2020-2021 PRIVATE MUSIC LESSON FACULTY
Brent Selby – Cello Instructor
Brent Selby was born and raised on a cotton farm on the coastal plains of North Carolina. At the age of 12, Brent found his way to the cello through a special program on PBS that featured Dvorak's Cello Concerto. After making his way to Boston, Brent studied with Natasha Brofsky at the New England Conservatory of Music and with Mela Tenenbaum through her private studio. Since graduation, he served as founding principal cellist on the Video Game Orchestra, a Boston-based ensemble credited for popularizing a new genre of concert music. At the same time, he shared his love of playing cello with students of the Franklin String School where he currently teaches. He has created arrangements for both his students and ensembles he performs with, including the Franklin Cello Choir and the New England String Quartet, who he performs with regularly. His favorite performances include playing a duo with Bernadette Peters, soloing at Symphony Hall, and anytime he performs cello duos with his wife, Jackie Ludwig Selby.
CLARINET / SAXOPHONE
Denise Berson – Saxophone and Clarinet Instructor
Denise Berson received her bachelor's degree in music education from Barrington College (now Gordon College). She has a wealth of experience teaching small group and private lessons and both small and large band ensembles. Her teaching experience includes public and private schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Many of her students have participated in Rhode Island All State Solo and Ensemble, and in Southeastern Massachusetts District Music Festivals on junior and senior levels. Ms. Berson is the musical director/conductor of a summer band program, responsible for all facets of the program, ranging from scheduling and student recruitment to music selection and solidifying continued support of community partners. The program culminates in a final performance with 2 levels of band performing different styles of music. Ms. Berson currently performs with Clarinet Choir, Rhode Island Wind Ensemble, Marion Concert Band, and the Swansea Community Musicians.
Lori Halt – Flute Instructor 1 of 2
Lori Halt received her master's degree in musical performance from Boston University's School for the Arts and her bachelor's degree in musical performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she studied with celebrated flutist, Timothy Day. She performed regularly with several orchestral and chamber groups while in CA, and was invited to perform with the Luzern Symphony in Switzerland for the country's 700th anniversary celebration. Lori is currently a performing member of the Claflin Hill Symphony, Claflin Hill Summer Winds, Chaminade Opera and the Charles River Sinfonietta. As a freelancer, she has performed extensively throughout New England with ensembles including the Plymouth Philharmonic, Falmouth Chorale, Southeastern Massachusetts Festival Chorus, Taunton Festival Orchestra and several musical production companies. She also performs as solo flutist at the St. Ignatius Cathedral at Boston College.
Ellis O'Donnell – Flute Instructor 2 of 2
Ellis O’Donnell is a freelance flutist and teacher. She has taught flute for many years, both in school music programs and privately. She focuses on motivating students, teaching good technique, and helping students make beautiful music. She has been an adjudicator for Rhode Island All-State and Massachusetts Southeast District competitions, and coached students who have placed in MA Central District, and MA All-State. Ellis also enjoys teaching beginning adult students, which she did at the Brookline Adult Ed Center and the Cambridge YMCA. She has performed recently on flute, alto flute and bass flute with the NEC Metropolitan Flute Orchestra, the Thayer Performing Arts Flute Choir, the Merrimac Valley Flute Choir, the Wheaton Community Flute Choir, and the Carter Center Flute Choir. In 2017, she played flute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s “Onstage at Symphony” orchestra at Symphony Hall, with BSO conductor Thomas Wilkins. Ellis graduated from Boston University with a degree in psychology, while continuing her flute studies with Paul Fried of the BSO, and John Curran of Brown and the RI Philharmonic. After graduating from BU, she attended Berklee College of Music.FRENCH HORN
Kevin Martins – French Horn Instructor
Kevin Martins is a Horn player with degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, Music Education, and Horn Performance from Bristol Community College as well as the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He currently works in Blackstone and Millville where he teaches middle school band, high school jazz, beginning band, and the two-time National Champion Blackstone Millville Regional Marching Band. Mr. Martins resides with his wife Shannan, his daughter Leora, and his son Kellen in Plainville, Massachusetts. In his free time, Mr. Martins enjoys fly fishing, disc golf, and photography.
GUITAR / ELECTRIC GUITAR / UKULELE
LOW BRASS (Baritone, Euphonium, Trombone, Tuba)
Chip Halt – Low Brass Instructor
Chip Halt began his musical career at age seven with the piano. Over the years, he moved on to trumpet, trombone, and bass trombone, before finding his home with the lowest of brass instruments, the tuba. He quickly won recognition, performing the Vaughan Williams Concerto for Tuba with the Phoenix Symphony while in his junior year of high school. In the past ten years, Chip has played in Canada, Europe, Asia and most of the United States with a number of chamber groups, orchestras and as soloist. In addition to performing, Chip has given clinics and masterclasses throughout the United States. He is the Principal Tuba with the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra. Along with his duties with Brass Venture, he maintains a busy schedule of private teaching, solo appearances and performing with various ensembles throughout New England.
Julie Signa – Trumpet Instructor
Julie Signa is the general music teacher and chorus director at Bellingham Memorial School, in Bellingham, MA. She teaches trumpet for the after-school beginning band program in Franklin, MA. She graduated from Rhode Island College with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She studied trumpet with Joe Foley and voice with Susan Rodgers. She was a member of the Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, Trumpet Ensemble, and Rhode Island College Chorus. As a member of the Rhode Island College Chorus, she toured Germany and Prague under the direction of Dr. Teresa Coffman. She plays with the American Band as a member of the trumpet section.
Steven Sergi – Violin/Viola Instructor
Violist Steven Sergi began his musical journey at eight years old in Franklin, Massachusetts. Under the tutelage of Don Krishnaswami, Steven served as principal violist for the Boston Youth Symphony Repertory Orchestra, the Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Franklin Repertory Orchestra. Steven continued his studies at the Boston Conservatory. In 2014 Steven received his Master of Music Degree in Viola Performance at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. As a freelance musician in the Boston area he performs regularly with the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Symphony and is a founding member of the Glenside Quartet. As a passionate teacher, Steven is a strong advocate of natural and artistic playing supported by good physical posture and technique.
Jill Noddin – Voice Instructor 1 of 2
Mrs. Noddin studied music at the University of Massachusetts, where she was involved in the University chamber choir and concert choir. She graduated cum laude with a degree in Music. After graduating, Mrs. Noddin took classes at the New England Conservatory, including opera studies, art song, IPA, diction, and audition techniques. She has performed as a choral member with Chorus Pro Musica, and was chosen to sing with the Boston Philharmonic performing Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”. Mrs. Noddin continues to work as a professional soloist in the Boston area. In addition to offering private voice lessons, she also holds audition technique seminars and group voice lessons. Mrs. Noddin is currently a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Kaileigh Riess - Voice Instructor 2 of 2
Massachusetts native Kaileigh Riess is an opera singer and voice teacher who completed her studies at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music, a Bachelor of Arts in English, and a Master of Music, respectively. She began her musical journey at local Foxborough High School, where she also discovered a love for musical theatre and jazz. In college, Kaileigh served as musical director of her a cappella group, Purple Haze. She also sang with the Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Grammy winning choral conductor Donald Nally. Kaileigh recently made her professional recital debut at the Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena and was named one of their Emerging Young Artists of 2019. Kaileigh combines her multidisciplinary passions, love of self-expression, and knowledge of vocology, musicianship, and languages in her teaching—which can be tailored to fit any range of goals her students may have. Kaileigh maintains a full performance calendar this year at the Boston University Opera Institute.