Skip to main content

2019 Workshop Faculty and Guest Artists

WVU Faculty

Janet Robbins headshot Janet Robbins 

Janet Robbins is professor emerita of music education at West Virginia University with specialization in general music methods, Orff Schulwerk, and qualitative inquiry.  Her teaching and scholarship reflect an interdisciplinary focus, promoting partnerships between university, schools, and communities; integrating music, movement, and language; studying music in and as culture; and examining intersections of research and practice. Janet has presented many professional development workshops at regional, national, and international venues. Her publications on practitioner inquiry and creative practices in music education have appeared in such journals as Research Studies in Music EducationThe Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music EducationArts Education Policy Review,  The Quarterly Journal of Teaching and LearningThe Mountain Lake ReaderJournal of Music Teacher Education, and The Orff Echo. Her 2014 chapter “Practitioner Inquiry,” in  The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research in American Music Education will be published in a forthcoming second edition in 2020.


For more than twenty years, Janet was on the summer faculty of the Orff Schulwerk Professional Development Course at the Eastman School of Music, both as a teacher and as director of the Orff   SPIEL teacher-research collaborative. She served the American Orff Schulwerk Association in many capacities as co-chair of AOSA’s 1995 National Conference/Carl Orff Centenary, chair of the Research Interest Group, a member of  The Orff Echo editorial board, and chair of the International Outreach Committee supporting Orff Schulwerk professional development around the world.


Janet’s interest in cross-cultural creativity led to the study of music and dance in Northeast Brazil and intersected with her role as lead faculty for  Music Alive!, a federally funded faculty-student exchange project between WVU and Brazil partner universities in Recife and Rio de Janeiro (2006-2012). Her book chapter, “Crossing Borders: Building Bridges for an International Exchange in Music Teacher Education,” in  Alternative Approaches in Music Education: Case Studies from the Field (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), provides a window on students’ study-abroad experiences. Janet has returned to study creative practices and musical culture in Northeast Brazil many times, including during two sabbatical projects in 2006 and 2011. She is currently a Fulbright Specialist and received an award to travel to the Federal University of Pernambuco in 2018 to collaborate on projects aimed at promoting music, culture, and creative practices taking place at the nexus of music education and ethnomusicology.

Travis Stimeling Travis Stimeling

Travis Stimeling (PhD, musicology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is associate professor of musicology and director of the WVU Bluegrass and Old-Time Bands. A scholar of commercial country and Appalachian traditional music, he is the author or editor of several books, including  Songwriting in Contemporary West Virginia: Profiles and Reflections (West Virginia University Press, 2018),  Fifty Cents and a Box Top: The Creative Life of Nashville Session Musician Charlie McCoy  (West Virginia University Press, 2017),  The Oxford Handbook of Country Music (Oxford University Press, 2017),  The Country Music Reader (Oxford University Press, 2015), and  Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks: The Countercultural Sounds of Austin's Progressive Country Music Scene (Oxford University Press, 2011). He is currently working on two books:  Nashville Cats: Record Production in Nashville, 1945-1975 (supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the WVU Faculty Senate, the West Virginia Humanities Council, and the Case Western Reserve University Center for Popular Music Studies) and  Opioid Aesthetics: Expressive Culture in an Age of Addiction.


In addition to his work as a scholar, Stimeling has also been quite active in service to the profession and the state of West Virginia. He served as a Senior Editor for The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2013), and he current serves as the book review editor for the Journal of the Society for American Music and as series editor for West Virginia University Press’s “Sounding Appalachia” series. He also serves on the board of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.


Prior to joining the faculty of WVU, he served on the faculty of Millikin University.

Mike Vercelli Mike Vercelli
Dr. Michael B. Vercelli is the director of the World Music Performance Center at West Virginia University. Michael holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance with a minor in Ethnomusicology from the University of Arizona. Michael’s research focuses on the transmission and performance practice of percussive traditions of Africa and African Diaspora. He has conducted long-term fieldwork on the xylophone traditions of Ghana and has studied in Brazil, Uganda, Cuba, and Bali. Dr. Vercelli has received many awards for both his performance and study of indigenous music and has released recordings with master Ghanaian xylophonists Tijan Dorwana and Bernard Woma. Michael has received the Snowshoe Institute Award of Excellence for Scholarship in the Arts and the WVU College of Creative Arts awards for Outstanding Service and Internationalizing the College. At WVU, Dr. Vercelli directs summer study abroad courses to Ghana and Brazil, focusing on music, dance and cultural emersion. Dr. Vercelli has published in the Percussive Arts Society’s journal,  Percussive Notes, and in the third edition of Gary Cook’s  Teaching Percussion. He is a participating member in the Society for Ethnomusicology and Percussive Arts Society where he serves on the World Percussion Committee. Michael has given lectures, performances, and workshops across the United States, Mexico, Brazil, China, Portugal, and Iceland. He is a founding member of the   Zumbumba Percussion Trio and a member of the Vic Firth educational team.   

Guest Artists

Juliana Cantarelli Vita Juliana Cantarelli Vita

Born and raised in Recife, Brazil, Juliana began studying violin when she was eight years old at the Conservatório Pernambucano de Música. Growing up surrounded by the rich musical traditions of northeastern Brazil, she had opportunities to play in traditional ensembles that integrated string quartet with a folk Brazilian fiddle (rabeca). She obtained her Bachelor's of Music in Music Education degree at the Federal University of Pernambuco, where she continued to blend her interests in ethnomusicology and music education, participating in many workshops, masterclasses, and local music festivals. In 2016, she obtained her Master’s of Music in Music Education degree from West Virginia University, where she developed her thesis, "Listening To Their Voices: An Ethnographic Study of Children’s Values and Meaning Ascribed to Learning World Music in Elementary School General Music." Juliana has presented numerous papers and workshops on Northeastern Brazilian and Community Music at state, national, and international conferences. She is currently a doctoral student and teaching assistant at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sophia Enriquez Sophia Enriquez

Originally from Clermont county, Ohio, Sophia Enriquez is a scholar, folklorist, and musician completing a PhD in ethnomusicology at Ohio State University. Sophia is a graduate of WVU’s undergraduate music education program and participated in the WVU orchestra, wind symphony, choir, and bluegrass and old times bands.


Sophia’s work as a scholar and performer incorporates the musical traditions of her mixed Mexican-Appalachian heritage. Specifically, she documents artists across the Appalachian region who exchange, mix, and reconfigure Latinx and Appalachian Music. Her project also follows the musical life of her great grandfather who migrated from the Texas- mexico border to the Mississippi delta in the 1920s where he was a leader in Mexican and country music communities. Her work tells the untold stories of Latinxs across Appalachia and shines light on their many rich musical contributions to the region.


Sophia has worked on several public folklore projects to engage the folk and traditional arts in Southern Ohio and central Appalachian, including curating the Placemaking in Scioto County” traveling community exhibit through the Center for Folklore Studies at OSU. She performs in Columbus, Ohio as part of the Good Time Girls—a female folk and Americana trio that writes original music inspired by women’s intersectional experiences—and is a student of Mexican traditions such as mariachi and canción ranchera.

Chris Haddox with guitar Chris Haddox

I was born Chris Haddox in Logan, WV in 1960. My first exposure to the type of  music I would eventually come around to write and play came from my dad. He was always singing songs that seemed strange to meturns out they were old folk songs he had heard growing up in rural WV in the 30’s. My other early musical influence was my dad’s older brother—my uncle Jim—a fantastic country blues singer and picker.  My first formal music lessons came on the piano at age 6 and I continued those until age 18. I wrote my first song in the second grade—stealing a few lines from a poem that a fellow classmate wrote about missing his father. As a teen I was influenced by John Prine, Neil Young, John Denver, Kenny Rankin and folks like that...whatever my older sister was listening to.


During my first year of college I met a guy who played the Dobro and who introduced me to the music of Tony Rice, Norman Blake, Clarence White, and other great guitar pickersFor the next several years I devoted most of my musical time to bluegrass flatpicking...never attaining guitar whiz status, but doing ok with it.  A few years later in graduate school I happened upon an album of recordings by the Delmore Brothers from the late 20s and early life was forever changed by that music--the lyrics, the singing, and the picking. I quit college and moved to Nashville—determined to make a life as a songwriter. 


Wellthat didn’t quite pan out as expected, despite three healthy stints in Music City.  I left Nashville for the last time in the late 80s and have continued to write/perform original songs in the folk/traditional/oldtime, and country veins.   Like most writers, I try to find new ways to address old topics. My songs are an attempt to make sense of the world around me. I write about people, places, events,   ups and downs, and in- betweens that continue to shape me. Some are funny, some sad, some sarcastic but they are all honesteven the ones that are full of lies. If any of this strikes your fancy, come on out for a listen!


I feed my family by being professorly at West Virginia University --teaching a variety of courses around sustainable design and community development.

Rome Hamner playing the drums

Rome Hamner 

Rome Hamner has been performing and teaching taiko for 20 years and holds a Level 1 Orff certificate. She has launched and co-directed three successful arts organizations and is currently founder and Artistic Director of the South Bay Beat Institute in San Jose. She serves on the international Taiko Community Alliance board, as General Manager for San Jose Taiko and plays in several ensembles. Her performance highlights include drumming while suspended 200ft above an audience of 20,000, performing at international festivals, televised performances, and combining circus/fire arts with taiko. She presented at PASIC in 2019. 

In addition to extensive composing and performing, Rome teaches taiko in schools and community settings. She has developed lessons for thousands of students and provided trainings on arts education, arts integration, and teaching taiko using Orff methodology. Her blog "How To Teach Taiko" is a resource for taiko players new to teaching and music teachers new to taiko.

Jesse and Emily playing instruments Jesse Milnes and  Emily Miller 

Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller perform country and old-time music, singing close harmony with Jesse's unique finger-picked guitar style and a healthy dose of old-time fiddling.  Emily was raised playing and singing Louvin Brothers and Stanley Brothers songs with her parents while they traveled the world as news editors. She is now a lead singer and twin fiddler in the country band, the Sweetback Sisters, as well as Musical Director of the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble and the Artistic Director of the Augusta Heritage Center. Jesse grew up surrounded by West Virginia old-time music, learning from masters like Melvin Wine and Ernie Carpenter as well as his father, Gerry Milnes. He regularly plays for square dances around West Virginia when he isn't on the road playing as a duo with Emily. Jesse and Emily live in central West Virginia.