*Marlin Barnes, percussion instructor

B.S. Music Education from IUP.  Directed the string program in the Tuscarora School District and retired after 34 years in public schools.  Performs with the Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, Altoona Symphony, Mercersburg Area Community Chorus and Orchestra, Hagerstown Municipal Band, and Ritma-Cordia, a cello-marimba duo.  Former experience includes the Cumberland Valley Chamber Players, Maryland Symphony Orchestra and the Maryland Lyric Opera.  He also does marimba programs for banquets, Civil War drumming, musical shows, and percussion demonstrations.  He has taught privately for over 30 years.

*Keric Ellis, percussion instructor

Teaching Artist Statement:

Being a percussionist means being the heartbeat of the music. You keep the rhythm of the ensemble, you enunciate impactful moments in the piece, and you express these feats with a wide range of instruments. I enjoy meeting a student where they’re at in their musical journey and push them to try new things as well as hone their current knowledge. I enjoy teaching people not just to help them learn more about the things that I love, but to push me to improve in my own places where I can improve. Music is a universal language and is so important for freedom of expression. Whether a beginner, an intermediate, or an advanced player, I would be happy to work with you to improve in your skills as a percussionist!

Teaching Bio:

Keric Ellis obtained his bachelor’s degree in Writing from Shippensburg University. While there, Keric also had a minor in music and was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, an honorary band service fraternity. He began teaching at CVSM in 2023 and has taught two years for the Chambersburg High School Marching Band Front Ensemble during their band camps.

Performance Bio:

Keric was a member of many ensembles during his time at Shippensburg including Marching Band, Concert Band, Pep Band, and Concert Choir. Outside of school bands, Keric has performed with grandfather in the local band Top Dead Center as well as a band that performs at the Franklin County Senior Center. Outside of percussion, he performs with the Chambersburg Community Theater and continues to perform with the Shippensburg University Community Choir. He currently is writing a musical and learning to compose music alongside his personal writing projects.

* Stephanie Gemmell, flute & piccolo, guitar, ukulele, piano, and drums instructor

Teaching Artist Statement

Every developing musician’s artistic voice is inherently unique and valuable. I seek to foster open, collaborative lessons that help musicians express themselves clearly and authentically. My hope is for my students to leave each lesson feeling confident in their own potential and excited to continue their musical growth. Music is ultimately a form of artistic communication, and I support my students in effectively conveying musical ideas across a variety of genres and musical styles.

Teaching Bio

Steph earned her Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Music Studies from Berklee College of Music in 2024, concentrating on music production and film scoring. She received her Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University in 2021. Steph has been teaching multi-instrumental music lessons since 2020, and she joined CVSM as an instructor in 2022. Steph draws on her collaborative work background as a producer, mix engineer, and film composer to tailor lessons to the interests and goals of each individual student. She also enjoys introducing students to fundamental composition and songwriting techniques, helping to facilitate self-expression and creativity throughout the learning process. Steph teaches students of all ages and skill levels, seeking to support students’ curiosity and confidence throughout their musical growth.

Performance Bio

As a flutist, Steph has performed in the DC area as a member of the Washington Young Sinfonia, GW Orchestra, and the National Cathedral Choral Festival Orchestra. She also has experience as a performer and backing instrumentalist playing keyboard, guitar, and drums. As a flute and piccolo player, Steph is experienced playing and teaching classical repertoire, as well as improvisational jazz and rock flute. As a drummer, Steph specializes in indie rock, post-punk, and jazz fusion styles. As a keyboard player and guitarist, Steph is most experienced playing blues rock, psych rock, and jazz. Steph has independently released self-produced EPs that feature her passions for musical exploration, synthesis and sound design, and multi-instrumental performance. Steph is grateful to be a She Is The Music mentee for production & engineering and a member of ASCAP and GRAMMY U. Her portfolio is available at stephgemm.net.

*Ben Harlanguitar, bass, ukulele, drums and beg. piano instructor

Teaching Artist Statement:

Music is a universal language that has the power to connect people of all backgrounds.  As a result, music can break down barriers and bring people together.  There is no greater feeling in the world that coming together as one voice and sharing the feelings and emotions that music brings.  The joy that playing and teaching music brings to me is why I have been involved with music on many different platforms for 30 years.  The lifelong connections I have made as a result of musical involvement is something that I cherish.  I love to see my students grow and succeed over time and come to love music the way that I do!

Teaching Bio:

Pennsylvania native, Benjamin Lawrence Harlan has been playing and teaching throughout the New England Region for 25 years.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in Music and a minor in Music Technology from the University of Valley Forge.  His primary instruments in college were Classical Guitar and Piano.  He plays 7 different instruments and has strong roots in music theory.  He also spent many years working with individuals and groups in churches to help train musicians and build sound systems.  Benjamin joined CVSM in the fall of 2022.

Performance Bio:

Pennsylvania native, Benjamin Lawrence Harlan has been playing and teaching throughout the New England Region for 25 years.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in Music and a minor in Music Technology from the University of Valley Forge.  His primary instruments in college were Classical Guitar and Piano.  He plays 7 different instruments and has strong roots in music theory.  While at the University of Valley Forge, Benjamin was part of two traveling musical groups that spent time in the Northeast Region promoting the University.  This was an audition/scholarship leadership role.  The musical groups played in large arenas, churches, special events, and coffee houses.  He was a four-year winner of the music departments performance scholarship program.  Currently he plays multiple instruments at his local church.  Benjamin joined CVSM in the fall of 2022

*Sam Hepfer, percussion instructor

Sam currently performs with the CVSM Jazz Quartet, Samz @ 7 (formerly the Tresa Day Trio), Reprize (pop, R&B, light rock), the Capital Dixieland Band, and First UMC’s Praise Team. He has also performed with the Slideshow, Stephey’s Kitchen, The Towne Singers, Antrim BIC concerts, and accompanies tenor, Corey Rotz for his local concerts. Sam has performed in pit orchestras for area theater productions including Totem Pole Playhouse and Chambersburg Community Theater. Sam has appeared as a percussionist with the Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, Musica Ritma, and other local events.

*Edgar Myers, snare drum instructor, rudiments, theory and multiple drum set styles

Edgar studied theory and basic composition with Virginia Rienoke, snare drum and rhythm reading with John Crocken, and private lessons with Dennis Chambers and Larry Bright. Edgar has been playing professionally in the mid-Atlantic region for more than 35 years with popular rock, jazz and variety acts, and had stints with blues legend James Cotton, and jazz great Cyrus Chestnut. In recent years Edgar has performed with local notables such as Maurice Arenas and Howard Burns, and currently performs with Beat Jazz Society, River Knot, and The Danny Webber Trio. Edgar Myers has a four part video series on youtube, entitled In The Moment, and is working on original music for a CD release in the future.

*Brennan Reaves, drums

I like to see what my students are capable of and then go from there and expand on their knowledge. I teach drum set and anything else that involves unpitched percussion. I am experienced to teach beginners and beyond. My favorite part about teaching is not only just being able to teach but being able to continue learning from my students as well. As a self-taught drummer, I understand the needs of students that may not have had any formal training in the past. I spent my high school years honing my skills in the band and won several competitions. This is my first year teaching at CVSM and at Greencastle High School, and I look forward to teaching them all the skills I learned through my wonderful teachers and band experiences. Recording on my Instagram page can be seen here: