Meet the Faculty
Music Academy South is blessed to have some of the most professional and knowledgeable instructors in the Triangle area. Read on to find out more about our faculty!
Avril Callicutt comes from a musical family and has been teaching and performing for over 20 years. She holds an MM in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a BA in Music from Truman State University. She has had a long career as an accompanist, beginning with vocal students at age 14 and continuing on to play for choirs, instrumentalists, and opera companies. She has served as the music director for several theater programs, and has written music for some of these as well. She has also been active as a church musician and as an event performer.
Mrs. Callicutt has a wealth of experience teaching piano to students of all ages and abilities. Her aim in teaching is to prepare students as whole musicians for a lifetime of joyful music-making. She accomplishes this through instruction in ear training, sight reading, composition, improvisation,musical interpretation, and healthy technique. She works with students to accomplish their musical goals, while helping them become well grounded in a rich variety of musical traditions and styles.
After six years living all over the country as an Army wife, Mrs. Callicutt is happy to be landing in Wake Forest with her family of three children and husband Michael, who is also a music teacher. When not teaching or taking care of her family, she enjoys composing and practicing piano, voice, violin and guitar.
Kathryn Cowsert is a recent graduate of Meredith College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance and a Minor in Business Administration in 2021. Kathryn studied piano with Dr. Kent Lyman (Professor of Music) and was mentored by Dr. Jean Wozencraft-Ornellas (Chair, Music Department and Associate Professor of Voice at Meredith College).
During her college years, Kathryn tutored students in music theory, was a student advisor, and was treasurer of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity (Beta Zeta chapter). Particularly notable was the collaborative opportunities Octavia Piano Ensemble afforded her. In addition, she was recognized by the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association for her administrative skills. She spent a year assisting in securing judges for the Young Artist Auditions (an event she participated in throughout her pre-college years), updating repertoire lists and forms for their website, creating spreadsheets, etc. While holding these positions, Kathryn maintained Dean’s List status.
During her formative years, playing the piano created rich opportunities for Kathryn, such as winning the North Carolina Talent title for National American Miss. This win enabled her to compete in the National competition in Anaheim, California, which also led to discovering acting and modeling as new talents.
Kathryn started her piano career when she was five years old at Music Academy South. Little did she know that her career path would lead her back to mentoring others as she was mentored. The chance to bring her passion and insights to current students of the studio is exciting and rewarding. She looks forward to helping students find their love of music in a fun and creative environment. The importance she places on music fundamentals, music theory and music history will enrich the discovery process she anticipates building.
When she is not teaching, her interests include spending time with family and friends, gardening, taking long walks, and listening to her parakeets, Clara and Johannes.
Guitar & Bass
Daniel Day has been a resident guitar instructor at Music Academy South since 2005. He has instructed hundreds of students of all ages and abilities. He is the father of four really neat grown children, is married to the lovely Julia Robertson and is stepfather to her son, John.
Daniel's musical journey began during his teenage years in Milwaukee. He studied with Chuck Grazamke and Milwaukee jazz legend Don Momblow, and began performing in local coffee houses, cafes, and college campuses. He started to compose his own material, encompassing many musical genres. While touring with his band in upstate New York, he met sitar player Roop Verma, a distinguished student of the renowned Ravi Shankar. He and his band were invited on a five-month musical tour of India. This deeply meaningful experience led him to return to India for two years to study the fundamentals of Indian raga and rhythms.
On his return to the States Daniel completed a Bachelor’s Degree in classical guitar and composition at Seattle’s Cornish Institute (now known as Cornish College of the Arts). He owned and operated the Rosewood Guitar Music store and performed in the greater Seattle area. He left the music scene for 11 years while he raised his four children in the mountains of Montana and later in Raleigh, but in 2002 he heard music calling to him once more, and he has never looked back. Daniel believes that "though we may teach, it is of vital importance that we shall forever be learning," and continues to hone his skills through his study with local jazz guitarist, Kevin Van Sant.
"Music is a journey of a lifetime in the infinite of the moment," and Daniel encourages his students to take that journey with their talent, their spirit, their instrument and their hearts.
Michelle Dunn is a classically trained flutist with 30+ years of teaching and performing experience. She
has studied and performed with some of the top orchestral flutists in the U.S. and abroad. Michelle's
talents personify the term "multi-faceted" and carry her far beyond the boundaries of typical flutist,
performer, musician. She is the founder and executor of her own record label, production company, and
publishing company. In addition to being a self-produced indie artist, Michelle is also her own recording
engineer and records almost exclusively on her "iZZatcho Music" label. Her first self-produced album,
Awakening, earned two international awards, for both music/album and audio mix/sound editing.
Additionally, Michelle is a piccolo specialist and expert in the field of world/ethnic flutes. When She is
not in the studio recording or teaching, she enjoys doing freelance projects in the areas of audio
mixing/mastering, videography/editing, graphic design, and floral arranging. The album Awakening
available on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc.
Bass, Guitar, Jam Band
Steve Earnhart is a professional Bassist, Vocalist, Composer, and Producer with over twenty years experience performing, recording, and teaching. He earned his B.A. in Professional Music with an emphasis on performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
As a performer and band leader, Steve has toured and performed in theaters and clubs throughout the Northeast and West Coast on bills with artists such as Lindsay Buckingham, Kenny Loggins, Rick Springfield, and Eddie Money. As a session player, Steve has recorded bass parts for Ice Cube, Pete Yorn, PJ Olsen, and many others. On the composing and producing side, his work has appeared on numerous TV programs airing on ESPN, FOX, NatGeo, MTV, VH1, and Discovery. In addition, throughout his career Steve has taught students ranging from beginner to advanced using an innovate approach that blends proven traditional methods with the latest in software and music applications so students are able to efficiently zero in on their goals and surpass them.
Steve recently relocated from the Los Angeles area where he has lived for the last fifteen years, and is very much looking forward to getting to know the musicians and community in Wake Forest.
Piano, Guitar, Ukulele
Colin Fleisher is a pianist, guitarist, and composer who has lived and taught in the Triangle area for most of his life. After completing his B.M. in Piano Performance at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University under former Moscow Conservatory professor Dr. Bair Shagdaron, he continued his graduate studies under Dr. John Salmon at University of North Carolina Greensboro.
In addition to piano studies, Colin performed for four years with the Appalachian State Guitar Orchestra, under Dr. Douglas James. It was there that he discovered his love for ancient music, and spends time apart from teaching studying and constructing replicas of extinct musical instruments.
The crossover goes further: Mr. Fleisher also teaches Ukulele from beginner levels through baroque and classical techniques adopted from older styles of guitars.
Christopher Foti, also known as Mr. C, is a drummer and percussionist originally from Boston, Massachusetts. Christopher is an avid music lover and listener to a variety of genres from hard rock to smooth jazz. Born with a very natural sense of rhythm from his fathers side of the family, Christopher started playing drums at the age of 6. At the age of 9, he was playing with adults at his Baptist church. Christopher has played with many different bands throughout the country. After his military career, he graduated from Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California with a degree in drum performance and music business. His performing styles include Jazz, Funk, Pop, R&B, Reggae, Metal, Bossa-nova, and Afro Cuban. New to the Raleigh area, Christopher's teaching opportunities continue to grow. His new found passion for teaching and educating all skill levels and young minds makes Music Academy South proud to feature him as our newest percussion and drum instructor. Mr. C loves what he does and brings his passion to the table to help inspire and get students to understand why we all need music in our lives.
piano, guitar, and ukulele
Raymond Frasche received his teaching certification in 1984 from William Paterson University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education. For the past 33 years he has been teaching and directing music in the New York metropolitan area receiving the State of New Jersey's 2011 Governors Teacher Recognition Teacher of the Year Award.
Primarily an Organist, Mr. Frasche has also studied and taught piano as well as voice, guitar, and music theory and composition. He also served as Music Director for the Hillsdale United Methodist Church for the past 21 years. Mr. Frasche has also been the principal Music Director for Passaic Valley Summer Music Theater conservatory.
Mr. Frasche sang baritone with Pro Arte Chorale, an oratorio choir, and has performed extensively with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in major venues such as Carnegie Hall, NJPAC, The State Theater of New Jersey, and Princeton University. Mr. Frasche has had numerous students become Broadway performers as well as Music Educators and Music Therapists. Being an avid hand percussionist, Mr. Frasche is skilled in West African Djembe and South East Asian Tabla drumming.
Recently retired from the public school system and re-located to the beautiful town of Wake Forest, Mr. Frasche is excited to share his love for music and teaching with his new community.
Piano, Voice, Blast OFF With Music
Margot Hafner holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Iowa. Prior to moving back to Iowa her senior year, Mrs. Hafner received an outstanding musical education at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. Mrs. Hafner teaches at West Oxford Elementary School in Granville County where she is an active teacher, leader and volunteer. Her experience is extensive and spans choral, solo and theatrical endeavors. She has directed both the West Oxford Chorus, a 60-member first grade choir and the Little Theater and Children's Theater musicals in Granville County.
Annually, Mrs. Hafner guides her young elementary students to produce a Showcase of Stars as a fund-raiser for their school with outstanding results. Many of her students audition and perform in the All-County Music Festival led by Sally Albrecht and Andy Beck, clinicians.
Each summer Margot provides leadership as the musical director for Broadway and Beyond Theater Camp in Vance and Granville County for elementary students, as well as musically directs the TeenWorks Theater Camp for middle and high school students for the county.
Though a highly sought after voice and piano instructor at Music Academy South, Mrs. Hafner enjoys being a part of her community and volunteers when possible. Favorite opportunities are singing in the Raleigh-Durham Sacred Chorale, playing in the advanced handbell choir at her church (Wake Forest Baptist Church), as well as singing in the choir, and frequently as a soloist.
Mrs. Hafner is a dedicated member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and her students always achieve the highest scores. Music Academy South students are in good hands in her studio.
Susan (Sue) has lived in the Raleigh area since August of 2019 and moved here with her
husband, Ken, from Nebraska. She has two grown sons and a daughter-in-law, and has a
Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from the University of Nebraska Dental
Sue’s love of music started at six years of age, with piano lessons, and the oboe in fifth
grade. She received superior ratings at district music contests throughout high school
and is the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Award and the Elna Young Orchestra
Past instructors include Mr. Orlan Thomas, affiliated with the University of Nebraska,
Mr. Kermit Peters, former principal oboist of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and Dr.
William McMullen, current principal oboist with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and
instructor at the Glenn Korff School of Music in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Musical memberships have included the Lincoln Civic Orchestra, the Great Plains
Music Society Orchestra, Quintessence woodwind quintet, and The Great Plains
Chamber Winds woodwind quintet. Sue is currently performing with the Christ Baptist
Church chamber orchestra. She is a member of the musicians’ union, local 500.
Sue loves to continue to learn and improve in the world of music and strives to inspire
her students to develop their own passion through positive encouragement.
Jodi Lewis has a Masters degree in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy from the Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois. She has been teaching voice and performing for over 15 years. Mrs. Lewis is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others to enhance their sense of confidence and pride in their vocal study and performance. Working with each student to uncover and develop his or her unique voice is her objective and one that each student will find compelling and innovative. She naturally works to enhance the student’s musicianship and general musical skills related to note reading, rhythmic and pattern relationships, as well as sight reading and stage presence. Every student's lesson is uniquely designed to the individual needs and desires of each student. Mrs. Lewis does not teach one particular style of music but enjoys helping the students develop their foundation and technique that will enable them to sing any style they choose: Popular, Musical Theater, Cover Charts, Classical, Country, etc. Experienced in Opera, Musical Theater, and church. She will serve her students well at Music Academy South.
Originally from Michigan, Nicolas has spent the last ten years building connections and performing throughout the United States. He strives to expand the audience for the saxophone and contemporary music. Active as a performer, teacher, and scholar, Nicolas explores a wide range of musical genres, stretching from classical music, to jazz, pop, and punk. His recent performance projects include Trio Spiritus, a collaboration with Zak Pischnotte and Fanny Po Sim Head, the solo electroacoustic works of Jean-Claude Risset, a French researcher and composer, and E.N.F., a new music ensemble based in Lawrence, Kansas. In North Carolina, he can be heard performing with the jazz trio, New Morning. As an orchestral saxophonist, Nicolas has performed in the Kansas City Symphony and the Brevard Sinfonia.
Nicolas resides in Garner, NC, where he teaches saxophone, clarinet, and piano throughout the Research Triangle. At five years old, he began his musical education at the piano with his mother, Gail Lytle Lira. He was fortunate to continue studies at the keyboard until age 21 with Minsoo Sohn and Dr. Derek Polischuk at Michigan State University. Nicolas’ past saxophone teachers include Joe Lulloff, Taimur Sullivan, Zach Shemon. He received his DMA degree in saxophone performance and MM degree in music theory from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Viola, Violin, Composition
An eclectic violinist and composer, Michelle McKenzie holds a Masters of Music in composition from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with emphasis on music technology, and a Bachelors of Music in composition and music education from the University of Washington. Musical styles range from classical to contemporary, and especially experimental performance that involve free style improvisation and live electronics. When she is not performing or teaching, she is engrossed in sound design, sound mixing, and recording. She uses a variety of audio software including Logic Pro and SuperCollider, in addition to engraving software.
An enthusiast for scoping out new musical vistas, Michelle is a firm believer of craft and imagination in composition and performance. She is delighted to teach at Music Academy South.
Trombone,Trumpet, Tuba, Euphonium, French Horn
Yoshi Nakamura has been the band director at Raleigh Christian Academy and orchestra director at Beacon Baptist Church since 1996. His advanced band has won the North Carolina Association of Christian Schools annual band competition numerous times over the past twenty years. His bands have also competed at the American Association of Christian Schools annual competitions in Greenville, SC several times over the years with a third place finish this past year. Yoshi is also one of the clinic chairmen for the annual North Carolina Association of Christian Schools All-State Band Clinic. In addition to his school responsibilities, Yoshi has also performed as a trombonist in the Triangle Wind Ensemble, Wake Community Christian Band, and Cary Town Band where he also serves as assistant director.
Yoshi began playing the trombone in fourth grade in Shimizu, Japan. Upon graduation from high school, Yoshi came to the United States to study at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL. While in college, Yoshi won the commencement brass competition three times. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pensacola Christian College in trombone performance in 1996; he later earned his masters in secondary education from PCC in 2007.
Over the past twenty years, Yoshi has taught private instrumental lessons on the violin, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, French horn, baritone, tuba, and percussion. His students have consistently received superior ratings in various competitions and earned top seats in all-state bands.
Lafrida Preston, pianist, comes to Music Academy South with a myriad of musical experiences and training both domestically and internationally. Trained by her mom (a student of the Leipzig Music School in Germany) in her formative years, Mrs. Preston earned her BA in Piano Performance at Newberry College, Newberry, SC and studied in Vienna, Austria her junior year. Later in life, she earned an MBA at Georgia Southern University.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Preston has accompanied numerous violinists, singers, and choral ensembles in each community to which she belonged. She taught and played collaboratively in Heidelberg, Germany. One of her true joys was accompanying flutist, Susanne Krumstroh Kalb and cellist, Holgar Kampffmeyer while in Germany.
Mrs. Preston and her family, three daughters and husband, moved to Raleigh in 2002 where she is very involved with her local church. In addition to accompanying, teaching, and being a mom, she performs with not only two sopranos, but also violinist, Dr. Susan Wallace. Their duo is named “The Recitalists” and performs frequently in the Triangle area.
Mrs. Preston is currently the new Second Vice-President of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and past Treasurer for 3 years. She is also a member of NCMTA and MTNA.
Piano, Flute, Voice Coaching, Choral Arranging, Co
Ledda G. Rosenberger holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting (with honors-Magna Cum Laude), and a Bachelor of Music degree major in Flute and Music Education, minor in Piano from the University of Sto. Tomas, Manila, Philippines. She has been a choir member since the age of 6, then became a full-time member of the city's symphonic band (as a flutist) at age 9, a church choir accompanist at age 10 then a choral conductor since her high school years. She has been a music professor for almost 15 years teaching grade school to university level.
She has traveled in different countries (13 States of America, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia and the Phippines) with different singing and performing groups as part of their concert tours and gigs.
Her passion is to help kids develop their full potential in music and be able to share it with the community and the church. She strongly believes that values can only be overhauled through music and arts thus making all those who are "musically-inclined" be better citizens.
At present, she is the Director of Music Ministries of the Triangle Presbyterian Church in Durham. Ledda loves dancing (and actually started dancing with different dance troupes since age 6) and teaches production choreography.
Anne Scoggin holds a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Piano Performance from the University of Tennessee/Chattanooga and a Master's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Meredith College. She has been a long-time independent teacher in Louisburg, taught at Campbell University for five years, and at Raleigh Conservatory of Music for twenty years. Her teaching experience includes working with students of all ages and levels of piano study. Fulfilling the standards of the Music Teachers National Association Professional Certification Program, Mrs. Scoggin holds the designation of a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. She is a member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, which she presently serves as the State Independent Music Teachers Forum Chair. She has presented programs to area piano teachers organizations, judged in piano competitions, directed master classes, performed in duo recitals, and accompanied vocalists and instrumentalists. Mrs. Scoggin is also the organist/choir director at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Louisburg.
Dr. Jeanine Skinner is a teacher, performer, collaborative musician, and church musician. Her degrees from Anderson University, Furman University, Florida State University and the University of South Carolina are in Piano Performance with her final degree focused on Performance and Pedagogy. She has served on the faculties of Southern Wesleyan University (Central, SC), Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC), Lander University (Greenwood, SC), the State University of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA), Berry College (Rome, GA) and Judson College (Marion, AL).
As a collaborative musician, Dr. Skinner has accompanied numerous college and professional choruses, vocalists and instrumentalists, performing in Carnegie Hall, various countries in Europe and the United Kingdom. As a soloist, she enjoys performing for concerts, community service events, and church services in the local area. Dr. Skinner is an active member of the Raleigh Piano Teachers Association and is their current president.
Dr. Skinner has served as a church musician for 49 years. She has served as organist, pianist and choir director in a number of denominations. For the past 10 years, Dr. Skinner has served as organist and accompanist for Wake Forest Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC.
In addition, Dr. Skinner owns Music Academy South in Wake Forest, NC where 247 students study numerous traditional musical instruments. Her studio is currently expanding to accommodate the increasing requests and growth in her community. She continues to be active in local, state and national Music Teachers Associations, adjudicate and offer piano workshops. Her love for life in Wake Forest is amplified with the opportunity to live near her sister’s family and to raise her fur-child, Allie.
Elizabeth ("Liz") Sniffen relocated to Wake Forest, NC from New York City, NY where she realized a successful professional career as a vocalist. Most recently, she completed 24 seasons as the soprano soloist, section leader and cantor at the Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer, a prominent Roman Catholic Church in the Upper East Side of New York City. Under the direction of Dr. Mark Bani, the music program at St. Vincent's included major choral works each season including Handel's "Messiah", Mendelssohn's "Elijah", Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" and Mozart's "Requiem" where Elizabeth participated as both soprano soloist and section leader. Her ministry of music at St. Vincent Ferrer Church also included singing as soloist for the funeral Masses for many celebrities, politicians and other prominent figures, including Geraldine Ferraro, Dominick Dunne and Claudette Colbert. Other highlights of her career include performances, singing with Bryn Terfel and Aprile Millo of the Metropolitan Opera.
Prior to St. Vincent's, she was a soloist at various other churches in the tri-state area. For almost 10 years, Elizabeth was a soloist with the "Chorus Angelorum" of Pan Am Airlines singing in major cities throughout Poland, Spain, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Austria and Italy. She has participated in chamber music workshops, has performed in art song symposiums, and has performed works of various composers at the Society of Composers, Inc. conferences. More recently, Elizabeth performed in cabaret shows in NYC.
Elizabeth began studying voice at the age of 10 and her teachers have included Marcelle Bolman, Dr. Helen Lightner (New York University) and Irene Gubrud. Her mother was a church organist and thus Elizabeth began singing in church choirs at a very young age. Elizabeth embraces sharing her experiences with students and to provide them with vocal techniques and the confidence to enjoy singing and performing.
Music Production and Recording Lab
Conner Tomlinson is a producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Chatham County. He has been working with Logic Pro for almost 10 years, producing and collaborating with local artists across a variety of contemporary styles. After studying Organizational and Rhetorical Communication with a minor in Arts Entrepreneurship at NC State, he's now back at State pursuing an M.A. in Rhetoric and the Arts, alongside a technical degree in commercial music at Guilford Tech.
During his childhood—which was spent bouncing between Berlin, Germany and rural Chatham County—Conner picked up piano, violin, and guitar, playing with the Duke University String School, Lee County Community Orchestra, and the Chatham JAM Band, along with a couple local bands. He currently fronts an experimental rock band, but has found his real skill and passion behind the scenes as an engineer, producer, and composer.
Working with musicians in genres ranging from hip-hop to heavy metal to avant-garde, Conner is always learning new tactics to help his clients develop a musical vision and translate it into a recording. He understands that creativity and innovation can take place at every part of the production process, and is excited to share the valuable knowledge and skills that he's picked up with future producers and artists.
Cello, Violin, Viola, & M.A.S. String Ensemble
Kevin Yen holds his Bachelor's degree of Music in Violin Performance from Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a Master's degree of Music in Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy emphasis from East Carolina University. Mr. Yen taught in Greenville, NC while completing his studies at East Carolina University gaining broad experience through group and private instruction. He was a member of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra and currently performs with the Beyond String Quartet. In addition to private lessons, he is also the instructor of the M.A.S. String Ensemble. Mr. Yen is in great demand as a teacher and performer throughout the triangle area.