Mr. Sperling began his career as the Instrumental Music Director at Helix Charter High School. During his fourteen-year tenure at Helix, the band and orchestra tripled in size, won numerous awards and performed in Europe on three tours.
Mr. Sperling holds a B.A. in Political Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University and a second Masters in Music Performance with an emphasis in Conducting from San Diego State University.
Mr. Sperling recently received the Arts Advocate award from Bravo San Diego. From the CMEA Southern Border Section, he has received their “Music Educator,” “Administrator,” and “Band Director” of the year awards. He has received the Outstanding Administrator award by the California Art Education Association, and has been honored as a distinguished alumnus by the School of Music and Dance at San Diego State University. He has received the “Prize Principal Award” from KYXY FM and Point Loma Nazarene University. He has received the Golden Apple Award from Helix Charter High School for excellence in teaching.
Dr. Modica is the Conductor of the Festival Choir at the Idyllwild Summer Arts Camp where he recently conducted Faure’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Durufle Requiem, Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, Bach’s Magnificat, Bernstein’s Chichester Pslams, Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, and Dona Nobis Pacem by Vaughan Williams. He has also taught at the Summer Fine Arts Camp at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where his duties included conducting the concert choir, middle school choir, jazz choir, private voice lessons, and conducting the musical.
Demonstrating his versatility as a conductor, Dr. Modica is also vocal arranger and conductor of Your Generation in Concert, a multi-media production featuring a seven member rock band, orchestra, and chorus. Recently, Dr. Modica prepared choruses for “Video Games Live” in Anaheim, CA, the Josh Groban “Stages” tour, and in collaboration with Trudell Orchestras, LLC , he prepared choruses across the country for the National Tour of “Star Wars – In Concert.” In 2002 Dr. Modica prepared the chorus for the American Ballet Theatre production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was aired on PBS, and released on DVD as part of the Great Performances series.
Choirs under Dr. Modica’s direction have toured in Italy, Australia, Hawaii, New York, Washington D.C., Washington and Oregon, Florida, and the Bahamas, and most recently in Vienna, Austria. In 2014 and 2015 he conducted performances of Verdi Requiem at Blessed Sacrament Church and Christ Cathedral, and in 2013, he conducted Mozart’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall. His choirs have sung High Mass at Basilica San Marco in Venice and Basilica San Pietro in Rome, and have been fortunate enough to sing for Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Nevada Music Educators Association
Dr. Joseph Modica is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Redlands and the Director of Pastoral Music at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, CA. He has served on the faculties of the University of South Carolina and Chapman University, where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and choral methods, and conducted both select and non-auditioned choirs. He has held adjunct teaching positions at Biola University and Chapman University. Dr. Modica earned a Bachelor of Music degree in conducting from Chapman University, a Master of Music degree from California State University Long Beach, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from the University of Southern California. He has studied conducting with William Hall, William Dehning, Larry Livingston, Jonathan Talberg, Lynn Bielefelt and Magen Solomon. He has participated in masterclasses with Vance George and Rodney Eichenberger, in addition to a summer workshop in Varna, Bulgaria. Dr. Modica has studied voice with Louis Lebherz, Patrick Goeser, Margaret Dehning, Marvellee Cariaga, and Peter Lightfoot.
Dr. Modica taught high school choir for ten years. He is formerly the Director of Choral Activities at Mater Dei High School, and he taught for five years at Redlands East Valley High School. His choirs consistently received superior ratings at festivals and competitions and have been heard at two CMEA Conferences. In 2016, the University of Redlands Bel Canto performed at the ACDA Western Division Conference. Dr. Modica is active in many professional organizations such as ACDA, , NCCO, CMEA, and SCVA, and enjoys serving as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States.
Mr. Don Jaramillo has been in education for thirty-five years, twenty-one years at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, and five years at Sierra Vista High School in the Baldwin Park USD as Director of Bands. While at Etiwanda High School, the instrumental music program earned National reputation in the areas of Concert, Jazz and Marching Band. He has served as guest Conductor for Jr. High and High School Honor Groups in California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. He is also an adjudicator in the areas of concert, jazz and marching bands throughout California and the Western United States. Mr. Jaramillo has served the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association as President, VP of Music List, VP of Field Adjudication along with serving on several steering committees. Additionally, he has also spoken at various music educator conferences (Colorado Band Masters and Arizona Music Educators to name just a few) including several SCSBOA fall and winter conferences. In 2005 Mr. Jaramillo was recognized by the John Philip Sousa Foundation and was awarded the “Sudler Shield of Merit”. In 2007, he received the “Golden Bell Award” from the State of California School Board Association and in 2009; Mr. Jaramillo was awarded the prestigious Life Member Award from the SCSBOA. Mr. Jaramillo currently serves as Principal at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga.
Mr. Mike Christiansen is Professor Emeritus in the Music Department at Utah State University. He founded the guitar program at USU and was Director of Guitar Studies at USU for 39 years. In 1994, he was selected as Professor Of The Year at Utah State University. Mike received the ASTA (American String Teachers Association) Utah Chapter Outstanding Collegiate Educator of the Year Award in 2006. In December of 2012, Mike was selected as a U.S. Carnegie Professor of the Year and was also selected as the USU Caine College of the Arts Professor of the Year. In 2013, he was invited to be a TED speaker. Mike is currently Professor Emeritus at Utah State University and Director of Curriculum for Consonus Music. Mike is a renown guitar educator. He has authored/co-authored over 40 guitar instruction books and appears on hundreds of instruction videos. He has taught workshops at many schools and is a frequent clinician for guitarists and educators at various conferences.
Dr. Christopher Roberts - After teaching 20 years of K-5 music, Christopher Roberts recently moved to the University of Washington, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate students as Lecturer and Coordinator of Music Teacher Preparation. An active clinician, he has given workshops for music educators in over 40 states and provinces. During the summers, he directs the Kodály Levels Program of Seattle and serves as a principal instructor of the Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Education from the University of Washington, and a B.A. in History from Swarthmore College, with articles published in Journal of Research in Music Education, British Journal of Music Education, Oxford Handbook on Social Justice in Music Education, and Alternative Approaches to Music Education. He is the immediate past-president of the Western Division of the Organization of American Kodály Educators.
He has also conducted honor orchestras in the following CA school districts: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Yorba Linda/Placentia, Sweetwater Union, Capistrano, San Diego, Bakersfield, and in the states of Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, and Nevada.
His many awards include: “Arts Educator of the Year for Secondary Instrumental Music” for Orange County, CA (2006, 2013), the CA Music Education Association “Orchestra Educator of the Year,”( 2011), a state PTSA Honorary Service Award ( 2012), and the “Honorary Life Member Award” by the Southern CA School Band and Orchestra Association for a lifetime achievement in music education ( 2014).
This year is a busy one for him as he conducts the All-State CA String Orchestra at U.C. Davis, the Long Beach Unified School District High School Honor Orchestra, The San Diego Unified School District High School Honor Orchestra, and the Bakersfield City Schools Honor Orchestra. He was also a featured orchestra session presenter at the CA All-State Music Education Conference in San Jose.
Mr. Albert Jeung is the Director of Orchestras at Aliso Niguel High School, Aliso Viejo, CA in the Capistrano Unified School District. The school possesses one of the largest and most extensive high school orchestra programs in the state of California consisting of five string orchestras and three full orchestras with over 300 participants. He is currently the President of the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association that serves 1100 music educators in all levels of teaching. He possesses a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Music Degrees from California State University, Long Beach, with graduate work from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
He has taught string method courses at California State University, Long Beach, and is a former orchestra director at Santa Ana College, CA. He has conducted youth orchestra concerts in the countries of China, England, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia and in famous venues that include Carnegie Hall, the Dolby Theatre ( formerly Kodak Theatre), and the Sydney Opera House. He has been a guest clinician at many music education state and regional conferences, and has conducted numerous honor orchestras in CA including: the CODA High School Honors String Orchestra, the All-Southern Middle School Full and String Orchestras, the Central Coast High School and Middle School Orchestras, the San Bernardino County High School and Middle School Orchestras, the Kern County High School and Middle School Orchestras, and the Tulare/Kings County High School Orchestra.
Mr. Russ Sperling is the Director of Visual and Performing Arts for San Diego Unified School District. He responsible for all components of arts education in the state’s second largest school district. Under his leadership, the district’s board of trustees unanimously approved a district Strategic Arts Education Plan in the fall of 2016.
Mr. Sperling currently serves as Western Division President of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He previously served as President of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA). He is the founding President and now board member of the San Diego Winds, a professional wind ensemble. He is the Director of the Grossmont College Concert Band.
Mr. Sperling served three years as Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education. He provided consultations and services to the 42 school districts in San Diego County on all facets of arts education, K-12. While at the county, he served as the leader of Arts Empower San Diego, San Diego County’s strategic arts education initiative. He has also served four years as Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the Sweetwater Union High School District.