Music Director/Founder Adam Phillips has had an extremely varied career as a vocal, instrumental, and stage performer as well as a voice teacher and music director. Adam received his undergraduate training at the State University of New York at Fredonia, earning a BFA in Musical Theatre while making the Dean’s List and performing in a variety of theater and opera productions, recording several vocal albums, and receiving numerous awards and honors including a Voice Faculty Scholarship and a nomination for Best Actor in Musical Theatre in Buffalo, New York. Since moving to Santa Barbara, Adam has sung with Quire of Voyces, with Opera Santa Barbara, with the Adelfos Ensemble, and as a cantor at Old Santa Barbara Mission. He has served as a Theater Specialist with the Montessori Center School, as Assistant Drama and Music Director for Stage Left Theatre Company, Worship Leader at El Montecito Presbyterian Church’s Tapestry, and as a voice teacher.
Currently, Adam is theFounder of Folk Orchestra Santa Barbara as well as the Director of Music and Worship at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Goleta. As a multi-instrumentalist he frequently performs with guitar, mandolin family, world flutes, various other string instruments, and multiple forms of bagpipes.
NICOLE MCKENZIE has performed widely as soloist and chamber musician. The Santa Barbara Independent declared, "McKenzie made a splash in the luscious and exciting music - she performed with gorgeous musicality."
Winner of the Sutton Chamber Music Award, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, earned a BM Degree from Oberlin Conservatory, an MM Degree from Florida State University, and studied with Gary Kosloski at the Music Academy of the West. Ms. McKenzie maintains a private
violin studio, co-directed and taught for Sandcastle Music Together for 20 years, Coaches chamber music at Santa Barbara
Strings, is a member of the duo, Continental Cafe, directs and teaches at Allegro Violin Camp, was a founding member of
the Nicole McKenzie Improv Group (an improvising group of dancers and musicians), was a long time member of the Klezmer/Jazz group, Kalinka, and regularly concertizes with renowned pianist, Betty Oberacker. She performs on a violin created for her by Michel Eggimann of Rome, Italy.
Marie Hébert was born and raised in Santa Barbara and has played the violin since she was nine years old. She attended UCSB where she studied with Yuval Yaron, earning her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in violin performance. Marie has toured in China with the Young Musicians’ Foundation’s Debut Orchestra and also performed with them many times in Los Angeles. Ensembles closer to home include the Santa Maria Philharmonic, Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale, and local chamber groups.
Marie is dedicated to her students and enjoys guiding them as they discover the joys and challenges of playing an instrument. In addition to offering private lessons, Marie has worked as a chamber music coach at Santa Barbara Strings and is currently an instructor and coach for the Santa Barbara Symphony Education Center. She teaches violin/viola classes in various elementary schools and coaches at the Junior Orchestra, and is also a teaching artist with BRAVO!.
Applying over 20 years of violin study and live music performance experience, Devynn enjoys teaching and jamming with string players of all ages. Canadian-born, Devynn was raised playing fiddle music from a young age, performing gigs all across Canada with her family band Family Quarles. She went on to study Violin and Music Therapy at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Devynn made the move to California in 2019, and she currently enjoys teaching fiddle lessons and baking all sorts of gluten free goodies at her bakery Loca Vivant. When she is not playing music, or baking, Devynn is outside in nature or cuddling her cat.
Kristine Pacheco-Bernt (she/her) is a professional violinist, arts administrator, and music educator motivated to make instrumental music relevant within the community. Raised at the intersection of mariachi and Mozart, she draws upon over a decade of performing and teaching experience. Kristine strongly believes in the power of creative youth development through music and is proud to bring her perspective and skills to the non-profit arts sector.
Prior to her work at the Santa Barbara Symphony, Kristine served as a Teaching Artist at the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) music program, an El Sistema-inspired initiative in Santa Barbara providing free after-school music classes and academic enrichment to 120 elementary school children from an under resourced community. She currently maintains a private violin studio designed to support students at all levels of musical development. She enjoys bringing together school administrators, families, and music professionals to create dynamic music education programs.
Kristine holds a master’s degree in violin performance from San Francisco State University and dual bachelor’s degrees in music and Premedical Studies from University of California Berkeley. She performs regularly throughout the central coast with the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the Santa Barbara Symphony, and the Santa Maria Philharmonic. She devotes her spare time to playing board games with her husband and spoiling her pug, Hilda.
DeeDee has been a member of the Alexandria Symphonic Orchestra, the Beach Cities Symphonic Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara City College Symphonic Orchestra. She has also sung in numerous choirs; including Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, All Saints Beverly Hills, Quire of Voyces, Canticle, First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara and FIrst Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara. DeeDee currently studies violin at the McKenzie Violin Studio and plays on a 1712 John Barrett violin that she inherited from her great grandmother.
Attended CSUN, studied Viola with Milton Thomas and Myron Sandler. Played viola in studios from 1973 to 2000. Worked with various recording artists: Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Prince, Madonna, Gloria Gaynor, etc. Movies include Close Encounters, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Color Purple and many others. Live performances include leader of a small ensemble playing Persian Music in a night club (1979-1980). Appeared on Midnight Special backing up Wolfman Jack. Moved to Santa Barbara in 2000. Currently plays with Santa Barbara Symphony (since 1973) and Santa Barbara Choral Society. Teaches violin and viola.
Jimmy hails from Roseville, Minnesota by way of Guangzhou, China, and is currently a graduate student in experimental physics at UCSB. A member of the SBCC Symphony's viola section, Jimmy also enjoys playing the piano, cooking, and traveling.
Esther Frankel recently retired from teaching information technology at SBCC. She started playing the piano at an early age. In elementary school, one of the teachers wanted to start an orchestra, and recruited every student who could read music to play violin. She switched to viola in junior high. Esther attended the High School of Music and Art in NYC, and played in the NYC All-City Orchestra. She has a Master's degree in Music History and Theory and taught in that field for several years. After a long hiatus, she took up the viola again a while ago, and currently plays in the SBCC Symphony.
Helena began playing viola in elementary school, and continued through college, while pursuing degrees in science and math. Since moving to Santa Barbara, she has been active in the music community, playing in the SBCC orchestra and chamber groups. Professionally, she is working as an iOS/Android developer at a startup in town. She loves all sorts of music, from classical to modern, and folk to punk!
Lucy has played viola and has been an orchestral performer all her life. Originally a pianist and flutist, Lucy switched to viola at age 12. Lucy attended Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan and attended the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, earning a Bachelors degree in Music History. Lucy has played in the SBCC Orchestra, the West Coast Symphony Orchestra, and is excited to be a part of the Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara.
Jacqueline Greenshields has been a member of the Santa Barbara musical community since 1983. She has been a member of the Santa Barbara Symphony since that time and was the principal cellist of the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra for 35 years. In 1990 she traveled to Australia where she played in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth for that year. She was also a member of The American Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra that toured Europe many times and had its summer home in Bellingham, Washington.
Jackie attended the Music Academy of the West for three summers where she was a student of Gabor Rejto. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1979 and her Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California in 1981. She is very active as a chamber musician and has a full studio of cello students both young and old.
In her spare time Jackie enjoys long distance hiking in the Sierras, scuba diving, cycling, swimming, and playing with her two dachshunds.
Karen Spechler has lived in Santa Barbara all of her life and has had a very successful ongoing real estate career since she was 20 yrs old. Karen majored in real estate and law in college but her passion has always been the arts. She started piano and cello lessons after her 2 sons were in school and now plays cello with the Santa Barbara City College Symphony Orchestra and joined the Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara when it first began. Karen is an avid sunrise hiker in our local mountains and has done many treks in Europe and the Sierras including the John Muir Trail. She also enjoys oil painting and playing piano. Karen’s motto is that “we only have a short spin on this little blue ball and we must make the most of it!”
Gerrie, a long time Santa Barbara resident, served as an educator here in the County for 30+ years. Born in Kansas, she began playing cello in elementary school and now participates locally in chamber music groups as well as workshops across California. She has a B.A in Secondary/Elementary Education from Wichita State University and an M.A. from Cal State University, Northridge. Gerrie continues to serve education communities through consulting and superintendent searches.
Rob Moreno is a guitarist and bassist from Santa Barbara, CA. In 20 years of playing, Rob has primarily focused on jazz studies and is proficient in all styles of American music. Rob has toured internationally, performing at notable festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz festival and the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles. Rob currently teaches privately and freelances in the Santa Barbara area.
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Alan Wood is a bagpiper and drummer. His interest in traditional music from around the world, particularly from Scotland and Ireland, has influenced his focus on the Scottish bagpipes and the Irish bodhrán. He appreciates the raw sound and power of the Scottish pipes and the unique tonal qualities, rhythmic potential, and overall versatility that the bodhrán offers. Alan enjoys connecting with audiences, and seeks to involve and transport listeners through the vast range of emotion of this music. Alan plays with the local group, Shepherd’s Pie, and with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. Pipe and Drum Corps. He can also be found competing at Highland Games and Scottish Festivals throughout California.
Laurie Rasmussen has been a musician since childhood but her destiny was made clear when she discovered the Celtic harp in 1986 and she built her own instrument from a kit. This piqued her interest in the building and design aspect of the instrument and she consequently spent two years working as a luthier. Then she grew tired of breathing all that sawdust and discovered that she gained more enjoyment from playing harps rather than building them. Time spent traveling in the British Isles and studying with traditional players instilled in her a love of the traditional Celtic genre and set her on her professional path.
An award winner in both the US and Europe, she brings a graceful touch and unique interpretation to traditional Celtic repertoire. As a performer Laurie has been a featured guest at major festivals in the US, Canada and Europe, both as a soloist and in ensemble. Her career has led to a wide variety of performance adventures: She appeared in Reno as Music Director and cast member in the Irish dance show Spirit of the Dance; while living in Italy she performed regularly in Renaissance castles, Baroque churches, public piazzas, German villages, folk clubs in Sicily, Milan, Frankfurt and Heidelberg and on a mountain top in the Apennines with Galician bagpipers. Laurie currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA where she plays with symphony orchestras, jazz bands and folk ensembles. An enthusiastic instructor with a passion for sharing the beauty of her instrument, she is the harp instructor at Santa Barbara City College and also teaches children and adults in her private studio. She is the owner of Harps by the Sea, a showroom of harps and accessories in downtown Santa Barbara.
Before completing his degree in music, Michael Witt studied with Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey's McGee and Dean Wachs at Indiana University in his hometown of South Bend. He then completed his degree in Classical Guitar at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro where he studied guitar with Mark Mazzatenta and was part of the Miles Davis Jazz Program. His varied repertoire and versatile skills lead him to perform and instruct a wide variety of genres for many different audiences. Mike has studied Master Classes with the L.A. Guitar Quartet, Christopher Parkening, and Odair Assad, among others, and has performed for countless audiences on classical and electric guitars. He is now teaching and performing in Santa Barbara, CA, including involvement with the Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra, the annual Feed the Funk Benefit Concert, New Noise Music Festival and other local community festivals.
A recent transplant from the East Coast to California, Adam is a board certified music therapist (MT-BC) since 2014. Adam holds a Bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar from SUNY New Paltz and a Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Montclair State University.
As a music therapist, Adam is passionate about helping others through the gift of music. Throughout his professional career he has witnessed others grow personally and professionally and improve their health and well being as a direct result of music therapy. Adam believes that the skills developed through music are applicable to all aspects of life and that music can truly act as medicine for the mind and body.
Adam currently works as a music therapist at Peace of Mind Counseling and Wellness Center in Berkeley Heights, NJ, working with clients through online platforms and has 34 years experience in many aspects of music, and this has greatly enhanced his music therapy skills and approach, including his experience as a teacher, mentor and performer with expertise in a wide array of styles, including jazz, rock, blues, folk, classical, etc.
Adam has extensive music teaching and performance experience, teaching privately as well as in stores and studios in New York and New Jersey, Adam has taught at SUNY New Paltz, The National Guitar Summer Workshop (CT campus), Rockland Community College, and Orange County Community College. Adam has studied guitar with Mark Dzuiba, Jeff Ciampa, and Vic Juris, and continues his studies with occasional online lessons from artists such as Mike Stern and John Stowell.
As a performer Adam has worked as a sideman for various projects in upstate NY, NJ and New York City as well as leading his own jazz trio/quartet. Adam has performed in bars, clubs, restaurants, private parties, and weddings with various groups. Adam enjoys performing music as a way to connect, inspire, entertain, and uplift others.
Neil plays a variety of fretted musical instruments and is originally from New Zealand, coming to Santa Barbara by way of United Kingdom and Pittsburgh. He has performed as a member of the Pittsburgh Mandolin Orchestra, the Balalaika and Domra Orchestra of Pittsburgh, as well as playing in numerous bands. Currently, Neil is a Lecturer in Music Theory at UCSB, where he specializes in teaching counterpoint and musical form.
Ian has been playing music since he was young, inspired by both his parents' love for music and his elementary school music teacher, an ethnomusicologist. He has since learned several other instruments over the years including bass guitar, bodhrán, bouzouki, smallpipes, mandolin, guitar, and concertina. He has spent a large part of his life studying and appreciating Irish traditional music as well as the folk music traditions of Scotland and England. More recent musical interests include Nordic Folk, Ethiopop, and Gamelan. He has always had a fondness for video game music.
Ian is a member of the Materia Collective and The Travelers VGM, online recordings groups, in which he produces, arranges, and plays video game music in various folk and metal styles. He is also a composer who has composed for video games. He is also a club DJ who has performed in a number of venues throughout the country. He is also a member of Gamelan Sinar Surya, Santa Barbara's community gamelan ensemble. He received his M.A. in Ethnomusicology from UC Davis in 2013 following a B.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology from UCLA.
When he is not making music, Ian is a web developer and database administrator who enjoys learning languages, computer programming, and travel.
Pat Hackney is a Santa Barbara based professional musician who plays the mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and sings. He performs in a variety of musical ensembles in blues, bluegrass, British Isles fiddle, rock, rhythm and blues, gospel, and classical styles, does studio recording sessions, and teaches group and private music lessons.