SCMC School of Music Faculty

CYNDI BETTS, Grand String Orchestra (Adult), holds a degree in violin performance and music education from the University of Michigan. She currently teaches strings for the Grand Rapids Christian Schools. An accomplished performer, she is the concertmaster of the Kent Philharmonic and has held that position since 1991.

BECKY BUSH, Concert Orchestra and Adult Fiddle Workshop Instructor, has a bachelor of music education degree from the University of Michigan and a master of education degree from Grand Valley State University. She was the founder and director of the Hudsonville Public Schools orchestra program from 2001 to 2006. Becky performs as a violist with the Signature String Quartet. She is also a music director for the American String Teacher’s Association Elementary String Camp. She has been a guest conductor throughout Michigan both in classical music and fiddling. She grew up fiddling, performed with the Saline Fiddlers and has been to many fiddling festivals across Michigan and the Mid-West.

DR. PAUL BREWER, director of instrumental music at Aquinas College, holds a doctorate of arts in music composition and jazz pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado. Paul was on the jazz faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp for 22 summers and continues to direct the Aquinas College Jazz Camp every June. His method book, The Jazz Trombone Soloist: Studies in Interpretation and Improvisation, was developed over the past 20 years of teaching jazz improvisation. Dr. Brewer is also often called upon to adjudicate jazz festivals and to perform as a guest soloist in school jazz band concerts. While jazz is his main endeavor, he has played in everything from classical to rock and roll bands. He has appeared with over 50 major artists, including Mel Torme, Max Roach, Urbie Green, Lena Horne, Bob Hope, The Temptations, Leon Russell, and Mickey Rooney. His own jazz groups and arrangements have received much critical acclaim.

DR. ROBIN CONNELL is a jazz pianist-vocalist with a doctorate of arts in music theory and composition from the University of Northern Colorado. Her career as a performing musician, composer and educator, is an alternating kaleidoscope of jazz and classical endeavors. Teaching at Aquinas and Grand Rapids Community College since 2001, her educator credits also include teaching jazz studies at the Aquinas Jazz Camp, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and 20 summers at Interlochen Arts Camp. She’s traveled extensively as guest artist, clinician/adjudicator and performer at jazz festivals, music education conferences, and colleges. In addition to teaching, Robin continues to lead her own jazz groups and perform as a ‘side woman’ locally and afar.

CHRIS HANSEN, Grand Band (Adult), holds degrees in music education, music theory and theatrical arts from Western Michigan University. He holds a master’s degree in church music and worship leadership from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He currently freelances as a music composer and arranger as well as recording and producing commerial projects. He conducts the Horns of Power for Hark Up and has recently been appointed director of Jubal Brass.

SARA JAGER, Sinfonia, holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and violin performance degree from Calvin College and a master of music education from VanderCook College of Music. She has directed the orchestras at Hudsonville Christian and Unity Christian schools for nine years. She has also been involved at Knollcrest Music Camp, American String Teachers Association Elementary String Camp, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

GRACE MACMASTER, Adult Fiddle Workshop Instructor, is a Cape Breton fiddle player presently based in West Michigan. Recently, she has appeared as a guest with various distinguished musicians and bands including The Máirtín de Cógáin Project and Michigan-based Irish band, Fonn Mor. Performances have included CelticFest Mississippi, North Texas Irish Festival, Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival, and numerous other venues. In addition to performing, Grace has taught private piano and fiddle lessons and recently directed workshops in West Michigan and New Orleans, LA.  Currently, Grace is studying graphic design at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi with plans to pursue music upon graduation in December 2014.

CULLEN MCCARTHY, Concert Band, has a bachelor of music education from Central Michigan University and a master degree in educational leadership from Grand Valley State University. He is the director of bands at North Rockford Middle School, the Rockford High School Jazz Band and has a private saxophone studio. Bands under the direction of Mr. McCarthy have consistently received superior ratings at District and State Band Festivals. His professional affiliations include MSBOA and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity. He has appeared in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2005 and 2006. Mr. McCarthy is an active adjudicator for MSBOA Band Festivals throughout Michigan and a faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Faculty.

DAN SCOTT, Philharmonic, holds a bachelor of music degree from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in technology education from Grand Valley State University. As a cellist he has performed with the West Shore Symphony, Signature String Quartet and numerous other orchestras and for special events. Dan is the orchestra director for Jenison High School.

KARIS CRAWFORD, Strings to Schools Outreach conductor