Visual and Performing Arts Faculty

Visual Arts Faculty

Knic Umstead - Visual Art Program Coordinator


I am an art professor at Virginia Tech and Radford University, where I have taught drawing, painting and foundational courses for the last six years.  I received my Bachelors and Masters in Fine Arts (concentration in oil painting) also from Radford University.  A picture truly speaks a thousand words; and I teach that art is a visual language that supersedes spoken language or a specific tongue.  I teach my students to analyze, translate and communicate using this language. I am a collagist, illustrator, draughtsman, muralist and painter, who typically works in a serial format. I have been working in the arts constantly, since I was very young, as a matter of fact, about twenty years ago, I attended Governor's School myself, which I absolutely enjoyed. I have painted large scale murals, staged guerrilla art shows, designed/ painted scenery for stage shows, created installations and worked with groups of artists on large projects. My latest show ‘Traces of the Blumenati’, consists of a variety of polyptychs works drawn and painted on layers of transparent acetate.   I developed this technique to emulate the layering of a glazed oil painting, only with drawing media.  This body of work deals with shifting point-of-view, location, nature, light, intrigue and discovery.  This is shown through impressionistically illustrative landscapes and genre scenes and oil paintings of flowers. My current paintings are a meditation on the oil glazing process, popularized during the Northern Renaissance; mixed with the reality re-presented by photography and the looser more “expressive” mark making used by contemporary artists.  The subject of these works are photos my wife took at the West Virginia state fair: before, during and after an Alice Cooper show. When I am not teaching I enjoy working on my own art, playing music, gaming and watching movies with my wife and friends.



Sidra Kaluszka - watercolors & ceramics


Sidra Kaluszka is a multifaceted artist who specializes in both ceramics and watercolors. She is heavily influenced by her appreciation for nature & natural light.  Kaluszka graduated in 2010 with a double concentration MFA from Radford University, Virginia, where she was mentored by internationally renowned watercolorist Z.L. Feng, & earned the 2010-2011 Best Creative Thesis Award.  In 2007 she received her BFA from Virginia Tech, where she studied with nationally known ceramicist David Crane.Kaluszka was chosen by Watercolor Artist magazine for their ‘Don’t miss the 10 Best Watercolor Paintings of 2017’ as well as their 2016 list of 'Ones to Watch.'  She has received Signature Membership in the Virginia Watercolor Society, Alaska Watercolor Society, & Pennsylvania Watercolor Society.  Her work has been exhibited in Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Rhode Island, Alaska, & throughout Virginia, as well as in Japan.  Kaluszka won Best in Show for the West Virginia Watercolor Society’s ‘Aqueous 2017’ as well as the Southern Colorado Watercolor Society’s Aquarius National 2016, & First Place in 2D Art at Blacksburg's Art at the Market event in 2013, 2014, & 2015.  She was published in "500 Vases- Contemporary Expression of a Timeless Form," in 2010 & “500 Teapots vol. 2” in 2013.    Her works & upcoming exhibits can be seen on her Facebook page at: or on her Etsy page at


Alison Pack - jewelry & sculpture & 3D


Alison Pack a professor of Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design at Radford University where she has been teaching since 2003. She holds an MFA in metalsmithing from East Tennessee State University and a BS in art education with teaching certification from Appalachian State University. Pack has been a featured presenter and lecturer at East Carolina University’s Material Topics Symposium, the nationally recognized Yuma Arts Symposium, and the Texas Metals Symposium at Texas Tech University. Her work has been exhibited on a national scale and was recently featured in the exhibition Alchemy5 The Enamelist Society International Juried Exhibition,  at LaVerne Krause Gallery, Lawrence Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR and at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA, the exhibition Under Fire 2 presented by the Enamel Guild North East in Worcester, Massachusetts and Alchemy 4, The Enamelist Society International Juried Exhibition, at the National Ornamental Metals Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, (traveling, third venue). In 2017 she had the honor of being featured in a solo exhibition, Metal Delicious, held at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA. Pack’s work has been featured in numerous books and catalogs over the past 10 years including Humor in Craft, Brigitte Martin, Schiffer Publishing Company 2012; Cast, Renee Zettle-Sterling and Jen Townsend, Schiffer Publishing Company, 2017; About Art, Dr. Andrew Stephen Arbury, Publisher Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2012; and Art Jewelry Today 3, Jeffery B. Snyder, Schiffer Publishing Company, 2011 among others. Raised in western North Carolina, as a “traditional southern girl,” Pack was told that tools were considered inappropriate for a female. But in her sophomore year of college at Appalachian State University while studying art education, Pack chose an elective in jewelry making. In her words, “metal chose me.” Ironically, the development of her hand-skills through sawing, filing, and forming proved to be powerful expressions of her femininity and sexuality. Her award winning work tells stories through imagery that present stereotypes, misconceptions and clichés of womanhood. Her intimately scaled copper and sterling silver sculptures are created through traditional metal working processes of shell forming, raising, fabrication, and casting to reference humorous fantasies that combine femininity and food.Pack continues to research and develop new material and processes. Over the past year she has been engaged in combining limoge china painting and vitreous enamel as a means to create new form and color for her work.


Wiliam Ratcliffe - photography


 William Ratcliffe first worked in a darkroom in 1993 and formed a lasting relationship with the photographic medium. He went on to earn a BFA and MFA with a fine art photo concentration and has worked as a freelance photographer, exhibiting artist, and college photography instructor. He has exhibited in numerous solo, group, and juried shows in numerous states, had photos published in magazines in the United States and the Philippines, and won several awards for his fine art photography.  His current work incorporates the blending of traditional silver based photographic medium with digital process and output.

Shaun Whiteside - painting & drawing


Shaun C. Whiteside works with acrylic paint in a style most influenced by Abstract Expressionism, with an emphasis on the metaphysical and emotional realm, rather than on optical reality. Using several layers of thin glazes, partially washed away, he creates oppressively dense atmospheric environments, with biomorphic, liquid shapes within them. Whiteside graduated with a BA from CNU's art department in 2007, and received an MFA from Radford University in 2011, where he studied under Doctor Halide Salam.  He is currently an adjunct instructor at Radford University.  Whiteside's work has been awarded First Place/Best in Show at the Bower Center for the Arts' “2016 Annual National Juried Exhibition,” the Lynchburg Art Club's 2015 “Water Ways” exhibition, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art's "New Waves 2013" exhibition, the Jacksonville Center for the Arts' “2013 Juried Show,” and at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center's "2010 Biennial Exhibition."  Whiteside has had work published in several periodicals, including twice in the International Painting Annual (INPA), published by the Manifest creative research gallery and drawing center in Cincinnati, OH.  He was also a recipient of a 2011-2012 VMFA Fellowship grant.  Whiteside has exhibited from California to New York, as well as in Japan, and his works are in public and private collections from Arizona to New Jersey.


Instrumental Music Faculty

Dr. Wayne Gallops - conductor & improvisation


Conductor, Educator, Composer-Arranger and Recording Artist Dr. R. Wayne Gallops has served as Director of Bands and Instrumental Music Education at Radford University (Virginia) since 2004. Dr. Gallops is also Director of the Virginia Governors School for Visual & Performing Arts and Humanities held at Radford University each summer. His responsibilities at RU include conducting the University Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Chamber Winds, conducting and instrumental music education undergraduate and graduate courses. Prior to his appointment at Radford University, Dr. Gallops served on the faculties of The University of Tampa, The University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College and the Hillsborough County Public Schools (Tampa, FL) where his high school Orchestras, Concert, Marching, and Jazz bands presented superior performances at Florida Bandmasters Association district and state festivals, the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, toured Japan, and received national and international acclaim. Wayne is active as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and performer on clarinet, piano, and organ. As a conductor and keyboard artist, he has performed, recorded, and conducted worldwide for numerous classical, jazz, commercial ensembles / artists and various orchestras, theater, opera, and ballet companies including; The Florida Lyric Opera, The Florida Orchestra, The Florida Gulf Coast Orchestra, The Tallahassee Symphony, The Roanoke Symphony, Disney Studios, Busch Gardens, and Radford University Ballet Theater productions of The Nutcracker. Dr. Gallops has conducted collegiate and high school honor bands and orchestras in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, Quebec, The Royal Irish Academy of Music, and Honshu-Wakayama Japan. Some artists Wayne has performed and recording with include jazz and pop greats Jennifer Holiday, Ronan Tyner and the Irish Tenors, Julie Andrews, Frank Wildhorn, Barry Manilow, Englebert Humperdink, Frankie Valli, The Funk Brothers of Motown, The Association, The Four Seasons, Eddie Arnold, Dianne Carroll, Eric Darius, The Bill Norman Group, Jeff Rupert, Tito Puente, Pete Fountain, Nat Adderly, and Al Hurt.  Wayne’s 2008 solo CD release ‘Jazzicale’ received international critical acclaim and his classical pipe organ recordings have been featured on NPR syndicated programs “Pipe Dreams” and “With Good Reason.” His writings are published in numerous peer review publications and he has presented clinics, lectures, and performances at many regional, national and international music conferences. Dr. Gallops has served on the Virginia Music Educators Association Executive Board, the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro Grant Review Panel, and is honored through membership in Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Outstanding Young Men of America, and Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association for outstanding contribution to bands, wind music, and instrumental music education. Dr. Gallops holds music degrees from The University of Tampa (B.A.), Florida State University (M.A.), and The University of South Florida (Ph.D.).


Kristopher Hale - guitar


Kristopher Hale is a native of Roanoke, Virginia. Currently a adjunct professor of music at both Radford University and Lynchburg College, he also teaches guitar and music theory privately throughout the New River Valley and Roanoke areas. Kristopher began playing guitar at the age of 9 and won first place in a composition contest at age 13. Hale received a Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude in 2003 and a Master of Arts in music in 2005 with a concentration in guitar performance from Radford University. During his five years at Radford University, he studied with critically acclaimed guitarist Robert Trent, the first recipient of a Doctor of Musical Arts in guitar performance from Peabody Conservatory. While a student there, he was honored with scholarships and awards including a graduate teaching fellowship from 2004 to 2005 and three honors recital Nominations from the faculty. For the 2002-2003 academic year he received the RU Senior Excellence Award and appeared on the National Dean’s List. He has been inducted into the Theta Mu chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Society, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, and the Alpha Zeta chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity. Hale was a founding member of the Southwestern Virginia Classical Guitar Society at Radford University and served as its president from 2003 to 2005. Fender Musical Instruments awarded him a scholarship to attend Duquesne University’s 2002 Guitar Workshop. He also received a scholarship to the St. Joseph International Guitar Festival at Missouri Western State College in 2003 and was a semifinalist in the guitar competition at the same festival the following year. After college, Hale was appointed professor of music and director of guitar studies at Emory & Henry College in Virginia from 2005-2008. Hale has performed widely and received personal instruction from world-renowned guitarists including David Russell, Lily Afshar, Vincent Airault, Anthony Glise, Christopher Berg and Carlo Barone, among others. 

Robert Schoos - horn & chamber coaching & conducting


Rob Schoos – French Horn - is a graduate of the Howard W. Blake School of the Arts and alumnus of the Florida State University School of Music, with degrees in Music and Brass Performance/Pedagogy. In 2004 Rob began his educational career with the Hillsborough County Schools (Tampa, FL) as Director of Bands and Orchestra at the Sam Rampello K-8 School and then Director of Bands at H.B. Plant High School. Under his direction all ensembles consistently earned “Straight Superior" ratings at District and State level assessments alongside Top 5 music caption placements in the State Indoor (FFCC) and Marching Band (FMBC) Championships. As a freelance music consultant, Mr. Schoos now has the opportunity to offer his services as a performer, applied horn/brass teacher, adjudicator, guest clinician and consultant. Rob enjoys performing professionally with the Southwest Florida Symphony (Ft Myers/Naples, FL) and many regional orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the Southeastern US. Rob resides in Redington Shores, Fl with his wife, Erin & daughter Nola and enjoys a full coastal beach lifestyle.


Jeffrey L. Kresge - trumpet & chamber brass


Jeffrey L. Kresge received his Master of Music in trumpet performance from Boston Conservatory and Bachelor's degree in music education from SUNY at Fredonia. He is a co-founder and principal trumpet of the Roanoke Chamber Brass Quintet. He is currently a member of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, principal trumpet of the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Lynchburg and Charleston (WV) orchestras as well as Opera Roanoke. He was an educator with the Roanoke City School system for ten years, having taught band and orchestra programs for grades 4-12. Jeff currently serves as adjunct professor of trumpet at both Radford and Hollins universities and also enjoys freelance work throughout southwestern Virginia.

Dr. Sheldon Johnson - saxophone & chamber coaching


Sheldon Johnson is the saxophone instructor at Radford University. As a chamber musician Mr. Johnson has performed as part of the St. Olavfestdagene in Trondheim, Norway, the United States Navy Band’s International Saxophone Symposium, the Treetops Chamber Music Society’s subscription concert series, and the University of South Carolina’s Southern Exposure concert series. As winner of the 2011 concerto competition, Mr. Johnson performed Lars Erik Larsson’s Konzert for alto saxophone and string orchestra with the Bowling Green State University’s Philharmonia. Additionally, Sheldon has appeared in concert with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra.  Before joining the faculty at Radford University, Mr. Johnson was previously the saxophone instructor at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina and the Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of music performance degree from Northwestern University, a master of music performance degree from Bowling Green State University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of South Carolina. His saxophone teachers include David Jacobsen, Frederick L. Hemke, John Sampen, Bryson Borgstedt, and Clifford Leaman.


Michelle Smith-Johnson - clarinet & chamber coaching


Michelle Smith-Johnson is a proud alumna of Radford University and a fierce advocate for Music Education. Reflecting her dedication to education and the Arts, Mrs. Smith Johnson is a charter member of the Alma Ensemble – a flute and clarinet duo dedicated to the advancement of women in the Arts, education, and the joy of performance. Michelle completed her Master of Music in Clarinet and Instrumental Conducting at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While at Tennessee, she served as principal clarinetist and E-flat clarinetist for the UT Wind Ensemble, as well as conductor of the UT Concert Band. Mrs. Smith-Johnson is currently serving as an orchestra director for her ninth year with Roanoke City Public Schools, where her ensembles consistently earn Superior Ratings at Virginia Band and Orchestra Director’s Association (VBODA) Concert Assessment. Due to her outstanding achievements in music education and her positive impact on the lives of her students, Michelle was honored as Jackson Middle School's 2014 Teacher of the Year. Michelle also serves as the Director of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra's Roanoke Youth Symphony String Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra. During her tenure with the Roanoke Youth Symphony, these ensembles have grown from 14 students to over 50 members. Mrs. Smith Johnson is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and an honorary member of Pi Kappa Lambda, a National Music Honor Society.



Dr. Dayl Burnett - Instrumental Program Coordinator - conductor & low brass


Dr. W. Dayl Burnett  is a native of Falls Church Virginia, and holds a BA and MA in Music from Virginia Tech, and a DMA from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and has served on the music faculty at Radford University since 2012. At Radford University he is the conductor of the Jazz Ensemble, the RU "RedAlert" pep band, and low brass studies.  He studied trombone with David Maser, James Sochinski, Tim Conner, and Bernie Schnieder and has studied Jazz with Buddy Baker and Dante Luciani. He was a member of the U.S. Air Force Academy band and director of the “Shades of Blue” jazz ensemble at the Military Airlift Command Band, Scott Air Force Base Illinois. Dayl has also been a featured soloist with the Virginia Symphony and Roanoke Symphony Orchestras. For nearly twenty years he was principal trombonist of Opera Roanoke and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Recently, Dayl performed with the Atlantic Coast Orchestra, the Florida Grand Opera and the Palm Beach Pops. As an educator, Dayl served on the faculties of Arkansas Tech, Virginia Tech, Roanoke College, Christopher Newport University, Ferrum College, and the College of William and Mary.


Peter Shanahan - flute & chamber coaching


Peter Shanahan serves as the instructor of flute at Radford University.  He is the piccoloist with the Western Piedmont Symphony and performs with the Charleston, Winston-Salem, Salisbury, Greensboro, Carolina Chamber and Southwest Florida Symphonies as well as the Piedmont Opera and Long Leaf Opera companies. In addition serving on the music faculty at Radford University, Mr. Shanahan is the instructor of flute at Guilford College, Piedmont International University, and the Music Academy of North Carolina. He has presented recitals and masterclasses at the Long Island Conservatory, Davidson College, High Point University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. As a member of the Open Dream Ensemble, Mr. Shanahan  performed and served as a teaching artist in three U.S. tours culminating in collaborative performances with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Mr. Shanahan is a graduate of Indiana University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.   His teachers include Thomas Robertello, Tadeu Coelho, Philip Dunigan, Ervin Monroe, and Beth Larsen.


Brian Peters - percussion


Brian Peters holds a bachelor's degree from Radford University in music education. He his percussion studies with Al Wojtera. In high school Brian won the David R. Widder High School Soloist Competition and first place in the Roanoke Youth Symphony Young Artists Competition. He was also the principal percussionist in the All-Virginia Orchestra in 2007. While a student at Radford University, Peters studied percussion with Dr. Rob Sanderl and was a member of the University Wind Ensemble, University Jazz Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. As a member of the RU Percussion Ensemble, Peters appeared as a featured soloist at the 2012 International Percussion Week in Croatia. Peter’s was selected for Radford University music department’s honors recitals on five separate occasions and the prestigious Presser Scholarship, the highest honor from the department.  Peters maintains an active performing and teaching career. He performs regularly as a percussionist with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and plays vibraphone and drum set in jazz groups throughout the New River Valley and Roanoke areas. He has instructed the drumline and percussion ensemble at Radford High School since 2011 and has taught private percussion lessons for 10 years. In 2016, Peters formed an extracurricular percussion ensemble comprised of 5th grade students. and designed and taught a percussion course for elementary and middle school students through Montgomery County. Currently he teaches elementary music at Price’s Fork Elementary school in Blacksburg, Virginia.


Rebecca Meisel - bassoon & double reeds


Rebecca Meisel joined the Music Department bassoon faculty at Radford University in 2015. In addition to teaching, Rebecca serves as a bassoonist with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, and other groups in the region including the Celtic band “Second Wynde”. Her Blue Mountain Music Studio offers private instruction in piano, flute and bassoon in Roanoke, Virginia. Rebecca studied bassoon with Anthony DeAngelis of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and renowned Eastman professors K. David Van Hoesen, and John Hunt. She earned her degree in bassoon performance from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, NY..


Bill Parrish - oboe & double reeds


William Parrish lives in Lynchburg, VA and is currently principal oboist with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Opera Roanoke, and Opera on the James, as well as a member of the Wintergreen Summer Festival Orchestra. He is a music faculty member at Radford University (since 2012) and Washington & Lee University. For ten years, Bill served as the Associate of Pre-College at the Julliard School and performed with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Parrish received his BFA in oboe from Carnegie-Mellon University, his M.M. from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and an Artists Diploma in oboe from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He was a prize winner in the 1988 Lucarelli Oboe International Solo competition in Carnegie Hall (NYC)). Bill’s principal oboe teachers include Robert Bloom, Harry Sargous, John Ferrillo, and Elaine Douvas. Mr. Parrish maintains a vibrant and successful private studio and is c0-facilitator and guest teaching artist at the Charleston Oboe Camp (Charleston, SC.).



Vladimir Kromin - conducting & string studies


Vladimir Kromin was born and raised in the Ukraine, where he received his training as a violinist and pedagogue. He received his Master of Music degree from Odessa State Conservatory in 1993. His special background as a musician includes training as a violin performer and teacher, as well as a solid background in piano studies, chamber music, and theory. Before moving to Israel in 1995, Vladimir received numerous prizes in Russia, including several invitations for performance on radio and television. He is an experienced teacher for more than 24 years, and studied the Suzuki method of teaching in Israel as well as in the United States. Vladimir joined the Renaissance Music Academy in February 1999 where he teaches violin, viola, chamber music, and suzuki violin group classes. Vladimir Kromin is currently an adjunct faculty member at Radford University and String faculty for the Virginia Residential Governor’s School for the Visual & Performing Arts, and he performs regularly with Roanoke Symphony and Roanoke Opera.


Benjamin Wyatt - cello


Cellist Benjamin Wyatt enjoys an active career as a performer and teacher.  He is currently the cellist of the Avanti Ensemble, and teaches in Blacksburg, VA as a faculty member at the Renaissance Music Academy and Virginia Tech’s Fine Arts Initiative. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and is a regular guest with various ensembles. His performances have been broadcast live throughout the country. Mr. Wyatt has collaborated with numerous leading artists in recent years, including members of the Guarneri, Vermeer, Vanbrugh, Brentano, Ridge, Meliora, Mendelssohn, Amernet, Chicago and Dover String Quartets, as well as the Eroica and Manhattan Piano Trios, and pianists Elizabeth Jeanne Schumann, Sivan Silver, Gil Garburg, Peter Laul and Milana Strezeva. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California where he was honored as the Outstanding Doctoral Graduate. His undergraduate studies were at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and he studied Suzuki pedagogy in New York at the School for Strings. In addition to modern cello, Mr. Wyatt performs as a specialist of early music on Baroque cello.


Piano Faculty and Accompanists

Dr. Matthew Cataldi - piano & ear training & chamber coaching


Dr. Matthew Cataldi started playing the piano before he could walk, and has pursued his studies in music across the country ever since.  He holds a BM in Piano Performance from Florida State University as well as MM and DM degrees in Piano Performance and Literature from Indiana University, where he studied with Brazilian pianist Arnaldo Cohen. Matt has enjoyed an exciting career as a performer, from his orchestral debut as a teenager playing Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, to appearing as soloist and collaborative artist at Lincoln Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as recording a documentary CD of Spanish and Latin American piano music accompanied by an international concert and lecture tour.  In addition, he regularly programs lesser known works as well as popular and jazz-influenced pieces, offering a distinctive concert experience that accommodates his unique interests and background.  Matt has spent the last several years working in New York City as a conductor, musical director, vocal coach, arranger, and collaborative pianist. He has conducted multiple world premiere stagings of new works, played in concerts, recording sessions, and rehearsals with Tony Award winning artists, and has collaborated in educational and professional settings with leading Broadway directors, casting directors, and choreographers. Dr. Cataldi will be joining the faculty at Radford University in the fall as Assistant Professor of Piano.  He has previously held positions at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, and has served as Assistant Program Coordinator and Associate Instructor for the Secondary Piano Program at Indiana University.


Cara Ellen Modisett - accompanist & creative writing


Cara Ellen Modisett, a Shenandoah Valley native is staff collaborative pianist at Radford University. Music director of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Roanoke, she has performed in venues including the Manhattan School of Music, the U.S. Army Band’s Brucker Hall, the University of Memphis, the University of Richmond and Hollins University. She has performed in ensembles including the Washington & Lee Symphony Orchestra and pit orchestras for Mill Mountain Theater and W&L, and has music directed productions for Roanoke Children’s Theater. In addition to a B.M. in piano performance from the James Madison University School of Music, Cara holds a B.A. in English from JMU and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. For more than a decade, she was by turns a reporter/producer, classical announcer and concert organizer for WVTF public radio. She has taught English at Ferrum College and Community High School of Arts and Academics. In May she was named director of communication at St. John’s Episcopal in Roanoke, a position she held for two years at Church of the Holy Communion in Memphis, Tennessee.  Former editor of Blue Ridge Country magazine, Cara has published essays and journalism in Still: The Journal, Braided Brook, Flycatcher, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Memphis magazine, The Roanoker magazine, Virginia Living, Artemis and Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture. She has interviewed, among others, musicians Joan Baez and Sam Bush, composer Gunther Schuller, journalists Ted Koppel and Terry Gross, poets Charles Wright and Nikki Giovanni and theologian Walter Brueggemann.


Mollye Otis - Accompanist & Vocal Coaching


Mollye Otis recently located to Roanoke VA, retiring from East Carolina University in 2017, where she served as the voice teacher for the BFA Musical Theatre Program.  Mollye spent many years in New York and Florida music directing, playing in pit orchestras, coaching, and playing rehearsals, auditions and classes.  She has played for the Broadway shows Chicago and Victor Victoria and national tours of Spamalot, My Fair Lady, Forbidden Broadway, and Drowsy Chaperone.  She has served as a musical director, voice teacher, pianist and performance skills trainer on faculty at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, The Pennsylvania State University, University of Central Florida, New World School for the Arts and Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training.   Mollye worked for several years with the National Young Arts Foundation as pianist for Theatre finalists. She has played masterclasses for Ben Vereen, Natalie Weiss, Dave Clemmons, Debbie Shapiro-Gravitte, Chet Walker, Malcolm Gets, Jason Daniely and Marin Mazzie, Michelle Pawk, Marvin Hamlisch and Victoria Clark. As a clinician, Ms. Otis presented musical theatre masterclasses for Chapel Hill Musical Arts Center, Durham Music Teachers Association, and NATS Western Central Region.  She created and performed revues about Lerner and Loewe (“The Night They Invented Champagne”) and Jerome Kern (“The Way You Look Tonight”) and collaborated on revues of Hoagy Carmichael and Rodgers and Hammerstein, for Craven County Arts Council in New Bern, and the Music House in Greenville, NC. Ms. Otis holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Kentucky, Commercial Music training from Belmont University, and a Vocology Certificate from the University of Iowa.  Specializing in CCM Pedagogy, she holds Certificates in LoVetri Somatic Voice, Lisa Popeil Voiceworks, The Voice-Body Connection from Elissa Weinzimmer and Estill Voice International, Levels I and II.  Her students are working on Broadway, in Chicago, Los Angeles and regional theatres across the country, on national and international tours, in the cruise industry, outdoor theatres and theme parks.


Cynthia Flanagan - accompanist


Cynthia Flanagan is a pianist from Hillsville, Virginia where she accompanies the Carroll County High School choral ensembles, as well as the Carroll County High School Theatre productions. She has accompanied the Missoula Children's Theatre productions sponsored by the Arts Council of the Twin Counties in Galax, Virginia. Cynthia has accompanied several other choral ensembles, including Radford University Chorus, Radford Singers, Radford University Women's Chorale, and the Radford division of The Blacksburg Children's Chorale. She has served as the accompanist for Community Cello Works in Blacksburg, Virginia, as well as the Roanoke Youth Symphony String Ensemble in Salem, Virginia. She is the pianist and music director at Buffalo Mountain Presbyterian Church in Willis, Virginia. Besides her role as an accompanist, Cynthia operates an independent piano studio in Hillsville and Galax Virginia where she teaches students ages 5 years to adult. She has a Bachelor of Science in Music with a minor in Piano Pedagogy from Valley City State University, North Dakota and a Master of Arts in Music with a focus in Piano Performance from Radford University. She has completed further studies in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique with Dr. Barbara Lister-Sink at Salem College, North Carolina, where she will pursue a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy specializing in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique in the fall of 2018. Cynthia holds additional degrees in nursing, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She is a former Captain in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, having served in the Gulf War.



Vocal Music Faculty

Dr. Meredith Bowen - Vocal Program Coordinator - conductor & vocal coaching


Conductor, teacher, and singer, Dr. Meredith Y. Bowen is the Director of Choral Activities at Radford University where she conducts three choral ensembles and teaches courses in conducting, vocal pedagogy, and choral methods. Bowen was recently selected as one of three conducting fellows from a national competition by Chorus America and was a finalist for the 2014 choral conducting award from The American Prize. Her doctoral research focused on restoring music of seventeenth-century Italian nuns for contemporary women’s choruses. Six restored editions are currently under review for publication. Previous to her appointment at Radford, Bowen taught K-12 general music, choir, and band in Lansing, MI, and was the Artistic Director of multiple ensembles in Michigan including: Sistrum - Lansing Women’s Chorus, Holland Chorale, Battle Creek Girls Chorus, and Battle Creek Community Chorus. Bowen holds a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University, an M.M. and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University.


Dr. Pam McDermott - conducting - vocal coaching


Pamela McDermott is the Director of Choral Activities at Longwood University, where she conducts Camerata Singers, University Men’s Choir, and University Women’s Choir and teaches Aural Skills, Beginning Conducting, Choral Methods, and Advanced Choral Conducting. She also serves as choir director at Farmville United Methodist Church and Assistant Conductor with the Commonwealth Chorale. Dr. McDermott has worked with classical organizations such as the Bel Canto Company and the Virginia Symphony Chorus, with opera at UNC-G and the Farmville Summer Garden Opera, and in jazz and popular venues, such as the Sawyer Sisters and the Mount Washington Hotel. She has been hired as a singer, conductor, vocal coach, choreographer, arranger, accompanist, teacher, and adjudicator. Her experiences range from coaching her peers to teaching children; from working with beginners to collaborating with professionals. Her DMA in Choral Conducting was completed in 2010 at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, where she studied with Drs. Welborn Young, Carole Ott, and Kevin Geraldi. She earned her MM in Theory/Composition at James Madison University, studying conducting with David Watkins and voice with Dr. Sandra Cryder. Her BM in Education was completed at East Carolina University, where she studied conducting with Dr. Rhonda Fleming and piano with Dr. HenryDoskey.Dr. McDermott is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), the College Music Society (CMS), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Theatre Faculty

Glenna Grant - Theater Program Coordinator


Glenna Grant is an actor, singer, and teacher currently based in her hometown of Asheville, NC. In over a decade as an NYC based actor, she has performed with such companies as The Public, LAByrinth Theatre, The Riot Group, and as a member of "The Bats" at the Flea Theater. Offstage, Glenna has been seen on Fox's The Following, and Identification Discovery's Swamp Murders, among others. Her voice work can be heard in GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay TonyGTA IV: The Lost and the Damned, Lucky 420, and Red Dead Redemption.  As a playwright and teaching artist, Glenna traveled to Ecuador & Tanzania with Dramatic Adventure Theatre Co. A lifelong lover of Shakespeare, she maintains a focus on work that bridges the classical and the modern. Through her work with NC Stage Company's Community Tour, Glenna has taught Shakespeare workshops in schools and communities across Western North Carolina- first as a cast member in 2018, and then as Education Co-Ordinator in 2019. She holds a B.F.A in Acting from Purchase College.   


Nicole Dietze


Nicole Dietze (Suzuki) is an actor, mover, writer and teaching artist whose work has been seen in Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, Columbia, SC, and northeastern Pennsylvania. Nicole specializes in movement training for the actor and in the creation of new works. Currently, Nicole is a Post-MFA Teaching Fellow at Virginia Tech. At Tech, Nicole co-created a new theatre course introducing applied collaborative techniques to non-artist students. In 2016, Nicole completed Cornerstone Theater Company's Institute Summer Residency, serving as Movement Associate for and performing in the original play Ghost Town in Venice, CA. A graduate of the MFA acting program at USC, Nicole is trained in P3/East's Physical Approaches to Performance and in the Suzuki method of actor training. Nicole studied Viewpoints Composition with SITI Company in New


Eddie Prunoske

eddie prunoske

Eddie Prunoske (devised theater) is a theater director interested in new plays, old plays, and site specific events.  From 2009-15 he served as the founding Artistic Director of Glass Bandits (a theater company interested in intimate, accessible, unmannered work) where he directed the world premiere of Paul Cameron Hardy's feeling (The New Ohio), as well as the company devised pieces In Memoriam (House of Yes), The Booygman Thumbs A-1-A (Fringe), and a site specific Three Sisters set amidst a Brooklyn loft party.  Other credits include Salty Brine's Dean. Maybe Frank. Maybe Sammy. (Time Out NY Critic's Pick), the New York premiere of Henry Murray's Treefall, Claire Kiechel's Passenger (Crashbox Theater Company) and Dollymops (NYU Tisch/Atlantic), Blake DeLong's The Hottest Blood (in a gutted Manhattan commercial building), John MacDonald's Rough Approximations (Incubator Arts Project) and God on the Roof (Carnegie Mellon University), Lucile Baker Scott & Julia Weldon's Wet Glitter (IRT) Diana Stahl's Meditating with my Parents (Dixon Place), Caroline V. McGraw’s I Get Restless (workshops with The Lark & Big Sky Theater Workshop) and a site-specific staging of August Strindberg's Playing with Fire (in an outdoor Brooklyn garden). Eddie has developed new work with Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea, The Lark, HOWL! Arts, and Magic Time at Judson Church.  He was a resident artist at House of Yes, a finalist for the Thayer Fellowship in the Arts/Patricia Kerr Ross Award, and has been a guest lecturer at The New School.  B.F.A. SUNY Purchase.  


Erica Lutz


(Audition Technique) Originally from Orlando, Florida, Erica Lutz is a NYC based actor who has worked on Broadway (Of Mice and Men), off Broadway and regionally. She holds a BFA in Acting from the Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film at SUNY Purchase.

Theater: Broadway, The Alley Theater, Vineyard Theater, Long Wharf Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater/ Youngblood, Theater for a New City, LAByrinth New Dramatists, The Playwrights Realm, Glass Bandits, The Natives

TV/Film/Web: Nickelodeon Studios,, A&E, The Biography Channel, Studio Rever, City on Film, Ghost Robot



Daniel Bird Tobin (Movement Theatre) is a director, performer, and theatre archaeologist. He has performed his solo shows An IliadConqueror of the Western Marches, and others across the United States and in England. He has assisted the amazing directors Emily Mann, John Doyle, and Sam Buntrock as well as worked with Liz Lerman, Danai Gurira, Nilo Cruz, and Paula Vogel. A graduate of the MFA in Performance program at Arizona State University, he has trained and worked with Dance Exchange, the SITI Company, Tectonic Theatre Project, and the Globe Theatre in London. 


Dance Faculty

Rachel Rugh - Dance Program Coordinator


Rachel Rugh (Program Director, Modern Technique, Improvisation, Composition): Rachel is a dancer, teacher, mover and shaker currently living in Blacksburg, VA.  As a performer, she has collaborated with the DC-based Dance Exchange, as well as Seattle choreographers Pat Graney, Amy O’Neil, and Jurg Koch.  Her choreographic work has been featured at the Seattle International Dance Festival, Movement Research (NYC), and the Washington, D.C. Capital Fringe Festival.  A joyful and enthusiastic dance educator, she has trained extensively in Ann Green Gilbert’s Brain Dance curriculum, and has been an instructor at Virginia Tech, the Virginia Governor’s School, Trillium Performing Arts Collective, and the American College Dance Association 2016 conference.  She is the recipient of the 2017/2018 Dr. Robert L.A. Keeley Healing Arts Residency at the Carilion NRV Hospital. Rachel holds a BA in dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Keep in touch:

Lee Ann Elder


LeeAnn Elder (Ballet):  LeeAnn Elder, originally from Yorktown Virginia, began her training at the Academy of Dance with Patricia Sorrell. She continued her training at Ballet Virginia International under Janina Bove and Suzanne Lownsbury, where she is now a resident guest artist. Mrs. Elder spent several summers training with the Allegheny Ballet Company, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. With Ballet Virginia International her repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Serenade, Firebird, Coppelia, Ginger Thatcher’s world premiere of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Quatre, Swan Lake, Il Distratto, Petrouchka, Fractured Fairy Tales, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and La Sylphide.Mrs. Elder graduated from Radford University in May 2014 with a B.F.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics. Her work with the Radford University Dance Department includes Don Quixote, Raymonda, Esmeralda, Frescoes, The Nutcracker, Mikhail Ronnikov’s Heads or Tails, Christopher K. Morgan’s Encountering the Shadow, Wesley William’s Face to Face, and Deborah McLaughlin’s Sounds of Stories Dancing and The Shadow Waltz. She is now dancing her third season as a principal artist with Roanoke Ballet Theatre where she has performed in principal roles in Dracula, Magic Toy Shop, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote alongside Rolando Sarabia, Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, Reveltango, Pas de Quatre, Paquita, and a number of contemporary works.


Attiba Rorie - african drumming & dance accompaniment


Atiba Rorie (Percussion Accompaniment, West African Drumming): Atiba Rorie has been playing percussion instruments since he was a young child.  He currently holds a BA in Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has also studied with Babatunde Olatunji, Fahali Igbo, Bradley Simmons, Chief Bey, and The National Dance Ensemble of Ghana in a one-month intensive in Accra, Ghana, and a one-month intensive study in Guinea, West Africa.  He has taught at Winston Salem State University and currently at Guilford College in the Music Department. Rorie is an accompanist in the UNC Greensboro Dance Department. He is the founder of the dynamic bands Africa Unplugged and The Afro-Soul Trio. Rorie is also a musician within various professional ensembles; with these ensembles he has performed at many venues including Dance Africa in New York, TedX Greensboro, National Black Arts Festival, Black Dance USA, and two Presidential Inauguration Celebrations.  In 2005 Rorie was invited to participate in a Drums of Passion Tribute to Babatunde Olatunji at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference. Rorie has been a guest artist at CaldCleugh Community Center, Duke University, High Point University, Agnes Scott College, Williams College, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Black College Dance Exchange, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Radford University.

Victoria Dunlap


Victoria Dunlap (Irish Dance): Victoria has been Irish dancing for over fourteen years. She has received over 120 competitive Irish dance awards both nationally and internationally, having competed all over the United States and in cities such as Moscow, Salzburg, and Montreal. She has trained with the McGrath Academy of Irish Dance in Northern Virginia and Tir na Nog School of Irish dance in Moscow, Russia, which was featured in the Irish dance documentary, Jig. She has received instruction from some of the top dancers in the world and biggest names in Irish dance, including Shane McAvinchey and John Morgan. Victoria has been teaching Irish dance in the New River Valley area for over three years and has experience training dancers from the beginner to World Championship levels. She established the New River Irish Dance studio in Blacksburg in August of 2017 to continue spread her love of Irish dance to the New River Valley Area.

Nekeshia Wall


Nekeshia Wall (West African Dance): Nekeshia Wall, of Greensboro, NC, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and African American Studies. Wall recently completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Choreography at Hollins University in collaboration with Kunstlerhavs Mousontvrm and The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, with support from The Dresden Frankfort Dance Company. She recently joined the UNC Greensboro dance department as an adjunct teaching traditional West African dance.

Megan Omohundro


Megan Ward - Omohundro (Hip Hop): Megan  was born in Baltimore, Maryland and is now a local resident of Roanoke, VA. She graduated with a BA in Dance, from Hollins University. Her training and introduction to dance started at age 16 from a local praise dance team, directed by Onawa Allen. Desiring to understand different aesthetics, she then grew to love commercial hip hop, and directed a local hip hop dance team called "Divine Nature." Hoping to further her career, Ms. Ward attended Eastern University, taking classes in global dance forms and modern dance. She went on to work with national recording artist Matisyahu on his video "Shade from the Sun," toured with Indiana-based group "6 way street" (formerly Level 3:16), and presented her own choreographic works with Dwellings Dance Theatre.  Currently she is a performer with Roanoke’s Dunamis Dance Theatre and teaches various Hip Hop classes. With her education at Hollins she hopes to further fine tune her aesthetic, develop engaging classes, and make thought provoking work.

Kate Wells


Katie Wells (Improvisation, Composition, Conditioning, Yoga): Katie earned her M.F.A. in Dance and Interdisciplinary Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her B.A. in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. Katie is a solo improvisation artist and the creator of Interweave Conscious Dance. To learn more about Katie, visit

Emily Oleson


Emily Oleson (American Vernacular Dance Remix): Emily Oleson is a crossover dance artist interested in framing American Vernacular Dance to include broad ranges of movers and styles, from traditional Appalachian flatfooting to contemporary urban dances. She is a co-Artistic Director of Good Foot Dance Company with her husband Matthew Olwell where she makes “trad dance theater,” and she pioneered the first undergraduate degree devoted to American vernacular dance at Davis & Elkins College, which graduated its first class in 2017. Emily received her MFA in Dance at the University of Maryland College Park, where she was honored to dance for many excellent choreographers including PEARSONWIDRIG DANCE THEATER, Gesel Mason, and Liz Lerman. In 2013 The Meaning of Buck Dance, a show she co-conceived and directed was selected to tour in Russia under the U.S. State Department Arts Envoy program. Emily’s performance highlights of traditional and contemporary dance include appearing with The Chieftains, Lunasa, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, at Performatica in Cholula, Mexico, the Strathmore Music Center, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Wheatland Music Festival, Lake Eden Arts Festival, the Dance Flurry, Floydfest, the Newport Folk Festival with Seeger’s Clogging All-Stars, site specific work at the National Botanical Gardens and the patio of the Kennedy Center with Dahlia Nayar Butler, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Virginia with Bill T. Jones’ 100 Migrations, Dance Place, the Ithaca Festival (working an a team manning a giant Michael Jackson puppet), and the Brooklyn Brooklyn Ballet’s 2015 Season Roots & Branches. Emily is a Certified Movement Analyst and entered Temple University’s Doctoral Program in Dance in the Fall of 2017.

Arianne Thompson

Originally from Bristol, Virginia, Ms. Arianne Thompson began dancing at Watts Dance Studio and Xtreme Dance Company under the instruction of Carolee Watts Hacker and Kimberly Ann Fore. She has since received a BFA in dance from Radford University where she trained under Danah Bella, Bob Boross, Amy Vankirk, Ji-Eun Lee, and Inessa Plekhanova of The State Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. She has had the opportunity to perform as an apprentice company member with d a n a h b e l l a DanceWorks from 2014-2016, at the Capezio Peridance Center in NYC for the Jazz Choreography Enterprise Showcase, as well as the American College Dance Association. Her most recent performance includes performing at the Kennedy Centre for the American College Dance Associations National Gala. In addition to her performance background Ms. Thompson has been the Ballet and Modern Director for Xtreme Dance Company for 6 years, the Acrobatics and Competition educator for Pulaski Dance Productions for 4 years, and an instructor for the Radford University Ballet Youth instructional program. She was an adjudicator for the Virginia Summer Residential Governor’s School for the Visual and Performing Arts in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Most recently she was able to present her creative work while teaching during the Virginia Summer Residential Governor’s School for the Visual and Performing Arts 2016 and 2017. Arianne is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology at Radford University.

Brian McGinnis


Brian McGinnis lives, dances, teaches and choreographs in Boston. He is celebrating his first year Associate Professorship with the Department of Dance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He began his training at the age of seven in Worcester, Massachusetts with Jo Ann Warren, and then resided and danced in New York City for twenty years. He has toured with the companies of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Elisa Monte Dance, Parsons Dance Company and Buglisi Dance Theatre. Recently he was on faculty at ChiArts, and Visceral Dance Center, both in Chicago. He is also a guest Choreographer/Teacher at The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina. Brian has had the opportunity to perform at Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center, The Cultural Center of the Philippines, The Bolshoi Theatre, American Dance Festival, The Joyce Theatre, NYC City Center, The Kennedy Center and The Spoleto Festival, Italy. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The Juilliard School under the directorship of Benjamin Harkarvy, and an Associates Degree in Occupational Science for Massage Therapy from The Swedish Institute, NYC.