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Our Staff

Don Johns, Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Don Johns is an in-demand percussion performer and educator in the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan area. Mr. Johns is principal timpanist of the Apollo Orchestra, and performs with the Soulful Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Annapolis Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Bay-Atlantic Symphony, and the American Festival Pops Orchestra.  Additionally, Mr. Johns is a member of the Gateways Festival Orchestra and the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra. 

 

Mr. Johns is the Director of DMV Percussion Academy,Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Bowie State University, and Percussion Director at Northwestern High School.  

 

From 2005-2015, Mr. Johns taught band and orchestra in both Prince George’s County Public Schools and at KIPP DC.

 

He holds a Master of Music Degree in Percussion Performance and Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from the University of Maryland.

 

Donn Johns is endorsed by Innovative Percussion, and Black Swamp Percussion, and serves on the Education Committee for the Percussive Arts Society.  

Larry Williams, Associate Director & Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Hornist Larry Williams has distinguished himself as a multifaceted performing and recording artist, teacher and administrator. Williams is currently Principal Horn of American Studio Orchestra, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, and a member of The Lyric Brass Quintet, Rooftop Wind Quintet, and Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass. 


Williams formerly served as Principal Horn of The New World Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, among others. His wide range of musical styles include: solo & chamber repertoire, orchestral, jazz, contemporary, film, and commercial music.  


Equally passionate about education, he is currently Adjunct Professor of Horn at Washington Adventist University and is Director of DMV Horn Academy.  Mr.  Williams served as Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Johns Hopkins University from 2017-2020, and has served on the faculty of The Peabody Institute, and Florida International University.

Mr. Williams holds B. Mus. and GPD from the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Larry Williams is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician and plays exclusively on Yamaha Custom Horns.

 

Cheryl Nkeba, Education Director

Cheryl Nkeba is an educator, bassoonist, and Koru Mindfulness Instructor. Her work explores the development of a hidden curriculum through the arts including; clarity of purpose in one’s life, enhancement of self-esteem, development of leadership abilities, and learning how to work collaboratively to achieve a common goal.  Cheryl has taught mindfulness classes at the university and high school levels and infuses mindfulness in her interactions with students daily.


She was the founder/director of the Mitchellville Community School of the Arts and served on the Maryland State Arts Council Music Panel. 


She is currently the Upper School Jazz Band Director and Handbell Choir Director at the Gilman School in Baltimore, MD, where she also teaches: Woodwinds Instrumental classes, and Music History.  


She holds a GPD from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, a MM from West Virginia University, and BS from Norfolk State University.