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David Amlung, Adjunct Professor of Trumpet
David joined the music faculty at Hardin-Simmons University in 2021. He previously held faculty positions at Middle Tennessee State University and Indiana State University and was an Associate Instructor of Trumpet at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for two years. Amlung is a dedicated teacher and has maintained extensive private studios in the Oklahoma City (OK), Cincinnati (OH), Bloomington (IN), and Nashville (TN) areas.
Amlung regularly performs with orchestras throughout the U.S. and has performed with the Oklahoma City and Columbus (IN) Philharmonic Orchestras, the Huntsville (AL), Richmond (IN), Danville (IL), Jackson (TN), Columbus (IN), Hamilton-Fairfield (OH) Symphony Orchestras, as well as the IU Festival Orchestra and Bloomington Camerata Orchestra. He has played under the baton of esteemed conductors David Robertson, Giancarlo Guerrero, Mario Venzago, Joel Levine, Otto-Werner Mueller, Gregory Vajda, David Hayes, Joseph Colaneri, Paul Nadler, and David Effron.
An active chamber musician and recitalist, Amlung has appeared in solo and chamber situations throughout the U.S. Performance venues have included Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall (New York City), Symphony Space (New York City), Civic Center Music Hall (Oklahoma City), Von Braun Center (Huntsville, AL) and also the Capital University Conservatory of Music, Texas Christian University, the University of Denver, Georgia State University, Austin Peay State University, the University of Memphis, Bard College, Murray State University, Belmont University, Wichita State University, Middle Tennessee State University, Indiana State University, Indiana University, Mannes College the New School for Music, and the University of Oklahoma.
He has competed numerous times in the National Trumpet Competition in both the Solo and Ensemble divisions. He was an Honorable Mention Finalist in the Undergraduate Division of the 2003 competition and was a member of the 2nd and 3rd place award winning University of Oklahoma Trumpet Ensemble at the 2003 and 2004 competitions, respectively. He was also a Semi-Finalist in the Solo Divisions in 2002, 2004, and 2007.
Alex Carpenter, Adjunct Professor of Flute and Music Theory
Alex Carpenter is Adjunct Professor of Flute and Music Theory at Hardin-Simmons University. She began teaching theory in the fall of 2019 and flute in the spring of 2020. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Hardin-Simmons University in 2014, and her Master of Music degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2019 where she first started her collegiate teaching tract as a graduate assistant. She taught music theory fundamentals and music appreciation, and filled in for the flute professor while he was on sabbatical. During her masters she studied flute with Dr. Douglas Worthen and music theory/composition with Dr. Chris Walczak. Her theory thesis is titled The Craft of Musical Imagery in Augusta Read Thomas’ ‘Carillon Sky’, exploring the various post-tonal composition techniques Thomas used to paint her musical visions.
Mrs. Carpenter has been teaching privately since 2011 and is an active performer. Her private students have participated in TMEA and ILMEA competitions, winning chairs in the region/district band, and in UIL solo and ensemble, receiving exemplary ratings for their performances. She has also been a flute and woodwind clinician at several public schools in the southern Illinois and west Texas areas. She has taken lessons from and participated in masterclasses with flutists such as Demarre McGill, Mark Sparks, Richard Sherman, and Jonathan Keeble. She was a finalist in the Concerto Competition at HSU in 2012, took second (solo) and third (duet) places in the first Tri-Collegiate Honors Competition in 2014 hosted by Heavenly Rest, was chosen as the fall commencement soloist at HSU in 2014, and was an alternate for the Young Artist Competition with the Atlanta Flute Club in 2018.
Matt Ellis, Adjunct Professor of Guitar
Matt Ellis has been playing guitar since 1990. He has a bachelor’s in music from Hardin-Simmons University in Music, and studied with Dan Mitchell. He has taught guitar since 2002 privately, and currently teaches guitar at HSU.
Matt owns a private studio (Mellis Music Studio) and teaches 50+ private guitar lessons a week. He employs a staff of four other teachers (piano, voice, violin, guitar, ukulele). He started as an adjunct instructor at HSU in the spring of 2019.
He has a wife, Michelle, and three children: Richard, Lucy and Nora.
He is heavily invested in West Texas in live music, entertainment, worship leading, and instruction.
Guy Gamble, Adjunct Professor of Saxophone & Clarinet
A graduate of Abilene Christian University (BME) and University of North Texas (MME), Mr. Gamble has been a part of the music scene in his native Abilene since the age of 15, when he played his first professional gig in the NCO Club at Dyess AFB.
Following 2 years spent in a show band at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., as well as a few road gigs and 7 years as Associate Professor of Music at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, Mr. Gamble returned to Abilene where he has been privileged to play alongside the local talent in various bands and venues and teach as a private instructor in the area public schools, as well as in his home. Guy plays and teaches with a merry heart. Along with his years of experience and detailed understanding of music theory and performance, he has an infectious zeal and passion to see his students come to understand the intricacies and nuances of music so that they can realize their full potential musically and bring joy to themselves and their world.
Together with his wife of 37 years, he is grateful to be able to enjoy spending time with his children and grandchildren, fishing at the family lake cabin or relaxing at home.
Dr. Johnny Mendoza, Adjunct Professor of Percussion
Johnny Mendoza currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Music at Hardin-Simmons University. He has performed with orchestras and chamber groups throughout the country including the Nashville Symphony, Columbus Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Abilene Philharmonic, Mid-Texas Symphony, Newark-Granville Symphony, and Laredo Philharmonic orchestra.
Johnny has been invited to present masterclasses and clinics at several universities and high schools on topics related to commissioning new music, implementing musicianship, mallet keyboard transcriptions, kinesthetic learning methods, multi-disciplined collaborations, effective practice techniques, and community engagement through music. He has received state grants for his research on extended vibraphone techniques in the contemporary percussion repertoire and his research on the effects of caffeine and sleep on muscle memory consolidation for percussionists. He frequently tours the country performing with the Sympatico Percussion Group.
Johnny is a founding member of the new music chamber ensemble CODE and MaD Arts Group (Music and Dance), and he currently serves on the Percussive Arts Society Composition Committee. His teachers include Susan Powell, Joseph Krygier, Christopher Norton, Rich Graber, Todd London, Chester Thompson, and Sherry Rubins. He received his doctorate and master’s degrees from the Ohio State University and Belmont University, and his bachelor’s degree in percussion performance from the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Dr. Janelle Ott, Adjunct Professor of Bassoon
Dr. Ott is the Adjunct Instructor of Bassoon at Hardin-Simmons University. In addition to her collegiate duties, Dr. Ott works directly with middle school and high school students in Abilene and Wiley. She also maintains a large private studio in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Recent orchestral engagements include the Abilene Philharmonic, Midland Odessa Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Summer Musicals at Bass Hall, Shreveport Symphony, and Texarkana Symphony. She is a member of Key City Winds, the Artists-In-Residence of the Heavenly Rest Chamber Concert Series.
Dr. Ott holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and German from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Following her graduation from Luther College, Dr. Ott enrolled at Wichita State University, where she received her Master’s of Music and performed as the second bassoonist of the Wichita Symphony. She received a Performance Diploma from Indiana University in 2009 and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of North Texas. Her principal teachers are Kathleen Reynolds, William Ludwig, and Nicolasa Kuster.
While at UNT, Ms. Ott performed as the winner of the UNT Concerto Competition as well as principal of the Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra. She can be heard on several GIA Wind Works recordings, including Encryptions, Revelations, and Genesis.
Susetta Rockett, Adjunct Professor of Oboe
Susetta Dunn Rockett currently sits in the Janeen Holms Gilliam Chair (second oboe/English horn) with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and is oboe faculty at Abilene Christian University, Hardin- Simmons University, and McMurry University. She is also the Concert Series Coordinator at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, TX.
Ms. Rockett received her degrees in Music Education and Performance from Texas Tech University, and a Master’s in Oboe Performance with distinction from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass., where she studied with Wayne Rapier. Ms. Rockett has also studied English horn with David Matthews and Steven Lickman.
She is a frequent recitalist, clinician, and maintains an active teaching schedule, but most of all loves performing chamber music with her incredibly gifted colleagues – Key City Winds. Ms. Rockett lives in Abilene with her husband and two daughters who love the oboe!
Neemias Santos, Adjunct Professor of Cello and Bass
Originally from Brazil, Neemias began musical studies at the age of 9. Before moving to Texas, he attended Penn State University. He was a member of the graduate string quartet that toured Argentina, and principal cellist of the Baroque Ensemble. At Penn State he served as a teaching assistant, and received numerous scholarships, and received a Masters Degree. Neemias has won numerous orchestra auditions in Brazil, Portugal, and the U.S., and has toured as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and South America.
An avid composer and conductor, his North Shore Suitefor string orchestra and soloists was premiered in March 2019, and other compositions have been performed extensively in Brazil, Europe, Switzerland, and the US.
Neemias is currently working towards completion of his Doctoral studies at Texas Tech, studying with cellist Jeffrey Lastrapes, and serving as recording engineer. He is a recipient of the coveted Helen Devitt Jones Graduate Fellowship, as well as other scholarships.
In Abilene, Neemias teaches at Abilene Christian University and with the Abilene Independent School District, and performs frequently with faculty and local musicians, including recitals at the universities and on the Chamber Music Series at the Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Dr. Bernard Scherr, Adjunct Professor of Music Theory and Composition
Dr. Bernard Scherr’s composition catalog includes over 100 works for orchestra, orchestra and chorus, orchestra and soloist, solo voice, chorus, wind ensemble, and various chamber ensembles.
Scherr’s orchestral works have been performed in California, Texas, and Europe, and he has received a number of commissions from professional and university ensembles. His chamber music is regularly performed across the United States, and he has a growing European presence.
The recipient of several awards at the University of Oregon, including the University of Oregon’s 125th Anniversary Composition Commission competition, Scherr’s music has been recognized in competitions in Boston, Pennsylvania, and the Waging Peace through Singing Project in Oregon.
Committed to the performance of new music, Scherr has premiered numerous works with the Oregon Composers Forum Concert Series and the Key City Brass Quintet.
His book Organ Preludes is published by Zimbel Press and “Victimae Paschali Laudes” for orchestra is recorded on the VMM label.
Robert Tucker, Adjunct Professor of Horns, Dean Kelley College of Business
Robert Lee Tucker has a Bachelor of Music from Hardin-Simmons University, a Master of Music from University of Cincinnati, a Doctor of Philosophy from Texas Tech University, and a Master of Business Administration from Howard Payne University. An original member of the Texas Baptist All-State Choir, many years later he had the fortune of directing the band for that organization. Prior to accepting the position of Director of Bands at Howard Payne University, Tucker taught horn and music education at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He then taught public schools in the award-winning Stanton Band program in Stanton, Texas. While at Hardin-Simmons as a student he played in the band, Cowboy Band, sang in the choir, performed with the Abilene Philharmonic and the college orchestra.
At Howard Payne University, after serving as Director of Bands, he became the Dean of Fine Arts where he completed 18 years before accepting the position as Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Hardin-Simmons University. His wide range of interests and experience has resulted in published articles, speaking engagements, published compositions, commissions, and opportunities for overseas travel and teaching. His recent book “Like a Crown: Adventures in Autism” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and discusses the joys and challenges of raising an autistic child. With over 200 compositions and arrangements to his name, he continues to compose, play jazz and rock piano, conduct, lead music theatre productions, play French Horn, and have speaking engagements on a wide variety of topics including autism, book collecting, church music, and history. He has performed with the Richmond Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Symphony, El Paso Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony, San Angelo Symphony, Lake Charles Symphony, Rapides Symphony, and the Abilene Philharmonic. As a conductor, he has directed 15 Messiah performances, 10 musicals, and performed over 100 clinics in area schools and served as President of the Texas Association of Music Schools. He completed an MBA in 2013 and is now pursuing the Doctor of Business Administration from Grand Canyon University.
Dr. Steven Ward, Director of Orchestra
Dr. Steven Ward, director of Orchestra for Hardin-Simmons University, is also the Professor of Music and Director of Orchestra and Bands at Abilene Christian University, the Music Director and Conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Abilene, and the Music Director/Conductor of the Abilene Youth Orchestra. He also serves as the conductor for the Ballet San Angelo yearly production of The Nutcracker, and the conductor of the orchestra and faculty ensembles for the Tennessee Governor’s Schoo for the Arts. Previously, he was Music Director/Conductor of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra in Kalamazoo, MI. and Director of Bands at Hope College in Holland, MI. Prior to his appointment at Hope College, Dr. Ward was the Music Director/Conductor of the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra in La Grande, OR, and Instructor of Music at Eastern Oregon University.
Dr. Ward holds a D.M.A. in Conducting from Michigan State University, a M.A. in Conducting from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a B.M. in Music Education from Abilene Christian University.
He has conducted extensively in many different areas including orchestra, band, musical theater, opera, and contemporary music, and is a recipient of the ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. He spent 9 summers at the Interlochen Arts Camp, conducting the Interlochen Philharmonic, as well as middle school and high school bands and orchestras, and faculty ensembles. He has conducted many all-region and similar ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, region orchestras and bands throughout Texas (TMEA and ATSSB), Michigan, Tennessee, and others. Guest appearances include Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, the Midland Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Midland Festival Ballet.
Dr. Ward is Past President of the South-Central Region of the College Orchestra Directors Association, President of the Southwestern Division of the College Band Directors National Association, and a member of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Directors Association, the American String Teachers Association, and the Conductor’s Guild.
Erin E. Weber, Adjunct Professor of Violin
Erin E. Weber is Adjunct Professor of Violin at Hardin-Simmons University and Abilene Christian University and recently finished a season with the Midland-Odessa Symphony & Chorale as Principal Second Violin and Second Violin of the Permian Basin String Quartet. She earned her Master of Music degree from Texas Tech University as a teaching assistant under Professor Annie Chalex Boyle and her Bachelor of Music degree from Southwestern University, where she studied with Dr. Eri Lee Lam. While at Texas Tech University, Erin performed outreach concerts in West Texas communities as a member of the Texas Tech University String Quartet and served the Texas Tech University String Project as a violin instructor and graphic designer.
In 2009 Erin won the concerto competition at Southwestern University and was the featured soloist with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra as the Amarillo Symphony Guild’s Young Artist competition winner in 2008. Erin has frequently accompanied chorales such as the Lubbock Chorale and Amarillo Master Chorale and has performed chamber music concerts with Chamber Music Amarillo and as a guest artist of the Lake City Arts Chamber Music Series in Colorado. As an orchestral musician she has performed with multiple ensembles, including the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Amarillo Symphony, and the Austin Civic Orchestra.
Her previous orchestral leadership roles include serving as Acting Concertmaster of Lubbock Symphony, Co-Concertmaster of the Texas Tech University Symphony Orchestra, and Co-Concertmaster and Principal Second of the Southwestern University Orchestra. Erin has also engaged in several national and international music festivals, including the Round Top Festival Institute, Lake City String Academy, Hot Springs Festival, Madeleine Island Chamber Music Camp, and the IES Vienna Summer Music Festival in Vienna, Austria. She has had the privilege of performing in masterclasses for such teachers as Thomas Rosenburg, Paul Cantor, Charlie Castleman, and Kevork Madirossian. Her pre-collegiate teachers include Beverly de la Bretonne, who reared her in the Amarillo College Suzuki Program from age 3, and Dr. Keith Redpath.
Nurturing students’ creativity and facilitating their musical expression through developing reliable technique are Erin’s principle motivations for teaching.
Jeanine Wheeler, Adjunct Instructor of Piano and Elementary Music
Jeanine Wheeler joined the HSU Department of Music as a staff pianist in 2016, bringing with her a varied experience as music therapist, educator, and performer. Having received her dual Bachelors in Music Education and Music Therapy from Radford University, with a dual emphasis in trumpet and piano, she taught elementary music, choirs, and various math and science courses at parochial schools throughout mid-Michigan before heading to the University of Kentucky to begin a Masters in Musicology. While in Lexington, Jeanine became well-known as a collaborative pianist and independent piano teacher, while providing music therapy services in school systems throughout the state and continuing to teach elementary music in small rural schools.
Since arriving in West Texas, Jeanine has been active as a music therapist in community mental health and pediatric hospital settings, independent piano teacher, vocal coach specializing in musical theatre, and performer in both Lubbock and Abilene. In 2017, she was invited to perform at the College Music Society International Conference in Sydney, Australia, along with a series of new music recitals hosted by Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She completed her Masters in Music Therapy at Colorado State University in December 2021.
Music Ensemble Opportunities
“The World Famous” Cowboy Band, an ensemble rich in history and tradition, has been an important part of HSU, Abilene, and West-Texas since its inception in April 1923. Membership in the Cowboy Band is open to all HSU students, both men and women, with prior high school band experience. The band regularly performs for football and basketball games, rodeos, presidential and gubernatorial inaugurations, parades, and many other campus and civic events. Presenting some 35 performances annually, it is one of the most widely heard and seen musical ensembles in all of West Texas!
With more than 110 years of tradition, the Concert Band is HSU’s largest musical ensemble. Its members typically represent more than 25 major programs offered at the university and include music majors, music minors, and non-music majors. The Concert Band performs four campus concerts each year and tours off campus every spring. The Concert Band has performed for audiences throughout Texas as well as Colorado, New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Missouri.
The Concert Band’s performances draw from a wide variety of traditional and contemporary repertoire and have included regional premieres of significant works by Roger Cichy, Martin Ellerby, Julie Giroux, Adam Gorb, Yo Goto, Joe Hisaishi, Chang Su Koh, Coby Lankester, John Mackey, Jared Spears, Stephen Melillo, and Guy Woolfenden, as well as world premieres of works by Bernard Scherr, Jeffrey Cottrell, William Owens, and Daniel Porter.
The Concert Band has presented acclaimed performances at the College Band Directors National Association – 2008 Southwest Division Conference in Kansas City, MO, Texas Music Educators Association Convention, Baptist General Convention of Texas, and New Mexico Baptist Convention.
Some of the band’s most distinguished alumni include Colonel Brian Shelburne Jr., director of the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” (1990-2000), Colonel Jack Grogan, director of the United States Army Field Band (1991-1999), and the late Dr. W. Francis McBeth, acclaimed composer and conductor. Additionally, nearly 10% (24) of all the members of the prestigious Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame were part of the HSU band program.
A large ensemble open to all university students by auditions held at the beginning of each fall semester. Concert Choir is designed for study and performance of representative works from choral schools since the sixteenth century. Concert Choir is the primary tour choir, and has performed by invitation throughout Texas.
View some of our performances on YouTube:
An ongoing, flexible organization designed to study and perform standard chamber music repertoire for various combinations of instruments. Open to all students by audition. Examples of some of our chamber groups include the Trombone Ensemble, the Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, and the Brass Quintet.
A large ensemble open to all university students. Chorale is designed for study and performance of major choral works. No audition is required for this ensemble. Students wishing to participate may enroll during registration for course credit, or choose to participate without credit to their transcript.
All students participating in University Chorale are required to give a placement hearing, the beginning of each fall semester. This hearing is for placement only, not as a requisite for enrollment.
The Hardin-Simmons Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Cottrell, is dedicated to the study and performance of Jazz in many different forms. We perform everything from swing music by the Count Basie band to progressive rock by King Crimson. We also have students that practice and perform in small combos as an outgrowth of the jazz ensemble, and feature them in performance on and off campus. The ensemble is open to anyone regardless of his or her major.
An ensemble which presents fully staged productions each year, as well as a course in the practical application and performing aspects of opera and musical theater. Auditions are held periodically throughout the semester. Times and dates of these auditions are posted in the lobby of the Hemphill Music Building. Dr. Christopher Hollingsworth is Director of Opera for HSU.
A list of some past productions follows: Don Giovanni, Candide, Carmen, Albert Herring, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Die Fledermaus, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, The Gondoliers, Hansel and Gretel, Suor Angelica, The Medium, Gianni Schicchi, Dido and Aeneas, Guys and Dolls, 110 In The Shade, Trouble in Tahiti as well as others.
The Civic Orchestra of Abilene is sponsored primarily by the music departments of Hardin Simmons University, Abilene Christian University, and McMurry University,
Click on the following link for more information about Orchestra opportunities http://www.civicorchabilene.org/
Designed to develop sight-reading skills at the piano and explore two-piano/four hand literature. Instruction is also given in collaborative performance, including vocal, instrumental and chamber music. Performance opportunities are available as deemed appropriate by instructor.
Four semesters of Piano Ensemble is required for piano performance majors and open to other pianists by audition. Pianists should accompany at least two music students during the semester in which they are enrolled.
The school of Music at Hardin Simmons is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and was the very first music school in the state of Texas to receive accreditation. The program has been fully accredited by this organization since 1930.
Theta Lambda Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America received its charter in 1959. Phi Mu Alpha is a professional music fraternity for men interested in music. The main purpose of the fraternity is to advance the cause of music in America. The chapter has several projects during the school year such as co-sponsoring the “All-School Sing” with Sigma Alpha Iota and serving as stage assistants for all recitals in Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall. The main fundraising project for the chapter is the “All-School Sing,” with proceeds being used for scholarships and new equipment for HSU and the School of Music.
The Gamma Phi Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota was founded at HSU on February 4, 1961. It is an international fraternity for women in the field of music. The largest project locally is “All-School Sing,” co-sponsored with Phi Mu Alpha with all proceeds going to service projects such as the International Music Fund, scholarships, equipment, and materials for the School of Music. The Gamma Phi Chapter is supported by members of the former Abilene Alumnae Chapter of SAI. College membership is open to any music major or minor with a qualifying grade point average.
The Epsilon Pi Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda was founded at HSU in February 1984. Its primary objective is the recognition and encouragement of the highest level of musical achievement and academic scholarship. This national music honorary society chooses its members annually by invitation only according to class ranking and/or grade point average. There are over 130 chapters of Pi Kappa Lambda nationwide.
Music Educators National Conference and Texas Music Educators Association are organizations for music educators and are represented in the School of Music through a student affiliate chapter. By participation in this professional organization at the student level, one is better prepared to serve the profession following graduation. All music education majors, as well as students in other majors, are strongly encouraged to become active in the profession through participation in the student music educators chapter.