While I consider myself to be a performer first-and-foremost, my second calling is to fulfill the role as piano teacher. The opportunity to teach happened by chance, when it was first offered to me in 2003 through Musical Beginnings (Westchester, CA). I had 5 students then, and I thought it would be something I would do while gearing-up to advance my performing career. Twelve years later, and here I am attending to at least 40 students a month – all ranging from ages 7 to 82! Yes, you read that right! Learning to play the piano is a lifelong dream to some, and it’s never too late to find enjoyment in learning to play the piano. I love my role as a teacher, and my students never fail to teach something back to me. They have enriched my life beyond measure.
Every weekend, you can hear me play at the Church of Saint Mark (no kidding), located a mile away from Venice Beach, CA. I perform and accompany for 4 masses every Sunday, and every-other anticipated mass on Saturdays. I work with four stylistically-different choir groups; accompany for each weekend mass; and perform solo on the organ and piano for the early morning Sunday mass. It is a LOT of music – I believe I counted 162 charts over one Easter Holy Week. But, I do love to play praise music. It is indeed, another form of prayer. I am very blessed to be able to perform spiritual music on a weekly basis, and am thankful for my Saint Mark Community. I approach every piece of sacred music with a fresh perspective.
Prior to my tenure at Saint Mark’s, I played every Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church in Westminster, CA for 12 years. I made lifelong friends at the FPCW.
I have had the distinct honor to serve as a Music Mentor for the Windward Performing Arts Department at Windward School (West LA) since 2009. Currently, I also partake in one-on-one lessons for students whom are members of the The Windward Conservatory Music Ensemble – an elite, yearlong competitive after-school music program exclusively for Windward’s most dedicated musicians (middle school level).
Windward offers me the chance to work with spritely, highly talented young musicians who I believe will go on to become world-class artists. If they choose to do so, I am immensely grateful and humbled.
I took my first piano lesson when I was 7. My teacher’s name was Linda Lindemann, and I remember her vividly. She said I had a lot of promise, to my parents’ delight. In high school, I joined the Buffalo Grove High School marching band and played the piano, just kidding! I was section leader of the drum-line (senior year)!
I went on to earn my Bachelors of Music, Jazz Studies, at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in Dekalb, Il. After College, I joined the U.S. Glenn Miller Orchestra Touring Group for three years and went on to perform in 49 states, 534 cities for a total of 712 performances of ‘In-the-Mood’, and other venerable favorites. I also had the chance to play in Japan, Canada, Portugal, Brazil, and Hawaii. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.
In 2001, I decided to take up my Masters in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. I graduated in 2003 and was ready for the world stage!
More Recently, I toured with a new West-Coast branch of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and participated on tours in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. Talk about racking-up some frequent-flier miles!
Jazz Musician (BEJO, Mark Balling Trio/Quartet, Solo Artist)
– Typhoon(at Santa Monica Airport) gigs
– Windward fundraising
– Saint Mark School fundraising events
– Rod Stewart 70th Birthday Party
– Glenn Miller Orchestra
– CBS Private Party for Les Moonves
Recordings as a Sideman
– AP BIO
– The Real O’Neals
– Tony The Hat
– The Playboy Club
– A Letter to New Zealand
– A Love Note by Wendy Smith-Brune
– Invitation – The Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra
– I Know that Voice