Eryn Chickey-Tillery (West End Youth Theatre Director, Summer Acting Camps) Eryn is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Theatre and is the drama teacher at Camperdown Academy in Greenville. Eryn has appeared in numerous community theatre productions throughout the Upstate and loves sharing her passion for acting with her students.
Alex Welborn (Summer Art Camps) is a 2013 graduate of Easley High School, where she studied art with Dr. Russell Jewell. Alex's talent and passion for sharing a love for art with children makes her the perfect art teacher for our summer art camps. Alex is currently an elementary education major at Southern Wesleyan University.
Mike Retzer (All Band Instruments) is a certified instrumental educator with 30 years of experience with middle and high school bands. Mike is a member of The National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). "Music has been a driving force in my life for as far back as I can remember. It has always been a joy for me to help young people realize their best potential as young musicians!"
Jamie Wright (Vocal Coaching) received her formal training at the NC School of Performing Arts, and has performed with Opera Ebony in New York. Jamie has studied and performed in a variety of genres including, opera, musical theatre, jazz, R&B, soul and Neo-soul, Funk and Gospel. Jamie performs locally with her band, the Jamie Wright Project, and has recently released a demo album with plans for an album in the works in the near future.
Renee Gillespie (Adult Art Classes) holds a BA in Studio Art from Washington College in Chestertown, MD. Renee has been teaching students how to achieve their goals for 20 years, and has experience starting art programs in schools and museums. Renee and her husband, David are frequent Historic Art Interpreters at historic sites such as Mount Vernon, Charles Town Landing and Middleton Place Plantation.
Maury Reed(Theatre Workshops and Camps) received his BA in Theatre from East Tennessee State University and his MFA in Acting from the University of Arkansas. He spent the summer of 2008 acting at the famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA. He has taught theatre on the high school and college levels and has directed numerous shows in several states. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at Anderson University and may be seen on the stage with Upstate Shakespeare Festival and in various productions at upstate theatres.
Tara Solomon (Voice, Piano, Violin) earned her B.S. in Music Education in 2014 and her M.Mus. in Church Music in 2016 at Bob Jones University. Tara performed solos and directed numerous ensembles during her high school and college years. Tara has taught private lessons since 2006. She served as president of the BJU student chapter of American Choral Directors Association, president of the University Chorale, and president of the Collegiate Division of South Carolina Music Educators Association. She received numerous awards in high school and college and has served on mission teams to Utah, Nova Scotia, Tennessee and South Africa.
Kelly Ward (piano) graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Azusa Pacific University in California. Kelly has had a diverse experience in the Arts with over 15 years experience as a musician, composer and teacher. Kelly has composed music for a variety of productions at local theatres and has 2 full-length CDs available on iTunes and Amazon. She has also performed her original compositions in the Greenville and Asheville areas.
Russ Chapman (Drums, Bass Guitar, Rock Academy Director) began his musical career on the drums in middle school band. He has been performing live and doing session work ever since high school. Russ has played with Russ Lee (Newsong) and Chris Sligh, toured and recorded with Corey Crowder, and is a full-time member of the Hired Help, the Mark Webb and Katlin Owen Bands. Russ has been teaching for over 15 years. "I love to teach. I feel called to pass on the gift and love of music that I have been given." Along with traditional music, Russ also reads and teaches the Nashville number system.
Hannah Brown (piano) holds a B.S. in Music Education from Bob Jones University. She has played the piano since age 4. She has taught elementary music and choir in Jacksonville, FL, and Winston-Salem, NC, and has also taught private piano for 4 years. Hannah has had a broad personal musical experience including opera productions, various choirs, church pianist, and solo performer. As a teacher, she desires to give her students a strong musical foundation so that they are able to advance as far as they wish.Type your paragraph here.
Danielle Martin (violin, viola) Danielle completed her B.M. in violin performance at Stetson University and studied violin performance and Suzuki Pedagogy at East Carolina University. She has performed professionally with the Clemson University Symphony, Toccoa Symphony and GLOW Lyric Theatre. She has taught violin, viola and cello since 1995, and maintains a very busy teaching schedule in the upstate.
Elizabeth Johnson (violin, viola, cello) studied cello at North Greenville University and has 4 years experience teaching stringed instruments. Her experience working with children and her knowledge of the instruments of the string family qualify her as an excellent choice for beginning violin and viola players and beginning to advanced cello players.
Ryan Kouvolo (saxophone) has been playing the saxophone for over 20 years. A 1999 graduate of Clemson University, Ryan was a member and featured soloist with the University Jazz Ensemble, and is current president of the school's alumni jazz group, the Jungaleers. He has performed locally with RazzMaJazz, Rendition, and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Ryan can also be seen performing at local events under the moniker of SaxMan Entertainment.
J. Michael King (guitar, ukulele, music theory) started playing the blues in 1966 and became a professional musician in 1973. During his career as a teacher and musician, Michael has absorbed many influences and mastered many styles, chiefly Blues and R&B. Michael studied at the Guitar Institute of Technology of Los Angeles. He now lives in Greenville, where he has performed at Crescent City Grille, Occasionally Blues and Smiley's Acoustic Cafe. He performs every Wednesday at Smoke on the Water in Greenville's West End.
With our faculty of experienced arts educators, the Fine Arts Center of Easley provides expert instruction to our students. Our team of instructors are motivated by their love of their art and the passion to transfer their knowledge and skills to others so their creativity and talent can shine.
Don Foster (guitar, bass guitar, banjo, violin/fiddle, mandolin) is an accomplished musician, songwriter, live performer and music teacher who lives in Easley, SC. Picking up his first instrument at age 3, he grew passionate about playing music, especially his first love - the guitar - and has been playing for more than 40 years. Don has been teaching since 1987.
Gloria Little (Young Voices) is a graduate of Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, where she received a degree in theology. Gloria has taught pre-school and children's music classes for many years, utilizing the Hungarian (Kodaly) method, teaching folk songs, singing games and basic musicianship. Gloria also assists in the FACE office on Wednesday evenings.
Kay Bush (piano) is a graduate of Wayne State College (Nebraska) with a Bachelors in Elementary Education. She began teaching piano in 1995, first at Center of the Arts in Bolingbrook, IL, then as an independent contractor for Village Music. She taught music in her home from 2004 to 2009. Mrs. Kay has also led and accompanied for church and community choirs and brings a wealth of musical knowledge to share with her students.
Andrew Farmer (Piano, Guitar, Dulcimer) Andrew studied Music Composition and Computer Music at Prairie Bible College in Alberta, Canada, from which he graduated with a degree in Religion. He has been a private music instructor since the year 2000, teaching guitar, piano, dulcimer, mandolin and music theory. He has authored 3 dulcimer instructional books and 1 Guitar method book. Andrew is currently the Music Minister at Maranatha Baptist Church in Seneca, SC.
Hannah Gunter (Summer Acting Camps) has been involved in theatre for most of her life. Her favorite roles include Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Beauty in "Beauty and the Beast", and Snoopy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Hannah is the founder of WHIT (Wren High Improv Troupe) and directed the 2016 WHS production of "Alice in Wonderland" during her senior year. Hannah is a student at Anderson University where she is majoring in Commercial Music.