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Fairmount School of Music Faculty

Mr. Anthony Anastasi: Brass - BMus: Cleveland State

Tony is a band director in the Cleveland School System. His first teacher was his father, Jim Anastasi who teaches at FSM, also. Tony later studied with Charles Couch of the Cleveland Orchestra. He teaches private trumpet, trombone, French horn, and tuba. Currently, he performs with the TOPS Big Band and Sight-N- Sound Motown Group. He has played first Trumpet with The Temptations, Gladys Knight, and the Jimmy Dorsey Band. He has also performed with the Willie Smith Little Big Band, Ernie Krivda Big Band, Images, and Tony Fortunata's Emperors of Swing. Mr. Anastasi earned a Bachelors of Music Degree from Cleveland State University.

Peter ArfstenPeter Arfsten: Flute - BMus Aaron Copland School of Music, MM Cleveland Institute of Music

A New York City native, Mr. Arfsten began his flute studies at the age of 14, having no prior music education. He completed his Bachelors of Music, and Performance Certificate at The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (CUNY) and is currently completing his Masters degree at The Cleveland Institute of Music. His career so far has afforded him playing all over the United States as well as Europe. Mr. Arfsten has freelanced on both On and Off Broadway productions as well as in several chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the New York City area. He has played at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully, and David Geffen Hall and many other major venues in the New York City, and has been a member of The Greenwich Symphony, in Greenwich, Connecticut since January 2017. His principal teachers have been Susan Rotholz, Elizabeth Mann, and Mary Kay Fink.

Mr. Ray DeForest: Electric and Upright Bass

Ray started playing electric bass in 1968. He has since studied as an Upright Bass major at Cuyahoga Community College, taking private lessons with Harry Barnoff, principal Bassist, Cleveland Orchestra. He has played with a variety of local bands as well as national acts including Clark Terry (trumpet), Odean Pope (Sax Choir), and Johnny Johnson (pianist with Chuck Berry).

Ms. Ann Marie Falcone: Clarinet, Piano and Voice – MMus: University of Arizona and BMus: Northwestern University

Ms. Falcone is originally from Bethlehem, PA, where she took piano, clarinet, and voice lessons while growing up. She was selected to sing in the Children's Bach Choir and was cast in various musicals as a kid. In 2011-2012, Ann Marie was invited to sing as a chorister for Opera Circle. She sang as soprano section leader and soloist at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church from 2006-2012. She has performed clarinet with the Catalina Chamber Orchestra (now the TCO) and Youngstown Symphonies and has been teaching private lessons since 1994. Her students' accomplishments include being accepted to the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphonies (Principal Chair in 08/09), the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, the CMSS Orchestra, and two have won a Cleveland Heights High School senior solo. Students also participate in studio recitals and OMEA contests. Voice students have played roles in musicals and plays at Heights Youth Theatre, Beachwood Theater, and the Beck Center along with their school productions. She has students in The Singing Angels, also. Wake Up and Live Cleveland, an actor's studio, interviewed Ann Marie for their television show. The interview is on YouTube. Please see her personal website for more information about Ann Marie's creative activities.

Mr. Ben Kraus: Guitars - BA: Denison University

Ben studied guitar in high school at Fairmount school of Music with Matthew Ablan, a former FSM teacher and Kevin Richards. After high school, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Music Performance. He teaches blues, both fingerstyle and electric, folk music, 60's rock and bluegrass. While at Denison U, he jammed with blues, jazz and bluegrass groups. He also works and has volunteered for Roots of American Music in schools throughout the Cleveland area.

Kyle LeuszlerMr. Kyle Leuszler: Drums

Drum instructor, Kyle Leuszler, holds a BS in Middle Childhood Education and works as a teacher for students on the autism spectrum at STEPS Academy at Willow Farms during the day and at night rock 'n rolls with his band Hamilton Handshake. He began drumming at the age of ten and over the past 19 years has played with many bands in Cleveland, taught high school drumlines, and even marched with Matrix Independent Marching Percussion Ensemble. Kyle's students will learn how to read music and appreciate rudimental drumming as well as learn how to care for their equipment properly while having fun rocking out to their favorite songs.

Mr. Sandy Jerryl Love: Guitar - MMus: Wayne State University and BMus: Eastern Michigan University

As an educator, Mr. Love has taught in the Detroit and Southfield Public School systems. He has also taught at MaryGrove College, Cranbrook Institute in West Bloomfield, Michigan and teaches numerous private students. Mr. Love was the musical director for Mo-Town's Miracles for two and half years performing at concerts, clubs and doing local and national television shows. He performs gospel with his group, The Gospel Connection and popular music with his other group, The Love Connection. Mr. Love wrote two songs performed by William Wee Gee Howard of the Dramatics with Mr. Love on guitar. They are up on Youtube and may be heard here and here.

Mr. Michael McNamara: Guitars - BM: Cleveland State University

Michael is a guitarist, educator, and composer based in Cleveland, Ohio. As a guitarist, he has made numerous appearances on radio and television, including Radio Bremen in Germany, WCPN's Around Noon with Dee Perry, and Fox 8's Kickin' It with Kenny. He is a frequent guest artist for the Cleveland State University Dance Concerts, and in 2006 traveled to Athens, Greece to perform for UNESCO'S International Council on Dance Research. Also, Michael joined the internationally touring band Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra (NYC) for a European/Canadian tour in 2009 and contributed to their latest studio project in 2010. He continues to work with indie rock band The Petty Thefts (Berlin, Germany) in the studio and in live appearances. As an educator, Michael has an adjunct position at Case Western Reserve University, teaching guitar for their Institute for Rock and Popular Music, in conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Secondly, through a grant from the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, Michael was chosen to be the teacher for Lincoln West Tech High School's pilot classical guitar program. He has worked with other notable non-profit organizations in the Cleveland area as well, including the International House of Blues Foundation, and Passport Project, Inc. Michael also teaches privately, with a studio of over 25 students, at the Fairmount School of Music.

Ms. Machelle McNeal: Piano – BA in Psychology and Philosophy: Cleveland State

With a solid background in classical piano, Machelle branched out and performed with her own jazz group for ten years. All of her students play on the Fairmount Music recitals and are encouraged to memorize every piece.

Ms. Morgan Mecaskey: Guitar, Piano and Music Theory

Morgan is a professional musician, composer, songwriter, and educator based in Cleveland, Ohio. A Cleveland native, Morgan grew up taking lessons at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and, after attending Interlochen Arts Academy in high school, decided to pursue song-writing and jazz studies. Morgan studied music performance at Tri-C and Cleveland State, with both guitar and piano as primary instruments. She performs original music on a regular basis in the region, as well as playing with many other local groups. As an instructor, Morgan emphasizes a cohesive comprehension of music holistically as well as theory and ear training practically applied.

Mrs. Inna Saakova Onofrei: Piano – MMUs: Cleveland State University and BMus: Russian State College of Music

Inna G. Onofrei (Saakova), Armenian by nationality, was born in republic of Azerbaijan and raised in Russia. At the age 5 Inna taught herself to play piano. Music became her passion and was helping her express her feelings. Inna studied piano, theory and composition in the Music School No. 1 in the small town of Nevinnomyssk. She wrote her first notated piece at the age of 12. Soon after, her teacher decided to enter her work into the Regional Composition Competition for Young Composers where Inna won several prizes and awards during the years of 1994 - 2000. One of her songs written in 1997, about her hometown Nevinnomyssk, called "Nevinka," was adopted as the town's Anthem. Inna graduated from Stavropol State College of Arts with a bachelor's degree in Theory and Composition in 2002. Later that year she and her family moved to the United States of America. In 2011 Inna earned her Master's degree in piano performance from Cleveland State University. There she studied piano with an amazing pianist and teacher, 2007 Grammy Award Winner, Angelin Chang. Currently Inna is working on original compositions for piano and other instruments and experimenting with electronic software.

Mr. Kevin Richards: Guitars – BMus: Cleveland State

Kevin is the founder and Executive Director of The Fairmount School of Music. Passionate about bringing American Roots Music into the Cleveland schools, he is the founder of Roots of American Music, a non-profit organization that teaches American history through the Blues, Bluegrass, Folk and Jazz. He also teaches private guitar lessons in all styles.

Mr. Gary Siperko: Guitars – BMus: Berklee College of Music

Mr. Siperko has over 20 years of experience teaching and performing. He specializes in Contemporary and Classical Guitar. Lessons focus on the application of Music Theory to Guitar to help students acquire strong compositional and songwriting skills, knowledge of chord construction, the ability to play scales proficiently, and gain necessary skills needed for solo improvisation. In additionto a wealth of teaching experience, his other achievements include recording and producing two full-length albums achieving international airplay, distribution and reviews, regular live performances in Northeast Ohio and several European tours.

Ms Lyudmyla Sonewald: Piano and Voice - BMUS: Lviv State College of Music, Lviv, Ukraine

Ms Sonewald has been a piano teacher since 1986, teaching in the Municipal School of Music #1 in Lviv. She now is the choir conductor at the Ukrainian School in Parma, Ohio and is a singer at Holy Trinity Church in North Royalton. She also directs the Youth Choir at Holy Trinity Church and has directed the Adult Choir at St. Stephan Church in Brunswick. Ms Sonewald earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano performance from the Lviv State College of Music.

Mr. Christopher Stolle: Drums & Kids Drum Class - AA: Musician's Institute

Christopher Stolle graduated from Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California in 2005, he majored in Percussion Performance. It was during his time at MI that he began facilitating for The Rhythmic Arts Project, a program that uses Drums and Percussion Instruments to empower people with developmental disabilities to succeed in the world. After relocating to Cleveland Heights in 2006, Chris adapted the TRAP program to suit the needs of younger "typical" developing children for his Drum Class at Fairmount School of Music, soon after he began teaching private drum lessons at FSM as well. In addition to his teaching credentials, Chris has performed with numerous Musical Ensembles, as both a Recording and Stage Artist, and is about to complete his Bachelors Degree in Music Production at Full Sail University.

Mr. Julian Taylor: Violin - MMus: Cleveland Institute of Music and BMus:Cleveland Institute of Music

Mr. Taylor has been teaching privately since 2004. His enjoyment of chamber music led him to begin his own string quartet, the Eridanus Quartet. He has been a faculty assistant for the Summer Chamber Music program at CIM and also a member of the Meadows String Quartet. Visit Guarino's Restaurant and you'll hear Julian as a "Strolling Italian Violinist"!

Ms. Deborah Van Kleef: Guitar & Ukulele– BA in English: York University

Deborah has taught guitar at Fairmount since 1995, and ukulele since 2008, working with beginners aged 3 to 80. Her first instrument was flute, which she studied with members of the Cleveland Orchestra, and in the wind performance program at York University in Toronto where she earned a B.A. in English. A lifelong student of folk music, she began playing guitar in her twenties along with Appalachian dulcimer and pennywhistle. Her song, “The Great Fast Food Strike,” was performed by Pete Seeger, at the historic Carnegie Hall concert marking the fiftieth anniversary of Smithsonian Folkways Records. She and the song were featured in WCPN's documentary, "Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin'," which aired on 160 stations across the country. In 2008 she released her first CD, "Work in Progress."

Mr. Stuart Vokes: Guitar – MMus: Cleveland Institute of Music and BMus: University of North Texas

Stuart has been teaching classical and flamenco guitar to students of all ages for nine years. He is a member of The Fairmount Spanish Dancers where he sings and accompanies the troupe.