School of Fine Arts Faculty
The School of Fine Arts is pleased to offer instruction by some of the most highly qualified musicians and creative artists in the Chattanooga area.
All instructors are approved by the School of Fine Arts Advisory Committee and are experienced in their field of instruction, both as teachers and performers.
Every member of the music faculty has studied extensively on their instrument, with many holding advanced degrees.
Guitar, Bass Guitar & Ukulele
Kellen Shiles is a local musician who specializes in guitar, ukulele, and bass guitar instruction. He has logged over 15 years of passionate playing and has studied a wide variety of styles.
Kellen has experience with anything from touring in a funk-rock band, to playing with the UTC Jazz Band, singing with the CSO Choir, classical Celtic style guitar, country music recording sessions, a latin rock band, and many more. He has a particular interest in world music styles as well. He is currently the guitar and ukulele instructor at St. Nicholas Elementary.
He regularly writes his own music, and still performs frequently around town. In the past he has had a few Riverbend appearances, and will be playing at the Grand Ole Opry in the fall of 2022.
Autumn Skiles is a Chattanooga native. She earned her Bachelor of Art in Music from the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga in 2019.
Autumn has enjoyed playing and learning bout the piano since she was seven years old and has studied with dedicated teachers including Margy Barber, Hsin-i Guo, Dr. Sigrid Luther, Jenny Parker, and Dr. Lynn Worcester. Autumn has performed with various groups including the UTC Piano Ensemble, UTC Women’s Chorus, Baroque Ensemble, the Chattanooga Music Club, and the Chattanooga Rotary Club. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Dorothy Price Cobb Martin Memorial Scholarship, and in 2018 she directed and accompanied the CSTHEA graduation choir. Autumn enjoys teaching both private and group piano lessons for all ages. She believes that every person deserves a chance to be able to express themselves musically no matter at what stage of learning they are at.
For more information about her studio please visit her website at www.skilespianostudio.com.
Ben Van Winkle
Ben Van Winkle is a native Chattanoogan who has 16 years experience playing cello. He is 25 years old and graduated from Tennessee Tech University in May 2015.
He has played with ensembles such as the CSO and Rome (GA) Symphony and has studied under notable cellists: Dr. James Stroud, Dan Allcott, and Annie Camp. Ben is skilled in pedagogy and genuinely enjoys teaching others the wonderful craft of cello performance.
A Chattanooga native, Ms. Nunn started the violin at the age of 10 at Hixson Elementary, with Priscilla Estrada. When she was 15, Jessica began teaching private violin lessons for several middle school students in Hamilton County and switch from violin to viola the following year.
When she was a junior she placed third in the Tennessee All-State Orchestra and then first her senior year. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville and studied with Sheila Browne and Hillary Herndon. She performed both in the UT symphony and the UT studio orchestra where she played jazz charts under the direction of Rusty Holloway.
During her last two years at UTK, Jessica performed with the Oak Ridge Symphony, Symphony of the Mountains, and the Knoxville Symphony. She also performed several masterclasses with Victoria Chang (Peabody), Kathryn Plummer (Vanderbilt), Daniel Sweaney (USC), Dr. Scott Rawls (UNC), Heidi Castleman (Juilliard), Jennifer Stumm (Royal College of Music) and chamber masterclasses with the Avalon Strings Quartet, Miami Strings Quartet, and Felici Piano Trio.
She moved from Knoxville to Tallahassee FL and started her Master’s in Music Performance at Florida State University, where she became a graduate assistant for Dr. Pamela Ryan. During her two years in Florida, she performed with the Northwest Florida Symphony, Albany Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, and the Panama City Pops. In 2012, she began playing with the Tallahassee Shelter Band, a music therapy program performed by FSU graduate students and tenants at the homeless shelter.
After graduating with honors from FSU, Jessica moved back to Chattanooga where she performed with several local bands at Riverbend, Riverfront Nights, Scenic City Roots, and temporarily sub for the Chattanooga Symphony.
A charter member of the faculty since 1997, David Kammerdiener has been playing the piano since he was five years old.
He is a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, and holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Music, Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma; Master of Church Music, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, California; Master of Music in Education-Kodály Emphasis, Holy Names College, Oakland, California; Associate of Applied Science-Networking Specialist, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Rock Spring, Georgia.
He has taught piano and directed choirs for more than 35 years in the U.S. and four Latin American countries, served as an International Music Missionary and Minister of Music in the U.S. Fluent in Spanish, “Mr. K” as he is known, is a certified Chorus teacher and Spanish teacher. In addition, Mr. Kammerdiener is the pianist for the Chattanooga Girls Choir “Bella Voce” Choir (5th and 6th grade), for a local jazz combo, ¡Qué Jazz! and has been playing in Big Bands since the mid-1990’s. He is the keyboardist in The UPTown Big Band of Chattanooga, Tennessee and is the pianist and minister of music at White Oak United Methodist Church in Red Bank, Tennessee.
Mrs. Parker received her Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Pedagogy and Piano Performance, and her Masters of Music degree in Accompanying from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She has taught private piano lessons for 13 years in various locations in North Carolina and Tennessee.
She taught Kindermusik for 10 years and directed her own program for two years. She has also directed children’s choirs in various churches for 14 years. Mrs. Parker has served as an accompanist for churches, school, community choirs, and individual performers for the last 16 years.
She is currently serving as a children’s choir director and accompanist at First Baptist Church in Chattanooga as well as an accompanist at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She currently is the Director of the First Baptist Church Kindermusik Program.
Voice and Piano
Mrs. Tonkinson, soprano, brings a wealth of experiences as both teacher and performer to the School of Fine Arts. She has taught private voice, vocal pedagogy, and music education methods and has directed choirs for many years at colleges in Missouri, Tennessee, and Georgia, including: Covenant College, Chattanooga State Technical Community College, Tennessee Temple University, and Baptist Bible College (Springfield, Missouri).
She is currently the Director of the Bella Voce Choir of the Chattanooga Girls Choir, and also teaches music at McConnell Elementary School. She is a member of NATS and MTNA, and has sung with the Mid-America Singers (Springfield, MO), the Springfield Regional Opera, and Choral Arts of Chattanooga. She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, TX), and a Master of Science degree in Music Education from Southwest Missouri State University.
She also studied voice and art song at the Hochschule for Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria, and earned certification as a Kodoly Instructor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Dr. Tonkinson received his Bachelor of Music degree (Clarinet) from Midwestern University (Wichita Falls, TX), the Master of Music degree (Clarinet) from the University of Oklahoma, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree (Conducting) from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. His clarinet teachers have included Stephen Girko, Lee Gibson and Patricia Kostek.
He has taught music in schools for more than 20 years in Texas, Missouri and Tennessee, and has performed on clarinet with the Wichita Falls (TX) Symphony Orchestra (1969-72; 1975-79), the Springfield (MO) Symphony Orchestra (1987-91), and the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Orchestra (1991-present).
Roy Treiyer studied in Argentina and graduated with a BS in Psychology and Music. His passion for music finally led him to return to the States and become a graduation candidate for the MM in Piano Performance degree under Dr. Sin-Hsing Tsai at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
During his course of study, he has been chosen twice as the winner of the Arthur Rivituso Award for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, and as one of the winners of the UTC Concerto Competition for 2012.
Besides being a performer, he really enjoys teaching and has been doing so for over 5 years. He also has a passion to play and be involved in church music ministry events. In November 2012, he released a piano solo CD titled “Shine, Jesus, Shine” that consists of his own arrangements of well-known hymns.
Penny Downs Tullock
Voice and Piano
Ms. Tullock, a lyric contralto, earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Carson-Newman College. She is a winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Auditions. A frequent guest artist and recitalist, Ms. Tullock can be heard on Choral Arts of Chattanooga recordings of “Days of Blue and Gray,” a CD of Civil War era music, and “Dave Brubeck in Chattanooga.”
She has performed as guest soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Carson-Newman College, Mozart’s Requiem with Orchestra Atlanta and also with the Huntsville Symphony, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Bach’s Magnificat with Southern Adventist University, and Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Rome (GA) Symphony.
An accompanist/coach for more than 30 years, she has played at the University of Louisville, Southern Seminary, Carson-Newman and Covenant Colleges, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, the Linz Austria Choral Festival, and the Savannah Georgia American Traditions Vocal Competition.
She is currently the staff accompanist at Baylor School and with the Chattanooga Girls Choir, accompanist at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and The Baylor School. Her students regularly win local and regional music and scholarship competitions.