*Nathaniel Byers, piano & Musikgarten Music Makers at the Keyboard instructor
Teaching artist statement
Teaching is about cultivating a curiosity for the world and expounding upon a primordial understanding of it. As it pertains to music, a good teacher invites their students into a whole new world, that cognitively challenges and aesthetically enriches. Teaching music is about understanding both the objective intangibles of a concept, and nurturing the curiosity to be creative with it. The piano is the ultimate template for musical exploration. It functions as the bedrock for our understanding of notation, and has the versatility to function expressively on its own. As a piano teacher, I look to invest in a student holistically, encouraging their musical growth in both the concrete objectives and the exploratory subjectives. In this way, students can go beyond the book, in a way that satisfies their musical curiosity.
Nathaniel Byers has always been passionate about music. During his musical studies, he developed a deep love for the piano and composition in particular, boasting a repertoire of original music for both solo piano and various other ensembles. He has released two original piano albums entitled “Moods” and “Soundscapes” available on all digital streaming platforms. Nathaniel also has teaching experience under his belt, giving both piano and voice lessons privately throughout his high school and college years. Several students of his have gone on to form musical groups and participate in college theatre productions at such institutions as Belmont University and Lehigh University. Nathaniel completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from Cairn University in 2019 and is currently serving as the music and worship director at Faith United Methodist Church in Waynesboro PA.
Nathaniel Byers has performed for various functions throughout his musical career. He has been a piano and vocal soloist in college recitals, has starred in numerous theatrical productions, both on the stage and in the orchestra pit. Some of these include, Lumiere the Candlestick in Beauty and the Beast, and the pianist for Shippensburg Area High School presentations of “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “Legally Blonde.” Nathaniel has additionally performed in group contexts, as both a choral singer and accompanist. He represented Shippensburg Area High School as a vocalist in the PMEA All-State chorus in 2012 and 2013, and was the accompanist for the Cumberland County Chorus in 2012 and 2013. Nathaniel has additionally provided music for wedding services, receptions and social events as both a pianist and a vocalist.
*Jaranell Fritts, piano instructor
My earliest memory of the piano is at age 5 when my mother gave me piano lessons. From that beginning, joy and opportunity followed. That’s what I want for my student: joy and opportunity. I have accompanied high school operetta, a traveling college choir, vocal soloists and groups, and congregational singing. Joy also comes from playing the piano in the privacy of my own home. Music is at my fingertips anytime. Patience is one of my strengths and so I enjoy working with beginning students, whether children or adult. When a student has finished the fourth grade level, I encourage them to continue with a more advanced teacher at CVSM. Teaching piano is my joy and opportunity. It is a true joy when a student says, “Is my time up already?”
As a preacher’s kid, Jaranell has been especially involved in church music. After graduating from Dallas Christian College, she began giving private piano lessons and has continued to do so far many years. Married to a preacher she worked with church music in several different states and has student who are now church pianists. Jaranell also gave piano and voice lessons at Eastern Christian College. She has taught at CVSM since 2004.
Jaranell played in high school for the Operetta HMS Pinafore. She studied piano pedagogy with Mrs. Bruce, choir of the Indiana Piano Association. Jaranell was accompanist for both the Dallas Christian College Choir and the Eastern Christian College Choir. Her work with churches has included directing cantatas and being the pianist or organist. She is presently the pianist with the Cornerstone Church of Christ in Chambersburg.
*Brian Helman, piano instructor
B.M. & M.M. in Piano Performance/Pedagogy and Music Therapy (MT- BC) from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. Post Master’s studies from: Shenandoah University, Shippensburg University and University of Phoenix. Performed in the national touring companies of: The Secret Garden and Jesus Christ Superstar; performed in various NYC venues including: The Schubert Theatre, The Gershwin Theatre, Circle in the Square and St. James Theatre and performed in many cabarets throughout the four state area including: Don’t Tell Mama’s and Archie’s Place, both in NYC. In 2002, accompanied Tony Award winner Gretha Boston at CVSM’s Benefit Gala and performs often with Washington Opera Tenor, Corey Rotz. In October 2011, performed with Rotz for the Supreme Court Justices in Washington, DC. Professional memberships include: National Music Teachers Association, PA Music Teachers Association, National Federation of Music Clubs and American Music Therapy Association.
*Marie Hershey, piano, piano class, & accordion instructor,
I consider myself to be a nurturing and relational teacher and especially enjoy beginner to intermediate students. My love for children motivated me to be a teacher. I have taught piano, organ and accordion; 5th grade; and college ESL in Nanjing, China. Now, much of my time is spent with piano students, both in classes and privately. The love I have for my students helps me to gain great satisfaction in seeing their success. My goal is for them to develop a love and joy for music with enough basic understanding to take with them into any other area of music.
I have a B.S. from Liberty Un. with a concentration in music, teaching certification from Wilson College in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Wilkes Un. I also had a year of Applied Piano and Pedagogy from Shenandoah Music Conservatory. Although piano is my first love, I also had training as a certified Yamaha organ instructor and taught classes at Keyboard World at the Chambersburg Mall for 7 years. One of my greatest joys there was to have my classes, children and adults, perform in center court twice a year. At Cumberland Valley Christian School, I taught private piano for 15 years and 5th grade for 10 years. For 5 years I taught ESL in Nanjing, China. I have been at CVSM since 2000 teaching privately and classes, both children and adults. Presently, I am also taking training to be a certified Musikgarten instructor for children’s classes ages 6-9.
I have a B.S. from Liberty Un. with a concentration in music, teaching certification from Wilson College in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Wilkes Un. I also had a year of Applied Piano and Pedagogy from Shenandoah Music Conservatory. I have been teaching at CVSM since 2000. I became a church organist at age 15 and have played for many weddings, receptions, and other special events including playing accordion for a Chinese choir who performed Christmas concerts in Chinese hotel restaurants and also on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. I have recorded 2 CD’s. One is all accordion featuring polkas and oldies while the other one has more organ than accordion and is sacred music. I especially enjoy teaching classes at CVSM and seeing my students perform well.
*Heidi Macaluso, piano instructor
I first began playing piano at the age of 10 when I started taking lessons at Cumberland Valley School of Music. Since then, my love of music has grown immensely, and I attribute that in great part to the wonderful teachers whom I have been blessed with over the years. I personally can attest to the great influence a music teacher has in the lives of their students. When I first began to teach piano, my love for music grew even more as I discovered what a wonderful privilege it is to be able to share the gift of music with others. Note-reading and accuracy, good practice techniques and habits, and musicality and good musicianship skills are all aspects that I focus on during my lessons. Along with all of these important skills, it is also my goal to help my students cultivate a love and enjoyment of playing piano and for creating music.
I graduated from Shepherd University in 2018 where I studied under Dr. Yu-Hsuan Liao and received a B.A. in Piano Pedagogy. I have been teaching privately since 2016, and I currently teach piano through Shepherd University’s Community Music Program as well as at Cumberland Valley School of Music. I have experience teaching students from the age of 3 through adulthood, from beginners to more advanced levels.
My years in college as a music major gave me an abundance of opportunities to perform on recitals, both as a soloist and as an accompanist for both vocalists and instrumentalists. I have performed works written by student composers as well as classical music and contemporary music. I have had experience performing for musical productions including Radio Hour at the Charles Town Old Opera House in 2017, and CVSM’s Voice and Drama Camp production of The Little Mermaid in 2018. I am currently serving as the accompanist for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in West Virginia.
*Gloria Kelly McCauley, piano & trumpet instructor
B.S. Mu Ed Lebanon Valley College. Has taught music in the public school system, elementary through Jr. High. She has been organist and pianist in various churches and is former Director of Music, Trinity Lutheran Church. Currently serves as pianist at Chambersburg Brethren in Christ Church. Gloria has served as musical director for many CCT productions, has played piano, trumpet, and/or string bass in pit orchestras, and is the former accompanist for the Towne Singers, who have made five European tours.
*Valerie Merriman, piano instructor
Teaching Artist Statement:
Teaching piano for me is a wonderful way to connect with others over a shared interest. I believe that making that connection, whether with a brand new beginner or an established, older student, is vital to the success of my piano lessons. Each student has a unique personality and learning style that presents an opportunity for me to grow and develop as a teacher. Finding just the right teaching method or music that really energizes a student is very rewarding. I am now teaching my first ‘second-generation’ student; looking back at and remembering the many students that have entered my studio since I first began teaching at CVSM is a source of great joy to me.
I received my B.A. from Wellesley College in 1992. I began teaching here at CVSM in the summer of 1992. Over the years I have taught students of all ages and ability levels, including several Merit Award- winning students.
Accompanying, whether groups or individuals, is a great passion for me. My first accompanying ‘gig’ was in the 6th grade, when my chorus teacher asked me to play for the group. I was immediately hooked, and have accompanied ever since. I accompany many groups and individuals here at CVSM on a regular basis, and have performed extensively throughout the area as a soloist and accompanist. Musical theatre is another of my passions. I have accompanied theatrical productions at Totem Pole Playhouse, Shippensburg University, with Chambersburg Community Theatre, and for various local high schools. I currently serve as the accompanist for the Towne Singers, a choral group who performs throughout the local area and have toured in Europe and Canada.
*Jeffrey Noll, piano instructor, Cumberbunds & Voice and Drama Camp director
Bachelor of Sacred Music, Baptist Bible College. Further study at Towson State, Md. Accompanist for many area instrumental and vocal soloists. Served as musical director for various children’s musical productions at CVSM and is the Minister of Music at Hagerstown Bible Church.
*Stephen Pastena, french horn & piano instructor
Teaching Artist Statement
I strongly believe that every person has the ability to learn music to some degree, and that formal study in music, while worthy for its own sake, also benefits the music student in many other aspects of life and learning. As a teacher I strive to be understanding yet firm, consistent, with high expectations for my students. I will teach, and have taught, students of all ages, from five years old to adults-it is never too late to learn a musical skill. What I love about teaching is seeing the proud look in a student’s eyes when they’ve accomplished a goal, or the delighted look as they understand something for the first time. I love being there to guide them on their journey through the world of music and art.
Stephen holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Education from George Mason University, and is currently working on a Master of Music in Music Education at Shepherd University. He has been teaching private piano and horn lessons for over ten years, with a significant portion of that time being at Music and Arts in Hagerstown. Stephen teaches piano students from the age of 5 through adulthood, and horn students at any level. He has a strong focus on foundations, music reading, and music theory. He recently began teaching through CVSM, and is looking forward to reaching more students.
Stephen graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Music degree in December 2007. As a horn player, he performed in various ensembles, including the symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, wind symphony, pep band, horn choir, and assorted groups for graduate conducting recitals. He has played in many pit orchestras from high school throughout college and beyond. Since graduation Stephen has played in various groups around the Cumberland Valley region, including the Hagerstown Municipal Band, Frederick Symphony Orchestra, Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, Mercersburg Community Chorus, Shepherd University Chorale, and the Appalachian Winds. In addition to his work as a horn player, Stephen is the organist and choir director at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in New Kingstown, PA, and is the sub-dean of the Cumberland Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He participates in numerous recitals per year around the area. Stephen has studied horn with Mr. Ed Albinski, Dr. David Whaley, and Mr. Ted Thayer; piano with Dr. Kelly Ker-Hackleman; and organ with Mr. Terry Sisk and Mr. Mark King.
*Diana Reinert, piano instructor
Teaching Artist Statement:
Music is an expression of our deepest selves. As a teacher, I love to get to know my students. What motivates them? What else do they love to do that I can pull word pictures from in my instructions to them? What are their unique reasons for learning to play? My goal is to give them the tools they need to express themselves through music, developing the next generation of musicians. Note reading, musicality, proper technique, and developing good practice habits are priorities in my teaching.
My BA in both Elementary Education and Church music at Olivet Nazarene University gave me a strong foundation in teaching principles and developmental needs of different ages of children. I taught 4th grade for three years, homeschooled my daughter, and presently teach General Music for grades 1-8, private piano, guitar, and violin at Montessori Academy where I have been since 2010. I have directed children’s choirs at church and CVSM. I began teaching piano at CVSM in 1991. It has been a joy to see some of my early students pursuing music as a career.
For 25 years, I have been involved in church music as a worship leader, soloist, and accompanist for traditional and contemporary worship. Presently, I serve at Antrim Brethren in Christ Church in their worship ministry. In addition, I accompany a home-school choir, Penn National Harmony Singers, and the Cumberbunds at CVSM. Free lance work includes piano and vocal work for weddings, funerals, and community events, as well as accompanying area vocalists and instrumentalists.
*Suzanne Sweigart, piano & voice instructor
B.M. Piano Performance, Houghton College. M.M. in Voice Performance, Westminster Choir College of Ryder University. Solo performing experience in voice in the greater NY, Phila. and Gettysburg areas. Recently sang the Mother role in Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck) with Center Stage Opera. Has performed with the Westminster Choir at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center under conductors Leonard Bernstein and Richardo Muti. Also teaches voice and piano at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Maryland. Experienced teaching all ages, emphasizing the fundamentals as a springboard for advancement.
*Deborah Weihl, piano & voice instructor
BS in Music Education, Piano and Voice Major and French horn Minor, Towson University, MS in Curriculum and Instruction, McDaniel College, holds a current Advanced Professional Maryland Educator Certificate, a retired Choral and Instrumental music teacher in the Washington County Public Schools. Recently retired after 23 years from Performance Learning Systems where she taught graduate level education courses for McDaniel and Wilkes University, including Differentiated Instruction for Today’s Classroom, Purposeful Learning through the Multiple Intelligences, and Classroom Management: Orchestrating a Community of Learners. She also taught PLS online courses including Effective Classroom Management, Multiple Intelligence, and Infusing Arts across the Curriculum for Drexel and Wilkes U, Marygrove & Rockford Colleges (IL), and The College of New Jersey. She has also directed 2 local UMC church choirs and teaches private lessons in piano, voice, trumpet, and French horn.