MEGAN AMBROSE holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Seton Hill University. While living in Pittsburgh, she was a member of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the a cappella group In Acchord, and a paid chorister with the Eastminster Presbyterian Church. She moved to Myrtle Beach for a year and was a member and featured soloist with the Carolina Master Chorale and a paid chorister with the First United Methodist Church of Myrtle Beach. Returning to the area in 2009, Miss Ambrose has been a cantor and pianist at St. Callistus Catholic Church, as well as co-director of the youth choir there. She teaches K-6 general music and 5-12 chorus in the Coudersport Area School District.
ANNE CULBERTSON received her B.Mus. from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and a Doctorate in Music Education with minors in music history and conducting from Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. She holds an Orff certificate and spent a year at the Kodaly Musical Training Institute, where she was a Ford Foundation Fellow and during which she toured major music education centers in Hungary. She was also twice a Christiansen Choral Scholar at Chautauqua and has been a presenter, clinician, conductor, and performer at conferences, workshops, and festivals.
Her teaching experience includes Ohio public schools, Hartt, IU School of Music (Bloomington), the University of Richmond (Va.), Gettysburg College, Friends School of Baltimore, and the Children’s Chorus of Maryland. In addition, she has worked as a public radio announcer/producer (WFIU 106.7 FM) and a public television voice-over performer and as a church musician for thirteen congregations in PA, OH, VA, IN, and MD.
In the past she has taught the following courses at Warren County Summer Music School:
Music and Animals, Conducting, Singing Games, Music Learning Games, Music Theory, Piano, and Handbells, and this summer will be adding Beginning Soprano Recorder, Humor in Music, and Favorite Folk Songs from Hither and Yon.
BRYAN ECKENRODE graduated cum laude from SUNY at Stony Brook and holds a Master of Music degree from SUNY at Buffalo. He is currently principal cello with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra and Southern Tier Symphony. Eckenrode has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, with Ars Nova, and as principal cellist of the British Columbia (Canada) Mozart Festival Orchestra. He is a member of the Lexington String Quartet, and the chamber groups Voci D’Amore and Camerata. Eckenrode records with the International Baroque Soloists, and he can be heard on the CDs of many artists, including Ani DiFranco, Sixpence None the Richer, Seven Day Faith, Them Jazzbeards, John and Mary, and Alison Pipitone: not only as a cellist, but as a bagpiper and flutist. He has recorded the sound tracks of film scores for a number of silent movies being distributed on commercial DVD by the Turner Broadcasting Network. He has performed twice at Lincoln Center in New York, recorded the sound track for the PBS special – The Siege of Fort Erie – A Glorious Battle, and was cellist with The Most Arts Festival 2014 at Alfred University.
Eckenrode is conductor and music director of the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony, the Prelude Strings Orchestra, and the Young Artists Orchestra of Jamestown. He conducted the Niagara All-County Festival Orchestra and the Erie All-County Festival Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo. He has been guest conductor with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra and The Southern Tier Symphony. Eckenrode is the program coordinator Artpark’s Music in the Woods series. Eckenrode is an adjunct professor at Canisius College, Jamestown Community College, and director of the string department at Villa Maria College. Eckenrode is on the music faculty at the renowned Nichols School in Buffalo. He is also a licensed Realtor with Nothnagle Realtors Property Centre. He is married to the internationally acclaimed soprano, Cristen Gregory.
BILL ECKSTROM began performing as a musician in 1974. He has played locally and toured the mid- west and the west coast as well as working as a studio musician. He began guitar instruction in 1983. He has been teaching at Jamestown Community College since 1989. His courses include Beginning Guitar, Guitar 2, Rock Ensembles, Historical Survey of Rock and Roll and Musical Instrument Repair. He has also presented repair clinics across the United States. Bill is the Band Director at The Salvation Army in Jamestown, New York where he also gives guitar and brass instruction.
MIKKI GIFFORD is a May 2022 graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in Music Education. Her primary instrument is trumpet, but she played trombone in the symphonic band and mellophone in the marching band. She is a brother of the national honorary band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, who provide service to the college band programs all around the United States. At Mansfield, she performed in the Concert Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Jazz, Symphonic Band, Brass Band, and Marching Band. Mikki has been with Summer Music School since she was in 7th grade and she’s very excited to be a member of the staff!
SUSAN GOBBEL is a retired art teacher with twenty years of experience. She holds a B.S. in Art Education from Edinboro University and a Master Equivalent Degree in Art, specializing in jewelry design, drawing, and painting. Her graduate work was completed at Edinboro University, University of Massachusetts, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She also holds a Certificate in Drafting and Design with a focus in architecture from American Technical Institute. Susan is currently a Rostered Artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and holds a Certificate in Timeslips Creative Storytelling.
JACK HEMINK received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia. He taught elementary music in the Jamestown NY School District for thirty years. He also served as organist for Christ First United Methodist Church, Lakewood, for thirty-three years. Jack currently is Minister of Music at First Lutheran Church in Warren, where in addition to being the organist, is also choir director.
ABIGAIL KOEBLEY is a graduate of Warren Area High School and Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She received a bachelors in Secondary English Education, and participated in several stage performances during her time there. During high school she participated in the Warren County Musicals and Youth Connection show choir. Abby has been teaching in Thailand for the past 6 months and is excited to jump back into teaching in her hometown!
SARAH KORCHAK earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Mansfield University and a Master of Music Education from Ithaca College with a major in piano and concentration in vocal music. She has earned certification in Orff-Schulwerk, studied string pedagogy at Ohio State University and pursued interests in drumming and instrument repair through the years. She began her career in New York State, came to the Warren County School District in 1994, and retired last June after teaching music for 34 years. Mrs. Korchak enjoys new challenges and a variety of interests!! She is active in her church as a music minister, and enjoys cooking, crafts and camping. Cherished free time is spent with husband Tim, daughter Tessa, and black labs Peggy and Bailey.
GRACE LARSON is a 2019 graduate of Eisenhower High School and will be graduating in 2023 from Slippery Rock University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in Studio Ownership/Dance Entrepreneurship. During her time at Slippery Rock, she has performed in a number of residencies, concerts, conferences, and more. She recently completed her 200-hour level Yoga Teacher Training and is receiving her certification. She was a dancer at Tiffany Wakeley Academy of Dance in Jamestown, NY for 9 years. At Tiffany’s, she was also a teacher’s assistant and a member of the workshop team. Grace has been with WCSMS since she was in 5th grade and enjoys making memories through the arts.
MARIANA MATHEWSON holds a Masters’ Degree from Northwestern University in Music Education and a Bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst University with concentrations in Cello and Composition. She teaches general music, band and orchestra at Grandview Elementary in the Millcreek District, previously teaching at Youngsville Elementary and Warren Area Elementary Center in the Warren County School District. She was first involved with WCSMS in 2016 as a college intern, and is thrilled to offer classes now as an instructor. Her main focus is in stringed instruments, but has vast interests in all areas of the arts. She teaches cello at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts in Jamestown, NY and is also a certified Music Together teacher. She enjoys making music with her friends, families and students!
DENISE A. PEARSON earned her undergraduate degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and pursued graduate study through several universities, including the Saratoga- Potsdam Choral Institute and University of the Arts. Denise taught at Youngsville Elementary Middle School and Eisenhower where she directed choirs and taught general music. She is a member of PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) and has been honored to conduct several PMEA elementary and junior high choral festivals as well as serving as piccolo judge for All-State Ensembles. Mrs. Pearson is a performing member (flutist) of Warren’s Philomel Club and past recipient of its Music Teacher of the Year award. She served First Lutheran Church, Warren as Director of Choirs (vocal and handbell) for twenty-seven years and after a 10 year break, has returned to directing handbells.
DEBBIE PENLEY graduated from Pittsburgh Technical School with an Associate Degree in Graphic Design. She grew up in a small town in Ohio, marching with her high school band her Junior and Senior years. She started her own business in 2009, selling hand-made ceramic ocarinas – flute-like instruments. The business has morphed over the years and is now mainly focused on fiber art with a concentration in felting. Debbie belongs to the Pittsburgh Fiber Arts Guild, the Northeast Felt Makers Guild, and serves on the committee of US Representatives for the International Feltmakers Association.
JESSALYN PETERSON-PALMER is a former student and intern of WCSMS, and started her music career at WCSMS. Jessalyn is an alumnus of Eisenhower High School (2014) where she was actively involved in the marching band, concert band, and orchestra. She is also a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) with a Bachelors in Music Education degree (2018), where she focused in high school band instruction and flute studies. She studied flute and piccolo with Dr. Naomi Seidman at PSU, and while in middle and high school, Jessalyn studied flute and piccolo with former WCSMS director Ann Mead. While at PSU, she actively participated in the symphonic and concert bands, flute choir, and their collegiate chapter of Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). Jessalyn has also completed her Masters of Music in Music Education degree (2021) through The University of Florida with their online program. Not only does Jessalyn play the flute and piccolo, she also plays the clarinet, cello, and ukulele.
Jessalyn is currently the Band Director at Tidioute Community Charter School, teaching elementary, middle and high school band, piano skills, and 4th-6th grade general music.
RALPH RASMUSSON earned a BS and MS in Music Education at SUNY Fredonia, taught bands from grade 5 through12 in Falconer for 39 years, and joined the faculty of Jamestown Community College for 27 years as director of jazz studies and concert band director. Professional honors include writing the handbook for the NYSSMA on woodwind performance and twice being named guest director for NYSSMA festivals and PMEA Jazz festivals.
Currently, he runs the Pearl City Jazz project with 18 members, performing area concerts , weddings and dances. He is also director of Razz’s Jazzers–a dixie style band, and Razz and Friends–a dance combo. He is clarinetist with the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band, the Jamestown Municipal Band, and the JCC concert Band. His performing and teaching instruments include clarinet, all saxophones, and jazz flute.
As a long-time member of Warren Summer Music School Staff, he says Welcome Back!
RHONDA RASMUSSON holds a B.M. and M.M. in Music Education (K-12) from SUNY Fredonia School of Music. A dynamic instructional leader with significant teaching experience, she is passionate about fostering confident, life-long learners and music connoisseurs. She is experienced teaching instrumental and general music as well as piano. Mrs. Rasmusson performs regularly and is principal oboist with the Buffalo Niagara Concert Band (BNCB) and Quintet. In addition to teaching all band wind instruments, her private music studio offers specialized instruction on the oboe and English horn and in the art of reed making. Her piano studio incorporates both Suzuki and traditional pedagogies. She is excited about being a member of the Warren County Summer Music staff and having the opportunity to perform and teach with her new husband, Ralph Rasmusson.
AARON REINARD was part of the very first year of Summer Music School. He has a Music/Sociology degree from Geneva College. He has been on staff at WAHS marching band for 22 seasons (this fall will be 23) and as the director for the last 6. As an instructor at WCSMS his focus is percussion instruments which he fell in love with as a child. He has played percussion for various music groups over the years from concert bands and orchestras to jazz/big band, punk, metal and gospel. He has loved the challenge of playing a variety of percussion instruments for numerous musicals over the years as well. Aaron plays a variety of other instruments and enjoys the opportunity to play in a variety of settings. He was a worship/music pastor for 23 years as well. He has also worked in a recording studio and been a studio musician on several projects for other artists. Aaron taught at WCSMS for a handful of years in the early 2000’s and is honored to be invited back onto staff after a hiatus.
ASHLEE SPRANDLE was born and raised in Warren County, Pennsylvania. She received her BFA in Ceramics from Edinboro University in 2006. Throughout college she maintained a board position on the Student Art League and was the president of the EUP Clay Club. She has also had her ceramic work featured in student shows at the Edinboro’s Bruce Gallery and the Erie Art Museum. She was also published in the debut issue of Edinboro University’s award- winning Journal of Art and Literature, Chimera. After graduation, she moved back home to Warren County to teach art in the Northern attendance area and is currently teaching at Beaty Warren Middle School. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with her dog, Beatrice.