Meet the Artists
David “Dae-Lee” Arrington is a GRAMMY Nominated producer, recording artist, creative entrepreneur, co-owner of Charlotte-based creative agency Hue House and founding member of FAIR PLAY Music Equity Initiative. He also diligently serves within the Charlotte community as a board member for Communities In Schools, committee member for the Arts And Science Council as well as the YMCA.
In all he does, Dae is a bridge builder, passionately leveraging his influence and the power of the Arts to bring diverse people groups together for the greater good.
Since 1994 Frank Dominguez has been a familiar voice to classical music listeners on WDAV. Through the years he has played a crucial part in station programming decisions through various roles and currently leads the station as General Manager/Host and Producer of Night Music and Concíerto.
Prior to coming to WDAV, Frank began his radio career at 90.7 WFAE, where he hosted the popular Sunday evening music program, Nightscapes. In addition he has worked extensively in local theater as an actor and director, including productions for Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, CAST, Theatre Charlotte and Opera Carolina.
Arsena Schroeder is a singer-songwriter with R&B, pop, and folk influences – think India Arie meets Alicia Keys with inspirational undertones. Her songs tackle topics of personal healing and empowerment. Having released her sophomore album “Sleep Talking”, Schroeder has accomplished much touring as an independent recording artist. This list includes but is not limited to headlining international shows, an endorsement with Breedlove Guitars, and winning over hearts with a standing ovation from Michael Jordan at The Time Warner Cable (now known as Spectrum) Arena. Her latest release, “Remixed & Remastered: The Unplugged EP” is out now and available on digital download and streaming platforms.
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Lenora Cox Leggatt
Originally from Rochester, New York, violinist Lenora Cox Leggatt earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music studying with Catherine Tait and Zvi Zeitlin, and Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music with Donald Weilerstein. Lenora served as concertmaster for The Cleveland Opera Orchestra for eight years, and for the former Ohio Chamber Orchestra and Cleveland San Jose Ballet. Performing along with her twin sister—oboist, Johanna Cox Pennington, their performance of the music of Dinos Constantinides at Carnegie Hall was critically acclaimed as “the highlight of the concert”. Ms. Leggatt currently resides in Charlotte with her husband and son and performs regularly with the Charlotte Symphony.
Leonard Mark Lewis
Composer Leonard Mark Lewis is the recipient of awards from ASCAP, B.M.I., Columbia University (Bearns Prize), Voices of Change, Frank Tichelli, and MACRO. His music has been performed across the US and in Scotland, Germany, England, Peru, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, and Poland. His orchestral works have been commissioned and performed by the American Composer’s Orchestra, The Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte Civic Symphony, and Cy-Fair Orchestra. His recent commissions include a chamber opera and a work for New Century (Saxophone) Quartet. His music is published by Dorn, Manhattan Beach, Southern, Selah and Haggelstein. Lewis is a Professor of Composition/Theory at Winthrop University.
Chris Suter is a Musician and Audio Engineer based out of Fort Mill, SC. After graduating from Sheffield Institute Of The Recording Arts in 2011, he then moved to Charlotte, NC where he worked at various recording studios in the area before starting his own studio in Fort Mill. While still spending most of his free time playing and recording music, Chris also strives to make time for other non-music related passions such as running, home renovations, and classic cars.
Singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, and renaissance artist, Greg Cox began his music career in 2010 by touring with gospel artists. A native of Wilson, NC, Cox shows off his soulful southern roots in every song he sings through his distinct blend of gospel, R&B, and lyricism. Introduced to music at an early age by way of his father, gospel singer Johnavon “Bo Peep” Sauls, he also cites Randy Newman as a heavy influence. As an aspiring producer, Cox began to curate his own material, which afforded him an opportunity to tour, produce, and perform across the country.
His latest album, ETC., was released in late 2018 along with two self-produced singles in 2019. He is featured on the single “Strong God” on Kirk Franklin’s latest album Long Live Love and performed live at the 50th GMA Dove Awards. His single “The Other Side” with Emily Sage made NPR’s Heavy Rotation in February 2019.
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Jane Hart Brendle
Jane Hart Brendle has been a member of the violin section of the Charlotte Symphony since 1995. She also serves as violinist and arranger for Carolina Strings, a chamber group which specializes in playing music for events and educational presentations in the Charlotte area. Many of Jane’s violin solos and arrangements of various styles of music have been recorded with area performers and composers. As a musical hobby, Jane plays mandolin and mandola in The Charlotte Mandolin Quintet. Jane holds a Master of Music degree in applied violin performance from UNC-Greensboro.
Violist Matthew Darsey leads a varied musical life as both a performer and an educator. A strong advocate of contemporary music, he is a founding member of the MAPSensemble, a Viola/Piano/Percussion trio, and has collaborated with the Bechtler and Out Of Bounds Ensembles, as well as regularly performing with the Charlotte New Music Festival. He regularly performs in the Asheville, Hendersonville, Greenville, Winston-Salem, and Charlotte symphonies. Outside of classical music, Matthew performs with the band Sound of Raine, bringing together musicians of various backgrounds. Matthew is the adjunct professor of viola at Winthrop University.
A$H. brings the new wave of true POP/R&B. Her full-spectrum view encompasses everything from the explosive dance floor eighties nostalgic POP to the wavy vibes of the mid-to-late nineties R&B classics. As a result, she emerges with a signature sound of her own that stretches across listeners from all ages, cultures and countries. A$H. has had a unique journey from earning a B.A. in theatre from Spelman College and being a background singer and dancer to the stars, to writing transcending music with producer T. Brown. 2019 birthed her debut album, “It’s Just Art.” “It’s Just Art – A $hort Film” premiered February 2020.
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Joseph Quisol, M.Ed. is a singer-songwriter and cultural organizer currently residing on Catawba land. In 2016, Quisol began his music career by hosting pop-up shows and house concerts across Charlotte with Queen’s Collective. Then in 2017, he entered a master’s program called Art in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where studied under musical greats Vijay Iyer’s and Esperanza Spalding. Since then, Quisol spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area where he independently released his debut album REVELATIONS with his label Pop Industrial Complex, completed a series of national tours, and presented at conferences on the intersection of music and activism. Now back in North Carolina, Quisol is co-founding a creative community center called Echo Makerspace Center in East Charlotte while working on his sophomore album In The Flesh.
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Kari Giles moved to Charlotte in 2006 to become the Assistant Concertmaster of the Charlotte Symphony. Mrs. Giles is passionate about chamber music and new music in particular. A founding member of the Madison Park String Quartet, she enjoys curating programs that feature local composers, diverse styles, and collaborations with other art forms. Recent performances include a street performance with Your Neighborhood Orchestra at the Boom Festival 2019, Listen! Race Matters as a member of the A Sign of the Times Strings, an evening of eclectic “Off the Rails” music at Snug Harbor in Charlotte, NC, and a collaboration with the musicians of Aarohan Music for the Festival of India 2019. As an educator, she maintains a small private studio, serves as adjunct Professor of Violin at Winthrop University, and coaches with the Youth Orchestras of Charlotte. She is also honored to be a board member of The Possibility Project Charlotte.
Jeremy Lamb received his B.M. from the Peabody Conservatory with Alan Stepansky. He is currently a member of the Charlotte Symphony and maintains the position of Assistant Principal in the NE Pennsylvania Philharmonic in Scranton where he also performs frequently as a chamber musician. Before moving to Charlotte, Jeremy was a substitute on the Broadway musical Aladdin as well as a member of numerous orchestras including the New Haven, Harrisburg, and Eastern Connecticut Symphonies. He has also worked as a luthier for several violin shops around the country and currently rehairs bows for string musicians in the Charlotte area.
Karen Poole is a singer, songwriter, musician, producer, indie contemporary gospel artist, and worship leader originally from Norfolk, VA where she began her music career. An alumna of Norfolk State University, Karen relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2017. Karen, bringing a soulful, yet eclectic blend of Contemporary Gospel and Contemporary Christian, sets the stage to allow the prophetic to flow through the ministry of song. It is with great faith and determination, that Karen Poole is devoted to spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom through an elite sound that will captivate, motivate, and liberate the masses.
Alice Silva was born in Fortaleza, Brazil, where she began her music studies. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from UNC Charlotte and a Master’s in Music from Ohio University. She regularly performs with symphony orchestras around the greater Charlotte region, while also enjoying delving into different genres, especially Brazilian music and Broadway musicals. Outside of performing, Alice is a reservist in the US Army and a real estate broker serving the Charlotte community.
Keenan Harmon is a professional trumpeter in the Carolinas. From season to season he performs in a wide range of area from theatre shows, recitals, chamber music, and jazz as well as working on recording projects. His discipline also includes composition, having composed many works for groups and brass pedagogy, working with young musicians gain their footing in the business.
Brent W. Ballard is a professional trombonist and music instructor in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. He has a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina and his Masters Degree in Music Performance from the University of Akron in Ohio. His musical talents are shared with audiences at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in shows such as the Lion King, Hello Dolly, Aladdin, and Wicked. Brent has taught music directing bands in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system and is currently an adjunct instructor at Central Piedmont Community College.
Harvey Cummings II
Harvey is a native of Charlotte, NC; his gift is music. He has a B.A. in Music, and a B.M. in Jazz Studies. A phenomenal saxophonist, pianist, keyboardist, he has played for numerous foundations and organizations, colleges and universities, private and social events, and special occasion celebrations. Some of the organizations include National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), The National Association of Wedding Professionals (NAWP), The Congressional Black Caucus, National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He’s played alongside Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Kevon Edmonds, Jimmy Cobb, Fred Wessley, 9th Wonder, and many others. Harvey is featured by 9th Wonder Productions on the piano in the hit cartoon show, The Boondocks. Harvey is also a proud music teacher for Union County Public Schools.
Malik Johnson is a Violist and Elementary General Music Teacher based in Charlotte, NC. In 2019, Malik earned his B.M. in Music Education at UNC Charlotte. During his time at UNCC, he was the principal violist for the UNC Charlotte Chamber Orchestra. His passion for music has led him to be an in-demand performer in the Charlotte classical and alternative music scene. As a freelance violist, he has played in orchestras throughout North and South Carolina and as far abroad as Montreal, Canada and Israel.
Malik believes music brings people together and has the power to bridge gaps words cannot do on their own. In July 2020, he collaborated with Blumenthal Performing Arts to create a benefit concert called “Be The Change.” This concert featured performers using their platforms of music, poetry, and dance to create a unified voice that speaks out against the racial injustice we see in society.
Peruvian cellist Marlene Ballena began playing the cello at age seven in her hometown of Lima. She served as a member of the Peruvian National Symphony and as principal cellist of the Piura Symphony Orchestra. Marlene has been a member of the Charlotte Symphony since 2014.
Denielle Wilson is a musician and educator from Lithonia, Georgia. She is currently playing her first season as a cellist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. Denielle spent five years in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program. Her undergraduate degree in music education and cello performance was completed at Northwestern University. While at NU, she played in the school’s Symphony Orchestra and the NU Cello Ensemble, as well as participated in chamber music groups coached by the Dover Quartet. She has played in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and recently completed her master’s degree through a fellowship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.
Singer-songwriter Nia J‘s melodic music infuses sultry vocals and rich harmonies into contemporary R&B – producing a unique and introspective sound. Nia J’s latest project, Rabbit Hole EP, embodies her ongoing journey of self-reflection as a young artist and woman throughout the last four years. She aspires to use both her pain and joy to create music that helps others.
Benjamin Geller joined the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra as Principal Violist in 2014 where he regularly performs as a soloist in the orchestra and as a chamber musician in the Charlotte Area. Originally from Rockford, IL, Ben began violin lessons at the age of three in the Suzuki tradition at the Music Academy of Rockford. He continued his musical training at Butler University with Larry Shapiro and formally took up viola with Michael Isaac Strauss as well as a Jazz Minor with Mark Buselli. He went on to pursue his Master’s at The Juilliard School where he studied with Toby Appel. Following graduation, Ben was awarded a fellowship to the New World Symphony in Miami, FL where he performed for almost two years. In addition to his work in the Charlotte Symphony, Ben teaches and performs at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC and performs in the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra in Phoenix, AZ. Ben also coaches string programs in Charlotte area schools and has been a guest teacher at the Atlanta Music Project.
Jill O’Neill, piccolo specialist and flutist, has served as the Flute Professor at Winthrop University since 1996 and Music Lecturer at York Tech since 1997. She teaches Music Appreciation, created and instructed the interdisciplinary Arts Performance and Production class ArtsLab at Winthrop, and has taught History of Rock-n-Roll, Sound Design and Music for Dance. Jill has also served as an instructor at the Charlotte School of Rock and is the sound designer and composer for Shakespeare Carolina where she has won “Outstanding Sound Design” and “Outstanding Original Musical Composition” five times in the Metrolina Theatre Association awards.
Jill has performed with Opera Carolina, The Charlotte Symphony, The Augusta Symphony, Columbia Lyric Opera, Greenville Symphony, Hilton Head Symphony and many others. Jill performs with Space Daddy & the Galactic GoGos and Tijuana Hit Squad where she plays drums, flutes, keys and theremin. Her classical training was completed at West Virginia University, S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, and USC.
Bravo Pueblo is an experimental electro-pop band based in Charlotte, NC with roots in Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Assembled around an assortment of electronic instruments, siblings Liza and Claudio Ortiz along with Lisandro Herrera combine an array of reimagined sounds and influences, creating futuristic, yet nostalgic, tropical music.
Clarinetist/Saxophonist Kania Mills is from Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Clarinet Performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts (2008), where she studied with Robert Listokin, Daniel McKelway and Igor Begelman. She was then awarded a two-year teaching assistantship at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for graduate studies and received her Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance (2010). She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and has participated in many conferences and festivals. She has received numerous awards, including performing artist scholarhips and was a finalist in the Astral Artists National Auditions in 2009.
Christopher “Yung Citizen” Williams, a Charlotte, NC native, is a music producer, recording artist who blends his own unique interpretations of Hip Hop, R&B/Pop to create timeless masterpieces that will penetrate the inner soul. As founder of his own media company, Citizenship Music Group, YUNG Citizen’s ultimate goal is to create timeless music that reaches the world.
Nathan Kam is a singer-songwriter with strong pop influences. As a solo artist, he connects with listeners through emotional songwriting that navigates the highs and lows of life. He is also the lead singer of an electro-pop duo called The Great Far which embraces his fun-loving / energetic side. Nathan developed his love for music at a young age and always strives to make honest music that creatively captures life’s intricacies.
Mira Frisch is Professor of Cello and the Director of String Chamber Music at UNC Charlotte. Graduates of her collegiate studio are attending graduate school, performing cello, teaching music, or enjoying cello while pursuing careers outside of music. In the Carolinas, Dr. Frisch has performed as guest principal cellist with the Charleston Symphony, as a substitute section cellist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and with the Madison Park String Quartet and Charlotte Strings Collective. Her cello playing can be heard on multiple chamber music recordings produced by Albany Records and Cantus Recordings. She received a BA degree (music and math) from Saint Olaf College, an MM degree (cello) from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a DMA degree (cello) from the University of Minnesota.
As a full-time freelance musician and music studio director, Casey Mink enjoys balancing his love for violin and playing and teaching. He performs with the Roanoke Symphony and Rock Hill Symphony and is also a lead wedding and special events musician. Casey is proud to play on a commissioned Robert Brode violin and a bow by Claude Thomassin. He holds a master’s degree in performance from Bowling Green State University and is a registered teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Suzanne U. Polak is a versatile musician with a passion for ensemble and collaborative works in both performance and composition. She is currently on adjunct faculty at Elon University and working at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has worked as a substitute keyboardist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as Acting Principal with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Symphony Orchestra; substitute with the North Carolina Symphony and West Virginia Symphony; also with Charlotte Symphony Orchestra on both keyboard and dulcimer. As a composer, her work Fugue and Romance was premiered at the Charlotte New Music Festival by the Beo String Quartet.
Originally from Pittsburgh, electric and upright bassist Dave Vergato earned a B.M. in Studio Music & Jazz from the University of Miami. He moved to Charlotte shortly after 9/11 and earned a Graduate Certificate in Teaching from UNCC and an M.M.Ed. from Winthrop. Presently, Mr. Vergato is the Director of Orchestras, Guitar, and Music Theory 1 at Providence High School in Charlotte. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor of Music at Winthrop University, where he teaches classes in applied bass lessons and bass repertory. Trained in both classical music and jazz, Dave frequently plays in the Charlotte region with Hickory Grove Baptist Church, the Tosco Music Party House Band, Charlotte Squawks, and at Eddie V’s restaurant. He has played with the Charlotte Symphony, Union Symphony, Noel Freidline & Maria Howell, Ben Vereen, and many others.
Madison Bush was born in Columbia, South Carolina, where she has resided all her life. After becoming fascinated by the soundtrack scores of some of her favorite movies, she began composing music at the age of ten and took up the violin shortly after. Since then, she has been an active participant in her school orchestras from middle school through college. In May 2022, she graduated as a Music Composition Major from Winthrop University and aspires to be a film composer in the near future.