UNI Community Music School Teachers and Staff
- Diana Blake, UNI New Horizons Band Director
- *Nathan Dickerson, Clarinet
- *Mackenzie Dugger, Flute, New Horizons Teacher
- *Jack Dunning, Trombone
- *Andrey Floryanovich, Saxophone
- Heather Hamilton, UNI CMS Administrator, Clarinet
- Michelle Kline, Secretary
- Melody Kosobucki, Piano and Adult Group Piano
- Jennifer LeGarde, Piano and Music Friends
- *Madison Mohr, Horn, New Horizons Teacher
- *Kayla Nissen, Piano and Ukulele
- Kelly Noltner, Voice
- *Brenda Sevcik, Trumpet and Piano
- *Jenna Skarphol, Voice
- *Ben Thessen, Trumpet, New Horizons Teacher
- Michelle Swanson, UNI Children’s Choir Director
- *Ben Thessen, New Horizons Teacher, Trumpet
- *Mack Vos, Percussion, New Horizons Teacher
*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 U. 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 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 time, Nathan enjoys fiddling with old audio equipment, watching movies, and hanging out with dogs.
Mackenzie Dugger is a flute performance major from Pella, Iowa. At UNI, Mackenzie has been a member of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Panther Marching Band, Northern Iowa Flute Choir, and Flute Loops flute quartet. She has studied with Dr. Hannah Porter Occena, Dr. Angeleita Floyd, and Dr. Claudia Anderson. In addition to teaching private lessons and the New Horizons Band flute section in Cedar Falls, Mackenzie is active in Pella as a flute teacher, and member of the Pella City Band.
In her free time, Mackenzie enjoys watching movies, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.
Jack Dunning is a Music Education major from Cedar Falls Iowa. He has played Trombone with the UNI symphonic band, UNI jazz band 2, the UNI trombone octet, the panther marching band, along with other small chamber ensembles.
Andrey Floryanovich grew up in the Iowa City area where he attended Clear Creek Amana High School. He is currently in the jazz studies program and has been involved in Jazz Band One, Wind Ensemble, Saxophone Quartet at the University of Northern Iowa, and a jazz quintet called Night Mayor.
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’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 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 as 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. This year she will be providing group piano classes for UNI's School of Music.
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 the 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.
Jennifer LeGarde 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 and 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.
Madison Mohr 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 Choir, 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 is a sophomore 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.
In her free time, Kayla likes to spend time with her family and friends, go on road trips, and watch musicals.
Kelly Noltner, soprano, earned her M.M. in Vocal Performance from The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in 2017 as well as an Artist Diploma Certificate in December of 2018. Kelly earned her B.M. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) in 2015. Recently, Kelly performed the role of Jackie Onassis in Scenes from "Jackie O" with UNI Opera. She has also performed as Nora in "Riders to the Sea (UNI), Clara in “Signor Deluso” (UNI), The Countess in "The Marriage of Figaro" (UWEC), Mama/Teacup/Dragonfly in "The Bewitched Child" with the Midwest Institute of Opera (MIO), the Midwest premiere of Terentia in "The Beautiful Bridegroom" (MIO), Rowan in "The Little Sweep" (UWEC), and Ida in "Die Fledermaus" (UWEC). Kelly has also performed partial roles as the title role in “Suor Angelica” (UNI), Fiordiligi in “Così fan tutte” (UNI), Adina in “L’elisir d’amore” (UWEC), and Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni” (UNI). Kelly has performed as a featured soloist with the UWEC Symphonic Choir and Symphony Orchestra in "Salisbury Vespers” by Chilcott as well as in Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms.” Kelly is a frequent recitalist and currently is an instructor of voice at Wartburg College and the University of Northern Iowa. Kelly accepts students ages 12 and older."Trained as a classical singer, I believe in teaching a strong technical foundation that facilitates the ability to achieve musical and artistic expression. My goal is to help students advance their ability to create a healthy production of sound, or "technique," while guiding them through the elements of the singing gesture encompassing language, style, and interpretation."
Brenda Sevcik 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 Jazzers. 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.
Soprano Jenna Skarphol graduated with her Bachelor of Arts from Oregon State University in 2016. Before relocating to Cedar Falls, Skarphol was involved with the Corvallis Repertory Singers, the Willamette Valley Symphony, and the Eugene Opera Chorus. She participated in Luke Housner’s Portland Summer Opera Workshop of Humperdinck's “Hansel und Gretel” and sang the leading role of Josephine with the Willamette Valley Symphony in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore” in 2017. Skarphol spent her time between degrees teaching private voice lessons and serving as vocal coach for the West Albany High School choirs and musical production. Currently Skarphol is studying voice with Professor Jeffrey Brich while pursuing her Masters degree in vocal performance at the University of Northern Iowa.
Michelle Swanson is an instructor of Music Education at the University of Northern Iowa. Mrs. Swanson teaches Elementary General Music Methods, Music for Childhood Education, Soundscapes, and also supervises student teachers in elementary general music. She is the faculty advisor for Sigma Alpha Iota. Swanson has taught at UNI for 13 years.
Dr. Swanson also conducts the UNI Children's Choir. This ensemble is a part of the Community Music School at UNI and is comprised of 90 elementary and middle school students from throughout the Cedar Valley. UNI Music Education students work with the group to observe and practice many teaching methods and skills. The UNICC performs annual concerts at the end of each spring and fall semester.
Swanson received her B.M.E. M.M., and Doctorate in Education degrees from U.N.I. She has taught elementary general music for 20 years and has directed numerous elementary, middle school, high school and adult choirs. Mrs. Swanson was awarded a Gold Star Teaching Award in 1996.
Ben Thessen 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 student 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.
Mack Vos is a Music Technology Major at UNI. He has worked for two years at Camp Musicmania, one year at the UNI percussion camp, and for one year as the frontline instructor at Waterloo East High School. He is also involved on campus. He was in the Panther Marching Band for two years, and was the center/lead snare player his second year. It is also his third year as a part of the UNI- Percussive Arts Society on campus, where he currently holds the position of Vice President in that organization.