Meet Our Instructors
Piano & Piano Lab
DeNeil Hartley is extremely excited to be serving as Director of Aspire! Conservatory of Fine & Performing Arts. This new chapter in life and re-direction of her career is a fresh and welcome change. She feels like she’s living a dream. DeNeil prays that this ministry of First United Methodist will be a blessing to the community as well as the church, and will inspire talented artists throughout the Tri-State to dream, believe and achieve their individual greatness.
DeNeil holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Ohio University and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Marshall University. In her twenty-three years of teaching in the public schools of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, DeNeil has taught both middle school and high school band and choir, and elementary general music. In addition to her service in the public schools, DeNeil served as Musical Director for the ACTC Theatre Department for eight years conducting more than 20 musicals, and has played with the Brass Band of the Tri-State, The Huntington Symphony Orchestra and the Huntington Pops Orchestra. DeNeil has also maintained a private music studio for more than 15 years, and currently serves as Music Director at Ashland First United Methodist Church.
DeNeil is a member of OMEA/NAfME and MTNA. She currently serves as co-chairperson of WVMTA District V in Huntington, WV.
FUN FACT: DeNeil enjoys cycling and swimming. In 2013, she was part of a relay team which swam a race around the island of Key West. Her favorite color is HOT PINK and her bike’s name is The Pink Princess (because it has pink on it, of course). She is also a certified scuba diver.
School of Music
Private Instructor, Voice
Michael Bare holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible, Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Appalachian Bible College and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Marshall University. He also studied at Word of Life Bible Institute earning certificates in Bible and Youth Ministry.
Michael has been involved in performing music and theatre since he was a child. He recently played Horton the Elephant in the Huntington Area Regional Theatre’s production of “Seussical, the Musical” and has founded the Jewel City Singers. Michael has had the amazing privilege of performing in Bermuda, Nassau Bahama’s, Hungary, Portugal, and Spain.
Michael enjoys spending time with his wife Amy and playing Legos with his daughters Emmalyn and Lilly.
FUN FACT: Michael loves reading, drinking Vanilla Coke, and listening to Broadway shows and a Cappella music. It is Michael’s life ambition to perform with the Swingle Singers.
Instrumental Music – Piano
Private Instructor, Piano
click here to see bio
Private Instructor, Piano
Kayla Harmon received her Bachelor of Arts in music education from Marshall University in the spring of 2016. During her studies, Kayla studied piano under Dr. Henning Vauth, participated in local musical theatre groups as a pit musician, and was active in her college MTNA chapter. Kayla has taken piano lessons for over 18 years and has taught privately for six years, maintaining a small studio of private students throughout her college career.
Since graduation Kayla has been involved with HART’s outdoor theatre program, playing in both of their summer productions. She is currently in the process of becoming a substitute teacher for the Cabell county school system, and she and her husband are expecting their first child in December. Kayla loves teaching and hopes to pass on an appreciation of music to all her students!
Dr. Wes Golightly
Private Instructor, Piano
As a professional musician and teacher, Wes Golightly has a wide range of experience. He has given recitals at numerous concert series and universities. As a piano teacher, he has taught traditional and group piano at Kentucky Christian University and several other colleges. He also has lifelong experience in church music and popular music styles.
Dr. Golightly holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Ohio State University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Texas Christian University and Hardin-Simmons University. He taught music at Kentucky Christian University from 1989-2016.
In addition to his extensive experience as a pianist and college music professor, Wes is well known in the Tri-State Area as an excellent piano technician.
Dr. Golightly is a member of the Ashland Area Music Teachers Association. He serves the Kentucky Music Teachers Association as Information Chair.
Fun Fact: In high school and college, Wes pitched fast-pitch softball for a church team in California. He also likes to hike. To listen to Dr. Golightly’s performance of Chopin’s “E-Flat Ballade”, click HERE.
Ruth Reid Tompkins
Private Instructor, Piano
Ms. Ruth Reid Tompkins holds a Bacheor of Music from The University of Louisville and a Master of Music from Indiana University, both in Piano Performance. Her principal instructors were Lee Luvisi, Michel Block and Dr.David Kaiserman. She has participated in numerous Master Classes, including those with Ruth Slenczynska, Menahem Pressler, Martin Canin and Jahja Ling. While still in school, Ms. Tompkins began her teaching career at the collegiate level. She has held positions at Indiana University, The University of Louisville, Bellarmine College, The University of South Florida, Marshall University (sabbatical ﬁll) and Kentucky Christian University. In addition to her piano duties, Ms. Tompkins has taught theory, chamber music and served as staff accompanist at several of these institutions. She has also maintained a successful private studio over the years. Many of her students have been top winners in competitions and several have gone on to lead successful music careers themselves. Because giving back to her community is important, Ms. Tompkins has volunteered as the accompanist for The Russell Independent School District’s Middle and High School Choir Programs since 2006. Ms. Tompkins was featured on the cover and in the article, “Livening up the Classics”, in the 2009 Winter/Spring issue of Bridges Magazine, a publication that connects Ohio River Communities. Ms. Tompkins lives in Russell, Kentucky with her husband, Dr. Roderick J. Tompkins, Jr. and their three children.
Private Instructor, Piano
Karen Hopkins is a professional musician and music educator with a wide range of experience. She has both Bachelor and Master Degrees in music education from Marshall University, majoring in piano and also studying voice and choral music. Karen has taught K-12 music in private and public schools, taught Kindermusik, and has managed a large private piano and voice studio. Her experiences also include church music (pianist, singer, choral director, handbells, worship leader) and community accompanying/performing/directing theatre. She is currently the choral/vocal music teacher at Ashland Blazer High School and Ashland Middle School, teaching choirs, piano, and AP Music Theory, and is also pianist at Rose Hill Baptist Church. Karen is super excited to now be a part of Aspire!
Karen’s professional memberships include National Association for Music Education, Kentucky Music Educators’ Association, American Choral Directors’ Association, Music Teachers’ National Association, Ashland Area Music Teachers’ Association, and West Virginia Music Teachers’ Association.
Fun Facts: Karen’s hobbies include growing a backyard vegetable garden in the summer and home canning and preserving. She has a husband who is a singer and drummer, and two daughters who are also music educators and performers, one in Nashville, TN and one in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. Karen is also a Kentucky Colonel and has a black cat named Schoenberg…after the influential 20th Century composer.
Instrumental Music – Winds & Percussion
Elizabeth “Libby” McClung
Private Instructor, Flute
Elizabeth “Libby” McClung, flute and piccolo, received her Bachelor of Arts in music education, and Master of Arts in flute performance from Marshall University. She has taught flute in the Huntington area for over 25 years, and her students range from middle school age through adult. She began teaching at the Pied Piper lesson department in Huntington, and then was co-owner and a flute instructor at Note By Note Lesson Center in Huntington.
She performs regularly with the Huntington Symphony, the Huntington Pops, and has also performed with the West Virginia Symphony, the Ohio Valley Symphony, and in the orchestras for Michael W. Smith and LeAnn Rimes. She has performed throughout the Tri-State area in many musicals, with the Greater Huntington Symphonic Band, and at various area churches, including First United Methodist, Ashland. She teaches band and choir at Barboursville Middle School in Cabell County, WV. She is a member of the West Virginia Music Teachers Association, The Delta Kappa Gamma Society, and the National Flute Association.
Libby enjoys teaching and performing music, and hopes to pass that enjoyment on to her students.
Fun Fact: Libby enjoys flute and traveling. She has attended 15 national flute conventions (so far!) which have taken her from Los Angeles to Boston, to Minnesota and Orlando. She has also driven her car into New York City four times!
Woodwinds – Reeds
Keith Simmons, Flute, clarinet, and saxophone, received his Bachelor of Arts in music education from Marshall University. He received his Master’s in Education with a specialization in the Multiple Intelligences from the University of Rio Grande. He has taught Elementary Music in the Tri-state area for 22 years, and his students range from Preschool through adult. He began his professional music career at Pied Piper as a band instrument/sheet music salesman. He also was a road salesman for school systems in the tri-state area. He also taught in the lesson department in Huntington,
He performed with groups in the Huntington area including the Dale Jones Dixieland Jazz Stompers, the Bill Spurlock Quintet, the Dick Newman Jazz Orchestra, and the River Cities Big Band. He spent three summers working at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp teaching woodwinds and performing with the faculty ensembles who backed up artists that included Cab Calloway, Bob Mintzer, and Louie Bellson. The third summer he worked at Blue Lake he took 18 high school and middle school students to Europe for three weeks. The Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International Jazz Band performed in Germany, Sweeden, and Denmark. They performed at Tivoli Gardens which is a large amusement park in Copenhagen Denmark. He has performed throughout the Tri-State area in many musicals, many were performed during the summer Huntington Outdoor Theater series. He was a previous member of the Handbell ensemble at First United Methodist Church. He teaches Elementary Music at Greysbranch and Argillite Elementary Schools in Greenup County, KY. Keith enjoys sharing his love of music with students of all ages and wants to help them be the best musician that they can be.
Fun Facts: Keith volunteers his time every summer at Bridges Christian Church to help with Winshape Camp. He also is a leader of Boy Scout Troop 103 in Coal Grove Ohio, and loves to fish and go camping. He has two cats Birdie and Oreo, and loves anything Star Wars.
Private Instructor, Trumpet/Brass
Jake Cummins is a graduate of Morehead State University where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Performance. While studying at Morehead, Jake performed with almost every group including: the Symphony Band, Jazz Bands I & II, the Marching Band, the Orchestra, the National Trumpet Competition Semifinalist Trumpet Ensemble, and The J-Town Brass Quintet.
During his studies at MSU, he was also a member of both The Kentucky Music Educators Association Intercollegiate Concert Band and Orchestra. Jake also had a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform in Spain and China while he was a student at Morehead. Jake began studying trumpet with the renowned Greg Wing, trumpet professor at Morehead State University, while he was still in high school and continued doing so for eight years. Jake’s career as a private trumpet instructor started when he was selected to be Professor Wing’s Graduate Assistant , and was assigned students of his own.
Currently, Jake resides in Kenova, West Virginia where he teaches trumpet lessons and performs with local theatre groups such as the Huntington Area Regional Theatre, First Stage Theatre Company, and the Fifth Avenue Theatre Company.
Fun Fact: Jake has a cat named Tux that he has trained to perform tricks like a dog.
Private Instructor, Low Brass
Bio Coming Soon!
Private Instructor, Percussion
Shonté Revely received his Bachelors of Arts in Music at Morehead State University where he was a Percussion Performance Major. He is currently the Percussion Specialist at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, KY as well as the Percussion Instructor for the marching band at Paul Blazer High School and teaches private drum set lessons.
Along with his wife, Shonté is a member of the music department at Gateway Church in Ashland, KY. As well as teaching percussion Revely also plays drum set for with the band, Refrain and Rescue and the Miles of Jazz Orchestra. Revely can be heard playing at various venues throughout the Tri-State.
Fun Fact: His thanks stickers are gross.
Instrumental Music – Strings
Molly Page is a music educator and violinist who now resides in Ashland, Kentucky. She has a BA in Music Education and a BFA majoring in Violin Performance from Marshall University. During this time, she taught private lessons to students from the ages of 4 to 85 at the Route 60 Music Store, performed with local bands such as Tyler Childers, performed for musicals, performed with the Marshall Orchestra and various chamber ensembles, and traveled abroad to Salzburg, Austria to study music. After her time at Marshall University, she received a full teaching assistantship to the University of Miami Frost School of Music for Music Education. Her teaching assistantship was provided through the Donna E. Shalala MusicReach program which provides music education to underserved schools in Miami, Florida. Her duties included teaching string classes to elementary and middle school age children after school. During her time in Miami, Molly performed with the Henri Mancini Institute at concerts with acts such as Bruce Hornsby and James Newton Howard. She also taught part time for MusicAll, a youth orchestra and music education program, and Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s music program. She graduated with a Master of Music in Music Education on May 11, 2017. Molly was hired as the new Orchestra Director for the Ashland Independent School District which has brought her back to the tri-state area. She is very excited for new teaching and performing opportunities this area will bring.
Fun Fact: Molly loves to run and travel. She and her husband hope to visit every National Park in the United States.
Michael is a violin and beginning guitar instructor at Aspire. He graduated Marshall University in 2016 earning a BA and BFA with emphasis on the violin. Michael has been a private violin instructor since 2014 and in 2016 began instructing beginning guitar lessons. He has taught students ages 4 – 65. Along with teaching, Michael performs regularly in the area in plays and church events. He is also a permanent member of the First Baptist Church of Ironton Praise band.
Fun Fact: Michael is fascinated with racing and auto mechanics.
Cello & Viola
Steven Schumann is currently pursuing bachelors degrees in Cello Performance, and Music Education at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Although still working on his college degree, Steven is an experienced private instructor who has maintained an independent private studio. He is also a member of the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra in Morehead Kentucky.
Steven’s exposure to music began at a young age and in multiple different genres and instruments. Steven regularly collaborates with musicians in chamber group settings and in multiple orchestras in the local area. In addition, Steven works with artists and producers across many styles of music, and this musical diversity transfers over to his pedagogical philosophies. One of Steven’s current projects, Cypress, features a unique infusion of the cello into mountain-music genres as well as contemporary pop.
Private Instructor, Guitar
Clancy Hatfield has served as a music educator and performer for 50 years. He has taught at Morehead State University, Marshall University, and Kentucky Christian University. Clancy has also worked in numerous music stores and other colleges all over the Tri-State, and had his own studio and musical services business. He currently continues to teach at KCU on a part-time basis.
As a performer Clancy has been active playing guitar, bass, and singing in music groups of all genres including orchestras, jazz bands, rock bands, blues bands and more. The list of artists he has performed with is long and impressive indeed. Clancy says, “I think I’ve pretty much played it all – I was even in a polka band for a while.”
When asked about retiring, Clancy states that he still “loves teaching, still loves the kids, and still loves the new music the students bring to him. So, why retire?”
Fun Fact: Kentucky basketball and football fanatic. There will be no lessons during final four days!
Private Instructor, Guitar
Born and raised in Ashland, Kentucky, Phil Osborne started learning to play the guitar at the age of eight, had his first public appearance at the age of thirteen, and from then knew that music would be his dream in life. Phil’s early music influences were the Beatles, Kiss, Elvis and Chuck Berry, leading him to a love for rhythm & blues, funk, and soul.
Phil attended Morehead State University where he studied music performance, music theory, and classical and jazz guitar. Spanning more than three decades, Phil’s musical career of playing and performing has taken him to many cities and countries. He has played with everyone from country legends (Billy Ray Cyrus, Jeannie Sealey, Jack Greene, Jan Howard, Jean Shephard, Bobby Cyrus, Seth Bunting. Also, Craig Morgan and Stella Parton. Phil currently plays with groups such as Woodstock Nation, The Chase, and the Joe Freeman Bluegrass Band, as well as the Praise Team an Salt & Light Church.), well-known artists to the not-so-well-know. His proficiencies lie in lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar, classical guitar, jazz guitar, and drums.
In addition to teaching privately, Phil continues to perform regularly with various groups, individuals, and as a soloist. His goal is to enrich lives by nurturing and developing individuals who desire to play and perform.
Fun Fact: Phil is a pizza-holic, a chocolate-lover, and yes…that IS his real hair color.
School of Art
Art Instructor, Group and Private
Valerie Everman is a graduate of Morehead State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art Education. She also holds a degree in Elementary Education (grades 1-8), is experienced in teaching both Talented and Gifted and Advanced Placement classes, and before retiring earned her certification in secondary drama.
Valerie has worked with youth from the Tri-State area all of her life. In addition to teaching in the public schools, she has been on the recreational staff at Greenbo Lake State Park, served as a scenic artist for the Backstage Players, and helped with costumes and scenery in addition to performing in the Ashland Community and Technical College Theatre Department. Valerie has also been active in summer camp programs and monthly art project programs at the Paramount Arts Center.
Valerie says that even though she has retired from teaching, she continues to work as an artists by doing projects for friends and Family. She encourages people to “love the life you live through involvement in the arts!”
Fun Fact: When she’s not driving around in her sporty blue convertible, Valerie plans to create 4 “art monsters.” She’s referring to her grandchildren, of course. (Kaleb, Lennix, Macey & Layla)
SCHOOL OF DANCE
Yvonne DeKay Sinnott
Yvonne DeKay Sinnott, owner and instructor on Yvonne DeKay School of Dance, has been dancing, singing and acting since the age of three. She has owned and operated her own studio in Ironton, Ohio for 50 years, teaching all disciplines of dance, twirling and acrobatics. A graduate of the Dance Masters of America’s Teacher Training Program (Kent State University and New York in Buffalo) and a National Certified Examiner for DMA, Past Secretary and President of DMA Chapter #40 of the Bluegrass and now holding second term as President of DMB. A certified tumbling coach of the USTA Tumbling Association and past President of the USTA Kentucky Twirling Association. She was the Cinderella Girl Kentucky State Pageant director and traveled the East Coast judging for Ken Malone’s International Pageant Talent Competition.
Yvonne’s students have won many local, state and national dance competitions and pageants. Several of her students are now dance teachers, studio owners and professional dancers. She has directed and choreographed over 150 shows and plays for local theater programs, high school marching bands and show choirs. She has also been the dance choreographer for Ashland Community & Technical College in Kentucky for the past 18 years.
Fun Fact: Yvonne’s favorite hero is Betty Boop, she loves the Smurfs and blue sno-cones.
Kathryn Davis Lamp
Kathryn Davis Lamp loves dance because it empowers people to tell stories without words. Her love of dance was born when she realized it was a vital element of musical theatre, her first love. After local study at the Yvonne DeKay School of Dance in Ironton, Ohio, Kathryn attended Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida where she majored in Musical Theatre, with a specialization in jazz and musical theatre dance. In addition to performing, Kathryn was a student choreographer and dance captain in the musical theatre program, which included an opportunity to stage the original Jerome Robbins choreography of West Side Story.
Kathryn now teaches at the Yvonne DeKay School of Dance, which contrasts nicely with her day job: the in-house attorney at the Foundation for the Tri-State Community. She lives in Ashland with her husband, Jonathan, a fellow musical theatre performer
SCHOOL OF DRAMA
Auretta Hensley is looking forward to using her Theatre training once again in a classroom setting. She believes that her training in acting has helped her in all practical areas of her life from teaching in front of large audiences to homeschooling her three children. She is excited to teach young minds how to utilize the voice, body, and the imagination that God has given them in creative ways.
Auretta earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Theatre (with an emphasis of Shakespearean performance) and English from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. She was an acting apprentice during her Junior and Senior years in which she was cast in major roles in all Jelkyl Drama performances. Her training found her performing on all types of spaces including Proscenium, Thrust, and Theatre in the Round. She also studied stage movement in the Master’s program for Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before returning to Kentucky to further her education by earning her Secondary Teaching Certification from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond and her Master of Arts at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. She taught English, Theatre, and Humanities at East Carter High School in Grayson, Kentucky for eight years as well as English courses at both Ashland Community and Technical College in Ashland, Kentucky and Ohio University Southern in Ironton, Ohio. She has worked with students of all ages from pre-school to adult in various venues. Currently, she homeschools her three children: Seth (17), Noah (15), and Annah (11).
Fun Fact: Experiencing other cultures is a goal of Auretta’s. She manages this goal by hosting international students in her family’s home. She and her family have hosted eight international students mostly from Asian countries. She also loves to experience culture through travel. She has made a goal of traveling with her husband and children to all fifty of the United States before their childrens’ high school graduation. They have managed to travel to forty of the states so far and they plan on adding another eight this next summer. Auretta has also traveled to six foreign countries to explore their cultures and plans to travel more extensively upon retirement.
Musical Director for THEATREworks
see bio above, piano instructor