Instructor of Piano, Trumpet, Ukulele, Junior Jamboree and African Drumming
Rebecca James is a music educator and freelance musician who is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she earned a BM in Music Education and Trumpet Performance and Interlochen Arts Academy.
Rebecca has taught and performed throughout the country. She has taught both privately and in the schools and has experience working with students ages 1 to adult. Rebecca has also been music director and accompanist for musical theater productions, youth/adult choir, youth band and has performed in a variety of groups including band, orchestra, brass quintet and pit orchestra as well as various solo performances.
Rebecca is a member of Songworks Educators Association and was given the honor of being a Fleurette Sweeney Emerging Pioneer in Education (2012). Rebecca teaches utilizing SongWorks principles and has presented in Vancouver, B.C. about the use of SongWorks in ensemble settings.
Rebecca is a military wife teaching in the Dayton, OH area. She resides there with her husband, 2 sons and dog. Rebecca is the owner of Gem City Music Studio.
Kathy Cooney is an exceptional teacher with over 30 years experience. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire (MS in Music Ed) and Keene State College (BM).
Originally a flautist, she has taught a variety of subjects in addition to flute including group keyboard, guitar, general music, chorus, band, math and 5th grade. Kathy is a fun and engaging teacher who custom fits any curriculum to each individual student. At each lesson, you can expect to be challenged and encouraged. Although Kathy is a stickler for details, she has an unexpected way of making learning playful and fun.
Kathy was raised in a military family and has traveled all over the world. She spent time teaching at an American school in Germany, but spent most of her career teaching elementary and middle school music in New Hampshire. Kathy has led many award winning groups over her extensive career.
Kathy is an avid baseball and football fan. She most enjoys spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren.
Studio Assistant Director;
Instructor of Guitar, Beginning Piano, Flute, Saxophone, and Director of the Junior Singers
Instructor of Piano, Violin and Viola
Sarah Castillo is a recent resident of the Dayton area, previously having lived and taught music in Texas and Minnesota. She earned a BM at Baylor University, where she studied with faculty on piano, violin, and viola. Her primary teachers include Dr. Kae Hosoda-Ayer and Professor Jane Abbott-Kirk (piano), Dr. Bruce Berg (violin), and Dr. Kathryn Steely (viola).
Sarah has taught both privately and in group settings and has experience teaching students from ages 4 to 80+. She grew up with the Suzuki method, and utilizes some of the philosophy in her teaching.
Sarah has performed on piano, violin, and viola in a variety of ensembles, including symphony orchestra, pit orchestra, string chamber ensembles, and choir. She has been a repeat guest soloist with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra on viola, and was a finalist at the American Viola Society Collegiate Solo Competition in 2018. Despite her performances on viola, her true passion is accompanying and she spent her last couple years at university accompanying the viola studio on piano. Though she has primarily worked as an accompanist with string players, she has also accompanied vocalists and choirs.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys going on long walks with her spouse, tending to her plants, and drawing.
Luke de Villiers is a Baritone from Hamilton, Ohio pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy at The University of Dayton. He studies voice with Dr. David Sievers and has studied piano with John Benjamin. At UD Luke has been a member of Opera Workshop and University Chorale. He portrayed the role of “Aeneas” in the highly praised production of Dido and Aeneas in Spring of 2023. Previously, Luke attended Miami University and was a member of the Miami University Men’s Glee Club under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Jones. He performed with The Glee Club at multiple conferences including ACDA and NCCO, and also performed internationally in Italy. He served as the group’s Choral Librarian during this time. Luke was also a member of the acapella group “The Cheezies” and served as Vice President and President.
In his free time Luke loves fishing and spending time outdoors.
Instructor of Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Saxophone, and Voice.
Instructor of Voice
Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Ullery has enjoyed a varied career while a student at Miami University. She has been seen as Maid in The Light in the Piazza, as Cherubino in a scene from Le nozze di Figaro, as Lexie in A Beginners Guide to High School Dances, and as Hippie Fairy in Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox, which won First place from the National Opera Association for best collegiate production. As a freshman, Kathryn worked behind the scenes as the Light Board Operator for The Marriage of Figaro production, which also won an award from the NOA. Kathryn is a member of the student organization New Wave, who produced her original musical Rumormates. She has served as the vocal director for Miami Stage Left’s production of Percy Jackson:The Lightning Thief Musical. She served as music director of A Beginners Guide to High School Dances and as Assistant Music Director for Miami University Theater’s production of Head Over Heels. As a singer, Kathryn has performed in numerous voice concerts including Songs of Mikhail Glinka, Freedom is a Constant Struggle recital of spirituals, and Hear Our Voices, songs of female composers. She has been a member of the Miami University Chamber Singers and served on its executive board as Secretary. Kathryn graduated in May of 2023 with a degree in Choral/General Music Education and a minor in Music Theater.
In her free time she loves to bake, spend time with her boyfriend and watch cat videos online.
Antowoine Winters is a long-time resident of the Dayton area but is originally from
Mississippi. He earned two business degrees from Wright State University and is currently
a student in their Masters in Humanities with Emphasis in Music program studying the more
esoteric side of music as an art form. His primary teachers have been Bill Jobert, John
DeGruchy, and Dan Duncan.
Antowoine’s teaching philosophy is that every student can play and perform at a level that
shows their personal accomplishment and meaningful expression. He enjoys working with
students who share his passion for music but need that extra bit of encouragement to
support their connection and to put forward their best work in the pieces they perform.
Antowoine has performed on clarinet and bassoon in a variety of ensembles, including
symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, and woodwind quintets. He has performed on
stage at the Benjamin & Marian Performing Arts Center with the Wright State Chamber
Orchestra and in greater southwestern Ohio with the West Chester Symphony Orchestra,
the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Yellow Springs Symphony Orchestra at a
variety of fantastic venues across the Miami Valley. He recently premiered a new chamber
group, The Stillwater Winds, with some of his fellow musicians from the Sinclair Community
Concert Band. He can currently be found performing with the Wright State Chamber
Orchestra on bassoon and contra and with the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra on
In his free time, Antowoine seeks out opportunities to collaborate with other musicians on a
variety of projects, including a new area music festival and a new music commission for a
relatively young chamber ensemble format – reed quintet (alto saxophone, oboe, clarinet,
bassoon, and bass clarinet). Antowoine is also an alumni member of the fraternity Phi Mu
Alpha Sinfonia and lives the fraternity’s values in all his endeavors, musical and otherwise.
Instructor of Bassoon, Clarinet, and Saxophone
Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
Connor is a trombonist originally from the Dayton area. He currently teaches low brass at several schools including Spring Valley Academy, Coy and Ankeney Middle Schools, Piqua Junior High and High School, and Springboro High School as the marching band’s brass caption head. In 2021, Connor became the Instructor of Lower Brass at Central State University. He also maintains active studios at McCutcheon Music and That Music Place.
In addition to teaching, Connor enjoys performing throughout the Dayton-Cincinnati region. He is principal trombonist of the Kettering Praise Orchestra as well as the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra and performs with many other ensembles including the Dayton Salsa Project. Other groups Connor performed with include the Jeremy Winston Chorale, Hauer Swing Band, Oakwood Brass, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Beavercreek Brass Quintet, Generations Big Band, Springboro Wind Symphony, Jazz Central Big Band, and the North Park Brass Quartet. He has also performed in the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Gulf Coast and in masterclasses for John Marcellus and Pete Ellefson.
Connor has an MM from Florida State University and a BM from the University of Dayton. His mentors are Rich Begel, Chad Arnow, and John Drew.
Connor enjoys working out at the gym, spending time with friends and family, and watching movies in his spare time. Fun fact: He taught himself to juggle in 8th grade!
C.J. Roden is excited to be joining the staff at Gem City Music Studio. He is the current Director of Choirs at Kettering Middle School in the Kettering City Schools and has held that position since 2019. Roden has been on the music staff in Kettering since 2017.
Roden holds a Master of Education in Principalship from Wright State University (2022), a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University at Portland (2019), and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, cum laude, from Wright State University (2015). He also spent two years studying music at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace University. He is a graduate of Xenia High School (2011).
A native of Xenia, OH, Roden has performed extensively in the Dayton area in churches, community theaters, and with ensembles as an accompanist and chorister.
When not working, C.J. spends time with his wife of nine years, Marissa. Together they have four children: Camden (7), Lincoln (4), Keegan (3), and Ella (9 months). The Roden family currently resides in Vandalia.
Instructor of Voice and Piano
Mara Burnett has a Music Education Degree from Wright State University as well as an Arts Management Certificate. She studied piano under Steve Aldredge. Learning piano has given her many opportunities in the community. She has experience accompanying solos, musicals, and congregations. Mara prepared several students for piano performances at Solo and Ensemble. All her students received the highest rating. Mara has the honor of being one of many judges for the Junior Ohio Federation Music Club.
Mara has also studied tuba and euphonium under Steve Darling and Dan Honacker. During her studies she held the position as treasurer in the Tuba Euphonium Ensemble. This position allowed her to help plan a trip to Iowa for a performance at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference.
She has experience teaching students from PreK through-12. Throughout her teaching experience she has taught band, choir, orchestra, and general music. Mara is very passionate about music and strives to get her students to connect with the emotions connected to music.
Instructor of Voice, Piano, Trumpet, Euphonium and Tuba
Daniel is a graduate of Wright State University School of Music, class of 2021. He completed his Bachelor’s of Music Education with a concentration in instrumental music, as well as a minor in psychology. During his time at Wright State, Daniel studied trumpet under Dr. Daniel Zehringer. He performed in multiple ensembles including the Wright State Wind Symphony, Trumpet Ensemble, Chamber Players, and played flute in the Pep Band.
As an educator, he has worked with multiple programs in the Dayton Area including Northeastern High School, Wayne High School, Sugarcreek-Bellbrook High School, Greenon High School, as well as Lebanon High School. In his student teaching experience, he spent his time with the Mason Band program in Mason, OH. Currently he works for Northmont City Schools teaching general music to 2nd through 6th grade.
In his free time he likes to spend as much time as he can playing board games, going out, and eating great food with friends and family. He also likes to lay at home with his husky, Kai, and binge watch shows!
Instructor of Piano, Trumpet, Flute and Saxophone
Instructor of Voice
Devlan Taylor is a 2017 graduate from Wright State University with a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance. During his time at WSU, Mr. Taylor performed in over 7 operas, toured Italy with the Collegiate Choral, traveled and performed in over 50 concerts with Ethos - Wright State’s premier a cappella group - and participated in band and other choirs. Since graduating, Mr. Taylor has performed as a member of the Dayton Opera Chorus in various operas at the Schuster Center in Dayton, Ohio, and as a featured soloist for Musica, a professional choir.
Mr. Taylor obtained his Masters degree in the field of Vocal Performance at the University of North Dakota in 2021. During his time at UND, he performed with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Forks Chorales, and the University of North Dakota’s Opera Program. Currently, Mr. Taylor is residing in Dayton, Ohio where he teaches private voice lessons, sings with the Dayton Opera Chorus, and is a featured soloist in the Ohio area.
Mr. Taylor is extremely excited to be a part of the Gem City Music Studio team. When he’s not teaching or singing, he’s curling his mustache, reading a book, and playing with his two cats.