Director of Strings, Master Instructor
Wendy Dane began performing violin & guitar at the early age of 12 in a variety band with her two brothers. Graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Music, she continued her education obtaining Kindergarten through Grade 12 Instrumental Music Certification. Wendy has completed Suzuki Association of the Americas registered teacher training for Violin Books 1-8. She has been referred to as a ‘Master Teacher’ by one of the East Coast’s leading advocates for childhood education. Wendy has initiated string programs in public and private schools, has taught students from preschool through college levels, and is in high demand as a guest clinician at various string workshops.
As a freelance musician, Wendy performs numerous musical styles including classical, jazz, bluegrass and Celtic. Ms. Dane won her division of the Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Contest in 2000 and 2007. She maintains an active playing schedule.
Moving from Wisconsin, Wendy and her husband Peter are excited to be living and working in Arkansas along with their three big dogs: D’Artagnon, Brownie-Red and Jeep-Wrangler.
Junior Instructor (Cello)
Alli has studied cello and classically trained since she was very young. She was the Principal Cellist at All Region while at Southside High School. Alli is best known for her professional career as a touring artist in a rock band. She is a founding member of the band called The Violet Hour or TVH which has gained her international recognition for her songs and music videos. Prior to forming TVH, Alli performed with Untold Story, a Christian Rock band that toured Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Alli sings vocals and plays both acoustic cello and electric cello in TVH. The band has released five studio albums and numerous singles and is endorsed by several companies including Raze Energy and Dovetail Strings. They have shared the stage with iconic artists including Mark Mendoza and members of Thin Lizzy, Saving Abel, and others. The band is a family friendly rock group and has a platform which brings awareness to the seriousness of such areas as domestic violence and child abuse. Their video Toxicutie which brings to light the devastation that comes with domestic violence, won First Place in the International Film Festival in Tagore.
Alli teaches cello to students of all ages and levels as well as beginning piano and guitar. She loves working with young people. She also coaches and serves as a mentor to bands and musicians in their performance, stage-presence, and songwriting. Alli holds a Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology.
Junior Instructor (Violin, Viola, Fiddle)
Cory Winters began his musical studies as a violin student with the public school orchestra program in his hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He went on to attend the University of Central Arkansas, where he studied violin, viola, and composition. His composition teacher at UCA was Dr. Paul Dickinson.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Music in 2010, Mr. Winters continued his education at Belmont University. He studied composition with Dr. William Pursell and Dr. Mark Volker, earning an Master of Music in 2012. Cory’s musical influences include Irish and American folk music, shape-note singing, blues, country, and a variety of art music.
He currently resides in Van Buren, Arkansas, and teaches violin, viola, and composition lessons at the Community School of the Arts Fort Smith. In addition to his musical interests, Mr. Winters is an avid reader and enjoys studying history, musicology, and astronomy.
Junior Instructor (Bass, Cello)
Sean Lewis' musical career began in his hometown’s school Orchestra program as a cellist before switching to Double Bass. As Seam got older and more experienced, he sought out dozens of ensembles and playing opportunities.
After graduating from high school in Kansas City, Sean began studying with Barron Weir at Harding University. At Harding, he found himself trying to play with every ensemble and Orchestra possible before graduating as Distinguished Music Major of the Year for his work in Music Education.
Now, Sean is the Orchestra teacher at Ramsey Junior High in Fort Smith. When he is not teaching or playing, he is usually with his amazing wife Julie and their troublemaker cat.
Junior Instructor (Bass)
Ben Baker is a bassist originally from Waterloo Iowa, who began his music studies in the Cedar Falls public educational system. During his high school career, he was a member of the schools Jazz One Ensemble, Wind ensemble, principal Bassist in their Symphonic Orchestra, and was twice selected for the Iowa All-State Orchestra. After high school, Ben went on to pursue a bachelor's degree in music at the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith. While continuing his studies there he has begun a notable local career as a bassist. As a member of a number of varying ensembles Ben’s performance career ranges from classical, to jazz and fusion, to musical theater, performing with groups such as the Don Bailey Trio, the Arkansas Philharmonic orchestra, and with companies such as the Young Actors Guild, The Arkansas Public Theater, and Theatresquared.
Now Ben has made his home in Mansfield Arkansas, traveling frequently to Fort Smith where he is continuing his studies as an undergrad student, and the Northwest Arkansas area to perform.