Teachers at Young Musicians of Virginia must have degrees in their area of application or have adequate experience and be able to demonstrate a level of excellence in that area. Several have Masters and PhD’s. Check out our mesmerizing music teachers below:
• Mrs. Leah Armstrong
(Private Harp, Piano)
B.A., Harp Performance, Bob Jones University
Leah Armstrong is originally from Charlotte, NC and has lived in Virginia Beach with her husband, Ben, for the last 5 years. She has her B.A. in harp performance from Bob Jones University and she’s enjoyed teaching both harp and piano in both Virginia Beach and Charlotte for the last 7 years. In addition to teaching, Leah also enjoys playing harp for events and performances in the Hampton Roads area.
• Mr. John Boyer
B.S., Music, Johnson University (Knoxville, TN)
Mr. Boyer has taught piano for over 50 years and been a part of the YMV family for many years, teaching since 2013. He has been a full-time pastor since 1980 and has spent 20 years in various roles including church pianist, choir director, and worship leader. Mr. Boyer studied piano with Dr. Vernon Overmyer at the University of Southern California, was a finalist with the Orange Symphony Young Artist Competition, and was a soloist with the Long Beach Community College Orchestra and Palomar Community Orchestra. He and his wife, Tina, have six children, 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren (if anyone’s counting).
• Mrs. Stephanie Councill
B.A. Art Education with a Minor in Ceramics, Chowan University, North Carolina.
Before homeschooling, Stephanie spent several years as an art teacher in the private and public school system and has taught elementary, middle, and high school students since beginning her teaching career. Mrs. Councill looks forward to leading YMV Summer Art Camp in addition to her school year YMV classes. She and her husband have been homeschooling for over a decade, and currently have one YMV graduate and one middle schooler.
• Mr. Don Davis
(Private Guitar & Ukulele; Ensembles for Guitar and Ukulele)
B.A. Religious Education & Lay Ministry, Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA; MS Education, Hunter College, NY
Mr. Davis has over 25 years as a guitar teacher for private lessons and groups as well as over 10 years experience as a worship leader.
• Mr. Ellard Forrester
B.S., Music Education, Alabama A & M University; M.M., Percussion Performance, Eastern Illinois University.
Mr. Forrester has extensive teaching and performing experience, and has adjudicated at multiple school music events. He has performed throughout NC and the Tidewater region and has experience playing everything from jazz to chamber and orchestral music. He has served as the Asst. Band Director and Professor at Hampton University as well as the Artist in Residence at Elizabeth City State University. We are delighted to have him at YMV!
• Mr. Gary Garlic
(Advanced Band and Jazz Band Director; World Rhythm Ensemble; Private Percussion; Music Technology)
B.A., Norfolk State University
Mr. Garlic is the percussion specialist in all areas at YMV. He has more than 13 years teaching experience and more than 20 years performing experience with jazz, pop, and classical artists in national venues, including professional performances with acts such as Donna Summer and Stevie Wonder.
• Mrs. Alexandra Marlins
(Suzuki strings group, Intermediate Strings, Private Strings, Piano, & Voice)
B.M.E. in K-12 instrumental music from Lee University.
Certified by the Suzuki Association of the Americas in violin levels 1-5.
Mrs. Marlins has had 17 years of performance experience and currently performs with Symphonicity, the Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach, and serves regularly on the worship team at her church. Her favorite composer is Tchaikovsky, and her favorite chamber music piece is Schubert’s 13th string quartet.
• Mrs. Karla D. Robinson
(High School Concert Choir; Soli Deo Choir; Private Voice)
B.M., Vocal Performance, St. Olaf College
Core Member, Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Mrs. Robinson is a local performer, choral director, music director, and private vocal instructor and clinician. She attended St. Olaf College, singing and studying under the direction of Dr. Anton Armstrong. After graduating from St. Olaf with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, she sang with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Virginia Symphony Chorus, and served as a local soloist. She has taught private voice and choir for almost 30 years and is a local musical director for many community theaters. She has been at YMV for over 18 years.
• Mrs. Sarah Umlauf
(Advanced Strings; Private Strings)
B.A., Music, Bob Jones University; M.A, Music (Violin Performance), Ball State University.
Mrs. Umlauf played in the first violin section of South Bend Symphony (South Bend, Indiana). She currently performs with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Sarah is a home-school mom of three daughters and in her spare time enjoys biking with them and her husband, Matthew.
• Mrs. Patricia Vera
(Middle and High School Theatre Arts)
B.A. Theatre Arts, Boston College; M.A. Communication (Cinema/Television Directing), Regent University.
Mrs. Vera comes to us with an outstanding record of theatrical and creative experience, including three major productions as the founder of KPC Theater Arts Ministry, which included some of our YMV students of the past! She has received training in Intensive Workshops and Performance Studies from Shakespeare & Company. She has worked extensively with young people in summer camps and theater training, teaching ESL to Chinese children, teaching acting classes for children, and working as a substitute and teacher’s aide in Norfolk and Virginia Beach schools. She has also been a YMV parent and loves the program.
Ms. Rachel Wambeke
(Beginning and Intermediate Strings, Private Strings)
B.M. in Music Education, Montana State University
Rachel Wambeke is thrilled to be joining the YMV family! She is currently studying her MFA in Acting at Regent University. Rachel was recently seen as the Violinist/Purple One in Regent’s musical production of Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! This past summer, Rachel had the opportunity to perform professionally as the Fiddle Player in The Robber Bridegroom with the Americana Theatre Company in Plymouth, MA. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Montana State University and a Certificate of Completion from the Sight & Sound Conservatory. She has taught private voice, violin, and piano lessons since 2019, and currently studies voice with Margaret Morrow. Rachel thanks God, her family, and her friends for all of their love and support.
• Mrs. Marcie Williams
(Private Piano; Beginning Music; Elementary Music)
B.A., Vocal Performance, Virginia Wesleyan University (Honor Graduate), majored in vocal performance and minored in piano.
Mrs. Williams has been a resident of Virginia her entire life. She has 20 years of teaching experience and loves passing on her passion for music to her students.