Rob Linton

Rob Linton has been playing Electric Bass for over five years, and Double Bass for three years. In addition to being an international performer, he has worked with legends such as Jeff Coffin, Roy Wooten (Future Man), Tim Armacost, John Clayton, Jim Brock, Mark Braud, Ashlin Parker, and many others. Rob plays many different styles of music including Classical, Jazz, Funk, R/B, Gospel, Bluegrass, and Rock.

He is pursuing a Jazz Certificate and a B.A. in Music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he primarily studies Classical and Jazz Bass.

Over the past year, some highlights of Rob’s performing career include gigging around Charlotte in small Jazz groups, performing in Winston Salem and Durham with the UNCC Jazz Ensemble, performing in Tel Aviv, Israel, performing the famous Puccini Opera, “La Boheme”, and performing with Charlotte’s Jazz Arts Initiative group.

Blake Brown

Blake Brown has been playing guitar for over a decade and teaching for the past three years. He has experience performing and teaching a variety of styles including Rock, Metal, Jazz, Bebop, Swing, Folk, and Country.
Blake is currently enrolled at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a focus on Jazz Guitar.
Blake plays regularly for local establishments, guitar ensembles, and Jazz trios. He also volunteers his time to provide music education at a homeless center in Rock Hill.

Hilary Kearns

Hilary Kearns has been teaching for 3 years and has been playing piano and studying voice since 2002. She has accompanied choirs, musicals, and singers of all kinds. Hilary has performed in several operas and musicals, including playing Fantine in Les Misérables: School Edition, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Hilary graduated from Northwest School of the Arts in 2009. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Appalachian State University in 2013, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Florida State University in 2015.
Hilary is currently the music director at Sardis Baptist Church. She is a member of the Charlotte Symphony Chorus, and takes part in various opera and musical theatre productions in and around Charlotte.

Colin Ray

Colin Ray began playing drums and percussion at the age of eleven. Living and performing in Charlotte for over a decade, he earned a Bachelors degree in Music from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte studying under composer and percussion guru Rick Dior. During this time, he has performed in a variety of settings as a member of the Jazz, Percussion, and Wind ensembles, Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Combo, and Basketball band.
Recently, Colin has been involved with Broadway musicals and shows at venues throughout the region, including the Booth Playhouse and the Knight Theater. He is currently a member of numerous local bands and frequently substitutes at several different churches.
Colin has been teaching all ages for many years with experience in a multitude of styles, and can also teach early piano and music theory.

Valerie Freeman

Valerie Freeman has played violin for more than 30 years and viola for more than 20. She has been a strings instructor for over a decade.
She attended the highly selective Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Since returning to Charlotte, she rounded out her training with Jon Singleton.
Valerie’s music interests have broadened beyond her solid classical training to include traditional folk music (primarily Celtic), topped off with musical show tunes.
Her most recent performance experience includes 2 years with the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, where she fills in as needed in the 1st and 2nd violin and viola sections.

Russell Sharp

Russell Sharp, originally from Connecticut, started playing drums in ‘69, after being inspired by Woodstock. He has been teaching drums for over 10 years.

Having over 35 years of experience, Russ has made tremendous strides in the Rock n’ Roll, Blues, Funk, R&B, Jazz/Rock and Progressive Rock areas. The use of dynamics and a free feel are key elements to his style.

Over his career, he’s taken lessons from Graham Lear (Santana’s Drummer), jammed with Tim Bogert(Vanilla Fudge), Chris Pinnick(Chicago), Chet McCracken(Doobie Bros), Aynsley Dunbar(Zappa, Journey) and has jammed with Eddie Van Halen.

Carmelo Smith

Carmelo Smith has played guitar for 25 years and taught for 10. His roots are in Gospel and R&B but has studied and performed Jazz, Rock and Top 40 styles as well.
Carmelo is self-taught, developing his skills in eastern North Carolina until relocating to Charlotte in 1999. Since then he has performed with some of today’s best artists, including Anthony Hamilton, KC and JoJo, Erykah Badu, and Fantasia Barrino.
Carmelo is currently playing for Charlotte area churches, local musicals, and teaching professionally around the North Carolina/South Carolina border. He is currently the music director and lead guitarist for a well known Top 40 band.