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.
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 teacher. 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 Hutchinson Symphony’s 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 offers piano and drum lessons. He’s 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. He has been teaching guitar for the last 20 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 been working for the past 15+ years on developing a unique polychordal vocabulary and approach to composition and jazz guitar. After releasing 16 albums under the moniker Francis Moss and with Solagget, The Wonder Revolution and Miki Moondrops, in 2018 David released his debut album under his name, “Forest Standards Vol. 1”, which featured acclaimed drummer Chad Taylor (Jeff Parker, Chicago Underground, Pharaoh Sanders) and bassist Devin Hoff (Nels Cline, Mary Halvorson). The album was recorded and produced by Chris Schlarb at his BIG EGO Studios in Long Beach, CA and released on BIG EGO Records. Forest Standards was featured in the Feb. 2018 issue of “Downbeat” and has received positive reviews from publications and critics including “Dusted Magazine” and legendary music writer Bill Milkowski.
In July 2018, David returned to BIG EGO Studios and recorded “Forest Standards, Vol. 2” which features guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Isotope 217, Makaya McCraven), bassist Billy Mohler (Jimmy Chamberlin, Dolly Parton) & drummer Chad Taylor. The album scheduled for a late 2020 release.
In addition to playing and teaching, David is the owner and engineer of Air House Studios where he records and produces a variety of bands and musicians.
Dawn Moore is a professional piano and voice teacher with over 15 years’ experience teaching students of all ages. Currently, she is the music teacher at a private school in Wichita, Kansas. She has been a professional musician for a variety of local churches as well as a musical coordinator for a national non-profit organization.
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 national recording artist Luther Vandross.
She teaches a vast range of music genres from classical to contemporary, performance vocals, and fundamentals of music.
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 is a trumpet teacher at Air House. He 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 area’s honor bands: Kansas Music Educators Association all-state band, Kansas Music Educators Association all-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 concert series. He heads the Latin jazz ensemble Sol Y Sombra which also has been featured at the River Festival, the Sedgwick County Zoo summer concert series, and the Bradley Fair summer concert series. 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 13 years for the band Lotus, the house band at Margarita’s Cantina. Lotus was voted Wichita Eagle’s Best Live Band and Best House Band.
Jace Wilbert began his musical journey as a guitarist at age 13 and hasn’t looked back since. At 16, Jace formed and played lead guitar in an alt-rock band, “Shaft” that played hundreds of shows locally, regionally, and nationally for over a decade.
Since then, Jace has stayed busy over the years as a guitarist and recording artist with bands such as “Riverside 65”, “The Yale St. Players” and the “Lucky People Band”. He’s most recently been contributing and collaborating with hip hop artist, “XV” as a recording artist and member of his live band “the Squarian Brain Trust”.
Jace began teaching guitar, bass, and ukulele over 20 years ago and has instructed students of all ages and playing ability in Wichita, KS and Dallas, TX. He has extensive knowledge and experience playing and teaching almost all musical genres, specializing in Rock, Pop, Funk, Blues, and Soul. Jace has studied privately with blues and jazz greats such as David Keller, Jerry Hahn, and at Wichita State University with Craig Owens.
Jace’s philosophy on teaching:
“To me music instruction is more than just a weekly lesson. It is showing up consistently as a mentor and guide for those who seek to discover and cultivate their creative energy and to help unlock their musical potential.
Learning a new instrument or expanding one’s existing knowledge and ability can be a challenging, but greatly rewarding experience. I always approach each session as an instructor positively with a beginner’s mentality. I strive to keep the learning experience light and fun with the intent to nurture each student’s innate curiosity for the instrument while encouraging the self-motivation that it takes to improve by any increment.
My goal is to tailor each student’s learning experience to suit their personal interests and musical passions while staying grounded in the fundamentals of playing their instrument.”
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.
Kim Trujillo is a drum teacher at Air House. A native of Kansas, she has been teaching and playing professionally for the past 16 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 went on to get 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.
In 2006, Kim moved to New York City 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.
Kurt teaches guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, ukulele, and piano lessons. Coming from a family of talented musicians, he 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, so he began playing gigs around Lawrence, Kansas. In those days he played mostly for little or no money, but the 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 Fransisco”, 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. 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 is a voice and strings teacher at Air House. She 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 Costa Rica with the Singing Quakers. She teaches because she loves connecting with people and helping them learn. 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 opening for Pentatonix, performing at the New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp, and sharing 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.
She released a new album in 2019 entitled Discovering Home. This album highlights 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.
Paul Fowler is has a diverse skill set, offering guitar, piano, ukulele, and voice lessons. 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. It’s time to have fun!
Finding your voice or expression through an instrument is one of the most rewarding areas of growth in a persons life. It is so integral to finding your true voice and being able to sing and play with the your greatest dynamic range. Music is about joy, and integrating that joy into your life!”
– Paul Fowler
Scott is the drummer for the David Lord Duo, Maria Elena, 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.