The Studio




Based in Kansas City, Kevin Arbogast is a performing saxophonist and educator. Currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kevin also serves as instructor of saxophone at the University of Central Missouri, a position he received in 2018.

Prior to moving to the Kansas City area, he served in the United States Army for seven years as a member of the 399th Army Band in Missouri, and of the US Army Europe Band and Chorus in Germany. Prior to joining the Army in 2011, he was the saxophone fellow for the Aspen Music Festival and School for three seasons and performed with regional orchestras across the Midwest. A native of Kentucky, Kevin completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Louisville, and master’s degree at Indiana University.

Kevin is an avid saxophone historian and collector, performing and lecturing on historical saxophones of many eras. His most unique honor was a performance in collaboration with the US Library of Congress in which he was featured performing on Gerry Mulligan’s baritone saxophone.


Kyle Jones, saxophonist, is a performer, teacher, and new music advocate whose natural curiosity towards music leads him to challenge the parameters of his craft. An advocate for new music, Kyle actively collaborates with composers from a variety of styles and genres. Recently, he has been involved in a commissioning project with Dr. Nathan Mertens with the composer Anthony R. Green, as well as leading a consortium for a new work for saxophone and clarinet by composer Gabriela Ortiz. He is currently a doctoral student of Zachary Shemon at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, as well as Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at MidAmerica Nazarene University.

In addition to his performing activities, Kyle serves as a Co-Director for Fast Forward Austin, Development Lead/Publicist/Artist Liaison for Less Than <10, and manages and produces his own podcast entitled “Pay to Play.” He holds degrees from The University of Texas-Austin, Peabody Conservatory, and East Tennessee State University.


Hailing from Olney, Maryland, Charles (Chad) Lilley is a dynamic classical saxophonist currently pursuing his Doctorate in Saxophone Performance from UMKC, where he holds a graduate teaching assistantship. An avid performer, Charles has performed at some of the Nation’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, Chicago’s Millennium Stage, and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Charles was recently named winner of the 2021 Northwestern University Concerto Competition, where he will perform as soloist with Symphonic Orchestra in March 2022. At the 2017 Arosa Kultur Academy, Charles was awarded the International ‘Hans Schaeuble’ award which included an International Solo Recital in Switzerland. Other awards include top prizes at the 2016 North American Saxophone Alliance Solo Competition, the 2015 President’s Own U.S. Marine Band Concerto Competition, and the 2015 National YoungArts Foundation, where he was named a Finalist and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Orchestral highlights include contracted performances with the Juilliard Orchestra in the fall of 2021 in NYC, and in the summer of 2018 Charles was a part of the premier studio recording of the new critical edition of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” with the National Orchestral Institute; the CD is released on the NAXOS Label. Charles’ primary professors include Dr. Timothy McAllister at the University of Michigan, Taimur Sullivan at Northwestern University, and Zach Shemon at UMKC.



Hannah Hickman is a multifaceted saxophonist and educator based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is a driven, genuine, and intentional performer, energized by meaningful connections with her students and community. Achieving success as a soloist, she was selected from a national pool of applicants as a Yamaha Young Performing Artist in 2017. The same year, she was named winner of the University of Minnesota Concerto Competition for her performance of Roger Boutry’s Divertimento. Boutry praised her “brilliant interpretation” and “ease on stage.” Additional honors include prizes from the Pan-American Classical Saxophone Competition in Mexico City, Thursday Musical, and the Schubert Club.

Hickman has performed at events across the country, including the Music for All Summer Symposium, YlnMn Project, North American Saxophone Alliance conferences, and St. Paul Civic Symphony concerts. She has played in masterclasses for David Lang, Libby Larsen, Imani Winds, PRISM Quartet, and more. Endeavoring to promote new music, Hickman has joined multiple commissioning consortiums and is learning how to be an advocate for underrepresented artists within classical music.

As an educator, Hickman has experience in elementary music, private lessons, woodwind sectionals, masterclasses, All-State sectionals, marching and concert band. She holds a K-12 teaching license, and served as a long-term substitute teacher in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Her goal as an educator is to empower students to improve self-efficacy through music making, and to realize their immeasurable value as unique artists and persons.

Hickman holds a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music in Education and Saxophone Performance from the University of Minnesota. She is currently working on an Artist’s Certificate at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory, where she is a student of Zach Shemon. Her previous teachers are Timothy McAllister, Preston Duncan, and Eugene Rousseau.


Jonathon is a woodwind performer and educator. His primary instrument is the saxophone with both classical and jazz training. Prior to coming to UMKC, he studied saxophone with Miles and Lisa Osland, Dr. James Bunte, and Professor Rick VanMatre. He has also studied multiple woodwinds throughout his entire education with respected professors including Dr. Scott Wright on clarinet, and Professor Peter Simpson on bassoon. Jonathon has extensive performing experience on these instruments, having performed numerous shows including Chicago, 42nd Street, and more. He also has performed and competed on classical saxophone, winning numerous concerto competitions and performing solo repertory to high acclaim. He has performed with multiple orchestras both in and out of the United States, and has toured with jazz ensembles and blues/rock groups. He has taught lessons on all woodwinds, maintained a large and active saxophone studio, coached saxophone quartets, and directed saxophone choirs.


Originally from Miami, Florida, Sam Valancy is a graduate student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he is pursuing a Masters in Music Theory and an Artist Certificate in Saxophone Performance. Valancy currently serves as the Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Music Theory Department at UMKC where he teaches Music Theory Fundamentals and Aural Skills. Valancy has won several accolades as a soloist and as a chamber musician, including an Outstanding Soloist Award at the 20th Annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Competition presented by Wynton Marsalis in 2015, a Downbeat Magazine Award for his performance with the Frost Salsa Orchestra in 2018, and First Prize in the Frost School of Music Concerto Competition in 2018. Valancy was a finalist in the 2017 Ocala Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition Senior Division and a Semi Finalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition in 2020. Valancy has performed at a variety of events and venues. Notable performances include a featured solo presentation at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) Global Summit at the New World Center in Miami, Florida in 2016, solo performance at the 2018 Frost Winter Heat New Music Festival, the world premier of James Stephenson’s Symphony No. 3 with the Frost Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and performances with the Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble and Graduate Saxophone Quartet at the Northwestern University New Music Conference (NUNC) in 2021. Valancy has performed as a soloist with the Frost Wind Ensemble and the Kansas City Wind Symphony. Notable venues Valancy has performed at include the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, New York, the New World Center in Miami, Florida, and the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Valancy holds a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance with a Minor in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Miami. His primary teachers include Zach Shemon, Taimur Sullivan, Dale Underwood, and Gary Keller.



Jeff Borrett is a first-year MM student studying saxophone performance. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.


Hailing from South Lyon, Michigan, Kate Kalina is a first year Masters student studying saxophone performance at the UMKC Conservatory. Before pursuing higher education, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Saxophone from Grand Valley State University under Dr. Dan Graser with an additional minor in Psychology. Impassioned by the issue of mental health among artists, Kate underwent extensive research for her Honors thesis on the topics of prioritizing mental wellness, building an effective workspace, and the science behind burnout as pertains to college musicians (Strategies in Wellness to Enhance Productivity for the Modern Collegiate Woodwind Player, 2021). Recently selected as a mentee for the North American Saxophone Alliance Committee on the Status of Women Mentoring Program, Kate is currently working on a social media-based project geared towards preparing high school musicians for their collegiate studies.

In 2017, Kate enlisted in the National Guard and is currently serving her fourth year as a Corporal in the 126th Army Band (Grand Rapids, MI). She has since attended the 10-week course at the US Army School of Music in Norfolk, VA, and has subsequently travelled all over Michigan performing with the 126th’s concert band, marching band, and rock band. 

Since her freshman year, Kate has been an active member of several saxophone quartets, performing numerous outreach tours at school districts each year all throughout southern Michigan. She has played in masterclasses hosted by Matt Landry of Akropolis Reed Quintet and pianist Dr. Kathryn Goodson (2017), and currently serves as an alto player in the saxophone quintet Fifth Space. 



Colton James is currently a  senior pursuing a Bachelors degree in Saxophone Performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He recently won the Conservatory’s Concerto/Aria Competition and will perform selections from John Mackey’s Concerto for Soprano Saxophone with the Conservatory Wind Symphony. From just north of Kansas City, Colton has been an active member in the city’s arts community prior to and during his time at UMKC.


Jared Gutzmer is from St. Joseph, Missouri, and is currently a senior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City Conservatory pursuing a BM degree in saxophone performance. Jared is a graduate of St. Joseph Central High School, and has performed in ensembles under the direction of Roy Maxwell, Joel Fischer, Chad Lippincott, and Lynnea Wootten. Jared recently attended Interlochen Arts Camp where he studied with Timothy McAllister, Eddie Goodman, and Zachary Shemon. Jared was premiered with the Kansas City Symphony in 2018 when he was awarded second place in the Kansas City Symphony Young Arts Competition. In addition to studying privately with Zachary Shemon before becoming a student at UMKC, he has also studied with Bob Long. Jared dedicates all of his musical endeavors to his friend and mentor, Steve Hall.


Originally from Columbia, Missouri, Noah Stoker is a third-year saxophone performance student at the UMKC Conservatory. Stoker performs frequently in the Kansas City area and beyond. From Tempe, Arizona to Interlochen, Michigan, he has had the opportunity to perform as a soloist, chamber musician, and as a member of large ensembles across the United States. Stoker has a passion for new music and has made it his mission to program and commission works by living composers. His endeavors have led him to work closely with composers such as Anthony R. Green and with many young composers across the midwest. As a chamber musician, he is a member of the Simian Duo and Fifth Space – both of which share the same passion for new music. His primary teachers include Zachary Shemon and Leo Saguiguit.


Cooper Smith is currently a junior pursuing a bachelors degree in Music Education. Cooper is familiar with Kansas City as he is a native of the city and a graduate of Liberty North High School. While in high school, Cooper was selected to play in the Missouri All State Band three times. During his junior year, Cooper won the North Winds Symphonic Band Solo Competition and performed with the ensemble in the same year. During his senior year, he won second place for the regional round of the MTNA woodwind performance competition. Cooper also won the KCMTA Concerto Competition his senior year and performed with the Heritage Philharmonic. 

Cooper has also performed as a soloist at the Interlochen Saxophone Institute, as well as the Indiana University Saxophone Academy. He has studied with Professor Zach Shemon since this sophomore year of high school, and has had the opportunity to study and play in masterclasses with artists such as Timothy McAllister, Otis Murphy, Taimur Sullivan, Matthew Levy, and Jonathan Yanik. Cooper hopes to eventually become a band director and conductor at the collegiate level.


Jack Lumby, a freshman from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, is pursuing a BM degree in saxophone performance.


Aidan King is a freshman from Blue Springs, Missouri. He was a member of the Golden Regiment marching band and is now pursuing a BM degree in saxophone performance.