Our Lead Teaching Artist
Born a city-boy in Kansas, it is the Kansas landscape and the working people that inspires me. Farmer, teacher, nurse, factory worker, urban and rural families are the ones who make this State great. Early morning sunrise over the flint hills or a star stretched night sky of western Kansas, this state reverberates in my soul.
I am a native Kansan who grew up in Topeka and moved to Wichita, Kansas to attend Friends University. There he received a degree in Music Education and then went to Wichita State University where he received a Masters in Music Education (Conducting). Aaron taught in the Wichita district for 11 years before setting out as a full time musician.
I am a member of the Kansas Arts on Tour Roster with the Kansas Arts Commission. He is a Nationally Credentialed Teaching Artist with Young Audiences in New York and a National Trainer with Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts in Vienna VA. I am a founding Artist with Arts Partners Wichita where I am a roster Artist and a Teaching Artist and a Baby ArtsPlay Teaching Artist with Kansas Wolf Trap. I am a proud member of AFM Local 1000 currently serving as the President.
In 1990, I, co-founded Hope Street Youth Development and served as it’s Executive Directory for 19 years. The organization worked with middle and high school students providing leadership opportunities including academic and youth organizing. This experience allowed me the opportunity to listen and work closely with students.
My music career includes 11 years of public school education with memberships in MENC (Music Education National Conference) and ACDA (American Choral Directors Association). I trained with the Kansas School Team Training for Substance Abuse Training and the Kansas Leadership Center. I have consultants with several schools across south-central Kansas on issues of self-esteem, goal setting and leadership development in young people.
I understands the power of community in and it is through the singing of OUR stories that we are reminded of this value that keep us all moving forward.
The Lovely Ms. Bella & Mr. Choco
Bella and Choco are AKC registered yellow and chocolate labs who I got when they were 10 weeks old. Bella in 2015 and Choco in 2018. Both have completed their Therapy Dog International certification and their Professional Therapy Dog certification.
I loved going into schools that had therapy dogs in the classroom. What a gift! After loosing our 12 year old black lab, I knew I wanted to train our next dog to work with me in the classroom. If you have not had the privilege of watching a therapy dog in the classroom you have missed something phenomenal.
Bella and Choco join me in most of my programs when appropriate We always start with a brief description of Working Dogs, including Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs and how to meet and greet them. Most service dogs are working and can not be petted because it would distract them from their job, but not Bella and Choco. Their job is to be with kids and offer a connection that many need to help them through the day.
They are the main characters in the Adventures of Bella and Choco childrens books.