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Department of Music and Theatre
Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Malloy Hall 137
Phone: 785-628-4533
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Palmer Honor Band (HS)

Dr. Jeff Jordan serves on the faculty of Fort Hays State University where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and assists with the Tiger Marching band. Prior to arriving at FHSU, he served as the opening Band Director and Music Department Chair for Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Jordan's public school teaching experience includes 16 years at all levels in central Florida and Kansas. Dr. Jordan holds a BA in Music Education from Florida Southern College, a MM in Composition from the University of Kansas and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Dr. Jordan's recent compositions include Sunstorm and The Adventures of Wynde Ding Wham, both from C. Alan Publications. His original work, and a time, is profiled in the newly released Volume Six of Teaching Music Through Performance in Band from GIA publications.



Concert Band (HS)



Kyle Hopkins is an Associate Professor of Music and Director of Bands at McPherson College. In his short time at McPherson College, the band program has experienced unprecedented growth and success. Kyle holds degrees from the University of Kansas, Washburn University and Kansas State University. Before accepting his position at McPherson College, he was Director of Bands in the McPherson Public Schools for 12 years and before that he taught in Topeka and Shawnee Mission. Kyle is the recipient of McPherson College's 2015 Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching Award. And in 2011, he was voted USD 418's "Teacher of the Year" by its faculty and staff. In addition to being a sought-after clinician and adjudicator, Kyle performs with many groups such as the Wichita Grand Opera, and the Salina Symphony as principal horn. He has performed and/or conducted in 38 states as well as in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland.



Tiger Band (HS)



Johannah Cox has taught for 37 years; 6 of those years with the Salina Public Schools and 31 years with the Lawrence Public School system where she works with instrumental students grades 6-12. She received her BS and MME degrees from Fort Hays State University. Johannah has taught at High Plains Music Camp, Midwestern Music Camp and has been on staff with the Kansas State Lions Band. In 1985, she received the Outstanding Young Band Director's Award presented by the Kansas Bandmasters Association. In 2013, she was named Outstanding Bandmaster by KBA. In 2002, she was named Outstanding Middle Level Band Director of the Northeast District of Kansas Music Educator's Association. She was named Lawrence Public Schools Secondary Teacher of the Year for 2009. Johannah has served as President of the Kansas Bandmaster's Association and is currently serving on the executive board of the John Philip Sousa Kansas Honor Band. She co-directs the Lawrence Youth Symphony, maintains an active clarinet studio and really enjoys following the drum corps scene during the summers.



High School Orchestra



Jonathan Lane has been orchestra director at Shawnee Mission East for 30 years. He has also been active as a professional bass player and private studio teacher in that time. Students from his private studio have gone on to top schools like Julliard, Eastman and Indiana University. Mr. Lane attended Arizona State for Music Education and the University of Michigan for Double Bass Performance. He has published articles in ASTA and the Instrumentalist, and he has also given talks and had student groups perform at The American String Teachers National Convention (ASTA) and the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.



Mozart Orchestra (MS)

Curtis Mulvenon is entering his 15 th year of teaching orchestra at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, KS. He received his bachelor's degree in music education from Fort Hays State University and his master's degree from Mid America Nazarene University. In addition to teaching public school, Curtis maintains an active private bass studio and performs regularly in the Kansas City area.

Vivaldi Orchestra (MS)



Michael Harbaugh is an instructor of Orchestra at the Beloit Jr.-Sr. High School and Orchestra and Instrumental Music at the Beloit Elementary School since 1977. Mr. Harbaugh has taught for 37 years in the Beloit Public Schools. Mr. Harbaugh is also the conductor of the Beloit Community Orchestra, an organization he helped establish in 1980. Mr. Harbaugh has served on the executive board of the Kansas chapter of the American String Teacher's Association since 1992, Western Kansas Orchestra Festival Association, an active member of the board and staging director of the Beloit Community Concert Association. Mr. Harbaugh serves as Manager of the KSHSAA State Music Festival for Large Groups in Beloit. Mr. Harbaugh and his wife, DeeAnn, have two children, Alex and Alison.


Choirs & HPMC Singers


Dr. Terry Crull is the Director of Choral Activities at Fort Hays State University. His responsibilities include conducting Fort Hays Singers, Concert Choir, Women's Chorale, and Music Director of the Fall Musical. He also conducts the Hays Community Choir, supervises the Collegian Chorale, and teaches various choral courses. Dr. Crull has degrees in choral music, music education, and voice from Dordt College (B.A.), the University of South Dakota (M.M.), and the University of Northern Colorado (D.A.). His 33-year career in music education has included Ontario Christian School in Ontario, California , Unity Christian High School in Orange City, Iowa , Dakota Wesleyan University, and the University of Northern Colorado. Crull has served as conductor and/or singer with numerous school, church and community choirs, and has led group tours to Canada, China (twice), Italy, Taiwan, and many regional and national tours within the United States.


Honor Jazz Band (HS)


Brad Dawson is an Assistant Professor of Music at Fort Hays State University where he teaches trumpet, jazz ensembles, jazz improvisation, and jazz history. He is a graduate of FHSU and the University of North Texas, where he was a graduate assistant. Under his direction, FHSU's Jazz Ensemble I has been selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Convention every eligible time since 1996. The group has also made numerous appearances at the Wichita Jazz Festival and University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival. Dawson is very active as a performer. In addition to playing principal trumpet with the Hays Symphony, he performs with several small jazz groups and big bands as well as being a guest soloist for high school groups throughout the state. He has also performed with the Kansas City Symphony and the New Mexico Symphony and has been a guest soloist and adjudicator for the Wichita Jazz Festival.


Silver Jazz Band (HS)

Adam De Vault is in his 16th year at Derby High School. He began as the Associate Director of Bands, and for the past 14 years has served as the Director of Bands. His duties include team teaching the Derby Panther Marching Band and the Concert Band, as well as directing the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. For the past eight years he has also taught music theory. A native of Kansas, Mr. DeVault graduated from Fort Hays State University in 1997 with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. He attended Wichita State University where he earned a Masters in Music Education with an emphasis in conducting in 2000.


Blue Jazz Band (HS)


Alex Toepfer is a Hays native and a graduate of FHSU (BME '08) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (MM '10). He is in his first year as the Director of Bands at Shawnee Mission East High School in the Kansas City Metro Area where he teaches jazz band, concert band, marching band, IB Music Theory, and 8th grade band. Prior to SME, he was the Assistant Director of Bands at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, Kansas. In addition to his teaching he is an active freelance jazz, blues, funk and rock musician in Kansas City. He has been a member of the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, the Kerry Strayer Jazz Orchestra, Ras Neville & the Kingstonians, Urban Safari, and the Diles Mavis Group. This will be Mr. Toepfer's 13th year at the High Plains Music Camp.




Band Specialists


Megan Bailey (Trumpet)


Megan Bailey has a Bachelor of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from DePaul University in Chicago and a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been awarded a Teaching Fellowship at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, and will begin doctoral work in trumpet performance this fall. In addition to her Fellowship duties, she will maintain a studio of 35-45 students at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas. Megan's particular musical areas of interest include brass chamber and orchestral music. Beyond the practice room, she enjoys baking and spoiling Quinn, her lovable husky and wannabe baking assistant. Megan is an alumna of the High Plains Music Camp and a former student of Brad Dawson.


Matthew Baker (Trombone)


Matthew Baker is a band director at Comanche Middle School in Dodge City, Kansas. He has helped with the High Plains Music Camp for five years as a counselor and four years as an instructor. Matt will be working with the Tiger Band trombone sectionals and junior high jazz trombones.


Devin Blackwood (Bassoon)


Devin Blackwood is a senior Music Education major at Fort Hays State University. His primary instrument is bassoon.


Jimmy Clark (Low Brass)

Jimmy Clark is the low brass professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Clark serves as the principal trombonist of the Dallas Opera Orchestra and the Dallas Wind Symphony. He performs frequently as Acting Principal Trombone with the Dallas Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony. Jimmy Clark is a Conn-Selmer artist & endorses Bach Trombones exclusively. While he was a student at North Texas, he was a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band. In 1995 he was selected by his peers as a member of the Alumni All-Star One O'Clock Lab Band.


Brett Dawson (Trombone)


Brett Dawson is in his 17th year as the Director of Bands for Coral Springs High School. Mr. Dawson has taught at all levels of music instruction from elementary to collegiate over the past 24 years. His groups have earned superior ratings at the District and State level for Marching, Jazz, and Concert Band festivals. Mr. Dawson is also an adjunct professor of Trombone at Broward College and performs for Real Life Church and the Absolute Big Band. He holds a BME from the University of North Texas and a MME from the University of Northern Colorado. Mr. Dawson and his wife Anna have three children, Christopher, Hannah, and Jessica.


Renetta Dawson (French Horn)


After completing a Bachelor of Music Education at the University of Kansas, Renetta Dawson began her teaching career in 1989 at Scott City, Kansas. During her 23 years as a music educator she has taught in Osborne, Omaha, Bushton, Ellis, Russell, and now Hays Middle School. In addition to public school teaching, Mrs. Dawson has been a Faculty Member of High Plains Music Camp at Fort Hays State University for 19 years. She also enjoys performing and teaching french horn. Mrs. Dawson maintains a horn studio and performs with the Hays Symphony Orchestra.


Michele Fiala (Oboe)


Michele Fiala is an Associate Professor of Oboe at Ohio University and Secretary of IDRS, has performed throughout the United States, Italy, England, Germany, France and Canada. Of her solo CDs on MSR Classics (Overheard and The Light Wraps You) Fanfare Magazine said "The playing is light, fluent, and wonderfully flexible." Her book, A Performer's Guide to Nineteenth Century Italian Music for Oboe and English Horn, is published by Trevco Music Publishing. Fiala studied with Martin Schuring. She has performed in St-Martin-in-the-Fields Concert Series in London, Festival Autour du Hautbois de Paris, Festival Fiati Novara (Italy), Banff Summer Music Festival, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and Columbus Symphony Orchestra.


Nathan Froebe (Theory)


Nathan Froebe is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the area of music composition, with a minor in wind conducting. Mr. Froebe is an active composer and conductor of new music (both chamber and large ensemble), utilizing a free-tonal and programmatic approach. Recently, he has collaborated with the UW-Madison Dance Department to create new electronic works for student dancers while also engaging in Laban movement study. Mr. Froebe is currently preparing for his dissertation, which will be a large scale symphony for wind ensemble and electronics.


Katie Glading (Trombone)


Katie Glading recently graduated from Fort Hays State University with degrees in Music Education and Music Performance (trombone). She is the 5-12 band director in Russell, Kansas.







Victoria Griffitt (Percussion)


Victoria Griffitt started teaching in Derby, Kansas, as the drumline instructor in 2005. In her 10th year in Derby, she currently teaches band to students from 5th through 8th grade and directs the Derby North Middle School Jazz Ensemble. In addition to the middle school band, Mrs. Griffitt continues to coach the Derby High School drumline and maintains a private percussion studio. Derby Middle School's 8th Grade Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble were honored to perform for the 2015 KMEA Convention under her direction. Mrs. Griffitt graduated from Fort Hays State University in 1998 with a bachelors degree in music education. She attended Wichita State University where she earned a master of educational psychology in 2010.





Katie Grose (French Horn)


Katie Grose has been Director of Bands at Jefferson West since 1989. She is a 1988 graduate of The University of Kansas with a Bachelors Degree in Music Education. Under her direction, the band program has seen steady growth. The high school band consistently receives superior ratings at the Regional and State levels. In addition to her teaching duties, Katie is an active performer with the Lawrence Town Band, Cathedral Brass Quintet, and principal French Horn for the Topeka Symphony Orchestra.






Makenzi Johnson (Clarinet)

Makenzi Johnson is currently teaching private woodwind lessons through her and her husband's private studio, H.O.P.E for Music. In the upcoming school year, she will be the new Garden City High School Instrumental Assistant, where she will be the high school marching band and concert band assistant, and will also be assisting the freshman orchestra. She is an FHSU alumni, where she graduated with Music Education and Music Composition degrees.


Brian Keller (Saxophone)

Brian Keller graduated from FHSU in 2012 with a BM in Saxophone Performance. He has performed as a soloist with the Hays Symphony and the Salina Symphony.


Sylvia Klingbeil (Flute)

Sylvia Klingbeil is a flutist who teaches music at Ross Elementary in Topeka, Kansas.








Kurtis Koch (Percussion)

Kurtis Koch recently retired from teaching band for 38 years, with most of that time spent in the Great Bend USD 428 school system as the middle school-elementary band director. In 2002 he was selected Outstanding Junior High Music Teacher for KMEA Southwest Division, and in 2003, he was chosen as Kansas Outstanding Music Teacher of the Year. He has taught at High Plains Music Camp for 34 years as a percussion specialist. Currently, he is an Associate Faculty member at Barton County Community College in Great Bend teaching percussion.


Dean Kranzler (Percussion)

Dean Kranzler has served as an instructor of music in Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Methods and Studio Percussion at Fort Hays State University for 30 years. Kranzler holds a bachelor of music degree in education from Marymount College and a master of music degree in percussion performance from FHSU. He serves as an adjunct instructor at Bethany, Kansas, Wesleyan and Bethel Colleges. Kranzler is a member of the Kansas Music Educators Association, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors and the Percussive Arts Society. He also coaches drumlines at Salina Central and Salina South high schools.


Nicolasa Kuster (Bassoon)

Nicolasa Kuster Bassoonist Nicolasa Kuster is Associate Professor of Bassoon at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, California. She balances her full-time teaching position with a rich orchestral, chamber, and solo performing life around northern California and beyond. She is also the founding Co-Director of the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition and Bassoon Symposium, a biennial competition for young women bassoonists from the Americas which awards $20,500 in prizes and that occurs at an exciting three day Symposium open to all ( Nicolasa Kuster is Principal Bassoon of the Stockton Symphony and New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestras, Second Bassoon of the Monterey Symphony, and performs often with the San Francisco and San Diego Symphonies. Previous positions include the Wichita Symphony (also serving on the faculty of Wichita State University), the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the Virginia Symphony. She spent six summer seasons performing and recording with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy and can be heard on the Chandos Label playing Principal Bassoon on the Gian Carlo Menotti's operas and other works. She has enjoyed teaching and performing at many summer festivals and camps, including Anchorage Music Festival; Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic; Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop in Arcata, CA; the Marrowstone Festival in Bellingham, WA; and Pacific Music Camp at home in Stockton. Her solo appearances with orchestra include performing Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Bassoon Concerto on the opening Gala performance of the International Double Reed Society in 2013, Peter Schickele's Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra with the Stockton Symphony in 2015, multiple-city tours of Kazakhstan, as well as televised performances in Italy and Panama. She is the winner of the 1995 Chicago Musicians Club of Women's Solo Competition Farwell Award, which she won while a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago studying with the late Bruce Grainger, Assistant Principal Bassoon of the Chicago Symphony. She is a Double Degree graduate from Oberlin College and Conservatory with a B.M in Bassoon Performance and a B.A. in Religion. She was a student of George Sakakeeny and taught at Oberlin for him as a sabbatical replacement in Fall 2002. Her solo CD, Metamorphosis, can be found at


Peter Lillpopp (Tuba)


Shawn Martin(Saxophone)

Shawn Martin is a graduate of Fort Hays State University and has been a public school band instructor in the state of Kansas for 27 years, the last 17 which have been in the Lakin school system. This is his 31st year on the staff of the High Plains Music Camp.


Lane Moe (Trumpet)

Lane Moeis a senior at Fort Hays State University majoring in Music Performance


Steve Novotny (Tuba)

Steve Novotny currently teaches music at Skyline Schools in Pratt, Kansas. He is an active performer in the region and is principal tubist of the Hutchinson Symphony. Steve is owner of Old School Music, a music repair business. He attended Fort Hays State University receiving his bachelors degree in music education and University of Denver receiving his masters in tuba performance.


Judith Ofcarcik (Piano/Theory)

Dr. Judith Ofcarcik teaches Music Theory at FHSU. She has a PhD in Music Theory from Florida State University and a Master's degree in Organ Performance from Indiana University. Her interests within music theory include Beethoven's late variation movements, music and meaning, text/music relationships, and musical form.


Kevin Pham (Percussion)

Kevin Pham graduated from Fort Hays State University in the Spring of 2015 with degrees in Secondary Education and Music Education, and now serves as director of bands for USD 270 in Plainville, Kansas.







Jim Pisano (Saxophone)

Jim Pisano, equally comfortable as a jazz saxophonist and classical clarinetist, holds an international reputation as a performer, and most recently toured Brazil in May. Mr. Pisano holds degrees from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Miami (FL). In May, he completed his residency at the University of Illinois, where he is pursuing a doctoral degree in jazz saxophone. Upon returning to the Wichita area, he has formed a new jazz group, Organique, which primarily performs original compositions. He has served as the Director of Jazz Studies at East Tennessee State University and The University of Idaho, Lionel Hampton School of Music and he currently serves as Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.


Kristin Pisano (Clarinet)

Dr. Kristin Pisano serves as Associate Professor of Music in the FHSU Department of Music and Theatre. Additionally, she serves as the director of the Hays Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. She is the principal clarinetist on the Wichita Grand Opera orchestra, a position she has held since the company began in 2002. In this capacity, she performed concerts with world-renowned tenor stars Placido Domingo and the late, Luciano Pavarotti. This season, the Wichita Grand Opera will stage Turandot, Don Carlo, and The Grand Duchess. She holds a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Clarinet Performance from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire. Her past teaching experiences include East Tennessee State University and the University of Miami.


Steven Rathert (Euphonium)

Steven Rathert is a low brass instructor with his main instrument being euphonium. He graduated from FHSU in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in music and education. He currently is the director of bands at Osage City School district where he teaches 5th-12th grade instrumental music. He loves to start his day with a warm cup of coffee and an NPR tiny desk concert!


Michael Ritzel (Oboe)

Michael Ritzel is a May 2015 graduate of Fort Hays State University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Education. The upcoming fall semester of 2015 he will begin his first year of teaching in Good Shepherd K-8 Catholic School, Shawnee, Kansas. His teaching responsibilities include PreK-8th grade general music, band, chorus, and musical theatre productions. Michael Ritzel is serving as a double reed and oboe instructor for High Plains Music Camp.


Matt Rome (Clarinet)

Matt Rome graduated from Fort Hays State University in the Spring of 2015 with degrees in Secondary Education and Music, and now serves as director of bands for Hays High School and assistant director of bands at Hays Middle School.







Hillary Shepard (Flute)

Hillary Shepard has served as instructor of Flute at FHSU since 2009. She holds a B.A. in Music from The University of Houston and a M.M. in Flute Performance from Temple University. In 2009 she was a winner of the Wisconsin Flute Festival Masterclass Competition with Grammy Award winner Rhonda Larson. An advocate of new music, Hilary recently premiered a new flute work at the 2014 Kentucky Flute Festival, where she also served as an adjudicator for the Young Artist Competition. She is ever indebted to he former flute teachers David Cramer (Philadelphia Orchestra), Cynthia Meyers (Boston Symphony), John Thorne (Houston Symphony), and Claire Johnson (Southern Methodist University).


Cameron Shoemaker (Percussion)


Gerald Spaits (Jazz Bass)

Gerald Spaits a native of Kansas City, is one of the foremost jazz bass players in the Kansas City Area. Gerald is currently on staff at The University of Missouri Kansas City, as the instructor for Jazz Bass under Bobby Watson. He has performed with Kansas City jazz legends Jay McShann, Marilyn Maye, and Claude Williams and national recording artists Herb Ellis, Woody Herman Orchestra, Red Holloway, Kevin Mahogany, and Karrin Allyson, among others. Gerald debuted his own self-produced CD Three Sides in 2000, and has since produced three additional CD's on the Passit Label: Never Let Me Go, Time to Go, with the Russ Long Trio, and The Westport Art Ensemble.


Renee Trevino

Renee Trevino is a senior at Fort Hays State University majoring in Music Education (Instrumental). She plays the flute.


Jonathan Yust (Trumpet)

Jonathan Yust teaches at 5-12 band and 7-12 vocal music at Stanton County High School. He is married to Susanna and they have one daughter, Clara. Counselors Laura Backus has been a counselor at High Plains Music Camp for about 15 years. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her step-daughter.


Lane Weaver (Trombone)

Dr. Lane Weaver is the Director of Athletic Bands and Assistant Director of Bands at Utah State University where he directs the Aggie Marching Band, the Basketball Pep Band, and the Trombone Choir. He also teaches low brass lessons. He has traveled with athletic bands to some of the greatest collegiate football and basketball venues in the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, and the former PAC-10. International concert performances as a conductor and trombone soloist include Australia (Sydney Opera House), New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, Ireland, and Canada. Prior to his appointment at USU, Dr. Weaver served as Director of Athletic Bands at Fort Hays State University and Assistant Band Director at the University of Notre Dame. Originally from Idaho, Dr. Weaver holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Utah State University, a Masters of Music in trombone performance from the University of Notre Dame, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting from the University of Kentucky.


Kay Werth (Oboe)

Kay Werth has served as instructor of flute, piano, oboe, and bassoon in the Department of Music at Fort Hays State University since 2001. She earned a Bachelors of Music Education with an emphasis in piano from Marymount College in 1983 and a Master's of Music in Woodwind Pedagogy with an emphasis in oboe and bassoon from Ohio University in 1985. Prior to her tenure at Fort Hays State University, Kay served as Woodwind Specialist and Band Director (1985-1991) in the Ulysses and Concordia school districts. From 1999 through 2006, Kay served as Flute and Double Reed Instructor at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. In 1999, she established the High Plains Double Reed Consort. Kay is an active member of the Midwest Double Reed Society, International Double Reed Society, Kansas Music Teachers Association, Kansas Music Educators Association, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Rotary International.


Roger Wilder (Jazz Piano)

Roger Wilder was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y. After receiving a Bachelor of Music from University of Miami in 1986, he continued to record and perform in South Florida, then New York. He and his family settled in Kansas City in 2000. His debut CD "Stretch" came out in 2013. Wilder has performed with most of the great jazz artists in Kansas City as well as with the Kansas City Symphony. Mr. Wilder is an adjunct jazz professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and for 10 years he has hosted his own Jazz Radio Show as "The Jazz Geek" on 90.1 FM KKFI ( Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m.





Orchestra Specialists


Denise Blehm (Violin)

Denise Blehm is Executive Director of the Arts Council of Dickinson County, a private violin instructor, and the concertmaster of the Salina Symphony.


Anna Cook

Anna Cook is a music educator and cellist in the Kansas City area. She studied under Martin Storey and Matthew Herren for several years before attending Bethel College, where she graduated with a BA in cello performance. Anna studied conducting extensively with Timothy Shade and Daniel Hege, attending a conducting workshop with Music Academy of the West in 2010. She began her teaching career in Wilson, Kansas, and is currently the orchestra director at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, KS. Anna is an active member of NAfME and KMEA, and will be serving as the KMEA East Central District High School Orchestra Chair for 2018-2020. Anna is originally from Lawrence, Kansas.


Benjamin Cline (Cello)

Benjamin Cline is FHSU's Assistant Professor of Cello and Bass, Director of Orchestras, and Music Department Chair. Previously, he was the Visiting Professor of Cello at the University of Northern Colorado. Mr. Cline is accomplished in both solo and orchestral roles, and has held several titled positions in orchestras in Colorado and California. He has performed both nationally and internationally in a variety of venues. In addition to his performance activities, Mr. Cline is an active teacher. He has many years of experience teaching both privately and in the public school classroom, having taught at all levels from kindergarten through graduate school. He has served as an adjudicator in numerous festivals, all-state orchestras, and given master classes around the country. Mr. Cline earned his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, where he studied with Jim Fittz, and later studied with Alan Harris at the Cleveland Institute of Music.


Joan Crull (Viola)

Joan Crull's teaching experience has spanned 38 years, 5 states, thousands of students, and subjects as diverse as orchestra, general music, choir, and 1st grade classroom. She holds a B.A. from Dordt College, and has done graduate work at the University of Southern California, St. Thomas University, University of North Dakota, and the University of South Dakota. Currently she teaches Orchestra at Hays High, Hays Middle School, and is the general music teacher at O'Loughlin Elementary. She has served on the KASTA board and is currently KMEA NW District orchestra chair. Joan is married to Terry and has four grown children. Her motto is a quote from Yeats: "Teaching is not a filling of the pail, but a lighting of the fire."


Manda Deegan (Viola/Celtic Strings)

Manda Deeganis a violin and viola instructor and musician in Salina, Kansas. A graduate of The University of Denver, Deegan spent a decade traveling and teaching lessons in locations from Korea to Kentucky during her husband's army career. She settled in Salina with her husband, Paul and son, Jaimisen in 2007 and has since played Principal 2nd Violin with The Salina Symphony, Principal 2nd Violin with The Lindsborg Bethany Oratorio Society and Messiah Festival Orchestra, and both violin and viola with The Hays Symphony, The Lawrence Community Orchestra, and The Hutchinson Symphony. Deegan currently has a private studio of 50 violin and viola students, is on the summer music faculty for High Plains Music Camp and Midwestern Music Camp adjudicates all over the region, and is an officer of The Salina Symphony Guild.


Sarah Dorian (Cello)

Sarah Dorian holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from Vanderbilt University, a Master's of Music degree in Cello Performance and Literature from the University of Notre Dame, and recently finished a Master's in Education through Fort Hays State University (May 2011). While residing in Indiana, Sarah created orchestra programs at St. Joseph's High School (South Bend, IN), Culver Military Academy (Culver, IN), and West Sound Academy (Seattle, WA) while also maintaining a large private studio. Currently, Sarah is the Orchestra Director for the Spring Hill School District in the Kansas City area.


Alyssa Lane

No Photo Available

Ohio native Alyssa Lane, graduate of Kansas Wesleyan University, has been teaching the last two years in Great Bend Kansas as Assistant Orchestra Director. While in Great Bend, Miss Lane started a select middle school orchestra and was Concert Master of the Barton County Community Orchestra. This fall, Miss Lane will be heading back to her home town of Salina. She will be following in her orchestra teacher's footsteps as Salina South Orchestra Director.






Allison Lint (Violin)

Ohio native Allison Lint, runs a private teaching studio of strings and piano in Hays, where she stresses a highly individualized teaching philosophy that focuses students on sharing their music with others. Before relocating to Kansas, Allison was a member of the Akron Symphony Orchestra. She completed her undergraduate work with Gregory Fulkerson at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and attained her Master of Music studying with Alan Bodman at the University of Akron. Allison spends a large portion of her time working as the founder of Violin for Vasculitis, a nonprofit initiative. V4V's mission is to reach all 50 states to raise awareness and funding for vasculitis, an uncommon type of auto-immune disorder with which she was diagnosed as a teen. To this date, V4V has seen 32 events in 20 states. To read more, go to


Whitney Maxwell




Vocal/Musical Theatre Specialists


Ivalah Allen (Voice)

Dr. Ivalah Allen , soprano, has performed as soloist on the opera, recital, symphonic, and oratorio stage throughout the nationally and internationally, including China, Costa Rica, and South Africa. Some of her oratorio/symphonic appearances include The Creation (Haydn), Gloria (Poulenc), Great C Minor Mass (Mozart), Magnificat (J. S. Bach), St. Matthew Passion (J. S. Bach), Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven), Te Deum (Dvorak), Messiah (Händel), Lord Nelson Mass (F. J. Haydn), Elijah (Mendelssohn), Requiems by Brahms, Chilcott, Fauré, Mozart, and Rutter, Exsultate, jubilate (Mozart), Carmina Burana (Orff), and Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (Barber). Dr. Allen is also an active vocal clinician, vocal studio and classroom instructor, conductor, and opera and music theatre director. Since 2011, she is the director of the High Plains Music Camp at Fort Hays State University. Allen has been very dedicated to the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) for many years, including her service as the Kansas NATS Governor for six years and is currently serving as the Auditions Chair for the West Central NATS Region. Additionally, Dr. Allen researches and performs Native American songs, including arrangements of traditional Native American songs by Thurleau Lieurance. She holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music (Vocal Performance from Wichita State University and a Doctorate of Musical Arts (Vocal Performance) from University of Missouri-Kansas City.


Breanna Ellison (Piano)

Ohio native Breanna Ellison, collaborative piano and horn, is excited to be on the faculty of High Plains Music Camp this summer. Breanna holds bachelor's degrees with honors in piano performance and horn performance from the University of Kansas School of Music (teachers Jack Winerock and Paul Stevens, respectively), and received her master's degree with honors in horn performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, studying with James Sommerville, principal horn, Boston Symphony Orchestra. When not practicing horn or piano, she enjoys busking and playing gypsy tunes on accordion.


Pam McGowne (Piano)

Pam McGowne has served as full-time staff accompanist at FHSU since 2004. She received her bachelor's degree in piano performance from FHSU in 1976. McGowne served as an accompanist for the Big Apple Choral Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1987 and 1991, was an accompanist for Sir David Wilcox in Lincoln Center for the Big Apple Choral Festival in New York City in 1989, has accompanied choirs at the Worlds of Fun Choral Festival every May, was an accompanist for the Kansas Ambassadors of Music European Tour in 1993 and 1998, and has been a private piano instructor since 1969.





Alexandra Rome (Choral/Voice)

Alexandra Rome is the vocal music teacher for grades three through twelve in Larned, Kansas. She graduated from Fort Hays State University with a degree in Vocal Music Education. She has been a member of the Fort Hays Singers and Fort Hays Concert Choir, the FHSU Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Ensemble, and several small ensembles. Rome has also been involved in many musical theatre and opera productions, as both supporting and lead roles. She participated in the annual Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, and she is an active member of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association.


Alyssa Toepfer (Voice)

Hailed as a soprano with "unbridled dexterity" (Kansas City Star) and "creamy warmth" (KC Independent), Alyssa Toepfer is a Kansas City-based soprano and private voice teacher. Her favorite operatic roles include Jemmy (Guillaume Tell), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Adina (l'Elisir d'amore), Norina (Don Pasquale), and Mabel (Pirates of Penzance).
Mrs. Toepfer is a regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Augustana University and a Master of Music in Voice at The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Alyssa lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband Alex and cats Oliver and Polly.


Tomme Lynn Williams (Music Theatre)

Tomme Lynn Williams was born and raised in Hays, Kansas, and graduated from Fort Hays State University in 1974 with a BA in Speech/Theatre. She returned to FHSU in 1991 to receive a MS degree in Communication/Theatre and teach theatre classes, design costumes and direct the fall musicals. Ms. Williams moved to New York City in 2001 where she worked at the city's largest costume retailer, New York Costumes, and at Lincoln Center for the New York City Opera and the New York City Ballet, both in residence in the David H. Koch Theatre. Ms. Williams returned to FHSU in 2011 and now is interim theatre director for the Department of Music and Theatre.




Counseling Staff


Housing Director - Dee Moore

Dee Moore is in charge of Students Activities as well as being the Housing Coordinator for the High Plains Music Camp. Dee is a 1983 graduate of Hutchinson High School and was a dedicated percussion student of Robert E. Lee II and Dean Kranzler, both long time High Plains Camp instructors. She graduated from FHSU with a BME in 1988 and began a 28-year teaching career at Pretty Prairie schools. At Pretty Prairie, Dee served 15 years as the 5-12 band instructor and 13 years as the district's 5-9 Language Arts instructor. She was also the Student Success Coordinator/K-6 Music Instructor for 8 years. Mrs. Moore has been a camper, faculty member, and administrator at HPMC for 38 years. She has a daughter and two sons, also HPMC participants.


Co-Head Male Counselor - Bill Meagher

Bill Meagher is Head Men's Counselor at High Plains Music Camp and a graduate of Fort Hays State University. He teaches Junior High Religion and coaches football, basketball, and track at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in Hays, Kansas. He is currently finishing up his Certificate of Theology from Notre Dame University. Mr. Meagher and his wife Mandy are blessed to have three beautiful children, Thomas, Andrew, and Emma.


Co-Head Male Counselor - Mike Yust

Mike Yust has a college background in vocal music performance and jazz trombone. He works in the IT industry.


Co-Head Female Counselor - Emily Mattheyer

Emily Mattheyer graduated from FHSU in 2015 with a BA in Music and a Minor in Leadership Studies. She recently took on a new job as the St. Mary's Church secretary in Ellis and in her free time teaches beginner piano lessons and sings with the group "Crossroads" from Hays. She began her love for this camp by attending as a camper before joining the staff. This is her third year as Co-Head Women's counselor here at HPMC.


Co-Head Femail Counselor - Spring Trail

Spring Trail is enjoying her second year as Co-Head Women's counselor here at HPMC. She has been associated with the camp in various roles for the last 22 years. Ms Trail has taught music for 20 years. She loves sharing her joy and passion for music.



Female Counselors


Laura Backus

Laura Backus has been a counselor at High Plains Music Camp for about 15 years. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her step-daughter.


Erin Bundy

Erin Bundy, originally from Chapman, Kansas, graduated Cum Laude in Spring 2015 from FHSU with a Bachelor's in Music Education. She will begin teaching K-6 Music at Anthony Elementary School in Anthony, Kansas. She is a member of the music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota, National Association of Music Education, and American Orff-Schulwerk Association. She has also been an active member of the Abilene Municipal Band 
for 6 years.


Mallory Cox

Mallory Cox is a junior music performance major at FHSU studying tuba. She is from Lawrence, Kansas.


Amy France

Amy France is a first-year counselor at High Plains Music Camp. She attended HPMC for 13 years as a camper. She and her husband have five children and are farmer/ranchers from western Kansas.


Kellyn Harrison

Kellyn Harrison is in her 4th year at Kansas State University, pursuing her BME, with an emphasis in vocal music. She grew up attending High Plains Music Camp as a horn player and has loved the opportunity to work on staff at this amazing camp that inspires young musicians.







Ashley McKinley

Ashley McKinley is currently an FHSU student pursuing a degree in Music Education. Her primary instruments are clarinet and piano.


Aislinn Walters

Aislinn Walters is a Music Education and Saxophone Performance major at Fort Hays State University. She participates in many University ensembles, including Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, Wind Ensemble, Pep Band and Marching Band. She holds a section leader position in many of these groups, and was awarded the music department's 2015 Freshman of the Year. Born in Hays, Kansas, she graduated Hays High School in 2014. She is a three time All-State musician, as well having been a 2014 Army All-American Marching Band member. She attended High Plains Music Camp for five summers until she was no longer eligible.


Amelia Yust

Amelia Yust has been both a camper and counselor at High Plains Music Camp. She plays piano and flute.








Olivia Zody

Olivia Zody Olivia recently graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor's in Education (Elementary). She enjoys running, reading, participating in color guard, spending time with her cat, family, and friends. She also is recently engaged. Olivia plays the bass clarinet, clarinet, and also sings.



Male Counselors


Max Befort

Max Befort is currently a sophomore and a double major in Music Education and Music Composition and a member of NAfMe at FHSU. He is the assistant director of Full Chord Press under the direction of Johnny Matlock and is a new student and family orientation leader at FHSU.


Adam Flax

Adam Flax is a junior majoring in Music Education (vocal) at Fort Hays State University.


Josh Hermes

Josh Hermes is a music education major at Fort Hays State University. He loves to play trombone and has been playing since 5th grade. He enjoys spending time with his friends and playing in many fun ensembles at FHSU. After attending high school in Hutchinson, Kansas, he attended Hutchinson Community College for two years before transferring to FHSU as a junior. He hopes to complete his bachelor's degree and seek a Master's related to music.


Hector Hernandez

Hector Hernandez is a trombonist majoring in Music Education at Fort Hays State University.


Christopher Moss

Christopher Moss is a senior in college, currently attending the University of Kansas for Industrial Design. He is an artistic person who enjoys singing, playing guitar, drawing, painting, writing, and cooking. He has played guitar for 9 years, trombone for 11 years, and piano for 7 years.


Nick Schumacher

Nick Schumacher is a junior Music Education major at FHSU. His primary instrument is euphonium.


Alexander Stout

Alexander Stout is a senior at Fort Hays State University majoring in Music Education with an emphasis in voice. He sings baritone.







Ben Williams

Ben Williams is a senior Music Education major at Fort Hays State University. He will be student teaching in Colorado this fall.






Gavin Blehm

Gavin Blehm is a trumpet player majoring in Music Education at Fort Hays State University.


Ciara Calhoon

Ciara Calhoon is from Beloit, Kansas. She was a choir camper at High Plains Music Camp for 5 years. She is now studying Music Education and Performance with a minor in Theatre at Fort Hays State University. Ciara often participates in Fort Hays State University's musical and theatre productions and is a member of the university's concert choir and Fort Hays Singers and is a vocal student of Dr. Perniciaro. This is her first year on the HPMC staff.


Clara Kachanes

Clara Kachanes Clara is a sophomore in college at Fort Hays State University majoring in violin performance. She is currently studying under Professor Shokhrukh Sadikov. Her orchestral engagements include Great Bend Community Orchestra, Hays Symphony Orchestra, Fort Hays State University Sinfonietta, and Hutchinson Symphony Orchestra. Some of Clara's other musical engagements include Western Kansas Orchestra Festival, UMKC Honor Orchestra Festival, Regional and State Music Festival, and KMEA Southwest District Festival. She also teaches private violin lessons in Hays. Clara attended High Plains Music Camp at Fort Hays State University for two summers. She has also attended Camp Allegro in Wichita and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. This summer, Clara will be interning at High Plains Music Camp and Western Kentucky University String Institute.


Rhiannon Mullins


Cheyenne Rowe


Natalee Thomas




Administrative Staff


Jaimisen Deegan (Equipment)


Brandon Jones (Equipment)


Angie Sundell (Camp Nurse/Violin)

Angie Sundell is the High Plains Music Camp nurse . She also plays the violin.


Elizabeth Weaver (Program Assistant)

Elizabeth Weaver holds a degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Music from Utah State University and has performed as a vocalist throughout her life. She sings in various family musical ensembles and has served on church music ministry teams in Indiana, Kentucky, and Kansas. Elizabeth is the Children's Pastor at CrossPoint Hays and is a substitute teacher with the Hays school district. This is her fourth year on staff with High Plains Music Camp.


Galen Whisman (Equipment)

Galen Whisman is a trumpet player studying Music Education at Fort Hays State University.

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