Artist Bio #9: Hillary Sametz, Violist

Canadian musician Hillary Sametz is currently enrolled in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Music Therapy Masters Equivalency program.  She recently completed her Masters of Music in Viola Performance at UMKC studying with Scott Lee and Benny Kim.  Hillary received her Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance from Brandon University in 2008, where she was the recipient of the University Gold Medal.

Hillary’s varied career as both a Pianist and a Violist has led to many exciting opportunities, including as a member of the string quartet-in-residence at the Centre for Opera in Sulmona, Italy; a concert tour across Palestine and Israel while on faculty at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah, Palestine; and most recently premiering works through Kansas City’s Black House Collective and The Charlotte Street Foundation.

An avid volunteer, Hillary has worked on various projects including an HIV/AIDS and environmental awareness initiative in South Africa, sung for senior citizens at nursing homes, and taught piano at inner-city schools.  Hillary hopes to use music to create positive change in society and improve quality of life.  Hillary also volunteers with Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, and is a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Council for Artists and Cultural Workers.  In her spare time, Hillary enjoys baking, reading, microbrews, cycling, and covering Radiohead songs with her husband, Whasy.

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Artist Bio #8: Bryce Craig, Percussionist

Bryce Craig earned a B.M. in Music Composition summa cum laude from Kansas State University and an M.M. in Music Composition at Central Michigan University. His current and former composition teachers include Keith Larson, Craig Weston, David Gillingham, and Jay Batzner. He works as a free-­lance composer, private theory/composition instructor, and as Staff Composer/Arranger for the Kansas City Youth Percussion Ensemble.

Bryce’s works have been performed nationwide at events such as the 2013 National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, the 2015 PARMA New Music Festival, and numerous Society of Composers, Inc. regional conferences. His orchestral overture Tracks was selected as the winner of the 2014 James and Paula Nelson Young Composer Award and was premiered by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. Bryce is particularly interested in the area of dance music and recently completed a ballet in collaboration with choreographer Laura Donnelly and physicist Amit Chakrabarti dealing with the physics of crystals.

Bryce is also active as a freelance percussionist and percussion instructor, performing primarily on the MalletKAT MIDI controller. He maintains an active teaching studio in the Kansas City metropolitan area and additionally works as Front Ensemble Instructor/Arranger for the Blue Valley Southwest Emerald Regiment Marching Band.

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Artist Bio #7: Bradley J. Thomas, Actor

Bradley J. Thomas, originally a west coast native, moved here in 2007 after performing theatre, film and commercial work around that area as well as across the country as well as abroad. Local theatre credits include 4 seasons of A Christmas Carol and The Living Room Theatre’s Carousel at The Kansas City Rep, TITUS, The Death of Cupid, The Writer’s Den, Chainsaw:the Musical at The Living Room, How to Succeed at MTH as well as shows at The Met, KC FRINGE, Theatre for Young America and many others. Bradley is the House and Box office Manager for the Living Room Theatre.

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Artist Bio #6: Esther Seitz, Cellist

Esther Seitz, 19, is currently a student at the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music studying under Prof. Carter Enyeart. During her college career, Esther has played with many ensembles in the Kansas City area, as well as in other part of the U.S. including, Iowa City, IA, Mansfield and Wellsboro, PA, and Corning, NY. A multifaceted musician, Esther also enjoys playing guitar, piano, and singing with her church’s worship band.

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Artist Bio #5: Kate Haugan, Actress

Kate Haugan’s local theatre credits include To Kill A Mockingbird at The White Theatre, The Death of Cupid, Some Girl(s), and Titus Andronicus at The Living Room Theatre, and Extremities and A Feminine Ending at Just Off Broadway Theater, among others. She also dabbles in local and regional commercial and film work. Kate is a company member at KC Improv Company and an accordion player with the sometimes-band Minstrel Periods.

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Artist Bio #4: Courtney Burris Ruth, Violinist

Courtney Burris Ruth is finishing her DMA in violin performance at UMKC Conservatory studying with Joseph Genualdi. She did her BM (2011) and MM (2013) at the University of Missouri where she was a Rogers Whitmore scholar and member of the Graduate String Quartet. Courtney plays on a beautiful J. Michael G. Fischer copy of a 1694 long-pattern Stradivarius.

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