Jo Kirk - Level 1 Pedagogy
Jo Kirk, founder, President and CEO of We Joy Sing, is a nationally known educator and expert in Kodály pedagogy, Kodály-based early childhood music education and methodology. She holds a Masters in Music Education from the University of Akron and a Kodály Music Education Certificate from Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She has completed early childhood studies at the Hartt School of Music and the Westminster Choir College. Her teaching experience spans from “little ones” to Kodály graduate level adults at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Colorado State University, Wichita State University, Morehead State University and California State University Long Beach. As an adjunct faculty member of Muskingum College, Jo instructed the elementary music education courses, directed the Muskingum College Children’s Choir, and developed and instructed the Kodály-based early childhood music and movement enrichment program. Kirk served on the Community Music School faculty at Capital University, provided the early music education training for the Columbus Montessori Teacher Education Program, and is founder, President and CEO of WeJoySing, Inc. studio’s “Language of Love” prenatal program, “Heart Strings” (a parent and early childhood music and movement based education program), “Music & Me” (a music literacy program based on the Kodály methodology for school age children), and individualized Music Therapy programs. She maintains an active nation-wide conference and public speaking schedule and her publications include: “A Kodaly Approach,” “Spotlight on Early Childhood Music Education: Selected Articles from State MEA Journals” published by the National Association for Music Education, 2000, and has authored Lullabies to Circle Games: An Early Childhood Music and Movement Curriculum.
Judith Chan - Level 2 Pedagogy
Judith Chan is an experienced vocal music teacher. She has taught in private and public schools in California and in Australia. Originally from Hong Kong, she grew up singing in a children’s choir where she received the foundation of musical learning based on the Kodály philosophy. She is now in her 31st year of teaching. Currently as a K-5 Vocal Music Specialist at Horace Mann School in the Beverly Hills Unified School District, she has previously taught general music and directed a choral program of multiple levels for 19 years at Beverly Vista School. Her middle school choir was selected to perform as the featured choir at the 2016 OAKE National Conference and 2017 World Strides Music Festival at Carnegie Hall. In 2019, her choir participated in the Music Celebrations Rome Choral Festival and performed in the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Pantheon. Judith received the Graduate Diploma in Music Education from Queensland University of Technology in Australia where she was first trained in the Kodály pedagogy. She then completed her Master of Music Education with a Kodály Emphasis at Holy Names University. In addition, Judith served as the Kodály Musicianship instructor for the National Children’s Choir in Los Ángeles for several years. She has also taught methodology and solfege classes at the Holy Names University Summer Institute. While living in the Bay Area, she sang with the California Bach Society and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Judith is an active member of OAKE. She served on the National Choir Committee for six years and had students selected by audition to perform at the conference regularly. She currently serves as the OAKE Western Division President.
Matt Hanne - Musicianship Level 1 & 2
Matt Hanne is Director of Fine Arts at The Independent School in Wichita, KS, where he teaches 6th-12th grade choir, Music Theory, and AP Psychology, and he also teaches applied voice at Newman University. Matt has served on the faculty of Kodály certification programs at Wichita State University (Conducting and Pedagogy/Folksong Research), University of Central Missouri (Solfège), University of California-Bakersfield (Solfège) and Morehead State University (Solfège). Matt has presented at the National (NAFME, OAKE), Regional (MKMEA), State (KMEA, ACDA) and local (USD 259, Chesterfield, MO) levels on various topics relating to choral rehearsal techniques and improvisation. In July 2015, 2017, and 2018 Matt studied in Kecskemét, Hungary, at the International Kodály Seminar and summer school. Matt is the director of music at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, the director of the Wichita Broadway Singers, has directed honor choirs across the state of Kansas, and has served as music director for shows with Music Theatre for Young People in Wichita. He has served as the tenor section lead mt-2er for the Wichita Symphony Chorus, and is often a member of the Wichita Chamber Chorale.
Leo Sakomoto, DMA
Leo Sakomoto is Director of Instrumental Studies at California State University, Bakersfield. He conducts the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and CSUB/Bakersfield College Joint Orchestra, directs the Pep Band, and teaches courses in music education and conducting. Under his leadership, the CSUB instrumental music program has received several honors, including recognition from the College Band Directors National Association. He is also the founding advisor of the CSUB Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education. Dr. Sakomoto maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator at the middle school through university levels. Recent guest conducting engagements include honor bands and orchestras in Texas, South Carolina and California, and orchestral rehearsal clinics in Ecuador. He previously served as Assistant Conductor of the Inland Valley Symphony Orchestra of California. He is active as a conference presenter, previously lecturing on wind band repertoire and conducting, and most recently presenting a clinic on rehearsal efficiency through conducting at the California All-State Music Educators Conference. Awards received include Outstanding College/University Music Educator and Music Educator of the Year, both from the Kern County Music Educators Association. He was an invited participant in the Nordic Wind Band Conducting Competition in Helsinki, Finland. Dr. Sakomoto completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from California State University, Los Ángeles. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in conducting from UCLA under the mentorship of Thomas Lee. He has also studied with conductors such as Richard Floyd, Jerry Junkin, Craig Kirchhoff, Allan McMurray, and H. Robert Reynolds. As part of his continued professional development, Dr. Sakomoto completed three levels of study in the Kodály Method through the Organization of American Kodály Educators. Dr. Sakomoto currently serves on the boards of the Kern County Music Educators Association and Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education, California Music Educators Association, California Band Directors Association, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, American String Teachers Association, and the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
Ángel Vázquez-Ramos, Ph.D
Ángel M. Vázquez-Ramos, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico is Director of Choral & Vocal Studies and Associate Professor of Music at California State University, Bakersfield. He teaches undergraduate courses in music education, secondary choral methods, and choral conducting. In addition, Dr. Vázquez-Ramos conducts the University Singers, Treble Singers, and Chamber Singers while maintaining an active schedule as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician throughout the state and western region. Before completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University, Vázquez-Ramos taught secondary choral music at Pinellas County Schools in the Tampa Bay Area. Previous music director positions have included congregations in both Florida and California. Serving as the Central Region Representative on the California Choral Directors Association Board, Dr. Vázquez-Ramos also keeps current memberships in the following professional organizations: American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE). He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at the University of Puerto Rico. Studying with Judy Bowers, Rodney Eichenberger, Kevin Fenton and André Thomas, he graduated with Master of Music Education and Ph.D. in Music Education degrees from Florida State University. Research interests include: teacher preparation, rehearsal techniques, adolescent choirs, and ethnic choral music. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos has presented nationally and published articles on assessment in music education and teacher preparation in the Journal of Research in Music Education, the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing and the Florida Music Director.
Ryan Ramming - Accompanist, Alexander Technique
A former CSU Bakersfield student, Ryan Ramming began learning piano at age 5 under his father, and then later with Robert Clatterbuck at age 12. At the university he studied with Dr. Soo-Yeon Park, where he also spent several years serving as accompanist for Dr. René Ferrell's Women's Choir. Currently, he plays piano and organ at three churches in Bakersfield, California: Emmanuel Lutheran, St. Elizabeth-Ann Seton, and St. Philip the Apostle. Ryan also accompanies the CSU Bakersfield University Singers and Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Ángel Vázquez-Ramos. In addition to his work as a musician, Ryan is an AmSAT-certified instructor of the Alexander Technique, and he maintains a private teaching studio in Bakersfield, CA.