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Faculty Bios

Hill Baker is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and music educator based in Denver. He received his BM in Guitar Performance from Denver University with honors, and his MM in Music Composition, also from DU. He is an active performer, playing Jazz, Rock, Calypso, Reggae, Folk, Avant Garde, and Electronic music in Paer, Neptune Massive, Urban Island, Strings and Steel, and The Steve Law Band, among other projects. He is an active studio musician, engineering, producing, and performing on numerous albums for other Denver artists. Hill teaches Rock History, World Music, Jazz History, Music in Film, Music Appreciation, and several online courses at RRCC.

Stephanie Berg Oram, DMA, is Music Program Chair. She was awarded RRCC’s Endowed Teaching Chair for 2008-2010. She studied Voice at Peabody Conservatory and CU Boulder and holds degrees in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. Dr. Berg adjudicates frequently for various music associations. She has served as Soprano soloist at several churches in Denver and Baltimore. She has played piano since age three, and played keyboard with the Shades of Blue big band in Baltimore. With the Mile High Community Band, Dr. Berg has played mallet percussion, French horn, trumpet, euphonium, and clarinet, and comped on piano.

Ira Bigelow, Ph.D., earned music degrees from Metropolitan State College and CU Boulder; he also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from UC Denver. Dr. Bigelow has managed arts programs for Denver Public Schools, Wellshire Presbyterian Church, Community College of Denver, Denver Junior Police Choir, ArtsStreet, Colorado Online Learning, and UC Denver. He is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, American Choral Directors Association, Colorado Association for Music Curriculum and Instruction, Colorado Music Educators Association, Advocates for Balanced Education, and Kappa Delta Pi.

Jonathan Cullison holds a Bachelor’s in Jazz Composition from the University of South Florida and a Master’s in Bass Performance and Jazz Composition from DU’s Lamont School of Music. He is an active performer, playing all styles of music with Moment’s Notice, Latin jazz with Señor Gato, and bluegrass/rock with Homegrown Jones, among others. Cullison is also active in Music Technology, developing a new program for the Colorado School of Mines.

Olga Dashevskaya, a native of Ukraine in the former Soviet Union, gave her first public concert at the age of eight. She studied at the Special Music School for Gifted Children and the Kharkov State Conservatory, from which she graduated with Honors and received Master’s degrees in piano and music history.

Olga began her professional music career in Moscow as an editor of music programs at the Moscow State Philharmonic, and later was an editor at the State Publishers “Muzica.” She published numerous articles on music history, produced music radio programs, and performed concerts. Since moving to the United States in 1990, Olga has given numerous solo performances and lectures, performed with various symphony orchestras, and successfully collaborated with noted vocalists and instrumentalists. Olga runs her own music school and is an instructor of piano performance, theory and music appreciation at Red Rocks Community College.

Jennie Dorris is a writer, percussionist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh. She performs with Crusic Percussion and Alia Musica, works as a teaching artist for the Pittsburgh Symphony, and is developing educational programming for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. She recently started building marimbas using 3-modeling and CNC machining in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh’s TechShop. She is a fellow with Carnegie Mellon’s new Center for Arts Innovation, which develops strategies to enhance existing arts programs and train the next generation of musicians to become better and more effective artists, educators and entrepreneurs. Jennie teaches online courses for RRCC.

Jennifer Fouse received her Master's degree in music performance from University of Denver's Lamont School of Music, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College. She studied with Claus Adam, the former cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet, and with Judith Glyde of the Manhattan String Quartet. She has performed with the Colorado Springs Symphony, the Denver Chamber Orchestra, and the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Aside from a busy performing schedule, Jennifer teaches a large private studio of cello students. She teaches cello at RRCC.

Bob Jurkscheit
Coming soon.

Jeff LaQuatra, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, has been described as “a guitarist of enormous talent, both musically and technically” by Classical Guitar Magazine. LaQuatra performs throughout Colorado as a soloist and as a member of various chamber music ensembles. In 1996, he was awarded first prize in the Oswald Rantucci Guitar Competition in Buffalo, NY. LaQuatra holds degrees from The Cleveland Institute of Music (BM) and DU (MM), where he served as a graduate teaching assistant.

Mike Lucas has been a professional musician for over 35 years. He has a BME from Colorado State University and a Master’s in conducting from the University of Denver. He is a 35-year member of the Denver Municipal Band, the oldest professional band in the nation, and on occasion performs as assistant conductor.

Playing all saxophones, clarinet, and flute, Mike has performed with such renowned musicians as Ella Fitzgerald, Robert Goulet, Nelson Riddle, Mel Tormé, Johnny Mathis, Manhattan Transfer, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, Clark Terry, Bobby Shew, Vikki Carr, and many others. He continues to play with the Dean Bushnell Orchestra and Prestige Music here in Denver. Mike currently teaches History of Jazz and clarinet at Red Rocks Community College, and is Conductor/Director of RRCC’s ensemble, the Mile High Community Band.

Rick Mongrain earned his BME from Colorado State University and Master’s in Arts Education from Leslie College in Cambridge, Mass. He taught in the Denver Public Schools for 30 years, teaching Beginning, Intermediate and Concert Bands, Orchestra, Jazz Band, and AP Music Theory. Rick has been teaching private music lessons for 15 years, specializing in the woodwind family, viz. flute, clarinet, and saxophone.

He has been a member of the Denver Musicians Association for 37 years, and has played professionally for all that time. A member of The Denver Municipal Band for 36 years, he has played at shows including the Ice Capades, Ringling Brothers Circus, The Platters, and Leslie Gore. Rick is Conductor of the Intermediate Band and the “Combonians” Jazz Combo of RRCC’s ensemble, the Mile High Community Band.

Laura Schulkind, Founder and Executive Director of Mountain Chamber Music Society, performs as principal flute with the Society. Through MCMS, Schulkind has developed an alliance between the Mountain Chamber Music Society, Denver Public Schools, St. Vrain Valley School District, and the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program. Schulkind holds a Master of Music degree in flute performance, and a Master of Arts in Education degree. Her major teachers include Maralyn Prestia, David Shostac, Samuel Baron, and Leone Buyse.

Bob Studinger, Ed.D., has been in the business of music for 30 years. He has composed for nearly all styles of music including scores for TV, radio, films, and major orchestras. Dr. Studinger studied Composition in the graduate program at CU Boulder. He also earned a Broadcaster of the Year award for Best Radio Commercial and has received numerous regional Emmy awards for music scores of televised documentaries. In addition, Dr. Studinger has composed for major and regional symphony orchestras and ballet companies, and is the owner of SoundScores studio.

Doug Tapia
Coming soon.

Katherine Thayer has been a freelance violinist in the Denver metropolitan area for 30 years. She is currently the Concertmaster of the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra and the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra.  She performs with Inside the Orchestra, bringing classical music to elementary and pre-school children. Prior to moving to Denver, Katherine was an Assistant Professor of violin and Chamber Music at Eastern New Mexico University, where she was also violinist of the Raphael Piano Trio. 

Katherine studied in Europe in master classes of Zino Francescatti and Christian Ferras. She was a member of the Camerata Lysy, touring Europe and the Philippines, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester, and the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg. She returned to the States to earn a Master of Music from Michigan State University, where the Julliard Quartet was in residence. She teaches violin and viola at RRCC.