top_tabs University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences

Jami Rainey (B.S. Ed. 1998) was married on Dec. 21, 2002 to Stephanie Silas of Guin, AL. He is currently the band director for the Winfield City School System in Winfield, AL.

Erika (Reed) Branch (B.M. 2001) continued her education at the University of Southern Mississippi, earning a Master of Music in clarinet. She is now director of bands at North Woolmarket and D’Iberville Middle Schools in Biloxi, MS. She also plays as a sub in the Mobile Symphony and Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestras and participates in the Gulf Coast Wind Ensemble regularly. She married Jason Branch in April 2006.

Katheron (Reynolds) Latham (BM ’91, MA ’93) has a piano and voice studio in the Chattanooga area and coordinates the children’s choir at Bayside Baptist Church. Currently she serves as president of the Chattanooga Music Teachers Association. She and husband Chad have two sons.

Myra Rhoden (B.S. and M.A. 1994 and 1999) Update: Band Director at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Elizabeth “Libby” (Richardson) Hearn (BS, MA 2003, 2007) is in her fifth year as choral director at Hueytown High School in Alabama. She also serves as the color guard/winterguard coordinator for the school. She and her husband Sid currently reside in Vestavia Hills. Sid will complete his Ph.D. in music education from Auburn University in August of 2008.

Vell Rives (B.A. (Music), M.D. 1991, 1995) married Carmen Joy Stoll in 2002. They live in the Washington, DC area where he practices psychiatry and directs the choir at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Rachel (Robbins) Jacobson (B.M. ’97) married Keith Jacobson in June, 2000, and she continues to provide therapy to patients at the Duke University Medical Center.

Tony Roberson (BA Piano Performance 1985) is currently a professor at the UAB School of Nursing, specializing in children and adolescent psychiatric mental health issues. He completed a Ph.D. in nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his past faculty appointments were at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. He continues to study piano and lives in Birmingham, Ala.

Joey Roberts (BM Vocal Performance 2002) is now a graduate student in Voice at the University of Michigan, studying with Dean Daniel Washington. His roles with the University Opera Theatre include Leporello from Don Giovanni, Simone from Gianni Schicchi, and Figaro in masterclass with Martina Arroyo. He has also performed with the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra as well as the Kirk in the Hills Chancel Choir.

Dr. Lavandolyn Robinson (Bachelor of Music- Music Therapy August 1997) has recently relocated back to Alabama the Beautiful and has launched out on her initial Music Outreach Ministry and Consultant services. Dr. Robinson’s formal love for the voice, music & ministry has allowed her to embark on her 1st Gospel Music CD release anticipated for Summer 2008. Her classical foundation has allowed her to provide music services and seminars throughout the east coast and midwest over the last 10 years. She continues to provide music applications for various special needs children and geriatric populations throughout her city as desired. Dr. Robinson still enjoys singing and songwriting when she is not traveling for the ministry/business. She was the featured soloist for the Prattville Community Chorus Christmas Concert 2005 as well as the soloist for various city/school and county functions and events. Music is still her first love.

James Paul Sain (DMA in Music Composition 1990) is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida where he teaches electroacoustic and acoustic music composition, theory, and technology. He is the founder and director of the internationally acclaimed annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival. His compositional oeuvre spans all major acoustic ensembles, instrumental and vocal soloists, and embraces electroacoustic music. His works have been featured at national and international societal events. International residencies include those at the Swedish Royal Academy of Music, University of Oregon, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Lanús (Buenos Aires), Luther College, Folkwang-Hochschule Essen, Korean National University of Arts, Winthrop University, and EMS (Stockholm). Dr. Sain is currently SCI Executive Committee chair and a member of the American Composers Alliance. His music is available in print from Brazinmusikanta and American Composers Editions and on CD on the Capstone and Electronic Music Foundation labels. More information can be found at

Carla (Sanford) Durham (BM ’00) married husband Mark in October, 2000. She started a music therapy program in the Decatur City Schools and is the first MT in an Alabama public school system. She is still playing the oboe, too.

After living and working abroad for two years (primarily Italy and Germany), Krista Adams Santilli (BM in Vocal Performance 2001) has settled down in Connecticut, where she lives with her husband Stefano and her two children, Luca (born in Sept. 2005) and Isabella (born in Nov. 2007). Krista maintains an active performance career and is currently celebrating the release of her first CD,”Sacrae Notae,” a collection of sacred songs and arias. Krista also teaches Music Together and is a cantor. Visit her on the web here.

Brad Sargent (B.S. in Instrumental Music Ed. 1993) completed his MM and DMA degrees in trumpet performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He’s in his sixth year on faculty at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. Brad is married to clarinetist Ann Dempsey of Port Huron, MI. They have two children, Henry and Katie, with their third child born in April 2006.

Tabitha Schaffer (McDaniel) (BM ’93) married husband Mark in 1995 and has had a variety of experiences in the music therapy profession. Currently she is staying at home with their two young daughters and is handling various family responsibilities.

Barrett Seals (BM 1996) received his MM in oboe performance at the University of North Texas and is currently solo English horn with the United States Coast Guard Band. Barret can be reached by clicking here.

Daniel Seay (B.S. Music Education Instrumental 2004) is in Virginia teaching middle and high school band at L.F Addington Middle School and J.J. Kelly High School; he sends his regards and hopes everyone is doing well. He was married in June 2005 to Amy Muse; they live in Big Stone Gap, VA.

Ron Sellers (BS (1969) and MA (1974) 1969) is currently in his 30th year of teaching band (no plans for retirement yet): 13 years at Winfield HS (Alabama), 2 years at Walker HS (Alabama), 15 years at Caledonia HS (Mississippi).

John Semingson (DMA Choral Conducting 2001) has been Director of Music for the Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)–Nashville, TN, since January, 2001. At Westminster, he oversees a large graded choral program involving over 200 singers. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor for Teacher Education at the Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, where he mentors students in the Master of Choral Music Education program, and is Dean of the Nashville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Leah Seng (BS 2002) married Jordan Seng, former MDB trombone player. She finished her M.M.E. at the University of Georgia in August 2003, and is currently the band director at Gresham Middle School in Birmingham, AL.

Bob Sheehan (BS 78) is in his 28th year of teaching. He served in Luverne for 9 years and is the current director at Hale County High School in Moundville. He resides in Tuscaloosa with his wife Kim (Pate BS79) and son Robert.

Bridgett Shewmake (BM ’98) is a community college faculty member with the title “TRIO Project Specialist.” She is finding ways to incorporate music therapy strategies into her job, and she plans to continue working with private music therapy clients.

Bridgett Shewmake (soon to be McLean) (BM in Music Therapy 1998) was recently engaged to Arthur McLean, editor of the Thomasville Times. She is currently working in economic development, teaching private music lessons in the evenings, and helping Arthur to run a photography business.

Jed Smart (BS ’01) is director of bands at Handley High School in Roanoke, AL.

Patricia Smathers (Bachelor of Music (Therapy) 1988) earned a MEd in special education at the State University of West Georgia in 1998 and a EdS. in special education in 2001 (same school).

Julie Smith (BS Early Childhood and Elementary Education 1990) has received the following honors: 2005-2006 Halcyon Elementary PTA Teacher of the Year; 2005-2006 Montgomery County Council PTA Teacher of the Year; 2005 and 2006 Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers; Model/Master Presenter at the 2006 National Renaissance Conference in Nashville, Tennessee; First teacher to earn Master Coordinator certification in Reading Renaissance. First teacher and students to certify as Model and Master in Math Renaissance

Jonathan Smith (BM ’90, MM ’92) is commercial real estate attorney in Dallas, Texas. He is a member of Dallas Symphony Chorus, Helios Ensemble, and Dallas Vocal Arts Ensemble, and he performs as pianist in the Dallas area with his pianist wife Jill, whom he married in July, 2000.

After graduating in May, Jonathan M. Smith (BM Voice 2005, MM Voice 2009) performed for two months with Opera in the Ozarks in Eureka Springs. He performed the roles of the Witch in Hansel and Gretel (including all educational outreach shows around the state) and Guillot in Manon, and was assistant stage manager for Manon and Albert Herring. He has since relocated to Atlanta, GA and hopes to soon begin working with The Atlanta Opera, as well as other regional and national opera houes. He has also been contacted by Opera in Ozarks for their 2010 season where he has been asked to return as stage manager for Tosca and Don Giovanni, and perform with the company in Carmen.

Bryan Smith (BS Music Education 1989) was named Oneonta Elementary School Teacher of the Year for ‘O5-’06.

Karen Smith (Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music Performance 1984) lives in Sherman Oaks, CA and works as a music librarian in the film music industry. She works for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Opera, among others, and maintains the personal concert libraries for John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, David Benoit, and Lee Holdridge. She currently works at Disney in Burbank. She has a flute choir that is in the process of recording its second CD, as well as two solo flute and piano CD’s.

LaDonna Smith (B.M., M.M. 1976), violinist, violist, pianist, composer has been on the international music scene, specializing in the art of free improvisation for over 30 years. This last August was the 30 year anniversary of the improvisor, a music journal dedicated to free improvisation, now on the web at The monthlong improvisor festival was held in 6 different cities around the country, including Seattle, NYC, Jackson MS, Chattanooga, Athens, Atlanta, and Birmingham. LaDonna is a frequent presenter of concerts and workshops in the field of free improvisation, around the country. Previously adjunct faculty at UAB, she she maintains a private teaching practice, in violin and piano, as well as is the Director of Birmingham Suzuki Violinists. For more info:

Richard Snyder (M.M.Ed. and Ed.D. 1971 and 1977) joined what is now Enterprise-Ozark Community College as Division Chair for Fine Arts, after a high school teaching career of almost 10 years at Bay High in Panama City, FL (with two European concert tours). One of his esteemed colleagues is Dr.Jean Ann Johnson, also a UA graduate. In the last 26 years he has taught undergraduate music theory and appreciation as well as directed concert choir, community chorus, theater, musical theater, and dinner-theater. He now directs one of the most widely acclaimed show choirs in the region and will retire in a couple of years. Life is good.

Loren Snyder (Music Education Vocal/Choral 2000) is going into her eighth year in the Tuscaloosa City School System, with her first year being a elementary music substitute. She has taught all grade levels and is currently at Eastwood Middle School. Her daughter will be 12 in October and is now attending EMS in the 6th grade. Loren also completed her Master’s degree in school counseling.

Sunny (Speaker) Hadder (BM ’98) started the Music Therapy program at UAB Hospital in 1999 and has been there full-time for the past year.

Glenn Spurlin (BS ’71, MA ’74) retired from the Alabama Public school system in 1997 and has been teaching for the past six years in Georgia. Glenn was a section leader in the Million Dollar Band. Three of his children have marched in the MDB, and four members of the immediate family hold UA degrees.

Marline Stabile-O’Farrill (BS 1968) and her husband, Alan, opened the new Everglades High School in Miramar, Florida in 2003. They have been the directors of bands, earning straight superiors in marching, jazz, and concert since opening. The music department also has an outstanding chorus and guitar department. Their older son, John, still plays in church, but with a Master’s in math education, is currently a math teacher at Hiram High. Their younger son, Chris, is a freelance lead trumpet player and arranger, and often first call for recordings both in Miami and all over the world.

Johnna Stafford (BS in Music Education May 2000) moved to Florence in June 2004 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Education Administration at UNA. She maintains a private bassoon studio of 10 students in Birmingham. Jeremy is a professor in the Business Management department at UNA.

Jim Stanton (B.S. Mathematics, 1963) has a management consulting firm ( Since graduation, he’s been a member of the Boston Pops and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and a founder of the Old Dominion Brass Quintet. He is a freelance trumpet player in the Chicago area.

Stephen Stickler (M.A. in Music Education 1971) is now in his 33rd year of band directing at both the high school and middle school levels.

Floy (Strickland) Wang (BA 1969) After living in Texas, Western Washington, and Western Germany, she and Tom settled in Chattanooga. She earned a MM in Viola Performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She spent 15 years as Orchestra Director at the Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga. After her “retirement” from GPS, she is now the UTC Viola Instructor and the Master Teacher for the UTC String Project. So much for retirement. They have one son, Thomas, who is an attorney living in Anchorage, Alaska.

Brent Swain (BM in Viola Performance 1992) and Dr. Kristen Alley Swain (MA, 1992) had their first child, Madeline Frances, on April 17, 2006 in Lawrence, KS.

Katherine McLean Taylor (BM ’96, JD ’99) works in the legal department at Southern Company in Birmingham. She also plays the piano during Sunday brunch at the Wynfrey Hotel.

Rebecca Taylor (MM ’00) is Director of Music Ministries at Church of the Ascension (Episcopal) in Montgomery and the Artistic Director/Conductor of the Montgomery Chorale and the Montgomery Youth Chorale.

After graduating in 2004 with a BA in Music Administration, Wesley Taylor (B.A. Music Administration 2004) completed an internship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Vilar Institute for Arts Management in Washington DC. From there, he moved to Providence, RI to work in programming/concert booking for the Providence Performing Arts Center. In 2007, Wes returned to Alabama and currently works as the Program Development Director for the Alabama Dance Council. He lives in Gardendale with his dog, Lego.

Jamie Thomas (BS ’01) is band director at Piedmont High School in Piedmont, AL. Jamie married Lynn Green,a 2002 UA grad, in June 2003.

Kevin Thomas (B.S. Music Education, M.A. Music Education 99 and 2005) recently accepted the position as Band Director at Fayette High School in Fayette Alabama.

Stewart Thorson (BS Music Education 1999) is currently the principal at New Century Technology High School in Huntsville. He is pursuing a doctorate degree in Educational Administration from The University of Alabama.

Cecelia Trabert (BM ’73) is principal flutist with the St. Joseph (MO) Symphony and the State Ballet of Missouri orchestra. She is also band director at Piper Elementary and Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas, and lives on a 120-acre farm with her husband and son.

Mark Tucker (B.S.Ed, 2002) is currently serving as minister of music and evangelism at First Baptist Church, Killen, Alabama. He married Leah Lane (B.S.Ed, 2001) in November 2002. She works as an elementary music instructor for the Florence, Alabama City school system. Mark is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree through New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. They may be reached by clicking here.

Jeanette (Turner) Ross (B.A. ’92) is Operations/Personnel Manager for the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony Orchestra, and serves as orchestra director for the Edgewood Baptist Church in Columbus. Jeanette married Marty Ross in June, 1999.

Anna (Underwood) Bradbary (BM ’99) lives in Philadelphia, PA, with husband Shane. She serves as the supervisor of the music therapy department at a 240-bed long term care facility.

Theo Vernon (BM, Music Education and Performance 1985) just started his 25th year of teaching high school band at Grissom High School in Huntsville, AL. He writes, “I have had many students over the years attend the University and participate in the music department and the Million Dollar Band!  It makes me very proud.  Roll Tide!”

Betsy (Vollers) Ringler (BM in Music Therapy 1992) received her Masters degree from Texas Woman’s Univ in Occupational Therapy. She is currently Manager of Therapy at Zale Lipshy Hospital in Dallas and is married with two daughters: Allison is 4 and Ashlee is 13.

Shelby Walker (B.S. Music Education 2001) is currently residing in Ooltewah, Tennessee with his wife Emily, and is employed at Director of Bands at McMinn Central High School.

Shelby Walker (BS ’01) currently resides in Tuscaloosa, where he is director of bands at Northridge High School. He married Emily Beegle on June 5, 2004.

Henry Warner (Bachelor of Music 1949) graduated in Physics from FSU and did research at the Navy lab in Panama City until 1980. He continued composing over the years. He recently added a section of photos and info about the UA School of Music from 1944-1949 to his websites:  and

Matthew Watts (BM in performance 2003) finished his Master’s degree in Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at the Johns Hopkins University. He moved back to Atlanta and is currently performing with ensembles like the Atlanta Pops Orchestra.

Neal Webb (BM ’85) also earned a master’s degree at Cincinnati and has worked regularly at Disney World and EPCOT. He has performed with orchestras and bands in Florida, has appeared in print ads and TV commercials, and tours nationally with the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band.

After serving as a band director for 5 years, Scott Weldon (B. S. (1974), M.A.(1976) 1974) is studied accounting. He is currently Controller at the University of South Alabama.

Gerald Welker (Bachelors in horn performance, Masters in horn performance 2004, 2009) Gerald and Joy Welker moved to Colorado Springs, CO in June 2009 so that Gerald could accept his new position with the United States Air Force Academy Band. They have 3 beautiful daughters, Lauren (7), Emily (5), and Sophie (3).

Dr. Larry Whatley (BM ’62, MM ’66) retired as Iva Buch Seese Distinguished Service Professor of Music Theory, Emeritus, from Brevard College (NC) after teaching there since 1963. He plans to stay in Brevard; send him email at

Ginny White (B.S.E. Music Education 2003) is now teaching music in the Tuscaloosa County School System.

Katherine White (B.M. ’88) is the principal clarinetist with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and the Gwinnett Philharmonic in Atlanta, GA. She performs frequently with the Atlanta Symphony as well as the Alabama Symphony, and just about anywhere else in driving range!

Judd Wiggins (B. A. Music 1993) is now an attorney and lives in Birmingham. He sends his congratulations to Prof. Penick for 50 years of molding great musicians!

Eric Wiggs (B.M. Jazz Studies 2004) is currently finishing up his M.M. in Jazz Performance/Pedagogy at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is a freelance musician and teaches privately through the University of Colorado and the Boulder School of Music.

Lisa (Williams) Belk (BM Piano Performance, MM Piano Performance 1982, 1984) moved to Huntsville in 1988. In 1991 she married Randall Belk. They have one daughter who was born in 1994. Lisa has remained active in many professional music organizations, and in 2004 received permanent certification from MTNA. She teaches piano in her home studio and is very active in the music ministry of First Baptist Church, Huntsville.

After graduation Louisa Williams (BA ’00) moved to Washington, D.C., to intern in the Development Department of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Now she has taken a permanent position there and plans to make a career in arts administration.

Kathy (Williams) Beers (B.S. 1975) is a pianist at the International Concourse in Hartsfield/Jackson Airport, Atlanta, Georgia (weekends from 3:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m.) She and her husband, Gregory, have two boys, ages 12 and 17. She also teaches piano and is an active member of the Gwinnett Music Teachers’ Association. One of her past students belongs to the Shorter College Chorale and they will be singing for the Pope at the Vatican next spring.

William Wilson (BS ’59, MA ’62) writes: “As a lecturer with University of Maryland, European Division, I recall my study with Dr. Hyde and memories of those non-music majors who were in his Music History class. All of my UMUC Survey of Music Literature students in Term I 2001 were US Sailors and our classroom was in Ike’s WWII Headquarters overlooking FDR’s statue in our London American Embassy gardens. No, we did not have a harpsichord like Dr. Hyde or any keyboard for that matter, but he would have loved London’s 2001 musical season!”

Jolanta Wilson (BS ’00) graduated with an MM in wind conducting from the University of New Orleans in May 2003 and currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also a trombonist with the “Sign of the Times Big Band,” a professional jazz band based out of Charlotte, NC.

Laura Yawn (M.M. ’96) is organist and associate of music at St. Simons Island Presbyterian Church (GA), and she maintains a large studio of private students. She will marry Navy Lt. Kevin Lowe in July, 2001.

Ginger (Youngblood) Lynch (B.S. in Music Education 1999) received an M.ED. from the University of South Alabama in Educational Administration. Ginger and Bruce were married in July 2005. They now reside in Chattanooga, TN where Bruce will complete his Surgical Residency in June 2009. Ginger is the band director at Red Bank Middle School. They welcomed twins to their family on May 18, 2008. Andrew and Averie were born 6 weeks early and spent 20 days in the NICU. They have been home over a month and are doing very well. Please check out our blog where their condition is updated as often as possible.

Alexis (Zeller) Clark (BA ’01) works for Creative Campus, a division of the University of Alabama. She married Phillip Clark, an elementary education major at UA, on June 22, 2002.