Faculty

PIANO   Donald Dillard, Michael Farnsley, Diane Keller, Mila Ovsankin, Deb Sanfilippo, Kirk Tamura, Anna Turkova

STRINGS  Matthew Leung

WOODWINDS  Margaret Collar, Lisa EvansAnthony Urbina 

BRASS Craig Hirotsuka, Wayne Van Lieu

PERCUSSION Shota Otaguro, Peter Wallack

GUITAR  Jason Keiser, Juliana Tarter

VOICE  Robin Costa, Adam Lee

CLASSES Nancy Whitecar, Nick Patton, David Garcia, Jesse Denny, Lauren Kato, Jo Smith-Nilsson

DIRECTOR Chantelle Urbina

TEACHING ASSISTANTS / SUPPORT / ADVISORY BOARD



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Margaret Collar (she/her) Flute

  • Music Education and Flute Performance from California State University Fullerton
  • Has taught group keyboard, preschool music, flute and piano at many local schools
  • Has performed with Fullerton Civic Light Opera and Orange County repertory Theater
  • Students are known to receive high scores and honors at youth competitions and performances
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Robin Costa, Voice

  • Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Master of Arts Degree in Music from San Jose State University
  • Master of Science Degree in Communicative Disorders from San Francisco State University
  • Currently works as a Speech-Language Pathologist for Cupertino Union School District
  • Has sung as a member of the Opera San José chorus, and performed with Lamplighters Music Theatre, San Jose State University Opera Workshop, and Ohlone Chamber Orchestra
  • Has been teaching voice lessons at The Music School since January of 2006


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Jesse Denny (she/her) Classes

  • Bachelor’s of Music in Education, Voice from Chapman University
  • Master’s Degree in Vocal Pedagogy
  • Completed San Jose State Credential Program
  • Teaches elementary school music and middle school choir and orchestra in Palo Alto Unified School District
  • Works as a clinician with Mountain View High School Choirs
  • Previously worked at Monta Vista High School as a student teacher in the choral program, directed Chorus at Regnart Elementary School


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Donald Dillard (he/him) Piano

  • Awarded a Philadelphia Board of Education scholarship to West Chester University, West Chester, PA, where he majored in Piano and Voice
  • Graduate studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, NJ
  • Has received numerous awards and accolades, including an honorary Doctor of Music from the National Association of Negro Musicians for his various contributions to music
  • Active composer of over 100 works for chorus, instruments, piano, organ and voice. His music has been performed throughout the United States and in Europe, including a premier performance at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall
  • Has been a choral director and teacher of music on all levels, including positions as instructor of music theory, aural activities and music appreciation
  • Is married to concert pianist Yoko Nagashima-Dillard
  • Orchestral works performed by Detroit Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Delaware County Symphony and Orchestra Society of Philadelphia.


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Lisa Evans (she/her) Woodwinds

  • Began teaching at The Music School in 1993
  • Bachelor’s of Music in clarinet performance and her Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Jose State University
  • Clarinetist for Paul Price’s Society Orchestra which performs for vintage dances held by the Varsity Dance Club at the Masonic Lodge in Palo Alto
  • Plays woodwinds and sings for Encores on Wheels and the Continental Harmony Singers
  • Several of her students have gone on to study music in college and play in local youth symphonies
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Michael Farnsley (he/him) Piano, Pathways/Young Musicians, Adventures, Camps, Accompanist

  • Bachelor’s of Music from the Conservatory of Music at University of The Pacific in 1998
  • Completed a Music Therapy internship in Hayward
  • Began working at The Music School in January 2000
  • Accompanist for The Music School’s Singing Children and Entertainers, as well as the choirs at Mountain View High School and Oak Elementary


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David Garcia (he/him) Classes

  • Graduated from Chapman University


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Craig Hirotsuka (he/him) Brass

  • Studied music at Foothill College, graduating with his AA in 1997
  • Has been teaching music in the Bay Area for over twenty years, including band, private lessons, and marching bands
  • Teaches private trumpet lessons at The Music School
  • Professional photographer


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Lauren Kato (she/her) Music & Dance Camp

  • Currently the dance teacher and director of Mountain View High School’s dance program, Dance Spectrum.
  • Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Minor in Biology from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.
  • Has had opportunities to work under esteemed artists and choreographers including Cheryl Copeland, Katie Langan, Shellie Hutchinson, Lorna Ventura, Sheila Barker, Cindy Salgado, and Flavio Salazar.
  • Served as the Teen Summer Intensive Coordinator at NYC’s Peridance Capezio Center in 2016, where she organized and ran a 3 week dance program for young dancers from all around the globe.


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Jason Keiser (he/him) Guitar

  • Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old-Time, & Country Music Studies from East Tennessee State University, Class of 2018
  • Studied, recorded, and has collaborated with legendary bluegrass guitarist and original member of The Tony Rice Unit, Wyatt Rice.
  • Studied with Ardeshir Farah of legendary fusion guitar music band, Strunz & Farah.
  • Masters of Music, San Jose State University, Class of 2020
  • Professional guitarist, multi-stylist, composer, recording artist, & Band Leader of professional Bay Area New Acoustic Music string band; The New Acoustic Collective.
  • Specializes in string instruction and is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in Guitar, Mandolin, Tres Cubano, Banjo, & Ukulele.
  • http://www.jasonkeisermusic.com/bio.html 


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Diane Keller (she/her) Piano, Classes

  • Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Organ Performance and Pedagogy
  • Active member and former dean of the San Jose Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
  • Organist at First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto since January 2015
  • Has worked as an accompanist for numerous groups in the Bay Area since 1999
  • Began teaching at The Music School in 1999
  • Teaches private lessons, both organ and piano, in her studio in Sunnyvale


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Adam Lee (he/him) Assistant Director, Musical Play, Musical Treats, Music Box, Adventures, Kaleidoscope, Voice Class, Strum Class, Voice

  • Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Westminster Choir College
  • Performed with New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra
  • Sang on professional choral CD’s: Lumina by Westminster Kantorei, Silence Into Light by Westminster Williamson Voices, and Sunrise Mass by Westminster Williamson Voices
  • Has directed and sung with numerous choir ensembles
  • Previously served as Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church Director of Children’s Ministry
  • Sings with and works as Managing Director for the Mission Peak Chamber Singers in Fremont
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Matthew Leung, Violin

  • Graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music in 2017
  • Performed in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Hong Kong, including performances in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Hong Kong City Hall
  • Has served as a traditional and contemporary hymn pianist for Crosspoint Chinese Church and New Life Church of Cupertino since 2014
  • Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese


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Shota Otaguro (he/him) Percussion

  • Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from San Jose State University
  • Has won top awards in Fremont Symphony’s Young Artist Competition, California’s PAS competitive festival SJSU’s concerto competition, and the Great Plains International Marimba competition
  • Currently a member of the San Francisco Brass Band playing timpani
  • Directs percussion sectionals at San Jose Youth Symphony and coaches at Monta Vista High School Marching Band
  • Has worked with Homestead High School Marching Band and Winter Percussion and Fremont High School Concert Percussion
  • Works as a videographer for Symphony San Jose at the California Theater


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Mila Ovsankin (she/her) Piano

  • Was raised in a musical family in Moscow, Russia, where her grandfather was a professional violinist at the age of 17 and her father was a performing musician, teacher and Mila’s piano teacher
  • Multi-linguist, who graduated in Music Education at the Moscow Music College
  • Has taught music to children for 20 years in 3 different countries
  • Fluent in Russian and Hebrew
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Nick Patton (he/him) Assistant Director, Music Box, Pathways/Young Musicians, Adventures, Kaleidoscope, Theory, Spotlight Theater, Preschool classes

  • Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Notre Dame de Namur University, Masters of Education from National University
  • Taught High School Choir and AP Music Theory for five years at California High School in San Ramon, CA
  • Has performed throughout the Bay Area in Musical Theatre, Opera, and Operetta, along with Featured Vocalist and Soloist performances
  • Started at The Music School at 7 years old in Singing Children
  • Plays a wide variety of instruments, but is known for his stylings on random percussion instruments (especially the cajon!)
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Deb Sanfilippo (she/her) Piano, Classes, Music & Art Camp

  • Grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, where she received piano instruction from Wally Hornibrook, a professor at Indiana University
  • Graduated from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale
  • Received her degree from Santa Clara University
  • Has been teaching at The Music School for over thirty years
  • Has written and directed student operas at Stockelmeir Elementary School
  • Started a new music program for grades 1-5 at Noddin Elementary in San Jose
  • Has served as president of the Music Teachers’ Association of California, Santa Clara County Branch, and is the Recitals Chair for Improvisation and the Regional Chair for Composers Today at the state level
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Jo Smith-Nilsson (she/her) Camps, Classes

  • Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies from Long Island University’s Global College
  • Teaching Credential in Music from San Jose State University
  • Masters of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from University of San Francisco
  • Teaches Intro to Music and Orchestra at Los Altos and Mountain View High Schools
  • Directed elementary, middle, and high school choirs
  • Has worked for the Santa Clara Chorale as Business Manager
  • Has worked with Mountain View High School choirs as rehearsal accompanist and teaching assistant


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Kirk Tamura (he/him) Piano

  • Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from San Jose State University in 1992
  • Active performer, jazz piano
  • Gigs at the Tabard Theater and other local events and venues
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Juliana Tarter (she/her) Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Strum Class

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music in Guitar Performance from San Jose State University
  • Style is very versatile, ranging from classical and jazz, to indie rock and metal
  • Has been performing lead guitar and backing vocals with original band Crimes of Passion for over 10 years, and has opened for many major artists including the Doobie Brothers and Steve Miller Band


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Anna Turkova (she/her) Piano

  • From Riga, Latvia
  • Graduated from the Odessa Conservatory of Music, and has a Master’s degree in Art
  • Worked in Riga-Latvia as a piano teacher and Concertmaster at Elgava’s Music College
  • Elected President of MTAC Golden Gate branch since 2018
  • Students consistently place well in piano competitions
  • Works full time in San Francisco
  • Started working at The Music School in 2002
  • Speaks Ukrainian and is fluent in Russian
  • Certified in CPR


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Anthony Urbina (he/him) Saxophone, Sound Engineer

  • Majored in Music Business & Administration at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, with a concentration in Alto Saxophone.
  • Has been supporting Music School events as sound and audio engineer since 2000
  • Has been teaching at The Music School since 2009
  • Works a full-time management job, and as a sound engineer for school productions, local rock bands, and community events
  • Fluent in Spanish
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Chantelle Urbina (she/her) Director, Singing Children, Entertainers, Spotlight Theater, Summer Musical Theater, Preschool classes

  • Bachelor’s of Music in Education, Vocal Concentration from University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music
  • Began working at The Music School in 1991
  • Serves on the Board of Directors for the Santa Clara Chorale
  • Works as clinician and program support for Mountain View High School Choirs and Kennedy Middle School Choirs
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


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Wayne Van Lieu, French Horn, Piano

  • Masters of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Bachelor of Music in Performance, Oberlin Conservatory of Music
  • Regular performer with various Bay Area symphonies
  • Taught preschool music in Napa County, and worked with students in the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, as well as El Sistema in Mexico
  • Proficient in Spanish


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Peter Wallack (he/him) Drums

  • Has been supporting The Music School for over 20 years
  • Member of the Board of the Sunnyvale Community Players
  • Studied snare drum and drum set in New York with Joe Vasile, Gary Chester, and Bay Area jazz legend Jason Lewis
  • Plays drums for musicals with The Music School, several local high schools, and Sunnyvale Community Players
  • Plays every style of music including jazz, big band, funk and punk


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Nancy Whitecar (she/her) Kaleidoscope, Pathways/Young Musicians, Accompanist

  • Graduated from the University of Illinois
  • Instructor and accompanist at the Music School since 2015
  • Instructor and accompanist with Ragazzi Boys Chorus
  • Accompanist with the Fremont High School choral department
  • Served as accompanist/assistant director for 20 years with the Beckridge Chorale in Michigan
  • Staff member and musical collaborator with several church music departments
  • Collaborates with student soloists and ensembles for contests and auditions
  • Member Music Teachers National Association
  • Certified in CPR & First Aid


TEACHING & OFFICE ASSISTANTS

Kiren Balakrishnan (she/her), Maryland Institute College of Art

Sydney Chao (she/her) Lynbrook High School, Senior

Sophia Christensen (she/her) Fremont High School, Sophomore

Allison Gregory (she/her) Michigan State University

Aaron Johnson (he/him) San Jose State University

Grayson Kunz (he/him) De Anza College/Homestead High School, Middle College

Kailash Menon (he/him) Emory College

Aaron Montes, Fremont High School, Senior

Sara O’Connor (she/her) De Anza College

Tessa Prodromou (she/her) Los Altos High School, Junior

Mira Sumant (she/her) Los Altos High School, Freshman

Nakoa Urbina (he/him) Cupertino High School, Senior

Peyton White (she/her) UC Berkeley Graduate

Lahari Yallapragada (she/her) Monta Vista High School, Junior

Hee Chan Yang (he/him) Homestead High School, Junior

Conner Yin, Santa Clara University



ADVISORY BOARD

Karen Filice

Ellen Kitchen

Garrett Kuramoto

Charlie Neuhauser

Robin Rosenberg

Viki Stern



SUPPORT

Debbie Czyzewski

Jill Denny

Peggy Grettum

Jim Vaughn

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Doris Harry, Founder

Doris Harry served as director and teacher at The Music School since its beginnings in 1977 until 2017. Doris earned her Bachelor and Masters of Music at The College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati in Ohio. She has additional hours in the M.B.A./Arts Administration program at Golden Gate University. Doris began her work in Cincinnati in the 1970’s in research, development, and curriculum writing for Baldwin Music, a company developing pianos for group lessons. Doris has taught students from preschool through the university level. She has made two educational music television series and multiple recordings for children. Her published works focus on music curriculum and songs for children. Doris directed children’s choirs for many years and still does workshops across the country.  She continues to write music and record CD’s, and she remains on the cutting edge of music education today.