Department of Music
The Department of Music
126 French Hall, (Faculty Offices)
303 East Kearsley Street, Flint, MI 48502
810-762-3377 - Office 810-762-3326 - FAX
The Department of Music is served by an Administrative Team, consisting of Audrey Beauchesne, Suzanne Shivnen, and Karri Spoelstra. The team is located in 517 French Hall and the office is staffed from 8 am to 5 pm weekdays. The office handles most of the adminstrative requests for assistance.
Brian DiBlassio has been with the Department of Music at UM-Flint since 2000, where he has received the Lois Rosen Excellence in Teaching Award and the Provost Innovation in Teaching Prize. As a jazz and classical pianist, he most regularly performs with Latin jazz groups Los Gatos and Tumbao Bravo. DiBlassio has had the opportunity to score music for local and national televised pieces, and his diverse instrumental/choral arrangements, orchestrations and compositions have been performed by an array of groups, including the UM-Flint ensembles and the Flint Symphony. DiBlassio has presented performance projects and research, nationally and internationally, most recently at the Jazz Education Network Conference in San Diego, California.
Dr. Christopher P. Heidenreich was appointed as the Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at the University of Michigan-Flint in the fall of 2009. He has served as Associate Director of Bands at Youngstown State University and Director of the YSU “Marching Pride” and began teaching public school in Ohio in 1989. He completed his Doctor of Music in Wind Conducting from Indiana University in the spring of 2006, holds a Master of Arts in Music Education from The Ohio State University (1998) and a Bachelor of Music degree from Bowling Green State University (1989) where he graduated cum laude.
Gabriela Hristova was awarded the 2012 Lucinda Stone Junior Women Faculty Award for her research on Bulgarian Choral and Singing Traditions. Recently elected as the president for the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, she hosted the Michigan ACDA Fall Convention at the First Presbyterian Church in Flint.
Faculty - Lecturers
Jessica Cech has been a featured artist in the Flint Institute of Music's Chamber Series Concerts for the last six years. She was a guest artist in the St. Clair Shores Concert Series in 2012 and was a featured soloist in the Music at St. Paul's Series (Flint, MI) in 2011. In addition to her current position at the University of Michigan-Flint, Cech teaches flute at the Flint School of Performing Arts.
James Coviak, percussionist and director of the internationally acclaimed steel drum band, Steelheads, has recently performed at the Lionel Hampton and TAC Jazz Festivals. In addition to working with international recording artist Andy Narell, Coviak’s former students have recently performed with saxophonist Kenny G, and with guitarist Jack White at the 2013 Grammy Awards.
Baritone Matthew J. Daniels was born and raised in Fort Pierce, FL. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, where he studied with Dr. Loraine Sims. He holds additional degrees in music from Florida Atlantic University (MA, BMus), Indian River Community College (AA), and he attended Manhattan School of Music in 2001 as a student of the late Met Opera baritone, Theodor Uppman.
Dr. Daniels is Lecturer of Music at the University of Michigan-Flint and Spring Arbor University, and he is Director of Music at Bishop Foley Catholic High School and Guardian Angels Catholic Church. Previously, Daniels served on the voice faculties of Eastern Michigan University, Madonna University, Mississippi State University, Florida Atlantic University, and Indian River State College. He has also directed high school and church music programs in Florida and Louisiana.
Equally comfortable in a variety of musical styles, Daniels has sung numerous leading roles in opera and musical theatre, and he is an avid performer of concert and recital work. Recent engagements include The Mikado (Pooh-bah, Director) with UM-Flint Opera Workshop, Amahl & the Night Visitors (Melchior) with Madonna University, baritone soloist for Beethoven Mass in C with the UMS Choral Union "Summer Sing" concert series at Hill Auditorium conducted by Scott Hanoian, and AGMA Chorus with Michigan Opera Theatre (Detroit). Leading roles in opera, operetta, and musical theatre include the following: Così fan tutte (Guglielmo), Il barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro), The Magic Flute (Papageno), La Bohème (Marcello), Rigoletto (Rigoletto), Le Nozze di Figaro (Il Conte di Almaviva), Amahl and Night Visitors (Balthazar), Der Schauspieldirektor (Buff), The New Moon (Robert), The Mikado (Pooh-bah), Godspell (Jesus), Camelot (Lancelot), South Pacific (Emil), Man of La Mancha (Cervantes/Don Quixote), A Grand Night for Singing (Leading Man), and Cole! (Leading Man). Additionally, he has appeared as baritone soloist in several major works: Mozart Coronation Mass, Brahms Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah, Mendelssohn Elijah, Fauré Requiem, Dubois Seven Last Words of Christ, Rutter Mass of the Children, and Vaughan-Williams Five Mystical Songs.
In addition to current topics in vocal pedagogy, Dr. Daniels' research interests are steeped in the music of David P. Rossow, dear friend and subject of his doctoral dissertation. Daniels has presented his research on Rossow's songs at the 38th CMS Great Lakes Regional Conference (cancelled due to COVID-19), 31st CMS Pacific Northwest Regional Conference, the International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT2017) in Stockholm, Sweden, and the 41st Southern Region NATS Conference. In Summer 2018, Daniels joined forces with musician-friends to record Bells In Tower At Evening Toll—a full-length album featuring the oeuvre of Rossow's songs for voice and piano to-date, which was produced and released by the Wisdom Recordings Label. Available on all digital platforms: iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, YouTube, etc.
Aside from teaching and research, Daniels is an avid composer of contemporary sacred music. He has numerous titles published with International Liturgy Publications and Simply Liturgical Music.
Joseph Dobos was an instrumental music school teacher for 40 years—34 of which were spent in the Lapeer Community Schools. While at Lapeer East High School, his bands received First Division Ratings at MSBOA State Band Festival for 31 consecutive years. His bands performed seven times on the stage of Hill Auditorium at the Midwestern Music Conference on the campus of the University of Michigan. Bands from Lapeer East have also performed at music education conferences in Toronto, Chicago, Knoxville, Montreal, and at Western Michigan University. Currently, he is Supervisor of Teaching Internship for Instrumental Music Education students at Wayne State University. He has been a mentor in the Master of Teaching Arts program at Bowling Green State University.
A native of Imlay City, Michigan, Mr. Dobos received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The University of Michigan where he studied with William Revelli and Elizabeth Green.
Mr. Dobos is a member of the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (of which he served as District Vice President) and has served as the state chairman for the National Band Association. He is active as an adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor. He is also a member of the Organ Historical Society. He has served on the Board of Governors of the University of Michigan School of Music Alumni Association and has served as president of the University of Michigan Band Alumni Association.
In 1993, Mr. Dobos was named “Band Teacher of the Year” by the membership of the MSBOA and served as a guest conductor of the Youth Arts Festival State Honors Band. He is a recipient of the Citation of Excellence from the National Band Association and was the first band director in the Midwest to be recognized by the Interscholastic Association of High Schools. He has been honored as an outstanding teacher by the Lapeer County Great Teachers Foundation, the Wal-Mart Teacher Award Program, and the Lapeer Community Schools Distinguished Educator foundation. He was named one of the fifty most influential music educators in the country by SBO Magazineand has been featured as the “person of the week” on both WJRT and WEYI television news programs.
He has presented music education clinics at the Michigan Music Inservice Conference, the Chicago Midwest Music Clinic, and the New England Band Directors Institute. Mr. Dobos is also a church organist and choir director. His performance on organ has been heard on the National Public Radio broadcast, Pipedreams.In 2006, he performed at the Organ Rededication Concert at Saint Matthew Church in Flint, Michigan.
For the past 31years, he served on the conducting faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. In 2008, he was inducted into the Camp’s Hall of Fame. In 2010, he conducted the Blue Lake International Northern Winds in a tour of Denmark and Germany. He is a past conductor of the Genesee Wind Symphony.
Currently, Mr. Dobos is the Director of Sacred Music and Organist at Saint Pius X Church in Flint, Michigan. He is married to his wife, Marjorie.
Sherri Marttila has been an avid violinist since the age of nine. She first honed her musicianship in the automotive heartland of Flint, Michigan. She has completed educational rigors at Interlochen Arts Academy, the Congress of Strings (New York), and the University of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan.
Sherri is the Concertmaster and Personnel Manager for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Street Chamber Orchestra and the Motor City Symphony. She also performs with the Michigan Opera Theater, Flint Symphony Orchestra, Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, Midland Symphony Orchestra and Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
Sherri has worked with many amazing artists including Aretha Franklin, John Tesh, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Alexander Zonjic, Regis Philbin, Harry Connick Jr., Josh Grobin, Sarah McLachlan and wonderful musical groups like the Temptations, The Ten Tenors, Il Divo, Il Volo, Mannheim Steamroller, Citizen Zero, Warner Brother Symphony and the Wimborne Symphony. Aside from her active performance schedule, Sherri also has 30 years of teaching and coaching experience in the metropolitan Flint and Detroit areas, and she is the current University of Michigan - Flint instructor of violin, viola, string chamber music and the UMF Chamber Strings Ensemble.
Jeffrey Price is a collaborative performer and educator, recently performing new music at the Windsor Canadian Music Festival. He performs regularly with the UM-Flint Faculty Jazz Ensemble as well as with faculty chamber groups at the Flint School for Performing Arts. Price is an active clinician in the Genesee area and is a candidate to present at the 2014 North American Saxophone Alliance national convention.
Patrick Prouty composed a piece for the UM-Flint University Orchestra in honor of Emeritus Professor Walker E. Fesmire’s generous establishment of The Chieko Fesmire String Instrument Scholarship. Music from Prouty’s CD, The Charmed Life, was recently featured in AMC’s television show, Breaking Bad. His fourth CD, New American Daydream, earned the Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording of 2012.
Ray Ureña, jazz guitarist, composer and producer from metropolitan Detroit has performed with a array of nationally renowned artists including Chico Chism from Howling Wolf, Clem Burke from Blondie, and Eddie Hersh from Black Crowes. As a touring muscian, his band opened for Eddie Money, Everclear and Spin Doctors. After becoming more deeply interested in pursuing a career in jazz, he earned a Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in jazz studies where he studied with Matt Michaels and was mentored by local jazz greats Steven Carryer and Chris Collins. His range of performance experience from swing era big band to Latin jazz, rock and fusion informs his inclusive style of musical instruction inspiring each of his students to discover their own unique voice. Ray has recently released singles of his Dominican-American inspired jazz fusion and will be releasing a full length album through iTunes and Spotify.
Joseph Wright is active as a performer and educator. He has appeared extensively over the years with artists such as Natalie Cole, Peter Duchin, Bob Hope, Robert Klein, Andy Narell, Martha Reeves, The Four Tops, The Temptations, as well as The Glenn Miller and Nelson Riddle Orchestras. He also performs regularly with the UM-Flint Faculty Jazz Ensemble. Wright has appeared many times at the Detroit Jazz Festival, including performances with both local and nationally known jazz artists.