Department of Music
The Department of Music
126 French Hall, (Faculty Offices)
303 East Kearsley Street, Flint, MI 48502
810-762-3377 - Office 810-762-3326 - FAX
The Department of Music is served by Administrative Team 220, consisting of Audrey Beauchesne, Mark Pyland, Suzanne Shivnen, and Karri Spoelstra. Team 220 is located in 220 French Hall and the office is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm weekdays. The office handles most of the adminstrative requests for assistance.
Brian DiBlassio has been with the Department of Music at UM-Flint since 2000, where he has received the Lois Rosen Excellence in Teaching Award and the Provost Innovation in Teaching Prize. As a jazz and classical pianist, he most regularly performs with Latin jazz groups Los Gatos and Tumbao Bravo. DiBlassio has had the opportunity to score music for local and national televised pieces, and his diverse instrumental/choral arrangements, orchestrations and compositions have been performed by an array of groups, including the UM-Flint ensembles and the Flint Symphony. DiBlassio has presented performance projects and research, nationally and internationally, most recently at the Jazz Education Network Conference in San Diego, California.
Dr. Christopher P. Heidenreich was appointed as the Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at the University of Michigan-Flint in the fall of 2009. He has served as Associate Director of Bands at Youngstown State University and Director of the YSU “Marching Pride” and began teaching public school in Ohio in 1989. He completed his Doctor of Music in Wind Conducting from Indiana University in the spring of 2006, holds a Master of Arts in Music Education from The Ohio State University (1998) and a Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University (1989) where he graduated cum laude.
Gabriela Hristova was awarded the 2012 Lucinda Stone Junior Women Faculty Award for her research on Bulgarian Choral and Singing Traditions. Recently elected as the president for the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, she hosted the Michigan ACDA Fall Convention at the First Presbyterian Church in Flint.
Faculty - Lecturers
Jessica Cech has been a featured artist in the Flint Institute of Music's Chamber Series Concerts for the last six years. She was a guest artist in the St. Clair Shores Concert Series in 2012 and was a featured soloist in the Music at St. Paul's Series (Flint, MI) in 2011. In addition to her current position at the University of Michigan-Flint, Cech teaches flute at the Flint School of Performing Arts.
James Coviak, percussionist and director of the internationally acclaimed steel drum band, Steelheads, has recently performed at the Lionel Hampton and TAC Jazz Festivals. In addition to working with international recording artist Andy Narell, Coviak’s former students have recently performed with saxophonist Kenny G, and with guitarist Jack White at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
First Prize at the Panhellenic Piano Competition, Second Prize at the Association of Greek Conservatories Piano Competition, the Evalina Vernon Honsinger Award for Performance Excellence, the Hira Poncha Music Award, Second Prize at theAmerican Protégé Competition, First Award for exceptional interpretation at the Kutztown Festival Concerto Competition and was nominated for membership in the National Music Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda.
In January 2018, she was invited to a music residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, where she presented her doctoral research on Aaron Copland’s piano works and premiered new compositions by fellow participants. She has played for Greek television and her recitals have been broadcast on radio stations in New York.
Hailed as “A rich resonant baritone with majestic proportions” ~ Toledo Blade, Dan Ewart has sung a wide variety of roles. Most recently he sang Horace Tabor in the Ballad of Baby Doewith Toledo Opera. Previous to this he was Dancaïro in Carmen with Prelude to Performance in Manhattan where “he provided fine support” ~ Opera News. He also performed Escamillo in the High Lights concert that same summer in Manhattan.
Previously, Dr. Ewart performed the role of Owen Hart in Dead Man Walkingand Zuniga Carmenwith Shreveport Opera. He covered the leading baritone roles Joseph DeRocher and Escamillo with the same company. Other roles performed include Germont in La Traviata, Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcello in La Boheme, Editor Webb in Our Town, His Father-in-law in The Poor Fisherman, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Dr. Miracle in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
Dr. Ewart has also sung with several orchestras as a soloist. Dr. Ewart has performed on several occasions with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra where he was the baritone soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G as well as the baritone soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum. He has also sung and hosted a variety show with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s Linked-in concert series. He was also the baritone soloist in Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor with the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, as well as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with members of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra where he was also the baritone soloist in Mozart’s G major mass that same year.
Dan Ewart has a B.M. in vocal performance from Michigan State University, a M.M. in vocal performance from DePaul University, and a D.M.A. in vocal performance with Michigan State University.
Rachel is a passionate educator, with experience teaching elementary general music and choral music. In 2002 she earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from East Carolina, and in 2010 graduated from The University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music with a Master of Music Education. Rachel is a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University where she is a graduate teaching assistant, oversees undergraduate student teachers, and serves with the community engagement program. Her research interests include music and language acquisition in students with disabilities, how music may benefit those with language delays, professional development for in-service teachers and course work for undergraduates in teaching music to students with disabilities. Rachel is the co-author of two publications; First Steps in Music with Orff Schulwerk, and Feierabend Fundamentals: History, Philosophy, and Practice. Rachel is fully certified in Kodály, Orff, and has a GIML Elementary I and II certificate. She is also a teacher trainer for both and . Rachel is a member of AERA, AOSA, OAKE, NAfME, and is a founding member of FAME. She lives with her husband and two children in Lansing, Michigan.
A Michigan native, Kisma Jordan is a recipient of the 2014 Kresge Artist Fellowship in Music. Recognized by the New York Times for her soul-stirring communicative ability and "shimmering soprano voice" Kisma returned to the opera stage in 2014-2015 season to cover the role of Clara with Lyric Opera of Chicago in their production of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. She has appeared as a soloist with the Hilton Head Symphony, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, debuted her highly anticipated project Beyond Classical during Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience and ended the summer with an appearance at Chene Park with electronic music legend Derrick May. She holds degrees in Music from Bowling Green State University, Kentucky State University and Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. More
Sherri Marttila has been an avid violinist since the age of nine. She first honed her musicianship in the automotive heartland of Flint, Michigan. She has completed educational rigors at Interlochen Arts Academy, the Congress of Strings (New York), and the University of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan.
Sherri is the Concertmaster and Personnel Manager for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Street Chamber Orchestra and the Motor City Symphony. She also performs with the Michigan Opera Theater, Flint Symphony Orchestra, Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, Midland Symphony Orchestra and Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
Sherri has worked with many amazing artists including Aretha Franklin, John Tesh, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Alexander Zonjic, Regis Philbin, Harry Connick Jr., Josh Grobin, Sarah McLachlan and wonderful musical groups like the Temptations, The Ten Tenors, Il Divo, Il Volo, Mannheim Steamroller, Citizen Zero, Warner Brother Symphony and the Wimborne Symphony. Aside from her active performance schedule, Sherri also has 30 years of teaching and coaching experience in the metropolitan Flint and Detroit areas, and she is the current University of Michigan - Flint instructor of violin, viola, string chamber music and the UMF Chamber Strings Ensemble.
Timothy Michling is the principal oboist of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. An avid performer, Michling frequently appears with numerous other groups throughout Michigan and the surrounding region, including the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and the Michigan Philharmonic. Tim is also an accomplished woodwind specialist, and was a member of the pit orchestra during the North American Tour of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" in 2003-2004, playing oboe, English horn, flute, piccolo, clarinet, and bassoon. In addition to his work with students at the University of Michigan-Flint, Tim provides instruction as a member of the music faculty at Oakland University. Tim earned both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he studied with Nancy-Ambrose King. In addition, he studied with Allan Vogel at the prestigious Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where he earned his Artist Diploma. Tim also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Jeffrey Price is a collaborative performer and educator, recently performing new music at the Windsor Canadian Music Festival. He performs regularly with the UM-Flint Faculty Jazz Ensemble as well as with faculty chamber groups at the Flint School for Performing Arts. Price is an active clinician in the Genesee area and is a candidate to present at the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance national convention.
Patrick Prouty composed a piece for the UM-Flint University Orchestra in honor of Emeritus Professor Walker E. Fesmire’s generous establishment of The Chieko Fesmire String Instrument Scholarship. Music from Prouty’s CD, The Charmed Life, was recently featured in AMC’s television show, Breaking Bad. His fourth CD, New American Daydream, earned the Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording of 2012.
Joseph Wright is active as a performer and educator. He has appeared extensively over the years with artists such as Natalie Cole, Peter Duchin, Bob Hope, Robert Klein, Andy Narell, Martha Reeves, The Four Tops, The Temptations, as well as The Glenn Miller and Nelson Riddle Orchestras. He also performs regularly with the UM-Flint Faculty Jazz Ensemble. Wright has appeared many times at the Detroit Jazz Festival, including performances with both local and nationally known jazz artists.
Cheryl Zimmerman earned both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Instrumental School Music and a Master of Music Degree in Applied Oboe (performance) at Michigan State University.
As a music educator, she has had over three decades of public school teaching experience, 28 of them in the Grand Blanc Community Schools where she primarily taught instrumental music. She is a performing member of the St. Cecilia Society in Flint, principal oboist of the Genesee Wind Symphony, and a Member Emeritus of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association.