Choir & Voice
Amy R. Porter, a Louisiana native, has appeared in many standard operatic roles, including Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Violetta (La Traviata), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Mimi (La Bohème), Marguerite (Faust), Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Alice (Falstaff). She has performed more contemporary operatic works, including Poulenc’s one woman monodrama La Voix Humaine (Femme), Dinos Constantinides’s psychological one-act opera Rosanna (Angelina), and a partially-televised production of David Amram’s Twelfth Night (Olivia), as well as early music productions, including Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Dido) and the New York City premiere of Hildegard von Bingen’s medieval morality play Ordo Virtutum (Victory). An ardent solo performer of pre-classical repertoire, she was a founding member of the Baton Rouge Early Vocal Ensemble (BREVE). Ms. Porter has performed recitals, concerts, and oratorio repertoire throughout the United States.
In addition to singing and teaching, Ms. Porter enjoys playing the role of operatic stage director, directing productions for LSU Opera and LSU Summer Opera Camp. She has also worked as a conductor, having served as chorus master for Opera Louisiane in Baton Rouge as well as in numerous church music director positions. She teaches applied voice at Gonzaga University and serves as lecturer faculty of Whitworth University, where she teaches applied voice, lyric diction, and song literature.
Office: St. Gregory Choral Hall, Rm. 103
Darnelle Scarbrough Preston graduated from San Francisco State University, Magna Cum Laude, with her B.M. in Music Education, and received her M.M. in Vocal Performance from Boston University. Ms. Preston has appeared with the Utah, Carmel, Washington D.C. Masterworks, Handel & Haydn Society, Muncie, Nashville, and Billings symphonies. Her solo appearances throughout the Northeast have included performances of Bach’s “b minor Mass” and “St. John Passion”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Haydn’s “Creation” and Poulenc’s “Gloria”. In opera, her performances have included the Countess in “Le Nozze di Figaro”, the Cake Box Lady in Argento’s “Postcard from Morocco”, Mimi in “La Boheme”, and Lady Billows in Britten’s “Albert Herring”. Her musical theatre roles have included Madame Thenardier (Les Miserable), Ruth (Pirates of Penzance), Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Jack’s Mother (Into the Woods), Mrs. Sowerberry (Oliver), and Mrs. Fairfax (Jane Eyre). She has performed throughout southern France and recorded with the Robert Shaw Choeur d’Atlanta. Locally, Ms. Preston has performed with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, Allegro: Baroque and Beyond, Zephyr, Spokane Opera, Connoisseur Concert’s Northwest Bach Festival and Mozart in Manito, Spokane Choral Artists, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater, and Spokane Valley Summer Theatre. She is currently a member of the Vocal Faculty at Gonzaga University, and teaches Applied Voice, Lyric Diction, and Class Voice.
John, a native of the northwest, began his trombone and musical career in the sixth grade, then a year later began taking private lessons with Michael Oft. Once in high school, John joined the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and subsequently joined the Portland Youth Philharmonic. After graduating high school in 2011, he began his undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon, studying with Henry Henniger, where he graduated in 2015. John would then start his professional work as an orchestral trombonist, subbing with multiple orchestras in Oregon, including: Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Portland Opera, Astoria Music Festival, Newport Symphony, Mozart Players, and Salem Chamber Orchestra.
After his time as an undergraduate, John decided to further his studies as a Master’s student at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, studying with Allen Barnhill. Within his first year, he performed with the Shepherd Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and won his first professional job with the Portland Opera as their principal trombonist. In his second year, John went on to win the Shepherd School of Music concerto competition in the winds/brass/percussion/harp division with the Nino Rota trombone concerto. He will perform the Rota sometime during the 2018-2019 school year.
At the end of Portland Opera’s 2018 season John won the Spokane Symphony one year principal trombone audition. He will start with the symphony in September 2018 and will begin teaching low brass at Gonzaga University.
Office: Music Hall, Room 110
Phone: (509) 313-6733
Christopher Cook graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music,. He was a longtime member of the Spokane Falls Brass Band, and plays trumpet in the Spokane Symphony. Additionally he teaches music at Gonzaga University.
Phone: (509) 313-6733
Office: Music Mansion
Phone: (509) 313-6733
An active member of Spokane’s music scene, Kenny Sager performs all over the area. He has a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Eastern Washington University and did 1 year at University of Montana as a graduate assistant teaching drum set and jazz ensembles. Kenny also teaches at EWU and Mead High School coaching their drum line in the fall as well as teaching at Music Plus year round.
Office: Music Hall, Room 105
Phone: (509) 313-6733
Jennifer Brummett received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School and a Master of Music degree at Southern Methodist University. She has been Principal Horn of the Spokane Symphony from 2002-14 and a member of the Solstice Quintet 2004-2009. Prior to joining the Spokane Symphony, Jennifer played Assistant Horn in the Fort Worth Symphony 1996-2002 and subbed in the Dallas Symphony, including recordings of Prokofiev's Scythian Suite, Shostakovich's 7th Symphony and Mahler Symphonies 2, 3, and 6.
Jennifer has performed at the Tanglewood Institute, the Chautauqua Festival, the Waterloo Festival, the Spoleto USA Festival, the Music in the Mountains Festival (Durango,CO), and as Principal Horn of the Utah Festival Opera. She performed with the Solstice Quintet at the Orcas Center in June of 2007. Jennifer is on faculty at Gonzaga University and Whitworth University. As a soloist, she has performed the Schumann Konzertstück with the Florida West Coast Symphony, the Mozart Concerto No. 2 with the Spokane Symphony, the Saint-Saens Morceau de Concert with the Spokane Falls Concert Band, the Britten Serenade with the Texas Chamber Orchestra, and many others. Ms. Brummett also played Principal Horn on Frank Sinatra’s Diamond Jubilee International Tour.
A native of Chicago, cellist Kevin Hekmatpanah has presented hundreds of solo and chamber performances throughout the country. He has made over one hundred and twenty solo concerto appearances with various ensembles. Mr. Hekmatpanah has released a compact disc recording containing cello sonatas by Franck, Debussy, and Chopin. Deeply committed to teaching, Mr. Hekmatpanah is a Professor of Music at Gonzaga University, where he has taught since 1994. He recently received an Exemplary Faculty Award for his Academic Citizenship. He is currently a member of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. He has previously served on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University and has taught cello at the Governor’s School for the Arts. He has served on competition juries, and he has presented master classes and clinics throughout the country. In addition to being the first cellist to earn a DMA from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, he also holds a MM from Indiana University and a BM from the University of Southern California. His teachers have included such nationally renowned pedagogues as Stephen Kates, Fritz Magg, and Gabor Rejto, and he has received coaching from such internationally celebrated artists as Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and Janos Starker.
As a conductor Kevin Hekmatpanah begins his twenty-fourth year as Music Director of the Gonzaga Symphony Orchestra. In this capacity he has performed a large portion of the standard repertoire for orchestra, as well as premieres of new music. He has also organized and presided over the Young Artists’ Concerto/Aria Competition, which gives the opportunity for young musicians to present a concerto with the ensemble.
Nick Carper graduated from Columbus State and Butler Universities. Nick has performed throughout the U.S. in various capacities, as principal, chamber musician, and soloist. He is currently an instructor at Gonzaga University.
Office: Music Annex, Room 105
Phone: (509) 313-6733
Amanda Howard-Phillips has been Principal Second Violinist of the Spokane Symphony since 2008, and has been on the faculty at Gonzaga University since 2011. She also performs as associate concertmaster of the Northwest Bach Festival Orchestra and the Inland Northwest Opera Orchestra, and plays second violin in the Spokane String Quartet.
Originally from Bainbridge Island, Washington, Amanda began studying violin at age four, and made her solo debut with the Bainbridge Orchestra at age 11. She was awarded fellowships to study at the International Festival-Institute at Round Top and the National Repertory Orchestra, and was awarded first prize in the Pacific Chamber Symphony Concerto Competition in San Francisco. Amanda holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and her major teachers include David Updegraff, David Cerone, and the legendary violinist Camilla Wicks.
A passionate chamber musician, Amanda was accepted into the Intensive String Quartet Seminar at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with the Cavani Quartet and Peter Salaff of the Cleveland Quartet. At the San Francisco Conservatory, she studied chamber music with Mark Sokol, Bonnie Hampton, Paul Hersh, and Ian Swensen; and performed in master classes for Robert Mann (Juilliard Quartet), Clive Greensmith (Tokyo Quartet), and Menahem Pressler (Beaux Arts Trio).
As second violinist of the Spokane String Quartet, Amanda can be heard frequently on Spokane Public Radio, and has been featured three times on the national NPR show Performance Today, heard on over 280 radio stations nationwide. The Spokane String Quartet reaches audiences throughout the Northwest, performing, giving master classes, and coaching youth chamber ensembles. A passionate advocate for new music, Amanda has programmed pieces for the SSQ by rising young composers such as Dan Visconti, Mohammed Fairouz, and young American Indian composers studying with renowned composer Jerod Tate at the Chickasaw Arts Academy in Oklahoma. Recently, as part of the Northwest Bach Festival, Amanda performed Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence and Schubert's Quintet in C Major with Grammy-winning cellist Zuill Bailey.
Amanda has appeared as soloist with the Spokane Symphony several times. When she's not performing or teaching, Amanda enjoys camping, hiking, and spending time with her husband and their little son.
Phone: (509) 313-6733
Kim Plewniak holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Kim instructs at Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, and Whitman College and maintains a private studio.
Earecka Tregenza earned a Master of Music from Rice University, Shepherd School of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She attended the Royal Conservatory of Music, Glenn Gould School. Earecka is an instructor at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University.
Office: Music Mansion
Phone: (509) 313-6733
Jason Moody is instructor of violin at Gonzaga University and lecturer of violin/viola and director of orchestra at the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho. He is a violinist in the Spokane Symphony and has performed as a substitute with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Houston Symphony. As a conductor and clinician, Moody has worked with university, high school, and festival orchestras throughout the Northwest. He conducts the Spokane Falls Community Orchestra and is artistic director and conductor of the Festival at Sandpoint Summer Camp. Moody has held teaching appointments at the University of Washington, Edmonds Community College, Whitworth University, and Spokane Community College. He received music degrees from University of Washington, Rice University, and Seattle Pacific University.
Office: Music Annex, Room 006A
Phone: (509) 313-4339
Colleen Hunter, DMA, NCTM, teaches applied and class piano at Gonzaga University, Spokane. She maintains a private piano studio in her home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, teaching a wide range of ages and levels from children to adults.
Nationally and state certified with MTNA, Dr. Hunter is an active member of the Spokane Chapter and the North Idaho Chapter and their respective state associations. She is president of SMTA, District VII Vice-President for WSMTA and Immediate Past President of the North Idaho Music Teachers. She has served as chair of the College Faculty Forum and as Adjudicator Chair while on the WSMTA Board of Education. She has served as chair of the Independent Music Teachers Forum (IMTF), and as chair of Adjudications and Musicianship Exams at the local level and assisted in developing the annual Musicianship and Performance Festivals of the NIMTA chapter. Active as an adjudicator, Dr. Hunter also shares her passion for music as a workshop clinician, performer, collaborative artist, church musician, and choir director.
Her interest in providing arts to the community led Dr. Hunter to co-chair the entertainment committee the past several years for Art on the Green, an annual summer arts festival put on by Citizen’s Council for the Arts in Coeur d’Alene where more than thirty groups are scheduled over three days in August. She has co-hosted a winter Music Lecture Series supported by the CCA organization and coordinates home concerts in the Coeur d’Alene area. Additionally, encouraging younger artists by collaborating with them at solo and ensemble and other school events has become a rewarding endeavor. Her own students have been successful in many areas, including honors in the Carol Klotz Composition Competition, WSMTA's Young Composer Project, the Coeur d'Alene Symphony's melody contest, the Royal Conservatory of Music Certificate Program, the Spokane Piano Competition, and MusicFest Northwest.
Dr. Hunter holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and a Master of Music in piano performance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City where she studied with Richard Cass. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seattle Pacific University where she studied with Marcile Mack. She studied with Margaret Saunders Ott, Spokane, for several years and worked with Dr. Bela Nagy of Boston University while in Sion, Switzerland.
Dr. Colleen Hunter and her husband, Sam Hunter, Ph.D., have two children, Scott, a college graduate, and Abby, a college student. Their home is filled with much music, conversation, laughter, and creative activity.
Office: Music Hall, Room 108
Phone: (509) 313-5910
He made a career of working with modern dancers after graduation, first with the Martha Graham Company in New York, and then on the dance faculty of Florida State University. He has premiered a number of composers’ works written especially for dance, revived a great deal of 20th century music used for modern dance and was invited to showcase the piano works of Robert Muczynski at the Music Teacher National Convention in Miami in 1990.
As a composer himself, he has written many works for dance and solo piano. Since his return to Spokane, he has been active as a soloist and accompanist including work for several productions of the Spokane Opera and as part of a duo-piano team with Kendall Feeney.
He served as a member of the piano faculty in the Music department of Eastern Washington University in the spring of 2001 and has been a member of the piano faculty at Gonzaga University since the Fall of 2001. Some of his students have been prize winners in state and local competitions and a number have gone on to have careers in music.
He performs regularly as the principal keyboard player for the Spokane Symphony, as a chamber musician and as part of two-piano duos. He was selected by Gunther Schuller to play Beethoven's own arrangement of the Grosse Fuga for 4 hands with Christopher O'Reilly in 2010, and recently accompanied Thomas Hampson for the 10th Anniversary Gala of the Fox Theater in Spokane. He accompanied Zuill Bailey in Michael Daugherty's Grammy Award winning new piece, Tales of Hemingway, in December, 2017 and also in the two Haydn cello concertos in the Spokane Bach Festival March 2018.
He has presented many workshops and sessions for WSMTA at state conferences and districts conferences and is a frequent adjudicator and competition judge in Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Deborah Rambo Sinn’s diverse career has taken her around the world. She has given concerts and masterclasses on four continents and has taught students from more than 14 different countries. She lived in Hamburg Germany for five years where she played concerts and musicals and operated two music studios for coaching and private instruction.
Her performing career includes giving concerts and masterclasses in four major cities with her piano/cello duo by invitation of the government of Mainland China. In addition to a lifetime of playing classical music, she has played for productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Wizard of Oz, and Mikado.
She holds a doctorate from Indiana University, where she studied with Menahem Pressler (Beaux Arts Trio). Before moving to Germany, she served on the music faculty of Angelo State University in Texas and taught one semester at Universität Lüneburg (Germany) as an exchange professor.
Dr. Sinn is the author of Playing Beyond the Notes: A Pianist's Guide to Musical Interpretation, published by Oxford University Press in 2013 (10th+ printing), widely used in university music programs and independent studios across the US, Canada, and Europe.
Riley Gray is a sought-after jazz pianist in the Spokane area and has played with the Bob Curnow Big Band and Son Dulce Live Salsa among other ensembles.
He has been featured on Spokane, WA based KPBX radio program Piano Bench.
Office: Music Hall, Room 103
Mellad graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in Music Composition in 2002. Since then, he has worked as an adjunct guitar instructor at Gonzaga University and private guitar instructor at St. George's School and Colville High School. Mellad is a patient, yet highly skilled, instructor who is well versed in a variety of musical genres, including Classical, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Commercial, Country, Celtic and Broadway. As an international guitar performer, songwriter and record producer, Mellad is a dynamic instructor who brings a wealth of real-world expertise to the classroom.
For the past several years, Mellad has been fortunate to write and arrange songs for several independent vocal artists. Most recently, Mellad has been writing and performing with Country artist Nicole Lewis and is currently working on her upcoming Nashville-based full-length album. When not on tour or teaching, Mellad enjoys playing guitar for local Jazz ensembles and the live theatre circuit. Mellad has worked as a guitarist at Spokane Civic Theatre for the past 4 seasons and Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre for the past 5 seasons.
Office: Music Hall, Room 104
Phone: (509) 313-5919
Dr. Paul Grove joined the inland northwest music community in 1995 while completing a doctorate degree in Russian music theory and guitar performance at the University of Arizona. He was invited by his colleague Leon Atkinson to live and work in Spokane, the place where Paul’s teacher Aaron Shearer began his career. Though he was only going to stay for one year, he has remained and has contributed in the following ways:
He completed a Ph.D. dissertation on the contrapuntal theories of Sergei Ivanovich Taneev while receiving a Jacob Javits research grant. In addition, he received awards and distinctions in several national and international guitar competitions including the Guitar Foundation of America Competition, the Stotsenberg International Competition, The Great Lakes Guitar Competition, and the Norman Sholin Memorial Competition.
As a teacher he has mentored students who have received distinctions in several competitions including Guitar Northwest, the Wolff and Shaeffer Competitions at the University of Arizona, and Musicfest Northwest. Most recently, he was invited to teach 18th-century counterpoint at Gonzaga University, and he teaches at Whitworth University.
As a performer, he has been a featured soloist with the Spokane Symphony, the Couer d’Alene Symphony, the Gonzaga Symphony, the Northwest Bach Festival, the Northwest Sacred Music Chorale, and other regional ensembles. He has toured throughout the United States, and has performed internationally in Russia, Brazil, India, and Canada.
Paul’s primary guitar instructor was Aaron Shearer; and he studied composition with Jean Eichelberger-Ivey at the Peabody Conservatory where he joined Manuel Barueco as one of the first two guitarists to win the Peabody Conservatory Competition.
His current interest is to promote a dialogue that questions concepts pertaining to the nature, and societal role of Western “classical music.”
Office: Music Hall, Room 104
Phone: (509) 313-5919
A veteran multi-genre performer, and an in-demand teacher and clinician, Michael maintains studios at Gonzaga and Eastern Washington Universities, as well as nurturing a private studio. He is a regular host/director of the Northwest Guitar Festival, and has been a featured performer for numerous regional festivals including the Northwest Guitar Festival, the Northwest Bach Festival, the Festival at Sandpoint (in concerto work with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra), and Northwest Folklife's guitar showcase in McCaw hall, among others.
Michael has been profiled in the magazine Acoustic Guitar and is a past regular contributor to the same. He has also written for Guitar Teacher and Play Guitar! magazines. Michael has worked as either an alpha/beta testing endorser or performing artist for Elixir strings, Lowden Guitars, Schoenberg Guitars, Hill Guitars, L.R. Baggs electronics and AER amps among other companies. His duo (with his wife, vocalist Keleren Millham) regularly performs at venues ranging from wine bars and house concerts to radio shows, theaters, universities and festivals: over 2,000 performances to date. They have released 3 CDs featuring their own compositions, completed a documentary film soundtrack, and scored the promotional reel soundtrack for author (and GU professor) Shann Ray's American Copper (2016 recording). Michael was recently featured in performance and on record with the Montana choir Dolce Canto (2011 recording) and with Spokane Symphony Cello and Bassoon 1st chairs John and Lynn Marshall (2015 recording). He is a graduate of the Lionel Hampton School of Music-University of Idaho.
Michael's students have won numerous gold and silver medals at Musicfest Northwest, including multiple winners in the young artist concerto division. His students have gone on assistantship to top schools for bachelors and masters degrees, and his former students have themselves been hired to teach at the college level, including Gonzaga and SFCC.
Both an acoustic guitar amplifier (L.R. Baggs A-Ref) and an acoustic guitar pickup (L.R. Baggs M1) designed with/around Michael's input have won MIPA awards (Musikmesse International Press Award; the "Grammy" of the Musical Instrument/ProAudio industry). The M1 pickup, in particular, has been adopted by many players at the pinnacle of the pop/acoustic music industry, including Tom Petty, David Gilmore (Pink Floyd) Cold Play, Jakob Dylan, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Oasis, among others.
In 1999, Michael was one of eight recipients selected nationally for Jim Beam Brand Worldwide's Benefiting Emerging Artists in Music grant.
Dr. Peter J. Hamlin is an Assistant Professor of Music at Gonzaga University. In addition to overseeing the music education degree program, he teaches coursework in ear training and world music. He is also the faculty advisor to the Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education.
Dr. Hamlin received his Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Miami in Florida. He was awarded a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Connecticut. While there he was the Graduate Assistant Director of the marching band, men’s and women’s varsity basketball pep bands, and the UConn concert band. Dr. Hamlin received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Miami.
Joshua received his undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he studied conducting with Weston Noble and composition with John Morrison and Neil Flory. He earned master's and doctoral degrees in composition at the University of Texas at Austin where he studied with Dan Welcher, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Russell Pinkston, Donald Grantham, and the late opera composer Daniel Catán. A native of Minnesota, he is an avid cyclist, enjoys vegetarian cooking, and a good cup of tea.