RED WING ACADEMY STAFF
Eric Brubaker | Host
Eric has been playing violin since age 5, when he learned to play using the Suzuki method. He studied classical music through high school and college. All the while, he had a love for fiddle music and teachers who supported the passion by providing a wide variety of music, from bluegrass to ragtime. His fiddle forays included the formation of bluegrass bands in high school and college, where he practiced familiar fiddle tunes and tried his hand at gathering, arranging, and singing songs from a variety of American musical traditions.
In 2010, Eric joined his long time friends and musical partners, The Steel Wheels, as the Americana roots band hit the road. In 2013, after playing in bluegrass and folk music festivals across the country, the band co-founded Red Wing Roots Music Festival, which they host every year. The festival has been a way to connect with local organizations and build a community around traditional music. In an effort to bridge his classical roots with his love of old-time and bluegrass music, Eric reached out to his former Suzuki program, Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music. They partnered to form a fiddle workshop, which has grown into Red Wing Academy.
Megan Tiller | Director
Megan is originally from southwest Virginia where she grew up as a Suzuki violin student beginning at the age of 4. She began Suzuki teacher training while in college at EMU and has been teaching ever since. In 2010, she started Tiller Strings Violin Shop, which specializes in selling, renting, and repairing stringed instruments and accessories in downtown Harrisonburg, VA.
In addition to teaching private and group classes to students of all ages, Megan works closely with public schools to advocate for stringed instrument classes to be taught alongside traditional band programs. Megan also has particular interest in old-time fiddle music, and she has a passion for providing this outlet to students who come from all backgrounds. In 2015 she helped launch the first Red Wing Fiddle Workshop with The Steel Wheels and in 2017 became director of the expanded Red Wing Academy.
Megan is actively involved in her local music scene as well as all across the country, on staff at music festivals like Bonnaroo, Red Wing Roots, Pickathon and Green Mountain.
Kelly Wiedemann | Associate Director
Kelly Wiedemann, a native of the Shenandoah Valley, began her musical training with the Suzuki violin method in EMU’s Preparatory Music Program at age 4. Thanks to the program’s curriculum, she developed a love of both classical and fiddle music from an early age and sees these two worlds mixing beautifully in string playing. Kelly’s passion is multistyle strings; embracing many styles and genres on string instruments as a way to help her students strengthen their technique, better connect to their instrument, and improvise with confidence.
Kelly received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Washington Adventist University in Maryland where she played violin with the New England Symphonic Ensemble and percussion with the Columbia Concert Winds. In 2014, Kelly completed her Masters in Music Education from James Madison University, writing her thesis on the growing multistyle movement in string education, particularly fiddle, jazz, and rock. Kelly currently teaches in EMU’s Preparatory Music Program, the Harrisonburg City Public Schools Strings Program, and is the Orchestra and Strings Director at Shenandoah Valley Academy. Kelly is also currently working on a certification in therapeutic music to enable her to play music in healthcare facilities. When not teaching, she plays with the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra, does freelance performances, and continues learning new instruments and genres.
Trent Wagler | Instructor
Trent Wagler is a touring musician with the Americana band, The Steel Wheels. Since 2010, the band has released six studio albums and toured internationally and across the US, building a community of fans and friends. In addition to being lead singer, and playing guitar and banjo for The Steel Wheels, Trent’s songwriting has earned The Steel Wheels numerous Independent Music Awards (IMAs) and top 40 radio play on the Folk/Americana charts. Trent’s songs have also been featured on American Songwriter, Billboard, Paste, and NPR music among others. In 2013, Trent helped start the Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Mt. Solon, VA to cultivate and celebrate music culture in the Shenandoah Valley.
Sharon Miller | Instructor
Sharon began playing the violin in fifth grade in the public school strings program in her native Lititz, PA. While being grateful for the opportunity to learn the violin, even as a young student she felt there had to be a better way to learn music. She discovered that better way while observing public school Suzuki classes during her college years in Lynchburg, VA. As soon as she graduated from college, she began pursuing Suzuki training in a variety of settings throughout the United States.
Sharon developed a Suzuki string and orchestra program in a large private school in Baltimore, MD for eleven years before moving to the Shenandoah Valley to join the faculty of the EMU Preparatory Music Program. She enjoys teaching violin and viola to children and adults of all ages. As a Suzuki Teacher Trainer, she is passionate about mentoring young teachers.
Sharon has been inspired by the skills and creativity of the teachers of the Red Wing Academy. She is excited to continue collaborating with the Steel Wheels as they develop this new venture!
Randy Wiedemann | Instructor
Randy Wiedemann, from Luray, Virginia, grew up as a Suzuki trained violinist and violist in EMU’s Preparatory Music Program. He started on the violin at age 9 and added the viola at age 13. The Shenandoah Valley Youth Orchestra developed his love of the viola and he served as principal violist for five years.
Randy attended Southern Adventist University in Tennessee and received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an instrumental emphasis in viola. He was principal violist with Southern’s Symphony Orchestra for four years. Randy has played in multiple ensembles and chamber groups where he enjoys classical, fiddle, and everything in between. He has taught at summer Suzuki camps and at the Red Wing Fiddle camp since 2015. Randy currently is the Music Director at Columbia Adventist Academy in Washington State. When not busy with the viola, Randy enjoys sports, reading, history, and listening to all types of music.
Sean Ellsworth-Hoffman | Instructor
Sean Ellsworth-Hoffman has been teaching and playing fiddle for many years. He grew up in a musical family in Indiana and studied Irish music with New York-based fiddler Brian Conway. He plays with many bands in his home state, most notably The Goat’s Beards and Soltre. He is also fascinated by the relationship between Irish music and old-time dance music, those not so distant cousins separated by an ocean and re-imagined in the hills and hollers of the New World.
Sean teaches English as a New Language at Fairfield Elementary School in Fort Wayne, IN and also runs his own Fairfield Falcon Fiddle Club for 4th and 5th grade students who have performed at the annual FAME festivals and on the WBOI 89.1 NPR radio show Meet the Music with host Julia Meek.
Zachary Windsor | Instructor
Zachary is a current member of the professional Roanoke symphony, adjunct violin professor at Bridgewater college, and owner and operator of his business, Windsor Melodie’s, which provides services across the Shenandoah valley including private violin lessons, weddings, and other various events in need of a string player. From 2011 till 2015, Zachary studied music at the Shenandoah conservatory and obtained his bachelor’s. He continued his studies from 2018 till 2020, obtaining his master’s in music from James Madison University. Zachary loves teaching at the Red Wing Academy and has been doing so since summer of 2018.
Derek Kratzer | Instructor
Derek lives in Durham, NC where he has been a strings teacher for the past five years at Emerson Waldorf School. In this job, he starts the students on violin, viola, and cello in fourth grade and takes them all the way through high school as their orchestra director. He loves being able to see the students develop throughout their musical journey.
An Ohio native, Derek studied music at Eastern Mennonite University and then completed his Masters in Music Education from Indiana University. Derek has performed and recorded as a bassist with bluegrass, jazz, folk, and classical ensembles and currently is working on a recording project with Trent Wagler of the Steel Wheels.
Peter Oswald | Instructor
Peter is a native of Richmond, Virginia where he began his musical exploration merging a traditional classical cello approach with various other musical styles. He attended Shenandoah Conservatory (BM), Eastman School of Music (MM), and Temple University (PhD) studying cello and music education. His most influential teachers have been Cylde Thomas Shaw and Eugene Friesen.
Peter currently teaches music in the Lower Merion School District near Philadelphia. As a performer, Peter collaborates with a variety of folk and classical musicians, most recently Under the Oak and Adam Monaco. In addition to music, Peter enjoys being outdoors, especially with his dog Ladle.
Eric Hochstetler | Instructor
Eric Hochstetler grew up playing mainly classical music in school and church, then discovered bluegrass while at Goshen College. Since then, he spends most of his free time figuring out how to play all kinds of music, and getting others interested in it as well. He maintains an active private studio teaching mainly piano and guitar, as well as class keyboard to highschoolers at Emerson Waldorf—alongside Steel Wheel Derek Kratzer. He also loves jamming with his professional musician neighbors—who you can catch at Redwing Roots this year! Eric lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife, three kids, and dog Charlie.
Adam Carter | Instructor
Hailing from Bellefontaine, Ohio, Adam sings, plucks and strums a variety of instruments including Guitar/Banjo/Fiddle as well as dabbling in anything else he can get his hands on such as baritone uke, tenor guitar, harmonium, pump organ. He has played with several old-timey and/or celtic-ish groups over the years such as Goldmine Pickers, Soltre, The Murphy Bedheads and The Goat’s Beards.
Devon Sproule | Instructor
Devon is a songwriter and music teacher living in Charlottesville, VA. She teaches songwriting, guitar, ukulele, and rock band at The Front Porch music school. In her touring days, she released records with Tin Angel Records in the UK, toured her butt off (including pregnant in Australia!) and collaborated with African musicians in Kenya. She’s been married to producer Paul Curreri for 17 years and the two live with their funny daughter Ray and good dog Tim in Fry’s Spring, C’ville. Devon was raised on eco-villages near Kingston, Ontario and Louisa, VA. She loves the Beatles and can tie her shoes really fast.
Mariana Bowling | Instructor
Mariana grew up in Richmond, where she studied violin from the age of seven and continued to study privately and play with various youth orchestras through high school. While the JMU music program is what brought Mariana to Harrisonburg, once there she was pulled toward other interests and obtained a degree in Integrated Social Studies and Environmental Studies. However, Mariana found her way back to the violin when she met her husband Chris Howdyshell, as co-owners of the Little Grill Collective, and they formed a band called The Red River Rollercoaster in 2004. While this band dissolved when Mariana and Chris had their first child, music remains a big part of their family. Mariana, Chris, Oliver, and Melody are working toward their dream of the family band.
Currently, Mariana has just finished her fifth year as a lead Montessori teacher at Woodland Montessori School, following five years of being an assistant and Montessori art teacher. Mariana loves guiding children of all ages and being witness to moments of joy as they discover new things within themselves and the world around them. There is no greater honor than being part of and witness to the process of discovery, especially self-discovery.
Maggie Hagy | Instructor
Maggie Hagy is a Virginia native with singing in her roots. She grew up writing songs and collaborating with musicians and her love of music led her to receive a Bachelor of Music Education in Voice from James Madison University. During college, she was in a touring female duo, Maggie & Jordan where she was actively writing and performing across the state. After college, Maggie started teaching and continued to sing with professional choirs such as the VOCE singers and the Valley 7.
Maggie currently teaches middle school chorus at Short Pump Middle School in Richmond but has experience at all levels. Previously she taught Pre-K- 5 elementary music at Keister Elementary School, worked with the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, and taught choirs at John Champe High School in Loudoun County. Maggie Hagy has her masters in Educational and Teacher Leadership and was the recipient of the Young Music Educator Award from JMU.
Outside of the classroom, Maggie enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and whitewater rafting with her husband Will, and dog Maury.
Monica Carlson | Instructor
Bethany Jubilee | Instructor
Ellen Coplin | Instructor
Ellen Coplin crawled over to the piano as a toddler and hasn’t been able to shake the music habit since! She grew up in Northwest Ohio playing piano and cello and graduated from Taylor University with a bachelors in music composition. She currently resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana where she has been teaching music for the last decade. When she is not busy teaching she plays keyboard and cello with the Irish band Soltre, the old time group Goats Beards, and the newgrass band Debutants.
Ellen Kasiske | Instructor
Ellen Kasiske has been a resident of Harrisonburg, VA since graduating from James Madison University in 2015 where she studied music education. She is currently the orchestra director at Skyline Middle school in Harrisonburg, VA. Ellen has performed on violin with various ensembles in the shenandoah valley including the Waynesboro Symphony and the Crozet Community Orchestra. When she isn’t playing or teaching music you can find Ellen riding bikes or running in the mountains around Harrisonburg.
Kevin Joaquin Garcia | Instructor
Kevin Garcia is a professional drummer, percussionist and audio engineer living in New York City. Kevin performs and records primarily with The Steel Wheels, but also works with Wheatus, The Duhks, Duncan Sheik, Hazmat Modine, 9 Horses, Gato Loco, Pape Armand Boye, and Charlie Rosen to name a few additional artists and bands. Kevin also works on Broadway and has held principal chairs at Fun Home, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Murder Ballad, and at Shakespeare In The Park. Kevin accompanies modern dance for professional companies and schools. Kevin worked with Merce Cunningham for 10 years until his passing, and is currently on faculty at Alvin Ailey/Fordham University, New York University and Marymount Manhattan College. For more information, please visit www.kevinjoaquingarcia.com
Molly Murphy | Instructor
Molly’s love of music came at an early age, singing in choirs from age 4, participating in all the school musicals, and making music with her family for as long as she can remember. She attended Stuart Hall School in Staunton, VA as a music student in the Visual and Performing Arts program from 1999-2003, and attended James Madison University where she continued to study music.
Her performing career in music began with her first band, The Bourbon Specials, based out of Charlottesville, VA in 2005. A few years later, she and a group of friends formed The Judy Chops, and have been performing regionally, as well as up and down the east coast since 2007. “Molly’s solid musicianship and dedication have been the background for the band’s solid arrangements.” She plays rhythm guitar, sings, writes, and arranges. (www.thejudychops.com) Molly also performs in a duo ensemble, The Marvelous Murphy Sisters with her sister Sally Murphy, in which their mother, Lorie Lichtenwalner, and younger sister, Lizzie Cahalin, also occasionally join. (www.facebook.com/
She has performed and/or recorded with several musicians including Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root, Midnight Spaghetti and the Chocolate G-strings, Acme Swing Mfg. Co, Pete Stallings, Lost Indian, Sally Rose Band, Sarah Lynna and the Misfit Toys, Brian Patrick Band, Ludwell Joseph, Den Frumen, and The Boogie Kings. She loves to share in making music as a jam host in Staunton, as well as in old time/ neo-trad gatherings such as at the Appalachian String Band Festival.
Molly opened Queen City Music Studios: a school of music for learning by ear, in September 2016. (www.queencitymusicstudios.com
Christa Hoover | Instructor
Christa Hoover is a Suzuki teacher and violinist in Harrisonburg, VA. Originally from south central PA, Hoover started violin at a young age. She studied with Lee Joiner at Wheaton College in IL before spending a year in Bolivia and Honduras and then moving to the Shenandoah Valley. Her work here has included teaching strings and after-school violin with Harrisonburg City Public Schools, involvement with RWA and EMU Preparatory Music camps, coaching orchestra for Washington and Lee University, playing with the Waynesboro Symphony, and giving lessons and group classes with EMU Prep. Christa did Suzuki training with Sharon Miller. Her non-musical passions include Spanish, travel, faith, tea, tiny things, and, of course, her husband and two small children!
Kim Souther | EMU Prep Music
Erin Weldon | EMU Prep Music
Erin Weldon, a native of the Shenandoah Valley, accepted the managerial position for the Prep Music Department in 2021. Here she helps to oversee the private instrumental lessons, she helps to meet the needs of the teachers and families involved in the HCPS after school violin program, and she also works alongside Y-Ping Chen and Kim Souther with the youth symphony and concert orchestra. Mrs. Weldon brings over 5 years of managerial experience as she also manages the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir. Outside of work, Erin enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, church family and friends.
Jess Herr | Camp Coordinator
Jess Herr lives in Linville, Virginia with her husband, Jay, and daughter, Lia. She is an artist and an art instructor at Fort Defiance High School. Jess has been teaching art for nineteen years. She grew up in Weyers Cave, Virginia in a family of musicians. She plays music as a hobby and has been in a few local bands. Jess’ daughter, Lia, has participated in Red Wing Academy since its very first year. Jess enjoys music festivals and believes the best part of Red Wing Roots each year is the performance put on by the students at Red Wing Academy. She loves watching the students at RWA learn and grow so much in such a short time. Jess’ role of Camp Coordinator will include making sure all the students are safe and happy during camp.
Peggy Brubaker | Community Liaison
Peggy’s family have been involved with Red Wing Academy since its conception. Her daughters, Norah & Lydia, have attended RWA each year and she is married to Eric Brubaker. Peggy brings experience with coordinating volunteers and various non-profit programs and currently works at an elementary school. Peggy is currently enrolled at EMU in the Masters of Education: Trauma and Resilience in Education program. She has enjoyed watching RWA grow and seeing the students’ love and excitement that comes from the music and the community it creates. Peggy looks forward to supporting the staff and students in various ways throughout the week of camp.
Ben Bowman | Associate Coordinator
Ben has been a Harrisonburg resident since graduating from Eastern Mennonite University in 2002. He has been a special education teacher in Rockingham County Public Schools for the last 19 years. Fly fishing, gardening and landscaping, and riding his bike around Harrisonburg are just a few of the things that are important to him. Ben is looking forward to combining his interest in teaching with his love of music. He is excited to help at Red Wing Academy for another year, and looks forward to seeing the students come together and show off their skills at Red Wing Roots 2023!
Kyrie Beiler | Admin Assistant
Kyrie is from Harrisonburg, VA, and studies at Shenandoah Conservatory as a Violin Performance major after taking lessons for the past twelve years. She has been involved in high school orchestras and musicals, the Shenandoah Valley Youth Symphony, assistant teaching in elementary Violin Clubs through the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music program at EMU, and many performances with the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. She loves exploring alternative musical styles and sharing them with others in her free time, and she attributes that to her time as a Red Wing Academy student in her youth.