Music Department Faculty
Click on any faculty member's name to see a list of achievements.
Dr. Stephen W. Sachs, Professor of Music and Music Chair at Belhaven University since 2004, has been active as a piano soloist, duo-pianist, chamber musician and accompanist in the U.S., Costa Rica and France. Dr. Sachs is a founding member of the Belhaven Piano Trio. He has appeared as soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (MSO), the Jackson Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra of Jackson, MS, the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra under Dr. Kenneth Nafziger, the Richmond Symphony, the Eastern Mennonite University Symphony, the Cumberland Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Ohio University Symphony Orchestra, and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Most recently in February, 2013 Sachs performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491 with the MSO of Jackson, MS under the direction of Maestro Crafton Beck. Other concerti performed with orchestra include Concerto No. 1 in E-flat by Franz Liszt, Wanderer Fantasie by Franz Liszt, Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58 by Beethoven, Fantasy in C Minor for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra (The Choral Fantasy), Op. 80 by Beethoven, Concerto in C Major (Elvira Madigan), K. 467 by Mozart; Concerto in D-flat by Aram Khachaturian, Aubade by Francis Poulenc, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise by Chopin, Double Concerto in E-flat Major, K. 365 by Mozart, Concerto for Two Keyboards in C Major, BWV1061a by J. S. Bach, The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens and Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 (harpsichordist) by J.S. Bach. By special invitation, Sachs has performed at the University of Costa Rica in San Jose, the Hall of the Americas, Washington, DC, the Brahms Festival at The Catholic University of America, the American Liszt Society in Washington, D.C, and Music at La Gesse, Boulogne-sur-Gesse, France. Numerous local performances have occurred at Belhaven University, Mississippi College, Tougaloo College, St. Paul's Episcopal Church Chamber Music Series in Meridian, MS, for the "Music in the City" series of Jackson, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Chamber Series, at the University of Southern Mississippi, at the University of New Orleans, as an orchestral pianist with the MSO, and the MacDowell and Chaminade Music Clubs.
Sachs received the MS Humanities Council, Belhaven University 2011 Humanities Teacher Award for his paper on "The Art of Teaching through Encouragement and Critical Thinking" which was presented three times to state-wide music teachers meetings. He presented a paper and performed at the College Music Society Regional Meeting/Roger Sessions Symposium, Elon College, 1996 and received a research grant from Eastern Mennonite University for a paper titled "Mostly American Duo Piano Music Composed since 1960". He appeared frequently at the Garth Newel Chamber Music Center, Hot Springs, VA in addition to numerous appearances in Washington D.C., Roanoke, VA, Colona, IA, Goshen, IN, Sarasota, FL, Lancaster, PA, Lansdale/Souderton, PA. Competitions include: Semi-Finalist in Young Keyboard Artists Association, Grand Rapids, MI, 14th Annual University of MD International Piano Competition, Robert Casadesus 5th International Piano Competition, OH, Winner of Ohio University Concerto Competition, Winner of Youngstown Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, OH.
He earned the D.M.A. degree in piano performance from The Catholic University of America studying with Dr. Thomas Mastroianni and Dr. Bela Nagy, the M.M. degree in piano performance from Ohio University as Trisolini Fellow studying with Richard Syracuse, a B.A. degree in music and a B.S. degree in music education from Lebanon Valley College studying with William Fairlamb and additional study with Dr. Donald Isaac at Arizona State University. Sachs has also coached with Horatio Gutierrez, Lili Kraus, Raymond Lewenthal, Garrick Ohlsson, Gyorgy Sebok, Eugene Jennings, and chamber music with cellist Leighton Conkling.
Dr. Sachs serves as Director of Music Ministries at Covenant Presbyterian Church of Jackson where he plays the organ and directs the choir. Under his direction, The Covenant Choir has presented Handel's "Messiah", Pergolesi's "Magnificat", Vivaldi's "Gloria", Vaughn-Williams "Five Mystical Songs", and "Te Deums" by Walton, Hayes, and Rutter. Sachs served on the board of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2010 and sat on the Artistic Advisory Board. From 1978-2004, Dr. Sachs served on the faculty of Eastern Mennonite University teaching piano and music theory and directing the Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Ensemble, and the Swing Sisters vocal ensemble. He founded the community jazz band Just Jazzin' in 2000, which still performs regularly in the Shenandoah Valley.
Dr. Paxton Girtmon (2007) Professor of Music
B.M.E, Northwestern State University
M.M.E. Northwestern State University
D.M.A. University of Southern Mississippi
Dr. Paxton M. Girtmon, Associate Professor of Music, is Director of Bands and Music and oversees the music education program. He is in charge of all aspects of the Marching, Pep, and Concert Bands, as well as, the large and small ensembles in the spring terms. He supervises student teachers, as well as teaching instrumental method courses and instruction, instrumental orchestration, also undergraduate and graduate level conducting courses. Dr. Paxton earned his D.M.A. from The University of Southern Mississippi and his B.M.Ed. and his M.M.Ed. at Northwestern State University. Dr. Girtmon has performed professionally with the Shreveport Symphony and Northwestern/Natchitoches Symphony where he performed with Jazz legend Pete Fountain, the world renowned Ray Charles, and former "Tonight Show's" band leader, "Doc" Severinsen. Dr. Girtmon has served as Associate Director of Bands/Coordinator of Music Education, and Assistant Professor of Music at Jackson State University. He published frequently in national magazines and periodicals for music education and research. He also maintains an active conducting schedule and is a frequent honor band clinician and adjudicator for concert band events around the nation. Dr. Girtmon's most precious and valuable treasures are his wife Reca and children: Lauren, Calvin, Jace and Georgia.
Dr. Andrew Mark Sauerwein is Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory, as well as composer-in-residence. He oversees the theory and musicianship curriculum, teaches various courses in theory and composition, and directs the Composers Forum. He has also contributed to Belhaven's Worldview Curriculum and provided lectures on music for the High Scholars program, which is part of Belhaven's Virtual Campus. Dr. Sauerwein earned his PhD in music composition from Duke University. He also holds a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music from the University of Oregon, as well as an Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies from Multnomah University. A native of the Northwest, Dr. Sauerwein came to Belhaven in Fall 2005 after a visiting appointment at Northwestern College of Iowa. He is married to Quita and has two college-age children, Christopher and Hannah.
Dr. Christopher Shelt (1999) Professor of Music
B.M.E., Florida State University
M.A., Columbia Biblical Seminary
M.Div., Reformed Theological Seminary
M.M., Mississippi College
D.M.A., University of Southern Mississippi
Dr. Christopher Shelt is Coordinator of Vocal Arts at Belhaven University where he serves as Professor of Vocal Arts, Choral Arts & Music Ministries. A baritone soloist, vocal clinician, Church Music consultant, choral conductor, and published author, Dr. Shelt has studied with many of the world's finest vocal and choral artists including Roy Delp, Lara Hoggard, Don Neuen, and Sir David Willcocks. He spent a sabbatical at the Robert Shaw Choral Institute shortly before Mr. Shaw's death. Dr. Shelt earned his Bachelor of Choral Music Education and a Certificate in Voice Performance at Florida State University, his Master of Arts in Bible at Columbia Biblical Seminary, his Master of Divinity at Reformed Theological Seminary, his Master of Arts in Music from Mississippi College and his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Southern Mississippi. In addition to numerous recital and oratorio appearances, Dr. Shelt has performed operatic roles in Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Weill's Street Scene. He has conducted professional vocal workshops locally and internationally and is a frequent adjudicator in area vocal and choral competitions. A full member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and of the American Choral Directors' Association, Shelt's students have distinguished themselves in recordings, in teaching roles, in vocal competitions, and in graduate studies. Shelt has prepared and conducted many classic choral works such as Handel's' Messiah, Pergolesi's Magnificat, Haydn's Missa in Angustiis, Bach's Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland, and Vivaldi's Gloria. He has also performed 20th and 21st century repertoire, staging Britten's Gloriana Dances, Leavitt's Missa Festiva and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms with collaborative dancers. Under Shelt's direction, Belhaven University commissioned and performed the world premiere of John Cheetham's O the Depth. Through the last 15 years, Shelt has prepared Belhaven choirs for community performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Mendelssohn's Elijah; and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. He was invited to be guest conductor of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra performing portions of Mozart's Vesperes de Confessore with the Belhaven Choir in 2004. Dr. Shelt was a clinician/conductor in The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Summer Orchestral Institute in 2004 and currently conducts the orchestra at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church. As Musical Director for many of Belhaven musical theater productions since his arrival, Dr. Shelt has led performances of The Fantasticks, Kiss Me Kate, Once Upon a Mattress, The Pirates of Penzance, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, Geraniums and Wrens, and The Gondoliers. He was also the Artistic Director for the Belhaven opera productions of Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief and The Telephone in 2011, Little Red Riding Hood and The Toy Shop in 2012 and The Pied Piper of Hamelin in 2013. In 2006, Dr. Shelt founded Belhaven Connections, an ambassadorial Christian ministry primarily made up of Belhaven musicians building winsome relational, cultural, and artistic bridges through music performances and educational events. Belhaven Connections has visited Peru numerous times as well as Zambia, Uganda, and Japan. Shelt received the Humanities Teacher Award by The Mississippi Humanities Council in both 2001 and 2004 in conjunction with public lectures entitled "Bach's Cantatas: Art and Theology in Counterpoint (2001)" and "Genius During Time of War: Franz Josef Haydn's Missa in Angustiis (2004)." Dr. Shelt served as Chair of Music at Belhaven University from 1999-2004, a time of the department's revitalization, growth, and relocation to new facilities. A leader in Church Music for over 30 years and ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Shelt continues to promote the revitalization of biblically principled worship and music ministry using a multi-faceted strategy of modeling, preaching/teaching, professional education, and literature. He has published church related articles in The Christian Observer (1995), Reformed Theological Review (1996), the Southern Baptist Convention Church Music Conference Journal (1998), and Discovery (2001). Shelt has been married to his wife, Jackie, for 34 years and has two grown children, Katie and Stephen. Dr. Shelt envisions a Belhaven University Music Department that is unparalleled in its musical excellence, uncompromised in its Christian distinctiveness, and unleashed in its transforming influence in the cultural life of our city, state, nation, and world.
Song Xie is Associate Professor of Music in violin and viola, Conductor of the Belhaven Symphony and Chamber String Orchestra, Chamber Music Coach, and Violinist of the Belhaven Piano Trio at Belhaven University.
As a concert soloist, Mr. Song has played concerti and other solo masterpieces with many orchestras In China and the U.S., repertoire includes Beethoven Violin Concerto, Wieniawski Violin Concerto No.1, Mozart concerti, Carman Fantasy and many more. He received the Excellent Performance Award at the Chinese National Violin Competition in 1984, won the LSU Symphony Concerto Competitions in both 1991 and 1994, and was one of the three finalists at Chautauqua Festival Concerto Competition in New York. With God's blessing, Mr. Song has developed a strong, excellent string program at Belhaven University that enjoys a high quality reputation on the state, regional, national and international stage. Belhaven string students competed in many top level competitions with some of the highest level students from many top conservatory and music schools in the nation.
Mr. Song Xie is committed to the excellence of string performance and string education. His students have won numerous competitions, including but not limited to, the MSO Concerto Competition, MTNA State and Regional Competitions, MMTA and ASTA Mississippi State competition, many other concerto/string competitions in MS, AK, UT, AL, NY, SC, KY,MFMC scholarship awards, final/semi-finalists at WA, IN, TX, and some international competitions. His students have been accepted with outstanding scholarships to many top conservatories and universities in the nation to continue their graduate study include University of Michigan, Rice University, Easterman School of music, Peabody Conservatory and Julliard School of music, others actively teach in private studio, music schools, serve as missionary or won auditions successfully as professional orchestra musicians. Mr. Song believes that God has a unique calling for each student that is completely different. We all strive for excellence as we answer the Lord's calling in our lives here in the Belhaven String emphasis. He has also developed the Belhaven Orchestra and Chamber Music programs.
Mr. Song keeps a very busy performing schedule in solo, chamber music, Orchestra and conducting. He is currently the Principal Second Violinist of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 1998. To teach and to share his music talents is his desire; to share his personal experience of God's love and caring in the professional music performing world for young students is a wonderful answer to his prayer. Mr. Song served as President of Mississippi Chapter of the ASTA (American String Teacher Association) from 2006-2008. He frequently judges many local and regional string competitions, and has actively taught and still teaches in many summer string/orchestra Festivals including: Masterworks Festival, IN, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra String Camp, Millsaps Chamber Music Camp, MS, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, MI, and CICA String Festival, AR.
Before his current positions at Belhaven University and with the MSO, he was on the faculty of Guangxi Institute of Arts,(China), Mississippi College, Millsaps College, and Jackson State University. He has also served as Assistant Concertmaster of Lyric Mountain Festival at PA, Principal Second Violinist of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Festival Orchestra MI and Masterworks Festival Orchestra, IN, Concertmaster of Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and Delta Symphony Orchestra here in Mississippi.
Song Xie received his BA from Guangxi Institute of Arts and Shanghai Conservatory of Music, his MM is from Louisiana State University. He has studied with many wonderful professors include ShiXiang Zheng, Sally O' Reilly, Camila Wicks. He resides in Jackson living with his wife Renee Chen and two sons, Caleb and David Xie.
Mrs. Nancy Bateman, Adjunct Cello Professor since 2005, received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Music from Wichita State University and pursued advanced musical studies at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. She has performed as a cellist in the Wichita Symphony from 1974-90, the Omaha and Lincoln Symphonies from 1990-93, and the Mississippi Symphony from 1993 until the present. She has performed as a soloist as well as in various small ensembles for weddings, funerals, and church services since 1974. She has enjoyed starting and maintaining String Music Programs at both First Presbyterian Day School since 1999 and the Veritas School since 2002, as well as teaching a Summer String Orchestra Workshop at Jackson Prepartory School for three summers and the Mississippi Symphony Summer Camp for several summers. Since 1999, she has started over hundreds of children on a stringed instrument, as well as prepared many private students for festivals, competitions and auditions. God has blessed Mrs. Bateman and her husband, Jim, with five children through whom she has learned very much about teaching. Mrs. Bateman understands what a great honor, privilege, and responsibility it is to teach, especially young people who are making career choices at this time in their lives.
Mr. Dennis Bonds, Adjunct Jazz Guitar Professor since 2009, has been blessed to appear on well over one hundred-fifty recordings as not only a guitarist, but at times, a producer, composer, arranger, bandleader and recording engineer. He is the founder and director of God First, a music ministry he formed in 2005. Together with the group, Dennis has released one recording project to date, "The Guest of Honor", which is a musical celebration of the birth of Christ. Dennis is, perhaps, most proud that he is now a professor of Jazz Guitar Studies at his beloved alma mater, Belhaven University! He also works as a private music instructor. With all that he is involved in, however, Dennis still makes time to be a part of his local church's music ministry! Of this, he said, "When you get past the so-called accomplishments and awards, and come to where my heart is, you will find a worshipper there!" Dennis J. Bonds resides in Jackson MS with his wife and three children.
Mr. Richard Jess Brown, Jr., Adjunct Double Bass and Electric Bass Professor. He received a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Memphis and a Master of Music from DePaul University. Mr. Brown won the Graduate Competition Award at DePaul University in 1985, performing the first two movements of the "Dragonetti Concerto in A Major for String Bass" and the "Koussevitzky Concerto for String Bass" in which he earned the opportunity to study and perform with Warren Benfield, Joe Guastafeaste and other members of the Chicago Symphony. He arranged and performed Nina Simone's "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl" produced by Grammy Award Winning singer, Cassandra Wilson, it was the first rendition ever recorded. He has been noted for classical and jazz performances in publications and magazines including Down Beat, Coda, Cadence, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Boston Globe and others. He has recorded for P.B.S. and National Public Radio. He has performed with many legendary artists including Andre Watts, Gary Karr, Ed Wilkerson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Gary Bartz, Dave Brubeck, and "Doc" Saverinson of the Tonight Show Band. He can be heard on such recordings as "The Memory is a Living Thing" by Lester Senter, written to commemorate Pulitzer Prize Winner, Eudora Welty. "The Standards of Living" by Barry Leach, "8 Bold Souls" by Ed Wilkerson of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and numerous live performances recorded by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Brown frequently performs and records in various professional ensembles where he is needed. He performed in Tokyo, Japan with the Belhaven Connections Team in May of 2010. He has released a contemporary jazz CD entitled "Homemade Brew" which can be viewed on iTunes. He has been dedicated in helping students to grow and achieve. Mr. Brown produces and teaches on Internet Radio with listeners world-wide. He came to Belhaven University in the fall of 2008. He credits his mother and father for piously supporting his musical endeavors.
Mrs. Sybil Cheesman, Adjunct Flute Professor since 2004, was born into a musical family. Piano lessons were followed by flute lessons at an early age. Throughout her educational experiences, she was blessed to perform in numerous musical settings including band, chamber music and orchestra. Mrs. Cheesman has been with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra since 1972. She became principal flute and one of the founding members of the MSO woodwind quintet in the fall of 1978. Her responsibilities include all performances of the MSO and playing concerts at every elementary school in Jackson, Clinton and Hinds County. She performs concerts locally, teaches at Mississippi College, Belhaven University and has an active private flute studio. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi (B.M., M.M.), she has performed with the Meridian, Pensacola, Gulf Coast and Mobile symphonies. She performs regularly with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and is principal flute of the Mississippi Opera Orchestra. She is the founder and director of Magnolia Flutes, a community flute choir. Her husband, Bob, is also a member of the MSO. They have two children.
Dr. Dennis Cranford has been teaching Conducting and all levels of Musicianship at Belhaven as an Adjunct Music Theory Professor since Fall semester, 2005. He holds the B.S.E. in instrumental music education (clarinet) from the University of Arkansas, and the M.M. and Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. He has held theory positions at the University of Texas at Arlington and at the University of Mississippi. He is in his 17th year as band director at St. Andrew ??s Episcopal School in Ridgeland,where he also teaches AP Music Theory and serves as chapel accompanist. He is active as a composer and arranger. He also is Minister of Music at Briarwood United Methodist Church in Jackson. He and his wife Julia have nine children.
Mr. Frank Dolansky is an adjunct professor, and teaches courses in the audio, video, lighting, and software technical area for both music and theatre. He holds a B.A. from the University of Buffalo, and an M.F.A. from Michigan State University. He also serves as our Facilities Coordinator for the entire Belhaven University Center for the Arts, where he oversees all the scheduling of arts events, as well as the technical aspects of lighting, audio, video, and software as it pertains to running the weekly chapels, and other BU and outside events that take place here throughout the year. Frank and his wife Theresa have one son, and attend church at Southside Assembly of God here in Jackson, MS. Frank is thankful to serve Jesus Christ through the arts. His scripture to live by comes from Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Mrs. Carol S. Durham serves as Adjunct Organ Professor at Belhaven University since 2005. Her recent teaching assignments include applied organ and organ pedagogy. Additionally she serves as organist for university convocations and other special occasions. Mrs. Durham received her Master of Music from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, TN and received her Bachelor of Music at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. Mrs. Durham is the organist for Morrison Heights Baptist Church. She also serves as Adjunct Organ Instructor at Millsaps College and Adjunct Piano Instructor at Mississippi College. Carol Durham is a native of Clinton, MS and has lived and worked professionally in Knoxville and Oak Ridge, TN, Auburn, AL, and Raymond, MS. Her accomplishments include: past Dean of the American Guild of Organists, Jackson MS Chapter; member of Music Teachers National Association; member of Mississippi Music Teachers Association (former Area Auditions Chairman, and other responsibilities); member of Music Forum of Jackson (Bach Festival Chairman for 7 years); frequent adjudicator for MMTA auditions, Mississippi Federation of Music Clubs Festival auditions, and Baptist Keyboard Festivals; recitalist in St. Andrew's "Cathedral in the City" series; performer on organ in AGO member recitals, MacDowell Music Club programs, and college faculty recitals; and professional harpsichordist. She is married to Dr. J. David Durham and they have two daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth and one son, Davy. Mrs. Durham is also a grandmother to three granddaughters.
The daughter of two professional pianists, Sarah Elias followed in their footsteps, studying piano and working vocationally in music. Mrs. Elias received her Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from Belhaven University and her Masters of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from University of Southern Mississippi. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at USM and expects to complete her coursework fall of 2014. Mrs. Elias is the Director of Contemporary Music and Worship Ministries at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Brandon, MS, teaches private piano lessons, and works as a professional accompanist. She has performed and competed in a number of venues, winning concerto and solo competitions, and has appeared in Master Classes with piano greats including Anton Nel, Melvin Chen, and Alon Goldstein. When she is not at the piano, Mrs. Elias enjoys running, cooking, singing, and spending time with her husband, Michael, and stepsons, Tyler and Carter.
Mr. Douglas Eltzroth, Adjunct Worship Band Instructor.
Mrs. Gena K. Everitt, Adjunct Voice Professor since 2004, got her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Mrs. Everitt has been teaching voice in Jackson for 26 years as an independent teacher. She previously taught on the faculty of Jones County Junior College and at Hinds Community College. She has been a frequent recitalist, and soloist in oratorio and opera. She has performed with the Mississippi Opera in the productions of La Traviata, Pirates of Penzance, and The Magic Flute. She is involved with the music ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Jackson as both a soloist and director of ensembles. Post graduate study has been with Richard Miller, Oren Brown, Vera Rosza, and Martin Katz. She and her husband, Jerry, are the parents of two sons.
Dr. Rebecca Geihsler, a native of New Orleans, has served as an Adjunct Voice and Music History Professor since 2009. Additionally, she serves as an adjunct instructor for Northwest Community College since 2004 where she has designed and implemented an online curriculum for Music Appreciation for non-majors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Centenary College of Louisiana, a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Doctor of Arts in Pedagogy from the University of Mississippi, where she held a University Fellowship and an Assistantship in Opera. Dr. Geihsler has been a finalist in both State and Regional NATS Student Auditions and represented the University of Mississippi in performances at the National Opera Association Convention and the Midwest Opera Festival. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lamda and the National Association of Teacher ??s of Singing. Past operatic and musical theatre roles include: Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Ms. Silverpeal in The Impressario, Little Red in Little Red Riding Hood, Lauretta in Gianno Schicchi, Ann Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Marianne in Tartuffe, Papagnena in The Magic Flute, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Tuptim in The King and I, and Minnie Fay in Hello Dolly. Dr. Geihsler resides in Clinton with her husband and three (soon to be four) children.
Mr. Ken Graves, Adjunct Clarinet Professor since 2010, is the Principal Clarinetist of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and has actively collaborated with some of today ??s leading musicians including Sir Neville Marriner, Leon Fleisher, James Conlon, John Williams, Paavo Jarvi, and Leonard Slatkin. He has performed chamber music with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and has appeared with the Colburn Chamber Music Society. Mr. Graves has participated in many nationally recognized music festivals including the Music Academy of the West, the National Repertory Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, the National Orchestral Institute, and the Idyllwild Arts Festival. He received his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California and his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He has also attended the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. Originally from Mount Pleasant, SC, Mr. Graves began his clarinet studies with Dr. Ralph Rizzolo at age 11. He made his orchestral solo debut at age 15, performing Crusell ??s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as the winner of its concerto competition. His principal teachers include Yehuda Gilad and Richie Hawley.
Ms. Amy Houghton has been an Adjunct Classical Guitar Professor since 2010, is a native of Western Colorado. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Guitar Performance and History from Belhaven University, and a Masters Degree in Guitar Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi where she held an assistantship in 2009. Ms. Houghton served as an active member of the Belhaven Guitar Quartet from 2002-2006. She has been in master classes with Jason Vieux, Eliot Frank, Julian Gray, the Brazilian Guitar Quartet, and the Canadian Guitar Quartet, among others. Additionally, Ms. Houghton was an active member of the U.S.M. Guitar Society for three years, and served as the President of the Guitar Society in 2009. She is currently an adjunct professor of Guitar at Belhaven University, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. At Belhaven University, Ms. Houghton teaches private lessons, Guitar Pedagogy, Guitar Fundamentals, and instructs the Belhaven Guitar Ensemble.
Mrs. Christina Hrivnak, Adjunct Voice Professor, has performed as a soloist throughout England, Germany, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Russia and Sweden, and has been a featured soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Opera, the CCM Early Music Consort, Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Baroque Chamber Soloists, Apollo's Cabinet, and members of Cincinnati Baroque and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She has been a soloist for world premier performances of works by Darrell Handel, Bonia Shur, and Mike Peterson, as well as Mississippi's own James Sclater. Other solo orchestral credits include Argento's Masque of Angels, Dett's The Ordering of Moses, J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass and Magnificat in D Major, Faur's Requiem, Handel's Dixit Dominus, Nisi Dominus, and Messiah, Holst's Christmas Day, Mozart's Vesperae solennis de confessore, Mass in C Minor, and Exsultate jubilate, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Rutter's Gloria, Requiem, and Magnificat, Vaughan Williams' The Shepherds of the Delectable Mountains and A Song of Thanksgiving, and Vivaldi's Gloria. Mrs. Hrivnak has completed coursework for the D.M.A. degree in voice performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and holds the M.M. degree in voice performance from CCM and the B.M. degree from Millsaps College with a major in Voice. While at CCM, she was a graduate teaching assistant in the Music Education and Voice Performance departments, teaching Voice Class I, Voice Class II, and Applied Voice. She is a prizewinner of the MTNA's National Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist Competition, a recipient of the Governor's Award for the Southern Regional Chapter of The National Association of Teachers of Singing, and a Ford Fellow. In addition to teaching at Belhaven, Mrs. Hrivnak teaches at Millsaps College and has taught at Mississippi College, the College of Mount St. Joseph and the California State University at Los Angeles. She is an enthusiastic advocate for education and artistic expression, and has been recognized as a Volunteer of the Year by Jackson Public Schools. Mrs. Hrivnak lives in Madison with her husband and two children.
Ms. Amanda Mangrum, Adjunct Harp Professor. In her first year of studying the harp she participated in Louisiana Harp Rally and received first place as well as the "Outstanding Musician" award. Amanda went on to receive a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from Louisiana State University and a Master's degree in Music Performance and a minor in Music Education from University of North Texas. She attended Sewanee Summer Music Festival where she studied with Marion Shaffer, Harp Professor at Vanderbilt University, and she also attended the Harp Masters Program in Switzerland where she studied with Skaila Kanga, Harp Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Amanda is a member of Pi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda honors societies and is president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Harp Society. She has performed with Tim McGraw, for the First Lady of Texas, Anita Perry, and for the opening ceremony of the new Cowboy's Stadium, Superbowl XLV Live. She has also performed with the Monroe Symphony Orchestra and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. Amanda performs for weddings, receptions, and other private events.
Mr. Randy K. Mapes has been the Adjunct Double Reeds Professor at Belhaven University since 2009. He received his Master of Music degree in Woodwind Performance and Pedagogy from The University of Southern-Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Mr. Mapes graduated 12th out of 87 students and his final G.P.A. was 3.9. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from The University of Wisconsin-Superior. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1984 and his G.P.A. was 3.8. Mr. Mapes is also the Woodwind Instructor/Assistant Band Director at Hinds Community College in Raymond, MS. He currently performs with the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the Jackson First Baptist Church Sanctuary Orchestra. Mr. Mapes lives with his wife, Sylvia in Clinton,MS .
Mr. Owen Rockwell is Adjunct Professor of Music and Dance at Belhaven University. He teaches applied percussion, percussion ensemble, percussion methods, accompanies dance classes, as well as providing assistance with the percussion sections of the marching band and wind ensemble. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BM, MM) and is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was formerly on the music faculty at Jackson State University and the New England Music Camp, and has worked as a freelance performer and music educator in Central Illinois, Nashville, Washington, D.C., and New York City. He can be heard on several recordings, the most recent by Jamie Weems and the Strange Pilgrims, who often provide live music for performances by the Front Porch Dance Company, based in Jackson, MS. He is committed to the lifelong personal, professional, and spiritual growth of his students, and in honored to join the music faculty at Belhaven University (Fall 2012).
Mrs. Carolyn R. Sachs, Adjunct Piano Professor at Belhaven University since 2004, teaches piano, piano fundamentals and piano pedagogy. She served as the Director of Belhaven University's Singing Christmas Tree (2004-2010) and was Music Director for "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"(Spring 2010). She received the Master of Music degree in piano from Ohio University studying with Dr. Eugene Jennings, and the Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Lebanon Valley College studying with William Fairlamb. Mrs. Sachs is a member of Jackson's Chaminade Club and the MacDowell Senior Music Club. She frequently adjudicates at area piano festivals and serves as a church musician at Covenant Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Jackson, MS.
Mrs. Margaret Mangum Sprow, Adjunct Music Ministries Professor, has been at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church since 1993 and began serving as the Music Director in 1997. Margaret oversees a multi-faceted Music Ministry that includes Children ??s Choir, Youth Choir, Men ??s and Ladies ?? Choir, Sanctuary Choir, Worship Team, and Orchestra. A graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in Music Education, Margaret received her Master ??s degree in Church Music and Choral Conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi. Margaret is a pianist and vocal soloist and an occasional flautist. Since 2006 she and Melissa Hause have been writing and sharing music for their church family. This endeavor has led to the formation of their musical duo, The Margarets with the release of their debut cd, His Mercy Lasts Forever, scheduled for September. Margaret has been married to Greg for over twenty years and they are the parents of four sons.
Dr. Carla Stovall, Adjunct Professor of Low Brass, has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan covering a large spectrum of styles. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Euphonium Performance from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and received a Master of Arts degree in Trombone Performance from Queens College in New York where she studied with members of the New York Philharmonic. She received her Ph.D. in Music and Research from the University of Alabama.
As a performer, Dr. Stovall’s many honors include performing with the National Wind Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, and winning the Norwegian Brass Band Competition with Flesland Brass Band in Bergen, Norway. She has performed with various ensembles at home and abroad including the Astoria Symphony Orchestra, Huxford Symphony Orchestra, Aaron Copland Orchestra, Queens Opera Orchestra, Birmingham Superjazz, and the Alabama Tuba Ensemble. Dr. Stovall additionally spent two years starring in the Tony and Emmy Award winning Broadway show "BLAST!" touring over 10,000 miles in Japan and playing five instruments in the brass, percussion, and visual spectacular.
Mr. Lloyd Turner, Adjunct Trumpet Professor since 2005. Lloyd E. Turner ??s educational background includes a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance, and a Specialist in Music Education from the University of Mississippi. Mr. Turner has over 40 years ?? experience in many different venues of music performance such as military bands, jazz groups, orchestras, chamber ensembles, commercial performance and solo recitals. His teaching experience includes concert and marching bands at the high school and university levels, and a variety of types of other performance groups and individuals.