Teachers and Staff

UNI Community Music School Teachers and Staff

clarinet zoom lesson

  • Diana Blake, UNI New Horizons Band Director
  • *Nathan Dickerson, Clarinet (Online Only)
  • *Mackenzie Dugger, Flute (Online Only)
  • *Morgan Eadie, Trumpet
  • *Jonathan Green, Saxophone
  • Heather Hamilton, UNI CMS Administrator, Clarinet
  • Michelle Kline, Secretary
  • Melody Kosobucki, Piano and Adult Group Piano
  • Amy Kotsonis, Children's Choir Director
  • Jennifer LeGarde, Piano (Online Only)
  • *Nicole Loftus, Percussion
  • *Brad Lorence, Euphonium
  • *Zachary Miller, Trombone
  • *Madison Mohr, Horn
  • *Kayla Nissen, Piano, Flute, Ukulele, Guitar (Online Only)
  • *Greg Novey, Piano
  • *Sophia Patchin, Bassoon
  • *Brenda Sevcik, Trumpet and Piano
  • *Ben Thessen, Trumpet (Online Only)
  • *Elsa Wemhoff, Piano

*Denotes UNI Student Teacher

Diana Blake graduated Osceola High School (Clarke Community) in 1959.  She received a Bachelor of Music  Education degree from Drake University in 1963 and a Master of Music Education from Drake Diana BlakeU. in 1965, and  has done additional graduate work at The University of Michigan and The University of Northern Iowa.

While completing her master’s degree, Blake taught lessons for the Des Moines Public Schools for two years.  Her first contract job began in August 1965, at Waverly-Shell Rock Community Schools teaching 6th and 7th grade band.  Over the course of 38 years, she taught band 5 through 8, junior high jazz band, lessons 5 - 12  (even taught a few bassoon lessons at Wartburg College), 9th and 10th grade band, and flags for the high  school marching band. Blake’s longest assignment was 5th grade (beginners) and 8th grade band.

​Blake has been an IBA member forever! Blake received the Philip Sehmann Excellence In Teaching Award - Elementary Level in 1996 from NEIBA. Also from NEIBA the Karl King Distinguished Service Award - Active in 1994 and 2000 and the Kart King Distinguished Service Award - Retired in 2007. She was also awarded the W-SR Friend of Education in 2014 for working with high school and junior high students at festival and contest time. Over the course of Blake’s teaching years, she has directed several honor bands.

Blake has directed the UNI New Horizons Band since May 2004. There are about 85 members (some of who are retired band directors who were her colleagues in NEIBA). As a performer, Blake has played clarinet in the Waterloo Municipal Band since 1983 and bassoon in the Cedar Falls Municipal Band since 1988. She can also be found teaching private oboe and bassoon lessons in her studio and enjoys preparing students for All-State auditions and solo festivals.



Nathan Dickerson (Clarinet) is a music education major from West Des Moines, Iowa. He has been a member of the UNI Wind Ensemble, Clarinet Ensemble, West African Drum Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and the Panther Marching Band. In his free Nathan Dickersontime, Nathan enjoys fiddling with old audio equipment, watching movies, and hanging out with dogs.







Mackenzie Dugger

Mackenzie Dugger (Flute) is a recent graduate of the University of Northern Iowa (BM Flute Performance, '20). Now pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Kansas, Mackenzie still enjoys providing flute lessons for the UNI Community Music School. At UNI, Mackenzie was a member of Wind Ensemble, Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Quintetto Quidamity, Flute Choir, and many other groups. She also served as a peer educator for the music theory program and New Horizons Band flute teacher. Mackenzie enjoys baking, traveling, and going on walks.





Morgan Eadie is from Sheuyville, IA majoring in Instrumental Music Education.  She has studied with Eastern Iowa Brass Band’s retired Eb cornet player Dennis Mondracek, Solon high school band Morgan Eadiedirector and performer Desmond Cervantez, and current UNI trumpet professor Dr. Randy Grabowski.  She has been a part of the Panther Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz II and Jazz I, two student-led brass quintets, and other playing opportunities through UNI’s orchestra and musicals.  Besides playing trumpet, Morgan loves animals, cooking and baking, being outside, and making crafts she finds on Pinterest.




Jonathan Green is an instrumental music education major originally from DeWitt, Iowa.  Since beginning his time at UNI, Jonathan has been a member of the Panther Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Jonathan GreenConcert Band, Jazz Bands II and III, Basketball Pep Bands, and different saxophone quartets.  He is currently studying saxophone with Dr. Ann Bradfield, and has previously studied with Professor Chris Dickhaus and Professor Chris Merz.  In his free time, Jonathan enjoys listening to a wide variety of music, watching movies, and running.





Administrator of the UNI Community Music School, Heather Hamilton, began working at UNI in 2016. Originally from Moline, IL, music performance and education has always been an important part of Heather HamiltonHeather’s life. With two parents that worked as musicians and educators, she could not help but follow in their footsteps!  

Heather holds a Master of Music Education degree with an emphasis in Clarinet Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. Her capstone project focused on how to utilize the National Standards of Music and Comprehensive Musicianship in beginning clarinet instruction. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a Clarinet Performance degree. Heather’s primary clarinet instructors include Andrea Splittberger-Rosen, Molly Paccione, Eric Ginsberg, and Himie Voxman.  

As a clarinetist, Heather has had the pleasure of performing in a variety of groups, including playing professionally with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, the Quad City Opera Company, and the Quad City Symphony. She also performed with the Central Kentucky Concert Band, which is recognized as the premier adult concert band in the Commonwealth. Heather has taught clarinet for several years, in Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and now Iowa. She was an adjunct faculty member at Black Hawk College and was a faculty instructor at the UW-Stevens Point, Arts and Culture Outreach program.  

Heather has worked in music retail, and managed various music lesson studios.  Her proudest achievements come from seeing her students succeed, not only as musicians, but to see them grow up to be some pretty special people.


Melody Kosobucki (Piano) received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and earned her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Northern Iowa. Active asMelody Kosobucki a performer and instructor of piano, she frequently appears on stage as both a solo and collaborative performer. Melody spent time abroad teaching in Cajamarca and Polloc, Peru and currently serves as an instructor of piano for the Community Music School at UNI.






Michelle Kline is a Secretary II in the Russell Hall office and works with the Community Music School. She graduated from Iowa State University with her B.S. in Public Relations. Born and raised in Michelle Kostielneythe Quad Cities, she has been slowly making her way around Iowa, and now resides in the Cedar Valley area with her dog Jericho and two cats, Brutus and Caesar. 

When she is not in the office, you can usually find her scoping photography locations or planning her next adventure.





Amy Kotsonis is Assistant Professor of Choral Ensembles and Music Education, conducts the UNI Singers and Women's Chorus, the UNI Children's Choir, and teaches choral conducting and choral Amy Kotsonismethods. Prior to graduate school at Florida State University, she served as Assistant Conductor, Director of Workshops, and Satellite School Teacher for the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC). Kotsonis directed the Intermezzo chorus, served as vocal coach for all divisions, and prepared YPC choruses for radio and television appearances, recording sessions, tours, and performances throughout New York City’s concert halls and abroad.

An active clinician, she has directed choral workshops and conducted festivals throughout New England, New York City and Florida.  Dr. Kotsonis is active in state and national organizations and has presented at state, national and international conferences.  She was the Artistic Director of Soho Voce and Assistant Conductor of the Soharmoniums, two choral ensembles based in New York City.  Dr. Kotsonis has previously taught in public schools in New York City and Boston, and serves as conductor and instructor at the Summer Youth Music School at the University of New Hampshire.  She is also an active church musician, having served in a variety of churches in Maine, New Hampshire and Florida.

Dr. Kotsonis completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education at Florida State University.  She is also a graduate the University of New Hampshire with a Master of Arts in Choral Conducting and Music History, and New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education.


Jennifer LeGarde (Piano) graduated in 2017 with her Master’s of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Northern Iowa. Her piano studio has consisted of students of all ages Jennifer LeGardeand she has been on staff with UNI’s summer program, Camp Musicmania. Jennifer supports each of her students’ innate and individual interests in music-making and fosters functional applications of musical skills.






Nicole Loftus (Percussion) is a UNI student from Charles City, Iowa, majoring in Instrumental Music Education. She is currently in the Studio of Kramer Milan and Matthew Andreini. She has been a part of the Panther Marching Band and traveled withNicole Loftus them to Dublin, Ireland to perform in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade. She has also been a part of NISO, Symphonic Band, Taiko Drumming Ensemble, and Percussion Ensembles at UNI. In Nicole’s free time, she enjoys playing the piano, ukulele, and hanging out with friends and family.






Brad Lorence (Euphonium) is a senior at UNI studying music education with an instrumental emphasis. I am originally from Mason City, Iowa.Brad Lorence







Zachary Miller (Trombone/Bass Trombone) is a music education major originally from Muscatine, Iowa. He has been a member of the UNI Wind Ensemble, Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Zachary MillerSymphonic Band, Jazz Panthers, Jazz III, Trombone Choir, Trombone Octet, Panther Marching Band and various other student led ensembles. In his free time, Zach enjoys spending time with friends outside, cooking, and learning ridiculous fun-facts about anything and everything. 









Madison Mohr (Horn) is an instrumental music education major. During her time at UNI, she has performed with the Wind Ensemble, Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Panther Marching Band, UNI Horn Madison MohrChoir, and Tetracor Horn Quartet.  When not in classes or rehearsals, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching movies, painting, and baking.







Kayla Nissen (Piano) is a instrumental music education major from Dike, IA. At UNI, Kayla has been involved in pep band, panther marching band, women's chorus, and summer orientation staff.Kayla Nissen

In her free time, Kayla likes to spend time with her family and friends, go on road trips, and watch musicals.







Greg Novey (Piano) is an instrumental music education major from Central City, Iowa. While at UNI he has been a part of the Panther Marching Band, Concert Band, and Pep Band, as well as the Guild of Greg NoveyCarillonneurs. Greg has been playing piano since the age of four, and picked up trumpet along the way in 5th grade. In his free time he enjoys watching YouTube videos, learning Spanish and improvising on the piano.





Sophia Patchin (Bassoon) is an instrumental music education major from Des Moines, Iowa. She plays in the UNI Wind Ensemble (Bassoon), Panther Marching Band (Saxophone), and other small chamber ensembles. In her free time, she likes to read, Sophia Patchinvolunteer within the community, spend time with friends, and watch movies.



Brenda Sevcik (Trumpet, Piano, Organ) is a student at UNI studying Music Education and Performance. So far at UNI, Brenda has been a member of the Panther Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Panthers, and the Inglorious Brenda SevcikJazzers. She enjoys playing trumpet, organ, and piano at area churches on the weekends.  Brenda also enjoys running, baking cookies, and visiting her family during her free time.








Ben Thessen (Trumpet) is a music education major from Indianola, Iowa. During his time at UNI, Ben has performed with UNI Jazz Band III and Jazz Band II, the UNI Concert Band and UNI Symphonic Band, The Panther Marching Band, as well as various Ben Thessenstudent led chamber ensembles. Ben has also performed in numerous honor bands and was a member of the Des Moines Youth Symphony for several years. In addition to his studies at UNI, Ben also marches Drum Corps, and is a veteran of River City Rhythm Drum and Bugle Corps, and volunteers in pit orchestras for numerous community theater projects. During his free time, Ben enjoys composing and arranging music, as well as reading and rock climbing.







Elsa Wemhoff (Piano) is a UNI student majoring in music education from Red Oak, Iowa. She has been involved in the Panther Marching Band, Symphonic Band, and UNI Horn Choir. In her free time she enjoys musical theater, reading, and discovering newElsa Wemhoff music.