*Paula Hepfer, Executive Director, voice instructor
Teaching Artist Statement
I believe that each student has a unique voice; the work in my studio focuses on freeing that sound. When done properly, singing unites body, mind and spirit. My goals for my students are to leave my studio with healthy vocal habits and greater musical literacy. I believe that the experience of performing is vital to learning to sing. Working with my students and helping to expand their musical expression and enjoyment is one of my greatest joys. I recently had a former student remind me that I helped him prepare for Regional Chorus and in the next sentence say, “I still sing”. Music lasts a lifetime. It is a privilege to participate in that kind of life-giving experience.
Paula Hepfer has degrees in vocal performance from Indiana University of PA (BA, Applied Music) and the Pennsylvania State University (MM) where she taught voice to non-music majors as a graduate assistant. She is a founding teacher at Cumberland Valley School of Music. She specializes in building the voice by incorporating stretches, proper body alignment, connecting to the breath, attention to diction and understanding of text and musical line into lessons. Paula has successfully prepared numerous students for District Chorus auditions, school and community musicals, solo and college auditions. Former voice students are vocal music instructors in numerous public school and private settings. Many are active soloists and performers in their communities. As the current Executive Director and former Program Director of CVSM, she has shaped and provided performance experiences for thousands of students who have attended the school over the years.
Paula Hepfer has been an active soloist and performer for many years, singing classical, musicale theatre, sacred, pop and jazz standards, as well as contemporary Christian literature. She has performed with Totem Pole Playhouse, the Mendelssohn Chorus, Pittsburgh; the Shippensburg Festival Chorus, toured with the Continental Singers, appeared as featured soprano soloist on the Penn State Alumni Series and has been a featured performer at numerous CVSM events. In recent years she has performed regularly with the Praise Team at her Church. Her latest performance has been singing “That 70’s Show” featuring songs of Carole King, Karen Carpenter, Barbra Streisand and even Dolly Parton with Brian Helman, pianist; Mark Miller, guitar; Herm Hopple, bass; and husband, Sam Hepfer on drums.
*Gillian Hollen, voice instructor, music teacher at St. Maria Goretti
Teaching Artist Statement
As a music educator I create a comfortable, happy, and enriched environment. To see the passion in my students while experiencing and learning music inspires me to continue to show those and future students the true beauty and creativity of all types of music. Music basics are an essential part of a childʼs development, spanning both the left and right side of the brain. Music also has the ability to connect people from all different cultures. Throughout history, humans have been influenced by music and I believe that it is important keep that influence alive.
As a graduate of Millersville University, Gillian Hollen received a BSE in music education. She studied under Michael Houlahan, who instilled the sequence of musical learning through the work Zoltan Kodaly. Gillian has been teaching private vocal and piano lessons for a few years in Waynesboro, PA.
Being a recent graduate of MU she prides herself in once being the vocalist in the MU Jazz Ensemble from 2011-2012. She had the chance to perform in New Orleans, LA at the Crescent City Jazz Festival. Since returning to the area Gillian has been asked to sing at numerous local conventions, meetings, and services. She also plays locally in a eclectic band called G@g.
*Joel Newman, guitar & voice instructor
Teaching Artist statement:
My approach to teaching voice is different from teaching guitar, but in both cases, learning how to study/practice is paramount, as is a sense of self objectivity. That is what I try to teach my students. Each student is unique and I adapt my teaching to them. I teach using the music that the student wants to learn. Rock/Blues/Jazz/Soul/R&B/Funk/Country are my are my strengths on guitar, as well as music theory, improvisation, playing and singing, songwriting and technique. For voice I teach the time honored technique of Bel Canto. Though a classical technique, I am not a classical singer and I know it works for whatever style of music the student applies it to. My main focus when working with voice students is to get them to their biggest best vocal placement and teach them how to properly practice their songs. I love teaching, I love being there when the light bulb turns on. My burning desire is to ignite a spark then light and pass on the torch to any and all open hearts and ears.
I consider myself “street learned” on guitar. I studied plectrum style guitar privately in NYC for many years with some name brand teachers, Allen Hanlon and Pat Martino to name a couple. I also studied music in classes from ‘Sounds of Joy’ studios and from the great bebop master Barry Harris. I studied Voice for nine years in NYC and in New Jersey in master classes and privately with Judy Hages. I find I’m constantly reinventing myself as a teacher, taking on summer youth rock camps, group singing classes as adjunct faculty @ Frederick Community College, and even coaching middle schoolers to sing musicals!
I’ve played and sang at many venues in NYC, (CBGB’s , Spiral, Lion’s Den, Dan Lynch etc.). But mainly was more of a session guitarist collaborating and recording with such old style greats as T.M. Stevens, Dr. John, David Sanborn, Miroslav Vitious, Dick Wagner, to name some. My biggest claim to fame is recording on the actor Tim Curry’s 3rd album for A&M records “Simplicity”, where I co wrote a song on the album. Since relocating to Maryland I’ve played in many bands from variety wedding bands, to R&B and Rock bands. I did a stint in Taipei Taiwan in the “Brown Sugar” house band for several months. Up until recently toured, recorded, co-wrote, and co produced with the now defunct western Maryland favorite Blues band “Moondog Medicine Show.” I still write, record and perform my original music.
*Richard Overcash, voice instructor
Teaching Artist Statement
Teaching voice student show to develop a full, rich, and resonant tone is a most rewarding experience. In the private vocal studio setting, the teacher-student relationship is a dynamic interaction based upon genuine concern for developing excellence as a student singer. Positive progress is achieved through truth, honesty and a patient approach to the muscular growth of the laryngeal function. The whole body, mind, soul, and spirit must join together to perform excellence in musicality and a heartfelt rendering of the text. Through many years of teaching, my greatest joy has come when I have had students leave the concert stage and state, “I really enjoyed singing that piece of music. I performed the way we planned and practiced it. When can I sing again?”
Richard has been a music educator since graduating from Elizabethtown College with a B.S. in Music Education, earning a proficiency in vocal performance. He has taught in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and Tennessee. During some of these teaching years he also earned a Masters in Music Education from Temple University. He taught a variety of music courses at the University music department and several hundred voice students. He also directed three different choirs while teaching there. In more recent years he has been minister of music at churches in Chattanooga, TN; Greencastle, PA; and currently in Baltimore, MD. He has directed county choruses in upstate New York, Tennessee, and three times for the Franklin-Fulton County Music Educators. He has maintained a private voice studio in his home and taught at CVSM from 1991-2005, returning to CVSM in 2013.
Richard is a bass/baritone and studied with Robert Regal and Dr. Janette Ogg. He is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
*David Shearer, piano & voice instructor
Teaching Artist Statement:
Consistent, daily practice leads to success in learning to sing. The pursuit of learning to sing should include a well rounded approach to the study of music theory and technique. Understanding the how and why of music theory and technique helps the student learn to play and read faster and easier. I encourage all my students to perform in front of an audience as often as the opportunity presents itself, (recitals, church and community activities) because it gives the student something to work toward, a goal with a deadline, and in turn, helps develop self discipline to practice consistently. Successful performances also build confidence and boost student ego. In addition, students who attend recitals are exposed to different types of music, performed by students at all levels of proficiency on piano, solo instruments, and vocal.
B.A. Mus Ed, Pasadena College, Pasadena, CA & Point Loma College, San Diego, CA. David has been teaching piano and voice for CVSM in Chambersburg and Waynesboro since 2000.
B.A. Mus Ed, Pasadena College, Pasadena, CA& Point Loma College, San Diego, CA. Joined the faculty in 2000 after serving in the US Navy for over 24 years. Sang in school choirs since 5th grade, lead in school musicals beginning in 7th grade. Lead in The Mikado and Trial by Jury in high school. First chair trombone in high school band. First place winner in church district teen talent competition and first place in Los Angles area Sunday School Association competition for piano solo and vocal ensemble. Sang tenor in A Cappella choir in college, played lower brass and percussion in college wind ensemble, and trombone in college stage band. Lead in Trial by Jury, and sang tenor and played guitar, piano and bass in traveling college trio/quartet for three years, visiting dozens of church camps and over 200 churches throughout California, Arizona and New Mexico. Music and choir director in four churches, church pianist and organist since 1963. Once, accompanied Pat Boone on piano. Studied voice for three years with Dr Tom DeGraff in Virginia Beach, VA. Choir member of a large church choir and soloist and lead parts in Christmas and Easter productions over a 15 year period. Sang tenor in the Virginia Symphony Chorus for three years, a by audition only chorus of 100 voices under the baton of Joann Faletta. Performed numerous gigs through CVSM, playing solo piano, accompanying vocalists or singing tenor in vocal ensembles. David has served as choir director and organist at Calvary United Methodist Church, Fayetteville, PA since 2000. He has also been tuning and repairing pianos since 2004. www.DavidShearerPiano.com
*Suzanne Sweigart, piano & voice instructor
B.M. Piano Performance, Houghton College. M.M. in Voice Performance, Westminster Choir College of Ryder University. Solo performing experience in voice in the greater NY, Phila. and Gettysburg areas. Recently sang the Mother role in Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck) with Center Stage Opera. Has performed with the Westminster Choir at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center under conductors Leonard Bernstein and Richardo Muti. Also teaches voice and piano at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Maryland. Experienced teaching all ages, emphasizing the fundamentals as a springboard for advancement.
*Elisabeth Turchi, voice instructor
Teaching Artist Statement:
My teaching philosophy is best articulated by Alan Lindquest: “Teaching singing is much more than just teaching ‘a voice’. Singing is the voice of the soul, and the spirit of the person must reflect through their singing.” Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves, and it is my goal to work with you to find the healthiest way of expressing yourself through song regardless of the vocal genre. From nurturing a youthful beginner, motivating an aspiring vocal professional, to challenging an adult learner, it is my joy to bring guidance, varied repertoire and experience, and solid technique to each student that invests in this craft.
BFA Carnegie-Mellon University, MM Shenandoah University. Elisabeth’s passion and artistry have charmed audiences abroad and in the United States. Her versatility is evident in the diverse roles she has performed, comic to dramatic: from Musetta (La Bohème) and Anna Glawari (The Merry Widow) to the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) and Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia). She has sung with the Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Camerata of Washington D.C., Atlantic Coast Opera Festival, Harrisburg Opera, New Opera Festival of Rome, and Gotham Chamber Opera. Ms. Turchi’s numerous concert engagements include Handel’s Messiah at Massachusetts’ Mechanics Hall and a European tour of Haydn’s Creation. For more information, please visit her website at www.ElisabethTurchi.com. Lisa is a proud CVSM alumna and former student of Margaret Weeks.
*Autumn Turner, voice instructor
Teaching Artist Statement:
I strive to always encourage and care for my students, and place their needs above my own. My goals are to teach new aspects of vocal training in every lesson, and provide constructive critique when needed to help each and every student be the best they can be. As an experienced and passionate Voice Instructor, I believe in an approach that gives students positive, constructive ways to learn. I design my lessons according to my students’ needs, with an emphasis on confidence-boosting activities. I teach a variety of styles including: classical, pop, and musical theatre. I start every lesson with vocal warm ups and breathing exercises. I emphasize that most of the vocalization comes from the diaphragm and breath control. I instruct my students in using the head voice as well as the chest voice, encouraging them to utilize both ranges. The best part of my lessons is making them engaging and fun for their appropriate age.
Autumn Turner has been teaching private vocal and piano lessons for over a year now and has over 8 years in vocal training. She is a qualified vocal instructor who absolutely loves seeing people reach their full potential in music. During her time of study in music at Liberty University she played the lead role in the opera for three years and was one of two freshmen selected to be a part of an elite ensemble, the Chamber Singers. She was one of sixty students worldwide selected to participate in the Oberlin Conservatory’s summer program in Arezzo, Italy where she worked with several prestigious vocal teachers, conductors, and operatic directors to perform La Rhondine, the Sull’Aria duet, and learn the Italian language. After completing an undergraduate in Vocal Performance at Liberty University she went on to get married to her husband, Corbin and started her own vocal studio in Lancaster, PA. She now teaches vocal lessons in the Chambersburg area. She enjoys teaching about the voice and the art of using it.
Autumn Turner has a Vocal Performance Degree from Liberty University, eight years of training in voice and five years in piano, and a background in Musical Theater and Opera. She’s had various roles in many professional, traveling, and local theatre productions including: The Sound of Music, Music Man Jr., Seussical, The Wiz with Shirman Hemsley, and Fiddler on the Roof. She played the lead role for three years in the Liberty University operas including: Madame Glavari in the Merry Widow, Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, and Nedda in Pagliacci. Autumn was also one of sixty students worldwide selected to participate in the Oberlin Conservatory’s summer program in Arezzo, Italy where she studied with various professional vocal instructors and conductors. She’s been a part of the Liberty University Chamber Singers Choir and has also won various music scholarships and vocal competitions. She also enjoys singing in church and playing the keys, and has vocal experience in modern music as well.
*Deborah Weihl, voice & piano instructor
BS in Music Education, Piano and Voice Major and French horn Minor, Towson University, MS in Curriculum and Instruction, McDaniel College, holds a current Advanced Professional Maryland Educator Certificate, a retired Choral and Instrumental music teacher in the Washington County Public Schools. Since 1995, is employed by Performance Learning Systems to teach graduate level education courses for McDaniel and Wilkes University, including Differentiated Instruction for Today’s Classroom, Purposeful Learning through the Multiple Intelligences, and Classroom Management: Orchestrating a Community of Learners. She also teaches PLS online courses including Effective Classroom Management, Multiple Intelligence, and Infusing Arts across the Curriculum for Drexel and Wilkes U, Marygrove & Rockford Colleges (IL), and The College of New Jersey. She has also led church choirs and taught private lessons in piano, voice, trumpet, and French horn.