2790 W. College Ave., Suite #7, State College, PA 16801

Email: info@scmusicacademy.org |Phone: 814-238-3451

Meet the Faculty

To find out more about our faculty, please click on the arrow to view each short biography.

Leslie Beers (Traditional and Suzuki Violin and Piano)

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Leslie Beers (Traditional and Suzuki Violin and Piano) is delighted to return to Centre Co., Pa., where she introduced Suzuki Piano in 1978 and was director of Suzuki strings and piano for many years. Later, she started her own studio, Suzuki Friends. Leslie received a Music Education degree from Susquehanna University and studied in the Masters program for Suzuki String Technique at University of Tennessee with William Starr. Author of the teaching manual, the Suzuki Violinist, Mr.Starr lived for years in Japan, studying with Suzuki. Leslie creates an intimate yet professional studio, encouraging friendships through ensembles, theory games and reading in group classes. She is certified in the Mark O’Connor American music method, adding fiddle tunes to her teaching.

Evelyn Bookhammer (Traditional and Suzuki Cello)

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Evelyn Bookhammer (Traditional and Suzuki Cello) loves teaching both Suzuki and traditional cello to any age of student. She is versatile and creative in helping students to be successful and to love the cello. Evelyn has had many very small children, lots of school aged and many adult students through the years. Ms. Bookhammer believes all have inborne talent that can be developed in a positive environment, with the proper nurturing. She started cello with Marco Branda in Altoona, and then, Evelyn studied cello at Mansfield University, Elmira College, and Penn State University. She has performed with Elmira Symphony, Juniata College Symphony, Celtic Classic, and Altoona Symphony since high school. Ms. Bookhammer is certified through book 5 in Suzuki Repertoire, through book 7 overview by the American Suzuki Association. Evelyn has been teaching Suzuki cello in the State College Suzuki Program since 1989. She also teaches in Hollidaysburg, and formerly at Juniata College. She has studied with Marco Branda, Irwin Borodkin, Leonard Feldman, and Kim Cook. Evelyn is blessed by teaching cello.

Tom Cody (Guitar and Bass Guitar)

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Tom Cody (Guitar and Bass Guitar) maintains a busy performing schedule working as a pit musician for shows (guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele), accompanist, freelance musician, and arranger. He also performs as part of horn/guitar duo with his wife, Sarah Schouten. Tom is on the music theory faculty at Penn State University teaching freshman and sophomore music theory and aural skills—a position he has held since 2001. Tom holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance and a Master of Music degree in Music Theory/Composition from Youngstown State University. He is currently completing the requirements for the Ph.D. in Music Theory from The Ohio State University.

Betha Christopher (Early Childhood Classes)

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Betha Christopher (Early Childhood Classes) is a fully licensed Musikgarten teacher, was a National Musikgarten Teacher Trainer and a Level I Certified ECMMA member. She earned a Bachelor of Music from DePauw University in Indiana, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Boston University. "Because I can see the wonderful benefits of music in my own children, I am delighted to offer Musikgarten & Music Together programs to families at The Music Academy! I bring over 20 years of experience with young children, as a children's choir director, nanny, nursery director, preschool music teacher, and mother. I hope that your family will join me soon to sing, dance and experience music together." Betha is also the Early Childhood Coordinator.

Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber (Voice)

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Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber (Voice) mezzo soprano, enjoys an active performing career in oratorio, cantata, and operatic circuits. As a concert artist, she has performed in prestigious venues across the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul, Turkey, Strasbourg Cathedral, and Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral. She is also in frequent demand as a recitalist and concert performer of new works. She has several world premieres to her credit, including song cycles and concert works by Robert S. Cohen, Martha Hill Duncan, and Timothy Melbinger. Ms. Cutsforth-Huber is also an active teacher; she has been the recipient of the Emerging Leaders Award from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Penn State Altoona’s Athleen Steer Award for Outstanding Teaching and Mentorship. She currently serves as Professor of Music at Penn State Altoona.

Brandy Davis (Clarinet, Saxophone)

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Brandy Davis (Clarinet, Saxophone) holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University. She has been teaching clarinet and saxophone lessons for 14 years. Brandy is also an active freelance musician with experience in performing a wide variety of music with various groups. Some of these groups include the Nittany Valley and Altoona Symphonies, FUSE Productions, Singing Onstage Studios, Penn State Centre Stage, Chicago the Musical tour, P & J Productions, Moshannon Valley YMCA Student Youth Theatre Program, Bavarian Stompers, and the State College Area Municipal Band.

Tomas Garcia Duenas (Guitar)

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Tomas Garcia (Guitar) started playing guitar when he was ten and focused on jazz guitar during his undergraduate degree at the University of Houston, where he studied with Mike Wheeler and performed in the jazz ensembles under Noe Marmolejo. He has explored different genres including rock, blues, pop, and classical. He maintained a studio of beginner guitarists for two years while living in Houston. Tomas holds degrees in Composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (MM) and the University of Houston (BM). He is currently completing a Master’s in Orchestral Conducting at Penn State, where he serves as conductor of the Penn State Campus Orchestra.

Brooke Greybush (Piano)

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Brooke Greybush (Piano) is delighted to teach piano at The Music Academy. She welcomes students of all ages to take individual piano lessons or group piano lessons. Brooke holds dual B.A. degrees in Music and Psychology from Susquehanna University and her Masters in Music in Piano Pedagogy from Temple University. Teaching positions include Susquehanna University’s preparatory program, Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, and The Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts in Clearwater, Florida. Since 2010, Brooke has enjoyed teaching individual piano lessons, group piano and early childhood music classes at the Music Academy. Brooke has an interactive teaching method and adapts to each student’s learning style. She encourages families to be involved with their child’s musical journey. Piano lessons focus on technique, sound, theory, analysis, memorization and creativity. Brooke looks forward to exploring the world of music with her students while enhancing their everyday lives with creativity, discipline, and joy.

Cathy Herrera (Flute, Baroque Flute, World Flutes, Recorder)

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Cathy Herrera (Flute, Baroque Flute, World Flutes, Recorder) Flutist Cathy Collinge Herrera enjoys an international performing and teaching career spanning four continents and several decades. Her Doctorate in Flute Performance and Certificate in World Music have led her down many unique as well as traditional orchestral and chamber music paths. She has served on university and conservatory faculties in Australia, Peru and the U.S. While a Fulbright scholar to Peru, she was principal flute of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and a founder of the Latin American Flute Festival scene. In recent years she has added new age improvisation, composing and interdisciplinary arts collaboration to her list of musical passions. An artistic ambassador for U.S. Embassies, Cathy has premiered multiple works, including her own compositions in the U.S. and abroad as soloist at music festivals, such as the Bournemouth (England) Music Festival; Música Para Todos festival in La Paz, Bolivia; Festivales Internacionales de Flautistas in Peru and El Centro del Mundo Quito, Ecuador; the Mesoamerica tour with the Cornell University Men’s Glee Club; as well as throughout the Americas with the Herrera-Register flute and guitar duo; Camerata Amistad trio; and the TrioArts Project, a collaboration of music, dance and the spoken word. Founder of The Flutopia Initiative charitable organization with the motto ¨flutists inspiring musicians to change the world, one concert at a time¨, she has worked locally to benefit hometown residents with ¨Play it Forward¨ concerts and the ¨Flutopia 5k!¨ featuring musicians along the route. In the U.S. she organizes Flutopia Initiative benefit concerts for a local charity in the host city of each National Flute Association convention, and on an international level has raised funds and provided musical instruments for music students in Guatemala, Haiti and Peru, as well as funds for Doctors Without Borders. Cathy is a Rostered Artist for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, flutist and piccoloist with the Penns Woods, Altoona and Nittany Valley, Symphony Orchestras, and is the Flute Lecturer at Juniata College. Her compositions are published by ALRY and her book, “It’s Performance Day! Success in the Spotlight” by Theodore Presser.

Patrese Huff (Suzuki Violin)

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Patrese Huff (Suzuki Violin) loves teaching young children through music. Patrese began violin lessons at age 5 in a Suzuki program in Napa, California. She studied with Ted Ashton and Mark Emile in Logan Utah, and received a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Utah State University. She has performed in the United States as well as Italy, Austria, Germany, and France; she performs locally with the Altoona Symphony. Patrese has taught Suzuki violin for over 30 years and is certified by the Suzuki Association of the Americas through book 4. She is creative and innovative in reaching children at their level and engaging them in the joy of making music together. Mrs. Huff also teaches and directs the Strings program at Our Lady of Victory Catholic School.

Paul Kim (Traditional and Suzuki Cello)

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Paul Kim (Traditional and Suzuki Cello) will be available for online remote lessons. Paul picked up the cello at four years of age after watching his older siblings taking lessons on the piano and violin. He began with Suzuki instruction, working his way through Book Four before eventually enrolling at the Peabody Institute's Preparatory Division in Baltimore. Transitioning to traditional solo studies under Paula Skolnick-Childress, he also undertook chamber studies with the Peabody Trio and orchestral studies with Rebecca Henry and Gene Young. As a member of the Peabody Sinfonia, he had the opportunity to tour Germany, The Netherlands, and Belgium. While earning his BM in Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Paul's solo cello studies continued under Eugene Friesen, branching out beyond classical music into jazz, blues, and folk traditions. Ensemble and orchestral work with Friesen, Mimi Rabson, and Mitch Haupers, as well as studio session work, allowed him to explore contemporary styles and free improvisation. Suzuki-certified for cello through Book 5, Paul hopes to inspire a passion for the instrument in his students, and to have them see possibilities within and without the classical realm.

Alexander Korte (Traditional and Jazz Piano)

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Alexander Korte (Traditional and Jazz Piano) started Suzuki Piano lessons when he was four years old; having grown up here in State College, he later studied at the Music Academy and in adolescence performed often around town in various settings. He graduated from Temple University in 2019 with a BA in jazz studies. While at Temple, he performed alone and in small groups around Philadelphia and studied with many NYC and Philadelphia jazz musicians including Bruce Barth, John Swana and Joe Magnarelli. He also spent a semester in the Netherlands as a student of the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he studied piano technique and the application of Carnatic rhythms to western music. Currently, he is living in State College while he undergoes training to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a technique for psychophysical reeducation often used by musicians to achieve poise and ease of motion.

Mark Minnich (Suzuki Violin)

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Mark Minnich (Suzuki Violin) holds a B.M. in Violin Performance from Bowling Green State University, as well as an M.M. in Violin Performance and an M.A. in Music Theory and History from Penn State. Mark has performed in the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Poland, China, Greece, and Tanzania, and has played as soloist with the Toledo Youth Orchestra, the Toledo International Youth Orchestra, the Firelands Symphony, and the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. An enthusiast of diverse musical styles, he has participated in jazz combos, Latin rock bands, new music ensembles, string quartets, and fiddle camps, as well as with the Mannheim Steamroller orchestra, the world tour of Chicago: The Musical, and Grammy award winning pianist Billy Childs. Mark performs as concertmaster with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and with his wife in the innovative violin duo Revamped. He holds positions teaching violin, viola, chamber ensembles, and group classes at the State College Suzuki Program and the Grier School.

Sally Williams Minnich (Suzuki/Traditional Violin)

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Sally Williams Minnich (Suzuki/Traditional Violin) is an avid freelance performer, music educator, arranger, and composer. She has appeared as a soloist at the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, the Altoona Symphony, The Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra. She is a founding member of the internationally-known violin duo, Revamped, and has invented extended techniques for the violin. Williams Minnich is also the first violinist and founding member of the Allegria String Quartet which most notably performed with Grammy Award-winning artist Billy Childs. Williams Minnich studied as a preparatory student at the Cleveland Institute of Music and holds bachelor's degrees in violin performance/music composition and a master’s degree in violin performance from Bowling Green State University. She also holds a master's degree in music education from Pennsylvania State University. She has had the privilege of studying with violin pedagogues David Russell, Vasile Beluska, and James Lyon.

Victoria Petrosky (Piano, Music theory, Solfege, Accompaniment)

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Victoria Petrosky (Piano, Music theory, Solfege, Accompaniment) was trained as a child at The Moscow Children's Music School #36, with her beloved piano teacher who was a student of Vladimir Sofronitsky. Victoria is a graduate of the College of Music of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory , with a B.A. in music theory, and of Gnessin's Russian Academy of Music in Moscow, where she obtained a Master 's degree in music theory and piano pedagogy. At the Gnessin Academy Victoria studied piano performance with Galina Turkina (of the Turkiny piano duo). Victoria has been teaching for over twenty years, first at the Moscow Children's Music School and later at the Main Line Music Academy near Philadelphia. She has been active as an accompanist, including the Bolshoi Theater Choreography College in Moscow, church and concert choirs in State College, musical theater productions in State College. Victoria teaches piano to students of all ages, beginner through advanced levels. She is an active member of the Central Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association, where she serves as a co-chair for the Phyllis Triolo Music Competition.

Lisa Raymond (Traditional Violin and Viola)

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Lisa Raymond (Traditional violin and viola) has violin performance degrees from The Juilliard School and Yale University. She has performed with many orchestras in the United States, among them are The Albany Symphony, The Syracuse Symphony, The Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, The Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, The Nittany Valley Symphony, The Penns Woods Festival, and The Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra. She has been guest concertmaster with The Nittany Valley Symphony and The Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra as well as principal 2nd violin with The Nittany Valley Symphony. She has given many recitals and has been a member of numerous chamber ensembles, and was a founding member of The Ithaca Trio. Lisa has been a violin and viola teacher for over 35 years, and tailors her instruction to each student and their unique needs. The emphasis is on building technique, while at the same time fostering a love of music and the desire to be the best musician that each student can be.

Cathy Scafidi (Piano)

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Cathy Scafidi (Piano) holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She has been teaching individual piano lessons for over thirty years to students that are beginner through advanced levels. Ms. Scafidi has been teaching at The Music Academy since 2000 and also teaches at Juniata College.

Sarah Schouten (French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, and Tuba)

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Sarah Schouten (French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, and Tuba) Dr. Sarah Schouten maintains an active career as an educator and performer. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and ability levels and her students have successfully auditioned into everything from Jr. High Symphonic Band to Graduate School Programs. Sarah currently serves as Instructor of Horn in the D'Angelo Department of Music at Mercyhurst University and as an adjunct faculty member at Penn State. Previously, Sarah served as Visiting Professor of Horn at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2019-2020), Lecturer of Horn at The Pennsylvania State University (Sabbatical Replacement for 2017-2018), at Edinboro University, and Marywood University. In addition to her endeavors as an educator, Sarah performs regularly with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and the Music at Penns Woods Festival and freelances frequently with other orchestras in Northwest and Central Pennsylvania. As a chamber artist, she is a member of Just Two, a horn/guitar duo with Tom Cody and the ChambersSchouten Horn Duo. Sarah earned her DM from Florida State University, her MM from The Pennsylvania State University, and BA in history, Spanish, and music, from the University of Dayton.

Dan Shevock (Percussion, Marimba, Drum-Set, Jazz)

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Dan Shevock (Percussion, Marimba, Drum-Set, Jazz) is a creative musician, percussionist, and philosopher. As a musician, he was the primary drummer for the Ray Ryan Jazz Band in Pittsburgh, PA for a decade, performing 20-30 engagements each year at festivals, parades, parks, and events. Since 2012 he has performed primarily as a vibraphonist in Central, PA. Dan was a jazz artist in residence at Penn State Altoona, where he continues to teach, and he performs, writes, and arranges music with a focus on ecological jazz and free improvision. Dan has also performed as a poet since 2020. As an author, his books focus on the intersection of music and ecology. In his free time, Dan enjoys gardening, hiking, running, and swimming. Dan has degrees from Clarion University of Pennsylvania (BSEd), Towson University (MS), and Penn State (PhD).

Kevin Sims (Percussion, Piano)

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Kevin Sims (Percussion, Piano) has been teaching piano and percussion to students of all ages since 2005. While studying classical percussion at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, he began to focus on contemporary and experimental music, working closely with composers and helping to form Red Light New Music. While studying at the Musikhochschule Freiburg in southwestern Germany, he had the opportunity to travel to music festivals in Switzerland, Korea, Russia and Ukraine. Kevin's experiences with new and experimental work, improvisation, and various approaches to composition, are big influences on his teaching. He is currently an active performer as a soloist, with the duo Moth Bucket, and in the Open Music Ensemble (which he also directs), as well as other occasional projects in the area.

Hudson Webber (Traditional and Suzuki Cello)

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Hudson Webber (Traditional and Suzuki Cello) has played cello since he was ten years old. Hudson achieved his undergraduate degree in cello performance from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, graduating in 2018. While at Drake University, Hudson was principal cellist of the Drake University Symphony Orchestra for his senior year, and also served as a musical ambassador for the University, playing concerts in Iowa and Kansas to promote the arts. He has his master’s degree in cello performance from Penn State, studying with Kim Cook, and is currently studying for his master’s in music theory. Hudson has taken Suzuki teacher training through the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

In fond memory of our friend and colleague

Diane Gold Toulson

who passed away on June 22, 2021

Diane taught flute, recorder and piano at The Music Academy for over 55 years. Sadly, she passed away on June 22, 2021. She was a talented musician and an impressive performer, who shared her talents far and wide and with the State College community by her participation in many musical organizations. Diane helped many students achieve their musical goals and The Music Academy was extremely fortunate for her presence. In the words of one of her students...

"I started my flute lesson with Diane just a year after I came to the USA from India. She taught me what is music, how it is created, and how to play it. Diane made me realize how music can have a huge impact on life. She was used to telling me that the notes are a new language just like Hindi to her! She had been always very supportive, encouraging, and motivating. I will miss her interesting tricks to make things simpler, her innovativeness in teaching, her friendliness, and her awesome smile. Diane, we all love you!"