Classes & Ensembles
A Pacific Northwest native, Ana DeWitt is currently a second year graduate student at Oklahoma State University. She works as the Teaching Assistant for the violin and viola studios while pursuing her Masters in Music. Ana earned her Bachelors in Music: Violin Performance from Central Washington University in 2020, where she also received a double minor in the German Language and Interdisciplinary Honors. She has served as the concertmaster of the Central Washington University Symphony Orchestra, CWU Chamber Orchestra, and the Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra, and has played with the Wenatchee Valley and Mid-Columbia Symphonies. Ana is a proud alum of the Portland Youth Philharmonic and Oregon Pro-Arte Youth Chamber Orchestra. She has participated in a variety of orchestral and chamber music festivals including the Chamber Music Camp of Portland, Marrowstone Music Festival, and Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival. Teaching experience includes instruction both in violin and viola through the El Sistema inspired organization Yakima Music en Accion based in Yakima, Washington, where she inspired all levels of young violinists and violists. When she is not practicing her violin, she enjoys cooking new foods, playing with her cat, and spending lots of time outside!
Baritone André Chiang was described as “vocally commanding” (Oregonian), “handsome of voice” (Opera News), and lauded with “let’s hear more from this singer” (Washington Post). Mr. Chiang’s recent engagements include Dandini (La cenerentola) with Dayton Opera, The Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance) with Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, Older Thompson (Glory Denied) with Painted Sky Opera, and Schaunard (La bohème) with Mississippi Opera. Previous credits include Young Galileo/Salviati (Galileo Galilei), for which he was commercially recorded, and Ford (Falstaff) with Portland Opera; Anthony Hope (Sweeney Todd) with Virginia Opera; and Lancelot in the Young Artist Matinee of Camelot at the Glimmerglass Festival. Competition honors include Regional Finalist for the MONC Auditions, Winner of the 59th NFMC 2017 Biennial Young Artist Award, and Winner of the 45th NATS Artist Awards Competition. In concert, Chiang performed as the Baritone soloist in Carmina Burana with the Huntsville Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, and Canterbury Voices. His Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall debut came as the Baritone soloist in the World Premiere of Martin Palmeri’s Gran Misa. Upcoming engagements include being a Featured Performer, Presenter, and Panelist at the 2020 NATS National Conference, Escamillo (Carmen) with Mobile Opera, and Masetto (Don Giovanni) with Dayton Opera. Chiang received his Bachelor’s from the University of South Alabama, Master’s from the Manhattan School of Music, and Doctorate from Louisiana State University. As an educator, Chiang was a 2018 NATS Intern and designated a “National Center for Voice and Speech trained Vocologist.” Additionally, he maintains an active private studio teaching classical and CCM styles.
Ashley Cooper enjoys a multifaceted career that allows her to share her passion for music with children and adults alike. She has taught violin masterclasses and lessons for Concordia University, Texas Lutheran University, Austin Chamber Music Center, Regents School of Austin, and International Music Academy. Mrs. Cooper is an experienced, passionate educator, investing her time in outreach concerts, leading high school sectionals, teaching music fundamentals classes for young children, and growing a private violin & piano lesson studio in Stillwater, OK.
Mrs. Cooper won positions in the Austin Symphony and Austin Opera orchestras in 2012 and is a tenured member in both orchestras. Since relocating to Stillwater in 2019, she has performed with the OKC Philharmonic and Tulsa Symphony.
Ashley has taught and performed at numerous music festivals including SXSW, Victoria Bach Festival (TX), Mozart Festival (TX), Grand Teton Music Festival (WY), Garth Newel Chamber Music Festival (VA), Belvoir Terrace Performing Arts Camp (MA), and PhoenixPhest Chamber Music Festival (MI). An active chamber musician, she has also collaborated with the Texas Bach Festival, Austin Eurythmy Ensemble, Austin Chamber Ensemble, Artisan String Quartet, Classical Music for the World, Round Rock Symphony Chamber Music, and Da Camera of Houston.
Mrs. Cooper received a Master of Music degree from Rice University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan.
Ashley enjoys playing outside with her daughter Abby and her husband Dr. Joseph Cooper, a professional musician and faculty member at Oklahoma State University.
Babette Belter enjoys an active career as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician, performing in Asia, Central America, Europe, Israel, Canada and the United States. She served as principal clarinet with the Signature Symphony where she has appeared as a soloist performing the Weber Concertino, Bernstein Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, and Rossini Introduction, Theme and Variations. In addition, she performed the Copland Concerto with the Guatemala National Symphony Orchestra in Guatemala City, Guatemala. A recipient of the Southwestern Bell Foundation Fellowship, Professor Belter researched and retrieved Hungarian chamber music in Budapest, Hungary. Professor Belter has appeared as a soloist with the Oklahoma State University Wind Ensemble on ten occasions at regional, national, and international venues, performing much of the demanding repertoire for clarinet and wind ensemble.
Charlotte Dumesnil [duˈmɛni] is an OKC-based pianist, composer, promoter of new music, and
educator. Dumesnil was recently appointed as collaborative pianist/vocal coach and music
director for the music theatre department at Oklahoma State University. She also recently
joined the faculty at the Oklahoma Conservatory of Music. In addition to her teaching,
Charlotte serves as the Oklahoma Composers Orchestra’s treasurer and principal pianist and
managed her former piano duo, Doursey Duo, along with Sandra Coursey. Since 2013, Charlotte
promotes music education as the State and Local Coordinator for the MusicLink Foundation.
As a soloist and collaborative pianist, Charlotte has performed throughout the United States
and Canada. Over the past couple years, Dumesnil has performed second keyboard with the
Oklahoma City Philharmonic. In 2016, Charlotte was a guest artist with the Oklahoma City
University Symphony Orchestra and, in 2017, was a guest artist and speaker for the OSU
Summer Music Camp. The Doursey Duo were featured soloists with the Oklahoma Composers
Orchestra and presented a concert in Whidbey Island for the inaugural Concerts on the Cove.
As a collaborative pianist, Charlotte has worked with many talented artists, including the
participants of the 2014 Halifax Summer Opera Festival in Canada. She has also performed in
masterclasses for several renowned musicians including Nelita True, Anne Epperson, and
Charlotte has similar success as a composer. Her trio for piano, violin, and saxophone,
“Wonderland,” made it as a finalist in both the 2014 MTNA Composition Competition and the
2014 SCI/ASCAP Commission Competition. Charlotte’s compositions have been performed in
multiple events, including the SkyDance Bridge Lighting Project in downtown OKC and the
Women Composers Festival of Hartford. The OK Electric Festival has commissioned her to
compose for cello and electronics for the 2018 and 2017 festivals.
Charlotte received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance summa cum laude at Oklahoma
State University in 2014, studying under Dr. Thomas Lanners. She also received both a Master
of Music in Piano Performance and Music Composition, high honors, at Oklahoma City
University in 2016 under the study of Dr. Sergio Monteiro and Dr. Edward Knight.
Dr. Jacqueline Skara
Co-Director, Violin and Viola Faculty
Currently, Dr. Jacqueline Skara serves as Assistant Professor of Viola and Music Education (Strings) at Oklahoma State University Greenwood School of Music. A native of Southern California, Jacqueline is a driven and focused string instrument educator and performer. A valued teacher who connects personally with her students, she designs innovative curricula and infuses modern technology into the classroom. Committed to community engagement, Jacqueline has worked with organizations such as Cheerful Heart Mission located in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Kabarek University in Kenya, and the Fairview Violin Project in Indiana, to create and develop string programs locally and internationally. Her global teaching experience includes proficiency in distance teaching and a commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy.
Jacqueline is a member of the ASTA Conference Planning Committee, the Advisory Board for the Music Educators Journal, and she currently serves as the Student Advisory Committee Chair for the National ASTA. Jacqueline has presented at the ASTA National Conference, the NAfME National Research Conference, Big Ten Academic Alliance Music Education Research Conference, and Desert Skies Research Symposium. Her research interests include pedagogical and descriptive analyses of string shifting, and the intersections of parental involvement, parent attitudes towards music in school curricula, and parent social/cultural capital.
An avid chamber musician, Jacqueline was a founding member of the Allium String Quartet and has always enjoyed participating in local groups that perform music outside of the Western art tradition. During her time in Chicago, she was principal violist of the Civic Orchestra and frequently performed with many regional ensembles.
Jacqueline received bachelor’s degrees in viola performance and French from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, a master’s degree in viola performance and chamber/orchestral literature from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, and a PhD in music education with a minor in viola performance at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her primary viola teachers included Robert Becker, Pam Goldsmith, Roland Vamos, and Steve Wyrczynski. Dr. Brenda Brenner served as her dissertation chair and mentor throughout her PhD studies.
Dr. Julia Haley
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. 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 and Community Orchestra
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.
Elizabeth Grice has been playing the piano for about eleven years. When she was seven, she began her musical journey when she took up the flute. It was three years later when she switched to the piano and took off with it. For the first eight years of her piano study, she studied with Mahlon Halleck. Starting in her senior year of high school, she began studying with Heather Lanners, with whom she is currently studying. Elizabeth is currently a junior music performance major at OSU. Elizabeth Grice has won several piano competitions. During her high school years, she won the Meinders Piano Competition, Ladies Music Club high school division, and the Hyechka Club in Tulsa. A recent achievement was winning the concerto competition at OSU in February 2020. This past year she has won the Hyechka and OMTA collegiate divisions. Her other experiences include playing for the OSU Wind Ensemble, and participating in masterclasses directed by Anne Marie Mcdermott, Eric Huebner, William Wolfram, and Alexander Kobrin. She has performed in chamber groups with her former teacher and has had experience playing four-hand music with one of her fellow piano students at OSU, Marji Shelton.
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.
Early Childhood Music Education
Judy Mitchell is a long-time avid enthusiast and supporter of positive musical experiences for young children. With a sincere life-long love for children, Judy combines her sense of understanding childrens feelings, capabilities, and potential with her musical background and training to insure musical interaction with children is a joyful experience which each child can carry with them throughout their lifetime. Judy holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. As a private piano instructor, elementary music education teacher and licensed Kindermusik Educator, Judy has attended numerous workshops and seminars focused on early childhood music and elementary music education. Raising two sons is the highlight of Judy's life. Being a mother enhances the importance of fun, positive musical experiences for young children. Bringing the joy of music to families through Kindermusik is such a wonderful experience to share.