Megan Leigh Johnson, Founder/Owner
Megan began playing the cello as a young child in Atlanta, GA. After moving to the SC low-country in 2004, she studied with Damian Kremer and Natalia Khoma in Charleston, SC. Through her high school studies, she was an active part of the Beaufort, SC classical music scene, regularly performing with the Beaufort Chamber Orchestra. She was principal cellist of the Beaufort Youth Orchestra through school, eventually teaching cello students in the area. She began performing for weddings/special events over 10 years ago, and has since played/organized hundreds of events. Megan has been honored to share the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Andres Cardenes, Bela Fleck, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and many other world-renowned musicians. She attended the advanced division of Brevard Music Festival as a teen. Currently living in Asheville, NC, she performs with the Johnson City Symphony, STACE, and Ten Cent Poetry. She will be sure that your wedding/special event music is performed at the highest level of professionalism, only hiring exceptional musicians and soloists.
Paul Stroebel, Violinist, Violist, and Mandolin
Paul is originally from Augusta, GA, where he studied Suzuki Violin Method from age three until graduating high school from Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. In middle school, he began playing in chamber music ensembles for weddings and similar events through his Suzuki & orchestra teachers. Paul graduated from UNCA’s Music Technology program in 2008 with distinction in music tech & music theory, playing in the University Scholarship Quartet & Symphony for all 8 semesters, jazz combos for 4, and extracurricular bluegrass throughout.
During his thirteen years in Asheville, he has played violin & sung in bluegrass, jazz, rock, and tango bands. In the classical realm, Paul is a regular member of the Asheville Symphony, Hendersonville Symphony, and Brevard Philharmonic as principal second violinist. He subs regularly with Johnson City Symphony, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Western Piedmont Symphony, and Blue Ridge (Community) Orchestra. He has been teaching full-time since 2014, when he also took up viola, and in 2016 was certified by Mark O’Connor in the “O’Connor Method” books I & II for violin. When not playing weddings, he busks with his string quartets regularly in downtown Asheville, taking Beethoven, Dvorak, tangos, Radiohead, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin to the streets.
Audra Claire McCall, Violinist
Audra Claire McCall, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, began doing public violin performances at age 5. Since then she has soloed with symphonies around the state; including the Civic Metropolitan Orchestra, the Southcoast Symphony, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and the Hilton Head Symphony. She had been a soloist on multiple concerts with the College of Charleston Concert Series, the Drayton Hall Plantation Candlelight Concert Series, the Friday Night with the Classics Series, the Emily Remington Concert Series, the Millennium Music Spotlight Concert Series, the Hilton Head Symphony Musicale, the Charleston First Night Concert Series and other independent concerts throughout the state. Miss McCall was a featured performer for Celtic Sounds at the Logos Theater in Greenville three years in a row. She also played with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra during their 2016 holiday season, and has played for other events such as TedX Charleston. Miss McCall attended the Aspen Music Festival and School for eight years where she did several performances on the Young Artist Concert Series. She was also the coconcertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of the Lowcountry. In 2008 she won the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Concerto Competition. In the same year she soloed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra for the opening of the Spoleto Festival International. Miss McCall concurrently studied with Paul Kantor of Rice University for eight years and Amos Laurence, the former assistant concertmaster of the Charleston Symphony, for eleven years. Miss McCall currently gives private instruction and does local performances.
Rachael Kistler-Igo, Violinist
Rachael began her violin studies at the age of two. She made her
professional debut with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra at the age
of 16, and continued her violin studies at the Cleveland Institute of
Music. Ms. Kistler has held positions with the Asheville, Greenville,
Charleston, and West Virginia symphonies, and most recently served
as Performing and Visual Arts Coordinator at Chautauqua Institution,
a nine-week summer festival in Western New York. During Ms.
Kistler's time at Chautauqua Institution, she oversaw all of
the institution's arts education and community engagement initiatives,
including in-school residencies for students with disabilities made
possible through grant funding from the John F. Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts.
In addition to the standard classical repertoire, Rachael is deeply
committed to exploring musical diversity and the broader scope of the
fine arts spectrum. Her work has been lauded for its diverse
programming, thought-provoking subject matter and mission of social
change through the power of music.
Rachael lives in Morganton with her husband, and maintains an
active Music Together® teaching schedule and private studio
for gifted students.
Mariya Potapova, Violinist
Mariya Potapova, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, grew up in a family of musicians. Mariya began studying violin at age 8 with professor Polonskaya at the Music Academy #16 of St. Petersburg. Upon graduation she began taking lessons with Vladimir Gentselt of St. Petersburg Philharmonic. Potapovamoved to the United States in 1999, where she started studying with world-renown professor Vadim Voyler. In 2006 she had taken the first place in Blue Ridge Concerto Competition and performed with Blue Ridge Civic Orchestra. Currently Mariyaholds two BA degrees from University of North Carolina, Asheville in Psychology and Music. She is a member of Asheville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Symphony, SC, and also performs with Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Mariya is a faculty member of the Asheville Music School and Academy for the Arts and a member of the Opal String Quartet and Temple Trio, both located in Asheville,NC.
Jorge Ochoa, Violinist
Marie Cole, Cellist
Marie Cole (Cello, Music Mind Games, and Early Childhood Music) has a B.M. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.M. from the University of Connecticut, both with an emphasis in cello performance. She performs regularly with the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra (TN), Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra (NC), and the Brevard Philharmonic (NC). Mariehas taught cello, Music Mind Games, and early childhood music for over fifteen years in the various regions she has lived in. These places include Asheville, NC, Washington, DC, Rockville and Frederick, MD, Cumberland, PA, and Manchester, CT. During the summer Marie enjoys performing for many different kinds of events (especially weddings) as well as teaching at summer music camps. At the Blue Ridge Suzuki String Camp (VA), she teaches Music Mind Games, cello, chamber music and early childhood music classes. Other summer camp teaching experiences have included being the camp director for Joyful Noise’s Music and Arts’ day camp (NC), teaching Music Mind Games at the Alexandria Suzuki Guitar Institute (VA) as well as teaching cello and Music Mind Games at the Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute (CO). She currently resides in Rutherford County in North Carolina on a beautiful farm overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. She teaches lessons and classes at her home studio and lessons online. For the past 6 years, she has been the music instructor for Central United Methodist Church’s preschool in downtown Asheville. She also performs around the area at such places like Lake Lure and the Biltmore Estate. Her greatest joys are taking care of her little girl and spending time with her family!
Nora Naughton, Cellist
Rosalind Buda, Bagpiper/Bassoonist
Bagpiper and bassoonist Rosalind Buda is a life-long musician and performer. Based in Asheville, NC,Rosalind is available to play Great Highland Bagpipes (in full Scottish attire), Scottish Smallpipes, Irish whistle, or classical bassoon for your wedding or event. Celtic music and bagpipes are a stunning addition to any ceremony, and Rosalind is ready to help you make a beautiful entrance, celebrate your Celtic roots, and to provide music to stir the soul and lift your feet to dance.
Rosalind is an active Celtic musician in WNC and across the US, having performed at many festivals and private events, including the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, The Swannanoa Solstice, Maryland Renaissance Faire, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Association of Boston Highland Ball, and as a piper and multi instrumentalist with acclaimed fiddler Jamie Laval. She has competed twice with the Grade II St. Thomas Alumni pipe band at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow and is a member of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association. Rosalind has performed with the Celtic band Brizeus, and the Houston, TX, based Medieval music ensemble Istanpitta. In addition to Celtic music, Rosalind performs as a classical chamber musician, orchestral musician, and teaches bassoon and bagpipes privately. As a classical freelance musician,Rosalind performs throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, with Pan Harmonia, the Asheville Symphony, Johnson City Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Brevard Philharmonic, and Greenville Symphony.
Rosalind is a graduate of the New England Conservatory where she earned her Master’s Degree while studying with Boston Symphony Orchestra Principal, Richard Svoboda. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa where she studied with Benjamin Coelho.
Mike Holstein, Guitarist/Bassist
Bassist/composer Mike Holstein has been playing music since early childhood. His first instruments were guitar, violin, piano and drums. It wasn’t until he was attending Western Carolina University that he discovered the bass. His affinity for the instrument was immediately apparent. Within a few years he was performing regularly and became one of the most sought after bassists in the Southeast. From the beginning he was writing his own music. He joined the creative young jazz group, the Taken Back Quartet. This ensemble soon became a fixture on the thriving Asheville music scene. They played to a loyal almost cult-like following.
In 2001, the members of the quartet along with Sharon LaMotte formed the Jazz Composers Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation and documentation of original, instrumental jazz. The Forum became a mainstay of the local music fabric as Mike and the Taken Back Quartet accompanied guest composers in concert presentations. Mike’s involvement grew with the forum whose activities now include workshops, presentations in grade schools and tours of venues throughout the region. He has presented his own music multiple times as leader and in the capacity of ‘Composer-in-Residence’.
Since 2004, Mike has been a member of the band Cotangent, a New York based group led by pianist/composer Bill Gerhardt. He has played on two recordings with this band, “Stained Glass” and “Thrive”. He also appears on Tony Moreno’s “Trio Music” (Art of Life Records). He has performed with Joe Locke, Ingrid Jensen, Randy Brecker, Frank Kimbrough, Kendra Shank, Ron Horton, Marc Mommaas and Tim Horner among others. A truly gifted musician, Mike is finding himself more in demand than ever as he performs in jazz clubs in New York, throughout the Carolinas and continues to be a force with the Jazz Composers Forum.