Antoine Fatout ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Drums, Percussion and Piano
Berklee College of Music graduate Antoine Fatout is a highly respected and talented drummer whose dynamic style makes him a highly sought after collaborator in the jazz and Brazilian music scenes.
A native of Le Havre, France, Antoine started his musical studies at the age of 8 in his hometown’s conservatory. He went on to study music professionally at the highly acclaimed conservatories of Paris and Rouen, where he obtained his “Diploma of Musical Studies” with honors in 2009. In France, he was also a student of the drummer and body rhythm innovator, Leon Parker. With a “European Tour” scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in 2010, Antoine was able to achieve his dream of coming to the US to study performance at the renowned school. With a focus on jazz and Brazilian music, he has studied with such prominent faculty as Ron Savage, Neal Smith, Mark Walker, Oscar Stagnaro, Alain Mallet, and Ed Saindon. During his time at Berklee, Antoine was the recipient of various distinctive awards; the “Vocation Prize” from the city of Le Havre (2012), the Avedis Zildjian PASIC 2013 Scholarship, and the Most Improved Drummer Award (2014) from Berklee. Antoine has played with Oscar Stagnaro, Alain Mallet, Leo Blanco, Marcus Santos, Fernando Brandao, Gilson Schachnik, and Fernando Huergo. Currently based in Columbus, OH he performs regularly there as well as the Cleveland, Akron, and Pittsburgh areas. He is also very involved with the Afro-Brazilian percussion community of Grooversity. Antoine currently serves as an "Alumni Representative" for the Berklee College of Music, assisting in student recruitment as well as being the official rep at the annual PASIC convention.
He also serves on the "PAS Web Content Sub-Commitee", working with the Percussive Arts Society to enhance the educational content of their website.
Meagan Cramm ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Viola, Violin, and Piano
Meagan earned her Bachelor's in Music Performance at Miami University in 2007 and her Masters in Music Performance at University of South Carolina in 2009. She has been teaching privately and freelancing in the Columbus area for about five years. Meagan regularly performs on viola with professional orchestras, including the Newark Granville Symphony Orchestra, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, and the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra. She also plays in small ensembles for weddings, church functions, and other events, and she enjoys playing her 5-string electric violin in a local band. Meagan enjoys sharing her passion for music with her students and helping them master their instruments. She currently teaches violin, viola, and beginner piano at FCMS.
Ethan Borman ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Piano and Voice
From age six, when Ethan started to read music, he was playing ragtime arrangements as well as his own compositions. For the next ten years, he focused mainly on playing classical piano and going to camp in the summer to learn pieces by composers such as Schubert, Debussy, Chopin and Gershwin. At age sixteen Ethan fell in love with the art of improvisation. After hearing a Steely Dan song perhaps one too many times, "Reelin in the years," it inspired him to not only delve deeper into understanding harmony and improvisation, but to switch schools to the Toledo School For the Arts during his Junior year of high school where he studied music in the choir and played about three hours of jazz a day.
Having graduated from Berklee College of Music, Ethan studied with professors who taught and played with BB King, Jaco Pastorius, Diana Krall, Pat Metheny, and Mike Stern, among others. Ethan participated in the James Brown Ensemble with Kenwood Dennard, the Afro Pop Ensemble with Bob Pilkington, and the Afro Cuban Jazz Ensemble with Ricardo Monzon, studied jazz composition under C. Scott Free and took private lessons with excellent teachers such as Doug Johnson and Dave Limina. With an emphasis in abluesy funk-soul, jazz style. Ethan's compositions ring true to his background.
Alex Schrock ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo, and Piano
Alex Schrock is a guitarist, composer and teacher in the Columbus area. He received his bachelor’s in music composition from the University of Akron and his master’s in music composition from Cleveland State University. While in Cleveland, Alex studied with Cleveland jazz legends Bob Fraser and Rock Wehrmann.
Now in Columbus, Alex leads his own groups (Alex Schrock Trio, Gradient Prophet) in addition to being an in demand guitarist for jazz, soul, and hip-hop groups. He has played with EOP, Ill Poetic, Vaughn Weister's Famous Jazz Orchestra, Roxie the Soul Butterfly and more.
Devin Copfer ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Violin and Viola
Devin Copfer is a music teacher, performer, and arts entrepreneur based in Columbus, OH. Beginning her fifth year teaching in Columbus, she is excited to be at First Choice and growing her violin, viola, and piano studios. Devin has studied with Dr. Kia-Hui Tan, Leonid Polonsky, and Mark Rudoff at The Ohio State University and Liesl Langmack at the Sato Center for Suzuki Studies in Cleveland. As a student at Ohio State, Devin was the recipient of the Brahms award, a scholarship she won through her performance of the Brahm’s Horn Trio. As a member of the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra, she was the recipient of the Damrosch Scholarship and also held a principal position for three seasons. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management from The Ohio State University.
In addition to being a solo performer, Devin has extensive experience performing in chamber music ensembles and bands . She was a founding member of the Scarlatto Quartet which has recorded with artists such as the Dan White Sextet (now the Huntertones) and Collective Reaction. She now regularly performs in ensembles including the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra and McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra (violin section member), alternative folk-pop band Oliver Oak (violinist, keyboardist, vocalist), latin jazz ensemble La Charanga Tres (violinist), and experimental jazz/pop ensemble Small Songs (violinist, vocalist). Devin has also recorded and performed with several ensembles including The Speedbumps (Cleveland) and The Cordial Sins (Columbus).
Devin is also an avid sailor and when she is not practicing, performing, or teaching, you can find her on any of the Columbus inland lakes or on Lake Erie near her hometown of Cleveland, OH. Photo by Maria Levitov.
Liz Fisher ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Violin
Liz comes from a musical family of 9 and grew up in Delaware, OH. She began playing violin at the age of 3 and also took several years of piano lessons. In 2014, Liz graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Orchestral Performance from The Ohio State University School of Music. She enjoys teaching violin and piano lessons as well as performing at church services, weddings, special occasions, and in orchestras from time to time.
Liz is very passionate about Alternative/Indie genres and Columbus' local music scene. She spends most of her free time performing as the lead-vocalist and keyboardist for her Alternative-Rock band, The Cordial Sins. She also enjoys traveling, exploring the outdoors, spending time with friends, family, and her awesome dogs, Charlie and Beck!
Mark Gonzalez ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Guitar, Ukulele, Bass Guitar, Banjo, and Piano
Mark Gonzalez has been instructing for 16 years and holds a Masters Degree in classical guitar performance and composition. Now in his fourth year with First Choice, he continues to teach a variety of styles and instruments including guitar, piano, bass, and banjo. Originally from California, Mark moved to Columbus after attending California State University, Chico for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. He was awarded Best Guitarist in 2008 by the Chico News and Review.
Ted Royalty ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Drums, Percussion and Piano
Ted grew up in Worthington, OH and started playing drums at age 8. College took him to California State University, Long Beach where he graduated with a BA in Music. His primary instruments are drums, steel drums, vibraphone and piano. His experience in the Cal State Long Beach Steel Drum Orchestra led him to Trinidad in 2000, where he performed with the band "Starlift" during "Panorama," the country's annual steel drum band competition. He plays styles ranging from Jazz, Rock, Blues, Island, Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Brazilian and New Age. He has been a part of great musical groups such as Utter Space, Cliffside Jam Session, Paul Brown's Science Gravy Orchestra, Ken Messer Phoenix Project, The Procastoenators, Superfez and the Mark Goodwin Quartet. He also leads his own band, Tropical Night, a steel drum Island trio. He sits in with other fine Columbus bands and performs solo. He enjoys performing, composing and teaching. His teaching experiences include teaching drum set lessons at Village Music Haus, in German Village, teaching a kids’ steel drum band/ class at the Whetstone Recreation Center in Columbus, OH from 2004-2006 and teaching at First Choice Music Studio.
Vince Gillotti ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, and Piano
Vince is a saxophonist, and woodwind instrumentalist based in Columbus, Ohio. Vince began his study of music in his fifth grade elementary school band program. In high school, Vince was a member of the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra and he continues his studies, as he is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in Music Performance-Jazz Studies at the Ohio State University, studying under Professor Shawn Wallace. Vince has performed in numerous ensembles and musical genres, ranging from jazz, classical, pit orchestra, salsa, blues, funk, gospel, and liturgical. Vince has performed at the Columbus Jazz and Ribs Fest, The Gahanna Creekside Jazz and Blues Festival, The Southern Theatre, The Elmhurst Jazz Festival, and has shared the stage with musicians such as The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Tia Fuller, Lewis Nash and others. Vince currently performs with the OSU Jazz Ensemble as the lead alto saxophonist, the Art Blakey Combo, the top small group jazz combo at OSU that performs for many university functions and outreach programs, and he frequently subs for the Rick Brunetto Big Band. Vince aspires to work as a performer, teacher, composer, arranger and supporter of music and musical education.
Cole Kaluger ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Guitar and Piano
Cole received his bachelors degree in guitar from West Liberty University in Wheeling, WV and then went on to receive his master's degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Graduating in May of 2014, Cole also finished with a Pro Tools certification.
Cole is well versed in performances from ensemble, solo, and orchestral groups, original and cover bands, as well as solo and duet performances for weddings, banquets, and acoustic nights.
Cole’s first love musically is hard rock and metal, but he loves jazz composers such as Barney Kessel, John Pizzarelli, Django Reinhardt, and John Coltrane. In the art music realm he loves composers such as Frederick Chopin, Fernando Sor, Franz Liszt, and Johann Sebastian Bach. Teaching a wide variety of ages, styles, both in public schools and private lessons, Cole continues to practice the craft of teaching music as well as studying music himself.
Ian Harrah ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Sousaphone, Guitar, and Piano
Ian graduated from Miami University with a BM in Music Education in 2014. He began playing trumpet at age 8 and studied with James Olcott, Professor Emeritus at Miami University, as well as Steve Pride and Douglas Lindsay, members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Ian teaches all of the brass instruments, as well as piano and beginning guitar.
An active musician in the Greater Columbus area, Ian plays in the group he founded called The Big Badd, in addition to playing as a freelance jazz and classical musician. Ian also performs regularly on guitar and piano, and serves as pianist at the American Baptist Church of Westerville.
Connor McMonagle ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Guitar, Voice, and Piano
Connor Robert McMonagle is a Music Educator who will be teaching at St. Joseph Montessori School in Columbus, Ohio this fall. Connor graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education. During his time at UD, Connor studied guitar performance under the tutelage of Artist-in-Residence, Jim McCutcheon.
During his senior year, Connor performed in a variety of music groups associated with UD, including the University Jazz Band under the direction of Professor Jim Leslie, the Classical Guitar Ensemble, and NineTies, a rock band where he played electric guitar. Connor also served as the leader and the liaison for NineTies for almost two years, booking shows and organizing rehearsals. During his tenure at UD, Connor engaged with different ensembles in the Department of Music, and, when off campus, he continued studies with Dan Vogel, Jim Smith, and Tim Jenkins.
Since his freshman year, Connor actively maintained his membership in Ohio Music Education Association, and, in addition to his academic responsibilities, Connor has lived his faith as an Undergraduate Music Minister. Connor spent a year in Manila, Philippines as the Middle School Intern, where he assisted the Music Department of International School Manila. He also spent nine months, from Fall of 2016 to Spring 2017, serving the community of Columbus as a Music Educator at KIPP Columbus. Connor hails from North Yorkshire, grew up in Maryland, graduated from Dayton and resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Wendy Tanner ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Violin and Viola
Miss Wendy began teaching violin in 1997 and it’s what she truly loves doing. She has studied violin at Syracuse University, the University of Tennessee and The Ohio State University and completed books 1-4 of Suzuki Teacher Training at The Suzuki Institute at Capital University.
Miss Wendy enjoys playing at her church where a year ago they challenged her to give up sheet music and play by ear which has been a challenging but very rewarding experience!
When not teaching violin or practicing for church, Miss Wendy enjoys spending time with her family and friends and lives with her son and grandson.
Linnea Stolze ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Violin
Linnea Stolze grew up in Avon Lake, Ohio and began her musical journey when she learned piano at age 8, flute and violin at 10, and trumpet at 14. She began teaching music lessons while in high school and has developed an ongoing teaching philosophy that focuses on growth and positivity.
During her career at The Ohio State University, she studied music education and psychology. She was the recipient of multiple music scholarships over the years for her work ethic and unique perspective on music education. While her focus is primarily on strings, Linnea was also a trumpet player in The Ohio State University Marching Band. When she is not playing music, she enjoys spending time with friends, and playing with her rabbit, Blackberry.
April Fenn ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Piano
Born and raised in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, April Fenn began her musical education with piano lessons at the age of six. Throughout grade school and up through high school, April participated in many recitals and performed with school and church choirs and was a sought after accompanist for many instrumental and vocal groups. April continued her musical studies as an undergraduate piano performance major at the University of Utah on a music scholarship and most recently at The Ohio State University where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance. April’s past teachers include: Dr. Caroline Hong, Dr. Heather Conner, Stephanie Smith, Dr. Don Massengale, and Bonnie Griffiths.
Since moving to Ohio, April has continued her accompanying work in playing for vocalists, chamber music groups, and collegiate symphonies and orchestras. She has taught in her private studio for fifteen years and also plays the organ for her local church congregation.
In addition to her musical career, April also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and enjoys racquetball, swimming, reading, writing, and spending time with her husband and three young children.
Rachel Mittler ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Piano and Voice
Rachel began playing both the violin and piano by ear at a young age. Although fond of the violin, she found herself constantly at the piano, and began taking formal lessons. Singing became a passion in her teens, and she performed at school functions and in community musical theater. Word spread about her amazingly strong and unique voice, and fans came to her auditions just to hear her sing.
She studied vocal and piano performance in college, and graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University College of Music. While taking a music composition course, the professor encouraged her to continue composing and to find her songwriting voice. From traditional classic rock to soulful R&B, Rachel has written hundreds of songs and is very well versed in the stylistic nuances of many popular genres.
After college graduation in 2004, Rachel continued her studies at the well known Recording Workshop in Southern Ohio. After completing the program, the Recording Workshop offered her an internship, and then a teaching position. While she enjoyed teaching the science and the art of audio production and engineering in a studio classroom environment, Rachel is truly in her element behind a microphone, piano, drums, or bass guitar, working one on one with students of all ages and skill levels.
Through a combination of traditional methods and unconventional activities, Rachel insures that every educational experience is custom tailored to fulfill the unique musical goals of each individual student. She feels confident that investing in oneself through formal musical training builds confidence, strengthens cognitive skills, and provides an artistic and creative outlet that is deeply fulfilling on a personal level. Rachel strives each and every day to create, perform, and instruct drawing on 30 solid years of experience that she hopes to share with others for many years to come.
Margaret Womack ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Cello
Margaret Womack recently earned her Master of Music in Cello Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where she studied in the studio of Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliot.
Margaret has been performing since she began her studies in 2004 at the Eastman Community Music School, from which she graduated at the head of her class with Diplomas in both Cello Performance and Music Theory. In 2007 she won the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s Concerto Competition and first place in the Fortissimo Inc!. competition. She has spent summers at the Heifetz International Music Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and has participated in master classes given by Ralph Kirshbaum, Uri Vardi, the Jasper Quartet, David Ying, and Yehuda Hanani. She also garnered success in the 2012 MTNA Competition, in which she won both the State and Regional divisions.
During her studies at the Eastman School of Music, Margaret taught a large studio privately as well as at the Eastman Community Music School, where she was the Graduate Cello Teaching Intern. She also coached the cello section at the Rochester chapter of New Horizons, an ensemble program for adults learning instruments.
She has served as principal cellist of the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra and the Eastman Philharmonia, and currently serves as a substitute cellist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Akron Symphony Orchestra.
Alayne Wegner ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Violin
Alayne is a recent graduate from Kenyon College with a dual degree in Music and Sociology. She began playing the violin when she was five years old, and hasn’t put it down since. During her college career, she was a founding member of the Chase Quartet, a four-year member of both the Knox County Symphony conducted by Professor Ben Locke, the New Albany Symphony conducted by Luis Biava, as well as a substitute violinist for the Newark-Granville Symphony. Alayne’s solo repertoire, prepared under the instruction of Ariane Sletner, led her to place into the Kenyon College Angela Waite Recital in both 2014 and 2015, and to win first place in the college division of the Knox County Young Musician’s Competition, performing the First Movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Knox County Symphony in February of 2017. In addition to pursing research on sound and social control as a two-time John W. Adams Summer Socio-Legal Scholar, Alayne has also attended various music festivals during her college career, including the 2014 Philadelphia International Music Festival, and the 2017 Brevard Music Festival and Institute in preparation for a future in violin performance. Upon completion of her Senior Recital and music comprehensive exams, she was awarded Distinction in Music as well as the Thomas B. and Mary M. Greenslade Award in Music Performance. Currently, Alayne resides in Columbus, Ohio working as a freelance musician and arts administrator.
Mariam Bochoradze ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Piano and Voice
Mariam is from the Republic of Georgia where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Voice (vocal) between 1994-1999 at 1st School of Art in Rustavi. She her Master’s degree in Piano and Voice at Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani Tbilisi State Pedagogical University of Georgia between 2000-2005.
Mariam was performing in Tbilisi’s Opera as a soprano and later worked as a piano and voice teacher in Greece and Germany for 6 years. Mariam has a diverse and rich work experience; in Greece, she worked at the famous music school “Orfeas”. While there, she performed in a Jazz Band in the Saloniki and was the maestro of two kid's choirs.
Mariam moved to Ohio in 2014 and continues to work as private piano and voice teacher. She also works as an early learning music teacher at the Arlington Children’s Center to preschooler and school age children.
Nicholas Young ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Double Bass, Upright Bass or String Bass
Nicholas Young is a double bass teacher and performer based in Columbus Ohio. He currently coaches the Columbus Symphony Chamber Strings bass section, working with young bass players individually and in groups to develop a technical foundation which will facilitate their musicianship. He comes to this position from serving as Bass Section Mentor of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra for two years.
Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance from Bowling Green State University and is currently a graduate student at The Ohio State University working on master’s degrees in music performance and string pedagogy. He has studied with Robert Rohwer and Paul Robinson and studied additionally with Max Dimoff, and Scott Pingel.
As a performer Nicholas has played in a variety of groups with emphasis on everything from Early Music to Contemporary Music and Bluegrass to Jazz. He is currently a member of the New Albany Symphony and Ohio State Symphony Orchestra and also performs regularly with groups including the Lima Symphony, Toledo Masterworks Chorale, and Heidelberg Chamber Orchestra and Community Chorus.
Ben Bachert ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Guitar, Ukulele, and Banjo
Ben Bachert has been a guitarist, singer songwriter, and guitar instructor for over 25 years in Columbus.
While attending Upper Arlington High School, Ben had the wonderful experience of attending the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center to study music in depth. Ben continued his education by graduating from Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance on Guitar.
Ben is currently an adjunct instructor of guitar at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Ben can instruct on any style of music and is adept at helping an aspiring student find the best approach to learning their instrument. He has performed the last 25 years on many of the festival stages and music clubs around Columbus with various bands and ensembles. The Ben Bachert Band performs his original music.
Lisa Lotz ASSOCIATE TEACHER
Instructor of Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Tuba, Euphonium, and Sousaphone
Lisa is a Tubist and Brass teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Lisa begin playing in 6th grade in Lynchburg, Virginia. In high school, she performed at the Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana with the Jefferson Forest High School Wind Symphony. This experience made her want to pursue a career in Music Education.
Lisa is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education in the Conservatory of Music at Capital University. She has played in a variety of ensembles while at Capital including Wind Symphony, Tuba Quartet, Brass Quintet, Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, and Trombone Choir.
Lisa is also involved in the Women’s Chorus at Capital as well as the Hand Bell Choir and the Chancel Choir at Christ Lutheran Church.