| || ||John Allen|
Strings Faculty Member
Bassist John Allen has been groovin’ the Central Oregon
music scene since 1998. His versatility is evident in the genres that he
plays (jazz, classical and pop) and that he plays both upright & electric
bass. John performs with Valori Farrell, The Groove Merchants, Deco Moon Jazz,
Michelle Van Handel, Rich Hurdle, Kate MacKenzie and most recently, Downhill
In his former career as an orchestral musician he shared the
stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Al Jarreau, Doc Severinsen, and Arturo
Sandoval among many others.
| || ||Julia Bastuscheck|
Strings Faculty Member
Julia Bastuscheck moved to Bend in September 2009 after
retiring from a 21-year career teaching beginning strings and orchestra in
Juneau, Alaska. She currently teaches at the Cascade School of
Music, where she is conductor of the Desert Sage Orchestra, a string ensemble
for developing musicians, and is a teacher of the Awesome After School Orchestra
program. Julia is co-conductor of the Central Oregon Youth
Orchestra, a symphony orchestra for musicians ages 6-18.
Julia received her B.A. in music at Western Washington
University, where she studied viola with Charmian Gadd and chamber music and
orchestra with Barton Frank. She enrolled at the University of
Washington in 1985 to complete her teaching certification, and studied viola and
chamber music with acclaimed violist Paul Coletti.
Julia plays viola in the Central Oregon Symphony, the North
State Symphony in Chico/Redding, CA, and flies up to Alaska to play with the
| || ||Matt Gwinup|
Strings Faculty Member
Matt Gwinup started his musical
life at age five, on the piano, which he continued to study until age sixteen.
During those years he participated in numerous festivals and competitions,
mostly in Bend, Oregon where he grew up. At age twenty Matt
moved to Ashland, Oregon to pursue his Bachelor of Arts in
Music Performance from Southern Oregon University, which he received in 2007.
During his time at SOU his musical focus was classical guitar but he also took
part in many other ensembles on campus, including: Guitar quartet, Jazz
ensemble, Jazz combo, Concert Choir, Indonesian gamelan ensemble, West African
drumming ensemble, and on a few occasions, Percussion ensemble. He also
performed in many Master classes for visiting guitarists, the last of which was
for composer/performer Andrew York. Since his graduation Matthew has been
teaching and performing. Immediately after graduating he taught Beginning
Guitar at SOU for the 2007-2008 school year. In the Spring of 2008, Matt was
hired to perform in the Oregon Cabaret Theatres production of the musical
comedy Altar Boyz. During this time he continued performing with the Ashland
Guitar Quartet, a group that evolved from the SOU Guitar Quartet directed by
David Rogers. Their most recent performances were at the Oregon Shakespeare
Festival Green Show in the fall of 2010. Matthew also took part in the Camelot
Theatre company’s production of “Always, Patsy Cline” in the Fall of 2010, a
musical comedy full of classic country tunes. After teaching at SOU, Matt
taught private lessons to students in Ashland
and Medford, Oregon. He also performed around the Rogue
Valley at wineries, art galleries, special events, private parties, weddings,
musicals, and just on the street.
| || ||Meshem Jackson|
Percussion & Drums Faculty Member
Professional musician Meshem Jackson has a passion for
drumming and teaching drums. Meshem grew up in the island town of Ketchikan, Alaska where he started playing drums on a “practice pad” in the 5th
grade. He eventually moved up to a full drum set in junior high school. Meshem played in many ensembles in high school and at Central Oregon Community College, including
concert bands, chorales, marching bands, winds ensembles, and jazz bands. Meshem led many of the percussion
sections, where he discovered that he really enjoys performing and showing others how to obtain skills in drumming. His mentors saw his
strength in instruction and encouraged him to teach as
well as perform.
Today, Meshem performs with various artists from Seattle to Los Angeles to
Nashville, as well as several musicians and bands in Central Oregon. When he is not
performing he actively pursues his other passion – music education. Meshem has
been on the faculty at Cascade School of Music since 2011, where he teaches private
lessons to students ages five through adults, from beginner to advanced. Meshem also teaches several of the School’s various drum ensembles and most recently the
Musician’s Path introductory summer class in Drums.
Meshem exudes enthusiasm for all-things drums. He states, “I am always excited to have
the opportunity to work with students on their journey as musicians. It can be
fun and inspiring for everyone involved.”
| || ||Randy McRill|
Strings Faculty Member
Randy McRill holds a Master of Music degree in
Composition from California State University, Fullerton, where he also studied piano. Having been a guitarist
since youth, he has been in many bands and began songwriting at a young age. He has
written, performed, and recorded 6 CDs: The Rithian Fast songs (acoustic rock);
and the solo piano works "Glimpses" and "Rills," as well as
being the author of two published novels: “The Self-Story of Rithian Fast” and
“Fabled in Dividualism,” and a textbook on Songwriting, written for an online
high school. He has enjoyed teaching Music and English as a Second
Language at various educational institutions, and lives happily and humbly
with his sweet wife. He is currently teaching various
guitar courses including the Guitar Orchestra at Cascade School of Music
in Bend, Oregon. To learn more about Randy, check out his website: http://www.rithianfast.com/index.html
| || ||Rebecca Hillary Smith|
Strings & Piano Faculty Member
Rebecca Hilary Smith ("Becky") went to grade school in Sisters, high school in Redmond, and college at COCC before hopping the Cascades, graduating from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Music in 1986.Although involved in singing and piano playing from a young age, she took up study of the harp while at U of O and now counts it as her primary instrument. Her splendidly checkered music career since then has included 5 years of teaching as a music specialist in the public schools, directing a church choir, doing an after-school music program for young children, and playing folk and classical music in various small groups and orchestras. She and her husband just returned from 11 years in Hawaii where she freelanced full-time as a harpist and private teacher. When not relearning the many words for "snow" "ice"and "cold", she looks forward to finding many new friends in Central Oregon, finishing a CD, and teaching private harp lessons.
| || ||Chris Thomas|
Strings Faculty Member
Composer and cellist, Chris Thomas has music composition and political science degrees from University of Oregon (BA), and University of Southern California (MM). Currently he's composing music for the film, TV, video games, and concert
works for his publisher. He's worked on films short-listed for Academy
Awards, nominated for Emmy’s, and has won a several film & TV
music industry awards.
Lately, Chris has been in demand with the theme park industry.
He's worked on original soundtracks for Knott's Scary Farm, Evermore
Adventure Park, Dreamland (UK), and Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, to
name a few.
In the concert world, Chris orchestrated large works for the Los
Angeles Philharmonic and Master Chorale, and his own works have been
performed and recorded by the Hollywood Studio Orchestra, Northwest Symphony
Orchestra, Rose City Chamber Orchestra, University of Southern California
Symphony, Angeles String Quartet, Fear No Music ensemble, Willamette University
Chamber Choir, and Oregon East Symphony. His concert works are
currently published by FJH Music.
| || ||Marianne Thomas|
Piano & Voice Faculty Member
Marianne Thomas is a classically trained pianist and vocalist who holds both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Music Teaching and Performance from Brown University and is also an Oregon Certified Music teacher. Marianne has 20 years experience as a private piano and voice instructor and has taught Voice, Choir and General Music in public schools for several years. She is a singer/songwriter/pianist and recording artist. Marianne also spent 10 years as the lead vocalist for several busy bands in Boston performing all styles of music from rock to dance to jazz. She was also a member of the Obsidian Opera Company in Bend and played the Principal role of Boe Peep in their 2006 production of The Mikado. Her voice lessons focus on developing the building blocks of a healthy and confident voice which include correct, supportive breathing, posture, singing vowels, and the personal confidence to sing out!
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