MEET OUR TEACHERS
Bill Adams – Acoustic blues
Bill was taught the basics of the Piedmont blues guitar style as a boy growing up in Arlington in the 1960s and has continued to pursue the style throughout his life. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Northern Virginia Community College where he majored in music theory and classical guitar. Over the years he has worked in various country, Western swing, and old time string bands, and currently performs around Central Virginia as a soloist bringing a mix of Piedmont, Texas and delta blues, his own ragtime and fiddle tune arrangements for guitar, and various good old songs from the late 19th early 20th century Americana repertory. He can also be heard over WTJU radio every Sunday night at 9:00pm as the host of Walkin’ Blues bringing the earliest recorded blues, jug band and string band music to the airwaves and Internet.
Matt Draper – Harmonica
Matt Draper has been playing harmonica since the twentieth century. He started playing in rock and blues bands as a teenager, but was waylaid by folk music in his early twenties. Unable to recover, he started playing rhythm guitar with his harmonica and developed a hybrid style, drawing on his blues background and searching for new sounds. A student of the renowned Harris Simon, he can teach everything from jazz harmonica in the style of Howard Levy and Toots Thielemans to Chicago blues in the style of Little Walter and Junior Wells. He amuses himself by rewriting Bob Dylan’s harmonica solos. Recently returned from a seat-of-the-pants world tour with his Americana duo Incognito, Matt lives in Charlottesville, VA.
Jack Dunlap – Mandolin, Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Jack began playing music at the age of 12. Shortly after starting on mandolin, Jack picked up the guitar and the bass and has played consistently since. An ambassador of the music, Jack has made a bee-line for success. When he is not playing onstage, he is playing offstage. Jack is an award winning musician, winning countless instrumental competitions up and down the east coast, including the Watermelon Park mandolin and guitar competitions in Berryville, VA, the Fiddler’s Grove guitar competition in Union Grove, NC, the Loudoun Bluegrass Festival guitar competition in Leesburg, VA and he has placed in prestigious competitions like The Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention and the Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention. Although he is only 22, Jack plays for Wammie nominated group Bud’s Collective, is Wammie nominated himself for his album Chop, Shred & Split, is already endorsed by Fairbuilt Guitars, Carey Mandolins and Eastman Guitars, is a hand- chosen apprentice to the legendary Danny Knicely, a mandolin and guitar teacher at Blue Ridge Community College and a guitar teacher at Divinum Auxilium Academy. He teaches privately all around the Shenandoah Valley. Always forging ahead, Jack blazes his trail with the aid of the influences from Sam Bush, Adam Steffey, Danny Knicely, Frank Solivan, and other bluegrass greats.
Malia Furtado – Bluegrass Fiddle, Classical Violin
Hailing from the Northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, Malia comes from a large family of musicians. Malia’s musical journey began at the age of 3 with classical violin lessons and took a turn, for better or for worse, with the discovery of bluegrass at age 7 when she attended her first festival, Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention. Since then, Malia has performed with a number of different groups, taken home a range of prizes, and graced the stage of numerous venues up and down the East Coast. Malia has given private lessons in both bluegrass and classical since 2006. Other teaching ventures include appearances on two Murphy Method instructional DVD’s and leading fiddle workshops at various festivals. She currently teaches adult continued education courses in bluegrass fiddle at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyer’s Cave, VA.
Dhara Goradia – Piano, Upright Bass, Jazz Composition
Bassist, composer and band leader Dhara Goradia grew up in Charlottesville, VA, where she learned jazz at her junior high school in the jazz band starting on piano and electric bass before eventually dedicating herself to the upright bass at the age of 16. She played for the award winning Albemarle High School Jazz Ensemble, and was named the All-Star Rhythm Section Player at the Chantilly Jazz Festival, and was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award upon graduating. She went on to play for the University of Virginia Jazz Ensemble and several small jazz combos studying under the direction of John D’earth, and appeared in performances with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terence Blanchard, Dave Liebman, Branford Marsalis, and Ritchie Cole. In 2011, Dhara attended Berklee College of Music on a scholarship, where she gained the invaluable experience of focusing on her musical development related to performance and composition, while also nurturing a passion for what she feels is one of the most powerful aspects of music — collaboration with her incredibly talented peers from across the globe.
Jesse Harper – Songwriting, Guitar
Jesse Harper, founding member and lead singer of Old School Freight Train and current member of 80’s bluegrass super-group, Love Canon. He has toured and played with many of his musical heroes including David Grisman, Madeleine Peyroux, Josh Ritter and Ricky Skaggs. An active songwriter, Jesse splits his time between touring with Love Canon and writing and performing his original material.
Corey Harris – Blues Guitar
Harris was born and raised near Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine with a bachelor’s degree in 1991, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2007. Harris received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for language studies in Cameroon in his early twenties, before taking a teaching post in Napoleonville, Louisiana under the Teach For America program. His debut solo album Between Midnight and Day (1995) included covers of Sleepy John Estes, Fred McDowell, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, and Booker White.
In the past ten years, Harris has developed the sound of his band to reflect the shared heritage of the blues and west African music. In 2011 they toured Rwanda at the invitation on the US State Department. In 2013 he released Fulton Blues, in which he sings stories of Black life in the southern US, then and now. That same year, he published Jahtigui, the only authorized biography of Mali’s Ali Farka Toure, drawn from interviews with Toure’s friends and family in Mali as well as Harris’ own experiences with the master. Harris has continued to explore and reveal the African roots of the blues, most recently collaborating with legendary Malian singer and guitarist Boubacar Traore on an all acoustic outing which will be released later this year.
Patrick Keese – Classical Violin, Bluegrass & Old Time Fiddle
Patrick Keese is a classically trained violinist and traditional fiddle player who grew up in the heartlands of Virginia beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains. Patrick started playing violin at the early age of four, learning the instrument through traditional bluegrass and old-time fiddle tunes, and transitioned to classical study at the age of ten. Throughout high school he studied under Suzuki instructor Julie Wilkinson, and went on to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Patrick has played in many ensembles both classical and traditional, most notably the Castleton Festival Orchestra under the direction of the late Loren Maazel of the New York Philharmonic, the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, and the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, among others. Today he lives in Charlottesville, where he is training in pedagogy with his former Suzuki teacher and volunteers to teach with the Charlottesville High School Orchestra, and continues to work towards sharing his passion for music with others through one-on-one instruction and community involvement.
Chris Leva – Guitar
christopherleva.com Christopher Leva has enjoyed teaching guitar for 20 years in a variety of styles. He performs regularly in the area with Ragged Mountain String Band and Faster Than Walking, two of Charlottesville’s classic old-time bands. He also plays flatpick bluegrass and acoustic swing in GreenHouse and electric guitar with several dance bands.Focusing on the basics while introducing subtler aspects of musicianship and ensemble playing are the keystones in his class series, “New Old-time Guitar.”
Lorie Lichtenwalner – Bass, Guitar, Voice
Lorie is a longtime member of the vibrant Shenandoah Valley music scene. An talented singer and instrumentalist, she has played in numerous bands in the area for many years. Perhaps her greatest pride has been raising three music-loving and playing daughters. Lorie works full time as a nurse and will be teaching lessons in the afternoons at The Front Porch.
Ayoyinka (TJ) Oriola – Voice
Darrell Rose – Percussion
Percussionist, painter, and Charlottesville institution, Darrell is renowned for teaching many thousands of children over a long career in public and private schools in Virginia. As a drummer, he has been an Artist in Residence for the Virginia Commission for the Arts and performs in many rock, jazz, african, latin, and reggae configurations. He led Charlottesville’s Afrikan Drum Fest for many years. Darrell has shared the stage with many of the greatest musicians of our times, including Corey Harris, The Wailers, Greg Howard, Matthew Willner, The Wonderband (with Houston Ross and Johnny Gilmore), John D’earth, Bobby Read, and Jamal Millner.
Beverly Seng – Ukulele, Dance, Voice
Beverly Seng literally wrote the book on teaching ukulele to children: Ukulele Oh! is being used by elementary music educators both locally and along the East coast. Her book contains 150 folk songs, along with singing games, folk dances, and the songs’ “back stories.” She has taught ukulele and folk dance at intergenerational folk camps, homeschoolers’ gatherings, and teachers’ institutes. She has taught a folk dance P.E. course at Mary Baldwin College. She is currently teaching ukulele at Yancey Elementary. She has directed the choir at Charlottesville’s Sojourners’ Church for over 20 years. She also directs JABA’s “Hallelujah Singers” (gospel and freedom songs), as well as an informal roots choir that sings international folk songs in four-part harmonies. Beverly is certified to provide healing music at the bedside for those who are sick or in pain. She plays fiddle for contra dances and plays folk harp for herself and her friends. Her ukulele books are available from her website, ukuleleoh.com.
John Spangler – Bluegrass Banjo
John took up the banjo at age 13, focusing on the hard-driving 3-finger style of masters such as Earl Scruggs and Sammy Shelor, as well as the melodic ideas of Bobby Thompson, Bill Keith and Tony Trischka. While traditional bluegrass has always been a passion, he also enjoys taking the banjo into genres where it is less well known. Over the years he has played with many bluegrass/americana bands most recently in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and previously in Europe where he performed in various countries and taught banjo at the ETM École des Musiques Actuelles in Geneva Switzerland. He has been in opening acts for Tim O’Brien, Frank Wakefield, the Jerry Douglas Band, Béla Fleck, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops among others. Lately he has been onstage with the Staunton and Charlottesville bands Bourbon Barrel Congress, the Will Overman Band, and Gallatin Canyon.
Devon Sproule – Songwriting, Guitar, Performance
Devon Sproule grew up at Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, VA. She moved to Charlottesville as a teenager, busking on the downtown mall and making friends within the local music world. Now a professional touring musician, Sproule plays regularly in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Her releases have garnered praise from Village Voice, New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Observer, Guardian, and have featured collaborations with (among others) fellow Virginians Mary Chapin Carpenter and the late Jesse Winchester. As a teacher, Devon’s specialty is one-on-one “musical mentoring,” helping people young and old improve their playing and singing while learning to process life’s joys and pains creatively, through songwriting. She also offers guidance in performance and music business, if desired. In general, Devon’s approach is intuitive and revolving around ear and feel, with a dash of basic music theory. The 34-year-old, in addition to being a musician, is a bird enthusiast, doula, and a student of Deaf Culture and sign language. She has been married to producer / videographer Paul Curreri for 11 years.
Gina Sobel – Flute, Sax, Guitar, Voice, Songwriting, Jazz Studies
Gina Sobel is a genre chameleon and a devoted multi-instrumentalist on flute, voice, sax and guitar. She has taught music in the Charlottesville area for seven years on all of these instruments, as well as improvisation and songwriting. Gina’s composition takes two main directions; she writes songs with piercing lyrics and expansive vocal melodies, as well as jazz tunes that bring in elements of funk, modal jams and found sounds. She pulls these two sides together with her rock band Gina Sobel and the Mighty Fine. Gina also leads a jazz quartet (the Sobel 4tet) and plays as a solo artist and in a number of other groups, really, as many as she can. Playing in different kinds of bands keeps things fresh – and every genre informs every other one.
Andy Thacker – Mandolin and Guitar
Andy is an accomplished and flexible strings musician. He has played the mandolin in a variety of different musical styles from traditional Bluegrass and Old Time to Jazz and Rock. Andy has performed with Love Canon, Walker’s Run, Irish guitarist Ryan McGiver, and in many other lineups over the years. Andy understands the musical roots of the mandolin, but challenges the instrument in a wide range of genres. He also likes beer, beaches, and delicious foods.
Pete Vigour – Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar, and Clawhammer banjo
vigourmusic.com Pete is a familiar face at jam sessions, concerts, and music classes around central Virginia; if string music is on the menu, you’ll probably find Pete nearby, serving up a tune on the fiddle, banjo, or guitar. He also enjoys making music on other instruments, and regularly teaches mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, and ukulele. Pete first taught music as a teenager in Waynesboro more than forty years ago, and now teaches full time, including guitar and string band classes at several local schools. He keeps a busy performing schedule as well, with the bands Uncle Henry’s Favorites, Zuzu’s Hot 5, the Lovell Coleman Band, the Hintonaires, and in a duo with his wife Ellen, a fine mandolinist and dance caller.