Dr. Certain began studying the Violin & Piano at age 2 - he was privileged to begin his Violin studies after his 'initial' Study Session with Dr. Suzuki himself at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Suzuki happened to be in Dallas as a guest Professor of Violin in December of 1964. After the Study Session with Dr. Suzuki, he 'highly suggested' to Mrs. Certain," that young Rand begin Private Violin Instruction immediately!!". Thus began Maestro Certain's 19 year Violin & Piano training under the instruction of Mr. & Mrs. Franklin Washburn of Dallas, Texas (University Park).
Saxophonist, Shelley Carrol hails from family of gospel singers and musicians in Houston, Texas. It was there that the music bug bit him at an early age and landed him in the famed Boys Choir of Houston. After picking up the saxophone, he was able to study with the legendary Texas Tenor greats Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson. At the time he didn’t know how revered these gentlemen were around the globe. They simply lived in his neighborhood. Shelley attended the city’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was a standout in the city’s Summer Jazz Workshop Program. This is where he developed a true flair for the stage.
While attending the University of North Texas, Shelley earned a spot in the Grammy Nominated One O’clock Lab Band. There he recorded two critically acclaimed CD’s in 1990 and 91. During the same period, Mr. Carrol was invited to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra by trumpeter Barry Lee Hall. This would prove to be an enormous musical opportunity with worldwide exposure. Since joining the band, he has toured the U.S. and over 30 foreign countries. He has also recorded and/ or performed with Sheryl Crow, Whitney Houston, Roger Waters, Marla Gibbs, Maureen McGovern, Marchel Ivery, Kirk Whalum, Tony Bennet, Roy Hargrove, Fingerprints, Phyllis Hyman, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams and a host of others.
I am currently the Principal Bassoonist of the New Life Symphony Orchestra. I have been playing bassoon for 21 years. I originally started on flute and then took half a year of saxophone lessons to play in jazz band where I held first tenor for two years. once I got into high school I picked up the bassoon and was also the drum major for three years.
I am currently a Moosmann artist and support Bassooning by the bay, a double reed camp hosted by Scott Pool at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. I have several students that have achieved superior ratings at All Region and Solo Ensemble contest. Music is my life and I love passing on my passion to others and watching them grow.
Outside of music, which keeps me busy, I enjoy bowling, tennis, biking, and crafts.
Phil Holland attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. At Eastman he studied with Charlie Geyer. After Eastman Mr. Holland won a position playing Co-Principal trumpet in the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band and Brass Quintet. He served for four years and then won a year position playing Associate Principal in the Virginia Symphony. In 2001 Mr. Holland moved to Plano, Texas to teach and freelance.
From Mr. Holland:
"I tell people constantly that I am the luckiest type of teacher. From my time beginning with a student just after fifth grade I often have SEVEN years to work with my kids. I don't have the burden of having to "fix" someone in a year or even two. Time is the most powerful of teachers and it is on my side. I didn't invent the trumpet and certainly am not reinventing the wheel with my teaching. My students humble me with their obedience and dedication. What they continue to accomplish amazes me. If you're curious about my student's accomplishments send me a note and I'll brag about THEM to you!"
Suré Eloff began her vocal studies in Cape Town, South Africa with renowned master teacher Marita Napier. In the United States, she received a Graduate Diploma in vocal performance from the University of Texas at Arlington, followed by a Fellowship Diploma in Singing from Trinity College London.
Specializing in concert and chamber music, Ms. Eloff has performed at festivals and master courses, including SongFest (Malibu, California), Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Tafelberg Klassiek (Cape Town, South Africa), Ardingly IMS (Sussex, United Kingdom), where she first met British composer Gregory Rose, and Mountain View International Festival of Song and Chamber Music (Calgary, Alberta), where she studied art song and chamber music with Rudolf Jansen.
Ms. Eloff was introduced to working with living composers (John Harbison, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Jake Heggie) at Songfest and has since focused on 20th and 21st century repertoire. In October 2013, she gave the world première performance of Gregory Rose’s Avebury Stone Circles, with pianist John Fisher, at Texas Wesleyan University.
Other recent and upcoming performances include a residency at Canterbury Cathedral, Howard Goodall's requiem, Eternal Light, with the Irving Chorale, the United Kingdom première of Avebury Stone Circles and première performances in both the US and the UK of Gregory Rose's Dancing in Sun-split Clouds and Adonis and Aphrodite.
Ms. Eloff has been teaching in the Metroplex since 2004. In addition to Voice, Ms. Eloff also teaches Piano and Music Theory and serves as the Representative for Trinity College London in North Texas and Central Oklahoma.
Roger Fratena has played all around the world in his 47 years with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He joined in 1972, the year he graduated from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with his Bachelor of Music in Double Bass & Music Education, along with his Master of Music Education. Fratena has taught at the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Tech University and continues to teach at both Eastfield and Richland Colleges in Dallas, Texas. As a composer, his ragtime pieces have been performed by the Dallas Symphony, along with the Pacific Symphony (California) and many others. His students have gone on to be performers and teachers of music themselves, some winning positions in various orchestras around the country, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Alabama Symphony, and the Dallas Symphony.