A violinist who can switch from a heart-rending song by Rachmaninoff to a lilting waltz by Strauss, then to a fiddle tune that would make you believe she was born in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. A perfectionist without a perfectionist’s temperament, Oksana’s performance is always honest and impeccable. Her solo performances, as well as performances with a group, showcase the beauty of string music and demonstrate the variety of music that can be performed with a string instrument. Oksana began playing at age of five in Russia and started teaching shortly after that.
Oksana plays violin in the Texarkana and Conway Symphonies and has recorded several CD’s which are available through Ovation Music Academy. Most recently, she won Musician of the Year from the Royal Players in Benton, Arkansas, for her successful work as Musical Director for the musical, ‘Nobody’s Business’. Not only is Oksana the founder and owner of Ovation Music Academy, but with three Master’s Degrees in Music Education, Performance, and Child Psychology, she also actively teaches violin, piano, and group string lessons at the academy. She carefully selects and oversees the work of each teacher to maintain the high quality level of music education at the academy.
Svyatoslav “Slavek” Bolubah
Svyatoslav (Slavek) Bolubah is the Ovation Music Academy drum/percussion instructor. He has studied music at Gateway College in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as having recorded with their college chorale and ensemble. Slavek has also studied with Mike Johnston, the founder of MikesLessons.com and winner of the Modern Drummer Readers Poll award for Clinician/Educator of the Year. In addition to teaching private lessons, Svyatoslav actively participates in the Little Rock music scene as a drummer/percussionist, he is also the audio engineer for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Conway Symphony Orchestra, and the River City Men’s Chorus. You can catch Slavek playing in local venues and festivals with various groups, playing studio sessions, and doing on-site recording around the state of Arkansas.
Alisa Coffey was appointed Principal Harpist of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in 2010. She is also Second Harpist with Symphony in C, of Camden, NJ. In addition to her regular positions, Alisa has served as extra or substitute harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philly Pops, IRIS Orchestra, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and National Philharmonic among others. As a soloist, Alisa received recognition in the 2011 Lyon and Healy Awards, as well as the 2011 American Harp Society National Competition. She has attended summer music festivals: Aspen Music Festival, Artosphere, Spoleto Festival U.S.A., and Saratoga Harp Colony.
Formerly from the Philadelphia area, Alisa served as the harp faculty instructor at Settlement Music School. She was also the Artistic Coordinator for The Lyra Society, a non-profit organization which offers harp lessons within Philadelphia public schools. Alisa graduated with a Master’s of Music from Temple University. She received her Bachelor’s of Music and Performace Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, ON.
There was always music in our home. If it wasn’t Dad playing the fiddle, it was Mom with her Bob Seger records on the stereo. As far back as I care to look, there have been musicians in my family.
I picked up a Telecaster when I was 12, and it was like my hands had suddenly found what they were meant to do! From that day to this, I have never been very far from my guitar. I tried sax and keyboards in high school, but the guitar is where my soul lives.
I have studied with some of the best teachers anywhere, and I have WORKED at what they taught me! Some people say it’s a gift, but I feel like I had to earn it. I tell my students to practice until they can’t stand it–and then go five more minutes.
It was Dave Matthews who first opened my mind to a world of complex and rhythmic playing that went way beyond three chords and a backbeat. From there, the road led directly to Jazz, a place where I can paint with every color of the rainbow and some that haven’t been discovered yet. I could list all my influences for you, but we don’t have that much time (I’d rather be playing).
Paul Sammons began piano at a young age and then moved on to Saxophone and choir. In his teenage years, he began playing the guitar and singing in concerts with his bands. Heʼs been a working musician as a solo artist and has performed in bands ever since. After high school, Paul went to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and studied with the best professors in the Central Arkansas area. He graduated with a Bachelorʼs degree in music with an emphasis on jazz guitar performance. After college he became a traveling musician and toured the country for several years, busking on the streets and performing with national acts. In 2009, he co-wrote and recorded the soundtrack for a documentary film called, “Woke Up This Morning In The Arkansas Delta”, produced by film-maker, Ben Meade.
Paul can still be seen performing in the central Arkansas area. He has learned a variety of musical instruments along the way, such as the drums, bass, piano, didgeridoo, harmonica, and of course, the guitar, slide guitar, and lap steel. He has learned professional recording techniques along the way as well. Now he has a home recording studio where he records his own songs as well as songs for other musicians in the local area.
Samantha Carpenter graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a B.A. in music performance with cello as her primary instrument. She later attended Northwestern State University in Louisiana and was a graduate assistant under the cello professor Paul Christopher. Samantha graduated with a M.M. on cello from Northwestern and has been teaching private lessons to elementary through collegiate level students.
Hannah began piano lessons at the age of six and has been addicted to music ever since. Throughout her school years she advanced quickly in piano, earning several superior ratings in the annual Arkansas Music Teachers’ competition and taking honorable mention in the Arkansas Sonatina/Sonata competition the year she competed. Hannah took classical lessons, including performance training, from Dr. Jon Hynes, and had accompaniment/improvisation coaching from Ellen Kennedy Marsh.
She began violin lessons in high school. Within a year Hannah had joined the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra’s, Academy Orchestra, and spent the next three seasons in that program, working up to the highest-level, Youth Orchestra. She began teaching after graduation, privately at first. Later Hannah moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2010, placing in the Gwinnett and Cobb County Symphonies as a section violinist. Highlights of playing with Gwinnett Symphony for her included being part of the official orchestra for the Northeast Atlanta Ballet, which included two performance cycles of full-length famous ballets every season. The Cobb County Symphony became the Georgia Symphony in 2012 and was soon after asked to play a concert with the vocal group, “The Indigo Girls”, a concert listed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as #5 of the top-ten concerts in Atlanta for 2012. Hannah remains a long-distance member of the Georgia Symphony Orchestra at this time. She also has played in church orchestras for about ten years and has been hired for numerous special programs in Arkansas and Georgia.
Hannah has eight years of teaching experience and a passion for sharing music with the next generation. She is familiar with several methods, including Suzuki books and Alfred piano courses, and believes in tailoring methods to each student’s individual needs. Hannah enjoys teaching children and adults and is convinced that it is never too late to fulfill a dream of learning to play an instrument.
Sara Cook got her musical start right here in Benton Arkansas. Born to a musical family, Sara’s grandmother was the director of music at a local church and her mother played in a blue grass band at Dog Patch, USA. While she was a child, Sara’s grandfather fostered a love of music by teaching her skills such as Ukulele, Mandolin, and Hawaiian Guitar. Sara was a church musician while young and sang for numerous years in the choir. Because of an amazing vocal career in high school Sara decided to pursue a degree in music after graduation. She started her college career at Henderson State University but later finished at UA Little Rock. Sara also completed a Master’s degree in education to further her music instruction. Sara has been a long time opera performer and has starred in several small operas such as Rider’s to the Sea and The Stoned Guest. She has also had the opportunity to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, including the premiere of Maestro Itkin’s Exodous. While she loves to perform, her first love is teaching. Sara enjoys teaching students of a variety of ages. From beginning instruction all the way to accompaniment, nothing is out of the scope of possibilities. With her advanced years of study, she is able to teach a variety of skills from basic reading and writing all the way to composition. Sara is excited to be teaching at Ovation Music Academy and hopes to share a love of music with many students.
Evgeniya (Jane) Fedorova is a post baccalaureate student at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, pursuing a degree in Studio Art. She used to be a microbiologist at the laboratory but switched to art leading with the inner passion to create. Among her favorite media are clay, metal and paper. Jane loves hiking with her husband and singing and playing piano with her two kids.