Instructor Information

Diane Chong – Violin

Diane Chong teaches violin to beginning, intermediate, and advanced students of all ages.

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.

 

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.

 

Bryce Anderson – Violin/Viola 

Cellist and EYO Assistant Conductor Bryce Anderson graduated summa cum laude from Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Music Education in 2018. Anderson has performed in the cello sections of the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville State University/Community Orchestra since 2014. He has also played in the pit orchestra of numerous opera and musical theater productions with the Jacksonville Opera Theatre and Theatre of Gadsden, including “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Anderson began his performing instruction with the School String Orchestra Program of the Etowah Youth Orchestras under the direction of Roland Lister. He progressed through the program and graduated from the EYO as Principal Cellist of the Etowah Youth Symphony Orchestra. He studied privately with Susan DiBiase throughout high school, and with Alabama Symphony Orchestra cellists Andrew Dunn and Peter Garret at Jacksonville State University. He now maintains an active private cello studio. Anderson’s conducting instructors included Jeremy Stovall and Ken Bodiford.

 

Michael Johnston – Basoon 

Michael Johnston teaches bassoon. Bio coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

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.