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Conductors | Print |

Mr. Phil Benson, an HSMA alumnus, played cello in the Home School Band and Orchestra from its inception in 1993 until 1998.  He studied Music Education at Central Michigan University before returning to HSMA as a substitute conductor from 2006 to 2008.  Mr. Benson taught band, orchestra, and choir in Arizona for three years and has been active in his church choirs and in community orchestras since 1996. He serves as the string program director and conducted Senior Orchestra from 2011 to 2018.

Mrs. Christina Dugan Blackburn is an HSMA alumnus who served as Concert Master of the Senior Orchestra, and was twice selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (the first HSMA student ever so honored). She has conducted in the orchestra program and has directed Elementary Music and Music Fundamentals classes. Mrs. Blackburn has been conducting with HSMA since 2004.

Mr. Jim Butler, who was chosen two times to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Michigan State University, where he studied Euphonium with the legendary Leonard Falcone. Mr. Butler taught band for six years prior to joining HSMA, has directed church choir since 1982, and is also a private music teacher. He is chair of the HSMA band program and does extensive music writing and arranging for the organization. Mr. Butler has conducted Symphonic Band since 2000.

Miss Elaine Damon has participated in HSMA since 2000 as a student/alumnus playing clarinet in Concert and Symphonic bands. Before  she began conducting she accompanied Music Fundamentals and currently plays piano for Poco Ayre.  This is Ms. Damon’s  first year conducting.

Miss Kara Damon is an HSMA alumnus who has played clarinet since joining HSMA in 2001. She was selected to participate in the MYAF honors band in 2012. She has also been an accompanist for both the Bel Canto Chorale and the Chancel Choir. Miss. Damon teaches piano and clarinet and has been conducting with HSMA since 2015.

Mrs. Chantelle Frazier, who began as a parent participant with HSMA, conducted Beginning Strings from 2006 to 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Olivet College where she majored in instrumental music, violin being her primary instrument. Mrs. Frazier has been teaching music in her private studio and in public and community schools since 1981. She has conducted the Junior Orchestra since 2007.

Mrs. Maryann Hammar earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from Indiana Wesleyan University, with Horn and Voice as her primary instruments. She started a home school band in northern Michigan, which she directed from 2000 to 2004, and after moving to Lansing, she joined HSMA. Mrs. Hammar has conducted the Cadet Band since 2005.

Mr. Gene Harris, II, was a student and alumnus participant in HSMA. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Great Lakes Christian College, where he graduated salutatorian in 2010, having majored in both Music and Bible Theology. A certified Suzuki instructor, he teaches private violin lessons, conducts church choir, and enjoys composing music. Mr. Harris has conducted Intermediate Strings 2 since 2010.

Mrs. Jeannette Hughes has a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in music and a vocal specialization. She has conducted children’s choirs in Idaho public schools and many church children’s choirs. Mrs. Hughes has been a substitute conductor for HSMA and began conducting for HSMA in 2015.

Mr. Patrick O'Donnell was selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Grand Rapids Baptist College. He taught music in both public and private schools since 1982 and has also directed church orchestras. Conductor of Beginning Band, Mr. O’Donnell has been an HSMA band conductor since 1997.

Mrs. Jennie Visscher originally joined HSMA as conductor of the Junior Orchestra. Her principal instrument is violin. She is a certified Suzuki instructor and has taught violin, viola, and cello since 1997.  She directed the Senior Orchestra for six years, Benginning Strings for ten years, and is now back to conducting the Senior Orchestra. Mrs. Visscher has been conducting with HSMA since 2002.