Angela McCuiston is a NASM-CPT, CES and owner of Music Strong, a business that specializes in personal training for musicians. Winner of the 2007 NFA Piccolo Masterclass, Angela received her Master of Music in Flute Performance from Florida State University and her Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Tennessee Technological University. An avid performer, Angela is Assistant Principal/Piccolo of Sinfonia Gulf Coast of Destin, a member of the 129th Army Band in Nashville, TN and just completed her final season as Principal Flute/Piccolo with the Panama City Pops Orchestra in Panama City, Florida by performing the Otar Gordelli Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. In addition to her solo perfrormances, she has performed with such celebrities as Pink Martini, Katherine Jolley, Nancy Griffith and Caroline Goulding.
Connie Cathey is an avid supporter of the Columbia Band Program. As graduate of Central, she received a clarinet scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University where she received her Bachelor of Music Degree. She has also earned her M.Ed (Master of Education) degree from MTSU and her Ed.S. (Education Specialist) from Tennessee State University. She taught at Whitthorne for five years and Central for twenty-three years.
Her tenure in Columbia produced award-winning marching and concert programs. The band won Grand Champions, Tennessee State Marching Champions, and qualified for finals nineteen consecutive years at the prestigious Contest of Champions. The Band competed nationally at Bands of America. The band received the Tennessee Bandmasters Sweepstakes Award numerous times after receiving Superior Awards in Concert, Sight reading and Marching. Columbia had the distinction of having three concert bands; the Wind Symphony, the Symphonic Band, and the Freshman Concert Band all qualifying and appearing at State Concert Festival. The band traveled extensively and performed in many national venues including Washington, D.C., Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Honolulu, Atlanta, Pensacola, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Mrs. Cathey is an adjudicator for both concert festivals and marching contests in the southeast.
Rick Mraz is a freelance musician and woodwind specialist teaching and performing throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee. As an educator, he is on faculty at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro Music & Arts Center and also maintains a private studio in the Murfreesboro area.
Rick holds a BA in Music Performance and Music Education from UMASS Amherst, where he studied with Christopher Krueger. While at Umass, In 2009, Rick moved to Middle Tennessee to attend MTSU, on full scholarship. During this time, Rick served as graduate teaching assistant to Don Aliquo in the Jazz Studies Department.. In 2011, he graduated with his MA in Jazz Studies and Saxophone Performance.
Since moving to Middle Tennessee, Rick has performed with a number of ensembles including the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Duffy Jackson Big Band, Glenn Miller Orchestra, MTSU Faculty Saxophone Quartet as well as performing for various local theater productions.
Kyle Hayes is a professional French horn player in the Nashville area, working as a recording
studio musician, playing in pit orchestras for musical theatre productions, and performing with
symphony orchestras. As a regular member of the Nashville Composer Collective, he has given
world premier performances by local composers. He has played Principal Horn with the Zürich
Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland and the Murfreesboro Symphony. An active chamber
musician, he has given recitals in Memphis, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Switzerland, and Italy. In
2011 he earned his Bachelor Diploma in Music from the University of Memphis and Master of
Music Performance Diploma in 2013 from the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano,
His students can be seen in the Tennessee All-State, Mid-State, and All-West Bands and
Orchestras, and the Ethos Youth Ensembles. They have attended summer music festivals and
camps, the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, and marched with Drum Corps
International. Additionally, his students have received superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble
Festivals and have been awarded scholarships to university music programs around the
Desmond Ng is a graduate of California State University Northridge where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. While in college, Desmondstudied with Bob McChesney and was a member of the university’s top ensembles, including the internationally ranked Jazz “A” Band which performed in the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. After completing his undergraduate studies, Desmondtoured around many different countries on the Norwegian Pearl as a member of the show band orchestra. Soon after finishing his contract, Desmondmoved to Nashville where he quickly established himself as a reputable trombonist, performing with such groups as the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Fisk Jubilee Singers, and even Craig Wayne Boyd during the 2017 CMA Fest. Desmond is also very comfortable playing in a variety of styles which has allowed him to work as a studio musician recording for various local artists.
Both an established performer and experienced teacher, Desmond has taught private lessons and group masterclasses since his days in high school. During his senior year of high school, Desmond solely organized, hosted, and managed an all day educational event aptly titled “Low Brass Blast.” During this event, students received masterclasses and had the opportunity to perform with legendary musicians Sam Pilafian, David Vining, Ryan Haines, and Patrick Stuckemeyer.