructor, she uses a traditional method of teaching to incorporate technical and musical skills during the lesson instruction. Ms. Mitchem graduated from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has performed in several orchestras in the Southeast, which includes Alabama Symphony, Atlanta Opera, Charleston Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Georgia Symphony, Greenville Symphony, and Macon Symphony. She brings her orchestra experience and knowledge to her lesson teaching to better help students learn orchestral skills during their lesson.
Viola/Violin - Christopher Thurstone
Christopher received a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is currently studying a Master's Degree in orchestral performance at Georgia State University and serves as a teaching assistant and concertmaster. He has performed in numerous summer music festivals including Interlochen, Hot Springs Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, International Violin Symposium at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the International Music Institute and Festival in Maryland. Christopher has also acted as a counselor and soloist at IMIF, DUSS Summer Camp, and more recently at the ACT Music Performance Program in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2010, Christopher was offered positions in the Durham and Fayetteville Symphony Orchestras and has performed with the China National Orchestra, North Carolina International Orchestra, and Georgia Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed around the NC Triad and Atlanta areas in musicals, operas, church performances, and other symphonic concerts with Atlanta Sinfonietta. In 2020 Christopher was a preliminary string finalist for the Brumby concerto competition at GSU performing Ravel's "Tzigane," however the final competition was cancelled due to the outbreak of covid-19. His principal teachers and influences include Christos Galileas, Fabian Lopez, Richard Luby, David Updegraff, and Dorothy Kitchen.
Violin and Suzuki Strings - Colleen Lively
Bachelor of Music Education from Tennessee Temple University, certifed Suzuki Strings Instructor, former middle school orchestra director, performed with Minot Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra and more. Extensive private teaching experience and active free-lance performer. She has been teaching violin since 1984.
Voice - Hayley Deonna' Reed
Bachelor of Music from Fisk University and Master's Degree in Business Administration. Hayley Deonna' is a professional background singer who has made appearances on: The Johnny Cash Memorial Celebration Telecast, Compilation CD for Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton, The Live 8 (with Neal Young), Hurricane Katrina Telethon (with Neal Young), Movie "Heart of Gold" (with Neal Young), The Conan O'Brian Show (with Neal Young), Shirley Caesar's "I Know the Truth" Recording Project, Kirk Franklin, (Stellar Awards 2010 and 2014 house band as a background vocalist), She's had the privilege of singing background for Carrie Underwood, Angela Winbush, Darlene Love, Candi Staton, Lyle Lovett, and many others. Hayley Deonna's appears weekly on Bobby Jones Presents, as a lead vocalist for the Nashville Super Choir. Hayley Deonna' is a songwriter, a vocal arranger, a clinician, a vocal coach, a clothing stylist, and a producer. She is also Founder and CEO of Pnuma Music Group, LLC., which is an independent record label that focuses on artist development from all aspects. (Business, Branding, Marketing, Production, etc.) Hayley Deonna' Released her debut solo project, "Hayley Deonna', Live in Nashville," in August of 2019. The album is available on all music outlets. A hard copy can be purchased on Amazon. Hayley Deonna' now resides with her family in Atlanta, GA.
Voice - Lori Williams
Acclaimed international Jazz vocalist Lori Williams is turning a corner. In possession of a most impressive resume as a performing artist, music educator, songwriter, producer, vocalist and musical theater actress, her reputation and level of respect are top shelf and unimpeachable. Her annual summer vocal jazz symposium and tour have taken her to Europe (Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Ukraine), Japan and across the USA, performing in festivals and conducting vocal jazz workshops. As an educator for over 25 years, Lori has received many honors including Outstanding Music Teacher in the October 2000 issue of Teaching Music, the 2007 Superintendent's Arts Teacher of the Year Award, and the 2010 Vincent E. Reed Teacher of the Year. As a performing artist, Lori was nominated for a 2014 Helen Hayes Award as an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Musical for her role as Ella Fitzgerald in "Ladies Swing the Blues: A Jazz Fable” (directed by Thomas W. Jones). Lori has received letters of recognition for her performances by President Joseph Biden, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and Maryland Senator C. Anthony Muse. She has currently produced and released six CDs under her name. Her music can be found on LoriJazz.net, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, Apple Music, YouTube, Soundcloud, and her website LoriJazz.com. Ms. Williams is the proud mother of two amazing, talented children - Lauren Vanessa Highsmith (LAVAHI) and Yusef Khalil Chisholm.