“Preservation Through Music Education”

Gary Brown
Renaye Brown
John Curtis Stovall
Ronnie Daliyo
Greg Gomez
Bahati Jackson 
Justin Philip Nash
Biggi Vinkeloe
Afia Walking Tree
Angela M. Wellman

Youth Music Mentors
Carolina Gonzales
Adam Lankford
Amina Scott

Faculty Biographies

Kevin Choice

Kevin Choice, an Oakland native, has toured the world as a professional keyboardist/pianist for over ten years, incorporating his classical and jazz background into various genres of popular music. He started off taking piano lessons in Oakland at Westlake Junior High School. His teacher recognized his gift and recommended he audition for the Young Musician's Program at U.C. Berkeley, where he was accepted and attended for 3 years. He continued on his early music education at Skyline High School in Oakland where he participated in the Jazz Ensemble and Orchestra.

He received his Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance from Xavier University of Louisiana, where he earned a scholarship. He placed high in many piano competitions and was named "Most Outstanding Music Major" his senior year. He then received a fellowship to attend Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he received his Master's Degree in Piano Performance. During his education he focused on classical repertoire while also devoting a considerable amount of time to jazz studies and composition. He played in his University Jazz Ensemble and took Jazz Composition and theory courses to further enhance his playing and improvisation skills.

As a professional, Kevin has performed and toured with a wide variety of artist locally and nationally. He did his first tour with San Francisco based band "Michael Franti and Spearhead", traveling to over 15 countries and appearing on "Late Night with David Letterman." He also has toured with numerous R&B/ Soul artist including local songstress "Goapele" and was musical director for Grammy Award winning artist "Lauryn Hill" in 2007. He has also played and toured with a long list of recognizable artist including Dwele, Too Short, Zion I, LyricsBorn, D.J. Quik, Ledisi, and Martin Luther. As an artist and producer himself, Kevin has garnered recognition being named, "Best Musician" by The EastBay Express in 2009, and "Most Multi-Talented Instrumentalist" in 2008. He was also nominated "Best Soul/Funk/R&B Artist by SF Weekly 3 years in a row.

As a solo artist, He has released a mixtape entitled "The Bailout", an EP "The Inauguration", and an album "The Power Of Choice" written and produced by himself. He spends a considerable amount of time producing for other artist and doing studio sessions as well. In the last 5 years he has focused on his own band, Kev Choice Ensemble, a ten-piece Hip-Hop band featuring some of the most gifted young musicians and artist in the Bay Area. They have performed all over the Bay to many accolades and one prominent local writer called them "the most musical Hip-Hop group ever." They play Kev's original music and arrangement's which blend Hip-Hop, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Classical, Rock, and alternative styles of music together in a seamless manner.
Kevin has worked as a teacher over the years in many different settings. Starting in college, he taught private and group lessons for a wide variety of students in age, skill level, and style. Along with teaching standard classical materials and techniques, Kev has taught as part of the Oaktown Jazz Workshops in Oakland for 6 years, focusing on Jazz, and at his church musical academy over the summer teaching chorus and beginning theory. Kevin likes to make his lessons fun and entertaining while focus on building a strong foundation of musicianship. He stresses reading and writing music, while also focusing on playing by ear and improvising. Kevin also likes to spice up his lessons by incorporate Hip-Hop, Top 40, R&B, Soul, and Pop repertoire in his teaching.

Ronnie Daliyo
Zimbabwe Marimbas
Gumboots Dance - Mbire

As the only male Zimbabwean traditional dancer in the Bay Area,
Mr. Daliyo’s classes have offered students the completely unique experience of learning the culture, history, songs, drumming and dance steps of Zimbabwe.

There is nowhere else in the Bay Area where students can learn such dances as Dinhe, of the Korekore; Muchungoyo of the Ndebele; and Mbakumba, Mbira and Mhande of the Shona people. We know of no other Zimbabwean man in the Bay Area or Western United States with the experiences and artistry that Mr. Daliyo brings, allowing for this unique teaching experience. Mr. Daliyo will continue to teach and perform, not just in the Bay Area, but in Boulder, Colorado; Cedar Crest, New Mexico; and throughout other parts of California (Sacramento, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara). His present dance and music students are very much looking forward to continue experiencing the deep traditions and culture of Zimbabwe as only presented in his classes, workshops and performances.

Mr. Daliyo’s teaching and performances have facilitated the bridging of African and Western cultures. As guest artist with the Chinyakare Ensemble, his presence has enhanced group members’ development as artists and deepened their connection with Zimbabwean tradition. In the past, the Chinyakare Ensemble members have had the opportunity to travel to Zimbabwe to immerse themselves in the cultural experience and in music and dance as taught by the artistic director’s, Julia Chigamba’s family. Mr. Daliyo has brought that experience to the Chinyakare Ensemble’s rehearsals that take place three days each week. Mr. Daliyo’s tutelage has allowed the Chinyakare Ensemble to showcase what is uniquely Zimbabwean at such performances as the Annual Collage des Cultures Africaines at the Berkeley Community Theater, the largest Pan-African gathering of musicians and dancers on the West Coast, the Berkeley World Music Festival and the World Music and Dance Festival in Sacramento.  

Organizations throughout the Bay Area and the United States recognize Mr. Daliyo’s unique ability to immerse audiences in his art form and further audience members’ understanding of traditional Zimbabwean music. Since Mr. Daliyo has been guest artist with the Chinyakare Ensemble, such events as Young Audiences showcases and Oakland Public Conservatory of Music repertory performances have engaged children and adults in enhancing their understanding of the music, dance and culture of Zimbabwe. Mr. Daliyo’s teaching and performances help audiences to appreciate their own cultures, as they are similar to, yet distinct from Zimbabwean traditions.

Gregory Gomez
Trombone, Ensembles

Lorca Hart

Drummer Lorca Hart grew up in Taos, New Mexico in a musical family. He was exposed to a variety of instruments and musical styles as a child but early on it became clear that the drumset was his passion. In high school he started to perform and focus on Jazz. He attended California Institute of the Arts from 1992-96, studying with Albert; Tootie; Heath, Joe La Barbera, Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, and many others. 
Since that time Lorca has worked consistently in a variety of musical situations, performing with many of the West Coast's (and beyond) finest artists including : Ralph Moore, Carmen Lundy, Freddie Hubbard, Calvin Keys, Stanley Jordan, Craig Handy, Kyle Eastwood, Herman Riley, Azar Lawrence, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, John Heard, Danny Grissett, Justo Almario, Bennie Maupin, Phil Ranelin, Dave Pike, Don Menza, Hugh Masekela, Bobby Rodriguez, the Clayton Brothers, Anthony Wilson, Julian Lage, storyteller/radio personality Joe Frank, actor/musicians Jeff Goldblum and Peter Weller, Ronald Muldrow, and the Cross Hart Jazz Experience (the project that he co-leads with bass player Ryan Cross). He also leads his own trio featuring Josh Nelson on piano and Edwin Livingston on bass. Lorca can be heard on recordings by Hugh Masekela, John Heard, Justo Almario, Ronald Muldrow, Dave Pike, Phil Ranelin, the Cross Hart Jazz Experience, and the Lorca Hart Trio. 
Lorca teaches drumset at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, as well as teaching ensemble classes at both the Healdsburg High School and Junior High School in Sonoma County, Cailfornia.

Dileivys "El Niche" Romero

Michael Shiono
Frederick Douglass Youth Ensemble


Biggi Vinkeloe
Born in Germany, raised in France and living in Sweden and California today, Biggi Vinkeloe is a composer and performer playing the alto saxophone and the flute. She has master degrees in French Literature, and in Music Therapy, along with degrees in Sociology and German.
She has co-founded a Rudolf Steiner School for autistic children and youth, which offers music, drama, arts and eurythmics, along with the ordinary curriculum.

Biggi has initiated many projects and multimedia events (M.A.D. music, art, dance / United Nations / Over the Ocean / Echoes).  Her work can be found in art spaces, castle ruins, a central station (Milano), and industrial sites, involving musicians, dancers, poets, visual artists, in collaboration with drummer Peeter Uuskyla and painter Ebbe Pettersson.
She has also worked and recorded with Cecil Taylor, Peter Kowald, Peeter Uuskyla, Barre Phillips, Donald Robinson, Lisle Ellis, Miya Masaoka, Steve Swell, Ken Filiano, Mary Oliver, Paul Plimley, Sumathi Murthy among others. Her own trio lasted 10 years, touring in Europe and North America. Today, she works mainly project oriented, with musicians from different fields ranging from classical music to  world music to jazz, improvised music and field recordings. 

For further information: www.biggivinkeloe.com

Angela Wellman, M.M.
Founding Director, Dean, Trombone
Trombonist Angela Wellman, hailing proudly from Kansas City, Missouri, has performed with the McCoy Tyner Big Band, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Slide Hampton and other noted musicians.

From 1991-94, Angela was a California Arts Council Artist in Residence, during which time she designed and implemented a Jazz Studies Curriculum for Cole Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School in Oakland, CA. In 1997, she was awarded a Master’s degree in Music Education from theEastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. She subsequently returned to the Bay Area, and served as the Education Director for the Oakland Youth Chorus where she developed award-winning community music education programs.

Ms. Wellman is a recipient of national, state, and city Arts awards and fellowships for performance study and music education. Among these awards is the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Fellowship to study with trombonist Steve Turre.

Raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. Wellman was nurtured in a musical family, and is a third generation jazz musician and music educator. She grew up listening to the stride piano style of her grandfather, her father's swinging ballad & blues piano, and the soul-stirring songstylings of her mother, Jyene Baker. Angela inherits her passion and understanding for the preservation of musical traditions through education from her uncle and mentor, Eddie B. Baker, Sr., founder of the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation & Academy for Performing Arts and the International Jazz Hall of Fame. Angela's initiation into the world of Jazz as a player began while hanging out at sessions at the famed chitlin' circuit Local 626, the once–Black musicians' union in Kansas City, and now sanctuary for the spirits of jazz pioneers such as Ernie Williams (The Last of the Blue Devils), Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and countless others who got their start in that very place.

In 2005 she founded the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music to provide high quality, affordable music education for Oakland citizens. Angela divides her time between Oakland and Madison, WI where she is pursuing doctoral studies in Education/Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin. She also performs and teaches throughout the United States. Her band, New Roots, performs spirited, contemporary music, creating new forms, styles, and roots in the Jazz tradition.

Youth Music Mentors

Carolina Gonzales


Adam Lankford
Leadership, Tenor Sax & Marimbas

Amina Scott

Oakland Public Conservatory of Music - 2323 Broadway - Oakland, CA 94612 - (510) 836-4649 
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