"I improved my musical talent through the dedication and consideration of the staff."
-- Camper reflection

Our teaching staff includes both established professionals and graduate students from some of the most highly regarded music schools in the nation. All are experienced, caring teachers, passionate about making FMC a month of intense musical growth for all our campers.

Our counselors are often musicians as well. Many are former campers who return to help share the FMC experience with the next generation.


Peg Champney
is the founding director of FMC. A life-long friend and for many years an educator in an alternative Friends school, Peg started FMC in 1980 with her friend Jean Putnam. She is a highly honored presence at music camp, where she has influenced many generations of young people with her kindness, strength, and love of music. She lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Drea Gallaga
is a co-director of FMC. She studied music and religion at Earlham College and has a masters degree in educational policy from the University of Illinois. During the school year, Drea works at the North Shore Country Day School outside of Chicago, where she teaches high school English and coordinates the service learning program. She has spent most of her summers at FMC since she started coming in 1986 as a two-weeker, and in those twenty plus years she has been a camper, run the girls' dorm, taught flute, voice, and chorus, directed the musical theater production, and finally assumed the role of co-director. She feels honored to be working alongside both her former students and her former teachers, many of whom helped shape her own teaching style and philosophy. Drea is on leave for FMC 2016 to be with her family.

Nicholas Hutchinson
is a co-director and a piano teacher at FMC. He has taught piano for over twenty years to students of all ages.  He maintains a private studio in Chicago and has taught at various institutions including the Chelsea Center for the Arts and the Steppingstone School for the Potentially Gifted. 

In addition to his work with piano students, Dr. Hutchinson works extensively with classically trained singers.  He is director of education for the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, an organization dedicated to the study and performance of art song and vocal chamber music.  He is a lecturer in the voice department at DePaul University, and in 2014 he was the program administrator for SongFest, an intensive summer training program for singers and collaborative pianists, held at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

Dr. Hutchinson has performed throughout the United States as both collaborator and soloist.  He is a prizewinner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Kosciuzko Foundation National Chopin Competition, and was a finalist in the Oberlin International Piano Competition.  He holds degrees in piano performance and collaborative piano from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.  His former teachers include Martin Katz, Louis Nagel, Arthur Greene, and Yong Hi Moon.

Band and Brass

Jesse Metzler
has attended FMC for ten summers as both camper and staff. He teaches the band and the street band, as well as all brass lessons. During the rest of the year, he is active in Boston's freelance musician community. Jesse completed college at Montclair State University in 2010, matriculating with a B.M. in Trombone Performance.

Playing, arranging, and composing New Orleans-style brass band music has been one of Jesse's passions for the past several years. His experiences in Boston's brass bands (including the Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, and Something Shameless) led him to found FMC's Street Band, arguably one of the most enthusiastic ensembles at camp. He loves the eclectic mix of instruments that come together to build a groove in this ensemble.

Jesse studied conducting with Dr. Shelley Axelson at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and brings this experience to bear as the director of the FMC Concert Band, which he has led for the past two summers. He has also directed a brass choir at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Massachusetts, and helps lead the Trifecta Brass Trio in Cambridge.

With his partner, he now strives to bring their young daughter up in the most musical household possible.

Chorus and Musical Theater

Francis Yun, harpsichord, is a recent recipient of the Doctor of Musical Arts in Harpsichord Performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Joseph Gascho and Penelope Crawford. Dr. Yun has been a soloist with the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra and the Yellow Springs Chamber Orchestra, performing Bach's Brandenberg Concerto No. 5. An avid champion of new music for the harpsichord, Dr. Yun has also appeared as a soloist with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, premiering a piece by composer Edward Ryan called The Golden Invention. Most recently, he has performed with the esteemed baroque orchestra Apollo's Fire in their collaboration with Opera Columbus in a staging of Lully's Armide. He has performed in numerous venues on both harpsichord and piano including Columbia University for their Rabi-Warner concert series, Columbia College in Chicago, and the Kasser Theater and Leshowitz Recital Hall in New Jersey. He has also been a featured performer at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, MI, the Power Center, also in Ann Arbor, and the Detroit Museum of Art. An educator at heart, Dr. Yun has been on the faculty at Brevard Music Center and the New Jersey Youth Symphony. He has also been on the faculty at Montclair State University where he was a professor of Music Theory and a staff accompanist. Dr. Yun also taught piano for the Preparatory Center for the Arts at Montclair State University.

Corrie Van Ausdal is a writer, director and performer based in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Corrie began acting as a young child and remembers the musicals during her years as an FMC camper with great fondness. She has worked on the stage, on camera, as a voiceover artist and performance artist.  Corrie is well known for her portrayal of Apollonia in The Show Formerly Known As Purple Rain and for her solo performances of Sorry, Wrong Number and Braces, which she also wrote. In addition to Friends Music Camp, Corrie has directed plays and readings for The Living Room, The Fishtank (Kansas City), and the Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse, and taught acting for The Coterie Theatre. This fall she will debut an original serial podcast drama called Zombie High School.

Corrie spends her free time with her family, blogging about small town life (, and playing lots of volleyball. Corrie greatly enjoys working with the campers at FMC and looks forward to their creative energy each year.  She has been on staff since 2010.

Our voice teacher Minnita Daniel-Cox directs the two-week musical theater production.


Joseph Bishop teaches guitar lessons, guitar group classes, and music theory.

Orchestra and Strings

Lisa Liske-Doorandish, cellist, lives in the mountains of southwest Virginia, where she is presently preparing an eclectic CD of solo cello music, reflecting her interest in old, new, and world music as well as her love of the voice of the cello. 

She is a member of the recently-formed New River Ensemble, with longtime colleagues Brendan Cooney (piano, banjo, guitar, vocals, composition) and Martha Hyde (clarinet, saxaphone, vocals, composition).  New River Ensemble taps into the musical current of our time, presenting an integration of styles and periods of music performing original compositions and that of others.

Lisa's book on cello technique and her book of repertoire for beginner cellists are works in progress.  Lisa continues her work with cellists ages 3-adult through her private cello studio, Community Cello Works, with a thoughtful pedagogy based in her years of Suzuki teacher training but including a flexible repertoire and awareness of the revolutionary, diverse approaches to cello playing that are now at liberty world-wide.  She frequently serves as a guest artist and teacher at workshops and summer music camps.

Her other interests and concerns include the health of the planet; education for wisdom, knowledge, and resourcefulness rather than solely information; and community planning for a post-carbon society.  Her husband, Dariush, is a medical student.  Their two daughters, Miriam and Eleanore, both play the cello and enjoy books, art, and nature. 

Daniel Winnick is pleased to return for a second summer at FMC teaching violin and viola. A resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, he holds dual bachelor’s degrees in history and violin performance from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Andrew Jennings.

Daniel has worked with students ranging in age from pre-K to high school. From 2013-16, he has taught after-school violin classes to at-risk youth in Flint, Michigan as part of the Sphinx Organization’s Overture Program. He currently teaches elementary strings classes at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, and he is on the faculty of Cultural Art Strings of Manchester, Michigan.

Daniel is the assistant concertmaster of the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, a member of the orchestras of Flint and Battle Creek, and he has performed with several of Michigan’s other orchestras, including the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and Michigan Opera Theatre. He has also served as concertmaster for Arbor Opera Theater, and performed with Opera MODO, an innovative company based in Detroit. In February of this year, Daniel was selected to perform in the Conciertos de la Villa de Santo Domingo, a festival that included workshops and performances that engaged students all over the Dominican Republic.

As a chamber musician, Daniel has performed with the Kalamazoo Symphony’s Burdick-Thorne String Quartet and with Rick Robinson’s CutTime ensembles. He has participated extensively in the Ann Arbor and Detroit chapters of Classical Revolution, a group that brings classical music to non-traditional spaces. Daniel has performed as a member of the band The Thornbills, and he has recorded for numerous Detroit-area artists, including the R&B singer KEM and American Idol runner-up Jena Irene.

From an early age, Russian-born violinist Dr. Maria Bessmeltseva has performed in the concert halls of Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Italy, and the United States of America. Dr. Bessmeltseva's solo career has taken her from the celebrated stages of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York City to the Glinka Philharmonic Chamber Hall and St. Petersburg State Capella in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has appeared as a soloist with the Symphony of the Mountains in Tennessee, the Southern Great Lakes Symphony in Michigan, the Firelands Symphony in Ohio, and the Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra in Arkansas. In addition to her live performances, Dr. Bessmeltseva has also appeared on local TV and radio stations in Bloomfield Hills, MI, Rutland, VT, and South Hadley, MA.

Dr. Bessmeltseva earned her degrees from Oberlin College, Bowling Green State University and University of Michigan. 

While not performing, Dr. Bessmeltseva teaches at various summer music festivals, including PhoenixPhest Chamber Music Festival in Ann Arbor, MI, Summer String Camp at BGSU in Bowling Green, OH, and Friends Music Camp in Barnesville, OH. She has also served as a judge at the Ohio Music Teachers Association State Buckeye Audition and the Ohio Music Teachers National Association Competition. 

Dr. Bessmeltseva will start teaching at Heidelberg University this fall.


Nicholas Hutchinson, listed above as one of our directors, teaches piano as well. 

Xavier Suarez
is organist at at Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania, Ohio, pianist for the Bowling Green Middle/High School in Ohio, where he works with students from 6th through 12th grade in sectionals and individual singing, and faculty at Friends Music Camp since 2010. He won first prize at the 2010 First Eastern Michigan Chamber Music Competition as a member of the SIX Trio and continues to collaborate extensively with numerous competition prizewinners as well as recitalists. A sought-after collaborator, he works with talented instrumentalists and singers alike throughout the states of New York, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Puerto Rico. He holds a MM in Collaborative Piano from the University of Michigan under Martin Katz and a MM in Piano Performance from Eastern Michigan University under Dr. Garik Pedersen. He was the Music Director and Accompanist Artist in Residence for the Pensacola Opera (Pensacola, FL) in their 2016 season. He collaborated at the 2013 Manhattan Summer Voice Festival, held a teaching position at Adrian College (Adrian, MI) and currently maintains a private studio in the Bowling Green area as a piano teacher and voice coach.


A native of Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Minnita Daniel-Cox attended Bowling Green State University where she majored in Music Performance.  Upon completion of her baccalaureate studies, she attended The University of Michigan where she received her Master of Music and her Doctor of Musical Arts degrees.
It was at BGSU that Ms. Daniel-Cox, for the first time, experienced the thrill of the lyric stage.  Two of her notable roles include "Leonora" in the world premiere of the opera Witness by Zae Munn, and "Irene" in the world premier of James P. Johnson's The Dreamy Kid, which the Ann Arbor news described as “compelling and beautifully sung”.
This year, Dr. Daniel-Cox performed with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Society of Dayton, and debuted with the Dayton Opera in the role of Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. She has appeared with the University of Dayton, Yellow Springs, Flint, Ann Arbor and South Bend Symphony Orchestras as well as the Defiance and Packard Symphonic Bands. Her collaboration with Herbert Martin, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”: A celebration of Paul Laurence Dunbar has been performed across the U.S. and has lead to the establishment of the Dunbar Multicultural Series and the Dunbar Music Archive. 
Dr. Daniel-Cox has a passion for teaching and has taught music courses or applied voice for programs at Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University, and within the award-winning music program at Grosse Pointe South High School. Dr. Daniel-Cox is Assistant Professor of Voice and Coordinator of the Voice Area at the University of Dayton where she teaches applied lessons, music courses, coordinates the Vocal Performance Institute, a summer program for high school aged singers.

One of our dorm counselors, Alissa Plenzler, also teaches voice.

Martha Hyde
has taught at Friends Music Camp for twenty of the more than thirty years that the camp has existed. She has wide experience teaching all ages, having run band programs in New York City public schools as well as teaching one to one and in small classes in both public and private school settings. She is a co-founder of the New River Ensemble with Brendan Cooney and Lisa Liske-Doorandish. Their mission is to unlock the inner musician in everyone through interactive workshops.

As a performer Martha has played in venues ranging from Alice Tully Hall to CBGB's to the cathedral of St. John the Devine as well as tours on four continents. She can regularly be seen in the orchestra pits on Broadway and has performed with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Whoopi Goldberg and Antonio Banderas. She is a member of the Gotham Wind Symphony which has released three CD's and she is also on numerous cast recordings. 

Pam Wilkinson
is a freelance performer and teacher based in Austin, Texas. In May 2014, she received her Master's of Music in Clarinet Performance from the University of Texas, where she studied with Nathan Williams. In addition to performing in familiar concert settings, Pam frequently participates in events that take classical music into community settings such as schools, libraries, and museums. As a teacher, she has been working with both middle- and high-school students at all levels for more than five years. Pam has been on staff at FMC for seven years; two as a member of the dorm staff and three as a teacher. She was also a happy camper for two years. For more information on Pam, please visit her website at

Dorm Counselors

Meaghan Diffenderfer
spent seven summers at FMC as a camper, and is thrilled to be returning for her second year on dorm staff! Meaghan completed just completed her B.A. in Music and Political Science at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, VT and will be returning to Vermont in August. She is looking forward to spending the month surrounded by the music and community that she looked forward to and loved for so many summers as a camper.

A newcomer to Friends Music Camp, soprano Alissa Plenzler is excited to be on staff as both girl’s counselor and voice teacher.  Hailing from South Bend, Indiana, she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Dayton and will become a Master of Music student with the same concentration at Bowling Green State University this fall.  She has been an Emerging Artist for a six-week study in Arezzo with the Oberlin in Italy program, and last summer, traveled to Kamuela, Hawaii for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival singing the role of Papagena in Mozart’s The Magic Flute as well as Naiade and Spring in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen.  Other notable roles are Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Carmen Ghia in Schikele’s The Stoned Guest.

Alissa also teaches voice lessons at FMC.

Michael Mikulka is a composer and horn player currently based in Austin, Texas, where he recently completed his Doctorate in Composition at the University of Texas. Michael has been named a winner or finalist of 30 composition contests and calls for scores, and his music has been performed by members of the Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, as well as by performance faculty at colleges around the country.
Michael is the creator and operator of and, which promote the self-published music of emerging composers for free. He was also the creator and conductor of the Vine Orchestra, which premiered over 50 six-second compositions.

Rory Papania is overjoyed to be returning to the dorm staff at FMC for the third time after two years as a camper. He holds a Bachelor of Specialized Studies with a concentration in Global Politics and Human Rights from Ohio University, where he spent much of his time as a member of the Singing Men of Ohio. He recently planned the group's spring tour, which included performances in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Nashville. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, and volunteering at WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, OH. You might find him playing guitar, bass, drums, or singing at your local dive as a member of several bands and various musical projects. Or you might not find him at all due to his propensity for traveling and his tendency to get lost in the woods.

First Aid Personnel

Eden Matteson was an FMC camper for three years and is thrilled to have the opportunity to return this year as camp nurse.  She graduated from Earlham College where she majored in Biology and Psychology and sang in the Gospel Revs.  Eden attended nursing school at NYU and worked as a postpartum nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan for 7 years, before moving to Chicago and then Yellow Springs with her husband and two children, Eli and Violet.  Eden looks forward to spending a few weeks in Barnesville with some of her former teachers and peers, and will especially enjoy the sounds of morning practice time and the silence of evening collection.

Staff Support

Erin Diffenderfer, staff childcare, has been attending FMC since 1999 with the exception of a two year hiatus between being a camper and counselor. She graduated in 2010 from Loyola University of Chicago where she majored in elementary and special education and minored in flute performance. During the year she teaches second grade at Cambridge Friends School. She absolutely loves getting to know and care for the staff children and campers alike. She has been inspired by the FMC staff since she was ten years old and is thrilled to be part of such a talented, committed, and creative group.