Directors & Staff
Brad Rees, Music Department Director, 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: email@example.com
Nathan Santos serves as Director of Commercial Music (Instrumental) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeanette Berry serves as Director of Commercial Music (Vocal), and as Artist-In-Residence, directing commercial music ensembles, teaching commercial voice lessons, and serving as mentor and advisor to ProMusic majors. Having performed around the world as background vocalist for Lauryn Hill, Berry recently relocated to Tiffin from New York City, where she's been working professionally as a soul/jazz recording artist and vocalist. "Love Stomped," the single from her first album, "Peace, Love and Music," has received critical music industry acclaim and was featured on the VH1 show 'Single Ladies'. Her band, "Jeanette Berry and the Soul Nerds," was formed in 2008 and is known for their soulful, jazzy sound reminiscent of Jill Scott and Stevie Wonder. The band plays consistently in New York, Philadelphia and DC. Before her arrival in Tiffin, Berry served as senior lecturer at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, from which she received a degree in jazz vocal performance. At Tiffin University, Berry is currently teaching voice, commercial music, and directing several student ensembles, while also pursuing her Master of Humanities degree at TU. Contact: BerryJ@tiffin.edu
Rob Ciesluk directs the Tifﬁn University Marching Band, Concert Band, Axis Indoor Percussion Ensemble and teaches percussion lessons. Prior to his appointment at Tifﬁn University he was the Graduate Assistant Director of Band Activities at Bowling Green State University and Director of Bands at St. Wendelin High School in Fostoria, OH. Mr. Ciesluk has performed throughout the United States and United Kingdom while he was a member of the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps, the Eastside Fury Percussion Ensemble and Poor Boy Music (PBM) a rock/ska band which has toured internationally and recorded on labels such as Raw Fish Records. A past president of Kappa Kappa Psi and Mu Phi Epsilon, Mr. Ciesluk's professional afﬁliations also include OMEA/MENC and Percussive Arts Society. Mr. Ciesluk continues to write and arrange for many marching bands and drumlines throughout Ohio and serves as the assistant percussion director for the BGSU Falcon Drumline. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree in music performance from Bowling Green State University. Rob lives in Fostoria with his wife Monica and his daughter Leah. Contact: CieslukRT@tiffin.edu
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
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.
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. Mike and his wife, Shelley, have two grown children.
Ali Rees, Administrative Manager for the TU Music Department, coordinates all recruiting and retention activities, as well as the annual ProMusic Festival and ProMusic Summer Camp. She directs TU’s all-female a cappella group Higher Ground, and serves as instructor of tap at Dance Unlimited in Tiffin. An experienced singer, accompanist, and teacher, Ali holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and Iowa’s School for Music Vocations, and was also a founding member of the a cappella group Audio Radiance. With more than 15 years corporate experience (Aon, GE, Pfizer), she has designed and managed corporate university recruiting programs for many Fortune 500 companies, and has served as an industry research analyst. Contact: 419-448-3366 or ReesA@tiffin.edu.
Laura Schalk 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. In her free time loves riding her motorcycle with her fancy-pants boyfriend. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Daniel Burris serves as adjunct instructor of saxophone and clarinet at Tiffin University. Daniel holds a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from The University of Toledo and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Performance from Bowling Green State University. He served as saxophone instructor at Terra State Community College in Fremont, and has taught saxophone, jazz history, improvisation, and directed jazz ensembles at The University of Toledo. An active freelance musician, Daniel regularly plays in jazz combos and pit orchestras around Northwest Ohio, and has performed around the region and with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. He currently lives in Fremont with his wife Katie.
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 and are parents to four children.
Teresa (Terry) Collins, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Education, serves as coordinator of Tiffin University's Master of Education program, and 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
Katie Kufel, Graduate Assistant, serves as equipment and facilities manager for the Music Department, supervising activities in the TU Recording Studio and providing technical support for TU's touring ensembles and the department as a whole. Katie is an alum of the TU Music Department, serving 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 she is currently pursuing an MBA degree. Contact: KufelKA@tiffin.edu.
Hannah Stevens serves as Graduate Assistant for the Music Department, providing administrative and recruiting support, as well as leadership with marching band activities. Hannah is a four-year alum of the TU music program, having performed as a member of the marching band and concert band and served as president of the TU chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi band honorary. She holds a BBA in Hospitality Management, and is currently is pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Tiffin University. Contact: Stevenshr@tiffin.edu
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