Our Music Teacher Faculty

Our music lessons instructors includes decorated recitalists, nationally recognized composers, including members of the Columbus Symphony and many of Columbus’s top performers.  Our teachers have received their education from prestigious institutions such as the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, The Berklee College of Music, Oberlin College and Conservatory, The Ohio State University, Capital University and many others.

Chad Ebert

Chad Ebert

School Director

Citing his family as his biggest musical influence, and coming from 4 generations of professional musicians, Chad started his musical education at 3 years old. He began his college training at the age of 16, in Jazz Studies as a Pianist and has also studied under Jazz legend Tony Monaco. In addition to his training in Jazz piano he has studied classical technique in the Taubman Method and is one of only a handful of pianists in Ohio that teach the technique. As a member of the National Piano Guild and the Music Teachers National Association he is dedicated to providing high quality music education in a fun environment.

Rachel Parfenchuk

Rachel Parfenchuk

Voice & Piano Instructor

Rachel Parfenchuk earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Ohio Wesleyan University (2014) and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Cleveland Institute of Music (2017). Parfenchuk has performed with Ohio Wesleyan Opera Theater, Columbus Dance Theater, Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theater, and Opera Columbus. Her performance highlights include the role of Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music, Denise in Beatrice and Benedict, Frasquita in Carmen, as well as being a two-time winner of the Ohio Wesleyan concerto competition. Ms. Parfenchuk’s passion for performance carries over to her love of teaching, as she has taught both voice and piano since 2012. During her education she studied pedagogy extensively with both Dr. Jason Hiester and Dr. Dean Southern and continues to seek the most efficient and engaging ways to cultivate skill and confidence in students of all ages.

Emily Tetreault

Emily Tetreault

Saxophone, Clarinet and Piano Instructor

Emily’s passion for music started at an early age. She studied piano for two years from the age of 6 and began studying saxophone at age 12. Playing saxophone through middle and high school, she was also drum major of the Westerville South Marching Band for three consecutive years. She gained irreplaceable experience competing nationally in the Bands of America (BOA) circuit.

Emily received her Bachelor of Music Education from Otterbein University. While at Otterbein she was involved in numerous wind ensembles, jazz bands, and quartets. She has studied under the likes of Chad Eby, Michael Cox and Pete Mills, all of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

Emily also has a passion for the Winter Guard International (WGI) circuit. She performed and taught with the independent drumline Rhythm X for ten years. She was also Assistant Band Director at Amanda Clearcreek Schools in Amanda Ohio. There she taught high school concert band, jazz band and marching band as well as middle school beginning band and elementary music. She is thrilled to be getting back to inspiring people through music after starting a family.

Steffany Blackham

Steffany Blackham

Office Assistant

Steffany was first introduced to the Powell Academy of Music when one of her sons began taking guitar lessons here. She was excited to join the staff as an office assistant. Steffany comes from a musical family. She plays the flute and the piano. Her children sing, and play saxophone, percussion, piano, organ and guitar. In her spare time, Steffany enjoys hiking with her family. Their preferred destinations are the National Parks, with Arches National Park and Mesa Verde as particular favorites. She also likes to read, cook and quilt.

Elizabeth Reeves

Elizabeth Reeves

Flute, Clarinet & Piano Instructor

Elizabeth Reeves received her B.M. in music performance from Wright State University in 2012,
where she studied with Dr. Christopher Chaffee. While at WSU, she was a winner of the 2010 School of Music Concerto Competition, for which she performed as a soloist with the University Symphony Orchestra. In 2009 and 2010, Elizabeth was also a finalist in the Collegiate Division of the Central Ohio Flute Association Competition. She was honored to receive the 2010 Agnes Fowler Scholarship from the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, and the Robert Stofer Music Award in 2011 from Wright State University. In 2012, Elizabeth moved to Phoenix to pursue her Master’s degree in music performance at Arizona State University, where she studied with Dr. Elizabeth Buck. At ASU, she performed regularly with the ASU Symphony Orchestra, the ASU
Flute Choir, and the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) before receiving her degree in 2014. A native of Southwest Ohio, she and her husband moved to Columbus in 2015. They enjoy cooking, spending time with their friends and family, and being outside with their
dog, Rey.

Jessica Vargo

Jessica Vargo

Voice & Piano Instructor

Soprano Jessica Vargo has over 13 years of experience teaching voice and piano. She received her Bachelor‘s degree from Otterbein University in Vocal Performance under the instruction of Janet Proodian, DMA, and Helen Allen, DMA. Otterbein solidified her love of classical music and she has traveled and performed nationally and in Europe, including Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. She is one of the founding members of Opera Project Columbus and performed in their inaugural performance, Puccini’s Suor Angelica under the baton of Alessandro Siciliani. Jessica is dedicated to inspiring musicians of all ages and levels to embrace the freedom in stylistic diversity that classical training can provide. She specializes in maintaining vocal health, incorporating the Alexander and Bel Canto Techniques in her voice lessons.

Helen Cates

Helen Cates

Violin and Piano Teacher

Helen Cates began studying the violin at age 5 at the Staedtische Musikschule Aalen, Germany. Her primary teachers include Liviu Bogdan, Jonathan Thomas and Gabriele Turck in Stuttgart, Germany. At a young age she performed with orchestras such as the Aalener Sinfonieorchester, the Kammerorchester Rosenstein and the Junge Philharmonie Ostwuerttemberg. With them she has travelled throughout Europe, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, France and Austria. She has performed as a soloist with the Kammerorchester Rosenstein in 2010 and the Indiana University South Bend Philharmonic in 2013. In 2011 and 2012 Ms Cates participated in the MasterWorks Festival.

She has completed a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University South Bend studying under Jameson Cooper. In addition she holds a Masters in Music degree from Bowling Green State University, where she was a member of the Graduate String Quartet. Ms. Cates enjoys teaching and inspiring young musicians toward excellence. She continues to be passionate performer of chamber and orchestral music.

Issac Cowden

Issac Cowden

Piano Instructor

Isaac Cowden began learning about music at the age of 4. He and his older brother being the only musicians in the family began playing at their church soon after. After wanting to go the college for music and also theology, He applied and was the recipient of a Worship Studies scholarship at Indiana Bible College where he spent the next 4 years recording 5 albums and going in nine tours across the US. After completing his Bachelors in Worship Studies and Music Technology the with a minor in Theology, he moved to Columbus Ohio. He now serves as the Creative Director as well as Band Director, for Calvary Apostolic Church. He also works with various studios and artists in the U.S and writes songs in his free time, whenever he can manage.

Axl Pons

Axl Pons

Office Staff

Axl is truly excited to be joining the Lewis Center Music Academy! Along with serving as an office assistant, he is a freelance oboist. He has had the opportunity to perform with groups such as the Columbus Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Muncie Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Long Bay Symphony, Cleveland Opera Theater and Queen City Opera. He also has been invited on numerous occasions to perform at the famed Broadway dinner club, Feinstein’s/54 Below, performing for current Broadway performers. He has earned a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Axl has a passion for the future of music and its impact in children’s lives, and looks forward to seeing the creative growth of all the students at LCMA. Outside of music, he enjoys time with family and friends, binge-watching the latest trending TV show (Game of Thrones and House of Cards are current favorites), and attending a lot of
Broadway theater!!

Nora Klautsch

Nora Klautsch

Office Manager

Nora moved to Ohio from Idaho to pursue her B.A. at The Ohio State University. After graduation in 2013, she gained administrative experience as a Production Coordinator for some of Columbus‘ largest live events. Having played piano for 10 years, Nora was drawn to the Academy’s mission of fostering confidence and creativity through music. She joined PAoM in 2015 and strives to provide an outstanding customer experience for all students and parents.

Nitin Sharma

Nitin Sharma

Guitar, Trumpet, Piano, and Drum Instructor

Nitin Sharma is a multi-instrumentalist, having received his training from some of the best musicians in the world at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory. His mentors include members of the Cleveland Orchestra who instilled in him a deeper appreciation for performing which he hopes to give unto others. He has professionally performed both in and out of Ohio in various genres, including rock/metal, musicals, jazz, and classical. However, he is equally passionate about teaching students of all ages, not just about music, but about how far hard work can take you, and how fulfilling it can be to pursue a passion.

John Basel

John Basel

Piano & Guitar Instructor

John‘s interest in music came about rather late as he started guitar and piano at ages 13 and 14 respectively. However, he was dedicated and was accepted at Bowling Green State University as a Piano Performance major 4 years later. Later he received his Master’s in Piano Performance from the University of Iowa where he was also awarded a Teaching Assistantship. While John‘s own interest in piano is primarily classical, he is comfortable teaching and playing many styles. On guitar, John enjoys playing rock, blues, finger-style, and other genres. John’s teaching philosophy focuses on helping students genuinely understand the concepts in whatever they are learning. He believes that it is also important to help students develop their own passion for music and learning. John moved to Ohio in 2017 with his wife and daughter from Texas where he lived and taught music for 4 years.

Kyle Rowland

Kyle Rowland

Drum and Piano Instructor

As a drummer and percussionist, Kyle has performed with Vic Juris, Todd Coolman, Pete Malinverni, Jon Faddis, Wessell "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Tony Monaco, Rick Depofi, Radam Schwartz, Cameron Brown, and James Weidman. He also has a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Purchase College in New York. He has composed music for theatre, television, and film. Television shows include Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda, Sins & Secrets, Disappeared, Fatal Attraction. He also scored films for Magic Dog Productions, B12 Productions, Killer Goose Films, and Wildlife Productions.

As an educator he has taught as an adjunct professor at William Paterson University, Purchase College SUNY, The Thurnauer School of Music, and The School of Rock.

Aaron Schwartz

Aaron Schwartz

Violin and Viola Instructor

As a member of the award winning KASA String Quartet, violinst Aaron Schwartz has recently located to the Central Ohio area and is accepting new students. Praised as an extremely versatile musician, you can see Aaron collaborate with artists on Youtube and Instagram covering tunes from Louis Armstrong and The Eagles to Brahms and Ysaye. With experience teaching traditional, classical, folk, bluegrass and jazz, students of any level will have the opportunity to study any or all of these styles and methods.

An alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University and Cleveland Institute of Music, Associated Faculty with the Chamber Music Connection, principal violinst of Opera Project Columbus, core group member of new music ensemble Nat28 (PA), and an Artist in Residence at The Caroga Lake Music Festival (NY), Aaron has worked with artists such as Andres Cardenes, Rachel Barton Pine, Joseph Silverstein, Manfred Honeck, Pascal Tortelier, Marvin Hamlisch, Michael Tree, the St. Lawrence, Pacifica, and Cavani String Quartets.

Jacob Campbell

Jacob Campbell

Piano Instructor

Jacob Campbell is a Columbus, Ohio based pianist, composer, arranger, and educator. Originally from Mansfield, Ohio, Jacob started music at a young age and continues his work on technique and style.

While studying in Capital University’s Jazz Studies program, Jacob had the privilege to play in the Capital University Big Band, and Jazz Consort - Capital’s top jazz combo. He won several awards for his performances most notably - Outstanding Musicianship Award at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, St. Louis Jazz Festival, and the Capital University Jazz Festival.

Jacob’s jazz instructors at Capital include Mark Flugge, Erik Augis, and Dr. Lou Fischer. To continue to elevate skills and accelerate growth, Jacob took private lessons from Lynn Arriale, Dave Powers, Martin Wind, Luke Gillespie & Jon Eshelman. Jacob studied classical piano with Seymour Fink, and Dr. Orlay Alonso.

Kristen Trotter

Kristen Trotter

Voice Instructor

Kristen Trotter is a graduate of Kentucky State University where she studied Vocal Performance. After graduating, she returned home to put her craft to use and began singing with several local bands to jumpstart her career. She’s had the privilege of performing at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival, Hollywood Casino, Sound on the Town at Easton Town Center, several wedding receptions and events. Along with performing, she loves to teach and share her love of music with others through private voice lessons.

Sam Stiner

Sam Stiner

Voice, Piano, Guitar Instructor

Samantha Stiner is a Contralto hailing from Philipsburg, Pennsylvania. She is currently pursing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Previously she has received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Wyoming. With a large, rich voice, Samantha’s repertoire is diverse, though she has a strong focus on contemporary works. Recent operatic roles performed include Florence Pike in Albert Herring, Marcellina in the Marriage of Figaro, and R.N. in Bluebeard’s Waiting Room. In 2016 Samantha received the Young Artist Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Denver, Colorado. Her concert repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder among many others. Samantha has also created a name for herself as a recitalist in contemporary music. Her recital, “Hot off the Press”, has toured nationally and allowed her to create contacts with many American composers. Most recently she has been in master classes with composers Lori Laitman, Jake Heggie, and Libby Larsen. In addition, Samantha has been teaching private lessons in voice, piano, and guitar for almost decade. Prior students have gone on to become professional rock and folk artists, music educators, scholarship recipients, and church musicians.

Julie Reddy

Julie Reddy

Voice, Piano, Brass Instructor

Julie received a Bachelor of Music from Eastern Illinois University in 2012. While in attendance, she sang with the University Mixed Choir and Concert Choir, played horn in the Concert Band and played trumpet and mellophone in the Panther Marching Band and Pep Band. She took voice, piano and horn lessons at the college level. Julie loves to travel, and she gained international teaching experience during the summer of 2013, when she taught English to elementary students in Shanghai, China. Julie sings soprano in her church choir in Worthington.

For the past five years, Julie has taught general music, band, and chorus at a junior high in southern Illinois. Her favorite part of the job was the extracurricular activities, which included competitive marching band, pep band, select chorus and an annual spring musical. She loves making connections with her students and watching them grow as musicians and people. Julie fondly remembers years of private lessons at the middle school, high school and college level, and she knows how influential a great music educator can be. She is thrilled to be providing private lessons through the Lewis Center Music Academy!

More bios coming soon!