Friends in Music Director
Shawna Howard is a violinist and orchestra director from Central Kentucky. Mrs. Howard attended Eastern Kentucky University where she received a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Education. While at EKU, she performed with the Symphony and Strings Orchestras as well as in musicals and various chamber groups. While in college, Mrs. Howard began a private lesson studio which grew to include numerous students across Central Kentucky from a variety of ages and backgrounds.
Mrs. Howard began working with the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras directing the Friends in Music program in 2007. At that time, the program needed a strong revitalization. Over the course of five years, the program grew to include close to eighty students. The students at LTMS and BSMS were benefitting from instruction from the CKYO mentors and many of them began to successfully audition into a CKYO orchestra.
In 2012, Mrs. Howard and her husband moved to Texas where she became the head orchestra director at McLean Middle School and McLean 6th Grade Center. During her time at McLean, the program grew to include around 200 students. Each year, the orchestra received sweepstakes 1st Division ratings at Festivals. The middle school orchestra also received the Best Overall Ensemble at music festivals numerous times. The orchestra program also developed a strong private lesson program with around half of the students taking private lessons during the school day.
Mrs. Howard moved back to Kentucky in 2017 where she began working with Friends in Music again. She is also a member of the Kentucky Music Educators Association. Mrs. Howard is most proud of her wonderful family. She has four children and an amazing husband. Her oldest two children are learning to play the bass and cello as well!
Natalie Howe has an active violin and viola music studio in Lexington, KY, where she enjoys teaching beginner and intermediate levels. Natalie teaches students ages 5-adult. Natalie has taught group classes in Richmond, KY, for the Foster Academy of Musical Excellence at the Model Laboratory School. She teaches private lessons in Richmond as well. In addition, Natalie teaches at an after-school music program in Georgetown.
She is always excited to start a new beginner and share her love for music, as well as help intermediate players to reach their goal. In addition to having a violin/viola studio, Natalie also performs at weddings and events every weekend in the Kentucky and Ohio area. When Natalie isn’t teaching or performing, she is hiking, or playing with her two cats!
Nathan Bailey is a cellist, arranger, and teacher from Mt. Sterling Kentucky where he teaches 5th grade Orchestra for the public schools. He holds a degree in Music Performance from Morehead State University studying under Suanne Blair and spent a semester in Brazil studying under Hans Twitchell. Outside of teaching Nathan performs with the String Elegance group in Lexington for local weddings, formal dinners, and special events. Nathan is currently working on obtaining his Masters of Music Education degree at Campbellsville University. When not playing music, Nathan enjoys playing a round of disc golf with his Australian Shepard Ophie.
My name is Ali Stiefel, and I have been playing violin for just over thirteen years! I started teaching in 2014 and have been performing for as long as I can remember. I have taught for True Jem Studios (theater, voice, dance and choreography), Bluegrass Arts Collective (violin) and have also been self-employed (violin, piano, and dance). Music is pretty much my hobby, work and life all wrapped up into one! If I’m not playing, chances are, I’m listening, recording or analyzing music.
I played with the Grand Rapids Classical Orchestra for three years. Within this time (2013), I was awarded the Skip-Gates Concerto Competition winner for the Grand Rapids Classical Orchestra. After that, I played with the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony for four years! During this time (2015), I was the Assistant Principle Second in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony. As a senior in high school, I joined the Asbury University Orchestra. In 2017, I was awarded a scholarship to attend Asbury University where I am finishing my Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance in spring of 2020. In 2018 spring semester, I was the Concert Master of the Asbury University Orchestra. I recently played a recital this year in Jameson Hall featuring Vitali Chaconne, Unaccompanied Bach, and Bartok Romanian Folk Dances! I also have experience playing for smaller ensembles, church gigs both contemporary and traditional, as well as having been on 3 or more albums/singles (Wild Shores, Michael Brooks – violin/wrote string parts; Journey, Asbury Worship Collective - violin; Set Free, Collision Band – vocals, wrote lyrics).
I studied with Lisa Whitter, who had her Masters in Violin Performance from a conservatory in England, in elementary school. In middle school, I moved to Dianne Helle, who had her Masters in Violin Performance from Indiana University and taught for Grand Valley State University. In high school, I studied under Gregory Maytan Ph.D., who had his Ph.D in Violin Performance, toured all over Europe and also taught for Grand Valley State University and Jamie Crawford who had his masters in Violin Performance from Curtis Conservatory of Music and was the Concert Master of the Grand Rapids Symphony. I currently study with Meg Saunders who has a Masters in Violin Performance and teaches at both Asbury University and Center College.
Native Kentuckian, Faith Buede, has been playing violin for eleven years and is currently on a music scholarship at Eastern Kentucky University. Faith began her career as a member of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra. In 2012 while playing with her middle school orchestra, Faith was invited to play with renowned Celtic violinist, Liz Knowles. When Faith was in the Bryan Station High School orchestra she was invited to attend the Kentucky All State Orchestra as a violinist in 2014 and in 2017, respectfully. Faith Buede took lessons under Annette DiToma during the time she played in her high school’s musical pit for the shows “Seussical”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, and “The Wizard of Oz”. During her junior and senior years of high school Faith was invited to play with the Lexington Community Orchestra under the direction of Jeremy Mulholland. Her other instrumental capabilities include receiving a distinguished rating as a classical guitarist at the state level during her sophomore year and her senior year serving as the drum captain and section leader of Bryan Station’s marching band under the direction of Shawn Owens and Matthew Skaggs. Faith is currently at Eastern Kentucky University on the way to earning her Baccalaureate Degree in Music Education. While in high school Faith served as her school’s Tri-M Music Honors Society Chapter Treasurer and President. She continues to serve professional organizations in college by being the Chapter Vice President of the EKU American String Teachers Association and has also earned the EKU Symphony Director’s Award and is currently the first chair second violinist in the EKU Symphony Orchestra.
Carlie Geyer is from Ashland, Kentucky and has been playing the violin for fifteen years. Carlie has been actively involved in strings programs throughout her years in school. She studied privately with Hannah Burbery in Huntington, West Virginia for many years, and is currently studying violin performance with Dr. Sila Darville at Eastern Kentucky University. In high school, Carlie was selected to participate in both the Commonwealth and Symphony Orchestras at the KMEA All-State Conference, and participated in her district's strings events each year. Carlie was the concertmaster of her school's string orchestra, and has been the principle first violinist in Ashland's annual production of Handel's Messiah for several years. She frequently collaborates with colleagues in school and plays in venues outside of school as well. In high school, Carlie was an executive and active member in her school's chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, and is now an executive and active member of EKU's chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). Carlie is a member of EKU's Symphony Orchestra and has received the orchestra merit award as voted by her orchestra colleagues. Along with her love for music, Carlie loves crafting, the outdoors, and animals. She has thoroughly enjoyed her music education so far and is looking forward to sharing what she has learned with your string players!