George Alevrofas - Guitar
I have been playing guitar for 13 years and counting, and I play electric, acoustic, and classical guitar. I started with learning my favorite rock and metal tunes, and then started to write my own music. In 2002, I began learning some scales and theory that applied to the fretboard, which then sent me in to another direction. When I learned scales and theory on the guitar, it opened a whole other world for me, which made me understand what my favorite bands were playing, thus making it easier for me to learn! Towards the end of high school, I was very serious about the guitar and I always wanted more.
I enrolled in AACC in 2006, and studied guitar under Doug Mattingly, and classical guitar under Ian Wardenski. In two and a half years I gained the knowledge I needed to audition for Towson University. In 2009 I began studying classical guitar with Troy King, and also took classes with Tom Lagana. At Towson, I really discovered my passion for classical music, especially for 18th and 19th century music, and also for the great J.S. Bach. I graduated from Towson in 2013 with a BM in classical guitar performance.
I write my own music, and I continue to learn new classical repertoire everyday. The road has only begun, and I'm on it for life!
Olga Ballengee - Violin/Viola
I started playing violin at the age of seven when I enrolled in music school in my hometown, Lublin, Poland. Although faced with many obstacles I continued my musical training throughout elementary and high school. I also played piano, church organ, and guitar, but the violin has always been my first passion. In school, I not only studied performance, but also music theory, sight singing, aural skills, music history, and music literature.
I eventually earned a master’s degree in musicology from Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, in 2006. While studying in Lublin I was involved in various musical projects, including the independent pop band Klub Dobrej Piosenki with whom I traveled Poland and participated in several concerts and festivals.
Upon graduation I decided to leave Poland and pursue an academic career in music in the United States. I landed in Bowling Green in Northwest Ohio, where I began working toward a second master’s degree in ethnomusicology. At Bowling Green I was a member of the Philharmonia, jazz string quartet, New Music Organization - Praecepta, and Afro-Caribbean Ensemble. I also had the enormous privilege to study violin under the tutelage of Prof. Vasile Beluska, whose patience and practicality inform much of my personality as a teacher today.
After earning master’s degree from Bowling Green in 2008 I moved to Gainesville, Florida. There I continued my musical journey by performing a wide range of ensembles, including the Chutzpah Klezmer Band, the University of Florida Near Eastern Orchestra, and the Musical Theater Program at the School of Theater and Dance at UF. In Gainesville, I was also honored to study with jazz/rock violinist Geoffrey Fitzhugh Perry, whose easy approach to “jazz fiddling” and musical improvisation has been both an inspiration and a vitally important component of my violin teaching curriculum.
Over the course of my career, I participated in numerous string seminars with well-known specialists, including an Arab music workshop with the Arabesque Music Ensemble, during which I was a featured soloist, and a klezmer workshop with the Swedish band Den Flygande Bokrullen, held during the Klezmer Music & Tradition Festival, where I won the title of Best Violinist. In the end, my ability to play in many different styles has kept me in great demand as a performer and a teacher.
In 2013, my husband Chris and I moved to Arnold, Maryland. I teach violin in Music&Arts in Severna Park and invite you to join my studio.
For more on my violin teaching visit: olgaballengee.com
Chris McMahan - Percussion
Instructor of Band, Orchestra, Guitar, Percussion Studies, Honors and AP Music Theory at Glen Burnie High School, Glen Burnie, MD
Mr. McMahan is originally from Cleveland, TN and has been the director of the Glen Burnie High School Band since 2006. Prior to GBHS, he was the Band Director at White County Middle School and Assistant Band Director at White County High School in Sparta, TN.
He is a graduate of Tennessee Technological University where he received his degree in Music Education (percussion major) and has been teaching since 2003. While in college, Mr. McMahan was a member of the Golden Eagle Marching Band, Pep Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Bryan Symphony. As a part of Abusua, TTU's West African Drumming and Dancing Ensemble, he traveled to Ghana, West Africa to study West African drumming and dancing with the Ewe people in the village of Kopeyia. Mr. McMahan received his Masters in Music Education degree from Boston University.
In 2001, Mr. McMahan became a member of the Independent World Indoor Percussion group, Music City Mystique, which went on to win WGI Championships in the Percussion-Independent World category.
Mr. McMahan teaches drum set and percussion lessons at Music & Arts Center in Severna Park, MD. He is endorsed by Vic Firth sticks and mallets.