MUSIC INSTRUCTORS

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Taylor Hickey

Voice

Taylor Hickey is a lyric soprano and music teacher in the Sandhills of North Carolina. She is a private voice teacher as well as a middle school choral teacher at New Century Middle School in Moore County, where she teaches chorus and musical theatre classes. Taylor is also a vocal soloist and handbell choir director at Hay Street United Methodist Church in downtown Fayetteville. Taylor studied voice with Steve Sanders and choral music under Dr. Z. Randall Stroope at Oklahoma State University before relocating to UNC-Pembroke where she studied under Dr. Jaeyoon Kim. Taylor graduated from UNCP with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with a concentration in voice. Taylor offers expertise in audition preparation, classical and broadway repertoire, and teaching voices of all ages.

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Amy Yarnell

Piano/Female Voice

A Missouri native, Amy Yarnell developed a love of piano at an early age. She began taking lessons at the age of six and grew up singing and playing in her church. At age fifteen, she became the piano player at her church and served as the music director for ten years. It was while serving in this role that she realized her passion for making music with children and helping young musicians develop their talents. She earned her Bachelors of Arts in Music Education from Evangel University and a Masters Degree in Gifted Education from Drury University. She taught K-12 vocal music in Missouri for two years and middle school gifted education in Tennessee for two and a half prior to moving to North Carolina. Amy is looking forward to the opportunity to work with students to develop their musical gifts and appreciation for the arts. 

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Ann Cockman

Strings

Ann grew up in Huntersville, NC which is near Charlotte and began violin study at age nine. She studied with Dr Linda Whitesitt, Jane Brendle, member of Charlotte Symphony and violin instructor at Davidson College and Wei Cai. She was a member of Charlotte Symphony and a violin instructor at Wingate University. She graduated Wingate University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with specialty in violin and string performance. 
Ann has been a private violin instructor since 1997 and been a conductor for orchestra's all over NC. She is so excited to be bringing her love of strings to The Encore Center!

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Hayley Jensen

Clarinet/Beginning Piano

Born and raised in the Chicago-Land area, Hayley Jensen began her musical studies at the age of eight and instantly developed a passion for performing. Hayley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Clarinet performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2016 and her Master’s in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in 2018 where she studied under the tutelage of Richard Hawkins and Kenneth Grant. While in school, Hayley participated in the Eastern Music Festival. Marrowstone Music Festival, and the Sarasota Music Festival, and hasperformed in concert halls across the country including Carnegie Hall and Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. In 2015, Greensboro’s News and Record described her playing as “a revelation” after her performance of Walter Piston’s Clarinet Concerto with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra. In 2018 Hayley enlisted with the army and served as a musician with the 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus, supporting the Ft. Bragg soldiers and community with hundreds of performances on and off post. Upon being honorably discharged from the army, Hayley decided to stay in the Fayetteville area where she currently freelances and teaches, eager to bring music to the younger generation.

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Ernesto Rivas

Guitar/Bass/Piano

Based out of North Carolina, Ernesto has vast performance experience working with numerous musicians and performance groups over the years.  A multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger, Ernesto has been featured on a number of recordings, from his self-released EP to performance tracks on other releases.  He has also interned with multi-award winning engineers & producers.

 

Ernesto received a B.S. in Music Industry Studies from Appalachian State University in 2009, and an M.M. in Music Business and Entertainment Industry from the University of Miami in 2017.  Rivas has studied under many esteemed musicians; as well as performed with both UNC Pembroke and App State Jazz ensembles, receiving an award for outstanding musicianship at the University of Northern Colorado at Greely’s International Jazz Festival in 2005.   

 

Mr. Rivas is currently an independent music instructor at Cape Fear Music Center in Fayetteville, NC, and at Carolina Performing Arts Studio in Cameron, NC.  Current performing groups include Dead City Symphony, The Several Devils, and Irrational Handshake, as well as other "for hire" work.

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Hannah Mebane

Strings

Hannah Mebane is a violinist and native to Pinehurst, NC. She started playing violin in the 4th grade through Moore County schools and received a Bachelors in Music Education from Meredith College in 2012. During her time at Meredith College, she studied with NC Symphony member, Carol Chung, and performed with the Meredith College Sinfonietta and the Onyx Trio. After graduation, she moved back to Moore County and taught at Highfalls K-8 School for 5 years, Eastover Central School of the Arts (Cumberland County) for one year, and is now currently the orchestra director at New Century Middle School. Hannah has a passion for spreading the love of music through string instruments and has 12 plus years of private instruction experience.

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Jung Ju Cha Kops

Piano

JJ has a dual degree from Silla University, Busan South Korea; Music Education; First major – Piano; Second major – Percussion and Violin Physical Education. Having worked at Community Education Center for Bryan County Schools for 11 year, she has over 20 years of experience playing and teaching piano. Teaching piano to children and adults from the ages 5+, JJ can play and teach various types of music which include pop, jazz, and classical.

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Margaret Graziano 

Voice

Margaret  Graziano, mezzo soprano, possesses a sound, combining depth, warmth, and clarity. Originally from St. Louis, Margaret has performed with Vespertine Opera, OperaWorks, Portland Summer Opera Program, Amalfi Coast Summer Opera, and Springfield Regional Opera, among others. She has been seen in roles including Mélantho in Fauré’s Pénélope, Third Lady and Third Spirit (Die Zauberflöte), and in the chorus for productions of Semele, Carmen, and Trial by Jury. As part of the 2015 OperaWorks Advanced Artist Program, Margaret created the role of one of the religious fanatics for the original production Singed, the program’s culminating performance. As a member of the 2011-12 Springfield Regional Opera Young Artist Program, she also performed in scenes programs as Charlotte (Werther), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Sesto (Giulio Cesare).  Most recently she could be heard in Red River Lyric Opera Summer Festival's Production of Il Matrimonio Segreto in the role of Fidalma and as Ms. Northwind in Jonathon Dove's The Enchanted Pig with Opera Steamboat .  In concert, Margaret was heard with the University of Washington Symphony Orchestra in the Mermaid Duet from Oberon, as the incidental music soloist in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and as the soloist for the Duruflé Requiem. She was also heard as the soloist for the Mosaic Springfield Music Ensemble’s production of the Fauré Requiem. In 2015, she competed in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Northwest Region, winning the Helen Price Encouragement Award. Margaret received a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from Drury University and a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Washington. She has taught voice privately to students of all ages and experience levels for ten years.

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Julianna McCloskey

Piano/Guitar

Julianna began teaching at Encore! in August of 2019, shortly after moving to North Carolina with her husband and two children. Originally from Pennsylvania, she developed a love for music at a young age through piano lessons.  Julianna participated in numerous ensembles throughout high school and college, playing bassoon, piano, and percussion and accompanied several choirs and soloists. Following her graduation from Mansfield University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy, she went on to work in the field of music therapy for 10 years. It was throughout this time that Julianna concentrated heavily on guitar and honed her improvisation skills on both the piano and guitar. She has taught over 100 private students throughout her 17 years of teaching. Julianna loves encouraging her students to work diligently while also finding joy in their music making experience.