PIANO   Donald Dillard, Michael Farnsley, Diane Keller, Susan Ogren, Mila Ovsankin, Debbie Sanfilippo, Kirk Tamura, Anna Turkova

STRINGS  Matthew Leung

WOODWINDS  Margaret Collar, Lisa Evans, Christina KopeckyAnthony Urbina , Sam Brown

BRASS Craig Hirotsuka

PERCUSSION  Mike Bastian

GUITAR  Sam Shinnick

VOICE  Robin Costa

CLASSES Nancy Whitecar, Jo Smith NilssonJesse Denny

DIRECTOR Chantelle Urbina




Mike Bastian, Percussion

  • Studied music at the Julliard School in New York
  • Played jazz in and around New York City
  • Played classical percussion with regional ensembles including The White Horse Group, Nova Vista, The Winchester Symphony, The San Jose State Percussion Ensemble and The Saratoga Orchestra
  • Founded Pentimento Jazz in 2004
  • Composes for and conducts his percussion ensemble
  • Maintains a busy performance schedule


Sam Brown, Woodwinds, Band


Margaret Collar, 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


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
  • Currently attending San Francisco State University, pursuing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology to further expand her knowledge of the voice
  • Has sung as a member of the Opera San José chorus, and performed with Lampighters 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


Jesse Denny, Voice, Classes

  • Bachelor of Music in Education, Voice from Chapman University
  • Previously  at Monta Vista High School as a student teacher in the choral program, directed Chorus at Regnart Elementary School
  • Completed San Jose State Credential Program
  • Teaches elementary school music in Palo Alto Unified School District


Zach Denny, Director of Operations

  • Began taking classes at The Music School when he was 18 months old and worked as a Teaching Assistant while in high school
  • Completed a Regents Bachelor of Arts Degree at Shepherd University in West Virginia
  • Has taught at Music School, and assisted Mountain View High School Choirs, Chorus at Regnart, and Oak Elementary Chorus


Donald Dillard, 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

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.05.48 PM

Lisa Evans, Woodwinds

  • Began teaching at The Music School in 1993
  • Bachelor 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

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.07.51 PM

Michael Farnsley, Piano, Pathways, Young Musicians, Adventures, Accompanist

  • Bachelor of Music from the Conservatory of Music at University of The Pacific in 1998
  • Attended 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, Oak Elementary, and Regnart Elementary School

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.19.27 PM

Craig Hirotsuka, Brass, Percussion

  • 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


Diane Keller, Piano, Classes

  • Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Organ Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University
  • Taught group organ classes and private lessons at BYU and continues to teach at summer workshops there
  • Has performed regularly as a guest organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle
  • Active in the American Guild of Organists and has served as dean of the LesBois chapter in Boise, Idaho, and is a member of the executive board of the San Jose chapter of the AGO
  • Began teaching at The Music School in 1999
  • Teaches private lessons, both organ and piano, in her studio in Sunnyvale


Christina Kopecky, Flute, Piccolo, Recorder

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music and minors in French and Mass Communication from Southeast Missouri State University
  • Master of Music in Flute Performance from The University of Kansas.
  • Primary focus in graduate school was to learn to teach from a very scientific approach – took classes in anatomy and physiology to understand how a flutist’s body must work to play well and learned how to diagnose faults to improve tone,  technique, and overall flute player well-being.
  • Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Women’s Music Fraternity member, Music Teachers’ Association of California member


Matthew Leung, Violin

  • Graduated from San Jose State University with a BA 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

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.49.57 PM

Susan Ogren, Piano, Connections, Pathways

  • Graduate of the University of Minnesota
  • Studied piano at The MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis
  • Has worked with autistic students teaching both music and art, and has also produced numerous musicals at local children’s theaters


Mila Ovsankin, 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-linquist, who graduated in Music Education at the Moscow Music College
  • Has taught music to children for 20 years in 3 different countries


Anne Peterson, Piano

  • Has a BA from University of Minnesota
  • Attended graduate school at Lone Mountain College in San Francisco
  • Currently composes for the piano, keyboard, and harpsichord, and performed with her group, Tudor Rose
  • Has performed at the Renaissance Faire, does Toastmaster’s club, has worked in modeling, and attended the Shakespeare Festival in Oregon
  • Especially enjoys adult students

Deb S

Debbie Sanfilippo, 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 twenty-five years
  • Has written and directed seven student operas at Stockelmeir Elementary School
  • Starting 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
  • Children were both long-time students at The Music School and grandson Gavin is currently in our preschool classes


Sam Shinnick, Guitar

  • Currently studying at San Jose State University – on track to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Music in Spring 2017
  • Has worked as a sound engineer, music theory tutor, and performs with jazz combos and pit orchestras for local theater companies

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.57.16 PM

Jo Smith Nilsson, Violin, Classes

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.02.03 PM

Kirk Tamura, Piano

  • Graduated with a BA in Music from San Jose State University in 1992
  • Active performer, jazz piano
  • Can be heard leading his trio at the Los Altos Grill (on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 PM)
  • Appears at “A Perfect Finish” in downtown San Jose once a month with his trio


Anna Turkova, 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 Concermaster at Elgava’s Music College
  • Students consistently place well in piano competitions
  • Works full time in San Francisco

72121_10151297558825939_704644310_n (2)

Anthony Urbina, Saxophone

  • 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 and local rock bands

2014-08-01 01.26.12 (2)

Chantelle Urbina, Director, Classes, Singing Children, Entertainers, Summer Musical Theater, Broadway Babies

  • Bachelor’s of Music in Education, Vocal Concentration from University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music
  • Began working at The Music School in 1991
  • Currently the Business Manager for the Santa Clara Chorale

cropped piano photo

Nancy Whitecar, Kaleidoscope,  Adventures, Pathways, Accompanist

  • Has taught private piano students in her home studio for 18 years
  • Served as principal accompanist/assistant director for the BeckRidge Chorale of Michigan for 20 years
  • Served as associate director of music at the First United Methodist Church of Plymouth, Michigan, including directing choirs for preschool, elementary age, and junior high students
  • Provided music in preschools and daycares with her “Grow With Music” program
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois



Kiren Balakrishnan

Rose Chan

Shannon Cheung

Abbey Christensen

Allison Gregory

Aaron Johnson

Tejas Kadambi

Ashley Negado

Peyton White



Debbie Czyzewski

Jill Denny

Peggy Grettum

Sydney Keller, Office

Miriam Schaefers

Jim Vaughn


Lucy Bueno

Phillip Christensen

Karen Filice

Ellen Kitchen

Garrett Kuramoto

Charlie Neuhauser

Viki Stern