Ryan Gonzales has been teaching young musicians for the last six years. He holds a music degree from Oklahoma Christian University with a theatre performance minor. He began actively performing in college, and has since been involved with multiple choirs, theatre, and opera companies in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, and Fort Smith.
Ryan began teaching private lessons in Frisco, TX in 2013, and has been teaching ever since. After starting in Frisco, he also taught in Katy, TX; Oklahoma City, OK; and most recently at Fort Smith’s own Northside High School. His students have gone on to get degrees in music, journalism, and more. He has been privileged to direct children’s companies in various productions, including Into the Woods, Jr. and High School Musical, Jr.
When not teaching or singing in shows, Ryan accompanies local productions, choirs, and contests for students in the area. He also enjoys composing orchestral and choral works in his free time, as well as serving the Fort Smith area as a portrait and event photographer. He lives with his talented singer/cellist wife, crazy dog, and cuddly kitten.
Brent Gunnels has been performing in church and school choirs since he was 5 years old in his hometown of Springdale, Arkansas. He has been a member of
All-Region and All-State choirs and has performed with choirs across the United States and the world.
Brent holds a B.M. in Vocal Music Education and an M.M. in Music Education from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. During his time at UCA, Brent was a member of the UCA Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and his church Collegiate Choir. He was also a regular performer with the Conway Dinner Theatre. Brent was the Music Education Graduate Assistant while completing his Master’s degree. In this role, he directed the Male Chorus of the University Chorus, assisted with the undergraduate Choral Methods class, and worked with the Central Arkansas Children’s Choir.
After graduate school, Brent completed an internship with the Smithsonian Associates in Washington DC where he worked to produce family events and programs in the museums and cultural events for foreign embassies. Over the last three years, Brent has worked to build art and theatre education programs that stretch across the Arkansas River Valley. Brent is also the music leader for the First Presbyterian Church in Van Buren.
He lives in Van Buren, Arkansas with his wife Brittany and their children Marc, Bella, Gwen, and Aria.
Sheila McKinney Mann has been in music education for over thirty-five years. A native of North Carolina, she earned the Bachelor of Music in vocal music education from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. Her love of sacred music led her to attain the Master of Church Music in vocal pedagogy from Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Her first school position was as adjunct vocal instructor at Gardner-Webb College in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where she taught private voice, music appreciation, and music education for elementary teachers. Following that, she was music and choir teacher at Whitefield Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. She served as the Greenwood High School choir director for 27 years before retiring in 2012. Mrs. Mann was the music director for many musicals during her tenure at GHS, including The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, Annie Get Your Gun, Footloose, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, Aladdin Jr., and Annie Jr. She most recently served as the music teacher at St. Boniface Catholic School, directing two musicals each year in addition to her other duties.
Mrs. Mann has served as Director of Music in several churches including Fallston Baptist Church in North Carolina, Fern Creek Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and Greenwood United Methodist Church in Greenwood, Arkansas. Currently she is the Director of Music at Central Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith, where she has served since 1988. Her responsibilities include the direction of the Chancel Choir and Chancel Handbells.
Sheila has been with the Community School of the Arts since the beginning, and at the UAFS Academy of the Arts since 2012, teaching private voice and children’s choirs, as well as serving as music director for musical theatre productions. She met her husband, George, while they were both in graduate school in Louisville & they have been married since 1979.
Melissa Ree holds a Bachelor of Vocal Music Education degree from Arkansas Tech University, and an English as a Second Language license endorsement from Henderson State University. While at ATU, she was selected to perform as a member of the Southwest American Choral Directors Collegiate Honor Choir.
Ree has been a music educator in her home state of Arkansas for the past 10 years teaching elementary music, choir, and ukulele. Her choirs have consistently received Superior Division I ratings in Choral Performance and Sight Reading. During her time with the Greenwood School District, Melissa served as a committee member on the Fine Arts Council of Educators and started the class ukulele program. Ree strives to ignite the passion of music within all of her students.