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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 Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Azusa Pacific University in California. Kelly has had a diverse experience in the Arts with over 15 years experience as a musician, composer and teacher. Kelly has composed music for a variety of productions at local theatres and has 2 full-length CDs available on iTunes and Amazon. She has also performed her original compositions in the Greenville and Asheville areas.
Jamie Wright (Vocal Coaching) received her formal training at the NC School of Performing Arts, and has performed with Opera Ebony in New York. Jamie has studied and performed in a variety of genres including, opera, musical theatre, jazz, R&B, soul and Neo-soul, Funk and Gospel. Jamie performs locally with her band, the Jamie Wright Project, and has recently released a demo album with plans for an album in the works in the near future.
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 5 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.
Gavin Glover (drums, percussion, piano) has been playing percussion and studying music since the age of 6. While he had a lot of formal training, he accredits much of his early musical knowledge to his Brother “Austin” who had many years of piano, violin, saxophone, and guitar experience as well as a wealth of music theory under his belt. Gavin later went on to study percussion at Brevard College under Dr. Laura Franklin where he received honors with a BA General Music degree in 2016. Gavin has teaching experience as an elementary music teacher, a high school percussion director, a marching band percussion tech, a private lesson instructor, and has worked with many special needs children. He has been a guest member in the Spartanburg Symphony Orchestra and has toured with a praise and worship band as well. Since moving to Greenville, South Carolina in 2017, Gavin has consistently performed with many local acts that have travelled throughout the south-east. He is currently endorsed by Vater Drumsticks, 1710 Percussion, Vratim, and TNR products. Gavin also enjoys playing the piano,
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.
Dr. Rebecca Ashe (Flute, Piano) has over twenty-five years of experience teaching flute, piano, and music theory. She loves to provide students the chance to share their passion and talent with others. Collaborations are also highly encouraged, and students have enjoyed playing duets and small ensembles together. She has degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She also studied with Trevor Wye at his prestigious studio in Hastingleigh, Kent, England. She has performed worldwide, and is featured on albums by Jorge Sosa (Plastic Time), and Mauricio Salguero (Quirk). To learn more, please, visit www.iplayflute.com.
Stacy Means (Piano, Harp) is a graudate of Bob Jones University (Elementary Education/Music) and Furman University (Reading Specialist). After teaching in the public schools for 4 years, Stacy began teaching piano and harp lessons at her home in 2004. She has also taught piano lessons at Christian Home Educators of Easley (2011-2017) and Artios (2018-present). Stacy has a passion for music, studying several instruments in college, establishing an orchestra in her church and starting a music ministry in a local senior-living community.
Renee Gillespie (Art Classes, Summer Art Camps) holds a BA in Studio Art from Washington College in Chestertown, MD. Renee has been teaching students how to achieve their goals for 20 years, and has experience starting art programs in schools and museums. Renee and her husband, David are frequent Historic Art Interpreters at historic sites such as Mount Vernon, Charles Town Landing and Middleton Place Plantation.
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.
Jason Murray (guitar, ukulele) is singer-songwriter signed by the Philadelphia-based independent label Winding Way Records. His love for music began with being given his first guitar by his parents at age 13, eventually inspiring him to pursue a BA in music at New Mexico Highlands University, which he completed in 2016. Jason loves teaching and playing in a wide variety of styles, and enjoys finding ways to center lessons around students’ unique interests. He also enjoys exploring songwriting with students who are interested. He moved to Easley in 2021 from Boulder, Colorado, where he worked as a private music instructor. Jason released his debut solo album “Invisible Warmth” in 2019.
Gloria Little (Young Voices) is a graduate of Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, where she received a degree in theology. Gloria has taught pre-school and children's music classes for many years, utilizing the Hungarian (Kodaly) method, teaching folk songs, singing games and basic musicianship. Gloria also assists in the FACE office on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Amanda Gunter is the owner of the Fine Arts Center of Easley & Midtown Music store. 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 teaches a music appreciation class and 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 is actively involved in promoting the arts in Easley and surrounding communities.