Promoting Music in the San Jacinto Community

San Jacinto Valley Academy

Music Staff Directory

About Us.

The San Jacinto Valley Academy Music Faculty and Staff is a group of over fifteen professional musicians and educators who implement and facilitate a diverse and engaging music program for San Jacinto Valley Academy students. We strive to provide our students with a enriching experience that will cultivate lifelong learning in the fields of music performance, music education, music composition, and music technology. With the support of a passionate administration and board of directors we are able to provide free music education to all San Jacinto Valley Academy students in a K-12 tuition free public charter setting.

 

Get in touch

For inquiries about the San Jacinto Valley Academy Music Program please fill out our contact form at the link below.

Contact ▸

 
 

Music Faculty

 
 

 
 

Leadership

 
 
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Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, ChOIR DIRECTOR, ELEMENTARY MUSIC TEACHER

Kira Wegner

Growing up in a musically talented family, Mrs. Wegner’s passion for music started at a very young age. She began teaching private voice and piano lessons at age sixteen and her love for teaching only continued to blossom. She is a vocalist and pianist, and has a background in an array of different styles of music including broadway, jazz, classical/opera, pop, country, and more. She believes that it’s important to give a child/student the best musical education that they can receive, and it is her personal mission to do so. Mrs. Wegner strives to create a warm, inviting, and comfortable environment for her students and thinks it’s important to build a strong friendly relationship with them.

Contact

kwegner@sjacademy.org

Education

CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY
M.S., General Education

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
California Single-Subject Teaching Credential: Music

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.A., Music

 

 
 
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Dean of Music, AUDIO ENGINEER, DIGITAL MUSIC TEACHER

Cheyne Forgerson

Cheyne Forgerson is a professional guitarist, composer, and educator based in Southern California. He earned both his Bachelors degree in Jazz Guitar Performance (’13) and his Masters Degree in Music Composition (’16) from the University of Redlands. Mr. Forgerson was the recipient of two Project Accessible Hollywood Festival awards: PAH Fest Alma Mater 2013 – Best Tone Poem and PAH Fest California 2013 – Best Mobiflick; Best Original Score. As an educator, Mr. Forgerson is continuously seeking higher knowledge and developing himself as both a musician and an academic. As an artist, he regularly performs as a jazz guitarist in the Inland Empire and composes for local musicians. Mr. Forgerson is the Dean of Music at San Jacinto Valley Academy, where he oversees, develops, and helps to facilitate a diverse and enriching music program.

 

Contact

Education

cforgerson@sjacademy.org

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.A., Learning and Teaching,
California Single-Subject Teaching Credential: Music,
2018 Candidate

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.M., Music Composition, 2016

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2013

 

 
 

Band Department

 
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Band director

Timmothy Newkirk

Timothy Newkirk has been playing music since the age of five, which has been instrumental in helping him develop an avid interest in playing and teaching music. Over a thirty-five year span, he has been exposed to many musical opportunities such as working as a bassist on a cruise ship as well as involvement in numerous jazz ensembles.  Additionally, he has served as a private music instructor for the past twenty years.  He obtained his degree in Music Education from Cal State Los Angeles and his teaching credential from Cal State San Bernardino.  Mr. Newkirk believes that music is a celebration of life and wants to share this celebration with as many individuals as possible.  He plans on working hard to cultivate the instrumental music program at SJVA through his vision to have many different ensembles for students to play in such as jazz groups, mariachi bands, and small chamber ensembles, to name a few. 

 

Education

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY
SAN BERNARDINO

California Single-Subject Teaching Credential: Music

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY
LOS ANGELES

B.A., Music Education

Contact

tnewkirk@sjacademy.org

 

 

Choir & Elementary Music Department

 
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Musical Theater director, CHoir Teacher, elementary music teacher

Zoe Petersen

Growing up in a musically talented family, Mrs. Wegner’s passion for music started at a very young age. She began teaching private voice and piano lessons at age sixteen and her love for teaching only continued to blossom. She is a vocalist and pianist, and has a background in an array of different styles of music including broadway, jazz, classical/opera, pop, country, and more. She believes that it’s important to give a child/student the best musical education that they can receive, and it is her personal mission to do so. Mrs. Wegner strives to create a warm, inviting, and comfortable environment for her students and thinks it’s important to build a strong friendly relationship with them.

Contact

Education

ZPETERSEN@SJACADEMY.ORG

CALIFORNIA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY
M.S., General Education

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
California Single-Subject Teaching Credential: Music

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.A., Music

 
 

 
 
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elementary music teacher, Strings teacher

Jeremy Boersma

Jeremy Boersma graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BM in Theory and Composition then moved to Los Angeles to pursue commercial music. While there he became a founding member of the Traction Avenue Chamber Ensemble as principal cellist and worked freelance, gigging with various bands in the L.A. metropolitan area and teaching private cello lessons. In 2014 he went on to receive his MM in cello performance from the University of Redlands where he performed with the Redlands University Orchestra, Redlands Symphony Orchestra and Redlands Community Orchestra, with whom he continues to perform. In June of 2017 he received his Master of Arts in Teaching from the Longy School of Music, becoming a credentialed music teacher. Mr. Boersma is very pleased to join the team at San Jacinto Valley Academy!

Contact

Education

JBOERSMA@sjacademy.org

LOS ANGELES
M.Ed., Music Education, California Single-Subject Teaching Credential: Music

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.M., Music Performance: Cello

UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO
B.A., Music Composition

 
 

Strings Department

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Strings teacher, Symphonic Orchestra Director

Alireza Tousi

Contact

Education

ATOUSI@sjacademy.org

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.M., Music Performance: Viola


 
 

Guitar Department

 
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GUITAR TEACHER, Elementary music Teacher, Choir Teacher

Samuel McLain

Samuel McLain is a professional guitarist and educator. His early guitar teachers include Bruce Hunter and Mike Sawitzke. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Redlands where he studied under the tutelage of Stuart Green. In addition to being an active performer, Samuel maintains a thriving private studio and serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Redlands. He is profoundly committed to providing his students with a solid musical foundation and helping them develop a lifelong love for the arts.

Education

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.A., Learning and Teaching,
California Single-Subject Teaching Credential: Music, 2018 Candidate

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2015

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2013

Contact

smclain@sjacademy.org

 
 

 
 
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GUITAR TEACHER

Sean Bliss

Sean Bliss is a classical guitarist in his senior year at California State University – San Bernardino. His focus of musical study is on the baroque period (c. 1600 -1750). He has played in a variety of groups, currently playing in the CSU-San Bernardino Classical Guitar Ensemble and the University of Redlands Classical Guitar Ensemble. His solo performances include those for museum and art gallery receptions, award ceremonies, and banquets. He will continue his academic work next school year in the Masters of Music (M.M.) program at the University of Redlands.

Contact

Education

SBLISS@SJACADEMY.ORG

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2018 Candidate

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY
SAN BERNARDINO

B.A., Music Performance: Guitar, 2016

 
 

 
 
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GUITAR TEACHER

Kenneth Cotich

Kenneth Cotich is a Preparatory Guitar Music Instructor at San Jacinto Valley Academy. He is a musician and guitarist who truly believes music is universal and everyone has the ability to excel in the art form. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania before moving to California in 2012. He proceeded to study classical guitar at the University of Redlands from ’12-’14 where he received his Masters in Music. Upon completion of his Masters, Kenneth decided to pursue music research, analysis, and pedagogy. He is currently enrolled at Claremont Graduate University where he is in pursuit of his Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology. Topics of particular interest to him are French Baroque Opera, electronic music performance practice, and writing method books for guitar and ukulele. He is an inducted member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the American Musicological Society. Besides being a performing musician, private lesson instructor, and music researcher, Kenneth also enjoys drinking coffee, playing ice hockey, and trips to Disneyland.   

Contact

Education

KCOTICH@SJACADEMY.COM

CLAREMONT GRADUATE UNIVERSITY
Ph.D., Musicology, ABD

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2014

MILLERSVILLE UNIVSERSITY
B.A., Music Performance: Guitar, 2012

 
 

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Guitar Teacher

Luis Martinez

Luis Martínez is a classical guitarist who recently obtained a Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Redlands and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Music in Classical Guitar Performance at the University of Redlands. He has studied under the direction of Stuart Green and Jody Fisher at The University of Redlands. He has performed with different musicians and with the Chapel Singers from the University of Redlands. Currently, he performs with the University of Redlands Classical Guitar Ensemble. In addition to being an active performer, Luis is a passionate musician who works on sound recording and collaborates with different musicians.

Contact

lmartinez@sjacademy.org

Education

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
M.M., Music Performance: Guitar, Master’s Candidate

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2018


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Guitar Teacher

Kyle Ortega

Kyle Ortega has been playing guitar since the age of nine and discovered his love for classical guitar in high school. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Performance degree at the University of Redlands under Stuart Green. During his time here, Mr. Ortega has been a member of the University of Redlands Classical Guitar Ensemble as well. In his free time, he also enjoys composing for the electric guitar along with exploring sound recording. Mr. Ortega is currently teaching Classical Guitar at San Jacinto Valley Academy, striving to provide each student with the greatest musical experience possible.

Contact

kortega@sjacademy.org

Education

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.M., Music Performance: Guitar, 2019 Candidate


 
 

Piano Department

 
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PIANO TEACHER, ACCOMPANIST

Sophia Ohanian

Sophia Ohanian is currently SJVA’s accompanist and after school piano instructor.  Originally from Los Angeles, Ms. Ohanian began her piano studies at the age of six.  She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Redlands.  During her collegiate studies, Ms. Ohanian was a winner of the university’s two most prestigious music competitions, allowing her to perform for the president of the university as well as with the Redlands Symphony Orchestra.  She is a recipient of the Presser Foundation Scholarship.  Passionate about all aspects of music, Ms. Ohanian studies organ and choral music.  In conjunction with her work at SJVA, Ms. Ohanian also serves as the accompanist for two high school choral programs in the Redlands Unified School District along with maintaining a private piano studio.  She is grateful for her opportunities to perform, collaborate, and educate students of all ages.

Contact

Education

sOHANIAN@SJACADEMY.ORG

UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS
B.M., Music Performance: Piano, 2014

 
 

 
 
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PIANO TEACHER, Music Composition Consultant

Andre Myers

Andre Myers (b.1973) is an artist and instructor of piano, composition and theory based in California's Inland Empire. He serves on the faculty at the Academy of Universal Arts & Music in Yucaipa. Intense and lyrical, his music mixes narrative drama, poetry, and meditations on color to create work that aspires to moments of honesty, poignancy, and depth. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Andre has three times been commissioned by the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served as composer-in-residence for the Philharmonic’s CLASSical music outreach program. His second commission from the Philharmonic, a musical adaptation of Holling C. Holling’s picture book Paddle to the Sea, has been performed regularly since 2005 as a part of the orchestra’s “Koncert for Kids” series, and the composer has narrated the work for tens of thousands of school children.      
    Andre received his B.Mus. in composition from the Eastman School of Music, and his M.Mus. and A.Mus.D. in composition from the University of Michigan. His principal teachers in composition were William Banfield, Warren Benson, Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner, David Liptak, Robert Morris, Bright Sheng, William Bolcom, Evan Chambers and Erik Santos. He has served on the faculty at Occidental College, University of Redlands, and Renaissance Arts Academy in Los Angeles. Andre currently lives in Redlands, California with his wife Andrea, their dogs Charlotte & Walter, and their cat, Jean-Paul.

Education

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition, 2005

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Master of Music in Composition, 2000

EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Bachelor of Music in Composition, 1996

Contact

amyers@sjacademy.org

 
 

 
 
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Percussion Teacher, Music Consultant

Alana Joos

Alana Joos is a free-lance percussionist in Southern California and is the Principal Percussionist with the Temecula Valley Symphony in Temecula and the Southland Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, CA.  She has also performed professionally with Riverside Lyric Opera, Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra and many other Southern California symphonies. Alana also plays percussion for numerous musical theater productions and is an avid music educator who loves teaching private music lessons to percussion, drum set, piano, and trumpet students.

Alana is the Managing and Artistic Director of the Temecula Valley Symphony and served ten years as President of theBoard. She also manages the Temecula Valley Youth Symphony and its educational programs. 

Some of her most recent and notable performances include a two-month tour of China where she was the Music Director and Drummer for “Caution, Men at Work, TAP.”  The troupe of 4 musicians and 7 tap dancers performed in large theatres in fifteen major cities throughout China.  She has played percussion in concert for celebrities such as Jackie Evancho, Regis Philbin, Jerry Lewis, Clay Aiken and Don Rickles. She can also be seen on a music video with Marco Antonio Solis, Latin Grammy Award Winner, playing drums on “A DóndeVamos a Parar?” Other appearances include concerts with Buddy Greco, Donna Theodore, and Jerry VanDyke, among numerous others.

Alana has a B.S. Degree in Music, graduating Cum Laude, from Minnesota State University in Moorhead and studied for her Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from California State University in Northridge, California. Alana also served as the Graduate Assistant of Percussion at C.S.U.N and is a past President of the California Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. She specializes in all orchestral percussion instruments, mallets and drum set.

She played the part of a drummer in the movies “Unfaithfully Yours,” “The Sting II,” “Going Berserk” and had a role as herself in “Nothing So Strange.” She also played percussion on Milton Berle’s production “Magic of the Stars,” for HBO.

In addition to her extensive career as a drummer and percussionist, Alana is a music contractor who books musicians, orchestras and bands for various productions, shows, and concerts. She is the founder of several entertainment companies that specialize in providing entertainment services for private and corporate events.

Contact

ajoos@sjacademy.org

Education

MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY MOORHEAD

B.S. in Music, graduating Cum Laude

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY NORTHRIDGE
Studied for her M.M. in Music Performance: Percussion

Graduate Assistant in Percussion

Conducted the Lab Percussion Ensemble