Southern California-based violinist and teacher Stephanie Kime Popa is the director of the Loma Linda Academy String Program. She loves bringing her passion for music and teaching children of all ages to her lessons, coaching, and conducting. In addition to having taught private violin and viola lessons over the past 20 years, she is also the conductor of the Loma Linda Academy Sinfonia and Concert Orchestras and director of several student string ensembles ranging from 5th-12th grade. Mrs. Popa is actively involved in music in her community, and is the president of the Music Teachers’ Association of California Redlands Branch, and has organized children’s concerts, workshops, and numerous outreach performances, as well as having played with the Redlands and San Bernardino Symphonies, Dayton (Ohio) Philharmonic, Northern Kentucky Symphony, and Symphony Irvine. In 2018 Mrs. Popa taught violin ensembles at the inaugural international summer workshop for the Institute of Young Musicians for Christ held in Denpasar, Indonesia, and has also been on the faculty of the VerArte Music Festival in Arequipa, Peru.
Mrs. Popa started studying violin at age 8 with Mrs. Marjorie Martin in Oakwood, Ohio, and later with Magdalena Albu, Eleanor Bennett, Karen Young, and Xiao-Guang Zhu in the Dayton, Ohio area. In high school she studied with Cincinnati Symphony violinist Stacey Wooley. Mrs. Popa received bachelors (summa cum laude) and masters degrees from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where here primary teachers were Piotr Milewski and Won-Bin Yim. She has also participated in the Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Kent/Blossom Chamber Music Festival, Opera Theatre of Lucca (Italy), and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Violin and Viola
Sammy Young grew up in Loma Linda and at the age of eleven, was accepted into Loma Linda Academy Consort under the direction of Karen Hoatson. For the next six years, Consort toured England, Iceland, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and all over the United States. His teachers include Ardyce Koobs, April Losey, Jennifer Penner, Jeff Hwang, and Philip Tyler. In 2015, Sammy received his Bachelor’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University where he had the opportunity to teach private lessons and group classes. He has done Suzuki Teacher Training with Ed Kreitman and Ed Sprunger.
Jim Lee has taught at Loma Linda Academy, Pasadena Conservatory, and Pioneer School of Music for over 20 years. Due to his extensive Suzuki training, he is often invited to teach at workshops including the Advanced Suzuki Institute at Standford University, National Cello Institute at the Pomona College, and the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute. He is also regularly asked to adjudicate for the ASTA competition and Rotary competitions. He has performed with the former concert master of the London Symphony, Tomo Keller and Tatsuya Nagashima (tatsuya-pianist.com); Quatracelli a chamber music group, whose members include Rick Mooney (www.nationalcelloinstitute.com), Kyle Champion (www.redlandssymphony.com) and Sarah Koo (www.sarahkoo.com), performing all over California including the annual Los Angeles Violoncello Society. Jim studied with Hans Jensen at Northwestern University and Suren Bagratuni at University of Illinois.
Celia Chan Valerio is the Adjunct Professor of Harp for La Sierra University and Cal Baptist University, Harp Instructor, University of California Riverside and former principal harpist of the Sarasota Orchestra, Florida. She teaches privately and performs as a solo harpist in Southern California.
Celia has been playing the harp professionally for 20 years. During this time, she received many awards and top prizes in various competitions including the Anne Adams Awards, American String Teachers Association–State and National Competition, American Harp Society Competition, Redlands Bowl Competition, and Music Teachers Association Competition and a semi-finalist in the USA International Harp Competition. She has performed as a soloist for the American Harp Society National Conference, World Harp Congress Convention, Indianapolis Arts Council, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and Brandstater Gallery Concert Series. She has worked extensively in the recording studios and live performances and has traveled around the United States as well as Australia, Canada, France, and Mexico.
Celia holds a Bachelor of Music from La Sierra University and a Master and Doctor of Music in harp performance from the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington where she completed her studies under the direction of Susann McDonald. Celia is a native of Loma Linda where she resides with her husband and daughter.
Harp, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Emerald Waworoendeng-Leung began her musical journey at the age of 6 taking piano lessons from her mother, then formal training under Marjorie Ziprick of Loma Linda and violin lessons from Karen Hoatson. It wasn’t till Emerald turned 11 years of age that she began studying Harp with Dominique Piana, professor of harp at the University of Redlands. Emerald quickly progressed and began winning the Valerie Finzi Awards from the Los Angeles Chapter of American Harp Society for four consecutive years. She later became a recipient of the National American Harp Society’s Mildred Bien Johnson Award and the Leni Fe’bland Award from the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara. Entering college at La Sierra University, Emerald studied under Dr. Celia Chan-Valerio and in her freshman year won the Annual Concerto Competition, winning her performance solo of “Handel’s Concerto in B flat major” Emerald has performed with surrounding ensembles such as the Southern Young Artists Symphony, Temecula Valley Orchestra and master chorale and the Coachella Valley Symphony. Emerald currently teaches private and group lessons in the Loma Linda and Redlands areas. In her spare time, she enjoys food blogging and updating her new collaborative project with her sister Alva Waworoendeng, called “Print and Play” a website providing digital music readily available for download.