Directors & Staff
Brad Rees, Executive Director of Arts Programs, conducts University Choirs, directs the award-winning a cappella ensemble Up in the Air, and teaches voice, music theory, music production & engineering, and music business. A leader in contemporary a cappella and vocal jazz education for two decades, Brad has served as the Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, on the faculty at Iowa's School for Music Vocations, and on the jazz faculty at Bowling Green State University. A frequent clinician at vocal music festivals across the US and Canada, he is a regular judge for ICCA, ICHSA and show choir competitions throughout the Midwest, and has served on the faculty of Halewyn Jazz Workshop in Belgium and many other summer workshops and camps. His ensembles have appeared across the United States and Canada, at the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria, at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, and on tour in the Republic of China, Germany, the Czech Republic, and South Africa. His choirs have also performed on several national TV broadcasts. His own performing credits include appearances with Ben Folds, Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, Joe Williams, George Shearing, African gospel artist Rebecca Malope, and others. He sang with the Grammy-nominated vocal jazz quintet, The Axidentals, with Phil Mattson’s Voices, and in residence at the Smithsonian Institution. Brad is currently in the dissertation process towards a DMA from Boston University, received a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado, and holds degrees in music and public relations from George Mason University in Virginia. He has served in leadership positions for the Ohio chapters of IAJE and ACDA, and his compositions and arrangements are available through UNC Jazz Press. A native of Worcester, MA, Brad is an avid Red Sox fan. He lives in Tiffin with his wife, Ali, and children Noah and Brynn. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Santos serves as Director of Commercial Music (Instrumental), Instructor of Music, and instructor of bass, guitar, strings and keyboard, as well as director of the TU Dragon Big Band and several other ensembles. An accomplished classical, jazz and rock bass player and teacher, Nathan has served on the faculty of Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and St. Francis University (PA). A multi-instrumentalist and classical and jazz vocalist, and active performer for three decades, he has shared the stage with Bernadette Peters, Joe Morello, Sherryl Milnes, Lou Christie, John Blake, Jr., George Young, Bruce Hornsby, Olivia Newton-John, Andy Narell, Dave Samuels, Carrie Tillis, Five By Design, and many others. He has also appeared on many recordings representing a wide range of styles. He served as principal bassist with the Johnstown Symphony and Altoona Symphony, and a member of the Chamber Orchestra of the Alleghenies and the Westmoreland Symphony. He was also a member of the Jazz in Your Face Big Band, the vocal jazz quintet White Noise, rock bands Acousticity and Soy Bomb, and countless other groups. His classical, jazz and commercial compositions and arrangements have been performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and many of his own pro and student ensembles. Nathan holds a MM in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami (FL), and a bachelor’s degree from Wilkes University (PA). Nathan and his wife Kristen have two children, Ross and Ariana. For more information, please visit www.nathansantos.com. Contact: email@example.com.
Ben Herrick serves as Director of Bands, directing the TU Marching Band, Concert Band, Pep Band and select chamber groups. Mr. Herrick has served as director of the College of Wooster marching band, and assistant director of their concert band, and was founder of Wooster's New Orleans brass ensemble. He also served as an assistant band director for the University of Cincinnati's marching, concert, and pep bands, as well as developing and directing UC's Dixieland band, and teaching brass methods. Mr. Herrick taught at Delta HS in Delta OH, Mohawk HS in Sycamore OH, and Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in Euclid OH. He served in the USAF Ohio Air National Guard and has worked as a freelance trombonist around Ohio for two decades. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Toledo, and a Master of Music Education from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Contact:
Alex Manfredo, Instructor of Voice & Commercial Music
BIO COMING SOON!
J Rawls serves as Visiting Instructor of Hip Hop & Music Business at Tiffin University, where he teaches music industry courses, coaches hip hop performers, teaches turntablism and beatmaking, and presents regular workshops on music industry topics. Known for his work with Black Star, a hip hop group comprised of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Rawls contributed production on “Brown Skin Lady” and “Yo, Yeah,” which placed him on the map among independent hip hop producers. The album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star did was acclaimed as one of the best albums of 1998 and was a major force in the late-1990s underground hip hop explosion. Rawls has also worked with Dose One, Beastie Boyz, Slum Village, El Da Sensei, Count Bass D, Grand Agent, 9th Wonder, J-Live, Us3, and Moka Only. Rawls has released three solo albums, and contributed to or produced dozens of others, having worked with J-Live, Aloe Blacc, Eric Robertson, Dudley Perkins, and many others. He is one-half of the duo The Lone Catalysts, with emcee J. Sands, having released four albums together. Fusing jazz and hip hop, his 2006 work with The Liquid Crystal Project led to national acclaim for his collaboration with B-Jazz, Shaun Scott, B Chapman and Selah and their tribute to the legendary producer J Dilla. His Columbus-based production company and record label continues to make an impact in the national hip hop scene, and he is in high demand as a DJ for top clubs and private functions around the country. Rawls holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree in education from Ashland University, and is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration from Ohio University. Contact: JRawls@tiffin.edu
Katie Kufel serves as Assistant Director of Arts Programs, coordinating recruiting and retention activities and managing the administrative functions of TU's active music, dance, art, theatre, and media arts activities. Katie is an alum of the TU Music Department, serving as a graduate assistant for two years, coordinating technology and facilities needs for all arts programs. As an undergrad she also sang for three years with the a cappella group Higher Ground, one-year with the touring ensemble Up in the Air, and four years with the University Choir. A native of North Olmsted OH, she received a bachelor's degree in Forensic Science, and a Master of Business Administration degree. Contact: KufelKA@tiffin.edu.
Nellene Arnett serves as Operations Assistant for Tiffin University Arts Programs, and also directs the TU Gospel Choir and TU Kids Choir. She is one of the leading gospel vocalists in the Toledo area, having performed with Monique Tache', The Toledo Youth Choir, Gospel Artist Chris Byrd & Victory, and others. She has served as a team leader with Toledo Public Schools' Kids Unlimited, providing after-school and summer academic enrichment, mentoring and character development programs to elementary students. She has also worked at other Toledo area nonprofits including the YMCA and Rosary Cathedral Catholic School. She holds a bachelor's degree in Arts Administration from TU, was a four-year alum of the a cappella group Up in the Air, and was a student-director of both the Gospel Choir and the TU Crew, the university’s first dance team. Contact: ArnettN@tiffin.edu
Laura Stark serves as director and choreographer for the Tiffin University Dance Team. Laura is a veteran ballet dancer, having studied under the Cincinnati Ballet, Chicago Ballet, BalletMet and American Ballet Theatre, spending two summer intensives at the Ohio Ballet, and attending the Universal Ballet Academy. She started her dance education under Judy Reading for 12 years, and also studied jazz under Jennifer Bates. While at BalletMet and performed classical and contemporary works from the artistic Directer Gerard Charles. She took Ballroom while attending Heidelberg University under Steven Velasquez, competed at the collegiate level, and went on to teach the Heidelberg ballet group. She currently serves as ballet instructor at In Motion Dance Studio, teaching students the passion and grace since 2007. She also continues her dance career with Findlay academy of Ballet along with Neos Dance Theatre. She studied piano and music music theory with Brian Bevelander and voice with Renee Clair, and served as organist/vocalist for All Saints Parish for twelve years and music director, organist and vocalist for St. Patrick's for three years. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph Van Kerkhove, Assistant Professor of Art, serves as the Advisor of the TU Art Team. Professor Van Kerkhove holds a MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University and a BFA from The Columbus College of Art and Design. He is a printmaking and ceramic artist that responds to personal experiences through imagery and process. His artworks have been exhibited in a variety of venues nationally and internationally. Galleries in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio currently represent his art. Joseph participated in the Summer Print Program at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica Venezia, Italy. Joseph is currently a member of The National Art Education Association that advances visual arts education to fulfill human potential and promote global understanding for visual art educators. Visit www.joevankerkhove.com or Contact: VanKerkhovejm@tiffin.edu
Dr. Mary V. Grennen serves as director of TU’s theatre program. With a Ph.D. in dramatic literature, theory, and criticism, she teaches a wide variety of courses in the School of Arts & Sciences, including Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, history of dramatic literature, elements of theatre, composition, and editing. She has presented papers at the Mid-Atlantic Pop American Culture Association's annual conferences, and she is a member of EDTA (Educational Theatre Association). Dr. Grennen has directed sixteen productions at TU, including The Laramie Project, The Curious Savage, The Dixie Swim Club, The Best Laid Plans, Steel Magnolias, The Dining Room, An Evening of Culture, Blithe Spirit, Exit the Body, and Get Witch Quick. Her acting experience at Fordham University Lincoln Center and with numerous community and off-Broadway troupes includes roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Three Sisters, Jack or The Submission, Fashion, The Beggar's Opera, The Children's Hour, Icarus' Mother, A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot, Not Enough Rope, Postcards, Electra, Why Hanna's Skirt Won't Stay Down, Action, Shenandoah, Hello Dolly, The Boys Next Door (voted the state of Delaware's best community production of 1991), Tea and Sympathy, Dial 'M' for Murder, Angel Street, I Hate Hamlet, Two by Two, and How the Other Half Loves. She has sat in the orchestra pit for productions of Jesus Christ, Superstar; The Robber Bridegroom; and Annie. Contact info: email@example.com.
Mike Hampp serves as Assistant Director of the TU Marching Band and instructor of low brass. For 35 years he served as a music educator in the Tiffin City public schools, directing the Tiffin Columbian HS marching band, concert band, brass choir, jazz band and pep band. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Kent State University, and did graduate work in music education at Bowling Green State University. Mike served as low brass instructor at Heidelberg College, where he also conducted the Brass Choir and Madrigal Brass. He also served as choir director at Trinity United Church of Christ for 14 years, as a frequent judge of marching band competitions around the state, and played with the Akron Symphony and numerous community orchestras and bands. He performs with several regional Brass Quintets and Erie County Chapter of The Ohio State University Marching Band.
Ali Rees serves as Director of TU's all-female vocal group Higher Ground, and for more than six years served as the music department administrative manager, recruiting and festival coordinator, director of the TU Pop Choir and Kids Choir. An experienced singer, accompanist and teacher, Ali holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and Iowa's School for Music Vocations, where she was a founding member of the a cappella group Audio Radiance. She now serves as Tiffin University's Director of Prospect Research in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Prior to her role at TU, Ali worked for the global consulting firm Aon, developing and implementing its first university recruiting programs for companies including GE, Pfizer, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, and NCR. For more than a decade Rees worked as a research analyst for the Port of Savannah harbor deepening project. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419.448.3000
Rebekah Kroesing serves as Instructor of Voice at Tiffin University, where she maintains a large studio of both music majors and non-majors. Rebekah received a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in Voice Performance from Albion College, and Master of Music in voice performance from Bowling Green State University. Rebekah's performance credits include Ida in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Lucy in The Telephone, Co-Host/Angel 1 in Krispy Kremes and Butter Queens, and Papagena in the Chicago Summer Opera production of Die Zauberflöte. Rebekah currently performs with Toledo Opera as the soprano section leader in the chorus, and has sung in productions of Gounod’s Faust, Tosca, Susannah, and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Rebekah is a member of the choir at the historical Mariners Church of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan.
Cynthia Snyder Ramsdell serves as adjunct instructor of piano at Tiffin University. An active collaborative pianist, she accompanies a variety of choirs and musical theater productions around the community. She also coordinates the community music program at Heidelberg University, and regularly serves as pianist for performances at Columbian High School, Calvert High School, and The Ritz Theatre. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Bowling Green State University, was formerly a staff accompanist at the University of Central Arkansas, and has been a music teacher in private and public schools in Pennsylvania. She and her husband Greg serve on the praise team at The Journey Church.
Joseph J. Gozdowski serves as adjunct instructor of music technology and high brass. Joe is owner and operator of Sicily Studios, as well as one of the first call trumpet players in Northwest Ohio. Joe serves as trumpet instructor-in-residence at Port Clinton and Anthony Wayne schools, and has performed in pit orchestras for over one hundred musical theatre productions. He has also served as producer and recording engineer for hundreds of professional bands and university and high school choirs, orchestras, bands and recitals, and has been recognized as one of the leading mixing engineers in the region. Joe holds a bachelor's degree in music from The University of Toledo, where he was a student of John Marchiando and David Brown. Contact: email@example.com.
Teresa (Terry) Collins, Ph.D, Professor of English, teaches honors music courses. She holds a PhD in Music Education from New York University, a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degree from Georgia State University, and a bachelor's degree from The University of Findlay. For twenty-five years prior to joining the TU faculty in 2005, Dr. Collins served as a U.S. Army bandsman at installations throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She also has the distinction of being the first woman to integrate the Military Band Program. For the past several years she has worked as a classroom teacher in both music K-12, English 6-12, and as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Maryland, Central Texas College, Tabernacle Baptist Bible College & Seminary, and Old Dominion University. Contact: CollinsT@tiffin.edu
Jake Miller serves as Graduate Assistant for the TU Music Department and serves as advisor for the Concert Production Team. Jake received a BA in Arts Administration and has served as sound engineer for TU's touring ensembles and concerts for the past six years. Jake is pursuing a Master of Education degree in Education Technology, and has career goals of designing corporate training programs while continuing to work in live sound engineering.
Selina Slaughter serves as Graduate Assistant for the TU Music Department, providing administrative and event management support, as well as leadership for Arts Programs multimedia projects. Selina received a BA in Arts Administration and performed in the a cappella groups Up in the Air and Higher Ground, as well as the hip hop group Mode III. Selina is a singer-songwriter and producer, and is pursuing a Master Business Administration degree with career goals of owning or managing a live music venue.
155 Miami St.
Tiffin OH 44883