Violinist Joan Griffing is the concertmaster of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra, first violinist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and artist/faculty with the Eastern Music Festival. Griffing earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance from Indiana University, and her D.M.A. in violin performance from The Ohio State University. In the spring of 1999, she premiered a violin concerto written for her by Terry Vosbein, composer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University. She has performed as concertmaster with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Austria and Italy as well as with the Coronado, Grand Teton, Norfolk, and Spoleto festivals in this country. Her international appearances include a three-week tour of Taiwan in 2004 with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra; a series of guest recitals and master classes in the state of São Paulo, Brazil in May of 2006; a presentation at the International Viola Congress in Adelaide, Australia in June of 2007; and a series of chamber music recitals and master classes in the northeastern part of Brazil in August of 2007 and November of 2008. In the fall of 2012, she spent five months in New Zealand, collaborating with artists at the University of Otago in Dunedin and studying the role of music in peace and conflict issues.
Dr Griffing is a founding member of the chamber music group Musica Harmonia, formed to promote peace and cultural understanding through musical collaboration. The group’s first CD, chamber music by Gwyneth Walker, will be released in 2016. The CD will include two works composed specifically for Musica Harmonia. Dr. Griffing and cellist Beth Vanderborgh gave the North American premiere of Double Concerto for Violin and Cello by New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie in June 2012. Joan was an Artist-in-Residence at the Brush Creek Arts Foundation in Wyoming in May 2012. Recent solo appearances include solo violinist in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with The Dance Theater of Harlem and the Rockbridge Symphony in May 2014. Joan and Musica Harmonia colleagues recently recorded works for piano and strings by Vincent Persichetti for a CD to be released in 2017. Dr Griffing holds the position of professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University.
Ryan Keebaugh’s “innovative and hauntingly beautiful” (The Washington Post) music has established him as a prominent composer of his generation. Praised for its “gorgeous canvases of heart-wrenching sound,” his music has been heard in venues throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe by world class musicians and ensembles including Megan Ihnen, soprano; the Shenandoah Conservatory Cantus Singers, Anne Epperly, flutist; Diane Phoenix-Neal, violist; Music Harmonia, Eastern Mennonite University Emulate Chamber Ensemble, Western Michigan University Chorale, Eastern Mennonite Chamber Singers, University of South Florida Chamber Singers, Holly Roadfeldt, pianist; Fresno State Concert Choir, Ethos Collective, Sesquisharp Productions, Great Noise Ensemble, members of the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Catholic University of America Orchestra and Chorus, and Winchester Musica Viva. Ryan has participated in the Aspen Composers’ Conference, the Capital Fringe Festival, the Interlochen Summer Music Festival, and has held residencies at Wildacres Artist Colony, Factory 449 Theatre Collective, and the Composers & Schools in Concert (CSIC). He has received awards and recognition from Analog Arts, ASCAP, the American Prize, and the Virginia Music Educators Association.
Noted for his “expressive, concise, insightful, and sensitive” conducting, Ryan’s versatile and vibrant musicianship has distinguished him as a leading music educator and frequent guest conductor and clinician to numerous choral and instrumental ensembles throughout the United States. Ryan’s choral ensembles have been invited to perform at international and national festivals, master classes, and historic locations including The Washington National Cathedral, St. John the Divine, New York University Steinhardt, Bruton Parish Church, Mennonite Church USA, and MEDA. Previously, Ryan served as Music Director and Conductor for the world premiere performance of Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadows; an opera by composer Steven Allen, at The Catholic University of America and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C.
Originally from Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, Ryan (b. 1980) earned graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America (DMA) and Shenandoah University (MM), and is a graduate of Bridgewater College (BA). His principal teachers have included Libby Larsen, Roshanne Etezady, Daniel McCarthy, William Averitt, Andrew Earle Simpson, Steven Strunk, and John Hilliard.
To learn more, visit ryankeebaugh.com
Sharon Miller is the Administrative Director of the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music Program which currently serves nearly 400 students from 5 Virginia counties and West Virginia. She has a studio of violin and viola students and teaches Suzuki Pedagogy courses through the Preparatory Music Program and at workshops and summer Suzuki Institutes throughout the United States. Ms. Miller taught music education courses at Eastern Mennonite University from 1989-2014.
Ms. Miller received her M.Ed. (music) from Towson State University and M.M. (Suzuki Pedagogy) from East Carolina University. She is a registered Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has taught at Institutes and workshops around the United States. As a performer, she plays violin with the University Shenandoah Symphony, the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival and the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. She also performs viola with several chamber ensembles.
Ms. Miller has presented research papers on the topic of music reading at the International Suzuki Research Symposium in 1999 and 2001.
Volunteer work includes being a greeter and participating in worship at her church, and assisting clients at Patchwork Pantry.
Before coming to EMU in 1989, she taught strings and orchestra for 11 years in Baltimore and was the music department chair at Arlington Baptist School.
Kenneth Nafziger was a post-doctoral conducting student with Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart-Germany. In addition to his EMU course load, he is artistic director and conductor of the annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival (Harrisonburg, Va.), and of Winchester Musica Viva (in Winchester, Va.). Between 1999 and 2003, he made numerous trips to Cuba, where he was a guest orchestral and choral conductor, taught courses and workshops, and led EMU Chamber Singers. He was music editor of ‘Hymnal: A Worship Book’ (1992), editor of its accompaniment handbook, and assistant to the editor of ‘Sing the Journey’ (2005) and ‘Sing the Story’ (2007). He is active in the United States and Canada as a guest conductor, workshop leader and clinician. He co-authored a book ‘Singing, a Mennonite Voice’, which was released in 2001. On June 11, 2015, Nafziger was awarded the 2015 Circle of Excellence in the Arts Award, “for outstanding accomplishments and sustained contributions in the arts, improving the cultural vitality of the Shenandoah Valley.” The award was given by the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, the Valley Arts Council, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University.
James Richardson, baritone, is currently assistant professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University where he teaches voice and conducts ChoirWithoutBorders. Mr. Richardson holds his master of music degree from The Peabody Conservatory of Music of The Johns Hopkins University where he graduated Pi Kappa Lambda and was awarded the Annie Wentz Prize in Voice. He is also a first and second place winner in the NATS mid-south auditions and a four-time semifinalist. While in the studio of Marianna Busching and under the coaching of John Shirley-Quirk, he performed numerous opera roles ranging from early works such as Bacchus in Purcell’s Timon of Athens to 20th century opera including Bartly in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea and the Vicar in Britten’s Albert Herring. His work with master teachers includes Martin Isepp, William Stone, William Sharp, and Vinson Cole. Equally at home in the world of oratorio, Mr. Richardson’s performance in Judas Maccabaeus was described by the Baltimore Sun as “polished, richly laden with vivid tempos and dynamic phrasing.” More recently, at Westminster Choir College he performed Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs; and he toured throughout Ukraine as a soloist with Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church Choir and Westminster Brass. As a regular recitalist and art song enthusiast, repertoire from the past couple seasons includes cycles by Brahms, Schumann, Spohr, Holst, Finzi, Hoiby and Kohn; not to mention solo Bach cantatas Amore traditore and Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen. In February he partnered with pianist and composer James Clemens in a program featuring Clemens’ Lessons: A Song Cycle for My Daughter. Mr. Richardson is also a frequent soloist with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival where he has sung the Mass in B Minor; the part of Schlendrian, the disapproving father in the Coffee Cantata; and the Count from The Marriage of Figaro.
Hunsberger, a 2002 EMU graduate from Davidsville, Pa., fills many positions at EMU, held together by his work in Lehman Auditorium as Facilities Technician. He is the Residence Director for Parkwood Apartments where he has lived as Apartment Manager for several years. He serves as Seminary Music Coordinator, assisting with chapel and other worship services at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and assists Dr. Ken J. Nafziger in directing the Chamber Singers. In the summers, he serves as Summer Programs Coordinator in the Auxiliary Services office.
During his student days at EMU, Hunsberger helped plan chapel worship experiences, led music, sang in choirs and in the ‘Full Table’ men’s a capella group that he co-founded, and assisted the campus pastors. From 2003-2011, he co-managed and directed a local independent male a capella ensemble, ‘Sons of the Day’.
Cindy began working for the music department in August of 2001. In her free time, she enjoys golfing and reading. Cindy lives near Singers Glen, Va., with her husband David and their son Ethan.