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The Ilse Newell Fund for the Performing Arts

A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

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Artist Profiles


Tocamos Mas

Latin / Tango / Rumba / Dance

Tocamos Mas is a 4-piece group that performs traditional and original Latin arrangements. The core group consists of William ; Johnson on piano, Chuck Carbia on bass and lead vocals, Paul Harvey on percussion and backing vocals, and Patrick McKinney on guitar. The band aims for the sound of small Latin salsa groups from the 50s and 60s, and sometimes features guest artists on brass, strings, and percussion.

Chuck Carbia has performed as a musician and artist nationally and internationally over the past 30 years. His father, Enrique Carbia and his uncle Eddie Carbia performed Latin music as The Carbia Brothers Trio featuring Leo Rosa in the 50s and 60s. They were contracted in the top venues in NYC, Miami and Puerto Rico and performed with many top acts including Tito Puente, Tony Bennet, and Desi Arnaz. Chuck is currently a full-time Professor at Savannah College of Art and Design. He is painter and also the musical director for Tocamos Mas and the performance
group Glitter Chariot, and is a member of the surf punk band Donna Savage.

Paul Harvey began playing drums and percussion at the age of ten. Since then, he has been developing his technique and performance style, playing a variety of genres, and studying with some of the best percussionists from around the world. Paul has toured extensively and recorded many different styles from Country to Caribbean. Paul is also a chef, professional golfer, teacher, performer, and studio musician for many established groups in the Southeast.

Bill Johnson is an accomplished musician who is prolific on a variety of musical
instruments including piano, saxophone, and percussion. Bill has performed nationally and internationally in a variety of established bands, including The Marching 100 of Florida A&M University. He is currently a percussion instructor and continues to write and perform music on a variety of instruments.

Patrick fell in love with the guitar when his mother gave him one at the age of fourteen. He went on to study classical guitar with Bruce Holzman at FSU. Later he began playing in rock bands and pursuing a variety of world music pursuits including studying the sitar with Nalini Vinayak and Balinese gamelan with Michael Bakan. When Iron and Wine began touring, Sam Beam recruited Patrick to join the band both on the road and in the studio. Together they toured extensively both domestically and internationally. Patrick began studying African drumming with Yazid Johnson which led him to join Tocamos Mas. He collaborates with Glitter Chariot, works with artists such as Linda Hall, and scores films for Ilana Goldman and Malia Bruner. Patrick's own band Langtry records regularly and plays regionally.


Leon Anderson Jazz Ensemble


with Keshawn Hardy, trumpet / Kyle Bramson, saxophone

Asher Pereira, piano / Kaleb Thompkins, bass /

Leon Anderson, drums

The Leon Anderson Jazz Ensemble is a perennial favorite for Ilse Newell concert attendees. Each year he presents a variety of music and accompanying performers.


Leon Anderson biography

KeShawn Hardy biography

Kyle Bramson biography

Asher Pereiera  biography

Kaleb Thompkins biography


Sammy Hanson and Benjamin Chen



Sammy Hanson is a jazz pianist currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Jazz Performance at Florida State University. He has been performing in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, and Tallahassee. Sammy has competed in the Savannah Swing Central Jazz Festival twice, performed in Carnegie Hall, has competed in the Essentially Ellington competition, and in the Jack Rudin competition at Lincoln Center. His music is all improvised live, making each performance something special!

Although a native of Taiwan, Chen spent most of his early years in Seattle, Washington, beginning piano lessons at the age of six with his passion ignited by Dr. Hangnyo Lee. Later returning to his homeland, Chen enrolled in the high school diploma program under the auspices of Tainan National University of the Arts, initiating his musical career carefully instructed by composer/pianist Mikhail Kollontay. Chen went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music under attentive guidance of Dr. Marc Silverman,
proceeding to earn a Master of Music degree at Indiana University receiving inspirational lessons from extraordinary teachers Dr. Karen Shaw and Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler. Chen is currently a doctoral student with teaching responsibilities at Florida State University as a mentee of Dr. Read Gainsford. Chen also serves as the resident pianist at John Wesley United Methodist Church.

A native of Taiwan, Bang-Shyuan (Benjamin) Chen is currently based in Florida and enjoys a musical life with an international outlook. Chen has performed at prestigious venues such as the National Concerto Hall of Taiwan, The Green Space, Gordon K. & Harriet Greenfield Hall, and Opperman Music Hall. Chen shares recordings of his performances on YouTube, with the latest projects including his doctoral recitals. Alongside a performing career,

Chen actively engages in educational events. Chen participated in Dr. Lisa Yui’s Lives of the Piano concert-lecture series and was invited to perform on a radio webcast at WQRX hosted by the famous author and music critic David Dubal. Striving as a music educator, Chen has been an instructor of piano literature at Florida State University and hosted a full house lecture recital sponsored by the O-Bank (Taipei, Taiwan) educational foundation. Chen’s pedagogical experience includes, teaching keyboard skills, group piano classes, and piano performance up to the graduate level at Florida State University and Indiana University. His teaching philosophy is to help students utilize piano technique and knowledge as tools for unlocking artistic

expressions. Chen began piano lessons at the age of six with his passion ignited by Dr. Hangnyo Lee. Later deciding to pursue a career in music, Chen enrolled in the high school diploma program

attached to Tainan National University of the Arts. Upon conclusion of his initial stage of musical training, Chen received the opportunity of a prestigious merit-based scholarship to study for a bachelor’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, proceeding to earn the opportunity of a full-ride to study for a master’s degree at Indiana University. Chen has had the privilege to study with inspirational teachers: Professor Mikhail Kollontay; Professor, Dr. Marc Silverman; and Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler.


Chen currently thrives as a doctoral candidate with teaching responsibilities at Florida State University under mentor of Dr. Read Gainsford. Chen has won first prize at the Rockwood Competition for graduate students and the Annual Competitive Festival at Florida State University, also being chosen as runner-up for both the 2022 and 2023 doctoral concerto competition.


Chris Godber



catered by the Franklin Co Culinary

Chris Godber (saxophone)
In the last few years Billboard charting saxophonist, Chris Godber 
(pronounced God – brrr) has become a highly sought after performer not only for corporate and private events, but also on the Contemporary Gospel Jazz stages. He is a living
testimony to the incredible power of faith and the unwavering belief in the potential within oneself. Faced with the discouraging thought that his asthma would prevent him from playing the saxophone, Chris turned to his faith as a source of strength and determination. With his unwavering trust in God's plan, he embarked on a remarkable journey that would not only prove his skeptics wrong but also inspire countless others along the way.

Chris's musical journey has intertwined with some of the industry's luminaries, offering a glimpse into his exceptional talent and versatility. He'
s graced the stage as an opener for iconic artists like the late Dr. John and country sensation Sara Evans. Moreover, he's shared harmonious moments with renowned figures such as Mindi Abair, T. Graham Brown, and the cast of Dancing with the Stars during their live tours.
Caleb Middleton (keyboardist / musical director)

Panama City, FL native and father of two. His first passion was drums, growing up playing in church and moved up to keys when the church keyboard player left.  Self-taught at both keys and drums, seemingly mastering both effortlessly; he also knows his way around a guitar. Middleton is definitely the type that seems to be able to play anything he picks up and play it well.  Though he plays for various churches and performing artists his main passion is producing music. He has produced numerous
Billboard Charting hits in various genres including Gospel and Smooth Jazz for such artists as Chris Godber, Julian Vaughn, Blake Aaron, Adam Hawley and more.


Antonio Reeves (guitar)

Miami, FL native and father of two. Reeves currently resides in Panama City, FL where he plays guitar in local churches and several bands.  Taking some classical piano lessons early on kindled his love for music. He loves playing blues and is a natural. Most would never know that he's only recently taken up guitar within the last 6 years!
Mostly self-taught, Reeves has a true passion for music and has picked up bass and piano as well.


Avis Berry

Vocalist with Band

Considered a modern renaissance woman and jewel of Tallahassee, Florida State alum Avis Berry is a talented singer equally accomplished in Jazz, Gospel, and Classical Music, an elementary school teacher at Gilchrist Elementary school in Tallahassee, FL, and a librarian at FSU’s Warren D. Allen Music Library. She is a three-time alum of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance and two Master of Science degrees in Elementary Education and Information Studies. She has recorded with various artists as a background vocalist and as a soloist with the Berlin Radio Choir on their record True Light: The Berlin Christmas Concert. Avis has also performed in Vietnam, China, Germany, and England under the direction of Dr. Andre Thomas and has shared the stage with such greats as Dave Brubeck, Robert Shaw, the Berlin Radio Choir, various FSU ensembles and faculty including the FSU Jazz Faculty, the Tallahassee Symphony Jazz Orchestra, and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. She continues to collaborate musically with various local artists throughout the community on a regular basis, most notably her band, Revival.


Performing with Avis will be Wil Fulkerson on piano, Brian Hall on bass, Nygel Anderson on drums, Joe Goldberg on saxophone, and Cory Marsh on guitar.


Will Fulkerson is a native of Atlanta, where he grew up playing music from the early age of 4 years old. He began studying jazz and playing with local musicians while in high school.


He received his Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies from Florida State University where he studied and performed regularly with the likes of Nick Finzer, Scotty Barnhart, Leon Anderson and more. He has performed at many notable venues including “Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center" in NYC, The Velvet Note, and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.


After graduating in 2017, Will moved to NYC to study with world-class piano technique specialist Edna Golandsky. He now lives in Tallahassee with his wife and 3-year-old son where he gigs regularly and runs his recording studio and jazz education business “Studio 251.”

Brian Hall is a bassist and composer with a deep knowledge of and passion for diverse styles of music spanning jazz, classical, and world musics. His active performing and touring calendar sees him collaborating with international artists and regional symphonies. As Associate Professor of Music at Florida A&M University since 2014, he brings his wealth of knowledge and performance experience to his teaching practice. Mr. Hall holds an MM in Jazz Studies from Florida State University and a BM in Jazz Studies from Georgia State University.

Based in Tallahassee, FL, Mr. Hall has toured as a performer and educator up and

down the East Coast for over 25 years and played with other renowned artists,

including Nat Adderley Jr., Marcus Printup, Charles Davis, Longineu Parsons,

Michael Bakan, Carmen Bradford, Scotty Barnhart, and Winard Harper.


Nygel Anderson was born and raised in Tallahassee. He grew up around a very musical family that contained many instruments. Nygel is a young drummer who has played for many wonderful artists and has a wide variety of playing styles. Nygel is currently studying under Professor Leon Anderson at Florida State University in the Jazz Studies program.


Joe Goldberg, originally from Melbourne, FL, received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in 2012. He then began to work for pianist Marcus Roberts sharpening his skills on the clarinet and alto saxophone in the Modern Jazz Generation (Romance, Swing, and the Blues 2013). From 2013-2020 Joe resided in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he had the chance to learn from and work with some of the best musicians in the city such as Jason Marsalis, Wess “Warm Daddy” Anderson, Shannon Powell, Herlin Riley, Topsy Chapman, Lars Edegran, Steve Pistorius . Joe regularly performs with his quartet and with his 7-piece swing band Joe Goldberg & the Function (Hotspot 2023).


Cory Marsh is a freshman at Tallahassee Community College who is planning to transfer to Florida State University for music education. He took guitar all four years of high school under the instruction of his good friend Eric Robles; and also participated in the jazz band for one year. He plans to play as much music in as many places as possible so he can be a better music teacher down the line.


Bernard Simmons

Delta Blues with band, Cabaret Style setting, plenty room for dancing.


Capital City Brass Quintet

Quintet Featuring Jonah Zimmerman

Capital City Brass Quintet was formed in the Fall of 2021 by a group of graduate students at the Florida State University College of Music who share an interest and love for chamber music. Each member of the group performs in the top FSU College of Music large ensembles and many serve as graduate teaching assistants for their respective

Through performances for both the College of Music and the Tallahassee community at events including The College of Music Spotlight Series, Undergraduate Wind Seminar, Cascades Park Holiday Stroll, and College Town Oktoberfest, Capital City Brass
Quintet has developed a mission to enrich, educate, and foster an interest in brass chamber music for all ages. In the Spring of 2022, Capital City Brass Quintet worked closely with Jamaican-American composer Dalian Bryan to give two performances of his new work, Four Rhapsodic Miniatures for brass quintet. This project spurred the group on to continue to spotlight new, engaging music by diverse and underrepresented composers, promoting the brass quintet as an ensemble in the process. Capital City Brass Quintet is dedicated to fostering music education for young musicians. As winners of Florida
State University’s Noles OnStage chamber music competition, Capital City Brass Quintet embarked on a tour of Costa Rica, sharing performances and masterclasses across the country.

The musicians in the group all teach privately and have a passion for sharing their knowledge of music. Performing for us will be Angela King (Trumpet), Madison Barton (Trumpet), Cory Kirby (French horn),
Jonah Zimmerman (Trombone) and Chris Bloom (Tuba).


Echo Valley

Blue Grass Fiddle Group

Champ / Sting / Funky 50's

Echo Valley is one band you don't want to miss! Their energetic and lively performance has entertained countless crowds since 2009 with their variety of Bluegrass, Americana, Folk and Grassicana styles. With their bright retro apparel and animated
stage presence, these five sisters and one brother impress with their tight sibling harmonies and multi-instrument talents. 
Echo Valley plays 60+ dates a year. The band travels the states and has played in many cities such as, Nashville TN, Pigeon Forge TN, Raleigh NC, Fort Myers FL, Columbus Ohio, Pittsburgh PA and more.
They were selected as an Official Showcase Band for IBMA 2022 and were also selected to perform at the Pennsylvania Fairs and Showmen Convention in 2022. A few of their notable appearances have been Dollywood Theme Park, Mohican Bluegrass Festival, West End Fair, Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh and the Tri-
State Bluegrass Festival. 
The band members have won many competitions as individuals. The most notable is their fiddle player, Emily, who is the 2021 Pennsylvania State Fiddle champion as well as the 2018 Maryland State Fiddle champion.
Their latest project, Wildest Dreams (2022), was recorded in Nashville, released on Bell Buckle Records, produced by Donna Ulisse and sound engineered by Chris Latham and Rebekah Speer. Previous releases include Echo Valley (2016), Rise and Shine (2018), and Christmas With Echo Valley (2018).
This is the first year the band will be performing at the Ilse Newell concert series as a performance suggested by Carol Guild, our former vice president who passed away this year (2023). The performance is in Carol’s honor. She is greatly missed by our board and this community.


Carlos Vega

Katin Jazz Ensemble


FAMU Faculty


Rod Goodling

& Jessica Ann Best

Piano & Mezzo Soprano Artist

A Tribute performance to Carol Guild.


Pianist Rob Goodling may already be familiar to Ilse Newell audiences from his previous performances here with tenor, Mark Daniels. He is honored to be accompanying Jessica Ann Best in this tribute recital for his sister, Carol Guild—a former member of the Ilse Newell Board of Directors.

Jessica Ann Best is a nationally renowned cross-disciplinary artist of opera, musical theater and jazz. She has premiered the roles of Mrs. Otis in Gordon Getty’s The Canterville Ghost with LA Opera, the stepmother in Anton Coppola’s Lady Swanwhite at Opera Tampa, and Alice in Alice Ryley by Michael Ching with the Savannah Voice Festival. In 2021, Ms. Best made her debut as Carmen in Georges Bizet’s Carmen with the Salt Marsh Opera Company. Currently she tours The Great American Songbook and is a returning New York City artist with Susie Mosher in The Lineup at the Birdland. At Rochester’s Blackfriars Theater, she recently curated an exciting production of opera, Broadway, musical theater and jazz, titled, La Reine, Queens of Stage and Song.


Ms. Best has appeared as a guest artist with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Florida Orchestra, Montana’s Helena Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Opera, the Savannah Music Festival and at Carnegie Hall. On Naxos Records, she appears as Bessie and Mary in the recording of Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre. In the Spring of 2023, Ms. Best toured Poland, singing and directing opera scenes with the Rzesźow Philharmonic and the KrakowAcademy of Music. Ms. Best holds a Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Nazareth University, where she is currently a professor and Artistic Director of Opera. In 2024 she will be performing in and directing a production of Francis Poulenc’s opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites.