Elise Beckett Russell was awarded the ALBERT NELSON MARQUIS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD in 2017. She has spent her entire career developing and implementing new curriculums.
Mrs. Russell began her teaching journey in 1977 developing an entire public school music program for grades one through twelve. She also taught private piano and voice lessons. Eventually, piano became the dominant focus, opening her private studio in 1980 and continues to teach. In 2004, The Piano Lesson Companion Book series was introduced, followed by Piano World series and in 2011, PCS Piano Proficiency Examinations was developed to fill a void in American (Piano) Testing Systems.
Elise is a member of Music Teachers National Association, Texas Music Teachers Association and LoneStar On-line Music Teachers Association. She held multiple local and state board positions throughout the years.
Omar Herrera Arizmendi was born in Mexico City and began his formal music education in 1993 at the National University of Mexico. He continued in 1996 as a Piano Performance major at UT Austin and later attended Rice University graduating with a Master’s degree in piano in 2003. Omar has been the recipient of the highest scholarship given by the Mexican government (FONCA) and of numerous other fellowships including the one given by the Center for Mexican American Studies of the University of Houston. In 2012 he was awarded a Doctorate in Music from the University of Houston with a thesis titled “Style and Aesthetics of Manuel M. Ponce.”
Active as a pedagogue, Dr. Herrera Arizmendi has given seminars in his native Mexico about Piano Technique and Music Interpretation and began his teaching career as faculty of the Preparatory Program at Rice University from 2000 to 2004. Throughout his performance career he has played with several orchestras in the United States and Mexico and with chamber groups of the caliber of Cuarteto Latinoamericano. A review from La Jornada reads: “…he has evidently achieved a place in the current musical panorama. A lot of talent and discipline is needed to reach such altitudes in the classical music area. Now he is an example for the younger generations to emulate”. Dr. Herrera was the Pianist in Residence for MECA in Houston for several years and as such he performed multiple concerts including live performances on NPR. He is the Founder and President of The Ponce Project whose mission is to promote “the rich and exceptional classical music heritage of Latin America in the United States.” Dr. Herrera is a proud descendant of Manuel M. Ponce (1882-1948), one of Mexico’s most important composers. He is currently recording all his piano music as well as his works for voice and piano.
Stephany A. Scott
Stephany A. Scott, a native Houstonian, is an accomplished pianist and teacher whose contributions and reputation have brought her numerous accolades and awards. Her preparatory studies in Houston were with Ms. Jessie Wilson and further private studies with Dr. Charles Rhinehart of Texas Southern University in Houston, Ms. Margaret Gubb at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, and Dr. Albert Hirsch of University of Houston.
In addition to recital performances, Ms. Scott has accompanied such groups as the Houston Ebony Opera Guild and other renowned vocalists and instrumentalists, and she has recorded on Gospel Music Workshop of America releases with major artists. As a piano instructor, she is known for an intensive teaching approach to grooming piano and vocal students for auditions for performing arts high schools, universities, and music conservatories. Stepheny Scott is a music technician whose skills and knowledge continue to afford her the privilege of serving the community, locally and abroad.
Edward Crowell, tenor, has appeared on numerous theatre and concert hall stages throughout the United States and Europe. A native Houstonian, Mr. Crowell studied voice performance, opera, and theatre at Hardin-Simmons University. While in graduate school, he served as Assistant Director of the Abilene Collegiate Opera. In addition to University concert and touring ensembles, memorable operatic and musical theatre rolls including; The Elixir of Love by Donizetti, Cosi fan tutte and Don Giovanni by Mozart, Candide by Bernstein, Camelot by Lerner & Rowe, The Music Man by Willson and Annie by Strouse. Edward Crowell is an accomplished recitalist and concert performer in art, song, oratorio, and other sacred repertoire. He has performed for some of the largest Protestant churches in the country in Handel’s Messiah as well as other classical and modern sacred works, and his solo debut abroad was in the cathedral in Seville, Spain singing Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Mr. Crowell’s national television debut was as a featured soloist and actor in the ABC Christmas Special, St. Nicholas Circle, followed by TBN’s presentation of The Hollyberry Express. Both of these television specials were distributed nationally and continue to air in major markets annually. Mr. Crowell has performed for LJ.S. Presidents, Texas Governors, United States Congressmen, and other political leaders by singing the National Anthem and other patriotic songs.
Crowell is a church musician and choral conductor by profession, and is currently the Music Director, the historic Baptist Temple in the Houston Heights. He has served soloist and Music Director of First and Second Baptist Church of Houston and served as Artist-in-Residence for the First Baptist Church of Conroe. He has taught voice, theatre, and choir for private schools, and from his private studio. He has served as music director and conductor for several community theaters and colleges in Texas.
He is Founder and Executive Director of Imperial Arts, Fort Bend County’s resident professional performing and visual arts nonprofit organization. Imperial Arts produced hundreds of performances and events since 2008, for over fifty thousand patrons. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Texas Music Educators Association, and has served Hardin-Simmons University as Vice President of its Board of Young Associates. Mr. Crowell lives in Missouri City with his wife, daughters and their pet menagerie.
Dr. Jacqueline D. Chambers
Dr. Jacqueline D. Chambers is a native Houstonian and the daughter of the late Henry and Pinkie Reed Chambers. She is a product of the Houston Public School System, having graduated in the first class of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. “Jackie”, as she is affectionately known, began studying piano at the age of three. Her first piano teacher was the late Professor C.J. Richards who taught her not only the piano and organ, but also the clarinet, violin, xylophone, saxophone and the trumpet; additionally, Jackie studied the violin under the late Dr. Theola Booker and Mrs. Olivia F. Marshall. Later, Dr. Chambers furthered her studies of the organ under the tutelage of the late Professor Richard Baker and the late Mrs. Clayton Johnson Gleed.
Dr. Chambers’ advanced piano studies included work with the late Mozart Hammond at the Houston Conservatory of Μυsic and instruction from Professor Robert Brownlee at the where she studied voice with Professor Jean Preston, also at the University of Houston.
Dr. Chambers obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Teacher Education from the University of Houston. She continued her education and received a Bachelor of Theology and a Doctorate of Sacred Music from the Mt. Hope Bible College and Theological Seminary.
Dr. Chambers was the organist for the state funerals of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and the late State Representative Larry Evans, both of Texas. Her career, marked by success, has included performances before the late Former President George H.W. Bush, Former President Bill Clinton and Former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
She has served in multiple capacities in several churches in the Houston area and she celebrated 50 years in Music Ministry, in 2020.
Dr. Chambers is a Licensed and Ordained Minister and a former Ruling Elder in the
Presbyterian Church, USA.
Currently, Dr. Chambers serves as Minister of Music for Trinity East United Methodist Church.
She is a member of the Houston Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and was recognized by the Women’s Division/Jewels at the 2017 Scholarship Luncheon for Church and Community work.
She has been a guest Lecturer on Hymnology at the Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Additionally, she has been a former professor, at Union Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary(Houston, Texas), teaching Worship, Hymnology, Old and New Testament. Dr. Chambers has recently returned from serving as a clinician, choral conductor and guest music minister for the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Chambers has spent her time traveling internationally and throughout the United States where she has worked with many tremendous musical talents including operatic stars Kathleen Battle, Kenn Hicks, Leona Mitchell, Curtis Rayam, and Cassandra White.
Always striving to be the “Musician’s Musician”, Dr. Chambers has had the privilege of working with many notable composers such as the late Glenn Burleigh, Dr. Margaret Pleasant Douroux, V. Michael McKay, the late Edwin Hawkins, the late Bishop Walter Hawkins, Kurt Carr, Chester D.T. Baldwin and Richard Smallwood. Dr. Chambers has also accompanied many celebrated gospel artists including the late Donald Vails, Tramaine Hawkins, Vickie Winans, Dorothy Norwood, Barbara Johnson Tucker, Sara Jordan Powell, Kathy Taylor, the late Olevia Branch Walker, Ina Zellers, Mozelle Felder, gospel instrumentalist Dr. Vernard Johnson, the First Lady of the Organ, Diane Bish and Yolanda Adams with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Charles Floyd.
In 2011 Dr. Chambers retired after a 32 year career as an accomplished music educator with the Houston Independent School District. She was named a multi-year inductee in Who’s Who Among America’s Best Teachers and a recipient of the Harmony Award, presented by the Texas Black Music Educators Association of the Texas Music Educators Association
During that same year, Dr. Chambers realized her dream and became the Visionary and Co-founder of the Heavenly Hands Music Productions, which
includes the Heavenly Hands Divas(piano quartet) and the Heavenly Hands Divas in Training(youth piano quartet). The Divas have performed in concerts throughout the state of Texas. She has now embarked on a solo piano career, denoting 50 plus years in music ministry, with a series entitled, Music from My Living Room. In 2022, Dr. Chambers was recognized as a Living Legend, presented by the Texas Gospel Music Excellence Awards.
Samuel Dinkins III
Founder and Director Samuel Dinkins, III was in Houston performing with the Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, jazz vocalist Kim Wade & Company the Music Ministry of Holman Street Baptist Church and doing freelance work as a Drummer/Percussionist. From Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Dinkins began playing music at an early age and started taking private lessons at 8 years of age. Throughout his life, as he studied, played and performed music through Grade School; at Erasmus Hall High School Academy of Performing Arts and at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; Mr. Dinkins always remembered the valuable start that he got taking Private Music Lessons as a boy.
It was this, and; his vision to pass on what he’d learned musically that created the Dinky Drum Company School of Drums & Percussion (DDC). After six plus years operating at CMCH (in the historic Third Ward community of Houston, TX); DDC moved to the Band Instrument Exchange (in the Museum District of Houston) on August of 1996 where the vision continued and grew. Today, the Dinky Drum Company School of Drums & Percussion is now the DDC School of Music. In July of 2003, DDC moved to 2411 Eagle Street (in mid-town Houston, TX). The Eagle Street location provided the needed space to teach children and adults about music through private and group lessons.
Students can study Kindermusik; Drums/Percussion; Piano/Voice; Saxophone/ Clarinet/Flute; Bass/Acoustic Guitar; or Trumpet/Trombone. DDC School of Music also, travels to schools, Community Centers, Senior Communities, Concert Halls and Churches performing Educational Shows; and teaches at several summer music camps in the Houston area and around the United States.
Joining DDC operations in 2003 is Co-Founder and Vice-President, Mrs. Phaedra B. Dinkins. Mrs. Dinkins has worked in the following positions: CFO, Kindermusik instrudtor, event coordinator and HealthRHYTHMS drum circle facilitator. Originally from Opelousas, LA she earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, with a minor in music from Southern University A & M College in Baton Rouge, LA in 1988. Mrs. Dinkins also completed courses for the Texas Education Board of Cerfified teachers from LeTourneau University in 2006. As a graduate of the inaugural 2011 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business initiative in Houston, TX; she earned a Certificate of Entrepreneurship.
Formerly located at Project Row Houses in the historic Third Ward community of Houston, Texas; the DDC School of Music is continuing the vision of Mr. Dinkins. In April of 2011, DDC moved into a two story, 3000 square foot building located at 2213 Wichita St.; Houston, TX 77004 off of Highway 288. Expanding their services and adding space for group classes and community workshops.
“Mr. Dinkins truly has a passion for music. He is very patient with his students. He is willing to do what it takes to help his students improve.”
Phaedra B. Dinkins
Flutist / Kindermusik Instructor / Health RHYTHMS Facilitator / Goldman Sachs Scholar
Phaedra B. Dinkins. Co-Founder and Vice-President of Dinky Drum Company, LLC located in Houston, Texas-where children & adults learn about music through private / group instruction, performances and clinics. Mrs. Dinkins has worked in the following positions: CFO, Kindermusik instructor, event coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and HealthRHYTHMS drum circle facilitator.
Originally from Opelousas, Louisiana she earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, with a minor in music from Southern University A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1988. Mrs. Dinkins also completed course training for the Texas Education Board of Certified teachers from LeTourneau University in 2006. She is a recent graduate of the inaugural Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business initiative in Houston, TX. The Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business program, offered through Houston Community College, allowed Mrs. Dinkins to earn a Certificate of Entrepreneurship.
As a flutist, she has performed with Scott Joplin Chamber Orchestra, whose credits include performing at Super Bowl XXXVIII, in Houston, TX. Additionally as a soloist for Windsor Village United Methodist Church music ministry and several corporate diversity and holiday events.
Mrs. Dinkins is married and the mother of two sons.