Ciara Alexander recently joined the Soundscapes team as the Level 1 Teaching Artist for the 2016-2017 school year. She has had the pleasure of working with the Crispus Attucks Theater; teaching guitar and voice and currently orchestrates the repertoire for Favor Nation Church. Ciara received her Bachelors of Music from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Westley Benson is a native of Virginia Beach, VA. In 2004, he graduated with a B.M. in percussion performance from the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently the Music Director at Global Outreach Church and teaches music lessons to school-age and preschool children in Virginia Beach.
High Strings Instructor
Todd Beyer has been playing the violin since he was six years old. He is currently teaching the first and second year violin students for Soundscapes. He also gives private violin lessons and performs in the first violin section of the Northern Neck Orchestra. Todd holds a B.S. in Music from Indiana University and a M.S. in Acoustics from Pennsylvania State University. He has taught at Centerstage Academy (2002-2004), performed regionally with the Williamsburg Symphonia (2002-2004), and was concertmaster of the York River Orchestra (1986-1991). He enjoys singing tenor with his church choir and also plays in the handbell choir. Todd has been married almost 25 years and has three children.
Sara Maria Blanton
High Strings Instructor
Steven studied at Christopher Newport University, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with Latin honors. During his graduate studies, he served as assistant conductor to the University Orchestra and OperaCNU.
Since then, he has attended conducting workshops at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and the Peabody Conservatory of The John Hopkins University, studying with famed conductors Mark Gibson, Gustav Meier, and Markand Thakar. In 2010, he conducted the world premiere of David and Glass, an original opera in three acts by composer Chris Lamb.
Steven has conducted Capitol Opera Richmond in performances including Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic H.M.S. Pinafore, Mozart’s Der Shauspieldirektor, The Stoned Guest by P.D.Q. Bach, and Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land.
As a cellist, Steven performs with the Richmond Cello Orchestra, and Classical Revolution RVA, a collection of musicians that integrates classical music into Richmond’s vibrant music scene by performing in local bars, restaurants, cafes, and galleries.
He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda, Alpha Chi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Originally from Shelby, North Carolina, Dandrick Glenn is a versatile trombonist, known for his warm and pure sound. He credits his mother's singing in the church choir as his first and greatest musical influence. Dandrick has enjoyed a diverse career as a performer and educator for 20 years. He has performed with the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, and served for 15 years in the Air Force as a military musician. He continues to serve as a musician with the 553 Air National Guard Band of the Northeast. Dandrick's performance credits include Clark Terry, Celine Dion, Johnny Mathis, Ce Ce Winans, Randy Brecker, Ernie Watts, Rene' Marie, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other artists. He has also performed for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and for numerous foreign and American dignitaries.
Low Strings Instructor
Erin Hines is a professional cellist and teacher in the Hampton Roads area. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Alabama and is a former member of the Virginia Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, and South Carolina Philharmonic. In addition to being the cello instructor at Soundscapes, she teaches at Liberty Academy of the Arts in Hampton, the Worship Arts Academy of Bethel Baptist Church in York County, and has her own private teaching studio. Erin and her mother, Susan, are co-directors of the Tidewater Cello Ensemble, an advanced student ensemble which performs throughout the area. She is also a member of the Jamestown String Quartet and the newly-formed Hampton Roads Philharmonic.
Choir Director, Wind Band Director & Percussion Instructor
Formally educated in flute, piano, percussion, and vocal performance, Mr. Smith has won several regional and national competitions on each of his primary instruments, and has had the privilege of studying with and participating in masterclasses led by some of the the top artists in the world.
Anthony currently serves as Bass Soloist and Section Leader at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA. Anthony has also sung (and played percussion) with the Virginia Chorale, a Norfolk, VA based professional choral ensemble led by Chuck Woodward.
Mr. Smith has worked as musician for several professional theater and opera companies nationwide. Anthony has enjoyed a long collaboration with Virginia Repertory Theatre, where his credits include The Color Purple, Always Patsy Cline, The Producers, The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, and several others! Outside of VaRep, his most recent regional and educational credits include Peter and the Starcatcher [Virginia Stage Company], Hedwig and the Angry Inch, [TheatreLab RVA], Carrie - [5th Wall Theatre], Trojan Women: A Love Story, Spring Awakening [University of Richmond], Threepenny Opera, and Avenue Q [College of William and Mary].
Mr. Smith is a strong believer in the importance of music education, and maintains an active private studio comprised of flute, percussion, piano, and voice students.In addition to his work at the University of Richmond and the College of William and Mary, Anthony recently joined the faculty of SoundScapes, an El-Sistema based music education program based in Virginia.
Catina Horton Billups is the Behavioral Specialist for Soundscapes and has served in this capacity for over five years. She is currently a Collaborative First Grade Teacher at Carver Elementary School where she has been educating young minds for 22 years. Catina received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education and Sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She was a part of the clinical faculty at Christopher Newport University for Student Teacher Interns for six years and has completed post graduate work in Adolescent Literacy from the University of Virginia. Catina also received a certification in Child Development from Thomas Nelson Community College.
Carver Program Counselor
Transportation Liaison (Carver)
William Peck has been the Physical Education Teacher and Bus Coordinator at Carver Elementary school and Soundscapes since 2003. He became National Board Certified in 2010. Previous positions include 20 years in the United States Navy where he qualified as a Master Training Specialist, and as a Martial Arts instructor. He holds Black Belts in both Hap Ki Do and Tae kwon Do where he has taught children, teens, and adults. Mr. Peck graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2002.