Camp Levine DC Campus: NW Teacher Bios

DC Campus: NW Teacher & Staff Bios

Blythe Bonnaffons

Blythe Bonnaffons

Assistant Director of Camp Levine & NW DC, Upton St. Site Director

Blythe Bonnaffons is delighted to join the Levine Music community as the new Assistant Director of Camp Levine. Blythe recently moved to Maryland from NYC where she was working as the program director of a community music school and teaching flute. Besides Maryland and New York, Blythe has lived in Tennessee where she earned her BMus and M. Ed from Vanderbilt University and in Egypt, where she taught music at an international school. Outside of music, Blythe enjoys magical realism literature and exploring Maryland’s numerous hiking trails.

Catherine Hammes

Catherine Hammes

Assistant to the Site Director

Catherine is a rising 3rd year Flute Performance major at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her love of music can be traced back to Levine Summer Camp, where she started as a camper in 2009 before becoming a teen apprentice in 2014. She also finds great joy in playing in musical theatre pit orchestras around the area. In addition to her commitment to music, she is an amateur snowboarder and enjoys studying philosophy, which is also her minor.

Shira Ben-Ami

Shira Ben-Ami

Teen Apprentice Coordinator

Hi, I’m Shira! I’m a current undergraduate student at Tufts University studying Clinical Psychology and Roman Civilization. I have been both a camper and teen apprentice at Camp Levine and can’t wait to have a great summer with all of you! Outside of Levine, I love to read mystery books and sing or play music with my friends in our music group on campus.

Beth Barbaro

Beth Barbaro

Prekindergarten and Kindergarten

Beth has been enjoying summers at Camp Levine since 2010! She has taught preschool music and movement classes throughout Northern Virginia for over 20 years, in addition to maintaining a small music therapy private practice as a Board Certified Music Therapist. She loves sharing music with people of “all ages and stages.” When not teaching, Beth enjoys spending time with her family, as well as pursuing other creative interests – most recently, needle felting!

Hailey Ibberson

Hailey Ibberson

Prekindergarten and Kindergarten

Hailey Ibberson is an actor and teaching artist in the DMV area. In the DMV she was most recently seen in Beauty and the Beast at Olney Theatre Center. She graduated from The Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art with her BM in Musical Theatre. In addition to her work as a performer and her time teaching children, she works as a Fitness Trainer and has her Personal Trainer Certification.

Cierra Grace

Cierra Grace

Prekindergarten and Kindergarten

Cierra is an elementary general music teacher in Prince George’s County as well as a First Music teacher with Levine Music. Certified in Orff Schulwerk, Cierra also plays and teaches clarinet and bassoon. When she isn’t making music with children, she enjoys reading, shopping, cooking and traveling.

Sabrina Sanchez

Sabrina Sanchez

Music+. Puppetry & Magic.

Sabrina Sanchez is a current master’s student studying clarinet performance at the University of Maryland. Sabrina comes from Texas where she grew up and went to Texas A&M – Commerce for her bachelors in music education. Sabrina is looking forward to this experience this summer!

Caleb McClay

Caleb McClay

Music+. Vocal / Choral.

Caleb McClay is entering his third summer teaching with Camp Levine. He loves the energy and excitement the students bring to camp each day. During the year, Caleb teaches Middle School Chorus at Lake Braddock Secondary school, and he also leads the Arlington Children’s Chorus as their Artistic Director. Caleb has a great affinity for getting students moving and singing, and it’s always a hit with the summer students at Camp Levine.

Jonathan Velsey

Jonathan Velsey

Cello

Jonathan Velsey has been introducing campers to the wonders of the cello at Levine’s Music & Arts camp since 1999. A Levine alumnus himself, Jonathan received a B.A. from Bard College, and got his Master of Music degree at Northwestern University. During the year, Jonathan teaches strings in Howard County, Maryland, is on the faculty as a studio and group cello instructor at Levine and is an active freelance cellist in the Washington area. Jonathan’s musical journey has allowed him to travel and perform as solo, chamber and orchestral cellist, giving critically acclaimed recitals at home and abroad. When not teaching or performing, Jonathan enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, traveling, composing and arranging music and learning new languages.

Jimmy Kostaras

Jimmy Kostaras

Saxophone

Jimmy has been at camp since summer 2009 and was the first saxophone instructor to be part of Camp Levine. He has had students start studying saxophone with him at camp and continue private study afterwards all the way to being accepted to study saxophone at prestigious music conservatories. He earned a gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music competition and has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater as well as a featured soloist with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. Jimmy holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. He also holds top level European Union language certification in Greek language. He has taught Greek at the US Department of State Foreign Service Institute in addition to serving as a Greek language medical and legal interpreter.

Ariel Nathanson Bolinja

Ariel Nathanson Bolinja

Piano

Ariel Nathanson Bolinja graduated from University of Hartford’s The Hartt School in 2018 with a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance with a Pedagogy Emphasis. Nathanson was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society by The Hartt School of Music chapter. She graduated summa cum laude from The George Washington University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music. In her time at GWU, Nathanson was both a Presidential Scholar in the Arts for piano and a recipient of the Steiner Scholarship in Music. She was also inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In August of 2020, she began her DMA studies in piano pedagogy at the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art at The Catholic University of America under the tutelage of Dr. James Litzelman. Nathanson currently teaches piano at Levine. Prior to teaching at Levine, Nathanson taught piano and chamber music at community music schools in New England and Maryland including The Hartt School Community Division in West Hartford, CT and the International School of Music in Potomac, MD. In addition to her teaching, Nathanson has had the opportunity to perform throughout the east coast of the United States as well as internationally, in Italy, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. In 2016, she was awarded Honorable Mention in the Cremona International Competition for Piano. In 2019, she was a judge for the Little Mozarts Competition. Her principal teachers have included James Litzelman, Maggie Francis, Barbro Dahlman, Steven Snitzer, Constantine Finehouse, Mana Tokuno, Ana Popa, and Marsha Starikov.

Francisco Quintero

Francisco Quintero

Guitar

Francisco Quintero is a musician, composer, educator and producer based in Washington D.C. Originally from Venezuela, Francisco attended Berklee College of Music and Northern Illinois University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in music performance and a master’s degree in Jazz Studies respectively. He’s shared the staged with renowned musicians such as Peter Bernstein, Paul Carr, Andres Briceno, Tedd Baker, Ameen Saleem, and many more. Besides performing, Francisco is a dedicated and experienced music and guitar teacher in the Washington D.C. area.

Josh Walker

Josh Walker

Guitar

Josh is a member of Levine’s guitar faculty, teaching rock, jazz, and other contemporary guitar styles. He has taught at Camp Levine for the past 10 years. Josh has performed with different artists such as Randy Brecker and Jason Mraz, in venues ranging from locally, to in other countries, and aboard cruise ships. Josh graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, and earned his Master’s Degree from Howard University in Washington DC. Josh also completed a year of study at The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. This is Josh’s 4th year as a certified elementary music teacher in Virginia public schools.

 Ryan Roikola

Ryan Roikola

Clarinet

I am a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in the bassoon, clarinet, and the guitar. I like to help students set and accomplish their individual goals, while establishing skills and knowledge for longterm success. I have been teaching for over 5 years and have had a wide range age of students, from K-12 to collegiate students and amateur adults. I enjoy working with students in all settings from one-on-one lessons to the classroom, and seeing my students’ self-confidence, performance skills, and music appreciation grow.

Emily Gilson

Emily Gilson

Drama

Emily is delighted to be returning for her 3rd summer as drama teacher at Camp Levine! A native Washingtonian, Emily is a professional actor, singer, and voice over performer and has trained with Shakespeare and Company, Studio Theatre, SUNY Purchase, and currently studies with Matt Farnsworth Vocal                                                              Studio in NYC.

Nathan Nichipor

Nathan Nichipor

Drama

Nathan will be a senior at The Catholic University of America this fall completing his BM in Musical Theatre. He recently interned for Levine Music Theatre for their production of Mary Poppins and is excited to be back sharing his love of the arts with young performers. Some recent credits include: Next to Normal, Children of Eden (Catholic University), and The Wedding Singer (Music Director, CUA’s Centerstage). Nathan was also a music assistant, working with Broadway’s Geoffrey Ko, for a recent Workshop Musical: Radio 930, performed at Catholic. He also writes and produces his own music found on all streaming platforms.

Savannah Hanley

Savannah Hanley

Instrument Building. Snack, Break, & Aftercare

Savannah Hanley is a George Washington University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Music and Psychological & Brain Sciences. Originally from North Carolina, Savannah has spent time in DC working with GWU and the Washington Stage Guild. She is passionate about all things involving music and is looking forward to creating an engaging environment full of fun experiences for children and young adults to explore the joys that music has to offer.

Sabrina Sanchez

Sabrina Sanchez

Music+. Magic & Puppetry.

Sabrina Sanchez is a current master’s student studying clarinet performance at the University of Maryland. Sabrina comes from Texas where she grew up and went to Texas A&M – Commerce for her bachelors in music education. Sabrina is looking forward to this experience this summer!

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