Dr. Darryl Harris – Bassoon / Oboe
Dr. Darryl E. Harris, Sr., a native of Greenville, Mississippi is the Assistant Conductor and Cover Conductor/ Beginning Strings Instructor of the Etowah Youth Orchestras. In addition, Dr. Harris is the music director and conductor of the Jacksonville State University Community Orchestra and serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Walters Department of Music. He was previously music director and conductor of the Chagrin Valley (Ohio) Chamber Orchestra and the Cleveland Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. He has been Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra and the Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and has been guest conductor of the Mobile Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Nassau (Long Island) Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago Chamber Orchestra, the Tacoma (WA) Community Orchestra and the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. Dr. Harris served as music director and conductor of the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre’s 2006 production of Godspell, and taught instrumental strings in the Hattiesburg (MS) Public School District for several years.
As a professional bassoonist, he has played with the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York City Opera Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kokomo (IN) Symphony Orchestra, the Tacoma (WA) Symphony Orchestra and the Greenville (MS) Symphony Orchestra which he joined in the 1968-1969 season.
Dr. Harris has a Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Music in orchestral conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Bachelor of Science in Music Education magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University where he was also inducted into The Golden Key National Honor Society as well as degrees from Western Illinois University, State University of New York at Empire State College and the Moody Bible Institute.
Dr. Harris served in the United States Air Force in the music and meteorological programs and is ‘proudly’ retired.
Diane Chong – Violin
She majored in performance violin and minored in performance piano at Sook Myung Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. She also completed graduate courses at Jacksonville State University.
From 1996-1999 she was first violinist for both the Seoul Symphony Orchestra and the Christian Broadcast Orchestra. Since 2010 she has been the first violinist for both the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra and the JSU Community Orchestra.
She was awarded “Strings Teacher of the Year’ in 2010 by the Alabama Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
Terry Williams – Guitar
Terry lives in Rainbow City with his wife Eileen and their two sons Devin and Dylan. He decided early in life that music would be his vocation. He has played with several popular local groups such as Smokin’, Forever, and Wild Horses. Terry has two degrees from Gadsden State Community College, an associate degree in music plus an applied degree in clinical science. He also holds bachelors and masters degrees from UAB in clinical science.
Terry has twenty years of teaching experience. He enjoys classical, rock, country, funk and jazz and teaches all types of guitar. He has appeared with the Etowah Youth Orchestras and the Jacksonville Community Symphony. He currently plays lead guitar for the popular duo “Rick and Tad” and has completed his first concerto for guitar. The first movement of the guitar concerto has been orchestrated by Mike Gagliardo and performed by EYO.
Susan Di Biase – Cello
Susan Di Biase began her cello studies at the age of six with Dorothy Glyde of Auburn. She has played the cello in the University of Alabama Youth Orchestra, University of Tennessee Symphony, Atlanta Philharmonic and Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra. In 1995 she became a founding member of the JSU Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Di Biase is a member of the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra and performs frequently with local chamber music groups.
Ms. Di Biase believes that the study of music is an integral part of a well-rounded education. An experienced educator, she became a cello teacher after over a decade of teaching clinical nursing and medical ethics at the collegiate level. Ms. Di Biase holds masters degrees in nursing and theological studies, and completed her masters degree in music at Jacksonville State University in the spring of 2014. Her cello instructors have included Carey Cheney, Craig Hultgren and Jessica Messere. Music opens doors to celebrate the lifelong joy of discovery.
Rhonda Ledbetter – Voice
Rhonda Ledbetter comes to the Hardin Center after a successful career as a public school music teacher. She taught choral music at Gadsden High in Gadsden, AL and also in several Rome and Summerville, Georgia schools: Pepperell Middle, Lyerly, Pennville, and Menlo Elementary, as well as Chattooga High School. Her students won numerous accolades including GHSA Male & Female Soloist, Male Quartet & Girls’ Trio winners and top honors with Superior ratings in District Adjudication Performances. Her Choral groups performed by invitation at Disney World, Dollywood and Universal Studios. At Universal, they received the prestigious “Spirit of Orlando” award along with Superior ratings in competition with over 2000 students from throughout the U.S.
Rhonda enjoys performing on stage and in film. She is active in local theatre, recently performing in “Ring of Fire” with the Theatre of Gadsden. She has appeared in numerous theatrical productions including “Guys and Dolls,” “Cyrano de Berserac”, and “Cabaret.” Her favorite roles include Guinevere in “Camelot,” Miep in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and Marion in “The Music Man.” Her recent film credits include “Mom’s Night Out,” “Woodlawn,” “Run the Race,” “Let There Be Light,” “Miss Audition”, “The Sticky Note,” and “Mr Turk’s All in a Day’s Work.”
Rhonda also appears in several local and regional TV commercials including Six Flags Over Georgia and Nissan.
In addition to her work at the Hardin Center, Rhonda currently teaches 3, 4 & 5 year olds and serves as Senior Choir Director at the First Baptist Church of Piedmont.
Rachel Sherrod – Violin/Viola
Rachel Sherrod is Gadsden native. Mrs. Sherrod began playing violin through the strings program offered by the Etowah Youth Orchestras and continued through the June Moore Bugg Prelude Strings, Etowah Youth Symphonic Orchestra, and Etowah Youth Symphonic Honor Strings. After graduating high school, Mrs. Sherrod continued her studies at Jacksonville State University. She served as concertmaster for the Etowah Youth Orchestra and the Jacksonville State Community Chamber Orchestra. She holds a B.A. in Music from JSU. Mrs. Sherrod continues to play in the local area and with the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Opera Theatre, and local community players. She has served as the Assistant Conductor and Orchestra Manager for the Etowah Youth Orchestras.
Tony Robinson – Drum/Percussion Instructor
Tony Robinson has been teaching and performing in the Gadsden area for more than 20 years. He is a former percussion arranger & coordinator, having taught for more than a few band programs, most notably Emma Sansom High School under Russ Waits, and then later Gadsden City High School.
Tony was a founding member of the bands Mozaik Salvo and Left Over Ego, and is currently a member of the Jeremy Jackson Band.
Danny Thomas – Woodwinds
Mr. Danny Thomas is a native of Snead, Alabama and attended Susan Moore High School. He attended Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama where he was lead alto in the Show band and principal oboe in the symphonic band. He has also attended Shenandoah Conservatory of Music where he was principal oboe in the conservatory orchestra, lead alto in the afternoon jazz ensemble, solo English horn for the symphonic band and baritone saxophone player for the conservatory sax quartet. He premiered various new music in different ensembles on oboe and saxophone while attending the conservatory. He also performed in the pit orchestras for the Conservatory Summer Theatre programs. Mr. Thomas received his BA in Music Performance with an emphasis on saxophone from Jacksonville State University. He was lead alto for the JSU Jazz ensemble and principal oboe for the University Wind Ensemble. He also played in various student and faculty ensembles while attending Jacksonville State.
Mr. Thomas was also enlisted in the United States Coast Guard where he was the woodwind instructor at Cape May Training Center for the recruit ceremonial detail band and performed around the East Coast with the band.
Mr. Thomas has been actively performing and teaching since 1983. He was a member of The Impressions and performed nationally on tour. He has performed in studios for various acts. He had the opportunity to perform at various jazz clubs on the east coast in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia area for a number of years. He has given woodwind clinics around the Southeast for the past 25 years. He is a charter member of the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra and is still performing as principal oboist.
Mr. Thomas currently resides in Hokes bluff and is married to Cindy Thomas and has two children. His children attend Hokes Bluff schools.
Carol Hill – Visual Arts
Carol Hill has a degree in painting and printmaking from the University of Alabama. She has taught elementary and middle school art for 25 years for the Gadsden City School System. Mrs. Hill believes that the study of art is very important for the development of a child. It increases their creativity, mental development and allows them to learn about themselves.She lives in Gadsden with her husband Vince. Her daughter, Hannah, lives in New York City where she is employed by the Whitney Museum of American Art and is also pursuing a career as a painter.
Richard White – Visual Arts
Artist Richard D. White is a native of Beaufort, South Carolina and has always had a love for the arts. As a child he was influenced by his mother, a cross-stitch and calligraphy artist. Richard grew up in one of the Gullah communities of the Sea Islands of South Carolina where arts and carts are a way of life. Sweetgrass basket weavers, shrimp net makers, wood carvers, and musicians are just people in the neighborhood.
White is a self-taught Latin percussionist, admits his first love is music, has played professionally with some of South Carolina’s greatest jazz, rock, and R&B legends. After graduating high school, Richard attended Ohio University Southern in Ironton, OH. After college he joined the U.S. Navy and saw various forms of art from around the world, which still influence his art today.
During a short career as a truck driver in 2004, Richard was severely injured in an accident that left him unable to return to work, so he turned back to his favorite hobby…art. Unable to work and supporting a family of five, buying canvases for painting was too expensive, so he started experimenting with wood. The response from family and friends was so encouraging that he began carving other pieces and he is now best know for this carving.
Richard’s first professional showing was at the Hilton Head Island Self Arts center of the the Coastal Carolina and sold all 10 pieces displayed. Since then he has had work displayed at Emma Mae’s in Washington, DC, The Du Sable Museum in Chicago, IL, The Langston Hughes Cultural Center in Queens, NY, Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, and the South Carolina State Museum. Richard was also the 2007-08 artist in residence at Ohio University Southern teaching students about Gullah culture, art, and West African dying techniques.
Richard has received The 2008 Sam Doyle Award, The May Kourtrolakis Award, and The Beaufort Art Association Award of Excellence. Apart from shows, Richard helped to found Camp Treasure Chest teaching art and drum techniques to disabled children. His desire to develop as an artist, expand upon his style of wood carving, and to give to the Etowah County community by being an influence to young future artists.