Tim Thomas Program Coordinator & Orchestra Director

Tim Thomas is a graduate of Boise State University where he performed with the University Symphony, Vocal Jazz, and Jazz Improvisation ensembles while earning his Bachelor's degree in Music Education. During that period he started his professional playing career performing with the Boise Philharmonic, Boise Baroque Orchestra, Oregon East Symphony, and Grande Ronde Symphony. After graduating in May of 2007 he moved to Las Vegas, NV to take an orchestra director position at Burkholder Middle School before taking his current position at Basic Academy of International Studies in 2013. Mr. Thomas currently serves as Chairman for the CCSD Honor Orchestra, Chairman of the NVASTA Las Vegas Bass Workshop, Principal Double Bass for the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Red Mountain Music Company, Las Vegas Mens Chorus, and a frequent musician at Tuachan in St. George, Utah. Mr. Thomas also performed with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Nevada Ballet, and his string quartet "Strings on Occasion". He returned to the Pacific Northwest on several official visits to direct the Boise Junior High Fall Clinics, the Oregon East Symphony Summer Camp, and perform for various concerts. Mr. Thomas also holds a masters degree from Touro University in the field of Education Administration.

Candace Chun Violin Instructor

Candace is the current director of orchestra and at Eldorado High School. She has led a variety of programs including an eleven-year stop at Valley HS where she the orchestra & band director and cheer coach. Her students have consistently received high rankings in competitions and performances. Candace is currently pursuing her masters at UNLV and received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Loyola University New Orleans. Candace has been playing violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, and ukulele for 20 years.

Kimberly Johnson Violin Instructor

A Las Vegas native, Kimberly began playing viola at the age of 10. Throughout middle school and high school, she was a part of various ensembles that included Honor Orchestra, Las Vegas Youth Orchestra, All-state orchestra, and Amadeus chamber orchestra. In college, she continued studying violin and viola with instructors such as Teresa Ling, Byron Tauchi, and Andrew Duckles. Kimberly was even a member of the UNLV symphony orchestra during the time Maestro Hal Weller was conductor. Kimberly now performs with the Henderson Symphony (former principal viola), the Nevada Chamber Orchestra (current principal viola), the Southern Nevada Symphony, as well as the HSO quartet. She has also taught students since 2002 in various ways from private lessons to coaching sectionals for LVYO.

Carlene San-Felippo Violin Instructor

Carlene is the founder, operator, and violinist of Capella Strings, a professional entertainment company contracting many attractions around Las Vegas. She serves as an adjunct professor of violin and viola studies at College of Southern Nevada and serves the same role at Violin Outlet. Carlene brings a love of animals and a passion for setting students up to experience the joy music making can bring. 

Christopher Bonds Violin Instructor

Christopher Bonds grew up in Coolidge, Arizona, where he began his study of the violin at the age of five. His principal violin teachers were George Bennett and Eugene Lombardi. He has degrees in music from Arizona State University and The University of Iowa. He has also studied composition with Grant Fletcher and Richard Hervig and conducting with James Dixon. His 40-year teaching career includes colleges and universities across the country, most recently Wayne State College, Nebraska, where he is Professor Emeritus of Music. For 22 years he led the Sioux City (Iowa) Symphony as concertmaster. He and his wife Debi now enjoy life in Henderson, Nevada, where he composes and practices violin.

Erika Syroid Violin Instructor

Erika Joy Syroid received a Bachelors Degree in Violin Performance, graduating with honors from the University of Montana. She studied at the Mozarteum with Jean Fournier in Salzburg, Austria. Private teachers include Marie Runberg, Gerald Doty, Won Mo Kim and Eugene Andrie. Erika was concertmaster of Sentinel High School and the University of Montana Orchestra as well. She appeared as a soloist with the Missoula Symphony as winner of “The Young Artist Award” and has performed solos in Nevada, California, Switzerland, Austria and China. Ms. Syroid spent many years in Las Vegas and in California, which opened doors to performing with artists like Johnny Mathis, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Don Henley, Henry Mancini, Josh Grobin, Cher, Pavorotti, Natalie Cole, Metallica and touring with Diana Ross on a World Tour. She has graced the stages of Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, and Wayne Newton in Las Vegas. She played violin and viola on tours for Newton and Stewart and has been Co-Concertmaster for Andrea Bocelli on tour. She has played first violin in La Mirada, Boise Philharmonic, Riverside Symphony, the Helena and Glacier Symphonies and returned to play in the Missoula Symphony and the String Orchestra of the Rockies.

Azaria Carruthers Violin Instructor

Azaria’s  is a graduate from the Las Vegas Academy where she earned an advanced diploma while performing all 4 years in the orchestra. She currently attends CSN pursuing a degree in music education and also performs with the Nevada Chamber Orchestra. Her passion for working with children was established while she was serving as a tutor for the kindergarten and 1st grade students attending the after-school program at CP Squires ES.

Jovonie Tejero  Cello Instructor

Jovonie Tejero is currently the assistant director at Mike O’Callaghan Middle School, where he has been teaching orchestra for the past four years.  In addition to teaching beginning and advanced cello classes for FAYM, he has a full private studio of thirty cellists, where they have received high rankings in both competitions and performances. Jovonie has been playing the cello for over ten years. 

Marla Huizar Advanced Mariachi Director

Marla Huizar is currently the orchestra director at Del Sol Academy. Marla Huizar graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2012 with a Bachelor in Music Education and in 2017 finished her Master’s degree in the same field. During her undergrad, Ms. Huizar played the violin and was a member of the UNLV Symphony and Chamber orchestras.  Furthermore, while attaining her masters, Ms. Huizar also took voice lessons in opera music.
A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Ms. Huizar has been deeply involved with the music community from a young age.  In addition to being trained in classical music, Ms. Huizar has had a strong passion for mariachi music. Ms. Huizar personally witnessed, and participated in, the growth of the mariachi program in the Las Vegas community.  As a mariachi musician, Ms. Huizar has performed with countless mariachi groups throughout the Las Vegas valley.  Ms. Huizar has also performed at several major events, including the “Las Vegas Walk of Stars” and the Latin Grammys, where she performed for various famous Latin artists.

Brigido Galvan Secondary Instrument Mariachi Instructor

Brigido Galvan has been involved in Mariachi music from an early age. Growing up in a musical family he started specializing in the guitaron but is proficient on several instruments. After graduating from Desert Pines HS, where he was a 4 year member in their top mariachi, he began to play with other groups in town. This led him to the idea of teaching students and has become a staple in the CCSD schools and FAYM to develop young talent. 

David Shepard Beginning Mariachi Instructor

Shortly after becoming an student at UNLV, David joined Mariachi Franco de Las Vegas with whom he's been performing for more than a decade. After graduating with a degree in Jazz Studies, David played and traveled on Royal Caribbean International for 2 years before returning to Las Vegas to rejoin Mariachi Franco and begin teaching in CCSD.

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