Meet the judges!
sOLO cOMPETITION - fRI & sAT
Erica Mack is a Richmond, VA native. Her love of music derived from the experiences she shared at her alma mater, Manchester High School. She studied Music Education, with a concentration in Vocal Performance at Winston-Salem State University. Through her pedagogical studies, she developed a desire for advocacy and education. With this new zeal she pursued a Master of Education in Counselor Education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and earned the ability to work as a school counselor. Over the last five years, Erica has grown in experience and fervor in efforts to make education better and to make arts education a priority. She has been able to work as a music therapist in various children’s hospital, help legislation create effective policy for art education and even continue to sing at various charity events such as The 2018 Virginia Gubernatorial Inaugural Gala. She is currently working on her Educational Doctorate in Education Policy at George Washington University. Along with her studies, she is currently serving as school counselor in Fairfax County Public Schools and an educational advocate and consultant in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Wes Dunnavant is honored to be a part of the 2020 Koste Classic! Wes is often called upon to serve as an accompanist, arranger and adjudicator throughout central Virginia. He has routinely accompanied several concerts per year for middle and high school choirs since his time as a student at the Specialty Center for the Visual and Performing Arts at Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield County. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, where he was music director and conductor of the William and Mary Schola Cantorum. More recently, Wes has accompanied choirs at Virginia All-District and All-County events, arranged music for Virginia show choirs, and performed as a tenor with the James River Singers. He is a frequent adjudicator in audition and competition settings and has appeared at such events as the Mid-Atlantic Show Choir Spectacular and the Commonwealth Choral Invitational. He sends best wishes to all of the choirs performing!
SARA TYER JONES
Sara Jones holds a Master of Music in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has teaching experience in K-5 General Music, as well as experience teaching private voice and piano lessons to students of all ages, and teaching music education courses at the undergraduate level. She was the recipient of the Special Projects in Music Award in the Spring of 2017, a grant at UNCG which allowed her to collaborate with VCU Arts alumna Emily Burlingame to create the children’s book, “We Are Musicians: A Book for Making Music Together.” Her work has been published in General Music Today and her research interests include inclusive music education and educational psychology.
Ripley, West Virginia
Friday & Saturday
Choreographer Brooke Bailey Smolder graduated from Marshall University in 2005 with a BA in education, math and physical education, as well as an MS in Athletic Administration. At Marshall University, Brooke was a four year member and captain of the dance team. She continued at MU to become head coach of the team for an additional five years. Brooke has choreographed and coached many high school dance teams and cheerleading squads in WV. Brooke choreographs for several middle school and high school show choirs throughout the state of West Virginia and Ohio. In addition to being a choreographer and show choir adjudicator, Brooke is devoted to her children and her church. Brooke resides in Ripley, WV with her husband Eddie and her children Braylie and Eddric
Christopher L. morgan
Friday & Saturday
Christopher L. Morgan is thrilled to be back at Manchester HS for this incredible competition. Mr. Morgan was a member of Capital Swing for all four years of his time at Manchester under the inspired vision of Susan Kish and the courageous leadership of Pete Koste. He was chosen his senior year to represent Manchester in the soloist competition when the group took its second trip to “Showstoppers” in Disney World, Florida. After graduation, Christopher continued his education at James Madison University (where he was a Madisonian) before leaving to begin his professional career as a principle dancer on the National Tour of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL”. Upon its completion, Mr Morgan tour 3 more productions and starred in 7 regional theaters across the country before making his Broadway debut in 2001 in “Kiss Me, Kate” at the Martin Beck Theater. Through touring and large regional theater work across the country, Mr Morgan has performed in over 200 venues in 48 states and 5 countries. In Atlanta, Mr Morgan helped Steven King, John Mellencamp, and T Bone Burnett create the character of Dan in the world premier of “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County”, an award winning horror musical. More recently, Mr Morgan has transitioned to include film and television into his repertoire. As an actor Christopher starred with David and Tamela Mann in “Merry Wishmas” presented by TVOne this past Christmas. As a producer, his production company “Holiday Love” has produced 4 televised Christmas specials starring todays brightest gospel stars. Chris is married to television actress Kim Fields and they have two sons, Sebastian and Quincy.
lOS aNGELES, California
Thursday, Friday & Saturday
THOMAS SCHULTHEIS has served as a teaching artist for numerous academies, competitions, festivals, intensives, invitationals, and showcases. He has developed the workshops Musical Theatre Exploration Clinic, Inspiration Workshop, and Let Me Try That Again. He received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from James Madison University and is pursuing his Master of Arts in Strategic Communication from National University. Under his award winning leadership as Sales Manager for Disney Performing Arts at the Disneyland® Resort, he created Inspiring Brilliance, an event which brings leading educators together from around the world. He has developed individual workshop opportunities called Open Enrollmentand is part of the team that developed the first Disney Performing Arts Conservatory.Additionally, Thomas performed on Broadway in the revival of Grease!and in the tours of Smokey Joe's Cafe, Chicago,and South Pacific.