Community Music School Faculty

Dr. Meredith Blecha-Wells - Director and Cello Faculty

Praised for her “beautifully full and lyrically strong tone” by Gramophone Magazine, Meredith Blecha-Wells is a sought-after performer and instructor.  She has played throughout much of the United States, as well as Europe, Australia, Central America, and South Korea. Currently based in Oklahoma City, Dr. Blecha-Wells performs regularly with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble, the Tulsa Camerata, and the Pangaea Chamber Players. 

As a recording artist, Dr. Blecha-Wells recently released her debut album, Small Storms: A Collection of Short Pieces for Cello and Piano by Bohuslav Martinu.  Released on the Navona Records label, her playing is described as “technically dazzling” (the Whole Note) and is praised for her “lyrical warmth and her powerful athleticism” (Classical Music Discoveries).  Additional recording endeavors include projects for the Lorenz Corporation, as well as performances on WMBR (Cambridge, MA), KALX (Berkley, CA), WRUV (Burlington, VT), WCNY (Syracuse, NY), and KUCO (Edmond, OK).

Dr. Blecha-Wells is currently the Associate Professor of Cello at Oklahoma State University, where she was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Excellence.  Her students have won a number of competitions, including prizes in Classics Alive Artists, Enkor International Competition, American Protégé Competition, Ad Astra String Competition, MTNA, Hyechka String Competition, among others.  As a devoted teacher, Dr. Blecha-Wells has seen her students accepted to study at prestigious institutions such as the Eastman School of Music, Rice University, Indiana University, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Blecha-Wells received a bachelor's and master's degree in Cello Performance from Indiana University, studying under Janos Starker and Helga Winold. She also holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where she served as the teaching assistant to Distinguished Professor Alan Harris. Additional studies include festival participation at the Taos School of Music, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

In addition to performing and teaching, Dr. Blecha-Wells is passionately invested in community engagement.  Most recently, she formed the Global Pedagogy Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing teacher training to students and teachers living in developing countries.  Visit www.globalpedagogyinitiative.com to learn more about this organization.  

Dr. Thomas Taylor Dickey - Youth Orchestra Conductor

Reviewed by his critics as a "dynamic and exciting conductor" whose conducting is "imbued with aplomb, energy, and pathos," Dr. Thomas Dickey is the Director of Orchestral Studies at Oklahoma State University, where he conducts the OSU Symphony Orchestra and guides all aspects of the orchestral program. Prior to his appointment at OSU, he was the Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Music Director and Conductor of the Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra (IA).

Dr. Dickey has conducted many professional orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including the Atlantic Coast Orchestra in Portugal; London Classical Soloists in England; Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in Canada; Bacau Philharmonic in Romania; the Bakersfield, Macon, Norwalk, and Rapides symphonies; the Naples Philharmonic; Rose City Chamber Orchestra; and the Chicago Reading Orchestra. He has also worked with numerous conservatory, university, and youth orchestras in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A native of Illinois, Dr. Dickey began piano studies at the age of four. He holds doctoral and master's degrees in orchestral conducting from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University, respectively, and graduated with highest honors from Eastern Illinois University, where he received the Excellence in Fine Arts scholarship. He has worked with conductors such as Carl Topilow, Christopher Zimmerman, Daniel Lewis, Gustav Meier, and Diane Wittry, and further studied conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and numerous workshops and master classes.

Esther Fellows - Suzuki Violin and Teacher Trainer

Esther Fellows is a registered Violin Teacher Trainer by the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SSA), as well as a Registered Trainer for Every Child Can. Living in Mounds, Oklahoma, where she maintains a Suzuki home studio in violin/viola/piano, Esther is also the professor of violin/viola at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, and is the Suzuki Violin Teacher/Teacher Trainer at the Community Music School at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

An active professional performer as well, Fellows is a 1st violinist with the Signature Symphony (Tulsa OK), Assistant Concertmaster with the Bartlesville Symphony (Bartlesville OK), violist with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra (Tulsa OK), and was previously Principal Viola with the Arkansas Philharmonic (Bentonville AR).

Serving on the Board of Directors for the SAA, Fellows also serves on the Editorial Committee for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) publication American Music Teacher. With memberships in SAA and MTNA, Fellows also holds the distinction of being a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, through the exam process, on three instruments—violin, viola, and piano. In addition to the SAA and MTNA, other memberships include the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the American Viola Society, the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association, and the Tulsa Accredited Music Teachers Association, where she has served as President, as well as other elected leadership positions. Fellows has been published in the American Music Teacher, and by ASTA.

Starting as the Suzuki/Orchestra Director at Fort Lauderdale Christian in the mid ‘70’s, Fellows’ Suzuki training has been under outstanding teacher trainers that included Margery Aber, Pat D’Ercole, Mark Bjork, James Mauer, Craig Timmerman, Alice Joy Lewis, Carol Tarr, Nancy Lokken, Joanne Melvin, Lorraine Fink, Joe Kaminsky, Carol Dallinger, Christy Felsing, Tom Wermuth, and Lorraine Landefeld. Additional advanced teacher trainings have been through The Juilliard School’s Starling-Delay Symposium. Undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder were under Oswald Lehnert (violin), Abraham Chavez (violin), Ruth Morrow (viola), and Guy Duckworth and Storm Bull (piano).

Having former students performing professionally in Europe and the United States, Fellows is especially proud of her four children who all play professionally—Joy Fellows, violist with San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet; Rachel Schnackel, substitute violinist with Memphis Symphony, Nashville Symphony, and Concertmaster with the Jackson Symphony (MS); Dan Fellows, violist with the New World Symphony (Miami Beach); and Jessica Fellows, substitute violinist with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony.

Dr. Julia Haley - Youth Choir Coordinator/Mentor

Julia W. Haley (Coordinator / Mentor) is an Associate Professor of Music Education at Oklahoma State University, where she specializes in elementary music methods and teacher training. Dr. Haley holds a B.M.E. degree from Oklahoma Baptist University, plus an M.M.E. and Ph.D. with Kodály Emphasis from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she earned a Kodály Certificate from Silver Lake College in Wisconsin, achieved certification in Orff-Schulwerk from Memphis State University, and completed two levels of training in the World Music Drumming curriculum. She has published children's choir curricula for LifeWay Christian Resources and Celebrating Grace Worship and Church Music Resources. She also co-authored a book with her mother and mentor, Betty Woodward, entitled Using Kodály and Orff in the Church, published by Genevox. In 2011 Dr. Haley was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Educators Association Hall of Fame.


Throughout her teaching career, Dr. Haley has been continually involved in making music with children in her church and community. She founded the Stillwater Honor Choir program for children in grades 3-12 in 2004 and served as a primary conductor and artistic director for the next 18 years. During this time she mentored dozens of OSU vocal music education majors who interned with the choirs prior to their student teaching experience in the public schools. She will continue her involvement with the program as it transitions into the OSU Youth Choirs under the umbrella of the OSU Community Music School. 

Dr. Christopher D. Haygood - Mentor for Belle Voci Choir

Dr. Christopher D. Haygood conducts the OSU University Singers; supervises Statesmen, the OSU men's choral ensemble; teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Choral Studies and Choral Music Education; and is faculty advisor for the student chapter of ACDA. In addition to serving as a clinician across the country, Christopher is active locally as the director of Belle Voci, the grade 9-12 choral ensemble of the Stillwater Honor Choirs.

Christopher's research interests span from the choral music of holocaust survivor Petr Eben to the role of music in cultures of native peoples. Recently he spent time in New Zealand exploring music of the Maori tribes and plans an extension of this research with the tribes of Oklahoma. Christopher completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Music at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and completed additional fields in Vocal Arts, Sacred Music, and Instrumental Conducting. While at Thornton, Christopher was the assistant conductor of the world renowned USC Thornton Chamber Singers, conducted the marketing recording of Wipip! with the Chamber Singers for composer Sydney Guillaume, taught undergraduate and graduate conducting, and prepared choral groups for collaborations with Maestro Helmuth Rilling, Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Hudson, and The Tonight Show.

In addition to his duties at USC, Christopher was the choral conductor of the Legal Voices of Los Angeles performing regularly in conjunction with the LA Lawyers Philharmonic in the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Shrine Auditorium. Christopher also taught conducting and choral methods at Loyola Marymount University, was a bass soloist with the Los Robles Master Chorale, and sang as bass soloist at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church.

Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Christopher studied at Samford University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Miami, and completed an honors course in Music and English at the University of Cambridge. He has conducted choirs across Europe and New Zealand and for master classes with Maestro Helmuth Rilling, Rodney Eichenberger, and Dale Warland. Christopher studied conducting with Jo-Michael Scheibe, Nick Strimple, Larry Livingston, and Jerry Jordan. As a secondary music educator, Christopher's choirs and ensembles consistently received highest honors across the country, and he was named the MEA Outstanding Young Music Educator in 2006. 

Diana Austin - Accompanist

Diana Austin (Accompanist) received her degree in music education at Oklahoma Baptist University.  She has made a career of teaching music education in Oklahoma.  She has taught grades PK-12 in schools in Stillwater, Norman, Jenks,  Bartlesville, and Duncan.  Besides accompanying the OSU Youth Choir, she also accompanys the Cushing High School and Middle School Choirs in Cushing and plays piano at First Baptist Church in Cushing.  She says, "Kids plus music equals fun!" She also loves Thunder basketball, movies and concerts! 

Katherine Rolf - Suzuki Violin Faculty

Katie Rolf is in her fifth year as an orchestra director in the Ponca City Public Schools. She serves as an Assistant High School Orchestra Director, directs the East Middle School Orchestra, and teaches string classes at Garfield, Liberty, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Trout, Union, and Woodlands Elementary schools. In addition, Ms. Rolf maintains a studio of violin and viola students and stays active performing in chamber music. She has served on the faculty of the University of Arkansas Summer Music Camp for six years. 

Ms. Rolf graduated from Ponca City High School in 2009 and went on to receive her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Oklahoma State University in 2013. She studied violin at OSU with Dr. Laura Talbott-Clark. Ms. Rolf is a member of the National Association for Music Education, American String Teachers Association, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.

Samantha Schroeder - Suzuki Cello

Samantha Schroeder is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Music Education at Oklahoma State University where she studies with Meredith Blecha-Wells. Ms. Schroeder is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has received teacher training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Ms. Schroeder is currently the Marketing Coordinator of the OSU CelloFest and is a member of the OSU Orchestra and the Grieg String Quartet, a group she recently co-founded.

Sydney Anderson- Student Conductor, Bella Voci

Sydney Anderson is a senior vocal music education major from Edmond, Oklahoma. She is active in University Singers and the Spirit of OSU Jazz Choir. Sydney also enjoys being an alto section leader and the Undergraduate Assistant for University Singers. When not doing school work, Sydney loves being involved in Greek Life here on campus and is an active member of Delta Delta Delta. She is looking forward to her last year at OSU and will be graduating in May 2019.

Madi Fairchild- Student Intern, Concert Choir

Madi Fairchild is a senior vocal music education major at Oklahoma State. Her passion in life is teaching music to elementary ages. Her favorite thing about teaching this age level is being the influence to instill a love of music early in a child’s life. She aspires to teach general music and middle school choir at a private Pre-K-8th school.

Nicole Johnson- Student Intern, Concert Choir

Originally from Jenks, Oklahoma, Nicole Johnson is a current senior Vocal Music Education major. She serves as the alto section leader for University Singers. Nicole is passionate about seeing students thrive musically and as individuals. After graduation, she hopes to teach elementary music. 

Clare Nelson- Student Intern, Concert Choir

Clare Nelson is a Senior Music Education major from Keller, Texas. She is the current soprano section leader of the OSU Concert Chorale, OSU Chamber Choir, and First Baptist Church Choir. Clare is committed to both music education and performance. She was Secretary of the OSU NAfME (National Association for Music Education) chapter and has been giving private voice lessons for two years. She plans to further her education by going to graduate school for Vocal Performance. Clare is very excited to be given the opportunity to make music with the Stillwater Honor Choir this year. 

Shelby Stroud- Student Intern, Concert Choir and Bella Voci

Shelby Stroud is an active singer involved in Concert Chorale, Chamber Choir, OSU Opera, the Dallas Chamber Choir, and the choir of First Baptist Church Stillwater. She is currently enjoying her sixth semester as Alto Section Leader in Concert Chorale, and is music chair and corresponding Secretary of Sigma Alpha Iota. She also has an active voice studio and teaches multiple private lessons weekly. Shelby is a senior pursuing a Vocal Music Education degree and studies under Dr. Anne-Marie Condacse. She plans to get her master’s degree in Choral Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

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CONTACT US
132 Seretean Center for the Performing Arts
(405) 744-8996
communitymusicschool@okstate.edu