Meet The Instructors

Meet The ROAM Instructors,

 

John Patrick

Owner, Rock of Ages Music

Alexandria native and T.C. Williams High School alum, John Patrick has surrounded himself in music his entire life. John, known to most as JP, is a self taught drummer and vocalist. He joined his first band as a pre-teen and by high school, along with a few friends, formed the band Virginia Coalition. “VACO”, as fans affectionately nicknamed the funk and go-go inspired rock and roll band, created a local buzz and in the spring of 1998 they released their debut album, The Colors of the Sound. Playing local venues and gaining momentum VACO released a second album, Townburg in 2000, helping the band to expand their following along the East Coast and into the Midwest. VACO started regularly selling out venues in D.C. and developed a strong fan base. The third album, Rock & Roll Party, was picked up for distribution upon its release in 2003 and reached Billboard’s Internet chart.  VACO was known for an energizing live show, and through word of mouth, the band managed to sell over 60,000 records. VACO played 250 shows across the country in 2003, and the group won the Reader’s Choice Award for the best band in D.C. from The Washington Post, an honor they received again in 2004. An independent label released VACO’s fourth album, OK to GO, in 2004. OK to Go was produced by Matt Wallace (Maroon 5 and the Replacements). The band’s first live album, Live at the 9:30 Club was recorded at the D.C. venue on January 6, 2006 and released in stores that September. JP parted ways with VACO in 2007 and began teaching music full time. His passion for music and his first hand experience in the music industry inspired JP to open Rock of Ages Music Company in 2011. JP opened the doors of ROAM in hopes of motivating others to pursue their musical ambitions and to share his passion for music with the community he so loves.


Amy Reiff

Piano, Voice, Ukulele

Amy Reiff, mezzo-soprano, received both a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Kent State University. Amy has 30 years experience teaching. She has taught at Kent State University, Montana State University, Louisiana State University and has been a Professor of Voice at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. since 1997. Amy’s repertoire of over 30 opera and operetta roles includes Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Carmen, and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti. As a member of the Ohio Light Opera for four seasons, she appeared in many major contralto and mezzo-soprano roles in operettas by Sullivan, Offenbach, and Strauss. In addition to singing with many local opera companies, she has also sung roles with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Carolina, Lyric Opera of Dallas, Baton Rouge Opera, Baltimore Opera, Opera North, and Intermountain Opera. Amy has performed in recital at Kent State University and Montana State University, and in Akron, Ohio, Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, DC. In 1988 she performed at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, People's Republic of China, where she gave a series of lecture-recitals on contemporary American art song. As oratorio and concert soloist, Amy has sung with the Arlington Symphony, the Canton Symphony, the Bozeman Symphony, the Annapolis Chorale, the Akron Symphony Chorus, and the Capitol Hill Choral Society. In March 1991 she was the alto soloist for the American premiere of Simon Jeffes' Still Life at the Penguin Cafe, performed by the Royal Ballet at the Kennedy Center. She is currently alto soloist at Church of the Annunciation in Washington. ROAM welcomed Amy Reiff as an instructor of Piano, Voice and Ukulele in July 2013.

 

Rick Irby

Guitar, Multi-Instramentalist, Producer, Rock School

Rick Irby’s musical journey began at the age of seven, playing any instrument he could get his hands on. By twelve years old Rick had formed his first band, Jack’s House and together they performed hundreds of shows opening for acts such as Robert Randolph, Virginia Coalition, State Radio, Gruvis Malt and many others. Their album The Skyline Parade, was produced by Ted Comerford (Virginia Coalition, Jukebox the Ghost) and mixed by Mitch Easter (REM, Wilco, Ben Folds Five, Pavement).  Since 2006, Rick has been producing and engineering records for numerous D.C. indie bands. (Lightfoot, Johnny Fantastic) Rick has performed at CBGB’s, The 9:30 Club, The Kennedy Center, HFStival, The Norva, The State Theatre and many more venues up and down the east coast.  In 2011, he joined Lightfoot on a 35 date European tour and headlined a sold out performance at the renowned D.C. indie rock venue, Black Cat. Rick began his teaching career in 2008. Pulling from his vast knowledge in multiple genres of musical styles, he built a large following of dedicated students. Rick has been with ROAM since its establishment in 2011. Rick directs the Rock School program alongside John Patrick. His ability to teach multiple genres and instruments has proven to inspire his students toward reaching their unique musical goals.  He remains an active performer/producer/songwriter in the vibrant D.C. music scene.

 

Erin Flynn

Piano, Violin, Viola

Performing professionally since the age of 13, Erin continues to seek diverse playing opportunities in classical, Irish, Scottish, and folk rock settings. She performs on the violin, viola, piano, keyboard, and hammered dulcimer, and she will often throw in some Irish whistles, bodhran, mandolin, and vocals. After receiving her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Delaware, Erin completed her Master's in Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Erin studied violin with Xiang Gao and John Hamilton, and piano with Christine Delbeau and Carolyn North. She has participated in masterclasses given by acclaimed soloist Jennifer Koh and Philadelphia orchestra violinist Barbara Govatos. Her fiddle influences include Kevin Burke, Alasdair Fraser, and Brendan Mulvihill. Erin's musical endeavors have regularly taken her up and down the East Coast and as far as Hawaii in 2012. In addition to freelance work, she performs with Simply Strings, her family's string quartet, and with Mythica, a Delaware-based nationally-touring Celtic fusion band. In 2003 and 2010, she toured across Europe with American Music Abroad and Elon University Jazz and Chamber Ensembles, respectively. A favorite memory is of spontaneously playing in an airport in Xi'an, China with her colleagues and teacher while studying abroad in 2006. Erin is a Strings Teacher at William Ramsay Elementary and teaches private lessons for violin, viola, piano, and hammered dulcimer at ROAM. Erin is a proponent of Music Learning Theory (MLT).

 

Alejandro Lucini

Drums, Percussion

Alejandro Lucini was born in Rio de Janeiro and studied at the Excola de Musica de Brasilia with master percussionist Ney Rosauro.  He later attended classes at the Pro-Arte School of Music, the University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.  He was a member of the Rio de Janeiro Youth Orchestra and later of the Brasilia Symphony Orchestra.  Having become well known for his skills in Brazilian percussion, he began performing with many celebrated musicians and by 1990 had toured Berlin with the Brazilian group, No em Pingo de Agua.  That same year he moved to the United States, having developed his own method of teaching and having published the book Brazilian Rhythms for Percussion and Drums.  Alejandro received a Bachelor of Music Education in 1997 from Howard University.  Since then he has performed with numerous musicians including The Canadian Brass and many local celebrities.  Alejandro has received awards from the International Association of Jazz Education and has been nominated multiple times for Washington Area Music Awards recognition.  In 2002 he was named by WAMA as Best Latino Instrumentalist.  His Brazilian jazz group has performed at locations across the Washington Metropolitan area, including the World Bank and the Library of Congress.  Alejandro received a grant form the DC Commission for the Arts in 1994 to promote recordings of his group, which included his own original compositions and arrangements.  Aside from being an instructor at ROAM, Alejandro is a Professor of Classical and Jazz Percussion at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. where he leads the Latin Band Los Gringos in addition to playing with the Faculty Jazz Quintet and teaching Latin percussion.

 

Chris Galvan

Guitar, Music Theory

Chris was born in Arlington, VA. He started on the classical guitar at the age of six. He studied with many teachers but was drawn to the teachings of jazz guitarist John Sessum at the age of thirteen. Mr. Sessum introduced Chris to the legends of jazz and the discipline and art of jazz guitar, instilling in him the drive to study and practice improvisation and composition. As a young musician he played many styles of music including: blues, jazz, r&b, metal, fusion, reggae, latin, and even go-go with many local bands.  In 1997 Chris graduated from Berklee College of Music. While in Boston, he studied guitar performance and jazz composition with Garrison Fewell, Jon Damian, Mick Goodrich, Robert Harrigan, Scott Free, Andy McGee, Vuk Kulenovich and many others. Chris has also studied in group settings/clinics with: Pat Metheny, Pat Martino,George Garzone, Jim Hall, John Scofield, Michael Brecker, Danilo Perez and others. Chris has performed with Barry Titone (of Lionel Hampton), Jeff Berlin, Danny Gottlieb, Russell Ferrante, and Brad Mintzer (of the Yellowjackets), to name just a few. He has been a sideman and a leader in a variety of groups from diverse genres. Chris has been a regularly featured artist on Tom Cole’s show “G-Strings” on WPFW 89.3. He has performed all around the country and in Europe including concerts at The Baked Potato (Los Angeles), Smalls (NY), and local venues such as: Twins, Bohemian Caverns, and The Birchmere. Chris has performed at jazz festivals including the Clearwater International Jazz Festival. In 2009 Chris performed the National Anthem at AT&T Park in San Francisco. In 2009 Chris released his first solo album At Night, We Speak, a concept album which combines modern jazz and classical compositional concepts from his many influences. In 2013 Chris released his first book, Music Theory Field Manual. He continues to improvise/ compose and is currently working on several new projects. Two of his ongoing performance projects include: “The Arts Interactive.” in which he performs solo, improvised compositions with artists and/or to visual art and sometimes with the mood of the room as the sole inspiration for the concert. Chris is currently on the jazz faculty at Northern Virginia Community College.

 

Alexandra Fessenko

Piano, Voice 

Alexandra Fessenko started her performance career at the age of twelve and has performed as a pianist, keyboardist, vocalist in classical music, jazz, rock, musical theatre and other popular genres on stages of Russia, Europe and the United States. Alexandra received her Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance in Moscow, Russia followed by an Artist Certificate in Piano and Voice Performance from The Prague Conservatory of Music in Prague, Czech Republic. Alexandra practices Russian and Hungarian methods by Fraz Liszt piano schools and has studied a variety of vocal methods with world known vocalists. She has been sharing these skills for fifteen years with her own students. Besides performing and teaching music, Alexandra studied Electrical Engineering at the University of North Texas where she took part in  several scientific research studies related to sound vibration and it's impact on brain of autistic children and the diagnostics of voice pathologies. Alexandra has been living in the United States since 2002 and currently resides in Alexandria, VA with her husband. 

 

Melissa Pankow

Clarinet

Melissa Lynne Pankow began her instrumental training at age 10 in her hometown of Burke, Virginia. After graduating from Lake Braddock Secondary School, Melissa earned her B.M. in Music Performance at James Madison University in 2008, where she studied with Dr. Janice Minor. Throughout her undergraduate study she served as principal player for the James Madison Wind Symphony, Opera Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra. Melissa received her M.M. in Performance from Bowling Green State University in 2010, where she studied under Kevin Schempf. During her time at BGSU, she performed on B-flat, E-flat and Bass clarinet with the Bowling Green Wind Symphony, New Music Ensemble, Philharmonia, and Opera Orchestra. 

Her focus and enthusiasm for chamber music began when attended Wintergreen Performance Academy in the summers of 2005 through 2007, where she studied with Dr. Thomas Josenhans and received a large amount of chamber music experience. In 2010 she attended the Saarburg Serenaden Music Festival in Saarburg, Germany, also with concentration in chamber music. Since beginning her private teaching career at the age of 15, Melissa has instructed students from the ages of 9 through the collegiate level. In addition to individual lessons, she taught large group clarinet lessons for Fallen Timbers Middle School in Whitehouse, OH. Ms. Pankow has participated in master classes with Alan R. Kay, Rebecca Rishin, Russell Dagon, Ted Oien and members of the Prestige Clarinet Quartet. She has also performed with the Sweet Briar Chamber Orchestra and Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. She is a proud alumni member of Tau Beta Sigma Honorary Band Sorority.


Davey Hoen

Rock School

From listening to the cadences of the church pipe organ, to the old time rock and roll records belonging to his parents, Davey Hoen has always been exposed to some form of music.  Raised in Alexandria, Davey had his first piano lesson at the age of 4, and eventually gravitated towards other instruments, mainly guitar and bass.  In his young adulthood, he played in a handful of bands before venturing off to college.  Whilst studying economics, Davey extracurricularly polished his musical abilities by taking classes under guitarist Sanjay Mishra and composer Jesse Guessford which expanded his musical horizons.  Since graduating from George Mason University with a BA in Economics in 2013, Davey has continued his interest in music through playing in a number of local bands and has a handful of east coast tours under his belt.  In 2015, Davey began instructing at ROAM’s Rock School program, sharing his proficiency in guitar, bass, and keyboard.  Whether he is simply listening to music, performing with his peers, or instructing at the Rock School, Davey seeks to further his musical abilities and knowledge more and more each day. 

 

 

Tom Phillips

Guitar, Bass, Rock School

For the past 27 years Tom Phillips has lead the Epic Progressive Metal band While Heaven Wept (which he formed in 1989 with ROAM instructor Chris Galvan) through a series of critically-acclaimed albums that have been released on 4 continents through a variety of international record labels - most recently via the world’s premiere independent Heavy Metal label, Nuclear Blast Records/Warner Bros based in Germany. While Heaven Wept have toured extensively throughout Europe as well as the United States and have headlined several well- renowned festivals in both regions. A multi-instrumentalist, Tom has also performed or recorded with the likes of Walpyrgus, Twisted Tower Dire, Solstice (UK), Brave, Arise From Thorns, and Grey Division Blue (amongst others) during this time. His exposure to a vast array of music after nearly a decade of working at the famous Tower Records, work with record companies behind the scenes, as well as extensive studies with a variety of teachers has resulted in a very diverse musical palette that extends well beyond his Metal pedigree; his collegiate studies focused upon Classical Music composition and Music Theory - thus, combining real world experience with traditional instruction methods, he offers an all-encompassing curriculum that caters to the individual versus a standardized methodology. With over 25 years of private instruction experience behind him - totaling more than 400 students to date - and counting - he brings to ROAM far more than guitar and bass guitar instruction alone. His three-prong approach focusing on proper technique, emphasis on theory, and ear training has yielded several examples of students who have later gone on to have successful bands or teaching careers of their own. Additionally, his extensive experience working in professional recording studios for more than half of his life brings with it even more insight for the aspiring musician! 


Jack Kilby

Guitar, Bass, Rock School

A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Jack Kilby has been a music enthusiast throughout his life. Having been exposed to great musicians from a young age, Jack has labored to achieve the highest levels of musicianship for over a decade. He began playing trumpet in fourth grade and drums in fifth, eventually switching to the euphonium in sixth grade. Jack was actively involved in groups inside and outside of school. He played drums in a rock band throughout middle and high school (T.C. Williams H.S.) while also serving as a member of the symphonic band on euphonium, the drum line, and the jazz ensemble and combo on drum set. In 2007, Jack enrolled at the University of Virginia where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology while remaining emphatically dedicated to his evolution as a drummer, participating in both the big band and combos. His time at UVA afforded him the privilege of developing his craft under the tutelage of the great trumpeter John D’earth, drummer/percussionist Robert Jospé, and many others in Charlottesville’s small but reputable music community. As Jack matured and grew into his own sound, he became a familiar face on the Charlottesville music scene leading bands that often featured professors from the music programs at UVA, JMU, and VCU. In 2013, Jack relocated to Queens, New York where he attended the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and received his Masters of Music in Jazz Performance in spring of 2015. There he studied with many world famous educators including trumpeter/arranger Michael Philip Mossman, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, pianist David Berkman, drummers Donald Edwards and Dennis Mackrel, and producer/songwriter James McElwaine. Jack placed an emphasis on arranging, songwriting, and production while working to achieve a high level of mastery over the drums. In New York, he founded the band ‘Jack Kilby & the Front Line’ which features several horn players performing Jack’s arrangements and other tunes reminiscent of the Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers repertoire. During the past few years, Jack has also found a reignited passion for the trumpet and looks forward to the day he will be able to be the trumpet player in his band (and others). 


Mark Deffenbaugh

Guitar, Drums, Piano, Bass, Vibraphone

Mark Deffenbaugh is an innovative, and provocative Jazz Artist and Educator. As a keyboardist, composer, and producer he has turned the heads of many of the most talented and famous personalities in Jazz, Rock, Hip Hop, and R&B. Mark started his career early, playing gigs, in the Washington D.C. area, starting at the age of sixteen. Within a few short years he had numerous live and television performances to his credit. While attending The Berklee College of Music, Mark studied with, Jazz Great Gary Burton. Gary took Mark under his wing, and became an important figure in Mark's life. Through this relationship Mark developed relationships with such names, as McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Peter Eirskin, John Schofield, Carla Bley, Makoto Ozone, Steve Swallow.and others. Mark Returned to the Washington D.C. area after an injury to his hands. He spent many years rebuilding his chops, and working as a studio engineer, and producer. Mark has composed hundreds of pieces of music, including a Sonata for Vibraphone, and Guitar, numerous pieces for the various world famous acts, and groups that he has worked with over the years He has also been responsible for lyrics, and arrangements for live shows, and recordings that have included the most recognizable names in the popular music world. Mark served as the Musical Director of The Ben E King Stand By Me Foundation for five years. His list of performance, credits include, Ben K King, The O'jays,Baby Washington,Loyd Price,Gary USBonds,Chuck Jackson, Bill Pinkney (The Origional Drifters),Little Anthony, and The Imperials,Bobby Bennett, The Spinners Fay Hauser-Price Clifton Davis, Don Gardner, Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Louis Price (Former lead singer The Drifters/Temptations) Beverly Crosby, Mavis Staples, Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Speedo and Cadillacs, Peabo Bryson, Shirley Alson Reeves (Shirelles), Charley Thomas (Drifters), Martha Reeves (formerly of the Vandellas), Freda Payne, Gerald Alston (Manhattans), Blue Lovette (Manhattans), Chuck Barksdale (Dells), Vern Allison (Dells), Dennis Edwards (formerly of the Temptations), Harvey Fuqua (Moonglows), Maxine Brown. Mark is currently producing, new music for a solo project, and has founded the experimental Jazz group Kaos Theory. He is also the CEO of DreamLand Records, an independent record label dedicated to Jazz, and Electronic Music, located in the Washington D.C. area.

Debbie Smith
Violin, Viola
Deborah Smith is a professional musician and aspiring teacher. She has been playing the violin for 11 years studying with various musicians including NSO member Mr. Summers and Dr. Adams of George Mason University. She transferred from Northern Virginia community College to George Mason University's school of music as a rising senior. She has played with a variety of orchestras and chamber ensembles for the last 10 years including Youth Orchestras of Prince William County, The George Mason Symphony Orchestra, The Manassas Symphony, The Annandale Symphony, and The National Medical Music Orchestra. She has participated in assisting youth orchestras, chamber ensembles and choirs. She currently teaches violin, coaches an A cappella vocal ensemble, and directs a volunteer choir. 

 

Kareem Darwish
Guitar, Ukelele, Banjo, Bass, Mandolin

Janel Leppin
Cello, Violin, Viola, Bass, Guitar, Piano