Core Faculty

 

Bethany Alvey, D.M.A.

Assistant Professor of Music
D.M.A. University of Miami, Frost School of Music
Director of Choral Activities, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorale and Men’s Chorus, Music Appreciation

A native of Southern Maryland, Dr. Alvey is a conductor and music educator committed to building vibrant communities through positive interaction. At the Frost School of Music, she established the student chapter of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) as well as The Equalizers, a men's choral group from Everglades Correctional Institution. During this time she also directed Cantilena, an undergraduate women's ensemble, and was an instructor for the Frost School's Experiential Music Curriculum. Prior to her graduate studies, Alvey taught for four years at Great Mills High School in Southern Maryland. Her choirs have performed in Williamsburg, Baltimore, and New York City, and were a visible presence in their own home community. Alvey has also acted as both an invited guest clinician and as an honor choir guest conductor, working with both middle and elementary school students. Alvey joined the faculty of Fresno Pacific University in 2016.


Walter Saul, D.M.A.

Professor of Music
D.M.A., Eastman School of Music
Composition, Theory, Music Appreciation, Piano, History

Composer and pianist Walter Saul holds degrees from Duke and Eastman School of Music. His many composition honors include 24 ASCAP awards from 1990-2014, as well as "Composer of the Year" commissions from North Carolina Music Teachers Association (1986) and Oregon Music Teachers Association (1990). Performances of his works have occurred in 24 states and six nations. His composition, Kiev 2014: Rhapsody for Oboe and Orchestra, was performed in October 2015 by the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. All of Saul’s orchestral works have been recorded on the Naxos label with Theodore Kuchar conducting the National Symphony of Ukraine. As a pianist, Saul has performed extensively, presented at clinics, has been heard on radio in four states and has served as clinician and adjudicator throughout the Carolinas, Oregon and California. In a tribute to Bach, he completed From Alpha to Omega, his own volume of 24 preludes and fugues in all major and minor keys -- three preludes and fugues from this work have been performed in Carnegie Hall (2004 and 2009). Saul has released six CD’s of his works, two in 2015 -- Kiev 2014 and a DVD entitled Quiltings featuring Saul’s music with fabric art by artist Ann Harwell. At Fresno Pacific University, Saul teaches piano, theory, composition, music history, and music appreciation. His mission as a composer is to create musical icons, windows of sonic light, that usher listeners into the presence of Jesus Christ and reveal a little of His heavenly glory to us.


Christine Keenan, M.A.

Interim Director of Bands, Music Education

Christine Keenan earned her B.A. in Music Education and M.A. in Instrumental Conducting at California State University, Fresno. She has taught music at all levels at schools throughout the valley -- from first grade through college, including Hoover High School, Sanger Academy, Kastner Intermediate and College of the Sequoias. At Fresno Pacific University, Keenan teaches music in the classroom, coaches the Saxophone Quartet, and offers private instruction for saxophone. She is also the director of the Reedley College Community Band and teaches music theory and ear training. She has been a featured soloist and guest conductor for the Clovis Community Band where she serves as principal alto saxophonist. Keenan is the founder/conductor of Summer Band at the Shaghoian.

Adjunct Faculty

Rachel Aldrich

Oboe

An oboist with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and an active member of the Fresno musical community, Aldrich holds an M.A. in music from UC Riverside and has completed D.M.A. coursework at the University of Oregon. She has performed in orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout California and Oregon, most notably the Riverside Symphony Orchestra, the Clarion Woodwind Quintet, The Oregon Mozart Players, Eugene Opera!, and The Oregon Bach Festival. Aldrich is a private instructor of oboe and piano, lecturer in oboe at CSU Fresno, and has served as a board member of the Fresno Musical Club. She has performed with numerous local organizations including the Fresno Lyric Opera and Orpheus, and is a founding member of the chamber ensembles Moment Musical and Winds of the San Joaquin.


Patricia Cota

Pacific Bronze Director

For over 30 years Patti Cota has taught music in private and public schools and churches, from elementary through college/adult levels. Her experience includes 12 years as the choral assistant/ accompanist at Hoover High School, Fresno, California. She also was the accompanist for choir and orchestra, and the handbell director at Peoples Church in Fresno for 23 years. She enjoys arranging music for her groups and has over 100 published arrangements. Cota holds a B.A. and California teaching credential in music from Bethany Bible College, Santa Cruz, California, and an M.A. in Music Education from California State University Fresno. She teaches handbell classes at Fresno Pacific University, and handbells and piano through Inspire One Foundation in Fresno.


Susan Doering, D.M.A.

Violin/Viola

Violinist Susan Doering has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Far East as a soloist, recitalist, orchestral, and chamber musician.  Her many television and public radio broadcasts include featured performances on NPR's "Performance Today" and satellite broadcasts from China. Doering serves the Tulare County Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster and plays in the Fresno Philharmonic, Monterey Symphony, San Juan Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony. She has been a member of the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, performing on both modern and period instruments, and has performed with the National Chamber Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and San Diego Chamber Orchestra. She is also a founding member of the Kansas City Camerata. Doering holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan and her Doctorate degree from the University of Maryland. Her principal teachers include Alice Schoenfeld, Camilla Wicks, and the Guarneri Quartet. Doering had been teaching violin and viola at Fresno Pacific University since 2001. She is also a board-certified music therapist and maintains a private violin/viola studio and music therapy practice in Central California. Doering plays a 1995 copy of a 1742 Guarnerius del Gesu, made for her by Robert Clemens in St Louis, Missouri.


Michael Downing

Percussion

Michael Downing is section percussionist with the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Stockton Symphony, as well as the founder of Impetus Percussion group. He holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from California State University, Fresno. An active freelance musician, he also plays with the Fresno Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony, Tulare County Symphony, Merced Symphony, and many other orchestras throughout California. He has been featured soloist with the Tulare County Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and Stockton Symphony. Downing also enjoys teaching private lessons and offering clinics for local schools.  For the last decade, he has been a faculty member for percussion and music theory at the Lake Sequoia Symphonic Music Camp. Studying primarily with Jim Babor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Dr. Matthew Darling of California State University, Fresno, Downing has taken lessons with such notable percussionists as Tom Freer, Richard Weiner, Trey Wyatt, Michael Rosen, and Rick Kvistad. An Orchestral Endorser for Pro-Mark and a member of the Blackswamp Percussion Educator Network, Downing enjoys playing on his Marimba One with “Enhanced Voicing” and “Basso Bravo” resonators. At FPU he directs the Percussion Ensemble and teaches private percussion lessons.


Janette Erickson

Flute

Janette Erickson is the Principal Flutist of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. She is the Founder/Flutist of the chamber ensemble, Moment Musical and Director of Les Flutes Enchanteés and La Forza. Erickson graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in flute performance and received her Master of Arts in music theory from California State University, Fresno. Her teachers include Russell S. Howland, Lloyd Gowen, Roger Stevens, Ray Fabrizio and Julius Baker. Erickson has studied with Doriot A. Dwyer at the Tanglewood Institute and Walfrid Kujala at Northwestern University. She is also a pianist and has studied conducting with Nicola Iacovetti. She serves Fresno Pacific University as adjunct faculty teaching flute. Eleven flute choir pieces have been edited by Erickson and published from the Russell S. Howland Flute Choir Library. One of the editions she published was awarded Best New Flute Choir Publication of 1995 by the N.F.A. As a flutist, Erickson has performed four times for the National Flute Association’s annual convention.


Larry Gardner

Bassoon

Larry Gardner is Principal Bassoonist with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fresno Lyric Opera, and bassoonist with the California Woodwind Quintet. Gardner is also an active performer with the chamber music group, Moment Musical. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors at the University of Louisville and a Master of Music degree in Bassoon Performance at Indiana University. Gardner has performed as principal bassoonist with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, the Evansville Philharmonic, and the Louisville Bach Society. His teachers include John Miller, Per Hannevold, Mordechai Rechtman, Stephen Paulsen, Leonard Sharrow, George Goslee, Dan Welcher, and Russell Hinkle. In addition, Gardner is a Registered Piano Technician member of the Piano Technician's Guild. Gardner teaches private bassoon at FPU.

 


Chris Golden

Chris Golden, M.A. 

Horn

Chris Golden enjoys an active career teaching and performing in California’s Central Valley. Chris performs regularly with a variety of ensembles, including the Sequoia Symphony in Visalia and Opera Modesto. He has also performed with the Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno Grand Opera, California Opera, Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in Fresno, Merced Symphony, Kings Symphony, Wind Symphony of Clovis, and the Yosemite Wind Ensemble on tour in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. Chris is also active as a chamber musician and has performed with Moment Musical, Fresno Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Fresno Brass Quintet, and Sequoia Brass.

In addition to performing, Chris maintains a busy teaching schedule working with Horn players of all ages. Currently, he serves as adjunct faculty at California State University, Stanislaus, Fresno Pacific University, and College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. He also coaches the Horn sections at Central High School in Fresno and the Clovis North Educational Center. In 2017, Chris founded Golden Horn Studio, where he teaches private lessons to students from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Visalia, Turlock, and Modesto. His students are regular participants in county and state-level honor ensembles, including the FMCMEA Honor Band and Orchestra, CODA Honor Orchestra, CMEA Honor Orchestra, and CBDA Honor Band. Chris’s students also receive high ratings each year at both regional and state-level Solo/Ensemble Festivals.

Chris earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Horn Performance from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His primary Horn teachers include Gail Williams, Bill Barnewitz, Bill Bernatis, and Jennie Blomster. Chris currently resides in his hometown of Fresno, CA with his wife Ali, who is also a musician, and their two dogs, Max and Maple.


Matthew Horton

Collaborative Pianist

Pianist Matthew Horton has accompanied performing ensembles throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Born and raised in Tulare, CA, Horton earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Piano Performance from California State University, Fresno. He has taught at CSU Fresno and Porterville Community College. Horton currently serves Fresno Pacific University as accompanist for Concert Choir, Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorale, Crosswind, and Opera at Pacific.


Scott Horton

Organ, Harpsichord

Scott Horton received the bachelor of arts degree with honors in organ performance from Fresno Pacific University while studying with Laurell Huber, and a master’s degree in organ performance from California State University, Fresno, studying with teachers Dr. Robert Judd, Samuel Schwartz (Redlands University), and James Walker (Occidental University and All Saints Church, Pasadena). He has also studied with Ladd Thomas (USC), Gerre Hancock (St. Thomas Church, NYC), and William Johnson of Tulare. In addition to teaching organ and harpsichord at Fresno Pacific University, Horton teaches Pipe Organ Studies at California State University, Fresno, and serves as Music Director/Organist at First Congregational Church of Fresno and Organist at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Tulare.


Chris Janzen

Jazz Guitar

Chris Janzen is a guitarist, visual artist, and composer. His multimedia projects and oil paintings have been exhibited throughout the US including west coast institutions such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Alphonse Berber Gallery, Electric Works, Fresno Art Museum, and Arte Americas.  Janzen is Assistant Professor of Art and Adjunct Instructor of Music at Fresno Pacific University where he teaches painting, drawing, 2D/3D Design, and jazz guitar.


Sherah Moore-Burdick 

 Voice Instructor

Born in Fresno, Sherah Moore-Burdick started her musical training in piano at the age of 7. Mrs. Burdick started her formal voice training at the age of 16 when she decided to expand on her musical education.

Mrs. Burdick attended California State University Fresno and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in voice, having studied with Helene Joseph Weil. She entered and won several competitions including the Zalud Music Scholarship, the Young Vocalist of Fresno County Award and the Bell T. Richie Award.

Mrs. Burdick finished her Master’s degree in voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Jane Randolph. During her time at SFCM, Mrs. Burdick has had the pleasure of studying with Mai-Linh Pham, Richard Harrell, Kathryn Cathcart, Darryl Cooper and many other fine instructors.

Mrs. Burdick is currently the Voice Instructor at Fresno Pacific University where she teaches voice, Master Classes, Lyric Diction and Opera Scenes. She also keeps a full private home studio of voice and piano students and is thrilled to share her home studio with her husband, Aaron Burdick, who also teaches classical voice study.

Mrs. Burdick has extensive experience in opera and has had the opportunities to perform the roles of Fedra in Cavalli’s L’Egisto, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Eve in Il Primo Omicidio by Alessandro Scarlatti, Dido from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the soprano solo role in Poulenc’s Gloria with full orchestra and chorus.


Melita Mudri-Zubacz

Crosswind Director, Music Appreciation

Melita Mudri-Zubacz holds both a bachelor and masters degree in theology (St. Paul University, Ottawa) as well as bachelor and master degrees in music with a concentration in choral conducting (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg). Her thesis in theology explored historical evaluation of congregational singing in the Eastern Christian liturgical traditions. Her graduate work at University of Manitoba combined choral conducting with a historico-cultural Ukrainian study. Mudri-Zubacz has always been active in her work with music and liturgical studies, working extensively with community and church choirs, as well as publishing studies related to the Eastern Christian church music. At Fresno Pacific University she directs Crosswind, a contemporary Christian ensemble, and teaches Music Appreciation.


Laura Porter

Harp

Laura Porter is well known to Central California audiences as a recitalist, collaborative harpist, and as an orchestral musician.  For thirty years, she has held the position of Principal Harp with the Fresno Philharmonic, often traveling throughout California to perform in other orchestras.  She appears regularly with many diverse organizations, such as Moment Musical, the Wind Symphony of Clovis, the Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale and Coro Piccolo, Soli Deo Gloria, Stageworks Fresno, and many others.  She is a founding member of two chamber groups, Due Cantilena (flute and harp), and the Figarden Trio (flue, bassoon, and harp).

A dedicated teacher, Ms. Porter also maintains a prominent harp studio, teaching lessons in Fresno, for both adults and children.  Her students may be seen performing in the Youth Orchestras of Fresno groups, the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra, or with their school orchestras and concert bands.  Her students have won national and regional competitions, including the AHS National Competitions, ASTA (local and state), Young Artist's Harp Competition, and been awarded honors such as the Jack Kent Cooke Award, the Presidential Scholar Award, and All-State Band and Orchestra positions.  In past years, her students have gone on to attend schools such as the Juilliard School, Carnegie Mellon University, the Thornton School of Music at USC, as well as UC Berkeley, and UC Davis, and of course, Fresno Pacific University.

She is also on the faculty with University High school, Youth Orchestras of Fresno and the intensive summer orchestral training program, FOOSA, as Harp Instructor.  Ms. Porter leads an adult Harp Circle group for local harp enthusiasts.


Nathan Sobieralski, D.M.A.

Trumpet, Brass Techniques

Nathan Sobieralski is a lecturer of music at California State University, Fresno, where he serves as the trumpet studio teacher. He also teaches private trumpet to Fresno Pacific University musicians. An active performer and educator in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia, Sobieralski has taught all levels of public music education from first grade through high school. He has performed with the Vancouver Island Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, Prince George Symphony, Kamloops Symphony, British Columbia Chamber Orchestra, Gold Country Chamber Orchestra, Merced Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno Grand Opera, Kings Symphony, Tulare County Symphony, and others. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Merced Symphony, Tulare County Symphony, Kings Symphony, Tule British Brass Band, Kingsburg Summer Band, and performed with the Debut Symphony in Los Angeles in a special performance for composer John Williams. He has recorded for radio and television broadcasts in the US and Canada, most notably as part of the soundtrack for “Hockey Night in Canada” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Sobieralski holds degrees from CSU Fresno (B.A. 2002), University of British Columbia (M.M. 2004), and UCLA (D.M.A 2007). He has studied with Jens Lindeman, Larry Knopp, W. Ritchie Clendenin, Paul Shaghoian, Brian Recht, and Jim Kusserow.


Arlene Steffen

Piano, Piano Pedagogy

Arlene Steffen, M.M., teaches piano and piano pedagogy at Fresno Pacific University and maintains an active private studio. She performs regularly as both soloist and collaborative pianist and chairs the committee for Independent Music Teachers for National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has served the Fresno County Branch of MTAC as president, secretary and festival chair. Steffen has published articles in Keyboard Companion, Clavier Companion and Pacific Journal. Her students have won accolades through competitions and festivals and have gone on to significant careers in music.


Corey Whitehead

Guitar

Corey Whitehead is one of the fastest-rising stars in the nylon-string guitar world having performed both classical and flamenco guitar extensively in concert with the world's finest performers. He currently performs regularly as a member of The Jesus Montoya Flamenco Company and has previously enjoyed success in the classical-crossover genres with saxophonist Alan Durst. His schedule has included classical and flamenco guitar performances in festivals, on television and radio in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Italy, France, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Yemen. He has performed on numerous occasions at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington D.C. Douze Cordes, Whitehead’s duo with guitarist Michael Bard, has performed in the Middle East, North Africa, Italy and Chile on three tours as Cultural Ambassadors of the U.S. Department of State. Whitehead teaches guitar performance at CSU Fresno and Fresno Pacific University. In 2008, his guitar method book, co-authored with Juan Serrano, entitled The Flamenco/Classical Guitar Tradition was released worldwide on Mel Bay Publications. Whitehead earned his Doctor of Musical Arts, Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in guitar performance from the University of Arizona where he studied with Thomas Patterson, John Ingwerson, Steven Saulls and Andrea Förderreuther.