Brenda Eeds, Director
Founder of Pacific School of Music & the Arts in 1990, Ms. Eeds received her BM from Biola University in Piano Performance, followed by graduate work at USC, CSUF, UCI and E-Myth Academy in Piano Performance, Vocal Accompanying & Coaching, Piano Pedagogy, Arts Administration and Business Development. After leaving the music schools for a 2-year adventure in France, Ms. Eeds has returned to the directorship of the schools. “It’s a pleasure and privilege to work with our students and their families and with my talented and dedicated colleagues in the classroom and in the office. We look forward to expanding our programs and position in the arts community.”
Elizabeth Mejia, Assistant Director
Ms Elizabeth Mejia was born in El Salvador into a family with musical talent going back several generations. Her education in Business Administration, with emphasis in Pre-Law gave her a vast knowledge and in 1995, she followed an administrative career as Executive Assistant to the Senior Partner of a prestigious law firm in West Los Angeles. Excellent customer service, detail oriented and patient demeanor are just a few of the many positive qualities that describe Ms. Elizabeth. She enjoys attending musical concerts and theater and is looking forward to enriching her family’s next generation by teaching her own daughter the beauty of music and arts. We appreciate Ms. Elizabeth for keeping us organized and operating efficiently.
Alla Shklovski, Piano & Theory
Ms. Alla received her Ph.D. in Musicology from St Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. In Kazakhstan, where she was born, Ms Alla taught piano classes and theory courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She designed course materials for theory courses and performed research in oriental music theory while serving as an associate professor at the Conservatoire in Kazakhstan. Ms Alla moved to the US in 1993 and has been on the faculty of Pacific Conservatory since 2001. She is beloved by her students for her delightful personality and superb teaching skills. Ms Alla is an avid skier and enjoys interior design, literature and traveling.
Ellen Park, Voice & Piano
Ms. Ellen has been teaching voice and piano lessons in Korea, New York, Aspen, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County since 1997. She earned a Master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has performed many opera roles from Don Pasquale, Cosi Fan Tutte, L’Elisir d’Amore, Cendrillon, Don Giovanni and Rigoletto. She has also won numerous competitions such as Palm Springs Opera Guild, Holt & Maria, NATS, LA Music Center, etc. She has been on the Pacific Conservatory faculty since 2010 and enjoys teaching music to children. Ms. Ellen wants to help people to express themselves through music.
Ezekiel Lanser, Drums & Percussion
Mr. Ezekiel graduated Cum Laude and received his Bachelor's of Music specializing in percussion performance from the University of North Texas. He also received a minor in music theory. Mr. Ezekiel has over five years of private lesson teaching experience, two years of school district teaching experience, conservatory teaching experience, and an extensive marching percussion background in performing and teaching. His main percussion instrument is drumset, but is proficient on the orchestral snare drum, marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, timpani, marching percussion, latin percussion (including bongos, congas, and timbales), and all forms of orchestral percussion. Mr. Ezekiel also studied piano and music theory extensively. He has studied many styles of drumset at the University of North Texas including jazz with world renowned jazz drumset artist and teacher Ed Soph.
Emily Mingchi Chao, Piano & Keyboard
Ms.Emily, who is completing her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Piano Performance at USC, has ten years experience teaching piano. Seriously studying music for more than 20 years which includes a Bachelor degree in Music and Masters degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University, Emily is knowledgeable with musicality, theory, music history and music education. Her teaching strategy focuses especially on playing the piano with natural body movements in order to avoid injury. Besides her extensive piano training, Emily studies instrumental conducting with Larry Livingston and Sharon Lavery at USC. She is also well accomplished in jazz studies. Her goal is to provide a variety of musical experience in order to enrich the student’s musical journey. We are pleased to welcome Emily Mingchi Chao to Pacific Conservatory faculty in Summer 2012. Click here to view Ms. Emily's video interview.
Marcella Muller, Piano & Music Therapy
Ms. Marce, native of Oklahoma, came to California in 2008 to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy with an emphasis in Piano at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She passed her board certification exam in August of 2009 and has worked as a Music Therapist and Piano Teacher the past 3 years. Ms. Marce has studied piano for more than 20 years and has participated in many competitions and recitals. She is an experienced accompanist for college choirs and instrumentalists. She draws on her Music Therapy experience to transform piano teaching to the needs of her students. She makes it fun, interactive, and positive so her students are more successful and feel empowered through their growing knowledge of music. Ms. Marce is passionate about teaching music to others and giving them the gift she was given at a young age that truly changed her life. Ms Marce has been on the Pacific Conservatory faculty since 2011.
Marko Ngego, Piano
Mr. Marko Njego received his B.A. in Piano Performance from UCLA where he studied under the renowned pianist and professor Vitaly Margulis. During his senior year, Mr. Njego performed in concert with Los Angeles Philharmonic concertmaster Mr. Mark Kashper and UCLA Cello Professor Antonio Lysy. Mr. Njego began his piano studies in Belgrade, Serbia where he attended the University of Belgrade, School of Fine Arts. During this time, Mr. Njego competed and received highest recognition in numerous international piano competitions throughout Europe. He continues to perform as soloist with southland orchestras including Saddleback College Symphonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica di Pietra Ligure and UCLA Symphonic Orchestra. Mr. Marko has been on the faculty of Pacific Conservatory since 2010.
Sarah Vay Kerns, Flute & Recorder
Ms. Sarah received her Bachelors degree in Flute Performance from Utah State University studying with Leslie Timmons. She played with the Symphony Orchestra and the Caine Woodwind Quintet among other ensembles. She received a Masters degree from Brigham Young University, studying with April Clayton. She played with the West Winds Woodwind Quintet and the Wind Symphony. While spending a year in interim study with Jill Felber, she fell in love with Southern California. Sarah now freelances with various groups in the area, and is a member of the Orange County Flute Quartet. Her students regularly participate in Certificate of Merit and have placed at the Southern Youth Music Festival competition. She joined the faculty of Pacific Conservatory in 2010.
Jimmy Packes, Guitar
Jimmy is a unique artist with over 20 years in the music industry. He has worked with such artists as Zebra, the Good Rats, Steve Morse and producers Nile Rogers and Tom Werman. Jimmy has been courted to play guitar for Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N Roses, Never the Bride, Faith No More, David Lee Roth and others. Touring has carried him across the country and around the world and he is also the co-owner of Azimuth Jag Records (New York and London). The UK press declared him one of the leading instrumental guitarists on the globe following the release of “Axxe to Grind” and he was also invited to the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Jimmy has recently relocated to So.Cal, bringing real world experience to teach students how using all the available tools (different forms, techniques, expression, improvisation) facilitates originality in composition. Jimmy has experience teaching guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, beginning drums, song writing and composition, vocal coaching and audio recording and production. Once students reach a certain stage in their education, he teaches them how to deal with other musicians, band politics, and the business end of music. He joined Pacific Conservatory faculty in 2012.
Serge Bueso, Piano, French & Spanish
Mr. Serge graduated with the highest honors from the National Music Conservatory in France as well as graduating from the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris in Philosophy and Foreign Languages. Mr. Serge became the youngest tenured Professor of Piano at the National Conservatoire in France while also maintaining a very active soloist and chamber recitalist career, mainly in France and Spain. After moving to the United States, Mr. Serge performed at the Music Festival of the Hamptons in East Hampton, New York, where he also performed as an accompanist for the Harlem Opera. When Mr. Serge moved to Southern California, he quickly established himself as a performer and teacher. He was the coach and accompanist for the Opera Programs at UCI and California State University, Long Beach. In addition, he was the Assistant Music Director to Scott Harlan conducting and directing The American Girls Revue in Los Angeles. Serge teaches Music and Foreign Languages (French and Spanish) and performs frequently with vocalists/choirs and in musical productions. Mr. Serge joined the faculty of Pacific Conservatory in 2011 and teaches at both our Orange and Costa Mesa facility.
Click here to view Mr.Serge's video interview.
Wendy Sahagen, Art
Ms. Wendy has enjoyed a lifelong passion for all visual and fine arts, including black and white and color photography. She has studied oil painting since the age of 8. Her other studies include life drawing, graphic design and illustration, lettering, animation and screen cartooning, acrylic painting, watercolor, and ceramics. Ms. Wendy has been teaching art in elementary school throughout Orange County and the Long Beach Unified School District since 1998. She has been teaching Discovery Arts camps and KinderARTS at Pacific Conservatory since 2006.
"I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for in the patterns of music and all the arts are the keys of learning."- Plato
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1990 - 2012
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Michael Finnican, Guitar
Mr. Finnican studied music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a concentration in Jazz studies. He has been playing guitar for 20 years and teaching professionally for 10. In 2002, Mr. Finnican became the Music Director at Dore Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina where he developed two highly successful Classical Guitar and Jazz Band programs. From 2002-2006 he was a Jazz instructor at the University of Wisconsin –Madison Summer Music Clinic. With a passion for Jazz and a dream of performing in a world class city he relocated to San Francisco in 2006 where he performed between 50-60 Jazz gigs a year and continued to teach. In 2011 Mr. Finnican also wrote, and produced a 10 track concept album based on Yoga music called “Sounds From The Mat” in which he plays all the instruments on the album. Mr. Finnican joined the faculty of Pacific Conservatory in 2012.
Click here to view Mr. Michael's video interview.
Richard Eeds, Marketing Director
Richard was the Director of Advertising, Marketing and Promotion for the state of New Mexico’s Tourism Department. He oversaw all creative campaigns, media placement, creation of social media programs and all of the state’s Visitor Information Centers.
Prior to his work in the travel industry, Richard was a host, producer, and assistant program director at New Mexico’s largest radio station.
We welcome Richard to Pacific Conservatory where his responsibilities include advertising, promotion of the schools, social media, strategic partnerships and efforts to increase enrollment and expand our mission.
Ray Glider, Drums & Percussion
Playing and performing since the age of 5, Ray has performed with the California State University San Bernardino and San Bernardino Valley College Jazz bands and various cover bands and original projects over the last 35 years. Current projects span jazz standards to mellow acoustic contemporary to driving Classic Rock.
Also active in Music Education, Ray currently coaches the Dwyer Middle School Jazz program in Huntington Beach and has worked with the Surf City Youth Band and the music program at Our Lady of Refuge School in Long Beach teaching snare drum, drum set and hand drumming
Current Performance Projects: TKT: Classic Rock Trio playing throughout Orange County. This group plays full electric shows and unplugged shows. jonYray: Ray plays Latin percussion and drum kit in this mellow Contemporary Rock Duo at Casuals, Restaurants and Wine Bars throughout Orange County. South Coast Jazz Project: Substitute drummer for this collection of Jazzers playing Casuals and Restaurants including McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood in Santa Ana and Anaheim. Past projects include live shows at the L.A Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center with the Desperate Dads featuring Phil Bardowell from the Beach Boys and the Surf City All Stars.
Christine Chen, Violin, Viola & Piano
Ms. Christine graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics. Christine began her studies in music and the performing arts at the age of three and has performed in various quartets, ensembles, and symphonic & pit orchestras including the Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Music Educators Association District VII Orchestra, where she was concert mistress. She has studied violin for over 15 years, training under Mrs. Betty Haag, director at the Suzuki School of Music in Rolling Heights, Illinois, Mrs. Stephanie Preucil of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and Mr. Joseph Malmquist, director of the SYSO and also violinist of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Christine has a particular fondness of quartet & chamber music and takes great pleasure in making music with others. With over three years teaching violin privately as well as in the public school setting, Christine strives to impart a love for music & a means of expression to her students through encouragement, discipline, imagination, and exploration. Christine is ecstatic to be teaching at the Pacific Conservatory in Winter 2013.
Rachel Koons, Voice, Musical Theatre
Rachel received her B.M. in Vocal Performance from Chapman under the instruction of Christina Dahlin. There she sang a number of roles including Gretel from Hänsel und Gretel, Nannetta from Falstaff, and Papagena from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with full orchestra. In the summer of 2012, she traveled to Graz, Austria with the American Institution of Musical Studies (AIMS), where she studied with Stephanie Weiss, mezzo-soprano with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin. Now working with Belgrade Opera star Milena Kitic, Rachel has been teaching vocal lessons. She will be singing the role of Miss Silbertöne in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor summer 2013 with the Franco-American Vocal Academy program in Salzburg, Austria. Rachel’s passion for the art of singing creates a safe environment in which students are encouraged to be curious and bold with their sound. With her genuine spirit and eclectic personality, Rachel strives to match students’ desire for improvement and inspires them to be active participants in the quest for discovering the beauty and power of voice.
Rosa Galvez Sotorrio, Piano, Voice, Chamber Music
Ms Rosa received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at the Superior Conservatory of Music, Málaga and her Master’s Degree in Music Education at the University of Málaga, Spain. She has extensive chamber music experience playing with trumpet, piano, violin, flute, clarinet and guitar. She also has an extensive background in musical analysis, counterpoint, harmony, occidental music history, accompaniment, contemporary notation and choral singing. Her repertoire and interest spans baroque to contemporary. In addition to her broad-based music education, Ms also received a second Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Malaga and earned the European ERASMUS Scholarship in Environmental Sciences and studied in Halmstad, Sweden. Ms Rosa moved to the US in 2013 and we welcomed her to Pacific Conservatory in Spring 2013.
Care'n Chato, Music Theatre, Voice, Etiquette
Ms. Care’n received her Bachelor of Music at the University of the Pacific and Master of Fine arts in Voce and Theatre at the University of California, Irvine. She brings a extensive background of musical theatre training which includes acting at UOP, dancing at UCI, gymnastics, modeling, and more than 20 years of community and professional theatre performances. Ms Care'n is currently a dance instructor, drama coach, etiquette teacher, private vocal instructor and children’s voice class instructor. She also plays piano, studied Afro-Caribbean percussion, trampoline and tumbling.
Ms. Care’n believes that children’s theatre is a place to build life skills: building team spirit while focusing on a performance goal, the children will learn concentration to memorize their lines and their choreography. They will improve their public presentation skills by working onstage and will build self confidence through their rehearsals and take pride in the performances. We heartily welcome Ms. Care’n to Pacific Conservatory knowing that her students are in for a wonderful experience.
Christina Wilcox, voice
Mezzo-soprano Christina Wilcox has earned a remarkable reputation for her “warm, noble and thrilling” voice. Equally at home in opera and on the concert stage, she is perhaps best known for her work with symphony orchestras. Miss Wilcox made her Seattle Symphony debut in 1993 in Handel’s Messiah under Gerard Schwarz, her National Symphony Orchestra debut in 1997 with Zdenek Macal conducting the Verdi Requiem at Wolf Trap, and her Houston Symphony debut in 1999 in the Messiah. Ms Christina has taught classical voice for over 25 years and believes in teaching breath control, scales and the bel canto style school. She is devoted to her students and has helped them make grand strides in their vocal progress and in their personal confidence. We welcomed Ms Christina to Pacific Conservatory in 2012.
Joseph Cruz, Voice, Musical Theatre
Mr. Joseph received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Music Education at the University of Philippines where he Majored in Voice and Minored in Piano. Mr. Joseph sings professionally with Pacific Chorale, The John Alexander Singers and Irvine Masterworks Chorale. He sings as Cantor in local churches, serves as a choral conductor and vocal instructor in several local institutions. He is the tenor section leader in his various professional choirs, composer, arranger and soloist for community fund raisers, concerts, and music events.
Mr. Joseph is a skilled music teacher. He has taught choirs, voice classes, private lessons, handbells, theory and music appreciation. He has written curriculum, organized concerts, and supervised other teachers in the educational field as well. We welcome Mr. Joseph to Pacific Conservatory and he looks forward to helping each of his students be their personal best.