About our Instructors
- Mrs. Lori Beason, Director of the Elementary and Youth Choirs, Recorder Class, and the Northern Lights Marching Band Banner Carriers, is the mom of 2 homeschool graduated children and alumni of WMHFA. She holds a BA degree in Vocal Music from Cornerstone University, and a BS degree in Music Education from Calvin College. Lori has taught music & directed choirs in schools, churches and private piano, voice, and clarinet lessons for 35 years. This is her 15th year with WMHFA. She credits her high school music teacher, Mr. Robert Stiles, for inspiring her to pursue music and teaching as a career.
- Mrs. Karin Loberg Code, Kalamazoo Orchestra Instructor, has been teaching strings for over twenty years. She teaches privately and is on the faculty at Kalamazoo College and Hillsdale College. Karin is a violist with the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Symphonies and performs solo Norwegian folk violin around the country on her Hardanger fiddle. In 2010 Karin was awarded the PRISM Award for Excellence in Music Education from the Kalamazoo Chapter of SAI at WMU.
- Dr. Albert Harrison, Director of Concert Band, Elementary Big Band, and Brass Ensemble in Grand Rapids, received his music education degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University BMED, and the University of Illinois MS and ED.D. He recently retired from Taylor University in Indiana where he served as the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble Director and Chair of the Music, Theatre and Dance Department. Under his leadership the Concert Band participated in numerous tours in the Midwest, East Coast and Southeastern U.S. The Jazz Ensemble participated in the Aquinas Jazz Festival and made 10 appearances at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival. Dr. Harrison currently plays trombone in the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band, The Jubal Brass, Sam’s Swing Band and the Rush Creek Worship Team.
- Mrs. Wendy March, Founder of WMHFA and instructor of the Beginning and Intermediate Bands in Grand Rapids, and Assistant Director of Northern Lights Marching Band, is a homeschool mom of 6 children with a BA degree in Secondary Music Education. She has been teaching and performing for over 30 years in choirs, orchestra, bands, private instruction, and consulting. In 1996 she started WMHFA with the desire to provide homeschool students the opportunity to learn how to play musical instruments.
- Mr. Kris Rolls, Drumline Instructor, graduated from NorthPointe Christian School and spent 6 years as the director of their indoor competitive drumline while also teaching lessons. He marched two summers of DCI for an open-class corps. He won “Outstanding Marching Member” for his first summer and served as the captain of the drumline for his second summer. He competed with an indoor scholastic-a drumline in WGI and finished his playing days on the snare line for an independent world ensemble: Northcoast Academy. He is currently also a full-time church planter in Grand Rapids.
- Mrs. Kristen Shoup, Director of Advanced Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, earned a BA in Music Education from WMU and a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. She has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra since 1992. Kristen has been the Orchestra Director of Grand Rapids Christian Schools, Calvin Christian Schools, and is the Assistant Director of the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony’s Classical Orchestra.
- Mrs. Kerrissa Silverthorne, Beginning and Intermediate Band Instructor for Kalamazoo and the Northern Lights Marching Band, is a US Army veteran and comes to us from a background in the military band. She has been a band director since 2003 in public and private schools, and is a homeschool parent. Mrs. Silverthorne has enjoyed a distinguished career as a professional musician, performing and teaching around the globe in numerous stage, television, and radio performances. She has previously performed in the stage orchestra for Grammy-winning artists Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. Since 2014 she has held the position of Principal Bassoon in the Holland Symphony Orchestra.
- Mr. Joel Snyder, Senior Choir and Chorale Instructor, is highly trained in vocal and choral music, having received his Bachelor of Music from Bob Jones University, Masters of Voice Performance from Eastern University, and a Masters of Choral Conducting in progress at Western University.
- Mrs. Elisabeth Sooy, Director of Beginning Orchestra, Jr. Girls Choir, Intermediate Orchestra, and Fiddle Class in Grand Rapids, has been playing violin and piano since the age of three. She played in Youth Orchestras, the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, the Firelands Symphony in Ohio, and various pit operas and musicals. She has been an Orchestra and Choir director and accompanist for over 30 years. Elisabeth was the Director of the Metropolitan Choir of Praise, Director and Vocal coach at Grace Bible College, and has led many local church choirs and other small ensembles. She directs the Pit Orchestra for HPA in Kalamazoo, and is certified with the Suzuki Association. Her greatest desire is to honor God and bring out the best in all those she works with, to His glory.
- Mrs. Christina VanDam, Colorguard Instructor, has been involved with colorguard for over 15 years. She marched in high school and college and has taught numerous groups around the state for the past ten years. She is also a colorguard judge for the Scholastic Marching Band Organization and a General Effect judge for the Michigan Color Guard Circuit. When not doing things related to colorguard, she enjoys spending time with her family, backpacking, and hiking. She is thrilled to be part of the WMHFA family!
- Mr. Rick Wiltse, Handbell Director, earned a BM from Alma College and a Masters from Western Michigan University. He taught public school general and instrumental music for 15 years and is currently Director of Programming at Allegro School of Music in Grand Rapids. He has been involved with handbell choirs beginning in 1984 and is also an avid vocalist, trombonist, and electric bass player, having performed with numerous concert bands, big bands, praise bands, orchestras, and choirs.