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.
Matt Hanne is a native of Wichita, Kansas where he taught Level III Folk Song Analysis, Pedagogy and Level I Conducting at Wichita State University Kodaly Certification Program. At Morehead State University in Kentucky, he taught Solfege I, II and III. He has also taught Solfege I and II at the University of Central Missouri. Most recently, he directed Wichita’s “Super 30th Anniversary Revue” and has also directed “Seussical,” “Cinderella” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Matt teaches Middle and Upper School Vocal Music, AP Music Theory and AP Psychology at The Independent School. He also teaches applied voice lessons at Newman University, serves as Director of Music at Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, and directs the Wichita Broadway Singers. As a vocalist, Matt sings with the Wichita Chamber Chorale, and serves as the Tenor Section Leader for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He was recognized with a Mary Jane Teall Award for his music directing work on “The Fantastics” with the Guild Hall Players, where he has worked on productions including “Man of La Mancha” and “Baby.” Matt received his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Friends University, and his Master’s from Wichita State University, where he also earned his certification in the Kodály Music Instruction Methodology. In his spare time, Matt enjoys reading, travel, writing and arranging music, and taking care of his cat, Cleo.
Lisa Simmelink is currently a Pre-K through 5th grade Music Educator in McPherson, KS. She is also Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in McPherson, directing five vocal and handbell choirs. Lisa has had experience teaching students of all levels; from 3yr old Music & Movement classes, to college music methods and Kodaly Pedagogy. Lisa earned her undergraduate degree in K-12 Choral Music Education and Vocal Performance from Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS and her Master’s degree in Music Education from Wichita State University, Wichita, KS. She holds a Kodaly Certificate from Colorado State University. Lisa is co-founder and past-president of Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas. She is currently serving as the President of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators of America. Lisa has been the Level II Pedagogy and Folk Song Research instructor in the Wichita State University Kodaly Program since it began and has also taught in the University of Central Missouri and Morehead State University Kodaly programs. She is an active presenter at local, state and regional levels.
Angel M. Vázquez-Ramos, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico is Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Bakersfield. He teaches undergraduate courses in music education, choral conducting, and conducts the University Singers and Chamber Singers. Prior to his appointment to CSUB, he served as Director of Choral Music Education at Chapman University from 2010 to 2015. Before completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University, Dr. Vázquez-Ramos taught secondary choral music in Pinellas County Schools in the Tampa Bay Area. He previously held positions in churches in both Largo and Tallahassee, Florida, and San Clemente, California. His research interests include: teacher preparation, rehearsal techniques, adolescent choirs, and assessment in music education. He is currently serving on the California ACDA Board as the College & University Repertoire & Standards chair and previously served on the board as Youth and Student Activities chair. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and NAfME: National Association for Music Education. He completed his Bachelors of Music Education degree at the University of Puerto Rico. In addition, he received a Masters in Music Education and Ph.D. in Music Education/Choral Conducting at Florida State University where he studied with André J. Thomas, Rodney Eichenberger, Judy K. Bowers, and Kevin A. Fenton. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos has completed Level 1 coursework for the Kodály Certification. He has 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. He is active as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.
René Ferrell is Emerita Associate Professor and former Director of Music Education at CSUB. Her studies include: Ph.D. from the University of North Texas, Kodály Certificate from Silver Lake College (WI), Orff Certificate from the University of Memphis (TN), and choral studies at Westminster Choir College (NJ). René is past officer for the Kern County Music Educators’ Association and two-time recipient of the KCMEA University Educator of the Year Award. Her long career includes teaching prize winning middle and high school choirs in Texas, adjudicating numerous choral competitions in several states, holding long-time membership in the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and conducting honor choirs that include Bakersfield’s Grand Night and the Kern Country Junior High Honor Choir. She has presented conference sessions, workshops, and Kodály certification courses across the country, conducted university women’s choruses in Lincoln (NE) and Bakersfield, and published numerous papers and articles in state and national peer reviewed and professional journals. Her professional service includes: President for the Nebraska Kodály Association and Nebraska Orff Association, Women’s Chorus Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Nebraska Choral Directors Association, and she has held several positions on the Organization of American Kodály Educators Board of Directors. As guest of the Hungarian Kodály Association, she was principal speaker for the International Kodály Society conference in Budapest and has presented papers at IKS Symposia in Leicester (ENG) and Cincinnati (OH). Dr. Ferrell founded the Nebraska Kodály Certification Program and now works with Dr. Angel Vazquez-Ramos as they create the new CSUB Kodály Institute.
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. Angel 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.