The BW Community Arts School offers a wide array of instrumental and vocal music educational opportunities. From private lessons to classes to ensembles, there are opportunities for all ages and all abilities. Leveraging the facilities and resources of Baldwin Wallace's renown Conservatory of Music, CAS students are able to take advantage of many opportunities unique to the campus. In addition to these immersive experiences, educators, conductors and artists can find ways to engage in our professional development opportunities.
Music Department Faculty
Jennifer Andersen-Germaine is an accomplished flutist although the piccolo is her main instrument. She has studied under Mary Kay Fink, William Hebert, George Pope, and Randy Hester. Jennifer has been an Adjunct Professor of flute for the Baldwin Wallace University Community Arts School since 2001. An active musician, Jennifer is a member of the Ekklesia Ensemble and the Cleveland Winds. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Baldwin Wallace and a Master of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Akron.
Jessie Barnhouse is a graduate of Ashland University with a Bachelors of Music in Music Education. She has taught multiple grade levels throughout her career focusing on Orff, Dalcroze, and Kodaly methodologies. She plays the saxophone with the Strongsville Community Band.
Prof. Lorelei Batisla-ong joins the faculty at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music as an Associate Professor of General Music Education and BW Community Arts School as ‘Ukulele Instructor. For the last five years, she taught undergraduates at The University of Texas at Austin and previous to that taught elementary music in San Antonio and Austin for 14 years. She received a BM in Music Education from Southwest Texas State University, an MM in Instrumental Conducting from Texas State University, and will soon receive a PhD in Music and Human Learning from The University of Texas at Austin.
Batisla-ong has served on the National Board of Trustees and chaired the Diversity and Equity subcommittee of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and is the State Director of the Texas affiliate of the National Association for Music Education. She currently serves as the Deputy Director and lead editor of Decolonizing the Music Room, a non-profit organization working to amplify the voices of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian people in the field of music education.
Batisla-ong combines her passion as a veteran teacher and enthusiasm for research by presenting national and international workshops to both practitioners and researchers alike. She is the co-author of the book, “Elemental ‘Ukulele: Pathways and Possibilities” which presents effective teaching and inclusive practices and activities for practitioners who teach young students in a classroom setting. Her research interests include: Teacher noticing and cognition through eye tracking and gaze analysis, teacher skill acquisition and development, equity in the classroom and teaching profession, and generally wondering why everything is the way it is and how it could be better.
The year 2022 marks Mr. Bianchi’s 46th year in music education. After retiring from a successful 30-year career in public education, Frank continues to be active as a free-lance choral clinician, choral conductor, lecturer, and adjudicator at both the collegiate and high school levels. He has conducted honors, district, regional, and all-state choirs throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, California, Florida, and Pennsylvania and has lectured and presented workshops at several colleges and universities on a variety of vocal, choral, and motivational topics for both music education students and music educators.
For seven seasons, Mr. Bianchi conducted the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. In addition to his work with the Youth Chorus, Mr. Bianchi served for one season as assistant director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and one season as assistant to Robert Porco in preparing the chorus for various orchestral, holiday and Blossom Festival performances.
He is a past recipient of the Outstanding Music Educator of the Year Award given annually by the State of Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and currently serves on the Board of the Intercollegiate Male Choruses of America (IMC). He is also a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Ohio Music Education Association.
At Baldwin Wallace University, Mr. Bianchi conducts and is the founding director of, the 100-voice Baldwin Wallace Men’s Chorus, now entering its sixteenth season. The group is nationally recognized for its uniqueness in including college and conservatory students, faculty, professional musicians, community members, and especially music educators. The BW Men’s Chorus is part of the Baldwin Wallace Community Arts School and serves both Baldwin Wallace University as a credited ensemble and the Greater Cleveland/Akron area. Educators enrolled in the ensemble can opt to receive CEU credit.
Learn more and follow BW Men’s Chorus on Facebook: Facebook.com/BWMensChorus.
In addition to his education and choral work, Mr. Bianchi works throughout Northeast Ohio as an accompanist and organist/pianist for several churches. He currently is the organist at Bethesda on the Bay Lutheran Church in Bay Village, Ohio.
A life-long Clevelander, born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Mr. Bianchi has been inducted into the John Marshall High School Hall of Fame, his alma mater. Frank completed his undergraduate studies at Cleveland State University and his graduate work at The Cleveland Institute of Music.
He currently resides in Middleburg Heights, Ohio with his canine ‘shadow’ and ‘best buddy’, Charlie. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Violinist/violist Leslie Braidech is a graduate of The Ohio State University (B.M. in violin performance with Michael Davis) and New England Conservatory (M.M. in violin performance with Dorothy DeLay & Masuko Ushioda) with additional studies toward her M.M. in viola performance with Arthur Klima (Cleveland State University). She has performed with numerous professional ensembles throughout the United States & overseas, including the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Playhouse Square ensembles, The Cleveland Opera & Cleveland Ballet Orchestras, Central Ohio Symphony, Boston Opera Orchestra & The Portland Symphony. Ms. Braidech has served on the faculties of The Cleveland Institute of Music, Baldwin Wallace Community Arts School, Cleveland School of the Arts & other public school orchestra programs. After spending nearly a decade in the Columbus area, she is happy to be back in the Cleveland area and returning to BW as a Community Arts School faculty member, both as a private lesson instructor and as a coach/instructor with the New Horizons Orchestra. Ms. Braidech also serves on the music faculty of Troy Intermediate School in the Avon Lake City Schools.
Cassandra Bryant is an active musician and has performed with the Toledo, Ashland, and Firelands Symphonies. She has shared the stage with artists including violinist Rachel Barton Pine, soprano Kathleen Battle, composer Krzysztof Penderecki, and conductor Giordano Bellincampi.
Cassandra encourages her students to play for the enjoyment of music but also finds ways to challenge them to grow and play with excellence. Her students have received superior ratings performing at OMEA (Ohio Music Education Association) and OFMC (Ohio Federation of Music Clubs) events, and have won auditions in youth orchestras, including OMEA’s Regional and All State Orchestra.
Cassandra is an alumna of the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, graduating with a bachelor’s in violin performance, and holds a master’s degree in violin performance from the University of Akron. She is also a registered teacher in the Suzuki Association of America and has completed training for Violin Book 1. Her teacher trainer was Edward Kreitman, founder and director of Western Springs School of Talent Education in Chicago, and who studied with Doris Preucil and Dr. Suzuki.
Cameron Cabot is an arts educator, creative, manager and strategist committed to advocacy and community engagement with the arts. An active performing & recording artist, composer, director, producer, and consultant, Cameron holds a BA in Arts Management & Entrepreneurship; Applied Music; Spanish from Baldwin Wallace University and an MA in Theatre Arts – Arts Administration from The University of Akron. Cameron began singing with the BW Men’s Chorus in the fall of 2014, began interning with the group in 2016, and began his professional role with the chorus and the BW Community Arts School in 2020. In addition to his role with the BWMC, Cameron is on the faculty and serves as the Director of Performing Arts at Walsh Jesuit High School, where he directs choirs and theatre, and teaches courses in Fine Arts and Business. Cameron owns a multi-discipline, project-based production company called The Curio Cabinet Network, LLC (through which he produces “Cam-e-grams,” original songs commissioned for various occasions), maintains an active schedule as a freelance vocalist, entertainer and consultant, and liturgical musician/cantor, regionally and nationally, and serves on the Board of Directors of Akron’s Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture.
Meghan Colbert is a clarinetist in the Cleveland area. She works with students of all ages and levels. Meghan obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from Baldwin Wallace University where she studied with assistant principal clarinetist and Eb clarinetist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Daniel McKelway. She received her Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts where she studied with assistant principal clarinetist and Eb clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, John Bruce Yeh. Meghan has performed with chamber groups in both the Cleveland and Chicago area.
Jessica Jonczyk currently teaches marching band and elementary instrumental music at Padua Franciscan High School. She graduated from BW in 2022 with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Cello Performance. She has also worked previously with the New Horizons Orchestra as the Prelude Orchestra Instructor and Librarian. Jonczyk has taught students of all ages and instruments, teaching both band and orchestra at both the private lesson and ensemble level. She is also an avid cellist, composer, arranger and researcher, having presented her work at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference in 2022. Jonczyk enjoys writing and painting, and is an eager duck enthusiast.
Jeff Krill has been the piano technician for the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music since 2019. Prior to this appointment, he was the head piano technician at The Cleveland Institute of Music and the concert technician for The Cleveland Orchestra for over 30 years, tuning for almost every piano soloist who performed at Severance Hall in that time span. Jeff has traveled to tune for other orchestras such as Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and St. Louis Symphony and was the chief piano technician for the Cleveland International Piano Competition from 1987-2011. Jeff is also a pianist with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from The Cleveland Institute of Music.
Julie Melik-Stepanov has taught piano very successfully for over 40+ years. Her students repeatedly win top honors at state and regional competitions including MTNA, American Music Club, J. Earl Lee, Genevieve Truran and others. Her piano students attend Julliard and Eastman Schools of Music and other very prestigious universities’. Mrs. Melik-Stepanov teaches music for all levels including all works of concert pianists’ repertoire.
Mrs. Melik-Stepanov performs frequently as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra and in collaboration with other artists.
Prior to teaching and playing in America, she was serving on the faculty of the Special School of Music for the gifted young musicians in Moscow and Baku and also was a Professor of Music and Director of Keyboard Activities at the National College of Ballet and Dance.
Mrs. Melik-Stepanov holds a Master’s Degree and an Artist’s Diploma in Piano Performance from Azerbaijan National Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Karren Melik-Stepanov
Dr. Karren Melik-Stepanov was serving on the faculty of Augustana University for 27 years where he taught Applied Cello, Chamber Music, and String Pedagogy Class. His cello students have been prizewinners at many competitions. Prior to coming to America, Dr. Melik-Stepanov served as a Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the Azerbaijan National Conservatory of Music. Many of his former students are now pursuing very successful musical careers in the USA, Europe, Russia, Baltic, and Caucasians Countries.
Dr. Melik-Stepanov teaches music for all levels including all works of concert cellists’ repertoire. He has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician throughout America, Europe, and Russia. He also performs all major works written for his instrument.
Dr. Melik-Stepanov earned his Master’s Degree and an Artist’s Diploma in Cello Performance from the Azerbaijan National Conservatory of Music and his Doctorate Degree in Cello Performance and Chamber Music from the Armenian Conservatory of Music. He counts one of the most renowned world cellists, Mstislav Rostropovich, as his principal cello teacher. In addition to his solo and teaching careers, Dr. Melik-Stepanov was serving as a principal cellist for several major orchestras.
Richard Seil has a wide background in private and collegiate teaching that extends over 30 years. His private teaching philosophy emphasizes the Suzuki philosophy and pedagogical approach, and he has also taught a wide variety of traditional students. He is extremely excited to be back in Northeast Ohio as the head of the piano faculty and Suzuki piano teacher at The Music Settlement in Cleveland.
His teachers include world-famous pedagogues Menahem Pressler (IU), James Tocco (CCM), Karen Shaw (IU), Richard Fields (CCM) and Robert Mayerovitch (BW). Furthermore, Mr. Seil’s Suzuki certification through Book 5 of the Suzuki Piano Curriculum (studied with Rita Hauck) has provided him with a wealth of skills to positively influence developing musical minds of all ages. Professionally, his most recent collegiate position was as a sabbatical replacement for his former teacher, Robert Mayerovitch at BW in Berea, Ohio. Mr. Rich has taught at the Wyoming Fine Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Slater Music Academy and Tallant Music Studio in Ft. Thomas, KY, for the past 15 years. Additionally, he has held teaching assistantships at Indiana University and the University of Cincinnati.
His teaching philosophy, whether teaching a young beginner, a budding professional, an adult beginner or an adult returning to the piano, can be summed up in one word: adaptive. It is paramount that a teacher be able to adapt to the learning style of any student while, at the same time, keeping a goal in mind. This is probably why he has had success teaching traditional students, Suzuki students, collegiate students, adult beginners, and young professionals.
In addition to membership in various professional organizations, Mr. Seil enjoys performing in casual and professional settings. Furthermore, he has played violin and conducted professionally.
When he is not teaching or performing, Mr. Rich enjoys attending concerts, jogging, watching football, pampering his pets, and rescuing animals.
Lembi Veskimets joined the viola section of the Cleveland Orchestra in 1997, having previously held the positions of principal viola of the Ohio Chamber Orchestra and of the National Repertory Orchestra. An enthusiastic chamber musician, she has participated in such festivals and events as the Aspen Center for Advanced Quartet Studies; the Taos School of Music; the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar; the Sarasota Music Festival; the EXPO in Osaka, Japan; Chamber Music Encounters in Paris, France; and the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall. Born in Toronto, Canada of Estonian parentage, she has been featured on the gala concerts of several international Estonian festivals. She has appeared in recital at the International Viola Congress and across the U.S. in cities from Boston to Oklahoma to Los Angeles. Veskimets is a founding board member and past president of the Ohio Viola Society and has served as a board member of the American Viola Society and a contributor to its journal.
Committed to the development of young talent, Veskimets is also a faculty member in the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory Department as well as its Young Artist Program, at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and in the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra’s Advanced Performance Seminar. In the summer she has taught and performed at the CIM-affiliated Encore School for Strings and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. She also performs in the public schools as an artist-teacher in the Cleveland Orchestra’s Learning Through Music Program. In the greater Cleveland community, she has performed chamber music on many local series as well as on 17 Instrumental Evening for the Earth benefit concerts among many others. She received both a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she was a student of Robert Vernon.
Music classes are a great way to introduce musical concepts to students in a group setting. Our music classes and programs for early learners from infants through elementary school are designed and taught by expert faculty who understand child development and musical growth. Typical class offerings include Music and Movement, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, 'Ukulele for the Young Musician, and Rhythmic Solfege.
Students may enroll in private lessons to receive one-on-one instruction and coaching from a Community Arts School faculty member. Lessons are offered at many times during the week with most of them occurring in the weekday afternoons, weekday evenings and weekends. Students typically enroll in lessons that meet once a week for a half-hour for the full semester. The Community Arts School offers a rolling admission where students may enroll at any time during the semester.
Private lessons allow each student to develop independently through the careful guidance and mentorship of expert, credentialed faculty.
Summer Arts Programs
In partnership with the Baldwin Wallace University School of Education, the BW Community Arts School offers professional development opportunities for certified educators and teaching artists. With the University campus only being minutes from the airport and with modern on-campus living arrangements, participants around the world seek out opportunities to come to BW in the summer to learn from highly credentialed faculty. The portfolio of offerings is typically made available in January.