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Farhad Bahrami, "Caravan" Middle East Ensemble

Farhad Bahrami was born to Iranian teachers on a Fullbright scholarship to the U.S. His childhood was spent in Texas, Tehran, and Oxford. Farhad came to San Diego in 1979 to study engineering at SDSU. In 1984 he graduated with a bachelor's in music (composition) and computer science. He received a master's in music (ethnomusicology) from SDSU in 2007, having pursued his interests in music in parallel to his career in software. Farhad's interests and influences are broad and include Persian and Western classical musics, rock and jazz, many world musics especially Azeri music and flamenco, and the Beatles. He has directed Dornob Collective, a San Diego-based Persian fusion band since 1984.

Farhad has been a member of the Grossmont College Music Department Faculty since 2019. He teaches Music 116: Introduction to World Music - a virtual tour of the world's music, and starting in Fall 2019, will direct the Grossmont Middle East Ensemble ("Caravan World Music Ensemble"), open to all students and community members.

Office: 230-I
Phone: (619) 644-7254
E-Mail: farhad.bahrami@gcccd.edu

Sean Bassett

Sean Bassett

Fred Benedetti, Classical Guitar Ensemble

Fred was born in Sasebo, Japan and began playing the guitar at age 9. In 1986 he was one of 12 guitarists chosen worldwide to perform in the Master Class of Andrés Segovia at USC where Guitarra Magazine wrote, "...Fred Benedetti amazed the audience with his performance of the (Bach) Chaconne..." He has also been a performer for the master classes of Pepe Romero, Christopher Parkening, Federico Moreno-Torroba, George Sakellariou, and David Grimes. Fred has performed in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, England, Germany, Mexico, the Czech Republic, and locally with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Opera, the Starlight Opera, the American Ballet Company, the Old Globe Theatre, Luciano Pavarotti, and jazz artist Dave Brubeck.

Presently he teaches at Grossmont College where he is chair of guitar studies, and is a member of the guitar faculty at San Diego State University with George Svoboda, Robert Wetzel and Celin Romero. Fred is listed in the prestigious "Who's Who Among America's Teachers-2002" and received an "Outstanding Faculty Award of the Year in Music," in 2001 from SDSU, the "NISOD" Excellence in Teaching award from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and an "Outstanding Chair" award in 1990 from Grossmont College.

Equally at home playing classical music or contemporary music, he records on the SBE label and DOMO records with four noted ensembles: Keltik Kharma (a celtic band), The Odeum Guitar Duo, recently given the honor by the magazine, Acoustic Guitar, as being one of the ten best independently produced guitar CDs for the year 2000, "Blurring the Edges" a recipient of the 1994 San Diego Music Awards "Best Pop-Jazz" album of the year featuring jazz musicians Peter and Tripp Sprague, and the Benedetti/Svoboda Guitar Duo. As a BMI affiliated composer, Fred has written numerous contemporary pieces for the international CD library company Network Productions and as a studio musician for 20 years his playing is featured on over 60 CD's, numerous movie soundtracks, and TV commercials. He has shared the stage with Art Garfunkel, Basia, Michael Franks, Mark O'Connor, Michael Hedges, and Ottmar Liebert, and has recorded with Willie Nelson, Juice Newton, Paul Overstreet, Patty Loveless, Tom Barabas, Big Mountain, Matthew Lien, Ronny Robbins and William Lee Golden. He has performed for dignitaries such as the King & Queen of Malaysia, Mikhail Gorbachev and President Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Benedetti has also been a founding member of the Grossmont College Music Department Faculty Jazz Quintet called Ars Nova.

Fred Benedetti has been a member of the Grossmont College Music Department faculty since 1985.  His classes include class guitar, classical guitar, general music and guitar theory, and guitar ensemble.

Office:  230-E
Phone:  (619) 644-7259
E-Mail:  Fred.Benedetti@gcccd.edu OR fbenede1@san.rr.com

Fred Benedetti on YouTube More information on Fred Benedetti, music links, and interests!

Derek Cannon, Jazz Ensemble

Derek is an accomplished performer and music educator having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and Master of Music degrees from San Diego State University (SDSU).  During his time as a student at SDSU he won many soloist awards at jazz festivals throughout the state.  Derek has maintained an active performing career which includes performances with Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and Jon Faddis to name a few. As a BMI affiliated composer Derek has also written and produced music for several recording artists in the Chicago area. 


Internationally, he has performed at The Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, The North Sea Jazz Festival in The Netherlands, The Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, and The Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada.   Derek’s recent recordings include “Coup d’ Eclat,” with Monette Marino, 2010, “From Me To You,” with Paula Prophet, 2010, “Free Your Mind,” with Walter Beasley, 2009, “Destiny,” with Kamau Kenyatta, 2008, and “Come On Over,” with Allison Adams Tucker, 2008.  


In addition to being a member of the music faculty at Grossmont College, Mr. Cannon has also chaired the Jazz Studies Department at Chicago State University (1995-1999), and is a member of the jazz studio faculty at San Diego State University.   Derek Cannon has been a member of the Grossmont College Music Department Faculty since 1993.  His classes include Music Theory, Jazz Improvisation, Elements of Jazz, and he is the founder/director of the Afro-Cuban Ensemble.   In 2002, Derek was elected to the prestigious "Who's Who Among America's Teachers." 

As a faculty member of the Jazz 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop, Derek Cannon works with middle school and highschool jazz musicians preparing them for programs across the country, including Grossmont College Music Department's Jazz Studies program. This is just one of the many ways Mr. Cannon engages in music outreach in our community.

Check out Derek Cannon on Facebook. 

Office 230-E
Phone (619) 644-7257  
E-Mail: Derek.Cannon@gcccd.edu

Manny Cepeda, Afro-Cuban Ensemble

Manny hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  His musical experience of over 48 years makes him a fountain of knowledge in the Latin Music genre.  He has a Bachelors degree in music from Illinois State University, and a Masters Degree in Performance from Ellington University.  He has performed professionally since the age of 7 years old when he was the leader of a 14-piece Salsa Band and performed in National TV for the Mid-day variety show in San Juan Puerto Rico’s Channel 4.  After his musical education in the Conservatory of Music Pablo Casals, in Puerto Rico, and finishing his musical degrees, Manny joined the US Navy Music Program in 1973.  He has lead many Navy Band throughout the US and Overseas.  He was the leader of the famous Navy Steel Band and the world traveled U.S. Navy Show Band.  He toured the entire continent of South America and West Africa doing 7 world tours.  He currently works as the Assistant Director for the CINCSOUTH Band and is also an arranger for many enterprises and bands in the US. 

Art Walk 2004 Review

“One of the most promising artists with a background of rich music from the famous Bomba y Plena 'Cepeda' family of Puerto Rico is Manny Cepeda.  Since the age of 7, Manny has been performing first as the “Timbales Player” in the acclaimed variety TV “Show de Vigoreaus” in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Channel 4, and with other famous bands such as “Babo Jimenez, Ricardo Ray, Willie Colon and others.

Manny’s talents expanded further as his musical knowledge increased and has also developed into a superb composer and arranger.  He is now bringing his collection of Salsa/Merengue music to the public and it’s sure to be a hit with all the audiences.  His energetic beat and the richness of his songs choruses make for this “Paloma Collection” an album to be remembered.  Stay tuned for more of Manny Cepeda’s music.” 

Robert Evans, Owner & Art Director, Little Italy Art Walk 2004

For more information on Manny Cepeda, please visit his website at: www.mannycepeda.com

Office:  230-A
Phone:  (619) 644-7254
E-Mail:  manny.cepeda@gcccd.edu

Alyze Dreiling, String Orchestra

Alyze Dreiling, violist/violinist, was born in Detroit, Michigan.  She began her studies with Mischa Mischakoff –the Detroit Symphony and the Music Study Club of Metropolitan Detroit sponsoring her education. Ms. Dreiling graduated from Indiana University where she studied with Josef Gingold. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Indiana University and Master of Music from United States International University with an emphasis on Orchestral Performance. She has attended Kneisel Hall, Blossom Music Festival and Academy of the West for chamber music and worked with Walter Trampler, Karen Tuttle, Janos Starker and Menahem Pressler. She has appeared as soloist with the Detroit Symphony, Philharmonia Hungarica at the Vienna Summer Festival, Florida Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony and Knoxville Chamber Orchestra and served as concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony and Knoxville Chamber Orchestra before coming to San Diego.   

In the San Diego area, she has appeared as soloist with the International Orchestra, Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego State Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Dreiling was founding Artistic Director and Conductor of Classics for Kids as well as being Violinist/Conductor of the International Chamber Players at USIU. Adept with all musical styles, she has played concertmaster for Donna Summers, Smoky Robinson, Dionne Warwick and Tom Scott, to name a few. She has also served as concertmaster for shows at the Old Globe, Civic Auditorium, La Jolla Playhouse, Lawrence Welk Theater and Starlight Musical Theater and has also played with San Diego Symphony, OrchestraNova, Hutchins Consort, Opera Pacific, and Orquestra  de Baja California.   Ms. Dreiling and Myron Fink were awarded a recording prize from Contemporary Recording Society for the production and release of a CD featuring Fink’s Violin Sonata #1 and subsequently the Violin Sonata #2. 

Currently Ms. Dreiling is in the process of recording  Fink’s  remaining works for Violin and Viola.   Presently Ms. Dreiling is on faculties at USD and USD Chamber Music Festival and is violinist with Trio Licenza, the piano trio, in residence at USD, a violinist with Quartetto Sorrento and member of the California Consort. Ms. Dreiling is an orchestra coach for Rancho Bernardo, Westview and Del Norte High Schools and maintains a private teaching studio. She is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) and adjudicator for the Certificate of Merit program, member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), and the National Piano Guild.   

Alyze is the Principal Violist of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Violist of the Grossmont Symphony String Quartet. She also teaches courses in Music Fundamentals.

Office:  230-A
Phone:  (619) 644-7254
E-Mail:  alyze.dreiling@gcccd.edu
Website: www.alyzedreiling.com

Melonie Grinnell, "Cadence" Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Melonie Grinnell is a San Diego based jazz pianist. Active as an educator and performer, she began studying piano at the age of four and  has since been recognized not only for her skills as a pianist, but also for her abilities as a vocalist, music educator, and musical director. Melonie received her Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education with a jazz emphasis from the University of Miami and a Masters of Music performance degree in Jazz Studies from San Diego State University.


Melonie has an extensive list of musical performance experiences in jazz, classical and musical theater. She has performed in well-known San Diego jazz venues including Dizzy’s, Croce’s Jazz Bar, 98 Bottles and the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.  Melonie has also worked as a musical director and pit keyboardist for Starlight Civic Theater, the San Diego Repertory Theater, and the Lawrence Welk Theater. Additionally, she has been employed by Royal Caribbean International Cruises, both as a pianist and musical director for shows featuring major headliner acts.


Melonie has been a music educator at the college level for 15 years and is proud to be part of the prestigious music faculty here at Grossmont College.  Her teaching experience extends to Miracosta and Southwestern Colleges.  Classes include Music Theory I, Class Piano, Music History, Jazz Piano, Musicianship for General Ed. Elementary and Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  She teaches traditional face-to-face classes as well as online classes.


Additionally, she is on the faculty for the Francis Parker/KSDS 88.3 Summer Jazz Workshop where she teaches jazz piano and co-directs middle school to high school student ensembles.  She is also active as an adjudicator for instrumental jazz festivals including the Coronado/COSA Jazz Festival and the KSDS Jazz 88/CMEA festival.


Melonie Grinnell has been a member of the Grossmont College Music faculty since 2001.

Office: 230-I

Phone: (619) 644-7254
E-Mail: melonie.grinnell@yahoo.com


For more information on Melonie Grinnell, please visit her professional webpage at: www.meloniemusic.com

Russ Sperling, Concert Band

Russ Sperling is Director of the Grossmont College Concert Band.  He also serves as Director of Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) for San Diego Unified School District.  He is responsible for all components of arts education in California’s second largest school district.  Under his leadership, the district’s board of trustees unanimously approved a district Strategic Arts Education Plan in the fall of 2016 and established the VAPA Foundation, supporting the arts in schools in 2017.   


He is a founder and remains the lead coordinator of the San Diego Pride Youth Marching Band, an ensemble of 80 high school and college students from throughout Southern California.  The band performs at San Diego Pride events and is the only one of its kind internationally.   


Mr. Sperling serves on the board for Diversionary Theatre, the third oldest LGBT theatre in the U.S.  He has served as Western Division President of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and also as President of the California Music Educators Association (CMEA).  He is the founding President and present board member of the San Diego Winds, a professional wind ensemble.   


Mr. Sperling served three years as Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the San Diego County Office of Education.  While at the county, he served as the leader of Arts Empower San Diego, San Diego County’s strategic arts education initiative, and created the annual Arts Empower Mega Conference.  He also served four years as Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the Sweetwater Union High School District.   

Mr. Sperling began his career as the Instrumental Music Director at Helix Charter High School. During his fourteen-year tenure at Helix, the band and orchestra tripled in size, won numerous awards and performed in Europe on three tours.  


Mr. Sperling holds a B.A. in Political Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University and a second Masters in Music Performance with an emphasis in Conducting from San Diego State University. 


Mr. Sperling was recognized as San Diego Pride’s Volunteer of the Year in 2019. He has received the Arts Advocate award from Bravo San Diego.  From the CMEA Southern Border Section, he has received their “Music Educator,” “Administrator,” and “Band Director” of the year awards.  He has received the Outstanding Administrator award by the California Art Education Association, and has been honored as a distinguished alumnus by the School of Music and Dance at San Diego State University. He has received the “Prize Principal Award” from KYXY FM and Point Loma Nazarene University. He has received the Golden Apple Award from Helix Charter High School for excellence in teaching. 


Russ Sperling
Grossmont College Concert Band


Office: 230-I 
Phone: 644-7254 
E-Mail: sperlingruss@gmail.com


Randall Tweed, Symphony Orchestra & Master Chorale

Randy has been conducting opera, symphony, and chorus throughout Southern and Baja California since joining the music faculty in 1986. Dr. Tweed has frequently appeared as guest conductor on concert music series throughout Southern California including the Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra, the United States International Orchestra, Spreckels Organ Society, and various educational and church music concert series. In the area of education Dr. Tweed has appeared as adjudicator for the Music Educator’s National Conference, the Music Teacher's Association of California, the Grossmont Community Concert Association Instrumental Scholarship Auditions, and has twice appeared as conductor for the Suzuki awards concerts.

Dr. Tweed’s performing experience is both in the areas of vocal and instrumental fields winning competitions sponsored by the La Jolla Civic University Orchestra and the Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego. Dr. Tweed received the doctorate in musical arts (D.M.A.) from the School of Music at Arizona State University, located in Tempe, Arizona. He has also completed two Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California in addition to pursuing post-graduate study in Berlin, Germany (studying at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule) where he was a recipient of a Konrad Adenauer Foundation Fellowship.

In addition to expanding both the orchestral and choral programs at Grossmont College, Dr. Tweed initiated a series of concert programs dedicated to educating East County’s children beginning in March of 1993 organizing a "musical petting zoo" for the children, under the supervision of the members of the Orchestra and Master Chorale, to "touch," "pet," and "play" the instruments of the orchestra just prior to hearing the actual concert. Aside from giving the members of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Grossmont Master Chorale the experience of learning and performing an extensive variety of orchestral and choral literature, Dr. Tweed has given those members the opportunity to acquire greater stamina and self-assuredness by scheduling extra performances off campus. Being a civic minded person as well as an artist and educator, Dr. Tweed has contributed to the community by bringing his wonderful orchestra and chorale to areas that otherwise would have "missed out." In addition, he has succeeded in integrating community and college life by providing quality art to his East County audiences.

Dr. Tweed is has been a member of the Grossmont College Music Department Faculty since 1986.  His classes include Music Theory, Music History, Performance Studies, Voice Class, in addition to the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra & Master Chorale.


Office:  230-D
Phone:  (619) 644-7298
E-Mail:  Randall.Tweed@gcccd.edu

 Information for Dr. Tweed's GSO members.
Information for Dr. Tweed's Music Theory Students.
Information for Dr. Tweed's GMC members.

Information for Dr. Tweed's Voice Class Students