Faculty & Staff
Adjunct Faculty in Jazz History
One of the most versatile and sought after electric and double bassists in the Cleveland area, Alfredo Guerrieri has played with an impressive array of musicians throughout his career. He has recorded and performed with Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies, Grammy Award winner Heather Headley, Tony Pullizzi, Joe McBride, Dan Wilson, and Keith McKelley. He has toured nationally and performed internationally at the Bermuda Music Festival and One World Festival in Perth, Australia.
Alfredo has also appeared in a number of theater productions at Playhouse Square and Baldwin Wallace College such as Five Guys Named Moe, Mamma Mia, Freaky Friday, and Anything Goes. Alfredo has earned degrees from Musician’s Institute in Bass Performance, Bachelors in Music Business from Berklee College of Music , and a Masters in Jazz Studies from Cleveland State University.
Along with freelancing, Alfredo is currently performing with Mary Bridget Davies, Revival (Allman Brothers Tribute), Sunshine Daydream (Grateful Dead Tribute), Thor Platter, and composing with Strange Attractor. He also currently teaches at Cleveland State University, Lakeland Community College, Notre Dame College, and the Fine Arts Association. He also teaches Music Theory, directs jazz and rock ensembles, and private lessons on electric bass, double bass, and guitar. He is endorsed by S.I.T. Strings.
Director of Theatre Studies, Artistic Director for Mercury Theatre Company
Pierre-Jacques Brault is the Director of Theatre Studies at Notre Dame College and the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Mercury Theatre Company, the professional theatre company housed at NDC. At Mercury, Pierre has staged many critically acclaimed productions, including: Grand Hotel, Ragtime, Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure, Sunset Boulevard, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Finian’s Rainbow, Blood Brothers, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and the head of Mercury’s nationally recognized and award-winning Junior Company.
Pierre serves as Resident Director of Virginia Musical Theatre in Virginia Beach, VA, where he has staged over a dozen musicals. A native of Cleveland, Brault has worked as a professional director, actor, talent agent, teacher, and held the position of Booking Associate at The Brickhouse Network for the recording artist, Jim Brickman. Pierre earned his Bachelors of Music in Musical Theatre from Baldwin-Wallace University.
Director of Dance Studies
Karina Browne has been involved in the dance industry for 30 years. She has extensive background in ballet, pointe, tap, ballroom, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, musical theater and acrobatics. As an accomplished dancer in the competitive field, she has won countless awards, scholarships, titles and top honors at regional, national and international events. Karina has been a professor at Heidelberg University, Lorain Community College, and Case Western Reserve University. She also serves as the assistant director at Karsha’s All That Jazz Dance Academy. Karina is an active judge, emcee and manager at Fly Dance Competition. She has been invited to perform and choreograph for various studios, shows and events throughout the country. Her choreography has won many awards including best choreography, most entertaining act and top overalls at regional and national competitions. She has danced professionally with RED Company and performed with Cleveland Dance Project. Karina is a 2010 graduate of Heidelberg University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Musical Theater. She received her Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve in 2014.
Co-Director of Performing Arts, Assistant Professor of Music
Alicia, professional flutist and pedagogue, joined Notre Dame College in Fall 2016. Alicia began her career at NDC as a woodwind instructor, and began taking on more responsibilities in the fields of teaching and administration. Alicia’s teaching experience at NDC consists of courses in music theory, history of rock and roll, applied flute lessons, and woodwind instruction with the band. Alicia is currently Co-Director of Performing Arts and Assistant Professor of Music.
Having a passion for performing, Alicia is involved in community ensembles located in Northeast Ohio. Alicia is principal flutist of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, flute section member of The Cleveland Winds, and performs in the Siena Woodwind Quintet. In 2019, Alicia performed as a Faculty soloist with the NDC Wind Symphony in participation with their annual Honor Band Festival concert.
In addition to performing, Alicia has developed a robust passion for music education. Alicia teaches applied flute lessons at NDC, where she fosters a warm, creative, and safe learning environment for her students. In flute lessons, Alicia’s students engage in a variety of studies; from flute fundamentals, extended techniques, baroque through modern-day works, popular music, flute history and pedagogy, mindfulness, and creative thinking. Alicia has also taught master classes for NDC’s Honor Band Festival. Outside of NDC, Alicia teaches private flute lessons through Beck Center of The Arts located in Lakewood, Ohio. She also has instructed flute sections for local high schools including Cuyahoga Falls High School, Medina High School, and St. Edwards High School.
Alicia earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at Cleveland State University under the direction of Sean Gabriel, and a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance at Kent State University under the direction of Diane Rechner.
Director of Strings
Assistant Cheer Coach
Ashley joined Notre Dame College's cheer program in 2014 and has been coaching for the last several years. Ashley is also a proud graduate of NDC where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources with a minor in Management. She was involved around campus by taking part as a member of Black Student Union (BSU), FirstGen Students, and a member of SAAC during her time on campus. She was also a two-time captain and a four-year veteran on the cheerleading team during her time as a Falcon. Ashley has a passion for seeing the growth and development of her cheer teams and enjoys being able to guide and inspire them to have successful futures. Ashley has coached in all capacities from all-star, competitive cheerleading to sideline and college cheerleading. She is AIC and USASF certified and is currently AACCA certified to coach at the college level.
Ashley is a graduate of the Austintown Fitch High School, where she cheered and ran track as well. In addition, she also cheered competitively with Dream Team All-Stars of Niles, OH. She started her coaching career there as well. Her extensive background in all-star and sideline cheerleading has brought experience into all aspects of our program, including stunting, tumbling and game day performance. Outside of NDC, Ashley also spends her time serving as an assistant coach of five years at Orange High School where she has developed the passion for providing the fundamentals of cheer to young adults ages 15-18 and serves also as a mentor. She has carried on her career at Notre Dame as Head Coach and plans to continue helping the program to grow and reach new heights. Ashley is presently working at a MetroHealth Hospital as a Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) Specialist and looking to start a career in Management.
Jazz Combo Director, Adjunct Faculty
Northeast Ohio guitarist Brent Hamker has been performing music all over the Cleveland area since he was 14 years old. Now at age 29 he has had the privilege of studying and performing under the tutelage of many great masters of music all over the world including Ernie Krivda, Bob Fraser, Victor Mendoza, Perico Sambeat, Dan Wilson, Stephen Enos, and many more.
Brent began his education at Cuyahoga Comminuty College in 2009 at the Tri-C Jazz Studies Program. In 2012 he began his studies at Cleveland State University where he earned a Bachelor in Music Performance in 2014. In the Summer of 2014 he moved to Valencia, Spain to begin his Master Degree in Contemporary Performance at Berklee College of Music’s Valencia Campus. While in Spain, Brent was fortunate enough to travel and be part of many performances throughout Europe. Upon graduating with his Masters Degree from Berklee, Brent returned to Northeast Ohio to continue performing throughout the area and work on a vast array of new musical projects. He is part of the music faculty at Notre Dame College of Ohio as an Adjunct Professor of Guitar and Jazz Studies.
Dr. Cara Haxo
Adjunct Faculty in Music Theory and Music Composition
Described as “movingly lyrical” (Avant Music News) and “quirky but attractive” (The Art Music Lounge), the music of Cara Haxo juxtaposes delicate, sparkly textures with the gritty and the grotesque. As the winner of the 2022 NWMF Emerging Women Composers Competition, Cara is currently at work on a commission for women’s chorus and chamber orchestra to be premiered during the 2022 National Women’s Music Festival. She was also awarded the 2019 International Alliance for Women in Music Libby Larsen Prize, the 2013 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Composers Award, and the 2013 IAWM Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Prize, and second prize in the 2012 Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Student/Collegiate Composers Contest. She has received commissions from the May Festival Youth Chorus, International Contemporary Ensemble, Quince Ensemble, and Splinter Reeds, amongst other ensembles. Recordings of her music have been released by New Focus Recordings, and her arts songs are published in the NewMusicShelf Anthologies of New Music.
A native of Massachusetts, Cara earned her Ph.D. in Composition at the University of Oregon, where she worked as a Graduate Teaching Fellow in Music Theory. Her dissertation, a song cycle for alto and chamber orchestra entitled Pretty Pretty Princess vs. The Underworld, is a gothic, fragmentary fairytale retelling of the Orpheus myth on texts by poet Emily Corwin. Cara also holds an M.M. in Composition from Butler University and a B.M. in Composition and Theory from The College of Wooster. Her teachers have included Robert Kyr, David Crumb, Michael Schelle, Frank Felice, Peter Mowrey, and Jack Gallagher. She previously taught private piano, theory, and composition lessons through the Butler Community Arts School in Indianapolis.
Cara is an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Notre Dame College, where she teaches Applied Composition, Introduction to Musicianship, Diatonic Music Theory, and Chromatic Music Theory. She is also an Academic Dean and faculty member for The Walden School Young Musicians Program in New Hampshire. For more information, please visit http://chaxomusic.com.
Applied Trumpet Instructor
Lauren Hinkle is a graduate of Kent State University where she received a BM in Trumpet Performance in 2019. After moving to Cleveland in the fall of 2020, she began teaching brass locally, joining the Performing Arts Faculty at Notre Dame College, as well as Music & Arts in Parma. Lauren previously taught private brass lessons in the Stow-Kent area, and occasionally coached small chamber groups at nearby high schools.
At Kent State, Lauren primarily performed as a principal player in the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, spent many years in various brass quintets, and even premiered several pieces in solo and chamber settings. She performed with the trumpet ensemble at The International Trumpet Guild Conference, the Jazz Orchestra at The Elmhurst Jazz Festival, and also traveled as a soloist to The International Women’s Brass Conference where she competed in the Susan Slaughter Solo Competition. Today, Lauren is a freelance performer in the Cleveland area. Lauren is currently a Graduate Assistant at Cleveland State University where she is pursuing a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance, studying under the direction of Jack Sutte.
Assistant Cheer Coach
Co-Director of Performing Arts, Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Instrumental Studies
Michael is an educator, composer, and conductor. In 2016, Michael joined NDC as the Assistant Director of Bands. Currently, Michael is the Co-Director of Performing Arts, Assistant Professor of Music, and Director of Instrumental Studies. At NDC, Michael directs and supervises all instrumental ensembles, teaches applied composition lessons, and teaches academic courses in music theory, music literature, and composition. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Michael also serves as an administrator for the department in his role as a co-department head.
Michael primarily composes for wind ensembles, chamber ensembles, and marching ensembles. Michael’s most popular piece, For Patrick, has been a featured composition on The Composers Circle and Musicuratum. For Patrick was included in Volume 11 of GIA Publication’s Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. Michael’s wind ensemble music has been featured at several honor band concerts and conferences, including the 2020 CVC Conference Band, 2018 NDC Honor Band Festival, 2018 Firelands Conference Band, 2018 and 2016 SIUE Bi-State Band Festivals and the 2014 Southwest CBDNA Conference. In June of 2017, Michael’s composition, Alone, was premiered at the International Trombone Festival. Alone was also recorded and featured on Dr.Matthew Hoormann’s debut solo album, SOMNILOQUY, which can be found on Spotify. In 2016, a consortium of fifteen bands led by Mr. Greg Allen, formed to create Michael’s Symphony 3: The Dreamer.
Michael is in demand as a guest clinician and adjudicator for wind ensembles and marching bands around the United States. In the summers, Michael can be found teaching marching band camps near and far. In 2016, Michael joined the drum major and student leadership staff for Fred J. Miller Summer Clinics. In 2020, Michael was a founding member for the educational and marching band company, Music Effect Design. At Music Effect Design, Michael is a member of the Board of Directors, Director of Music Operations, and Chief Client Officer. Michael has received marching band commissions from numerous high school and collegiate marching and pep bands. To date, Michael has over 100 arrangements for the marching arts.
Michael holds a Master of Music in Music Composition from Butler University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Michael’s primary teachers have included Dr. Michael Schelle, Dr. Robert Grechesky, Dr. John Bell, Professor Michael Colburn, and Dr. Kimberly Archer. Michael is currently a member of ASCAP, OMEA, and US Bands. Michael is also an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi.
Director of Percussion
Jeff Larch is an in-demand percussionist, educator, producer and composer in the Cleveland area. He is currently in his fourth year teaching at NDC, and is looking forward to many more. Jeff currently is Director of Percussion, which includes teaching the percussion section of the concert and marching bands, percussion ensemble, as well as private lessons available to anyone on campus on a variety of instruments from marimba to drum set, and anything in between.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from Baldwin Wallace University which he completed in 2015. During his time at BW, Jeff took every opportunity to perform and teach. This led to him performing in a wide variety of ensembles, ranging from the percussion ensemble to the pit of the opera. He was also a member of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra, where he was principal timpanist for his final two years in the ensemble.
While he was not a student at NDC, he was a founding member of Notre Dame Indoor Percussion Ensemble in 2011, which competed in the Winter Guard International circuit. His experience there undoubtedly led him back to a teaching role in 2017. He always noted that the faculty and students had a great working relationship where fun was had, but work was still done. This is an outlook that Jeff still holds strongly to this day.
Jeff is a long time performer and educator in the marching arts. After NDIPE, he was a member of Legends Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the tenor section leader and a member of the snareline. This experience undoubtedly changed Jeff’s life and career, as the lessons he learned during these two seasons have shaped his musical and educational philosophy to this day. After Legends, Jeff was a member of the Cleveland Browns Drumline for three seasons, and tenor section leader for two.
On the other side of the drum, Jeff is currently Drumline Caption Head at Willoughby South, Perry, and Streetsboro high schools. He also works as an upper battery technician at Avon Lake HS for their marching band and indoor drumline seasons. In addition to his teaching, Jeff is the show designer and composer for Willoughby South’s competitive shows. Since taking over the role in 2016, South has earned Superior ratings at State competition every year it has competed, as well as best in class and best percussion awards. Other marching education experience includes serving as a tenor technician for Burning River Percussion (WGI) and assistant caption head for Erie Thunderbirds (DCA).
Outside of teaching percussion, Jeff is an active member of five bands, and consistently gigs as a drum set and concert percussion performer for various venues in the Cleveland area. Other than music, Jeff enjoys listening to podcasts, playing video games, and spending time with his dog, Duke.
Dr. Donna Lee
Applied Piano Instructor
Korean-Canadian pianist Donna Lee is a veteran performer, playing in concerts, recitals and festivals all over North America and Europe. Born in Toronto, Donna started her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Young Artists Performance Academy. Subsequently, she had the privilege of studying at the Musikhochschule in Hannover, Germany. During her time there, Donna won first prize at the San Sebastián International Piano Competition in Spain, special prize at the IBLA Grand Prize in Italy, and performed concerts and recitals at the Mozarteum Summer Festival in Salzburg, Austria. In Canada, Donna was the second-prize winner of the prestigious Canadian Chopin Competition. She also was on tour for Jeunesses Musicales du Canada Desjardins Series, with French Horn player, Louis Phillipe Marsolais. She holds degrees from the University of Toronto and earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Daniel Shapiro. She is currently on the piano faculty at Notre Dame College and performs as a staff pianist at Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. Donna also serves as the President of the Northeast Ohio Music Teachers Association, serving to promote advancement in musical study and performance.
Applied Saxophone Instructor
Tom has taught at NDC since 2018. He is also a member of the music faculty at Cleveland State University and The College of Wooster. Tom is a woodwind coach for the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, serves on the Medina Southtown District Arts Committee, and he is a Board Member of the Medina County Arts Council.
As a Music Therapist, he has worked at the Prentiss Autism Center and has over ten years experience working with the urban youth population of Cleveland who have severe emotional disturbances. In addition to crisis intervention, re-education and sanctuary therapeutic models, he is also trained in applied behavioral analysis from the Cleveland Clinic and completed the Child Trauma Academy with Dr. Bruce Perry. Since 2015 Tom has been chosen by ORMACO (Ohio Regional Music Arts and Cultural Outreach) to facilitate annual grant-funded therapeutic music workshops with at-risk youth.
The saxophonist has premiered solo and chamber works of local composers Nicholas Underhill, Geoffrey Peterson, Thomas Janson, John HC Thompson, Andrew Rindfleisch, Michael Leese, Buck McDaniel, Kurtis Jeffers, Jack Ballard, Darren Allen, Dr. Greg D’Alessio, Jeffrey Quick, and Stephen Stanziano. Tom is currently working on new premieres: Six Global Vignettes by Jack Ballard, Mind, Body, and Soul by Matthew Saunders, and concerto Three Vignettes (for saxophone and full orchestra) by Dave Morgan. He has recorded on Palmyra Music, Infinite Number of Sounds, Parousia Digital, for Ludwig Masters Publications, and with Noel Quintana’s Latin Crew. His performances include live broadcasts on WCLV Classical 104.9, 90.3 WCPN, WRUW-FM 91.1, WCR-FM 97.1, WJW FOX 8 News In the Morning, as he also has been featured on Ideastream, Cleveland Ovations, Innovations on WCLV, The Hazel Chapman Show, and Positively Cleveland. Tom performs locally as a member of Cleveland Winds, Akron Symphonic Winds, Ekklésia Reed Quintet, Canton Comic Opera Company, Neo-Tessares Saxophone Quartet, Night Owls, Powerhouse 5, NEO Dixie, Sarata & Lempner Duo, Trepanning Trio, MT Fraze, Pen & Axe, Hexapod, Freedom Jazz Collective, and is host of the experimental project Inquiries Into Sound.
Tom earned a Masters of Music degree at Kent State University where he was awarded the Walter Watson Jazz Award, Outstanding Soloist at Elmhurst Jazz Festival, and Winner of the Graduate Student Soloists Competition. He also earned a double Bachelors degree in Music Therapy and Music Performance at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, a Diploma from the Armed Forces School of Music, and is a U.S. Army Veteran with various awards and decorations.
Tom Lempner is a Conn-Selmer Performing Artist.
Director of Vocal Studies
Dr. Lisa Pierce Litteral is the Head of Vocal Studies at Notre Dame College, where she conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers as well as teaching Applied Voice. She also teaches at Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and has been the head of the music program, music instructor, and co-chair of the Fine and Applied Arts Department for over 25 years. She has her doctorate in voice from The Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University, where she studied with Beverley Rinaldi. Dr. Litteral maintains a busy teaching schedule and has taught at Ursuline College, Lorain County Community College and CIM. For almost 25 years, Dr. Litteral has been a member of the Vocal Arts faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Camp, where she teaches studio voice, lyric diction, and Acting for Singers. She also has served as the state chairperson for the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Dr. Litteral continues to sing and has appeared with many orchestras and other groups throughout the country. She has appeared as guest conductor for the Greater Cleveland Catholic High School Honors Choir, as well as other conducting appearances in South Carolina and Ohio.
Applied Vocal Instructor
Raquel Román-Rodriguez, Applied Voice Lessons Instructor, currently teaches Applied Voice lessons at NDC. Raquel has previously taught Survey of Western Vocal Literature, and was the Director for both the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Vox Superior. She holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a BA in Music – Vocal Performance from Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri.
As a voice teacher, Raquel is a pedagogy-nerd with a passion for cross-training vocal styles. Her teaching philosophy is grounded in fostering a positive-reinforcement filled environment for students to unlock their true vocal potential. Her students have been accepted to prestigious programs around the US and Europe, including University of the Arts, HMDK Stuttgart, Baldwin Wallace University, DePaul University, Belmont University, NYU, Oberlin College, University of Michigan, and more. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Choral Directors Association.
A lyric soprano, Raquel has performed in a variety of capacities and styles. She is currently the cantor at St. Rocco’s Parish in Cleveland. Her opera credits include: Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with ViVace Opera Workshop in Vancouver, BC, and as a chorus member in productions with Cleveland Opera Theater. While at CIM, she performed as Second Lady in scenes from Die Zauberflöte in the opera scenes program and as Maid 2 in the full production of Amelia al Ballo. She also participated in the opera scenes program at her undergraduate institution, Avila University, singing Mimi in Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Susannah in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, and Blanche de la Force in Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites. Raquel has also performed in numerous musical theater productions, including Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins with Gladstone Theater in the Park, as well as chorus roles in Young Frankenstein, 9 to 5, The Producers, Jekyll & Hyde, and more while at Avila University.
Dr. Irwin Shung
Adjunct Faculty in Music History, Applied Piano Instructor
Dr. Irwin Shung, whose playing has been praised by State Magazine for its “ease, technique, and musicianship,” has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the Resonance Masters’ Series in Bellevue, Washington.
Shung received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Dr. Daniel Shapiro. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty at the Institute, where he served for three years within the Joint Music Program, liaising with Case Western’s music department. Past instructors include Daniel Shapiro (Cleveland Institute of Music), Marian Hahn (Peabody Conservatory), Leon Fleisher (Peabody Conservatory), Herbert Stessin (Julliard School), and Gabriel Chodos (New England Conservatory).
Dr. Qin Ying Tan
Adjunct Faculty in Music History
A firm believer of story-telling through music, Qin Ying Tan is a historical keyboardistist with influences from a pool of diverse music which includes baroque French court dance, Indonesian gamelan, the Chinese guzheng, as well as community song and dance. Born in Singapore, Tan moved to the United States in 2012 and recently graduated from Cleveland Institute of Music with a doctorate in harpsichord performance. Currently, Tan works at Case Western University and Notre Dame College as keyboard and music history faculty. Tan has also performed as a concerto soloist with the Baltimore Baroque Band, the Case Baroque Orchestra, and the Charm City Baroque
When she is not immersed in music, Ying loves exploring hikes with her husband, Irwin Shung, and dachshund rescue, Jax.
James Thomas is a performing arts alumnus of Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio. At Notre Dame, he performed in the Notre Dame’s WGI indoor Colorguard ensemble and Winds program. While at Notre Dame he earned his bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Business Management.
James joined Notre Dame College as Colorguard Director in Fall 2019. James has previously taught for Walt Whitman High School in Long Island, New York, and Fairview High School in Erie, Pennsylvania.
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