Christine Keenan, M.A.
Interim Director of Bands
Interim Program Director
Christine Keenan is the Director of Bands and Program Director for the Music Department at Fresno Pacific University, where she conducts the Symphonic Band and coaches the Saxophone Quartet. She teaches courses in conducting and music education and is a supervisor and mentor for music credential students with the School of Education. Mrs. Keenan is a co-founder and co-conductor of the Wind Symphony of Clovis, a professional-level wind band. The ensemble was selected to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago in 2018 and was featured at the California All-State Music Education Conference in 2020. She is also the founder and conductor of Summer Band at the Shaghoian.
Professor Keenan has served on the board of CMEA Central Section and currently serves as the Vice President of the Fresno-Madera County Music Educators Association. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Master of Arts in Instrumental Conducting at California State University, Fresno and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Music Education through Boston University. Mrs. Keenan lives in Clovis with her husband Vince, and their two daughters, Vivian and Roxanne.
Christa Pehl Evans, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Music
Scholar and performer Christa Pehl Evans enjoys a colorful life that combines her varied interests. A lover of book history, her research centers on musicians and their manuscripts in late-18th-century Pennsylvania and has recently been published in Current Musicology. As a Baroque flutist, she has performed across the United States with early music groups, including Tempesta di Mare, Fuma Sacra, the Kingsbury Ensemble, and Newton Baroque. Christa earned a PhD from Princeton University in historical musicology with a certificate in women’s studies and completed her undergraduate degree summa cum laude in flute performance and early music studies at Northwestern University. A mother of three, Christa enjoys gardening, cooking, yoga, and riding horses.
Jeffrey S Wilson, D.M.A.
Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorale and Men’s Chorus
Jeffrey S. Wilson (D.M.A., M.Mus., University of Illinois; B.Mus., Augustana College) is currently professor of music and director of choral activities at Fresno Pacific University where he oversees the choral program and teaches aural skills. Previously, he taught K-12 vocal music in Iowa and Illinois, and served for over twenty years as director of choral studies at Greenville University (Greenville, IL). Choirs under his direction have toured throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe and performed with the American Kantorei, the Boston Camerata, and the Kingsbury Ensemble. Professor Wilson’s choirs have also been invited to sing at multiple Illinois Music Educators Association State Conventions and American Choral Directors Association Central Region Conferences as well as the Calvin Symposium on Worship (Grand Rapids, MI).
Dr. Wilson studied conducting and choral music with Chet Alwes, Louis Halsey, Donald Morrison, Helmuth Rilling, Fred Stoltzfus, Paul Vermel, and David Willcocks. He also has extensive experience as organist and church musician and has traveled throughout the Midwestern and Northwestern United States as well as Western and Eastern Europe as a concert vocalist and accompanist. Wilson lived and studied in Hungary while on sabbatical in 2004 and served as visiting professor at Hope Africa University in Bujumbura, Burundi during spring semester, 2012. Professor Wilson is a life member of the American Choral Directors Association having served on the Illinois ACDA board for a number of years, most recently as President in 2019-2020. He and his wife, Pam, have three children.
An oboist with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and an active member of the Fresno musical community, Aldrich holds an M.A. in music from UC Riverside and has completed D.M.A. coursework at the University of Oregon. She has performed in orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout California and Oregon, most notably the Riverside Symphony Orchestra, the Clarion Woodwind Quintet, The Oregon Mozart Players, Eugene Opera!, and The Oregon Bach Festival. Aldrich is a private instructor of oboe and piano, lecturer in oboe at CSU Fresno, and has served as a board member of the Fresno Musical Club. She has performed with numerous local organizations including the Fresno Lyric Opera and Orpheus, and is a founding member of the chamber ensembles Moment Musical and Winds of the San Joaquin.
Pacific Bronze Director
For over 30 years Patti Cota has taught music in private and public schools and churches, from elementary through college/adult levels. Her experience includes 12 years as the choral assistant/ accompanist at Hoover High School, Fresno, California. She also was the accompanist for choir and orchestra, and the handbell director at Peoples Church in Fresno for 23 years. She enjoys arranging music for her groups and has over 100 published arrangements. Cota holds a B.A. and California teaching credential in music from Bethany Bible College, Santa Cruz, California, and an M.A. in Music Education from California State University Fresno. She teaches handbell classes at Fresno Pacific University, and handbells and piano through Inspire One Foundation in Fresno.
Janette Erickson is the Principal Flutist of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. She is the Founder/Flutist of the chamber ensemble, Moment Musical and Director of Les Flutes Enchanteés and La Forza. Erickson graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in flute performance and received her Master of Arts in music theory from California State University, Fresno. Her teachers include Russell S. Howland, Lloyd Gowen, Roger Stevens, Ray Fabrizio and Julius Baker. Erickson has studied with Doriot A. Dwyer at the Tanglewood Institute and Walfrid Kujala at Northwestern University. She is also a pianist and has studied conducting with Nicola Iacovetti. She serves Fresno Pacific University as adjunct faculty teaching flute. Eleven flute choir pieces have been edited by Erickson and published from the Russell S. Howland Flute Choir Library. One of the editions she published was awarded Best New Flute Choir Publication of 1995 by the N.F.A. As a flutist, Erickson has performed four times for the National Flute Association’s annual convention.
Larry Gardner is Principal Bassoonist with the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Fresno Lyric Opera, and bassoonist with the California Woodwind Quintet. Gardner is also an active performer with the chamber music group, Moment Musical. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree with honors at the University of Louisville and a Master of Music degree in Bassoon Performance at Indiana University. Gardner has performed as principal bassoonist with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico, the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, the Evansville Philharmonic, and the Louisville Bach Society. His teachers include John Miller, Per Hannevold, Mordechai Rechtman, Stephen Paulsen, Leonard Sharrow, George Goslee, Dan Welcher, and Russell Hinkle. In addition, Gardner is a Registered Piano Technician member of the Piano Technician's Guild. Gardner teaches private bassoon at FPU.
Chris Golden, M.A.
Chris Golden enjoys an active career teaching and performing in California’s Central Valley. Chris performs regularly with a variety of ensembles, including the Sequoia Symphony in Visalia and Opera Modesto. He has also performed with the Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno Grand Opera, California Opera, Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in Fresno, Merced Symphony, Kings Symphony, Wind Symphony of Clovis, and the Yosemite Wind Ensemble on tour in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. Chris is also active as a chamber musician and has performed with Moment Musical, Fresno Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Fresno Brass Quintet, and Sequoia Brass.
In addition to performing, Chris maintains a busy teaching schedule working with Horn players of all ages. Currently, he serves as adjunct faculty at California State University, Stanislaus, Fresno Pacific University, and College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. He also coaches the Horn sections at Central High School in Fresno and the Clovis North Educational Center. In 2017, Chris founded Golden Horn Studio, where he teaches private lessons to students from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Visalia, Turlock, and Modesto. His students are regular participants in county and state-level honor ensembles, including the FMCMEA Honor Band and Orchestra, CODA Honor Orchestra, CMEA Honor Orchestra, and CBDA Honor Band. Chris’s students also receive high ratings each year at both regional and state-level Solo/Ensemble Festivals.
Chris earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Horn Performance from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His primary Horn teachers include Gail Williams, Bill Barnewitz, Bill Bernatis, and Jennie Blomster. Chris currently resides in his hometown of Fresno, CA with his wife Ali, who is also a musician, and their two dogs, Max and Maple.
Pianist Matthew Horton has accompanied performing ensembles throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Born and raised in Tulare, CA, Horton earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Piano Performance from California State University, Fresno. He has taught at CSU Fresno, Fresno City College, and Porterville Community College. Horton currently serves Fresno Pacific University as accompanist for Concert Choir, Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorale, Crosswind, Opera at Pacific, and the Theater Department.
Scott Horton received the bachelor of arts degree with honors in organ performance from Fresno Pacific University while studying with Laurell Huber, and a master’s degree in organ performance from California State University, Fresno, studying with teachers Dr. Robert Judd, Samuel Schwartz (Redlands University), and James Walker (Occidental University and All Saints Church, Pasadena). He has also studied with Ladd Thomas (USC), Gerre Hancock (St. Thomas Church, NYC), and William Johnson of Tulare. In addition to teaching organ and harpsichord at Fresno Pacific University, Horton teaches Pipe Organ Studies at California State University, Fresno, and serves as Music Director/Organist at First Congregational Church of Fresno and Organist at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Tulare.
Chris Janzen is a guitarist, visual artist, and composer. His multimedia projects and oil paintings have been exhibited throughout the US including west coast institutions such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Alphonse Berber Gallery, Electric Works, Fresno Art Museum, and Arte Americas. Janzen is Assistant Professor of Art and Adjunct Instructor of Music at Fresno Pacific University where he teaches painting, drawing, 2D/3D Design, and jazz guitar.
Tim Johnson, M.A.
Tim Johnson earned his M.A. in Music Education with an emphasis on violin performance at California State University-Fresno, and a B.A. in Business Management - and management of music artists - from St Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. Johnson studied violin performance and music theory with Betty Iacovetti for many years, attended Bob Jones University in Greenville SC, and performed with both the Fresno Philharmonic and the Sequoia Symphony. Johnson has directed orchestra in both public and private schools at the secondary and community college levels including Monte Vista Christian School and Merced Community College.
From 2000-2007, Johnson was the fiddler for the “Sons of the San Joaquin” and was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame. In 2006, he founded and directed the Merced Community College Chamber Orchestra and was voted instrumentalist of the year by the Western Music Association. Johnson is also an experienced church music director/arranger, studio musician, and songwriter with five studio albums to his credit. Currently, Johnson maintains a private instruction studio and is also the mariachi, guitar, and orchestra instructor for the Farmersville Unified School District.
Crosswind Director, Music Appreciation
Melita Mudri-Zubacz holds both a bachelor and masters degree in theology (St. Paul University, Ottawa) as well as bachelor and master degrees in music with a concentration in choral conducting (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg). Her thesis in theology explored historical evaluation of congregational singing in the Eastern Christian liturgical traditions. Her graduate work at University of Manitoba combined choral conducting with a historico-cultural Ukrainian study. Mudri-Zubacz has always been active in her work with music and liturgical studies, working extensively with community and church choirs, as well as publishing studies related to the Eastern Christian church music. At Fresno Pacific University she directs Crosswind, a contemporary Christian ensemble, and teaches Music Appreciation.
Laura Porter is well known to Central California audiences as a recitalist, collaborative harpist, and as an orchestral musician. For thirty years, she has held the position of Principal Harp with the Fresno Philharmonic, often traveling throughout California to perform in other orchestras. She appears regularly with many diverse organizations, such as Moment Musical, the Wind Symphony of Clovis, the Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale and Coro Piccolo, Soli Deo Gloria, Stageworks Fresno, and many others. She is a founding member of two chamber groups, Due Cantilena (flute and harp), and the Figarden Trio (flue, bassoon, and harp).
A dedicated teacher, Ms. Porter also maintains a prominent harp studio, teaching lessons in Fresno, for both adults and children. Her students may be seen performing in the Youth Orchestras of Fresno groups, the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra, or with their school orchestras and concert bands. Her students have won national and regional competitions, including the AHS National Competitions, ASTA (local and state), Young Artist's Harp Competition, and been awarded honors such as the Jack Kent Cooke Award, the Presidential Scholar Award, and All-State Band and Orchestra positions. In past years, her students have gone on to attend schools such as the Juilliard School, Carnegie Mellon University, the Thornton School of Music at USC, as well as UC Berkeley, and UC Davis, and of course, Fresno Pacific University.
She is also on the faculty with University High school, Youth Orchestras of Fresno and the intensive summer orchestral training program, FOOSA, as Harp Instructor. Ms. Porter leads an adult Harp Circle group for local harp enthusiasts.
Alyson Shirk, D.M.A.
Voice and Vocal Pedagogy
Alyson Shirk, D.M.A. comes to Pacific Fresno University having served as Director of Arts for the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore. Earning her doctorate in vocal performance from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2009, Alyson, lyric soprano, was awarded the Dean’s Graduate Scholar Award for excellence in scholarship for her dissertation “Mad Women in Opera: An Investigation of Madness and Selected Mad Scenes for Soprano”. In 2009, Alyson taught master classes and performed the Brahms’ Requiem with the Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra in Vietnam. In 2010, she traveled to Buenos Aires to research and perform the music of Argentine composer Carlos Guastavino. Her Bryn Mawr and Children’s Chorus choirs have performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, The US State Department, and The Blair House. Alyson’s choirs performed at the International Kodály Symposium in Budapest and Kecskemét, Hungary in 2013. In addition to her work as a regional choral clinician and adjudicator, Alyson served as the founder and Artistic Director of the American Kodály Children’s Chorus. Alyson is the choir director of University High School in Fresno, California.
Nathan Sobieralski, D.M.A.
Trumpet, Brass Techniques
Nathan Sobieralski is a lecturer of music at California State University, Fresno, where he serves as the trumpet studio teacher. He also teaches private trumpet to Fresno Pacific University musicians. An active performer and educator in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia, Sobieralski has taught all levels of public music education from first grade through high school. He has performed with the Vancouver Island Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, Prince George Symphony, Kamloops Symphony, British Columbia Chamber Orchestra, Gold Country Chamber Orchestra, Merced Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno Grand Opera, Kings Symphony, Tulare County Symphony, and others. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Merced Symphony, Tulare County Symphony, Kings Symphony, Tule British Brass Band, Kingsburg Summer Band, and performed with the Debut Symphony in Los Angeles in a special performance for composer John Williams. He has recorded for radio and television broadcasts in the US and Canada, most notably as part of the soundtrack for “Hockey Night in Canada” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Sobieralski holds degrees from CSU Fresno (B.A. 2002), University of British Columbia (M.M. 2004), and UCLA (D.M.A 2007). He has studied with Jens Lindeman, Larry Knopp, W. Ritchie Clendenin, Paul Shaghoian, Brian Recht, and Jim Kusserow.
Piano, Piano Pedagogy
Arlene Steffen, M.M., teaches piano and piano pedagogy at Fresno Pacific University and maintains an active private studio. She performs regularly as both soloist and collaborative pianist and chairs the committee for Independent Music Teachers for National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has served the Fresno County Branch of MTAC as president, secretary and festival chair. Steffen has published articles in Keyboard Companion, Clavier Companion and Pacific Journal. Her students have won accolades through competitions and festivals and have gone on to significant careers in music.
Corey Whitehead is one of the fastest-rising stars in the nylon-string guitar world having performed both classical and flamenco guitar extensively in concert with the world's finest performers. He currently performs regularly as a member of The Jesus Montoya Flamenco Company and has previously enjoyed success in the classical-crossover genres with saxophonist Alan Durst. His schedule has included classical and flamenco guitar performances in festivals, on television and radio in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Italy, France, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Yemen. He has performed on numerous occasions at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington D.C. Douze Cordes, Whitehead’s duo with guitarist Michael Bard, has performed in the Middle East, North Africa, Italy and Chile on three tours as Cultural Ambassadors of the U.S. Department of State. Whitehead teaches guitar performance at CSU Fresno and Fresno Pacific University. In 2008, his guitar method book, co-authored with Juan Serrano, entitled The Flamenco/Classical Guitar Tradition was released worldwide on Mel Bay Publications. Whitehead earned his Doctor of Musical Arts, Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in guitar performance from the University of Arizona where he studied with Thomas Patterson, John Ingwerson, Steven Saulls and Andrea Förderreuther.