See below for past Arrowbear Staff and check back for our 2023 line up!
Chris Stevens began teaching at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in 1996 after many years as a full-time professional drummer and percussionist, playing regularly at Disneyland as well as freelancing in a wide variety of musical styles throughout southern California. He graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from CSU Fullerton, and earned his teaching credential at CSU Long Beach.
Chris was named the KKJZ 88.1FM Jazz Educator of the Year for 2014. He directs the jazz program at Long Beach Poly which includes over 120 students in 4 different curricular classes. He also directs the Marching Band and teaches AP Music Theory in addition to Piano. He recently finished an extensive service on the board of the California Alliance for Jazz in various capacities,including President. He directed the SCSBOA All-Southern Junior High Jazz All-Stars in 2007, and the Orange USD Middle School Honor Band in 2016. Chris has presented clinics on various topics at SCSBOA and CASMEC Conferences, as well as adjudicated many jazz festivals. Chris continues to play and perform as well as maintain a private teaching studio at his home in Lakewood.
Jimmy Emerzian is a freelance musician and educator based in Los Angeles and originating from Selma, CA. With a musical approach that balances introspective creativity and bold energy, he has found success as a saxophonist and writer in many styles of jazz and commercial music. In addition to leading his own gigs and acting as a sideman with groups such as the the Ron King Big Band, Elliot Deutsch Big Band, Teryn Ré Big Band, and Eon Burchman Quartet, his performance credits include: vocal legend Engelbert Humperdinck, Matthew Morrison (GLEE), A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys), Jordin Sparks (American Idol), Bobby Caldwell, Dianne Schuur, The 10,000 Maniacs, Swing Out Sister, Gregg Karukas, Jeff Jarvis, Patrick Williams, Van Alexander, Ralph Carmichael, Tim Simonec, and Tierney Sutton.
Jimmy is on the Jazz Studies faculty at CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, where he teaches jazz improvisation, theory, arranging, and combos. He is also active as a clinician and woodwind coach at various schools in his area. Jimmy has studied with Gary Foster, Billy Higgins, Harold Land, Kenny Burrell, Tom Ranier, Bobby Rodriguez, Jeff Clayton, Jeff Jarvis, Sal Lozano, Bill Liston, Mike Dana, Paul Shaghoian, Mark Ribera, and Larry Honda.
Doug Carter grew up in Long Beach, California in a musical family. His parents are both classical violinists, and his grandfather was, along with his brothers, a member of nationally renown Tamburitza Orchestra, the Crlenica Brothers. Doug's musical journey started at the age of 5, when he began learning the piano. He ultimately gravitated toward styles of African-American music like Jazz, Soul, and R&B, and has been performing since high school. He attended CSULB and earned a double major in jazz performance and philosophy. Following graduation with degrees in these two particularly lucrative fields of study, he waited eagerly for his ship to come in.
He performs regularly around Southern California with the Ryan Rost Trio, the Stonecutters, the Soul Foundation, Belle and the Beast, and his own ensembles.
Drew Zaremba is quickly earning a worldwide reputation as a passionate conductor, award-winning writer, and fiery performer. As a writer, he has composed and arranged pieces for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Wycliffe Gordon, Lee Loughane of “Chicago”, Chuck Findley, Eddie Gomez, Stefan Karlsson, Brad Leali, the Vietnam Classical Players, and Erin Dickins of the Manhattan Transfer. In 2017, Drew spent two months as a composer-in-residence at the Contemporary Music Institute in Zhuhai, China, where he wrote a concert of music combining Chinese Opera and jazz. He has published music through Sierra Music, and has recorded twenty of his pieces with the University of North Texas One and Two O’Clock Lab Bands. As a performer and composer, Drew participated in the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in 2013. In 2015, Drew was awarded 1st prize of $10,000 in the Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Award at the University of North Texas (UNT) for his premier concert with his orchestra, the Unity Orchestra, which featured Eddie Gomez. His original compositions “Race to the Finish” and “Blues for Gabe” have won awards through the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers award and the JEN student composers showcase, respectively.
Drew recently graduated from UNT with his master’s degree in jazz arranging and composition, where he played tenor and lead alto with the UNT One O’ClockLab Band, recorded on six One and Two O’ Clock Lab Band albums, directed the Four O’Clock Lab Band, and served as Rich DeRosa’s teaching fellow for the arranging program. While at UNT, he had the privilege to perform and work with Bobby McFerrin, John Clayton, Mike Clark, Carol Welsman, Walt Weiskopf, and Billy Harper. As a bandleader, Drew assembled The Jazz Fellowship Big Band his senior year, mixing some of the best students and faculty into one big band to play and record his compositions. They continue to perform in the DFW area today.
Tammi Alderman is director of Choral/Vocal Music at San Marino High School. She is also California State University Fullerton School of Music where she is a university supervisor for choral music education students. Ms. Alderman is head of the choral program at Arrowbear Summer Music Camp and is on the faculty the Choral Advantage Camp through the Pacific Chorale and CSU Fullerton.
Having taught college, high school and middle school choirs in Colorado and California for fifteen years, Ms. Alderman’s choirs consistently receive the highest ratings in festivals and competitions, locally and nationwide. Choirs under Ms. Alderman’s direction have toured Canada, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and China. Students from her choirs have been selected as members of honor choirs at regional, state, divisional and national levels in every year of her teaching.
Ms. Alderman has previously been on the choral faculty at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in choral repertoire, and at the University of Southern California where she conducted the Apollo Men’s Chorus. She holds both her Master and Bachelor degrees in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Washington State University where she studied with Drs. Lori Weist, Julie Wieck and Paul Klemme. Tammi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and is currently writing her dissertation on methods for teaching the selection of appropriate high school choral repertoire.
Eric is in his 11th year as the Director of Choral and Vocal Music at Marina High School where he directs the Viking Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, Valkyrie Women’s Ensemble, Norseman Choir and the Siren Chorus. Under his direction the program has grown to include 150 singers, 7 choirs and various small singing groups. Eric received his Bachelor’s Degree in Choral-Vocal Music from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach.
He is currently working on his Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at California State University, Fullerton where he is the Assistant Conductor of the Titan Men’s Chorus and the Tenor Section Leader of the University Singers. He was recently recognized as one of the California League of High Schools Region 11 Educators of the Year. In the summers, Mr. Graham is on the choral faculty at Arrowbear Music Camp. He has studied conducting with Dr. Jonathan Talberg and Dr. Robert Istad, and voice with Dr. Katharin Rundus, Patricia Prunty and Robin Buck.
Stacey Y. Kikkawa is the proud director of the Choral/Vocal Music Program at Beverly Hills High School, and is the Southern Representative for California Choral Directors Association. Ms. Kikkawa has led high school choirs in Northern and Southern California and has performed and placed in many Heritage festivals, Festival of Gold, and the Northern California Golden State Choral Competitions. Ms. Kikkawa is completing her masters degree in choral conducting performance at California State University, Fullerton under Dr. Robert Istad, where she was the recipient of the Elliot and Kathleen Alexander Memorial Scholarship in 2012. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, and a Bachelor of Music in Performance with a dual emphasis in Conducting and Voice from Chapman University under Dr. William Hall and Margaret Dehning. Ms. Kikkawa also performs with the John Alexander Singers and Pacific Chorale.
Mr. Koppel is passionate about music and music education. He graduated from CSU Fullerton with a B.A. in Music Education (with dual emphasis on Choral Conducting and Voice) and an A.A. in Music (Piano emphasis) from Cabrillo College. He has conducted children’s and adult choirs, helped execute the artistic vision for one of the largest professional choirs in Los Angeles County, has taught music both privately and in classrooms throughout California, and served as faculty at music education programs, including Pacific Choral and Cabrillo College. Notably, he has sung under the baton of artists such as John Williams and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Arwen Hernandez is in her second year as the band director at Riverside Poly High School. Ms. Hernandez earned a BA in music education and a teaching credential at California State University, Los Angeles. She came to Poly after leading the band programs at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, and Palisades Charter High School in Pacific Palisades. Ms. Hernandez marched with the Santa Clara Vanguard and was a member of the original London cast of Blast!. She has instructed open and world class drum and bugle corps, including Santa Clara Vanguard Cadets and Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps. From 2005 to 2010, she was a member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Ms. Hernandez’ husband, Matt Matthews, is the band director at Colony High School. They live in Riverside with their son Teddy.
Craig McKenzie is a Visiting Scholar and acting Assistant Director of Bands / Director of Athletic Bands at San José State University. His responsibilities at SJSU include directing the Spartan Pride Marching Band and Spartan Basketball Band, working with the Symphonic Band, teaching within the Music Education department, and supervising student teachers. Mr. McKenzie is currently pursuing a D.M.A. at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music where he studies instrumental conducting with Robert M. Carnochan. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Music with an emphasis in conducting from San José State University. During his time at San José State as a student, Mr. McKenzie also taught conducting classes and directed the Symphonic Band.
With sixteen years of middle school, high school, and college teaching experience, Mr. McKenzie most recently taught at Abraham Lincoln High School, a visual and performing arts school in San José, CA. His teaching duties included Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Concert Band ensembles, Mariachi, the Lion Pride Band, and two Jazz Bands. In addition, he directed the pit orchestra for each of the two musicals produced by Lincoln High School every year.
Mr. McKenzie is a long-standing member of the California Music Educators Association, the California Band Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society. He was honored with the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Lincoln High School Foundation in 2012 and was recognized as Teacher of the Year by Lincoln High School in 2013.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mike’s mom Yolanda loves telling the story of a five year old standing in front of the TV conducting the Boston Pop’s during their thanksgiving performance. In the fourth grade when band was first offered as an elective and thanks to dad’s luck one night playing poker, Mike got his first clarinet (he wanted a trombone…). In the seventh grade he was asked by his middle school band director, Mark Goodrum, at Harrison Middle School, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to conduct the National Anthem at a school assembly - and it was then that being a conductor became the goal. As a junior, became the drum major of his high school marching band and soon thereafter enlisted in the New Mexico National Guard as a clarinet player in the 44th Army Band. After a wise move to the Bay Area in 1995 and simultaneously transferring to the California National Guard, he honorably completed his military career with the 91st Division Band (Army Reserve) in 2001. This was also when Mike went back to college to get a music education degree and teaching credential from San Francisco State University, under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Busan.
Mike has been the Music Director at Kent Middle School since 2008 and has consistently instructed 400+/- students each school year in grades fifth through eighth in band, choir, jazz and rock. Other musical endeavors include: Conductor, First Intermediate Session at Arrowbear Music Camp; plays clarinet and is associate conductor of Deutscher Musikverein of San Francisco; winds and brass coach for the Marin Youth Symphony/Crescendo wind section and has twice conducted the MYSO winds as part of a MYSO performances; writes and arranges popular music for local rock/soul bands (Morgan, Lewis and Rockius and formerly Baby and the Luvies); and plays baritone sax in a saxophone quartet. In 2018, Marin Symphony name Mike as their county public school music teacher of the year. Mike lives in El Cerrito, California and is a proud husband and father to two fantastic boys, Xavier and Franklin.
Shelly Burger holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Chapman University and a Master of Arts in Education from University of Phoenix. Ms. Burger is in her seventh year directing the Green Valley High School Orchestras and has been an Orchestra Director in the Clark County School District for over 30 years. Prior to teaching at Green Valley Ms. Burger led award winning orchestras at Bonanza High School, Advanced Technologies Academy, and Sierra Vista High School. She was also a Conductor and Coach in the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra program for 22 years. Her orchestras have performed on a variety of stages including a 2017 performance at Lincoln Center, a 2014 performance in Chicago Symphony Hall, 2008 and 2010 performances in Carnegie Hall, and in 1998 her Bonanza High School Orchestra was the first music group from the state of Nevada to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. Throughout her long teaching career Ms. Burger has been active in both the community and school district. She maintains a large private violin/viola studio, has chaired the CCSD Honor Orchestra for many years, served as a mentor to both college students preparing to enter the music teaching field and to new orchestra directors in the Clark County School District, and has participated on numerous committees developing policy and curriculum in CCSD. Ms. Burger is a member of the Nevada Music Educators Association and served as an All State Orchestra Chairperson multiple times. She is also Past President of the Nevada Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association and was on the staff of the ASTA National High School Honor Orchestra.
Dr. Chuck Cushinery
Dr. Chuck Cushinery made his living playing violin until become the orchestra director at Clark High School in 1997. The current enrollment of his string program is 427. Chuck founded the Clark guitar, piano and electronic music programs. He is orchestra director at the College of Southern Nevada and the Nevada School of the Arts. Chuck has served as president of NVASTA twice, president of NMEA, chairman of local and state honors groups, has been on the staff of the National High School Honors Orchestra and has/is a member of numerous committees. He is a two time top ten finalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the year award. In 2015 the Clark Chamber Orchestra won the Grand National Orchestra Championship at the ASTA Conference in Salt Lake City. The Clark Orchestra program was selected to and performed at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in December of 2016. In 2017 he became an Education Clinician for the Conn-Selmer Corporation and began presenting clinics around the country.
Maestro Branden Muresan is a native of San Juan Capistrano, California, where he still resides and teaches. He began studying violin performance at age six, under the tutelage of Merillee Walker and Noumi Fischer. After earning his AA from Saddleback College, he went on to study at San Diego State University, where he was honored to be taken as a student by Igor and Vesna Gruppman, former students of Jascha Heifetz and David Oistrakh. At SDSU, he earned his Bachelors of Music Degree in Violin Performance, and in 2000 he graduated with a Master in Music with a major in Instrumental and Orchestral Conducting, under the instruction of Dr. Donald Barra.
Branden began performing violin professionally at age 16 and has since become a well-known orchestral violinist from Baja California to Los Angeles. His most notable performances have been with the Irish Tenors, in Mexicali BC, at Luciano Pavarotti's last professional concert, and most recently on tour with Il Divo. Currently, he is concertmaster for the Long Beach Ballet Orchestra.
As a conductor, Maestro Muresan began with founding and developing the East San Diego County Civic Youth Orchestra program in 2003, which is still running strong. After performing in several guest conducting spots, he was contacted to build and lead a new adult orchestra program in Poway, California, as well as the Four Seasons Youth Orchestra in Newport Beach. He also was interim conductor for the Saddleback College Orchestra during the 2011-2012 season. In 2009, Maestro Muresan was hired to conduct the Mira Costa Symphony Orchestra, and in 2012 he won the opportunity to conduct the Southern California Philharmonic Orchestra. These orchestras are thriving and growing under the direction and care of Maestro Muresan.
Val Jamora is a well established music educator in Southern California, having taught high school and middle school music since the mid 1990s. He received a dual bachelors degree in psychology and music education from CSU San Bernardino in 1994, and a masters degree in instrumental conducting from CSU Los Angeles in 2002. He studied conducting with Dr. Thomas Verrier, Allan McMurray and Dr. Luis Gonzales. He also received training in saxophone performance with Jack Fuesler, Charles Richard and Dr. Jeff Benedict.
Prior to working at Corona del Mar, Mr. Jamora was the director of bands at Bloomington High School and Ruth O Harris Middle School in Bloomington CA. Val is currently one of the primary conductors with the Four Seasons Youth Orchestra. His honors and distinctions include the PTA Honorary Service Award, The Bill Boyer Excellence in Teaching Award and was recognized as the High School Teacher of the Year for Newport-Mesa Unified School District. Mr. Jamora has performed in locations all over the world, including venues in Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, Venice, Rome, as well as the Opera House in Sydney, Australia.
While earning a BA in Music Education and a BA in Sociology at UCLA, Mr. Stevens traveled the globe with performing ensembles from the university. After graduating, Mr. Stevens earned his Masters in Musicology from UC Riverside where he studied the music of Latin America. Now, back in his hometown, Mr. Stevens helped open Portola High School as its first music teacher. He is now very excited to have Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Traska join in on the adventure of growing PHS into a comprehensive music program and to build a reputation of having the most respectable and innovative programs in the country.
Albert Jeung is the Director of Orchestras at Aliso Niguel High School, Aliso Viejo, CA, in the Capistrano Unified School District. He is currently the President of the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA) that serves 1,100 music educators in all levels of teaching. His educational background includes a B. M. and M. M. of Music from California State University, Long Beach, with graduate work from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He has taught string method courses at California State University, Long Beach, and is a former orchestra director at Santa Ana College, CA. Mr. Jeung has conducted youth orchestra concerts in China, England, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia and in famous venues that include Carnegie Hall, the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theatre), and the Sydney Opera House. He has been a guest clinician at many music education state and regional conferences and has conducted numerous honor orchestras in California
In 2000, Mr. Hamilton graduated as valedictorian from the University of California at Los Angeles with a B.A. in music education. During, and shortly after college, he served as a teacher's assistant at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica and as a part time music teacher at Millikan High School in Long Beach. In 2001, he earned his current position, teaching band, orchestra, and jazz at Rogers Middle School in Long Beach. While at Rogers, Mr. Hamilton was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Long Beach Council PTA for the 2007-2008 school year and honorable mention for same award during the 2004-2005 school year. Both his advanced band and advanced orchestra have received unanimous superiors at SCSBOA festivals. In the summer of 2009, Mr. Hamilton founded and instructed the Vivace Music Camp for elementary musicians and in 2013, he started the Long Beach Summer Music Academy for middle school musicians. He has recently earned his Master’s Degree from the American Band College in Southern Oregon.