Meet the Staff
Jenna Veverka is an active performer, teacher, and student. She is currently earning a Master’s degree in Music Performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (CCM) while maintaining a private studio, freelancing, and substitute teaching. Most recently, Jenna was awarded an International Trumpet Guild Conference scholarship for the 2017 graduate division, placed third at the National Trumpet Competition with the CCM Trumpet Quartet, and was selected as the trumpet winner of the CCM Brass Choir’s solo competition. While studying at Ithaca College for a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, Jenna was also a National Trumpet Competition finalist in 2014 with the Ithaca College Trumpet Ensemble. Both her Ithaca College Trumpet Ensemble and CCM Trumpet Quartet have been invited to perform at the International Trumpet Guild conference in 2014 and 2017.
Jenna primarily studies with Alan Siebert (co-principal Dayton Philharmonic) and Phil Collins (retired principal of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra). She also occasionally studies with Marie Speziale (retired principal of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Charles Lirette (co-principal of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra), and during her semester abroad in Vienna, studied with world renowned soloist, Carole Dawn Reinhart.
Katie Urich is a maker and arts manager in Pittsburgh, PA. She currently serves as the Marketing and Education Director at River City Brass and helps arts organizations with their outreach efforts on a freelance basis. Katie has worked as an educator at the Sprout Fund and the Carnegie Museum of Art, and in administrative roles at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Carnegie Museum of Art. She also runs her own handmade business and sends a weekly email newsletter called Feel Good Feminism. Katie has a Bachelor's degree in Arts Management and Media Arts from Chatham University, where she completed a thesis on women's roles in artistic institutions.
Rebecca Cherian was awarded the position of co-principal trombone of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra by Lorin Maazel in 1989. She has been trombone instructor at Carnegie Mellon University since 1993. Cherian was a founding member of the International Women's Brass Conference in 1994 and served as the IWBC Newsletter Editor for five years.
As a California native, Cherian began her professional career at the age of 16 as trombonist with the San Jose Symphony under the direction of George Cleve. At the age of 17, she appeared as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony as a result of winning First Prize in their Young Musicians' Awards. Cherian earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from the California Institute of the Arts and her Master of Music Degree from the Yale School of Music. While in school she was awarded First Place in the Atwater Kent Brass Competition and Outstanding Chamber Music Performer at Yale. She studied with Miles Anderson, Robert Szabo and John Swallow.
Liz Thompson grew up in St. Louis, Missouri in a musical family. While her older brothers chose double reed instruments, Liz broke the mold by picking a brass instrument (with a little nudging from her mom, a high school band director). She received her Bachelors of Music in horn performance from Ohio State University, studying with Bruce Henniss. She then completed her Masters of Music at Carnegie Mellon University, where she studied with Bill Caballero, principal horn of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Although she moved there for school, Liz fell in love with the city of Pittsburgh and decided to make it her home. Liz currently holds the position of 3rd horn in the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. She performs regularly with Resonance Works | Pittsburgh, and she is also a member of the Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra. Liz has also performed with the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, and the Ripieno Chamber Orchestra. Liz is committed to contributing to the vitality of Pittsburgh's vibrant cultural scene through performance, outreach, and teaching.
Jennifer Dearden received her BM degree from Ithaca College, her MM from Florida State, and her DMA from the University of North Texas. She has studied trumpet with Frank Campos, Bryan Goff and Keith Johnson, and wind conducting with Eugene Corporon. In 2007 she started at Allegheny College as an Assistant Professor of Music, In this capacity she teaches trumpet lessons, music theory, music technology, and music appreciation, and performs with the Allegheny Brass Quintet.
Jennifer’s performance experience also includes the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, River City Brass, and, most recently, the Erie Chamber Orchestra, Erie Concert Band, and the Dave Stevens Big Band.
A native of Pittsburgh, Nicole Kukieza is the Director of Brass and Winds at The Conservatory School in North Palm Beach, Florida. Nicole completed her undergraduate degrees in Music Education and Tuba Performance at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY where she studied with Dr. Aaron Tindall, Dave Unland, and Edwin Diefes. She went on to earn a full scholarship to attend Lynn University to pursue a Master’s Degree in Tuba Performance. Nicole graduated in May 2015 after having studied with Empire Brass tubist, Kenneth Amis.
As an educator, Nicole’s students have had great success. Her brass chamber ensemble, “No Strings Attached” has performed at various locations around the south Florida area and received great praise. She has had students accepted into the National Take a Stand Festival, sponsored by the LA Philharmonic, and has also had numerous students accepted to All-State festivals and receive “superior” ratings on their adjudications.