Paul Barton serves as a band director, piano instructor, and new teacher mentor with Band For Today. He received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Millersville University (PA) and Master of Music in Performance (trombone) from Ithaca College. One of Mr. Barton's goals is to create an energetic classroom where children are engaged and challenged to grow in creativity, leadership, and musicianship; using these attributes to better their educational experience and develop them into the next generation of productive members of society.
Donna Brenner is an accomplished flutist winning many competitions at her alma mater Montclair State University where she graduated with a Bachelors’ degree in Music. Her career as a teacher has included private, group, and classroom music at varying musical levels where she shares her excellence, passion and excitement for music with her students. Her favorite experience as a teacher is her relationships with her students experiencing the metamorphosis, growth, and self esteem they gain from music.
Music fills my days (and many of my nights!). I teach, repair instruments, and am an active musician, performing in church, a community concert band, and several professional groups. I started formal training on violin in 5th grade, then switched to the saxophone in 6th grade. I continued to study music in high school and college, minoring in Music Performance at CSU Chico. Teaching general and instrumental music at the elementary and middle school levels required that I learn all woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.
We moved to Temecula in 1999 to be closer to our family. My wife is a first grade teacher who plays piano and handbells and our two daughters played in their school bands (our oldest is working on her Master's in Flute Performance).
I believe that public performance hones our musical abilities and confidence and encourage students to perform in front of audiences as often as possible. My students participate in recitals, youth orchestras, honor bands, musical theater pit orchestras, festivals, and competitions. Several have gone on to major in music in college. Let's play!
National Education DirectorCampbell@bandfortoday.com
Mrs. Campbell has had a long and successful career as a public school band and chorus teacher in Fulton County, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Music Education from Illinois State University, and her Master of Education from Western Illinois University. After retiring from teaching in Illinois, she relocated to Orlando, Florida, where she continues to be involved in music education. In addition to years spent as a music teacher, she also taught in 5th and 6th grade self-contained classrooms which gives her extra insight into the teaching and learning processes of her students.
National Education Director
Danica Dagg teaches band and piano with Band for Today. She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Danica strives to see that all of her students come into a safe, loving, challenging and fun classroom and leave with not only skills in music but skills they can keep for life. She believes every student deserves the opportunity to benefit from a fine arts education.
Cristina Dinella is a teacher with Band for Today. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music. She is a classically trained pianist and active performer. She believes that every child can and should receive a quality music education. Her classroom is a vibrant, creative environment where each student's growth is encouraged. Through the context of instrumental music, Ms Dinella teaches problem solving skills, and a growth mindset that students can incorporate in all of their endeavors.
&lt;p dir="ltr"&gt;Cindy Graeler is an accomplished pianist and teacher with experience both as a private piano and bassoon teacher as well as a classroom music teacher. She received her BME in Music Education from the University of Missouri in 2013 and recently graduated with a Masters of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma.&lt;/p&gt;
Since moving to St. Louis, Cindy continues to put her love of music to use in a variety of ways; maintaining a private studio, teaching adjunct group lessons at St. Louis Community College, and performing each &lt;span class="aBn"&gt;&lt;span class="aQJ"&gt;Sunday&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt; at Kirkwood Baptist Church. She enjoys the opportunity to teach and instill the love of music in children of all ages and levels.
Jake has been playing the piano since he was four years old and has been playing ever since. He then got hired to work at the studio where he learned piano and has been teaching piano and voice lessons to kids for 4 years. His strong love for musical theatre has made him pursue a Piano Performance degree from Columbia College Chicago, where he is in his last year of study. At Columbia, he’s co-founded a theatre company dedicated to gender-swapping roles of traditional theatre, as well as give an opportunity to members of the LGBTQ+ community who might feel as if they don’t fit into traditional roles. He’s written song cycles, as well as stand-alone musical theatre songs. As a teacher, he loves to teach students that after the fundamentals of music are implanted, it’s okay to follow a non-traditional path to learning piano. He’s found that students who play songs they enjoy as well as the standards books are a lot more motivated and encouraged to continue their music education.
This is Bonnie McAlvin's first year teaching for Band for Today. She is always excited to teach students to be creative with sound, and is excited to meet her new students for the year! Bonnie is a composer in New York City and lives near the beach with her cat Sammy. Her music has been performed by members of the Cleveland Orchestra, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the award-winning Delaware-based chamber group Melomanie, and world ragtime piano champion William McNally. Her 2016 film score My First Kiss and the People Involved, which screened at the LA Film Festival this June, was a top pick for CriterionCast and the LA Daily News, and the score received a grade of "excellent" from the Hollywood Reporter.
Ms. Moffat has been a band director for 20 years. She is from The Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Ms. Moffat attended Ithaca School of Music in Ithaca, New York where she earned both undergraduate and Masters in Music education degrees.
She was the band director at Gulf Middle School from 1993 – 2000. She also taught in the Knoxville, Tennessee area for 4 years at Halls Middle School. The weather brought her back to Lee County – and she has been with North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts since 2005 were she started the Steel Program in 2007. She is also assistants at North Fort Myers High and now teaches small group lessons for Band For Today at Christa McAuliffe Elementary.
Ms. Moffat also plays with different performing groups in the area – she is a Clarinetist with the Gulf Coast Orchestra – the Edison Community Band – and the Camaratta Woodwind Quartet.
Margaret is a graduate of Chicago State University with a degree in Music Performance and a concentration in voice and jazz piano. She has been a professional jazz vocalist based in Chicago for over 30 years and has performed throughout the United States and Europe. Margaret began teaching voice and piano in 1997 as an after school project at Arai Middle School. Working as the school police officer, she saw there were no music programs, so with the administration’s approval she began recruiting students for a choir. At the end of her three year detail, Margaret had taught piano and voice to over 50 students. Now retired, she is currently a piano instructor for in home piano lessons and the voice and piano instructor for Chicago’s Discovery Center, which offers enrichment programs for adults.
Uriel Portillo is Band For Today teacher. He studied Music Education at Trinity International University. Mr. Portillo believes music empowers every person regardless of age, gender, or race. Music offers a positive and uplifting outlet and often proves to be an anchor in many people’s lives, not to mention, the qualities that playing an instrument or being a part of an ensemble provide, such as discipline, teamwork, cooperation, patience, and many other important life lessons.
Darian Potempa serves as a music teacher for group piano lessons at Band For Today. She received her bachelors in Music Education from The University of Illinois. She believes that many life lessons can be learned through music such as self confidence, teamwork, and responsibility to name a few. She also believes that piano lessons create a great foundation for other musical endeavors.
Tim Ryan serves as both a band and piano instructor for Band For Today. He received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Western Illinois University. Mr. Ryan’s wishes to provide a fun way to learn how to play a musical instrument and stresses that music will stay as a lifelong activity.
Joe Suihkonen is a trumpeter, composer, guitarist, singer, and educator based in Chicago, IL. His projects are many and varied, but are connected by the common threads of collaboration and honesty. He is a founding member of avant-garde jazz group Junior Ranger, a bass-less quartet that spent January of 2015 in Amsterdam writing and performing material that resulted in their 10/2015 release Monster Masks. Sarsaparilla, an electroacoustic trio to which Joe contributes, is currently booking a Midwest tour and involved in several film/theater projects. The other side of his compositional spectrum provides material for the art rock trio Gratitude Journal, whose debut Body Partition is forthcoming in summer 2016. Suihkonen’s compositions are a continuing exploration toward the realization of a sound that draws heavily from influences ranging from Messiaen to Sonic Youth. He seeks to connect with the listeners of his generation through music that is simultaneously pretty, ugly, ironic, and sincere.
Educated in jazz performance at Oberlin Conservatory, Joe has studied trumpet under legends Sean Jones and Eddie Henderson, and while a very technically proficient trumpeter, his music relies more heavily on a generally heightened sense of musicality and group creativity. He has performed at venues in Minneapolis such as jazz clubs The Dakota, The Icehouse, and The Artist’s Quarter as well as performing in the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and twice in the French Quarter Jazz Festival in New Orleans.
Flutist Melinda Wade-English holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas, a Master of Music from Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Flute Performance degree from Texas Tech University. She has taught on the Woodwind Faculty at Texas A&M at Tarleton University, Peabody Conservatory Preparatory Division of Johns Hopkins University, Salisbury University, Anne Arundel Community College, and the United States Naval Academy. She has played flute and piccolo with Opera Vivente of Baltimore, the Maryland Philharmonic, the Annapolis Chorale Orchestra, the Annapolis Opera Orchestra, the Atlantic Winds Woodwind Quintet, the Arundel Winds, the United States Army Field Band, the Mid- Atlantic Symphony, the Salisbury Symphony, the Roswell Symphony, the Lubbock Ballet Orchestra, the Symphony of the Hills, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Wade-English has given solo flute performances throughout the United States and internationally.
Gregg Wramage serves as a teacher for Band for Today. He received his BM and MM from Manhattan School of Music and his DMA from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Mr. Wramage’s classroom goal is to provide a fun, creative, and intellectually stimulating environment for children to explore their musical interests, while they also develop important personal and social skills, experience a sense of pride in their accomplishments, and create friendships that will enrich their time both in and outside of the classroom.
Chicagoland Head of EducationYanong@bandfortoday.com
Gayle Yanong serves as teacher and Regional Head of Education with Band for Today. She received her Bachelor of Music Education from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Her classroom goal is to provide an opportunity for all children to be successful and feel a sense of accomplishment while learning and having fun. She believes that the fine arts, specifically music, help students to grow in all areas of their lives, including academics and emotional development.