Celine Gietzen has been teaching since 1986, and she currently has a full studio of private cello students in Camarillo. She is also a coach for the Junior Chamber Music program. Her students have been awarded college scholarships, have received honors in the Certificate of Merit program, have achieved principal chairs in student orchestras, and have been chosen to perform in the MTAC state convention. She regularly adjudicates for competitions, scholarship auditions, and the MTAC Certificate of Merit program. Celine Gietzen attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, one of the most prestigious conservatories in the nation, with a merit-based scholarship as a student of Alan Harris. In 1997 she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance and was elected to the Dean’s List. She then received a Master of Music degree from UCLA in 2009 as a scholarship student of Antonio Lysy. Another of her influential teachers has been Dr. Richard Naill of the Colburn School of Performing Arts. She has performed professionally in solo recitals, chamber music groups, and in many orchestras. Celine is an active board member of the MTAC and is also a member of the American String Teachers’ Association.
NICOLE MCKENZIE has performed widely as soloist and chamber musician. The Santa Barbara Independent declared, “McKenzie made a splash in the luscious and exciting music – she performed with gorgeous musicality.”
Winner of the Sutton Chamber Music Award, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, earned a BM Degree from Oberlin Conservatory, an MM Degree from Florida State University, and studied with Gary Kosloski at the Music Academy of the West. Ms. McKenzie is Concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra. She maintains a private violin studio, co-directs and teaches for Sandcastle Music Together, Coaches chamber music at Santa Barbara
Strings, is a member of the duo, Continental Cafe, directs and teaches at Allegro Violin Camp, was a founding member of the Nicole McKenzie Improv Group (an improvising group of dancers and musicians), was a long time member of the Klezmer/Jazz group, Kalinka, and regularly concertizes with renowned pianist, Betty Oberacker. She performs on a violin created for her by Michel Eggimann of Rome, Italy.
Saxophone, clarinet, and flute instructor Craig Thomas is a long time performer and educator whose work spans his years as a studio musician and sideman with artists like
Al Jarreau, Les MCann, the Temptations, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Jim Messina, Tom Jones, Freda Payne, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Toni Tennille and many others. With a background in classical as well as jazz, he still performs on clarinet with the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, as well as on saxophone with the critically acclaimed jump blues group the R&B Bombers. He also has his own jazz trio with the long time studio and Tonight Show guitarist Mitch Holder and bassist Domenic Genova.