Meet Our Executive Director

Ekin Cemre Üstünel

Ms. Üstünel is originally from Turkey, and has been a pianist since she was six years old. She completed her conservatory education in Istanbul, Turkey and received her two graduate degrees from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Salem College. Her passion is to make music education accessible and fun. Ms. Üstünel is an active educator, performer, and an advocate for injury prevention and accessibility in music education.

Meet Our
Music Education Director

Andrew Beach

Mr. Andrew Beach is currently the music teacher at Claxton Elementary school in Greensboro. He received his bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His primary instrument is the double bass which he plays with orchestras, jazz combos, and old time music groups (pre-COVID). He also plays guitar, violin, cello, mandolin, and ukulele. He is passionate about making and teaching music and is excited to join Young Musicians of Alamance!

Meet Our
Teaching Artists

Jeannie Artley

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Mrs. Jean Artley brings a long history of music education to Young Musicians of Alamance.  She volunteers her time most recently by teaching YMA's youngest students proper technique for holding and playing their instruments.  In her spare time, Ms. Artley volunteers with the First Reformed United Church of Christ and travels the world.

Byron Grimes

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Byron Grimes is a music educator and native North Carolinian who resides in Greensboro, NC.  He attended The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he earned both his Bachelor of Music degree in Education, and his Master of Music degree in Education.  He is also a certified K-12 Music teacher for the public schools in North Carolina, where he began teaching 4th and 5th grade orchestra at Grove Park, Hillcrest and Marvin B. Smith Elementary Schools in 2007, and continues to love his work.  Outside of the classroom, Byron plays percussion in the Greensboro Concert Band, teaches private violin and marimba lessons, and enjoys any chance to travel.

Dave Beitzel

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Sara Realini

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Sara Realini graduated from UNC-G in elementary and special education. She has played violin since fifth grade. Sara has participated in a master class with a few members of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra that ended with a combined concert between those members and the Williams Orchestra at UNCG. Additionally, during her senior year, Sara participated in an auditioned chamber orchestra group. Sara has been with the YMA program since January 2017. 

Solange Maughn

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Ms. Solange Maughn received her bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Music has been in her life since she was 3 years old, when she began to take piano lessons. She began playing the violin in the 5th grade, and hasn't looked back since. She will be the orchestra teacher at Mendenhall Middle School and Page High School in Guilford County starting this fall, and is very excited to bring her passion for music to the Young Musicians of Alamance

Susan Abernethy, Treasurer 

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Susan Abernethy has been active in music since childhood, and earned an undergraduate degree in violin performance at Elon College and a graduate degree in musicology at the College of Conservatory of Music.  She taught in the Fulton County Public Schools in Atlanta and Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina.  She retired after teaching in the Computer Science department for more than 25 years.  Her interests include creating botanical art, travel, and spending time with friends and family.  Mrs. Abernethy joined the YMA Board in 2018.

Raheem Aleem
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Raheem Aleem grew up in Jacksonville North Carolina. He received a BA from North Carolina Central University and a Military Commission from Duke University in 1988. . He constantly serves the community through volunteering and participates in performing arts through Huepa Culture & Arts Institute. He worked as a Hispanic Liaison and Law Enforcement Officer for over 24 years. He holds his Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates. 

Bob Byrd

Bob Byrd has served Alamance County since 1978, retiring from Alamance Regional Medical
Center after a 35-year career on its senior executive staff. He was an Alamance County
Commissioner during 2014-18. Bob has served local groups focused on public education, health and mental health, poverty, older adults, youth, the arts, transportation, racial equity, and more. He is co-founder and director of the 18-piece Alamance Jazz Band and is a semi-
professional saxophonist. Bob holds a BS degree in music education from Penn State University and a Master of Health Administration degree from Duke University.

Thelma Gardiner, Vice President

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Thelma Gardiner is a teacher with the Alamance-Burlington School System.  Ms. Gardiner worked with the Women's Resource Center for several years.  She joined the YMA Board in November 2019

Cathy Johnson

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Cathy played the violin in the Burlington City Schools orchestra program in elementary school, junior high and high school. While only playing her freshman year in college at Wake Forest where she majored in math, she has continued to enjoy music her whole life. She has taught math in middle and high school as a well as at Alamance Community College. She retired from her position as Vice-President of Instruction at ACC in 2019. 

Marcia Livesay

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Marcia Livesay trained in music theory, piano and voice at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
and received her Masters in Musicology from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She has studied and taught music for
over forty years and currently teaches Music Appreciation at Alamance Community College as needed. Other than family and friends (including the furry kind), Marcia has always loved all kinds of music and believes the world is a far better place when all children grow up with the opportunity to study, heal and grow from music education.

Meet Our Board

Paul Mellander

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Paul grew up in a suburb near Niagara Falls, NY and received a BS degree in Industrial Technology from SUNY College at Buffalo. A 3rd generation trombonist, he currently plays tenor and bass trombone with multiple bands and small brass ensembles in central NC. Paul is passionate about both STEM and music education and has previously helped lead youth focused non-profit organizations including FIRST Robotics, Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps and NWGHS band boosters.

Shelley Realini joined the Young Musicians of Alamance Board in January 2019.  She is a Certified Payroll Professional with Payroll Solutions, Inc. and has experience working in Human Resources and Payroll.  Shelley previously was the President of the Williams Zone Orchestra Boosters program for several years, where she oversaw budgets, approved purchases, assisted with fundraisers and volunteered at orchestra concerts for five schools.
Shelley Realini, President
Yholima Vargas-Aleem

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Yholima Vargas is a native of Colombia South America. She is a Social Worker who is actively involved in community advocacy and engagement. Yholima promotes cultural understanding and diversity by celebrating her Colombian heritage through visual art and dance. She is the founder of Asi es Colombia (Canada) and Huepa Culture and Arts here in North Carolina.  She serves as a board member for Durham Nativity School and Mayors Hispanic Latino Committee in Durham.

YMA's Founder

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Beth Bader, Founder
After watching a 60 Minutes report on El Sistema of Venezuela, Ms. Bader developed a plan for a similar music program for children in Alamance County, NC.  She founded Young Musicians of Alamance in 2016.  The organization has continued to grow since that day.  Ms. Bader retired in January, 2019.  She now resides in the mountains of North Carolina and volunteers at the El Sistema program in Asheville, NC, MusicWorks!