School of Fine Arts Instructors
Janet Lindley - Director of School of Fine Arts
Janet Lindley has been the Director of the School of Fine Arts since 2010, a period that has seen significant growth in the number of students enrolled and the breadth of teaching offered. Janet is especially well-qualified to administer the program, having a background in sales, management and marketing as well as teaching experience. Her degree in Economics from Texas A&M University is serving her—and West U Methodist—well.
Janet’s volunteer activities at West U Methodist have included positions of great responsibility such as the Chair of the Board of Stewards, Chair of the Worship Committee and Member of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, duties which she carried out with grace and sensitivity. She pursues her personal interest in music by singing in the Chancel Choir and studying voice with Alicia Gianni, the School of Fine Arts voice teacher and Brian Davis, the School of Fine Arts piano teacher.
In the broader Houston community, she has taken leadership roles in such diverse groups as the Houston Children’s Chorus, the Junior League, the Lanier Middle School PTO and the West University Softball Association Board, to name a few. She has lived in West U with her husband and children since 1991 and appreciates the many new friends she has found through West U Methodist Church and the School of Fine Arts.
Cindy Tan has twenty years of teaching experience, specializing in piano, music theory and Chinese lute. She holds a Master of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Houston.
Ms. Tan's extensive teaching experience includes college level piano and music theory in Nanjing, group lesson teaching (for ages three to adult) for Anybody Can Play Houston and For Bend Music Center, as well as individual piano lessons at H&H Piano Central and Brook Mays Piano Max. She has also given private lesson to students ages three to adult.
She is a member of Houston Music Teachers Association, and her students receive gold medals in the 2006 HNTA piano competition. She has been a member of the National Piano Guild since 1996, and many of her students are among national roll winners. Cindy is currently the chairperson of the Piano Guild for Sugarland. She particularly enjoys teaching young students and holds the Harmony Road Music Course certificate.
As a child in Ecuador, Erol Kuscu showed unusual ability and interest in musical instruments, starting in elementary school with Andean instruments like the quena (wooden flute) and zampoña (pan flute) and then a keyboard which he taught himself to play. At age 14, he discovered the guitar, was given an electric guitar and amp by his father, and soon began playing in bands at school and with friends.
Erol went on to study classical guitar at the National Conservatory of Music in Quito, Ecuador, for two years under the tutelage of Alfredo Carbajal. After moving to the United States, he enrolled at Houston Community College and studied jazz guitar with Mike Sunjka, classical guitar with Armando Rodriguez, and composition with Dr. Aubrey Tucker, graduating with honors in 2004.
He continues to play regularly with cover bands in styles that range through rock, blues, R&B, metal, funk, disco and more. In 2012, one of his bands, “La sien”, was nominated in the category of best Latin Rock band by the Houston Press. Another band, “Espantapajaros”, was nominated three times (2009-2011) as best rock band in Houston by the Houston Press, giving him the opportunity to perform on an east coast tour that wound up in New York.
Erol is a certified Suzuki instructor and has taught at the Texas Guitar Company in Katy and at 6 Strings Music Academy in Cypress. He has been a guitar instructor at West U Methodist School of Fine Arts for the past 11 years.
Kingchi Au holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of Houston Moores School of Music. At the Moores School of Music, she received a music merit scholarship and was a teaching fellow for undergraduate piano students. Her awards include: the Pi Kappa Lambda award from the National Music Honor Society in the United States; the Certificate of Distinction in Pianoforte Performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the UK; and the Distinctive Licentiate Performer in Pianoforte from Trinity College in the UK.
Kingchi is an experienced music instructor with a background that includes teaching positions at colleges in the Houston area since the year 2000, committee service for music teachers associations since 2001, and positions as director and instructor at summer piano camps since 2006. She has worked with students of all ages, at different levels, and from diverse backgrounds. Her students have won top awards in competitions, with some of them earning gold medals in music theory and piano playing examinations. Many have graduated with music degrees from universities and are pursuing a career in music, while others simply continue to enrich their lives with the joy of playing the piano.
She has also established herself as a performer. Over the years, she has been invited to present solo programs at public concerts, educational institutions, and music organizations and has co-organized and given piano duo fund-raising concerts. She appears frequently in performances with instrumentalists, vocalists, choirs, and new music ensembles.
Brian is well-rounded, completely easy with popular styles as well as rigorous in his classical performances. He was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Bosendorfer Vienna International Piano Competition. To complete the picture, imagine Brian and his wife driving miles and miles of Texas highway to check out BBQ places and compare them to his favorites: Cooper’s in Llano or Black’s in Lockhart. They are, after all, true Texans, from families long rooted in central Texas.
Brian Davis, is also our Contemporary Worship Leader, is a multi-talented musician who sings, plays piano, keyboard and guitar in a variety of styles, composes praise songs and leads the Worship Band at 11:00 am worship every Sunday. Brian also pulls together volunteers and professionals to play for special concert events at the church. He graduated in music from Baylor University, but like many musicians, he had to get a “real” job –in his case working for technology companies in Austin—before getting the chance to launch his career in music right here at West U Methodist.
Get to know Brian’s infectious laugh and exciting music. God has blessed us all with his talents.
Alicia Gianni is a well-known vocalist here in Houston and throughout the nation. The School of Fine Arts is fortunate to have had Alicia as a voice teacher here for a few years. Her teaching skills are evident in the success and improvement of her students. She taught a young adult singer who is studying opera in Italy and has produced notable positive changes in the vocal performances of her adult students. She gets glowing reviews from all her students for her teaching methods and encouraging manner.
Alicia has an active performance schedule of her own. Her range includes jazz, musical theatre, concert soloist and opera. Her jazz vocals are heard most often in the Alicia Gianni Trio performances at local restaurants, private parties and weddings. She has sung numerous roles with the Houston Grand Opera, the Florida Grand Opera and the summer festival in Torre del Lago, Italy. Alicia will be returning to the Houston Grand Opera in the 2013-14 season as Petra in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
Alicia received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Washington and her Artist Diploma from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. In both places she was recognized with awards and scholarships as well as opportunities to perform as a soloist with orchestras and in concert venues. For a complete listing of her numerous credits, please contact the School of Fine Arts at West U Methodist.
Kathryn Brown joined the School of Fine Arts faculty in 2013, bringing more than 35 years of experience teaching viola and violin lessons as well as an exceptional record of success as a teacher and leader of orchestra programs in the Houston Independent School District. She started the strings program at Bell Elementary while at Welch Middle School, and then at Johnston Middle School where she also conducted the All City Elementary Orchestra. From 1999 to 2013, she was the director of the orchestras at Bellaire High School. During her tenure at BHS, both Varsity and Non-Varsity orchestras maintained a perfect contest record.
Born and raised in Indiana, she holds a B.Mus. degree from DePauw University, a M. Mus. in Violin Performance from Miami University of Ohio, a M. Ed. in Rehabilitation Teaching of the Blind from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Music Education from the University of Houston. As a professional violinist and violist, she performed with the Arkansas Symphony and the Dayton Philharmonic, and worked as a freelance musician in Indiana, Ohio, and Arkansas. A finalist for the HISD Outstanding Young Educator and Teacher of the Year, Dr. Brown was the recipient of the 2007 Fidelity Investments Houston Symphony Inspire the Future Award for Outstanding Strings Educator.
Hangfong Au holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of Houston Moores School of Music. At the Moores School of Music, she received a music merit scholarship and was a graduate teaching assistant. Her awards include: Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society, Performance Diplomas of Trinity College of Music, London and a Performing Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London.
Hangfong is an experienced music instructor with a background that includes teaching positions at Christ United Methodist Church, Sugar Land, Texas and Brazosport College, Lake Jackson, Texas.
She has also has had a distinguished career as a performer with broadcast recordings for Radio Television Hong Kong RTHK-4, Hong Kong, master classes with renowned pianists Horacio Gutiérrez, Sara Laimon, Abbey Simon, and Nelita True and a solo piano recital at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas. She has given more than a hundred performances as an accompanist and orchestral pianist and has performed with Masquerade Theater, Houston,Texas.
Hangfong is currently a professional accompanist at the University of Houston, Houston, Texas, and an accompanist-coach at Lee College, Baytown, Texas.
Joyce started taking piano lessons at age 9 in her hometown of Victoria, Texas. When she was in high school she added lessons for the electric organ. Fond memories of that time include playing piano/organ duets with her mother and playing for the Victoria Organ Club.
While at Victoria Junior College she sang in the choir for two years and played percussion in the band for a year. When she moved off to Sam Houston State University to complete her degree she studied piano and piano pedagogy under Dr. John Paul, the head of the piano department there. Her favorite classes were music theory and conducting. Throughout college she accompanied opera workshop class, school ensembles, and soloists. Outside of school she accompanied the music group Mustard Seed through the Baptist Student Union in Huntsville. In 1980 she received a Bachelor of Music Education with piano as the primary instrument and a minor in mathematics from SHSU.