Rebeca Garcia Ardis

Rebeca Ardis holds a Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees in Music Performance (violin) from Michigan State University. She is a Suzuki-certified violin instructor, has taught strings classes in a school setting for over thirteen years, and has taught privately for over twenty years. This is Mrs. Garcia Ardis’ first year as a conductor of Intermediate Strings with HSMA.


Phil Benson 

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.

Christina Dugan Blackburn 

Mrs. Christina Dugan Blackburn is an HSMA alumnus who served as Concert Master of the Senior Orchestra, and was twice selected to participate in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (the first HSMA student ever so honored). She has conducted in the orchestra program and has directed Elementary Music and Music Fundamentals classes. Mrs. Blackburn has been conducting with HSMA since 2004.

Jim Butler

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 or Symphony Orchestra since 2000.

Ian Dufrin

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 and currently works with the Symphony Orchestra.

Elizabeth Dugan-Shomsky

Elizabeth Dugan-Shomsky is originally from Bath, Michigan. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Grand Valley State University in 2014 and her Master in Music from Michigan State University in 2018. She has studied under renowned 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 Music Fundraising 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. She received first place in the Grand Valley State University Concerto competition in 2013, and in 2014, placed first in the Opera Grand Rapids Vocal competition. She currently is a voice faculty member of the Flint Institute of Music and is the Head of the Vocal department for the Home School Music Association. She diligently seeks to foster passion and support for the vocal arts through ministry, education, and performance opportunities.

Maryann Hammer

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 since 2010.

Anna Holmes

Mrs. Anna Holmes has participated with HSMA since 2011 with her daughter and son. She is a Music Director of Ministry in the Saginaw Diocese and a pianist for over 20 years. She has had training in vocal, conducting, piano and violin. She has participated with several groups within HSMA including Music Fundamentals, Poko Ayre, Chancel Choir and Beginning Strings through Jr. Orchestra.


Liza Morrow

Liza Morrow is the mother of several HSMA students. She has a BA in history and education from Hanover College. Liza has been participating in the program since 2021. She also lends her time to serve on the HSMA board. 


Patrick O’Donnell

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.

Marlin Sickle

Marlin Sickle is a former HSMA alumni. She graduated in 2016 and went on to compete in a Cello Performance degree at MSU in 2022 studying under Professor Suren Bagratuni. She now runs her own cello Studio and performs in private events Near the Lansing area. Marlin has a passion for helping students learn to play their instrument without tension and or pain in the bodies and strives to help her students perform in a safe and comfortable way. 

Michael Surato

Michael Surato has been playing a musical instrument since kindergarten. He has played his trombone with several groups through the years including the HSMA Symphony Orchestra, MSU’s Spartan Marching Band, Spartan Brass, and Charlotte’s Community Band. He has a son in his third year with HSMA and this is his first year conducting at HSMA

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