Bradley Allen, BM, BME
Director, Voice/Singing, Piano
Brad began studying piano at age five, singing at church by age eight, and playing trumpet and singing in high school musicals at age eleven. He participated in marching band, show choir, concert choir, musicals, jazz band, 4-H Band, recitals, and the garage band Identity Crisis. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education from The Ohio State University, where he studied with professors Dr. Loretta Robinson and Dr. Robin Rice. While attending OSU he participated and had solos in University Choir, Symphonic Choir, Men’s Glee Club, Chorale and University Repertoire Band. He was active in the OSU theatre department as an actor, stage crew hand, workshop tech, soundboard operator, sound designer and assistant stage manager. He also studied with vocal pedagogue Dr. Paul Kiesgan from Indiana University. He has national and international performance experience and has performed professionally locally with Columbus Light Opera, Weathervane Playhouse, and the Cantari Singers. His experiences range from teaching German diction in Sevilla, Spain to singing the world premiere of a new vocal work in Columbus. Teaching trumpet, piano, and voice since 1997, Brad has loved music for as long as he can remember and believes that learning is fun, music is universal and love is contagious! Brad is happily married to Dr. Helen Allen and has four children- Graham, Christopher, Hannah, and William. He has been a teacher at Encore Music Studios since 2011 and Director since 2016.
As a member of the award winning KASA String Quartet, violinst Aaron Schwartz has recently located to the Central Ohio area where he teaches and performs regularly. Praised as an extremely versatile musician, you can see Aaron collaborate with artists on Youtube and Instagram covering tunes from Louis Armstrong and The Eagles to Brahms and Ysaye. An alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University and Cleveland Institute of Music, Associated Faculty with the Chamber Music Connection, principal violinst of Opera Project Columbus, core group member of new music ensemble Nat28 (PA), and an Artist in Residence at The Caroga Lake Music Festival (NY), Aaron has worked with artists such as Andres Cardenes, Rachel Barton Pine, Joseph Silverstein, Manfred Honeck, Pascal Tortelier, Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Tree, the St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Cavani String Quartets.
Abby Wagner is a violist based in Vienna, Austria with a background in western classical and folk styles. She is violist of the trio Folk Notion, with nyckelharpist Genelle Denzin and multi-instrumentalist Lea Anne Kangas, and performs regularly with pianist Wei-Yi Sun and oboist Amber Verser. She has appeared in such venues as the Singleton Piano Studio, Harmonious Homestead’s old-time house concert series, John Glenn International Airport, Gay St. Moonlight Market, the 70th annual Wiener Kathreintanz, All Soles Contra & Square Dance, Kaffeebar Quentin, and Café Lassa’s Mala soba series. Abby holds a Master of Music in viola performance from The Ohio State University, where she served as a Graduate Teaching Associate, and a Bachelor of Music in viola performance and music education from Lawrence University of Wisconsin. Abby received a Fulbright scholarship to work on the project Musikalische Volkskultur bei burgenländischen Auswanderern in Pennsylvania, USA at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. Her teachers have included Gail Slanaker, Matthew Michelic, Dr. Rudolf Pietsch, and Dr. Juliet White-Smith. Abby has been teaching music for eleven years. She believes that every person has the ability to learn to play an instrument with joy, skill, and ease. Abby’s students are engaged in projects ranging from playing in the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestras to learning their favorite fiddle tunes; from playing violin in the context of community outreach to composing their own music. Abby’s teaching methodology is eclectic, blending inspirations from master pedagogues, ways of learning found in oral traditions, current research, and the spontaneous spark of creativity that makes each lesson different from the one before. She strives to guide her students toward their unique goals and help them to learn how they learn best.
Trumpet, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele
Ian Harrah graduated in 2014 from Miami University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He is an active Columbus musician and arranger in a variety of styles, including jazz with the Ben Crowder Sextet and Ian Harrah Quintet, salsa with Al Son del Iya, pop/rock with The Big Badd, funk with Osage, second line with Largemouth Brass Band, and latin jazz with 7 Igba Ire. Ian has also served as pianist/guitarist/singer at the American Baptist Church of Westerville for the past 5 years. Ian believes that music is for everyone and that anyone can learn how to create and find joy in music. His teaching style is to encourage students to find their passions and goals to help them feel self-motivated and excited to learn and play! With 4 years of teaching experience, Ian is comfortable teaching students of all ages on brass, piano, guitar, and ukulele!
Soprano, Helen Allen, a native of Yellow Springs, OH, is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she earned a BM, MM and DMA in vocal performance. Dr. Allen has worked with such noted artists as Shirlee Emmons, Warren Jones, Håkan Hagegård, Mark Rucker and Martina Arroyo. Some of her title roles include those in Die Zauberflöte, Mavra, Gianni Schicchi, La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni and Fidelio. Locally, Dr. Allen has appeared with Columbus Light Opera, Opera Columbus Outreach, Westerville Symphony Orchestra, and Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra. She has made numerous appearances as a soloist in such works as Messiah, Poulenc’s Gloria,Laud to the Nativity, Carmina Burana, and Benedicite. Dr. Allen has received awards for her participation in both state and national competitions and has adjudicated competitions for young singers as well. Recently, she appeared in a series of recitals with Dr. Allen McCullough, premiering the composer’s new works via a NEA grant in corroboration with Chamber Music Yellow Springs, performing around Central Ohio. Additional collaborative recitals and premieres ensued at Mercer University and Purdue University. Dr. Allen currently serves as a member of the voice faculty at Otterbein University, a position she has held since 2001. She resides in Columbus, OH, with her husband and four children.
Suzuki Piano, Voice/Singing
Mary's interest and career in vocal music began under the instruction of Larry Weaver and Michele Horsefield-Carney of Central Ohio. Originally from Grandview, OH, Mary performed with the Grandview Singers and won notoriety for her solo performance of "Swinging on a Star", that she bravely performed while swinging on a large star suspended 20 feet above the audience. Mary received her Bachelors of General Studies in Musical Theater and Masters in Communication with focus on Radio Television Production and the Performing Arts from Ohio University in Athens, OH. Mary put together the Daley-Moore Singers who performed at local and national events such as America Sings. She completed her Suzuki Piano Pedagogy with Mary Craig Powell of Capital University. Mary has received a teacher enrichment grant from OMTA to study special needs and learning styles and serves as a faculty coach for CMC of Worthington, OH. She is the music specialist at Central Ohio Christian Academy and Preschool and has served as judge for Scale Olympics and Indiana Show Choir Festivals.
Wei-Yi Sun, a native of Taichung, Taiwan, was Awarded her Doctorate in Piano Performance at The Ohio State University School of Music studying under Professor Steven Glaser. She earned her Master of Music degree from Indiana University. As an active performer, Wei-Yi has performed worldwide including solo recitals in Taiwan (National Taichung Theatre), the United States, and at many international music festivals in Italy and France. Wei-Yi is not only a solo and collaborative artist but a dedicated teacher. She was a Graduate Teaching Associate in the School of Music where she taught both music and non-music majors for three years and continues to teach private lessons. Recently, she has won many prizes including the first prize in the Women in Music Scholarship Competition, first prize in the OhioMTA Graves Piano Competition, and gold medal winner in the Forte International Music Competition at Carnegie Hall, New York.
Guitar, Bass Guitar
Ricky Feria began playing the guitar at age 10. He began his performing experience when he was a young teenager playing in various groups as both a guitarist and drummer. He is a versatile guitarist and specializes in blues and rock guitar. Ricky also plays the drum set, bass guitar, piano and sings. He has a very extensive touring experience having performed on the same bills as some very well known national acts such as The Marcus King Band, Matisyahu, Les Claypool and many more. This has earned Ricky a string endorsement with string manufacturer Black Diamond Strings as well as a big recognition in the regional music scene. Ricky started teaching guitar 6 years ago and has had over 200 students ranging from beginner to advanced levels, including working with children in Dublin and Worthington City Schools, and at The Boys and Girls Club of Columbus. Ricky has been a music producer for over 7 years and has recorded several albums and EPs. Ricky is very passionate about music and enjoys sharing that passion with his students.
Kathryn "Kitty", BA
Kitty began violin lessons at age 10 in Warren Pa., studying with Peter Fahlbush of the Buffalo Symphony and later with Alexandro Caravachi. A graduate of Mount Union College in Alliance, Oh., Kitty earned her Suzuki certifications at Capital University Suzuki Institute, and at St. Stevens (WI) Suzuki Institute. Kitty was first associated with Encore in 1980 when the studio opened and her children began instruction. She soon began answering phones and scheduling students, worked as office manager for two owners, and has been the Director since 2003. Kitty specializes in beginning Suzuki Violin students and especially likes teaching the younger students. In addition to teaching violin, Kitty is also the Director of Children's Choirs at her church.
Piano, Music Theory
Music has been an important part of Leah's life for as long as she can remember. Her interest for playing music sparked when her family purchased a piano and she started taking lessons at age six. Leah began to play piano in church, started to write her own music, and decided to pursue music as a career. Leah began to teach piano lessons at the age of sixteen. She graduated in 2020 from Asbury University in Kentucky with a BA in Worship Arts and a minor in music, heavily focusing her education on music theory, piano pedagogy, and performance. Leah was part of the songwriting team and played piano on Asbury Worship Collective's album in 2020. Leah has six years of teaching experience and makes it her goal to help each student learn to love music more at each lesson!
Alexis Hefley graduated from Otterbein University as a Music Performance major Spring 2021. She studies under Dr. Kimberlee Goodman, and has performed under a variety of ensembles and concert settings at Otterbein. She is a member of the wind ensemble, flute ensemble, marching band, and pep band, and performs in chamber music groups under the direction of Dr. Suzanne Newcomb. Alexis has been a featured performer with almost every ensemble at Otterbein University, including but not limited to the string orchestra, jazz band, Red Noise, and both the Men's and Women's choruses. She has also played in the pit orchestra for the renowned Otterbein Theater Department's showcase, under the direction of Lori Kay Harvey. As a flute performance major, Alexis also has comprehensive experience performing from a professional standpoint. She has been a frequent performer for the Westerville Symphony throughout her undergraduate degree, and held the second flute position for the symphony prior to the pandemic shutdown. She has performed at COFA (Central Ohio Flute Assocation) annually with the Otterbein flute choir, as well as in Flute Choir Day, held at Otterbein by Dr. Goodman. Alexis has performed in masterclasses with a variety of renowned flutists like Katherine Borst Jones, Jacqueline Cordova-Arrington, Paula Gudmundson, and Randy Hester. She has also taken private lessons with Randy Hester, the formal principal flutist of the Columbus Symphony from 1975-2018. Alexis performed her junior recital spring semester of 2020 alongside Otterbein piano major Dasha Bruyako, and gave her senior recital February 26th of this year, accompanied by Dr. Newcomb on both concerts. She is currently applying to graduate schools to obtain her Master's in Flute Performance, and aims to teach collegiately and perform as a professional musician. She originates from Radford, Virginia, and she resides in Gahanna, OH with her husband, Brandon Moren, and her dog, Lucy.
Brian Rhodus has studied percussion and drum set since the age of 12. He began playing on pots and pans as a toddler and has also played piano since a young age. Brian studied percussion and drum set with Jeremy Bradstreet and Dan Hostetler at Dublin Coffman High School; and with Susan Powell, Joseph Krygier, and Jim Rupp at The Ohio State University. While at Ohio State Brian frequently collaborated with and composed for classes and students in the Department of Dance. Brian has performed and toured in the United States, Canada, and South America. He can be heard on many records and seen live playing rock, jazz, hip hop, and classical music with many artists including The New Albany Symphony, Joyride, and Booty&TheKidd.
Heath, Encore Intern
Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele
At age 7, Heath began taking guitar with an emphasis on Suzuki classical methods. After becoming comfortable with this technique, he began studying electric guitar and bass with us at Encore Music Studios where he branched out greatly in his contemporary and jazz playing under our teachers Ian and Ricky. Heath has performed professionally in solo gigs and has continued to play in large ensembles such as his high school's jazz band and in the pit for musicals such as "Oklahoma" and "The Mad Ones." Heath has also taken music theory courses through the International Baccalaureate program and Encore’s Music Theory and Aural Training course. Beyond guitar and electric bass, Heath is also a vocalist, having taken lessons for 2 years and played Cinderella’s Prince and the Big Bad Wolfe in "Into The Woods" and Lank Hawkins in "Crazy for You." He is excited to share his talent and musical passion with the next generation!
John Paul, MM
John Paul is a violinist and violist originally from Anderson, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance from Appalachian State University, and a Master of Music from Ohio University, where he served as the Ensembles Division Graduate Administrative Assistant, along with being the orchestral assistant for OU’s Symphony Director, Steven Huang. John Paul is a member of the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra, Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra, and has worked with other organizations such as the Huntington Symphony, The Chamber Music Connection, and Johnson City Symphony Orchestra as well as being a freelance artist. He studied violin with Dr. Nancy Bargerstock, and Dr. Dawn Wohn while also studying viola with Dr. Eric Koontz and Stephanie Price-Wong.
Laura began playing piano at age 7, singing in choirs at age 11, and playing the pipe organ for her local church at age 13. After catching the music bug through dedicated high school music instructors, she majored in music at Concordia University Nebraska and has since pursued a career in church music and music instruction. She is a prizewinner in pipe organ competitions in 2014, 2015, and 2017 and is an accomplished vocalist and pianist. Laura has a special interest in global music. She is currently studying Hindustani classical music and plans to move to South Asia one day. Having experienced firsthand the transformative power of encouraging, knowledgeable music instruction, Laura desires to empower every student to know that they are musical and have unique gifts to bring to the world.