Maria studied music at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, graduating with degrees in music and English. Upon graduation, she traveled 25 years alongside her career-Army husband, Craig, serving in military chapels worldwide. Maria directed children's choirs and operated private piano studios in various locations. She was the Chapel pianist at Ft. Bragg, Carlisle Barracks, and Ft. Jackson. She is currently the Asst. Director of Music, directs Joyful Bells and serves as a pianist at NEPC. As Director of Northeast Arts Academy, Maria seeks God for what He will accomplish through the academy within NEPC and within NE Columbia. Maria and her husband reside in Winnsboro; they have three grown children and three grandchildren! When the water’s warm, you’ll find her skiing on Lake Wateree!
Dr. Robert JonesPiano
Dr. Robert Jones is a state and nationally certified piano teacher and the organist for NEPC. He is the Arpad Darazs Singers accompanist, a Columbia community-choir. Robert holds a doctorate in piano pedagogy from USC. His degrees include a MA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the Univ. of Georgia and BA of Music degrees in Piano Performance and in Music Education from Valdosta State University. Robert was formerly an Assistant Professor of Music at Thomas Univ. in Thomasville, GA. He was twice a State Finalist in the Georgia Music Teacher Assoc. College Piano Auditions. He is in Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, The Nat’l. Reg. of Outstanding College Graduates, Pi Kappa Lambda, the national, music honor society of America. Robert is an experienced recitalist and soloist.
Matthew Jones received his Bachelor of Music from The University of South Carolina in Percussion Performance. With an infectious love for life and all things musical, he plays in the South Carolina Philharmonic and in the Augusta Symphony. Matthew plays in theaters and churches throughout the greater Southeast. He is a Professor of Percussion at Columbia College and Presbyterian College. Combining a love for God and sharing the sheer joy of making music, Matthew delights in teaching and playing.
Dr. Randolph LoveTrumpet
Dr. Randolph Love has been Professor of Music since 1979 at Columbia College and the Music Program Coordinator since 2011.Randy was awarded the Fred and Carolyn Parker Endowed Chair in Music in 2011, has been a member of the SC Philharmonic Orchestra since 1985, a partner in the Palmetto Brass since 1988, and instructor of trumpet within the Palmetto Center for the Arts at Richland NE High School since 2006. Accomplishments: Doctor of Music Arts in Composition, in 1978; MA of Music in Trumpet Performance in 1974, both at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; graduated from Ohio State Univ. with a BA of Music in Trumpet Performance in 1972; Principal Trumpet in numerous symphony orchestras; and has founded several brass ensembles. He resides with his wife in Northeast Columbia.
Linda Seftick was interested in sewing from an early age making her first dress at 9 years old. Interested also in drawing and painting, she earned a Fine Arts degree in graphic arts, from the State Univ. of New York at Stonybrook. She spent time as a homemaker, then returned to work illustrating a smocking newsletter and developing patterns in smocking and silk ribbon and teaching classes in embroidery and sewing. Later Linda worked selling machines and teaching new owners how to utilize their machines. She worked in a quilt shop and in retail with a national women’s line of clothing. She studied extensively at The Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion, in Huntsville, AL, and at The Applique Academy in Williamsburg, VA. In Linda’s spare time she loves to piece quilts for her family and for charity.
Tom SmithCreative Writing
Wm. Thomas “Tom” Smith, Jr. – author, editor, and former adjunct-professor at USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications – is the editor and military technical advisor for THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, QUIET HERO by three-time Emmy winner Rita Cosby. Tom has written six nationally acclaimed books (two co-authored). His work has appeared in The New York Post, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, USA Today, The Daily Caller, and others. A USC graduate (history), former U.S. Marine infantry leader and retired field-grade officer, S.C. Military Dept., Tom is a military technical consultant, national director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team and founding partner with NATIONAL DEFENSE CONSULTANTS, LLC.
Mitzi VigrassFlute and Piccolo
Mitzi Vigrass has an Associate of Science from Gadsden Sate Community College in Elementary Education, with a Music and Art concentration. While at Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Mitzi played in the Concert Band. She was in community theater productions in Savannah, GA and has tutored students at E.L. Wright Middle School, lending her flute and piccolo expertise to their musical development. She plays extensively throughout the Midlands in solo and ensemble settings for weddings and church events. Mitzi is a charter member and founder of the NEPC Celebration Orchestra and is a loyal, contributing member of the NEPC Chancel Choir, Celebration Orchestra, and Joyful Bells. Mitzi and her husband Jim have two grown children and reside in Northeast Columbia.
Amanda Caporicci is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of South Carolina under the direction of Christopher Berg. She was awarded an exclusive assistantship and teaches undergraduates, coaches ensembles, and gives lectures as well as varied performances as a recitalist.Amanda received her Bachelors of Music at Loyola Marymount University At Loyola, she received the “Trame Award,” which was awarded to one graduating music student who has shown outstanding comprehensive involvement in activities, curriculum, and performance. As a young guitarist, Amanda was awarded “Command Performance” as a soloist in 2007, when she performed for over two thousand people at Hamm Hall at the University of Las Vegas. As a performer and teacher, Amanda has served as a juror member for the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts, taught undergraduate guitar courses, and has enjoyed varied outreach concerts, such as volunteering for retirement homes. She is passionate about teaching and cares about the individuality of each student.
Haley Kovach first embarked on music lessons as a second grader because playing an instrument sounded fun, only to discover several years later that music had become important enough to dedicate her career to it. A graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in violin performance and a teacher with several years of experience, Haley is now located in Columbia, SC, studying violin pedagogy at the University of South Carolina while playing in the USC Graduate String Quartet and in several regional orchestras. While available to teach all ages and ability levels, Haley especially enjoys working with children and seeks to promote a love for music in her students, so that regardless of skill level, students will find enjoyment in playing and listening to music and will become people who love and support the arts.
A riveting and passionate artist, Christopher Schoelen is an award wining, virtuoso classical gui-tarist who is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina. He is dynamic performer who has performed throughout the U.S. as well as in a num-ber of countries throughout Europe. From 2011-2014 he was living and studying in the city of Seville, Spain where he gave performances at the University of Seville and the Conservatorio de Música de Osuna. While abroad, he had the opportunity to perform in a 14th century castle called Castello Parella in northern Italy. He has also performed in various concert halls at Dart-mouth College, WGBH Radio station in Boston, the Boston Public Library, the University of South Carolina and the New England Conservatory. Christopher has also made his recent per-formance debut at Carnegie Hall in New York after winning First Prize in the Golden Era of Romantic Music International competition.Hailed by his former maestro as "a fine guitarist and musician," Christopher recently completed a Masters of Music degree at the New England Conservatory where he studied under the tutelage of the world-renowned guitarist, Eliot Fisk. During his time at the conservatory he participated in master classes with great artists such as Sharon Isbin, Marcin Dylla, and Grisha Goryachev. During his Masters degree, Christopher also produced his own debut album of clas-sical guitar music titled, Anima: The Music of Spain and Italy for the Guitar.Today Christopher is based in Columbia, South Carolina and is pursuing a Doctorate of Music degree at the University of South Carolina studying with the well-known guitarist, Christopher Berg. He most recently has been a finalist in the university's Spark Creativity in Music Awards, two years in a row with his projects iPlay: An Audience Perspective on New Music and Orpheus, Pan, Tellus & Acoustic Ecology. These programs explored new ways of presenting classical mu-sic involving audience participation. His program about Acoustic Ecology won him a second place prize of $1,000.Beyond an active performing career, Christopher is a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina and teaches two group classes of guitar to undergraduate students. This past year he has also started performing with a soprano and together they formed the duo, Deux Saisons. This summer they have been invited and awarded a travel grant from the University to perform and participate in a festival in Tuscany, Italy called the Cortona Sessions for New Music where they will have pieces composed for their ensemble, work with composers directly on the creation of new music, and give a full performance on the hillsides of Cortona, Italy.
Julia studied music at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, OH, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. A vocal primary at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace, she studied voice at the collegiate level for four years and was a four-year member of the traveling, selective, Motet choir. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Music Education at the University of South Carolina where she is a graduate assistant at the School of Music. Julia teaches Elementary General Music and early childhood music at an elementary school and multiple preschools in the Columbia area. She also leads community music classes on Saturday mornings. Julia directs the K-2 grade children's choir at NEPC. Aside from directing the NEPC children’s choir, she is also a member of chancel choir and REACH Band at NEPC where she sings and plays the keyboard. Part of her duties as a general music teacher include using the ukulele to accompany her while she sings and teaches. Julia has had experience teaching beginning ukulele to people of all ages. Julia is an active researcher in the field of music and music education having completed a research thesis regarding parents’ observations of music behaviors. Julia finds joy in using her vocal music and music education experiences to help people of all ages find their voices. Julia lives in Columbia with her husband and dog, Dwayne.
Erica RhodesOboe, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone
Erica Rhodes is the oboist for the 282nd Army Band at Ft. Jackson, SC. She grew up in Fayetteville, NC, where she attended First Presbyterian Church. Erica graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC with a Bachelor’s in Music Education and a K-12 Music teaching license. Erica primarily studied oboe, but she also studied flute, voice, piano, and conducting. Erica joined the Army Band in 2016, and arrived at Ft. Jackson in March 2017, after extensive military and musical training at Basic Combat Training and the US Army School of Music at Virginia Beach, VA. At Ft. Jackson, she regularly performs rigorous music with the Woodwind Trio and the Woodwind Quintet. She also plays piccolo in the Marching Band.Erica loves to serve and worship by using her musical gifts. She recently started attending Northeast Presbyterian Church and participating in the orchestra. She is thrilled to have found a church home and an opportunity to worship with a wonderful community. Erica is excited to begin teaching woodwind lessons at Northeast Arts Academy. She lives in Columbia with her husband Matthew, who is a trumpet player in the 282nd Army Band, as well as their dog, Denver, and cat, Jackson.
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