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Don Foster(guitar, bass guitar, banjo, violin/fiddle, mandolin, dobro guitar, ukulele) is an accomplished musician, songwriter, live performer and music teacher who lives in Easley, SC. Picking up his first instrument at age 3, he grew passionate about playing music, especially his first love - the guitar - and has been playing for more than 40 years. Don has been teaching since 1987.
Andrew Farmer (Piano, Guitar, Dulcimer, Ukulele) Andrew studied Music Composition and Computer Music at Prairie Bible College in Alberta, Canada, from which he graduated with a degree in Religion. He has been a private music instructor since the year 2000, teaching guitar, piano, dulcimer, mandolin and music theory. He has authored 3 dulcimer instructional books and 1 Guitar method book. Andrew is currently the Music Minister at Maranatha Baptist Church in Seneca, SC.
Scott Fortner (guitar) grew up in Easley SC. He has been playing guitar as his main instrument for 25 years. He has written, recorded and performed various styles of music with several different groups over the years. He has taught guitar lessons and basic music theory since 2014. Scott is very thankful for the role music has played in his life, and enjoys helping other people reach their musical goals.
Ellis Edens (Guitar) began his musical education by taking guitar lessons at the Fine Arts Center of Easley. Ellis quickly developed a passion for music and would eventually graduate from Clemson University in 2019 with a minor in music. He is member of many local bands in the upstate area such as The Legal Age Band, the Venture Church Worship Band, and Ellis has even performed with several of his former FACE instructors. Ellis enjoys teaching blues, country, pop, Christian worship, and jazz styles of guitar.
Kristen Batson (piano/voice) holds a Bachelors of Music Education degree (piano, voice) from Berry College, as well as a Masters of Education in Music Education from Auburn University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 20 years of classroom experience. Kristen is currently the Choral Director at Wren Middle School, and has been the church pianist at Glenwood Baptist in Easley for over 10 years.
Kelly Ward (piano) graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Kelly has had a diverse experience in the Arts with over 20 years experience as a musician, composer and teacher. Kelly has composed music for productions at the Warehouse Theater and the Governors School. She has 2 full-length albums available on iTunes and Amazon and has also performed her original compositions in the Greenville and Asheville areas.
April Nurmi (Vocal Coaching), is a graduate of The College for Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL, where she received her Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance. April has performed with the Atlanta Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre and completed Young Artist Programs in Chicago and San Francisco. She is an avid music lover and enjoys all genres of music. She believes that art is the breath of life and an avenue for ones passion.
Ryan Kouvolo (saxophone) has been playing the saxophone for over 30 years, and instructing students at the Fine Arts Center of Easley for the past 7 years. A 1999 graduate of Clemson University, Ryan was a member and featured soloist with the University Jazz Ensemble, and has been involved with the school's alumni jazz group, the Jungaleers. He has performed locally with Hot as a Pepper, RazzMaJazz, Rendition, and even appeared on stage with Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon. In addition to the above, Ryan has been part of the stage band for Happy Days the Musical at the Foothills Playhouse in Easley, as well as Smokey Joe’s Café and Groovin’: Hits of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s at the Youths Centre for the Performing Arts in Ftn.Inn.
Mike Retzer (All Band Instruments) is a certified instrumental educator with 30 years of experience with middle and high school bands. Mike is a member of The National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). "Music has been a driving force in my life for as far back as I can remember. It has always been a joy for me to help young people realize their best potential as young musicians!"
Russ Chapman(Drums, Bass, Guitar, Rock Academy Director) began his musical career in middle school band. He has been performing live and doing session work ever since high school. Russ has played with Russ Lee (Newsong) and Chris Sligh, toured and recorded with Corey Crowder, and is a full-time member of the Hired Help, the Mark Webb and Katlin Owen Bands. Russ has been teaching for over 15 years. "I love to teach. I feel called to pass on the gift and love of music that I have been given." Along with traditional music, Russ also reads and teaches the Nashville number system.
Elizabeth Johnson (violin, viola, cello) studied cello at North Greenville University and has 10 years experience teaching stringed instruments. Her experience working with children and her knowledge of the instruments of the string family qualify her as an excellent choice for beginning violin and viola players and beginning to advanced cello players.
Tim Lee (guitar, bass guitar)
was born and raised in Greenville, SC, and began playing guitar at the age of 12. Some of his earliest musical memories are of his dad putting a stack of records on the stereo every night before bed.
His early influences were Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Hank Williams, Sr., Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Connie Smith, and countless others. His earliest guitar influences were Don Rich, Steve Morse, Duane Allman, Gary Rossington, and Ace Frehley.
Tim formed his first band at the age of 14. Finding it a passion, he continued on to play in several area bands throughout the next two decades. After a short hiatus to start a family, he returned to playing at local clubs and regional venues during the 1990s. With a desire to learn more; he attended Southern Wesleyan University at the age of 40 receiving his bachelor’s degree in music with a concentration in classical guitar in 2006.
Tim began performing musical theater in 2010 at Centrestage Theatre, The Historic Pelzer Auditorium, The Warehouse, and The Greenville Little Theater.
These days you can find Tim performing an eclectic mix of acoustic-driven Americana, Southern Rock, and Blues, with the occasional fiery guitar solo both as a solo artist and with the Faulty Plowers all over South Carolina and the southeastern US.
Danielle Martin (violin, viola) Danielle completed her B.M. in violin performance at Stetson University and studied violin performance and Suzuki Pedagogy at East Carolina University. She has performed professionally with the Clemson University Symphony, Toccoa Symphony and GLOW Lyric Theatre. She has taught violin, viola and cello since 1995, and maintains a very busy teaching schedule in the upstate.
Paula Murphy (piano) moved here from Michigan where she has been involved in music and the arts her whole life. She was the music director at her church, playing the piano, leading the choir and organizing musical performances. She was a fine arts major and has worked as a graphic artist and illustrator for her other profession. Paula started teaching piano and art classes in 2006. She loves working with all ages. She believes that learning to play the piano should be a joyful adventure.
Gregbo Watson (Comic Art & Drawing) - is a professional illustrator and comic book artist. Gregbo has Associate degrees from the Visual Arts Institute at Greenville Tech and the Greenville Museum School of Art. Gregbo has done illustration work for Marvel Comics, Upper Deck, Zenescope Entertainment, and many more. Gregbo makes frequent appearances at Comic-cons and comic books stores around the country. He also does private commissions and freelance projects.
Heidi Bishop (Piano and violin) Heidi has always loved music and began lessons at an early age. She graduated from Bob Jones University with her degree in Music Education and has been teaching piano and violin since 2019. She enjoys tailoring each lesson to fit each student's specific learning style so they can enjoy playing music no matter their age or level.
Andrew Mullin (Voice, guitar/bass, piano, other instruments) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Belhaven University. His aim in earning this degree was to study acting, music and performance interdependently with one another. Whether it’s playing in bands, singing in ensembles, taking on new acting roles, teaching, arranging, composing, or studying a new instrument, Andrew is constantly expanding his horizons. Since graduating in 2019, he has continuously worked in the arts despite the pandemic. He worked in Philadelphia, PA at the Walnut Street Theatre during the 2019-2020 season, composed accompaniment for a musical, and is a core member of the Vienna Light Orchestra with whom he currently travels the US singing and playing guitar. He has worked in regional theatre, acting in roles and arranging music, and at First Presbyterian Church singing and writing music under Dr. Daniel Cole. Andrew’s vision is to inspire the next generation of musicians.
Sarah Cantú (Flute) has been learning, playing, and teaching music for most of her life. She studied the flute at Bob Jones University, where she earned a B.Mus in Flute Performance in 2020. In addition to teaching flute and piano in the Upstate, Sarah is an active church musician, working in her congregation as a flutist, substitute pianist, and ensemble director. Sarah is passionate about helping flutists of all ages and abilities find their voices as strong, creative musicians and is excited to be joining the Fine Arts Center of Easley family as a flute instructor in the Summer of 2023.
Amanda Hall is the owner of the Fine Arts Center of Easley. Amanda has degrees in Music Education and Church Music, and has over 30 years experience teaching music and leading school and church choirs. She currently serves as choir director at the Foothills Presbyterian Community where she also leads Vespers once a month. Amanda plays piano and is a vocalist, has acted in and served as music director for several community theatre productions, and plays keyboard in the worship band at Eden Wesleyan Church in Chesnee, SC.