Nessyah Buder, Saxaphone, Voice, Piano, Flute & more!
Dr. Nessyah Buder Gallagher, or Dr. Ness, has been teaching music for 15 years. She holds degrees from Shenandoah Conservatory (D.M.A. Saxophone Performance, 2016), the University of Miami (M.M. Musicology, 2013), and Northwestern University (B.M. Music Education, Saxophone Performance). She was the 2012 recipient of the Presser Music Award, which funded her research on Australian saxophone music in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Ness currently teaches elementary general music full time in FCPS and performs with her all-women’s music group, Re-Joyce!, of which she is a founding member. In addition to the saxophone, Dr. Ness teaches beginning piano and guitar, voice, flute, recorder, music theory, music history, and music composition. She currently lives in Burke, VA with her husband, four cats, and their dog, Daisy.
Dr. Yufen Chou, originally from Taipei, Taiwan, has been working as a piano teacher and accompanist in Washington DC area since 2005. As a teacher, Yufen enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels with various different interests and goals, whether just for recreation or seeking a music career. In recent few years, many of her students’ performances were rated as “superior” in the Spring Festival held by Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association.
As an accompanist, Yufen has accompanied numerous opera or musical theater rehearsals in DC metro area. She also performs and records with singers, and instrumentalists frequently. Yufen cureently holds the position as pianist in Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington, DC and serves as rehearsal accompanist/stage pianist in Aria Club of Greater Washington.
Yufen holds Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Accompanying from The Catholic University of America and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her principal teachers include Ms. Marilyn Neeley, Dr. Ivo Kaltchev, and Dr. Andrew Parr. Other than playing piano, Yufen also has 14 years of violin training and served as concert master in her high school and undergraduate orchestras.
Heather graduated from James Madison University, earning a Bachelor Degree in Music Industry, with a concentration in vocal performance. After graduation she enjoyed traveling and performing aboard Holland America Cruise Line as a singer/dancer for multiple contracts, while serving as company manager and production assistant. She has performed in productions at theaters in Myrtle Beach and Atlantic City. She spent four years in Las Vegas where she performed as a singer/dancer with several companies and venues, such as Legends in Concert, and enjoyed traveling to perform for corporate events in several cities. During this time, she was the Entertainment Manager for artistic programs at the Venetian/Palazzo and Planet Hollywood Resorts. After moving back to her hometown of Alexandria VA, she worked in convention services and special events at Gaylord National Resort, before discovering Metropolitan School of the Arts. She is excited to be able to share her love of performing arts with the students of MSA, and encourage the next generation of performers.
Jon Hamilton, an Erie PA native, graduated from Allegheny College with his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance in 2007. After graduating, Jon worked in campus ministry for the Coalition for Christian Outreach, partnering with Waynesburg University where was the Resident Director and worked in Student Activities. He spent the next 3 years at Edinboro University, where he earned his M.Ed. in Education .
Upon graduation Jon began work as the Music Teacher (K-12) for Erie First Christian Academy and Music Director for Erie First Assembly. In these roles Jon has educated and conducted choirs, instrumental groups, music ministries, and ensembles ranging from ages 5 to 70+. Jon also directed the Young Adult Worship Ministry which consisted of 20+ different worship bands and teams from around the greater Erie PA area.
Jon has performed as pianist and vocalist with many organizations including: The Alexandria Singers, The Erie Philharmonic Choir, The Young People’s Chorus of Erie, as well as many churches and schools around the Erie PA area. With the Erie Philharmonic Choir and YPC Erie, Jon has performed in the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, the US Capitol Building, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and other concert venues across the east coast. In 2012 Jon competed with the Young People’s Chorus of Erie in the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio, for which they won two gold medals and one silver medal.
Jon moved to Alexandria, VA in 2014. He currently serves as a Music Teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools in Falls Church, Virginia. Jon teaches General and Choral music to elementary students grades K-6. Here Jon has served at Title 1 Schools as a teacher and mentor to students, inspiring young minds to become great people and great musicians.
Since moving to the DC metro, Jon has performed in many different venues as pianist, vocalist, worship leader, and other performance roles in the area. Jon also works for the Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria, Virginia. MSA is a uniquely innovative arts education establishment located just south of Washington DC. Here Jon serves as a private vocal and piano instructor to middle and high school students.
Hampton University-trained instructor Dwight Hill is a lifelong musician, skilled at drums, piano, guitar, bass, and voice. He’s played around the country as both a solo act and a with wide range of equally talented bands. From big bands to smaller ensembles (and even a smattering of funk/R&B groups), his experiences run the gamut. He draws from all of them to inject the perspective of a veteran performer who understands what it takes to be a gigging musician into his lessons.
Currently, he plays bass for the DC-based, touring rock act Throwdown Syndicate, with whom he has recorded three albums to date. He also dedicates a considerable portion amount of his time to working as a session musician, recording with artists who request his services and filling in on local shows as his schedule allows.
Matt Nall is originally from Dallas Texas. He received his Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University and his Masters of Arts from New York University. In New York, he was a professional actor and appeared regionally as Gaston in Beauty in the Beast, Curly in Oklahoma, and Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol as well as others. In 2006 Matt accepted the position as Baritone Vocalist in the United States Army Chorus. For six years he has performed all over the country and for various dignitaries and ambassadors, as well as every living President.
Bio coming soon!
Emily Fumiko Stenson grew up in her home city of Tokyo, Japan. She attended Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, WA, where she studied Vocal Performance under the guidance of Marlette Buchanan. She received a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance in May, 2015. While at PLU, Emily was part of the Choir of the West under Dr. Richard Nance and University Chorale under Dr. Brian Galante, experiencing tours with these groups to Texas, Montana, and Canada. These groups gave her opportunities to participate in the American Choral Directors Association multiple times, and learned more about technique and how it is taught at other universities. She also participated in multiple operas and musicals while an undergraduate; playing the Baker’s Wife in a production of Into the Woods, Hypolita in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and featured solos in multiple student led musical revue productions.
Miss Stenson has taught general music at a private school while also teaching private voice and piano lessons with Metropolitan School of the Arts last year, and is continuing to work as a performer herself. She looks to extend her knowledge on the voice and work towards her Masters in the Fine Arts and a teaching certification in General and Choral Music. Her love of performing and teaching drives her to continue learning so that she may share her love of music and the arts to young students everywhere.
Julie Navarrette hails from Hartselle, Alabama, where she studied classical piano for ten years and studied voice with her sister, who trained at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. While in high school, she was a member of the Hartselle High School Performers, and played the piano at Hartselle First Church of the Nazarene. She received a Bachelor of Arts in music and journalism from the University of North Alabama in 1996. While there, she sang in the University Collegiate Singers, served as an accompanist in the music department and for local community events, and taught private voice and piano lessons at The Linda Young Music Studio. After moving to Washington, D.C., and getting married, she became interim music minister at National Church of the Nazarene in Washington, D.C. In 2002, she became a licensed Kindermusik educator. She taught Kindermusik classes at the Trinity Episcopal Children’s Center in Arlington, The Butterfly House at Alexandria Episcopal Seminary, and at Metro until 2007. In 2002, she also began teaching private voice and piano lessons at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, where she taught until 2007. She has been teaching private voice and piano lessons at Metro since 2005. She served as musical director for the Metropolitan Performing Arts Theatre’s first musical, Honk. She also plays the piano and sings in the Nazarene Faith Band at Alexandria First Church of the Nazarene. In addition, she directs the children’s Christmas and Easter performances and performances by the drama group she began for older kids at her church.
Founding / Current Member of Washington DC Bands Virginia Coalition / Astra Via / My New Mixtape”
Head Engineer at Georgetown Preparatory School North Bethesda MD
Head Producer / Engineer at Underwater Wonderland Alexandria VA
I’ve also had music featured in recent films such as “Blue Ruin” and “Waiting: A Documentary”.