Alex Nordine graduated from Friends University in 2007 with Bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and Spanish. He has spent many years performing in the Wichita area as a guitarist and bassist in a variety of genres, including: Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical, Christian, Bluegrass, R&B, and Reggae. From 2003-2009 he taught approximately 40 weekly guitar & bass lessons, before moving to Puerto Rico in 2009 to pursue a Master’s degree in Translation. As a group leader, his Maple Street Trio performed all over the Wichita area. He has also performed with The Calyptones, The Project H, Matt Maholland, Lisa Hittle, David Lord, and Lisa Blake, among others. Teaching has long been an inspiration for Alex. He prides himself on being able to relate to students and adapt to all styles of music.
As the daughter of a piano teacher, Allison Wall grew up in Wichita and she also grew up in music, playing piano and singing from a young age. In high school, she performed in choir and musicals, and attended Interlochen Arts Camp as a member of the World Youth Honors Choir.
Allison received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music with a Vocal Music emphasis from Friends University. While at Friends, Allison began teaching private music lessons and participated in a number of musicals and choirs, including the Singing Quakers, and sang the lead in Bizet’s one-act opera Doctor Miracle.
After college, Allison enjoyed singing with the Wichita Chamber Chorale. She moved to the Twin Cities for two years to study in a graduate program, where she continued to teach voice and piano lessons. She is excited to be teaching in Wichita again!
Allison believes that learning should be a process of discovery and play, a collaboration between teacher and students in which students are encouraged to ask questions and experiment. She loves exploring music with growing voice and piano students, as they become mature musicians and artists, and ultimately, people.
In addition to teaching clarinet and saxophone lessons Bill also helps direct the Air House Jazz Ensembles. We are lucky to have someone of Bill’s caliber teaching with us. Bill has been a professional music educator and a professional musician for more than 40 years after completing a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University (1969 ) and a Master of Music degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln (1977).
Bill spent his first eleven years of teaching in Nebraska High schools and his last 29 years teaching in Kansas. He served as band director in Manhattan, Newton, and as a woodwind and jazz specialist for the Maize school district. During his career, his marching, concert and jazz bands have won many state and national awards. His school bands have performed in official functions for three United States Presidents. He has served as an adjunct instructor in clarinet performance and jazz improvisation at various colleges and universities including The University of Nebraska, Kansas State University and Friends University.
Originally trained as a classical clarinetist, he has performed with many artists including Clark Terry, Mel Torme, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Ray Charles, Louie Bellson, Ed Shaunessy, various symphony orchestras and big bands including the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. During his teaching tenure at the Maize Kansas school district, Bill and his teaching partner Randy Crow enjoyed national prominence with the Maize 6th grade jazz band and it’s alums including performances in New York for the International Association for Jazz Education and most recently performing with Bobby McFerrin. Mr. Harshbarger has been very actively involved with The Kansas Music Educator’s Association. He has served in various leadership capacities for KMEA including District President, District Band Chairman, and State Jazz Chairperson. Bill has enjoyed two terms as President for the Kansas unit of The International Association for Jazz Education. He also served on the Jazz Educator’s association’s international curriculum resource team. He is a member of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity. He is in demand as a music judge and clinician throughout the Midwest.
In 2003, Bill was honored by KMEA as the outstanding elementary music educator for south-central Kansas. In the fall of 2005, Bill was honored by the Wichita Arts Council and the City of Wichita as the Arts Educator of the year.
He has just recently retired from public school teaching. Bill has recently been serving as an Adjunct Instructor in Jazz Studies at Hutchinson Community College. He is active with his private jazz studio at Air House Music Academy, his professional playing, and continues to be an arts activist.
Brandon Morse is a saxophone, flute and jazz instructor in the Wichita area. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Friends University in Wichita. His teaching experience includes:
At the beginning of 2011, Brandon formed the jazz combo, Air Traffic, with students between the ages of 12-14. In the first six months, Air Traffic received superior ratings at the Pioneer League Festival and the Wichita Jazz Festival. The group was accepted by audition to perform at the 2012 Kansas Music Educators Association annual convention and the 2012 Wichita River Festival. As a performer, Brandon has performed in concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras, rock bands, saxophone quartets, pit orchestras, a guest soloist for a high school concert band, and praise and worship groups.
Currently, Brandon is a member of the Metro Jazz Orchestra (formerly known as the Jazz Friends Community Big Band) and Second Time Around, an oldies rock band based out of Newton. To date he has been a member of 6 different saxophone quartets. Most notably he was a member of the Mid-Kansas Saxophone Quartet, a professional group based in Wichita with whom he traveled to Atlanta to premiere a composition written for the group. He also directed and performed in The Morse Code Saxophone Quartet, a group consisting of his own students. Together the group recorded a CD entitled Morse Code Saxophone Quartet. He is leading his student group, The Stand Benders Saxophone Quintet.
As a composer, Brandon has two albums of computer generated music known as Story of Life and As We Move.
Charisse has 15 years of experience as a piano and clarinet instructor. A native of Kansas, she participated in many of the local music ensembles and events that are still active today, including the Wichita Youth Symphony and the KMEA All State Orchestra. An Anderson Concerto Competition winner on two separate occasions, Charisse has also appeared as a soloist with the Hutchinson Symphony on both piano and clarinet.
Charisse holds a bachelor of clarinet performance degree from Wichita State University, and a master of clarinet performance degree from the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston.
Charisse has attended many of the world’s foremost summer music festivals, including Interlochen Arts Camp, Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, and Tanglewood Music Center, where she performed alongside and studied with members of the Boston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Colorado Symphony and other major symphony orchestras.
Charisse has extensive experience in orchestral, chamber music, and solo performance. Other honors include being a prize winner at the International Clarinet Association solo competition, being named a Yamaha Young Performing Artist, and performing with the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.
In more recent years, Charisse has enjoyed running piano and clarinet studios of various sizes, successfully guiding students through auditions and competitions, and holding studio recitals so all of her students can perform in a welcome and safe setting. She has had numerous students receive outstanding ratings at regional and state level solo contests, earn a seat in the district and all state ensembles, and win such honors as first prize in the Anderson Concerto Competition.
When she isn’t teaching or accompanying, Charisse stays busy at home in west Wichita with her husband and seven children, who have all provided her with great insight into how to teach different personalities and temperaments and how to fit studying a musical instrument into the daily rigors of family life.
Connor Siler is a performing musician with four years of teaching experience in the Wichita and Kansas City area. Performance groups have included Lisa Hittle Jazz Plus combos, Soulstice, the Nathan Borton trio and numerous churches. Additionally, Connor is an accomplished accompanist for choir and vocal and instrumental soloists. Some of his notable performances include performing at the annual JEN conference, KU jazz festival and the Kansas Music Educators Association conference.
While teaching as a private piano and percussion instructor, Connor’s students have learned how to play classical, jazz, pop, rock and a variety of latin styles of music. Students of Connor have performed in recitals and competitive contests, playing at high levels.
Through his four year stay at Friends University Connor received a double performance major in Classical Piano and Jazz Drum Set. This Fall Connor will be pursuing a Masters of Education through Wichita State.
David is the owner and manager of Air House Music Academy and Air House Studios. He has been teaching guitar for the last 15 years. David has his B.A. in Music Performance from Friends University. From 2008-2011, David was the guitar professor at Friends University, teaching guitar lessons, directing guitar ensembles, directing jazz combos and teaching guitar class. David has performed extensively in the Wichita area as a jazz and classical guitarist, performing at countless restaurants, events, shows, concerts and weddings. He is also a prolific composer and creative guitar player.
In 2005, he released his first album with his original band, Solagget. He performed extensively with Solagget from 2003 through 2011, playing venues and festivals throughout the midwest and west coast. David has been heavily involved with the creative music scene in Wichita, performing at events such as Knob New Music Festival, Fisch Haus Jazz Series, ICT Fest, LIV Fest and the Wichita Creative Music Society Concert Series.
David is also currently pursuing recording engineering and is one of the assistant engineers at Air House Studios. David is a founding partner of Air House Records, an independent record label that releases music from the Wichita area. David is constantly writing, recording and producing his own music. He is currently releasing solo guitar music under the name Francis Moss, playing in an experimental jazz trio called Elemental Trio and is one of the main creative forces of the music and art collective, The Wonder Revolution. All of Davids albums are released on Air House Records.
Dawn Moore is a professional Music Teacher with over 15 years’ experience teaching students of all ages in piano and voice. Currently, she is the Music Teacher at a local Wichita Kanas private school. She teaches in the private sector, piano and voice. She has been a professional musician for several churches locally as well as the Musical Coordinator of a National Non-Profit Organization here in Wichita, KS.
Originally from New York, she received her B.A and her Master’s Degree in Music from Syracuse University. As a professional vocalist, Dawn was on tour as a vocalist with the late great National Recording Artist, Luther Vandross.
She teaches a vast range of music genres from Classical to Contemporary, performance vocals, fundamentals of music, etc.
When Dawn is not teaching, she enjoys camping and fishing and one day, she would really love to catch, “the big one that got away!!”
Grant Young has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Wichita State University. He has taught privately for more than 25 years and has had students in all of the areas honor bands: Kansas Music Educators Association state band, Kansas Music Educators Association state jazz band, Wichita Wind, Youth Symphony, and the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble. He is the leader and lead trumpeter of the Air Capital Big Band which has been featured at the River Festival and the Sedgwick County Zoo summer series of concerts. He heads the Latin jazz ensemble Sol Y Sombra which also has been featured at the River Festival, the Sedgwick County Zoo summer series of concerts, and the Bradley Fair summer series of concerts. He has worked several years as a jazz adjudicator and clinician at the Wichita Jazz Festival. He has played for a variety of musical groups including: Ray Charles, Ice Capades, Ringling Brother’s Circus, The Temptations, Shrine Circus, Patti Page, Music Theatre of Wichita, Marilyn May, National Pro Rodeo, and the Fabulous Flippers. He has played the last 8 years for the band Lotus, the house band at Margarita’s Cantina. Lotus has been voted by the Wichita Eagle Wichita’s best live band and best house band.
Holly Schmidt has her music degree in Percussion Performance from Wichita State University, specializing in drumset and mallet percussion. She is an active member of Wichita Caledonian Pipes and Drums and Cessna Jazz Band, and performs regularly for churches in the Wichita area.
Holly has over six years of professional teaching experience in school classroom, ensemble, and private lesson settings. She incorporates a variety of styles into her lessons, including jazz, rock, classical, salsa, and other genres of World percussion.
Joel studied Jazz guitar and received his B.M. M.M. from Wichita State University in 2012 and became certified to teach Pre-K – 12 music education at Black Traditional Magnet Elementary. He plays in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, rock and pop music. Joel specializes in teaching music theory, music technology; including production and and home recording. Joel has been teaching since 2006 and has experience working with students of all ages and development levels. He also specializes in teaching students with disabilities and has several students with exceptionalities. His passion for music and teaching inspire his students to develop into sensitive, inspired musicians.
Justin graduated from Friends University with a B.A. in Music in 2016. While attending Friends, he participated in Singing Quakers, Jazz Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Choir, and Keyboard Ensemble. He also received four years of instruction in classical piano and vocal technique. Along with his studies in piano and voice, Justin plays trumpet, french horn, and acoustic guitar.
Since his graduation from Friends University, Justin has been actively involved in making music in Wichita. From 2012-2016, he performed and recorded two albums with the folk rock band, Commonfolk. Both albums were recorded and mixed at Air House Studios. As an active member and Bass section leader of the Church of the Savior Chamber Choir, he has performed a wide range of sacred works by master composers such as W.A. Mozart and Francis Poulenc. He is currently exploring the songwriting process and hopes to begin sharing his music at local venues this year.
Justin has been teaching piano lessons for the past 2 years. He has taught various styles and genres including classical, pop, folk, jazz, and ragtime. While Justin teaches classical and popular musical technique, he also encourages his students to engage in music creatively through composition and improvisation. He believes that creativity is vitally important to the learning process and that anyone interested in music should feel free to explore its many wonders.
A native of Kansas, Kim has been teaching and playing professionally for the past 10 years. She began to study music privately, then in her middle school and high school band and jazz band program, and went on to study percussion and composition at Wichita State University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her double bachelor’s in Percussion performance and Music Composition, and her Masters in Music Composition. During her graduate studies, she served as GTA for the Jazz department and instructed the Steel Drum and Salsa Band ensembles. She has studied with such drum greats as John Riley, Joe Morello, Matt Wilson, Steve Houghton, Michael Spiro, and Allison Miller.
A native of Kansas, she moved to New York City in March of 2006 to pursue performance and education. She served as a teaching artist for the organizations Education Through Music and The New York Jazz Academy. Since moving to NYC, she has played nationally, with highlights including the JEN Festival, Lollapalooza, The Smithsonian Art Museum, and the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Regular Performances at NYC venues include The Garage, Cleopatra’s Needle, and Cornelia St. Café. The accompaniment of legendary jazz masters such as Junior Mance, Don Braden, and Tim Price are highlights of her time on the East Coast.
Kim recently moved back to the Midwest, and is looking forward to becoming re-established in the wonderful community she considers home.
Coming from a family of talented musicians, Kurt Aiken grew up with a love for music and especially music performance. He wrote his first tune on the piano at eight years old and that sparked a creative drive that never left. Although piano was his first love, the guitar seemed to be calling him and he dedicated himself to the instrument. Practicing for hours each day in his dorm room as a Kansas University engineering student and track and field athlete, Kurt began learning all the styles of American music. Engineering wasn’t his future. He knew that his true calling was to be a musician, and he began playing gigs around Lawrence Kansas. In those days he played mostly for little or no money, but those early gigs were the beginning of his career as a professional musician that has lasted over two decades and counting.
Kurt had always known that his passion in music was to express himself through improvisation but mostly in the rock and blues tradition up to that point. Then one fateful day he walked into a little pizza joint in Lawrence Kansas not expecting his life to change. The music playing on the sound system was unlike anything he’d ever heard. That was the very first time he heard John McLaughhelin, Al DiMeola, and Paco de Lucia. They were playing some sort of flamenco jazz guitar fusion and Kurt was mesmerized with the sound. The album was “A Friday Night in San Fransico” which he promptly purchased and set out to learn every note the three masters had played. This was the start of his love affair with jazz music. The complex harmonies and rhythms and the freedom to be creative were a perfect fit for his musical capabilities. Kurt went on to study jazz guitar performance at Wichita State University under the guidance of the great Craig Owens who would become his mentor and a major influence on Kurt’s music. To this day the two guitarists can be seen playing in Craig’s avant-garde jazz group, Bodo Ensemble, along with other heavy hitters in the jazz arena. Dale Black, one of the nation’s premier bass players, is the arguably the most famous band member, but there are so many others. Brian Mueller, Andrew Bishop, Jeff Stidham, and many other accomplished musicians trace their roots back to Bodo Ensemble. The band is a breeding ground for great jazz players. Kurt has also performed with funk legend Rudy Love, Steve McClure of Garth Brooks fame, and the well known actress/singer Cindy Summers to name a few. Showing his versatility, Kurt can also be heard playing some nice keyboard in the R&B, soul group Blue Eyed Soul, and regularly works as a session guitarist in Wichita Kansas.
Even though performing and recording music for a living is a dream come true for Kurt, he wouldn’t be complete without sharing the joy with others. Kurt has taught over 40,000 lessons to date. He is experienced teaching piano, guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons. He seems to get more joy helping his students attain their musical goals than even working on his own, and it shows. Kurt has been at it so long that these days he is teaching many of his former student’s children, and he keeps himself busy teaching a studio of about 50 students per week. He is very excited about getting the students up in front of an audience, when they are ready, and he frequently organizes recitals for them to get their feet wet. In fact, many of Kurt’s students have gone on to become pro musicians themselves. A true musician’s musician, Kurt Aiken loves to share his talents with the world through both performance and education.
Marial Mortimer is a recent Friends University graduate and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Vocal Performance emphasis. Music is an essential part of her life, faith and connection to the world.
Her inspiration is drawn from a variety of experiences. At Friends University she performed vocally as a member of the Singing Quakers, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and was involved in Musical Theatre and Opera. She also performed as a violinist in the Chamber and Community orchestras. She has traveled to Germany for opera chorus work and was also able travel to Cost Rica with the Singing Quakers. She loves connecting with people and helping them learn, which is why she is teaching. She seeks to foster a love for singing through growing students as healthy singers and as artists.
Marjean Harshbarger has 38 years of experience in teaching vocal music from Kindergarten to 12th grade in Nebraska and Kansas public schools. She has her Bachelors of Music Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her Masters of Music Education from Kansas State University. In addition to public and private teaching, Marjean has served as the director of Newton Community Children’s Music Theatre, directed Adult and Children’s Church Choirs and has been an Adjudicator for District and State Vocal Music Contest. She is currently a member of the Kansas Music Educators Association.
Mary Beth “Izzy” Byers is a Kansas-based vocalist, trumpet player, and composer, with experience in guitar and piano as well. She started singing as soon as she could talk and found her passion for songwriting as a freckle-faced youngster. Miss Byers has had many experiences, including the opportunity to open for the Pentatonix, perform at the New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp, and share the stage with many stars in jazz, including Connaitre Miller of Afro Blue. After starting her local music career, she decided to go on the World Race, an organization that allowed her to volunteer in 11 countries over 11 months. Little did she know how many passionate musicians she would meet. Eventually, she uncovered a fresh love of music, performing on 3 different continents, numerous countries, and rediscovering joy for her career path. Mary Beth (who writes and performs music under the psuedo-name Izzy), has also performed onstage during the Panama Jazz Festival (in Panama City, Panama) and for numerous events during her times of travel. She has also instructed numerous students with language barriers, health challenges, and other challenges, but has successfully learned ways to teach musicians from many different backgrounds and cultures all around the world. Currently, she releasing a new album in 2019 entitled “Discovering Home.” This album will highlight her travels, experiences, and growth as a woman and a musician. Miss Byers is thankful and honored to join the Air House family and is looking forward to sharing her gifts and passions with all students.
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mary Cooley has been playing the violin for almost thirty years and teaching violin lessons for nearly twenty years. Mary teaches music in the Wichita Public School system and played in the Friends Community orchestra. She currently performs in the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra. Mary enjoys all types of music and teaches the fundamentals of violin while tailoring lessons to each individuals skills and desires.
Panya Amphone is a violin, voice and viola instructor holding a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Friends University. He is currently employed full time as an elementary vocal music teacher for Derby Public Schools. Panya made his professional opera debut with Opera Kansas this past fall in It’s a Grand Night for Singing, a Roger & Hammerstein review. His most recent opera performance was with Music on Site in their production of Gianni Schicchi as Pinellino. Panya actively performs violin with the Friends University Community Orchestra in additional to numerous gigs around the Wichita area. When he is not teaching or performing, Panya enjoys spending time with his friends and family, practicing hot yoga and watching anime.
Paul was born and raised in Wichita, KS and has spent the last 15 years writing, performing, recording, and teaching.
He has a passion for showing students what is possible if they focus and fall in love with their music. He has an unorthodox way of teaching with incredibly fast results for those who LOVE music.
“There is a better way to explore an instrument than the way our parents learned… and quit. Learning should always be engaging and always focus on exactly what the student WANTS to learn. We didn’t learn the alphabet before we began to speak, so why would we learn notes before we play. Time to have fun…NOW!!”
“Finding your voice or expression through an instrument is one of the most rewarding area’s of growth in a persons life. It is so integral to finding your true voice and being able to sing/play with the your greatest dynamic range. Music is about joy, and integrating that joy into your life!”
A life-long resident of Wichita, KS, Randy Fields has been playing guitar since age 6 and bass since age 9. While at Derby High school he played in the Wichita Youth Symphony and then attended Wichita State University, where he graduated with honors in Music, minors in psychology and German.
During College, Randy studied at the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Another highlight was spending 3 months in Canada serving as sound Technician for a Kansas based group at the Worlds Fair in Vancouver, BC in 1986.
Randy has taught private lessons for over 26 years on the west side of Wichita, also teaching for Friends University as an Adjunct Music Instructor in 1999-2001.
As a Performer, Randy has had the opportunity to share the stage with a wonderful variety of musicians. In recent years, he has played Jazz with Bill Caldwell, Jerry Hahn, Bill Harshbarger, Steve Hatfield, Tim Henry, Lisa Hittle, Beau Jarvis, Clarence King, Roger Lewis, David Lord, Jim Pisano, Clark Terry, Donna Tucker and Randy Zellers. He has performed blues with Rachelle Coba, Jeff Corbett, Cliff Major, Pat McJimsey, John Salem, Craig Steward and Matt Walsh. Randy has also played Rock and Pop gigs with Blue Eyed Soul and The Source, along with Music Theater productions for the Crown Uptown, Gridiron, MTFYP, Stage One and Wichita East High school with Tim Raymond, Doug Riney, Steve Rue and Jesse Warkentin.
Randy served with the Central Community Church Orchestra for over 20 years and is currently with the Wichita Jazz Orchestra, Elvis tribute artist – Marshall Matthews and the Valley Center FUMC Contemporary Praise and Worship band. He has also been involved at events with Pathway and Eastside Community Church.
Randy brings a wealth of knowledge to his teaching, incorporating multiple playing techniques, foundational music theory, and a combination repertoire of Rock, Pop Jazz, blues and contemporary genres. He has a great desire for each student to reach their potential as a Musician, no matter their age!
Scott is the drummer for the David Lord Duo, Mariaelena, and The Bodo Ensemble with Craig Owens. He has done session work in Wichita at Air House Studios and in Los Angeles at Big Ego Studios. He has released improvisational albums with Mike Unruh of the Wichita Symphony and Kendall Wohaska of Luna Copii. He has a music performance degree from Wichita State University where he studied orchestral and modern percussion as well as drum set. As a student at Oklahoma State University he performed with the award winning wind ensemble as a member of the percussion section as well as the Cowboy Marching Band. Scott has taught marching band camps in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas. He is currently the director of percussion for the Rose Hill School District, and at East High School.
Making his home in Wichita, Kansas, Steve Hatfield is one of the most in demand musicians in the Midwest. For over 25 years, he has performed in almost every musical setting imaginable. Everything from various Rock and Jazz groups to the Wichita Symphony and Music Theatre of Wichita. Steve has logged countless hours in recording studios performing on numerous albums and commercial jingles. Recently, he released his first album as a leader, “Just Be Wally” on Digital Boy Records.
Strongly dedicated to education, Steve serves on the faculty of Wichita State University and Butler County Community College and maintains private studios at Midwest Drum & Percussion and Air House Music Academy. As an endorser for Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, and Aquarian Drumheads, he has performed clinics and master classes throughout the Midwest as well as Canada and Mexico City.
Zach Lorenson received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Friends University and his Master’s degree in music from Kansas State University. For the past 15 years, Zach has performed around Wichita on guitar, bass guitar, and upright bass in a variety of styles including jazz, rock, country, pop, classical, and worship. Zach has played bass with Wichita cover band “The Source” for the past seven years and has played bass at Wichita First Church of the Nazarene for the past six years. He has also performed with Polygnome Trio, LoWhitHake, India Jade Band, Clarence King Trio, B-Sides, Stage One, Electric Betty Band and many others. He has taught students of all ages and ability levels including adult beginners. Music is for everyone, and Zach loves to help people achieve their musical goals!