Home School Music Association
Phil Benson was a student in the HSMA during its first full year in 1993 – playing his cello in what we used to call the Home School Band. From 1994 to 1998 he played in our first orchestra, the Home School Orchestra. He went on to study Music Education at Central Michigan University before returning to HSMA as a substitute conductor from 2006 to 2008. Mr. Benson taught band, orchestra, and choir in Arizona for three years and has been active in his church choirs and in community orchestras since 1996. He serves as the string program director and works with the Senior Orchestra.
Jim Butler was chosen two times to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Michigan State University, where he studied Euphonium with the legendary Leonard Falcone. Mr. Butler taught band for six years prior to joining HSMA, has directed church choir since 1982, and is also a private music teacher. He is chair of the HSMA band program and does extensive music writing and arranging for the organization. Mr. Butler has conducted Symphonic Band since 2000.
Kara Damon started playing the clarinet as a student in HSMA in 2001. In 2012 she was selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival honors band. Since graduating, she has been an accompanist for both the Bel Canto Chorale and the Chancel Choir and began conducting for HSMA in 2015. Miss Damon teaches piano, clarinet, and voice.
Elizabeth Dugan-Shomksy is originally from Bath, Michigan. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from GVSU in 2014 and her Masters in Music from MSU in 2018. She has studied under renown singers such as Jane Bunnell, Mark Rucker, and Dale Schriemer. Some of her performances include solo appearances with the Opera Grand Rapids Ballet & Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids Company, and numerous galas and events across the Midwest and Italy. In 2008, Elizabeth was the recipient of the Francis Simpson Scholarship and Artists Circle award within the HSMA. That same year she also received first place in Vocal Soloist at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival.
Ian Dufrin was a student and alumnus participant in HSMA. He was the 2013 Artist Circle performer and has taught music as a private instructor since 2009. He enjoys playing many other instruments and has played in many different musical groups and events. He began conducting at HSMA in the fall of 2017.
Chantelle Frazier began as a parent participant with HSMA, conducted Beginning Strings from 2006 to 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Olivet College where she majored in instrumental music, violin being her primary instrument. Mrs. Frazier has been teaching music in her private studio and in public and community schools since 1981. She has conducted the Junior Orchestra since 2007.
Maryann Hammar earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from Indiana Wesleyan University, with Horn and Voice as her primary instruments. She started a home school band in northern Michigan, which she directed from 2000 to 2004, and after moving to Lansing, she joined HSMA. Mrs. Hammar has conducted the Cadet Band since 2005.
Gene Harris II
Gene Harris II was a student and alumnus participant in HSMA. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Great Lakes Christian College, where he graduated salutatorian in 2010, having majored in both Music and Bible Theology. A certified Suzuki instructor, he teaches private violin lessons, conducts church choir, and enjoys composing music. Mr. Harris has conducted Intermediate Strings 2 since 2010.
Jeannette Hughes has a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in music and a vocal specialization. She has conducted children’s choirs in Idaho public schools and many church children’s choirs. Mrs. Hughes has been a substitute conductor for HSMA and began conducting for HSMA in 2015.
Patrick O’Donnell was selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Grand Rapids Baptist College. He taught music in both public and private schools since 1982 and has also directed church orchestras. Conductor of Beginning Band, Mr. O’Donnell has been an HSMA band conductor since 1997.
Jennie Visscher originally joined HSMA as conductor of the Junior Orchestra. Her principal instrument is violin. She is a certified Suzuki instructor and has taught violin, viola, and cello since 1997. She directed the Senior Orchestra for seven years, Benginning Strings for ten years, and is a substitue conductor as her schedule allows. Mrs. Visscher has been conducting with HSMA since 2002.