CTS Staff

CTS Staff:

Whitney Clair


Administrative Coordinator 

*Joined CTS in 2014.

    Whitney Clair holds the position of second trombone with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra (Sandusky, OH) and frequently performs with various other ensembles throughout Ohio and New York including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphoria (Syracuse, NY), the Akron Symphony Orchestra, and the Canton Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing, Whitney actively pursues her other interests in music such as teaching and arranging/transcribing. She currently teaches private lessons in low brass for the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory division and the Hathaway Brown School (Shaker Heights, OH).

    Whitney received a Bachelor of Music degree in trombone performance with a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY) in 2010. She then graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2012 with a Master of Music degree in trombone performance. Her primary teachers have included Massimo La Rosa, Mark Kellogg, Dr. John Marcellus, and Mark Salatino. Whitney grew up in Rochester, New York and currently resides in South Euclid, Ohio.

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John DiCesare - Tuba

*John has been the CTS Guest Tubist since 2013. He will be absent at the 2018 CTS.

     As winner of the 2012 Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition, Pittsburgh-based tubist John DiCesare is respected as a versatile musician - equally at home in the teaching studio as well as on major stages.  DiCesare is currently the band director at St. Teresa of Avila School, Providence Heights Alpha School, and the Adjunct Professor of Tuba at Ohio's Kent State University. DiCesare received a Bachelor of Music Education and Master's degree in Tuba Performance from Kent State University, and an Artist Diploma certificate from Duquesne University.  While in attendance at Kent State University, DiCesare held the position of Graduate Assistant of Tuba and Bands. 

     DiCesare performs regularly with orchestras both in the Pittsburgh area and nationwide. Currently, he serves as Principal Tubist for the Westmoreland and Johnstown Symphonies.  Notably, DiCesare has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Brass, Pittsburgh Opera, Canton Symphony Orchestra, South Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Circle Orchestra, as well as a variety of regional orchestras.  In the past year, DiCesare was the runner-up for the Chicago Lyric Opera, a finalist for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, a semi-finalist for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and a semi-finalist for the New World Symphony.

     DiCesare performs regularly with the Iron City Brass Quintet, as soloist with orchestras, and in recital.  Recent orchestral engagements include the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto with the Duquesne University Symphony Orchestra and Kent State University Orchestra, as well as the Strauss Horn Concerto with the Kent State Intercollegiate Wind Ensemble.  

     DiCesare has studied with Tom Lukowicz, John Bottomley and Craig Knox, principal tubist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  He makes his home in Pittsburgh with wife Amanda.


Kathryn Goodson - Piano

*We welcomed Kathryn to the CTS family in June 2017.

    Kathryn Goodson, international collaborative pianist, teacher and coach, is honored to be part of the 2017 Cleveland Trombone Seminar.  In 1998 she began working with bass trombonist Randall Hawes; this partnership led to recitals with trombonists Kenneth Thompkins, David Jackson, Donald Babcock, Timothy Higgins, Michael Mulcahy, Larry Zalkind and David Binder.  Hawes, saxophonist Timothy McAllister and Goodson now form the trio Vox3Machina, and are featured on the Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates roster.  Goodson’s collaborations can be heard on Albany with Hawes, Innova with McAllister, as well as Equilibrium and Blue Griffin labels with soprano Caroline Helton.  In 2014, Navona Records released Belle Nuit, her 2-CD set of lyrical works for winds and piano featuring hornist Gail Williams, saxophonist Donald Sinta, McAllister and Hawes. 

    Dr. Goodson has given her signature master class, Songs4Winds, at the Universities of Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Ball State and Central  Michigan as well as at Oberlin Conservatory and the Pokorny Low Brass Seminar; she presented a groundbreaking Songs4Winds lecture-recital at the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance Conference.  Another Goodson specialty is her Amerikanisches Lied class, taught at the Musikhochschule Karlsruhe, Germany since 1995. From this school she earned both Artistic Diploma and Konzertexam with highest honors in Liedgestaltung, as a Fulbright Scholar and student of Mitsuko Shirai and Hartmut Höll. Since 2005 Kathryn Goodson has served as coach-pianist for both vocalists and instrumentalists at the University of Michigan, from which she received the Master and Doctorate of Music in Collaborative Piano with Martin Katz. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI with her wonderful family, and is passionate about her communities.


Chris Graham - Trombone 

*Chris joined us first as a Participant in 2012 and 2013, and has been on our staff since 2015.

    Christopher Graham is currently the principal trombonist of the Akron Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he also holds the second trombone position with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Chris maintains a prominent international orchestral career while based in the Cleveland area. He has performed with the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Symphoria (Syracuse, NY), the Orlando Philharmonic and more.

    A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Chris received his Bachelor of Music from McGill University, where he studied with James Box, principal trombone of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Chris also graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2010 with a Master of Music, studying with Richard Stout of The Cleveland Orchestra and most recently returned to the Cleveland Institute of Music to earn an Artist Diploma in 2013, under the guidance of Massimo La Rosa, principal trombone of The Cleveland Orchestra.


Wesley Thompson - Trombone

*Wesley was a member of CTS since 2013, and joined our staff in 2017.

    Wesley Thompson is an active freelancer throughout South Florida. He has performed with the New World Symphony, Boca Symphonia, and the South Florida Jazz Orchestra. Before moving to Florida he performed with the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra for 3 seasons from 2013-2015, and as a regular substitute with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra. Wesley has played in concert with artists such as John Williams, Quincy Jones, Dave Liebman, Monica Mancini, John Faddis, and Janis Siegel. Wesley can be heard on several CDs including Pocono Git-Down by Rick Hirsh’s Big Ol’ Band and an upcoming release in February 2018 by the Frost School of Music’s Concert Jazz Band, Europa: Explorations for Large Jazz Ensemble.

    Wesley received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania in 2013. He then earned a Master of Music in trombone performance from Penn State University in 2015 as well as a Professional Performer’s Certificate in 2016. Wesley is currently a graduate fellow with the Henri Mancini Institute while pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. His primary teachers have been Timothy Conner, Mark Lusk, Michael Clayville, and James Olson. Wesley currently lives in Miami with his beautiful wife Kylla. 


Mary Tyler - Trombone

*Mary joined CTS first as a participant in 2014 and our staff in 2018.

    A native of Gainesville, Florida, Mary Tyler is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Northwestern University. She has performed with the Ars Viva, Oistrakh, Northbrook, Lexington, and Berkshire Symphony Orchestras, as well as Phoenix (Boston) Orchestra, and Gainesville Chamber Orchestra. In 2005 and 2007, Ms. Tyler was the winner of the American (formerly Eastern) Trombone Workshop’s National Classical Solo Competition, hosted by The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”. 

    An avid chamber musician, Ms. Tyler is a member of Axiom Brass and has performed with the Triton Brass Quintet. She was a founding member of the Obsidian Brass Quintet, and with that group was a winner of the International Brass Quintet Competition, a finalist at the Alice Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and semi-finalist at the Plowman, J.C. Arriaga, and Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions.

    Ms. Tyler is a student of Michael Mulcahy, Timothy Higgins, Douglas Wright, Christopher Davis, and Randall Hawes. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University in 2011 and her Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, where she was a student of Toby Oft. Ms. Tyler is an alumna of the Tanglewood Music Center, Lake George Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Cleveland Trombone Seminar, Alessi Seminar, and Atlantic Brass Quintet Seminar.

    In her spare time, Mary enjoys knitting sweaters, baking spectacular desserts, and running half marathons.


Deborah Yasutake - Piano

*Debbie was a guest pianist at the 2012 CTS, and joined our staff the following year.

    Deborah Yasutake is an active collaborative pianist in the Akron/Cleveland area.  She is a staff accompanist at the University of Akron and has also worked as a collaborative pianist at Northwestern University,  the University of Michigan and Kent State University.  

    Debbie has been a staff accompanist for the Cleveland Trombone Seminar since 2013 and has accompanied recitals by members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Pittsburgh SymphonyOrchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra and Canton Symphony.  She maintains a private piano studio in Stow, Ohio. Ms. Yasutake holds a bachelor's degree in trombone performance from Northwestern University. 


Graphic Design


Julie A. Cajigas

*We've enjoyed Julie's design for the seminar since the very first CTS in 2012.

    Julie A Cajigas is a Visiting Lecturer in the School of Communication at the University of Akron and owner of Inspired Copy & Communications, LLC, an organization she founded to provide high quality written and visual communications for local and nationally based clients. A Cleveland, OH-based writer, editor, designer and photographer with expertise in strategic communication, she creates everything from individual projects to top-down campaigns. Cajigas has her Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Masters in Applied Communication Theory and Methodology from Cleveland State University. She can be reached via her website: www.inspiredfreelancer.com