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Meet Our Teachers

ADAM CHISMAN

Guitar Teacher

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Adam Chisman grew up in Oregon WI, and graduated from Oregon High School in 2009. Adam began his study of guitar with the late John Bauman in 2004. From 2006 through 2008, he studied the Berklee method of guitar under Sims Delaney-Potthoff. Adam also studied Music Theory and Music Composition. In 2007, Adam attended Guitar Sessions at Berklee College of Music and went on to major in Guitar Performance at Berklee. After college, Adam spent six months traveling in New Zealand and participating in the WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) program. Adam also worked as a Library Assistant at the Oregon Public Library from 2009 through 2016. Adam joined Academy of Sound as a guitar teacher in 2011. He began working as a Managing Director in 2016. Adam currently lives abroad and continues to teach online.

ERIN CHISMAN

Founder

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Erin Chisman began teaching piano in 1997. In 2003, she opened Erin's Piano Studio, which became Academy of Sound in 2007 in Oregon, WI. Erin studied piano with Margaret McKay, Stoughton. Erin has also been in numerous choirs, and has studied violin, flute, and voice. Erin competed in the National Piano-Playing Auditions through the American College of Musicians at the district and national levels 1996-1999, and was awarded the Director's Service Award at Oregon High School in 1999. She earned her Category A Piano Teacher Certification from the Mayron Cole Music Conservatory, Austin TX in 2006. Erin has contributed to the community through extensive volunteer work, including co-founding the Oregon Youth Center, four years as a board member of the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce including roles as Secretary, Vice President, and President. Erin was named one of InBusiness Magazine's "40 Under 40" in 2014. Erin maintains a travel hacking YouTube channel boasting 78,000+ views. Erin currently lives abroad, and also owns the business consulting & accounting firm Elevated Business Services.​ More info

EMMA CIFRINO

Viola, Violin, & Cello Teacher

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Emma Cifrino is a violist and violinist currently pursuing her DMA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Emma began her studies with Betsy Kobayashi at the Pineland Suzuki School in Augusta, ME. She holds a B.Mus from Lawrence University, and an M.Mus from Bowling Green State University. At Bowling Green she was a member of the Graduate String Quartet and served as principal viola in the Bowling Green Philharmonia. Emma has almost a decade of experience teaching students of all ages and levels. She believes that her primary duty as a music educator is to produce students who are respectful of the art of music-making. This means instilling students with good practice habits, encouraging participation in chamber ensembles, and modeling a scholarly – but enthusiastic –  approach to performance. Emma joined Academy of Sound in 2017.

NANCY COX

Piano Teacher

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Nancy Cox has studied piano since the age of 6, with 50+ years of music, piano, and vocal study. Nancy has performed in many local theater productions at Oregon High School and with Oregon Straw Hat Players, as pianist and backup keyboard accompanist. She has taught piano since 2005 both in Stoughton and Oregon, with prior piano teaching experience in Minnesota. She has accompanied choirs and soloists at Oregon High School under two former choral directors: Tom Mielke and Candie Douglas. She has accompanied church choirs at First Presbyterian of Oregon and Unity Church of Madison for over 20 years, and is presently employed by First Presbyterian Church as a Pianist & Organist. Nancy has sung in many choirs, most recently in the Stoughton Festival Choir. Past vocal experience includes private study with Genevieve Gersbach of Madison, and 15 years singing with the First Unitarian Society choir under Ellsworth Snyder. Nancy's degrees include a Bachelor of Arts from University of Minnesota, major in English, minor in humanities, with coursework in music; and Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nancy joined Academy of Sound in 2006.

ESTHER DELAMATER

Viola & Violin Teacher

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Esther Delamater is a violist and violinist, originally from Southern California. She began her musical studies in the Suzuki strings program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music where she was inspired by her teacher, Rachel Fabulich, to pursue music in college. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University, where she studied with Anthony Devroye and the Avalon String Quartet. While at NIU, she performed in the NIU Philharmonic, the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the NIU Chinese Music Ensemble, and various chamber music groups. She also taught music lessons at the NIU Community School of the Arts. Esther went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Music Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied with Sally Chisholm and performed in the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra. Esther has studied Suzuki pedagogy with Ann Montzka-Smelser at NIU and the American Suzuki Institute, as well as with Liz Arbus at the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute. She also studied String Pedagogy with Eugene Purdue and the Feldenkrais Method with Uri and Hagit Vardi while at U.W. Madison. Esther currently enjoys teaching her wonderful students at the Academy of Sound and performing as a frequent sub in the viola section of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. Esther is passionate about teaching and inspiring her students to create beautiful music. She joined Academy of Sound in 2020.

CHARLOTTE HENDRICKSON

Piano Teacher & Receptionist

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Charlotte Hendrickson has been studying piano at Academy of Sound since the age of five. She is a serious and dedicated piano student, earning a perfect score at the Fall Piano Festival in 2013, which was just her second year of piano studies. She has continued to compete whenever possible, always with excellent scores, including the Sonatina Festival, and WSMA Solo & Ensemble Festival. Charlotte is currently a student at Oregon High School. She was a percussionist in band for three years, and sang in chorus for a year. Charlotte is the Class of 2024 Representative on the OHS Student Council, and is a part of the OHS Multicultural Student Union. She has been playing lacrosse since 2015, among many other sports throughout her childhood. Charlotte volunteers with her grandmother at an American Girl doll sale where all of the proceeds go to charity. After high school, Charlotte plans to work toward a bachelor's degree in biology, and go on to medical school. Charlotte joined the Academy of Sound faculty in 2021. 

ELISA KAETHER

Director of Education

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Elisa Kaether joined the Academy of Sound staff in 2013 as a receptionist and began teaching in 2018. Having grown up around the Academy all her life, she chose violin and drums as her primary instruments, while also studying piano, voice and ukulele. Elisa has had roles in several productions, including The Wizard of Oz, The Pirates of Penzance, The Matchmaker, Spaghetti Island, Once Upon a Mattress, You Can't Take it With you, and more recently, Beauty and The Beast and Disaster! The musical. Elisa started and led the Oregon Youth Center Dance Crew for three years, and founded and led Noteworthy, the a cappella choir at Oregon High School. She has helped with numerous children's musicals through Oregon Community Ed and Academy of Sound. Elisa was the Interim Director of the Oregon Youth Center prior to becoming the Co-Director of Education here. Elisa was inducted into the International Thespian Society in 2017, and after graduating from Oregon High School she studied music education at Madison College.

ALLY KURIHARA

Piano and Saxophone Teacher

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Ally Kurihara is from Lancaster, Wisconsin. She began taking piano lessons when she was 8 years old, and continued through high school. She also plays the saxophone, which she began playing when she was 12 years old, and continued to study seriously through college. Ally studied at Lawrence University where she earned her degree in music education. During her time at Lawrence, she discovered she enjoys both teaching and traveling. Ally has taught music in (the U.S.) Jamaica, Haiti, and New Zealand. Outside of teaching, Ally has her own business in piano technology. She repairs, tunes, and cares for pianos.  Ally has been enjoying fostering her love of music by teaching at Academy of Sound. She joined the Academy of Sound faculty in 2019.

MICHAEL MODAFF

Drum and Percussion Teacher

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Michael began playing drums at the age of two. He was a self-taught drummer for years until he started taking lessons at Academy of Sound in 2012. In the six years that Michael took lessons at Academy of Sound, he developed strong drumming skills and a strong passion for music performance. Michael has been heavily involved in the Oregon School District’s music programs. He participated in the school's percussion ensemble, jazz band, and various concert bands. Outside of school, Michael participated in Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps as well as Shadow Indoor Percussion. After graduating from Oregon High School in 2022, Michael is currently attending the University Of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he is working towards his bachelor of science in Kinesiology. Although he is not studying music, he is actively a part of the university's percussion ensemble program.

SEAN PANZER

Associate Piano Teacher, Receptionist

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Sean is from Oregon, WI and has been studying piano at Academy of Sound since 2012, primarily studying with Ms. Erin Chisman until 2020, and currently with Mr. Chris Telfer. He also studies percussion and cello in the Oregon School District. Sean is a student at Oregon High School, and began working as a teacher and receptionist at Academy of Sound in 2023.

KENDRA PETERSON

Piano, Clarinet, and Saxophone Teacher

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Kendra is from Vinton, Iowa. She started piano when she was 5 and clarinet when she was 10. She continued to play piano throughout her life and studied clarinet for her undergraduate degree. Kendra holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance/Management from Luther College (Decorah, IA). She was principal clarinetist in Luther College's Symphony Orchestra and Band. She also played tenor saxophone in the jazz band and was selected as one of the student accompanists for the college. Outside of Academy of Sound, Kendra is a manager at Ward-Brodt Music. She joined Academy of Sound in 2022. 

JOSH ROCKWELL

Assistant Director of Education

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Josh Rockwell is from Oregon, WI, and has recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in Geospatial Analysis which involves creating maps and models of spatial information. In school, Josh played the trombone for five years and participated in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. Josh is an Acadamy of Sound Alumni, learning guitar in his younger years. Josh has also sang in various choirs and most recently was a part of the Eau Claire Singing Statesmen choral group as well as participated in musicals and plays throughout his high school career. Josh joined the Academy of Sound faculty in 2023.

ADDISON SWAN

Associate Cello Teacher

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Addie began studying cello at the age of eight with Hannah Wolkstien and currently studies with Professor Whitcomb at UW Whitewater. She is a dedicated musician having played with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra for seven years, in the WYSO Chamber Program, as well as many other programs. To continue her love of music, she plays bassoon and euphonium in the Oregon High School Bands as well as in the OHS pit orchestra, alternating between cello and bassoon. She has also studied piano with Jullie Zimmerman for five years. During the summer, she will be attending Interlochen to play at the cello intensive, UW Madison's Summer Clinic, and Birch Creek's Symphony Session. In her free time, Addie dances at the Brodhead Dance Academy, she is a member of leadership in three clubs at OHS and is a general member of two others, and she also volunteers at a variety of different places. After high school, Addie plans to attend college to dual major in cello performance and performing arts management. 

CHRIS TELFER

Teacher

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Chris Telfer comes to us with a BA in Vocal, General & Instrumental Music from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. He also holds a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Marian College, and has a Doctoral Degree-in-progress at Edgewood College in Educational Leadership. Chris has worked as a Choral Director, Vocal/General Music Director, and Instrumental Director at multiple schools and grade levels. He is currently working in the Mount Horeb School District teaching 6th Grade General Music and Choir. Chris teaches brass instruments such as trombone, trumpet, euphonium, tuba, and the baritone, woodwind instruments, as well as piano, drums, and voice, and originally joined Academy of Sound in 2012. 

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