2021 Winter Conference Clinicians

Kelsey Appleby has been singing and in choir since she could talk. She holds a Bachelors of Music Education from Shorter College in Rome, Georgia and a Masters in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. While at Shorter College, she worked as the conductor’s assistant and conducted the Shorter College Choir. Since the fall of 2014, Kelsey has been the Head Choir Director at Garcia Middle School in Fort Bend ISD. Under her direction, the choirs at Garcia Middle School have consistently received superior ratings from judges at UIL Concert and Sight Reading competition. Her choirs have also received superior ratings and Best in Class awards at area choral festivals. The Garcia Middle School Varsity Women’s Choir performed at SWACDA 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Kelsey is also currently the FBISD Middle School Choir Facilitator. She currently resides in Houston, TX with her husband, Tré, and her dog, Nibus.

Julie Boettiger serves as the Coordinator of Elementary Music for Fort Bend ISD, and as the Coordinator of the FBISD Kodály Institute. Mrs. Boettiger has helped the Fort Bend ISD programs grow through professional development opportunities and effective collaboration. She is committed to assisting the Fort Bend ISD Fine Arts Department by providing support and guidance to the elementary music educators. Julie is also respected and sought after to lead Professional Development sessions throughout our region and state.


Jesse Cannon II is in his tenth year of teaching choral music, currently serving as Director of Choral Activities at Duncanville High School. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Dallas Baptist University and is currently pursuing a Master of Music Education with an emphasis in choral conducting from Mississippi State University. He has studied with Dr. Stephen Holcomb, Dr. Gary Packwood, and Dr. Phillip Stockton.

He has served in numerous leadership roles and committees. He is currently serving as Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region 20 President and has served as the Southwest ACDA Repertoire & Resources Chair for High School Mixed Choirs.

Mr. Cannon is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.

Ruben Castanuela has been teaching for 8 years and he couldn’t be happier. Mr. Castanuela started at William Stribling Elementary in Burleson teaching K-5 music. He also served as Lead Teacher for the rotation department. He then went on to teach at Crowley MS and Summer Creek MS in Crowly ISD. For the past five years, Mr. Castanuela has been the head choir director at Fossil Hill MS and he says "they have been the best years of my teaching career". Ruben has also served as the Region 30 MS/JH Chair-Elect, Region MS/JH Chair, and MS/JH Technology Administrator. He is a member of TMEA, TCDA, and TMAA.

Andrea Cruz is in her fourteenth year of teaching and thirteenth year as head choral director at Caprock High School. She holds an Associate in Music from Amarillo College and a Bachelor of Music Education from West Texas A&M University. Before coming to Caprock, Mrs. Cruz taught choir at Bowie Middle School. During Mrs. Cruz’s time at Caprock, the Varsity Mixed Choir earned their first sweepstakes in school history for the choral program in 2013, followed by the first sweepstakes for the Varsity Tenor-Bass and Treble choirs in 2014.

Mrs. Cruz has been married to her husband, Ricardo, for seventeen years. Mr. Cruz teaches music at Humphrey’s Highland Elementary, teaches private guitar lessons, and plays for the local community theater. They have two beautiful girls, Ava and Santana, who recently became members of the Amarillo Youth Choirs this year. Music is what brought them together, and they continue to spread the love of music through their students and children.

Cynthia Douglas is the head choir director at Cypress Ranch High School in Cypress Fairbanks I.S.D, and is a sought after clinician and adjudicator throughout the state. She has also taught at A. P. Solis Middle School in Donna, Edinburg North High School in Edinburg, Spring Woods Middle School in Houston, and Cy-Fair High School, earning UIL sweepstakes and top festival honors at each school. Most notably, the Cypress Ranch Chamber Choir was the winner of the American Classic Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festival in 2013, and the first runner up in 2019. Before coming to choral conducting in Texas, Mrs. Douglas taught voice at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and at Millikin University in Illinois, where her students included the Broadway star Sierra Boggess. She has also performed with regional opera companies and orchestras throughout Texas and the Midwest, and made her New York debut in 2009, performing the soprano solos in Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and Mozart’s Requiem at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center with the Texas Master Chorale. Mrs. Douglas is also the Assistant Director of Music at the First Methodist Church of Houston, where she is blessed to make music every week with her husband Dr. Terry Morris, and son Robert Douglas.

Jennifer Gallagher is beginning her 13th year in education in Alvin ISD. She was previously the inaugural head choir director at Nolan Ryan Junior High, before opening Shadow Creek High School in 2016.

A 2008 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Houston, Jennifer was voted as the “Teacher of the Year” for her campus and was the Secondary “Teacher of the Year” for Alvin ISD in 2013-2014. Also in 2013, she received the “Young Director of Distinction” Award from the Texas Choral Directors Association and she served a term as the Vice President for the MS/JH division of TCDA. Jennifer was the TMEA Region XVII MS/JH vocal coordinator for several years, just finished a term as Region Vocal Chair, and was also honored as a state finalist for an HEB “Excellence in Education” award in 2014.

An active clinician and TMAA adjudicator, her varsity treble choir performed at the Bay Area Chorus Invitational in 2011, her varsity men performed at the "Hear the Future" Invitational with the Houston Chamber Choir in 2016, and Poseidon Chorale performed at the University of Houston High School Invitational in 2018.

Jennifer is the current TMEA Region XVII President and serves on the UIL PML committee. She resides with her husband John, daughter Lily Kai, and 2 Dachshunds in Pearland.​

 Jocelyn Hagen composes music that has been described as “simply magical” (Fanfare Magazine) and “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). She is a pioneer in the field of composition, pushing the expectations of musicians and audiences with large-scale multimedia works, electro-acoustic music, dance, opera, and publishing. Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, still very evident in her work. The majority of her compositions are for the voice: solo, chamber and choral. Her melodic music is rhythmically driven and texturally complex, rich in color and deeply heartfelt. In 2019 and 2020, choirs and orchestras across the country are premiering her multimedia symphony The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci that includes video projections created by a team of visual artists, highlighting da Vinci’s spectacular drawings, inventions, and texts. Hagen describes her process of composing for choir, orchestra and film simultaneously in a Tedx Talk given at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, now available on YouTube. Hagen’s commissions include Conspirare, the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the International Federation of Choral Music, the Boston Brass, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band, among many others.

Justine Halamicek Falch is the Head Choir Director at Killeen High School. Previously she has held positions at Muleshoe, Belton, and Robinson High Schools. In addition to choral conducting, she teaches AP music theory. She has held positions with children's choirs at St. John’s UMC Lubbock, First UMC Lubbock, and the Stillwater Children's Chorus in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Justine is active as a soloist, presenter, and clinician, serving as a clinician in the public schools in central and west Texas, as well as TMEA region concerts, and as a presenter at the TCDA summer conference.

Justine also maintains an active private voice studio. Her students from school as well as her private studio consistently earn placement in TMEA region choirs, TMEA/TCDA state choirs, divisional and national ACDA honor choirs, and earn superior ratings at Texas State Solo and Ensemble competition.

She holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and a Certificate in Early Music Performance Practice from Texas Tech University. Justine earned her Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Vocal Music Education from Oklahoma State University. Her professional affiliations include ACDA, TMEA, and TCDA.

Dr. Lynnel Joy Jenkins is the Choral Teacher at Timberlane Middle School of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District and Artistic Director of Westrick Music Academy in New Jersey. At Westrick Music Academy, Dr. Jenkins conducts advanced groups, Princeton Girlchoir Ensemble and Concert Choir. She is a choral music educator of international stature, having lectured and conducted in China, Hong Kong, Iceland, South Africa and Switzerland. She has conducted honor choruses for one national, four divisional and several state conferences for ACDA, two national conferences for the Organization for American Kodály Teachers, numerous all-state choruses and choral festivals, and presented interest sessions and reading sessions for these professional music associations. Jenkins was inducted into the Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame and presented the Alumni Merit Award by Westminster Choir College for her contributions to the field of music education. She earned degrees from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (B.M.), Temple University (M.M.) and University of Arizona (D.M.A.), and at the first two institutions was awarded the Elaine Brown Conducting Award.

Dr. Barbara Lamont is director of choral activities at Southeast Missouri State University where she directs all choral ensembles and teaches choral music education classes and conducting.  She has a passion for conducting, teaching, and exploring the choral art with young singers and has served as adjudicator, clinician, and honor choir conductor in Missouri, New York, and Ohio. 

Dr. Lamont is a summa cum laude graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, received her Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Michigan State University where she was a graduate assistant and accompanied extensively, and received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from Texas Tech University where she served as graduate assistant for the Women’s Chorale, Matador Singers, and University Choir, taught undergraduate choral conducting, and accompanied singers and choral ensembles.

Dr. Lamont is also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and feels strongly about the connection of body, mind, and spirit to all aspects of life, especially singing!


Dr. Eunice Marrero is currently the Head Choir Director at Wilson Middle School in Plano ISD. She has taught at the elementary, middle and college level in Puerto Rico, Maryland, Florida, and Texas for the past 24 years. Dr. Marrero has a B.A. in Music Education from Berklee College of Music, a M.A. in Music Education from Shenandoah Conservatory and a D.M.A. in Music Education from Boston University.



Dr. Nicholas McBride is Assistant Professor of Music Education at The College of New Jersey where he teaches courses in music education and conducts the TCNJ College Choir. Formerly, he served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Education at Westminster Choir College, where he continues to teach graduate courses in History and Philosophy of Music Education and advise Masters Theses. Dr. McBride has presented research at the NAfME, NCCO, SMTE and ACDA National Conferences. He is a contributing author to the texts Narratives and Reflections in Music Education, Teaching Music through Performance in Middle School Choir, Planning Instruction in Music, and has published scholarly articles in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Music Education Research, Visions of Research in Music Education, and the Music Educators Journal. His research focuses on teacher education and identity, LGBTQ issues in music education, and gender in the choral classroom. McBride is proud to have spent nearly a decade as a middle and high school choral director in the NJ Public Schools. He earned Doctoral and Masters degrees in Music Education from Teachers College–Columbia University, his dual Masters in both Choral Conducting and Music Education from Northwestern University, and a Bachelors in Music Education from Westminster Choir College.


Saleel Menon is a Graduate Choral Conducting Student at Michigan State University. Prior to his work there, he was a choir director at Ridge Point High School in Houston, where taught for 5 years. Specializing in non-traditional choral pedagogy, Menon co-authored an article published in the Music Education Journal on popular music in 2019, and presents at conferences on the topic. In 2020, Menon received the Texas Choral Director’s Association’s Young Director of Distinction. He is active as a clinician, composer, accompanist, and sings professionally with a number of choirs in the Houston area.


Kelly Moss, currently in her 13th year to teach, is grateful to be in her 8th year as director at Lake Highlands Junior High School. Before coming to LHJH, Kelly taught in Wylie for 5 years. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Sam Houston State University in 2008, singing under the direction of Dr. Allen Hightower.

Programs under her leadership have flourished with meaningful relationships and strong musicianship, resulting in many earned superior ratings at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest.  Kelly was honored to be named the STAR teacher nominee for Lake Highlands Junior High in the 2015-2016  and 2020-2021 school year. She is an active member in TMEA and TCDA.

Gerald Nicholas earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2014. Since then, Gerald has been the head director at Charles E. Patterson MS in Killeen, Texas.

Since teaching, Gerald has earned several honors and recognitions both as a director and as a singer. In 2017, Gerald won 1st place in the Texoma NATS Graduate Men Division and the following summer, placed 3rd at the 2018 NATS National Conference. This past February, his Varsity Tenor-Bass choir was invited to perform at TMEA’s centennial convention, the first choir from Killeen to be invited in 20 years. Gerald was also selected as the Charles E. Patterson MS Teacher of the Year and one of TCDA’s Young Directors of Distinction.

Gerald’s philosophy of teaching is that no matter who or where you are, you are capable of excellence and that we, as teachers must show our students that we believe in them. The limits of our students are whatever we set for them and ourselves, as educators.

Rob Rodgers is completing his 3rd year as the associate director at Odessa High School, and 10th year of teaching overall. Mr. Rodgers has held an award-winning career in music education, serving at Odessa High School, where in the Spring of 2019, he led the varsity men’s choir to the first Sweepstakes rating for that group in the history of the program, as well as at Bowie Middle School as both the assistant and then head director. Under his direction, Mr. Rodgers’ choirs consistently achieve “Superior” ratings at UIL Concert & Sight Reading Evaluation, as well as regularly bringing home “Superior” and “Best In Class” rankings at statewide festivals. At OHS, Mr. Rodgers directs the Varsity Men, Beginner Women, and Broncho Legacy. 

He completed his Bachelors of Music Education at Texas Tech University under the teaching of Richard Bjella, Dr. John Dickson, Dr. Carolyn Cruse, and Dr. John Hollins. Mr. Rodgers’ professional affiliations include TMEA, TCDA, and ACDA. He is proud to have served TMEA as the JH/MS Vocal Coordinator for the Region 6 West Zone for the past 6 years.  Additionally, he has served as music director for Lubbock Moonlight Musicals and made his conducting debut with the Permian Playhouse in their February 2020 production of Little Shop of Horrors.

Arianna M Sandoval graduated with her Bachelors in Music Performance from the University of Texas Pan American in 2007 and later earned her Masters Degree in Education from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2016. She has taught at both the HS and MS levels, 14 of which were in PSJA ISD in the Rio Grande Valley. Ariana has since then moved to the Houston area where she currently serves as the Head Choir Director at George Bush High School in Fort Bend ISD. Mrs. Sandoval is a life long learner who strives to make every day better than the day before. She is a firm believer in the importance of Music Education and will continue to strive to positively impact students’ lives through the gift of Music.

 Ginger Storey is currently in her 26th year of teaching choral music.  After graduating from Hardin-Simmons University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Music Education, she began her career as the assistant choir director at Harlingen HS under the tutelage Sheri Jaffurs before implementing the choir program at Memorial MS in Harlingen.  After finding success in Harlingen, Mrs. Storey moved back to her West Texas roots to teach in Ector County ISD.  She was the head choir director at Bowie MS for 15 years before moving to Permian HS as an associate director for 3 years. She is in her third year as the head director at Odessa HS. Under her direction, her choirs have consistently received sweepstakes ratings at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest, as well as Superior ratings and “Best in Class” awards at various festivals across the state.

Mrs. Storey maintains membership in TCDA, TMEA, TMAA, and Sigma Alpha Iota.  She has served as a section leader in the TMEA All-State Women’s Choir and as a TMEA Region Clinician. While at Permian HS, she helped prepare and direct Kantorei for their TMEA performance. 

In addition to teaching, Mrs. Storey enjoys running and cooking. She and her husband Alan are members of Crossroads Church where she is a pianist and vocalist on the Worship Arts Team.  They live happy lives in Odessa with their Chihuahua Dottie!

Timothy Takach
Inspired by narrative, magical realism, speculative fiction and making better humans through art, the music of Timothy C. Takach has become a mainstay in the concert world. Applauded for his melodic lines, text choices and rich, intriguing harmonies, his compositions are performed worldwide. He is a co-founder of Cantus, Graphite Publishing and Nation, and he is a co-creator of the theatrical production All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914. Takach has frequent work as a composer-in-residence, presenter, conductor, clinician and lecturer.