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The Zelma G. Rivin
Wonderful Wednesdays
Summer Music Series 2022

Summer Music Series Special!
Purchase the entire series in advance at the discounted rate of $75.00

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Wednesday, July 6th, 2022, 7:30 PM
Billye Brown Youmans, Soprano
Valetta Fellenbaum, Piano

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Soprano Billye Brown Youmans is a versatile singer, active recitalist, clinician and conductor whose voice has been recognized for “her silvery high notes to her warm middle register” (The Virginian Pilot). A proponent of American music, she has premiered songs for numerous composers including Lee Hoiby, Joelle Wallach, Andrew Bleckner and Jean Berger, with whom she toured and who considered her the foremost interpreter of his music. Her orchestral guest appearances include the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Symphonicity, Nashville Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, and the Chattanooga Symphony in addition to various choral arts societies throughout the southern United States.

As a conductor, she is acclaimed for the choral sound she achieves. The diversity of her conducting encompasses music from the Baroque to more contemporary repertoire. A frequent clinician, she offers workshops and training on diction, effective choral techniques, development of choral tone, and vocal pedagogy.

Ms. Youmans is the Director of Music at Great Bridge Presbyterian Church and is the founder of the widely respected Candlelight Concert Series at the church. Ms. Youmans holds a graduate degree in voice performance and pedagogy from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and an undergraduate degree in voice performance from Belmont University.  She is an Applied Music Specialist on the music faculty of Virginia Wesleyan College.


Ms. Youmans maintains an active private studio and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the American Choral Director’s Association and Choristers Guild. She is a recipient of the YWCA South Hampton Roads Outstanding Woman of the Year Award and has received numerous distinctions for her contributions to the arts.

Valetta Fellenbaum received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, and her master's degree from Northwestern University. She has previously taught piano and piano pedagogy appreciation at Craven Community College in New Bern, North Carolina.

From 1991 until 2020 Valetta taught at Cape Henry Collegiate School teaching piano lessons, general music, music appreciation, music theory, music history, and also serving many years as Music Department Chair. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Wesleyan University, serving as a collaborative pianist for music majors. 

Mrs. Fellenbaum is also music director at Providence Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, where she conducts the Chancel Choir and two handbell ensembles, as well as coordinates the overall music program.


Click below to purchase tickets for Billye Brown Youmans.
Tickets are $20.00 in advance for in person and live-streaming, and $25.00 at the door.

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Wednesday, July 13th, 7:30 PM

John Bullard, Classical Banjo accompanied by:

Markus Compton, Keyboard

Over the course of his performing and recording career, John Bullard has invited audiences to
share in a transformative revelation: to experience the artistic marriage of banjo and classical
music. “Absolutely enchanting,” writes critic Graham Rickson of the UK-based The Arts Desk. “A
musical education and experience that broke genre barriers,” noted Morgan Morrison, program
director for the performance space The Barns of Rose Hill.

As a classically trained musician and the first graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s
Department of Music to earn a degree in performance with the banjo, John Bullard has
established a critically praised performing and recording career dedicated to exploring the artistic
marriage of banjo and classical music. Bullard understands that accepting the banjo—a “folk”
instrument with a complex pedigree into the classical


fold is a challenging proposition for traditionalists; the guitar once had to navigate a similar journey to mainstream acceptance. But through three album-length recordings, live performance, and workshops, Bullard continues to introduce the classical banjo to a growing audience worldwide. Bullard’s concert repertoire includes solo, duet, and quartet performances of works from Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and others of the Baroque Period, along with later-period pieces by Schumann and others. More recently, Bullard has begun featuring new work by contemporary American composers, including a Caprice in D minor in the Romantic style, from composer Frank Mullen, and a set of 24 Preludes for Solo Banjo, commissioned from Adam Larrabee. In addition, Bullard is now working on a new collaboration with the genre-fusing composer Joshua Stamper. More information, including recent videos of Bullard in performance, can be found at

Markus Compton is no stranger to the music scene in metropolitan Washington, D.C., Richmond and the Williamsburg areas. He graduated suma cum laude and holds degrees in Music Education and Keyboard Collaboration from George Mason University. He is also a Fulbright scholar having studied German Lieder and French Melodie at the Musickvrein in Vienna, Austria.

Currently, Mr. Compton is the Artistic Director for the Richmond Choral Society and serves as Director of Music and Pianist at Hebron Presbyterian Church, in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. He oversees the Sanctuary and Youth choirs, as well as the ‘Music in the Countryside’ recital series. Mr. Compton also serves on the staff at Collegiate School where he teaches private piano.

Mr. Compton also served as Assistant Conductor and Pianist for the Fairfax Choral Society and Pianist for the National Men’s Chorus. He also worked as a staff accompanist, vocal coach and lecturer at George Mason University. Mr. Compton has assisted such distinguished conductors as Anton Armstrong, Thomas Beveridge,
Jerry Blackstone, Kevin Fenton, Joseph Martin, Don Neuen, Doreen Rao and Andre Thomas. He has performed at the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the White House and in a collaborative recital with Peter Schikele (PDQ Bach).

Click below to purchase tickets for John Bullard and Markus Compton.
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Wednesday, July 20th, 2022, 7:30 PM
Alma Ensemble, Chamber Trio

The Alma Ensemble was founded by flutist Sarah Wardle Jones, clarinetist Michelle Smith Johnson, and pianist Erica Sipes.  It was birthed from a desire of the founding members to create music in a way that is empowering and personally resonant. They place a high priority on playing music by other women composers, educating their audiences by creating context for the pieces we select, and challenging traditional performance paradigms that inhibit, rather than enhance, their ability to communicate and connect with an audience.  In fact, they chose the name

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“Alma” because it speaks to their mission on several levels. Because they want to their part in promoting the artistic work of women, they chose Alma Mahler as their namesake.  “Alma” also means “nourishment” or “soul” which is something that they endeavor to bring to each performance for themselves and their audiences. 


In each performance they strive to provide context for the pieces they perform.  They feel this does a service to their audience as well as the composer.  Perhaps most importantly, they want to bring a sense of authenticity to their work.  They formed this ensemble because they each had experienced the limitations and artistic sterility of performing music according to convention simply because it was expected of them.  Their feeling is that the best art creates connection and communication between people. They aim to continually grow in their capacity to draw listeners into the creative process by including unconventional elements into their performances including other art mediums, elements of audiences participation, or other genres of music that best suit the creative vision of their presentation. 

Sarah Wardle Jones is a flutist, teacher and arts administrator having earned degrees in music performance from Taylor University and Bowling Green State University where she studied under Trudy Whitford and Nina Assimakopoulos respectively.  As a flutist, she has performed internationally in venues in Europe and China and and as an educator has enjoyed her work as an adjudicator, clinician and teacher.  Sarah currently serves as the community engagement and education director of the for the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. 

Michelle Smith Johnson, a fierce advocate for Music Education, is currently serving as an orchestra director for her twelvth year with Roanoke City Public Schools, where her ensembles consistently earn Superior Ratings at Virginia Band and Orchestra Director’s Association (VBODA) Concert Assessment. Due to her outstanding achievements in music education and her positive impact on the lives of her students, Michelle was honored as John P. Fishwick Middle School's 2014 Teacher of the Year. Michelle holds performance and Music Education degrees from Radford University and completed her Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While at Tennessee, she served as principal clarinetist and E-flat clarinetist for the UT Wind Ensemble, as well as conductor of the UT Concert Band.

Erica Sipes, pianist, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music. She currently serves on the faculty of Radford University as a collaborative pianist. Previously, she has freelanced as a piano collaborator and coach in Michigan, Idaho, and Virginia. She has also performed with the Roanoke Symphony on occasion and has performed as a piano soloist with the New River Valley Symphony.  In the summer of 2012 Ms. Sipes officially launched her own business as a practice coach, offering coaching, workshops, planning sessions, and practice boot-camps for anyone that could use some help with practicing. She is also a prominent blogger, writing frequently about her views on performing, learning music, and the classical music world in general.  

Click below to purchase tickets for the Alma Ensemble.
Tickets are $20.00 in advance for in person and live-streaming, and $25.00 at the door.

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2022, 7:30 PM
Lynne Mackey,  Solo Piano

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Pianist Lynne Mackey has performed solo recitals, chamber music and concertos in the United States, Brazil, Morocco, and Western Europe. Some highlights of her career include performances at Weill Recital Hall and Merkin Hall in New York City, the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, and the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Rotterdam, Netherlands.


In Virginia, she also tours with the Commission for the Arts. Lynne holds three performance degrees: a doctorate (DMA) degree from the

Eastman School of Music, a master’s degree (MM) from The Juilliard School, and a bachelor's degree (BM) from the University of Michigan. The recipient of fellowships and residencies in Paris and at the University of Virginia, she has also presented lecture recitals at regional and national conferences, given master classes and adjudicated competitions.


 Also active as a harpsichordist, she is director of the Virginia Baroque Performance Academy, in its 13th year as part of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.   Lynne also performs in the Gee-Mackey Duo (cello and piano).


 Recent performances include concerts in Paris in the fall of 2021.  The Duo toured in Spain in the Spring of 2019, and performed at the Museu Pau Casals in Sant Salvador, the Conservatorio de Musica in Granada, and in a variety of venues along the Mediterranean coast of Andalusia. 


She has taught as Associate Professor at Eastern Mennonite University and Bluefield College, where she also held the position of Department Chair.  She currently teaches at Mary Baldwin University.

Click below to purchase tickets for Lynne Mackey.
Tickets are $20.00 in advance for in person and live-streaming, and $25.00 at the door.

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Funded in part by:

Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission

The Helen G. Gifford Fund

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