Meredith Blecha-Wells

School Director and Cello Faculty

Samantha Schroeder

Cello Faculty

Esther Fellows

Violin Faculty and Suzuki Teacher Trainer 

Jackie Skara

Violin and Viola Faculty

Samantha Kerns

Cello 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.  

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.

Samantha Kerns - Suzuki Cello

Samantha graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelors in Music Education and a concentration in Cello Performance where she studied with Meredith Blecha-Wells. She recently won the Oklahoma State University Concerto Competition and performed as soloist with the OSU Symphony Orchestra in early February 2018. She also won first place in the Ad Astra String Competition in February of 2018 and second in 2017. Sam has been accepted into a number of festivals such as Brevard Summer Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival and Hot Springs Music Festival. She is currently spending a year in Stillwater teaching and playing. Her future endeavors include more Suzuki training and the possibility of a Masters. Samantha is a dedicated teacher and has received Suzuki teacher training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Her students have attend North Central Honors Orchestra (NCHO), the OSU Summer Music Camp, the Arkansas Summer Music Camp, and CelloFest at OSU.

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.

Dr. Jacqueline Skara - 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.

Please reload

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