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Faculty & Staff

Watch this video created by SSA camper Aamuro Kanda!

Faculty/Staff Bios:

Jeanette Adams – Camp Director/Bass
Teri Abler Diekfuss – Viola, Violin

Teri recently graduated from Lawrence University in 2014, receiving a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Besides keeping a busy schedule as a performer and teacher, Teri’s academic area of focus is the psychological and sociological impact music plays in media, film, and society. Teri has been the Assistant Principal Violist of the Fox Valley Symphony for the past five years and is very involved in the FVS Partners in Education program, which sets out to demonstrate musical concepts to elementary school children through the use of a traveling string quartet. Teri is also the co-founder of the Fox Valley Symphony’s Operation Overture – a program that aims to place small ensembles from the symphony in unexpected venues (Boys and Girls Club, Cranky Pats Bar, etc).

Having received her Suzuki Teacher Certification from the Stevens Point American Suzuki Institute, Teri has held positions as Violin/Viola Instructor at the White House of Music in Brookfield, WI and for the Neenah Joint School District after-school Suzuki program in Neenah, WI. For fun, Teri likes to do puzzles and loves to play with her Labrador, Jax and Great Dane, Jackpot.

Adam Hall – Cello

Adam Hall was born in Seattle, Washington where he began his cello studies at the age of four. He currently attends the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow where he is studying with Alison Wells. Until his departure from DePaul, Adam was a founding member of the Pavo String Quartet which was the quartet-in-residence at the Upper Peninsula Chamber Music Festival this past winter.


His primary teachers include Peter Williams, Rajan Krisnaswami, and Stephen Balderston. This will be Adam’s second year at SSA Summer Music Camp.



Joe Harmsen – Viola
Madeline Herdeman – Cello


Madeline enjoys a diverse music career. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Lawrence University in 2010 and she is currently an Orchestra Director at KIPP SHARP Fine Arts Elementary school in Houston, TX. She writes music and performs regularly with her band, Mystery Loves Company, throughout Texas and is touring this summer for the 2nd year in a row, this time hitting 18 cities. 

Madeline is thrilled to be back for her fourth summer as a faculty member at the SSA Summer Music Camp, and honored to be invited back to join the exceptionally fun and rigorousSSA family. 


Ria Hodgson – Viola


April Hickey – Camp Director/Viola

April just finished her third year studying Music Therapy at Eastern Michigan University, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She grew up in Manistique, Michigan, started taking private violin lessons when she was 13, and eventually switched over to viola as her principal instrument before beginning university. She has played viola with the EMU Symphony Orchestra for three years, and has also taken beginner/intermediate lessons for piano, guitar, and cello. April’s favorite camp hobbies include: making friendship bracelets, the 60’s party song, and being outrun by campers during capture the flag.

Says April: “SSA is one of my favorite things I do all summer, and I absolutely love working with the rest of the staff, and spending time with all of our amazing campers. My favorite thing about working at SSA is the camper talent show; I love all of the goofy talents and the original songs/skits that our camp community comes up with.”

Kai Kanda – Cello


Megan Karls – Violin

Megan performs in Montana as a violinist in the renowned Cascade String Quartet and Principal Second Violin of the Great Falls Symphony. She has also held positions with the Green Bay, Des Moines, Helena, Bozeman, National Music Festival, Bard Summer Festival, Fox Valley, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls symphony orchestras, as well as leading the conductorless String Orchestra of the Rockies. A passionate advocate for contemporary chamber music, Megan is a founding member of the ground-breaking new music ensemble, the Enid Trio. The Enids have commissioned over 25 works for their unique instrumentation (violin, viola and bassoon) and have been guest artists and clinicians at Oberlin Conservatory, Lawrence University, Wichita State University, Emporia State University, and Roundtop.

Megan holds degrees from Lawrence University and the University of Iowa. Being a member of the SSA faculty is particularly special to Megan, because it’s an opportunity to be back near her hometown, Land O Lakes, WI.

Piersan Kimmes – Nurse/Violin
Hannah Lahti – Cello
Lauren Perala – Viola, Violin

Originally from Marquette, Michigan, Lauren Perala is currently pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Viola Performance from The Hartt School where she studies with Rita Porfiris. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Butler University’s Jordan College of the Arts where she studied with Richard Auldon Clark and Davis Brooks. Lauren performs regularly as a solo, chamber, and ensemble musician. She has performed with the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, Delos String Quartet, Butler Symphony Orchestra, and Butler Ballet Orchestra. 

In addition to performing, Lauren teaches violin and viola lessons and was a teaching fellow at the Butler Community Arts School in Indianapolis. During the summer she teaches at the Superior String Alliance Summer Music Camp in Michigamme, Michigan. Her favorite thing about working at SSA is being a cabin counselor and seeing how much everyone improves at camp!

Lauren Pulcipher – Violin
Kelly Quesada – Violin
David Rubin – Violin

David Rubin grew up in Oak Park, IL, where he began studying violin at the age of eight. Currently a Master’s student at Boston Conservatory, David graduated with honors from Lawrence University and pursued additional studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Career highlights include solo performances with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra and Boston Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, chamber music broadcasts for Wisconsin Public Radio’s Live from the Chazen and Chicago’s 98.7 WFMT, and orchestral work on modern and period instruments with groups such as the Madison Bach Musicians, Baroque Band, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Banff Festival Orchestra.

David loves teaching, and is very much looking forward to joining the SSA faculty this summer!

Danielle Simandl – Music Director

Danielle grew up in Marquette, Michigan. This will be her 5th summer as the Music Director of the SSA Summer Music Camp. In addition to having the privilege of waving a conductor’s baton at roomfuls of talented string kids clad in tie-dye T-shirts, Danielle is now the Executive Director of Superior String Alliance. Danielle began her violin studies with Connie Weiner at the age of 7. In 2010 she graduated from Lawrence University’s double-degree program (where she studied with Wen-Lei Gu) with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies. Danielle is currently the Principal Second Violin of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin and subs with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in Illinois. Danielle won the Marquette Symphony Concerto Competition and performed Wieniawski’s “Concerto No. 2 in D Minor” with the Marquette Symphony in March 2014. Her quartet, the Pavo Quartet, won the Honorable Mention at the Plowman Chamber Music Competition in March 2015. Danielle has held teaching positions as the Violin/Viola Instructor at the Door County String Academy in Sturgeon Bay, WI and with the Neenah Public Schools After-School Suzuki Program in Neenah, WI. She is currently a substitute teacher at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, IL.

Danielle currently lives in Chicago where she graduated in June 2014 from DePaul University with a Master of Music in Violin Performance under the tutelage of Janet Sung. She is now pursuing a Performer’s Certificate from DePaul.

Harry South – Bass

Originally from Columbiaville, MI, Harry’s musical education began on wind instruments. Harry found his true calling when he started playing the electric bass in jazz band and in local rock bands while he was in high school. He soon became attracted to the sound of the upright bass and decided that he wanted to dedicate his time to learning to play with a bow and learning to read music well. He also became very interested in improvised styles of music. Harry received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education (summa cum laude) from Northern Michigan University in May 2013. Harry currently maintains a very successful private studio in Marquette, where he teaches lessons to bass, violin, and cello students.

An avid performer, Harry plays with many different musical groups in Marquette: Eclettico, Marquette Symphony Orchestra, Milestones Jazz Trio, and the blues and soul group, Travis Swanson and the Midnight Movers, just to name a few. This will be Harry’s 3rd summer working at the SSA Summer Music Camp, and it is always one of his favorite times of the year because for him it’s a time to improve his teaching chops, be creative, and inspire the campers. 

Hudson Webber – Cello

Hudson Webber is from Rockford, Illinois, and has played cello for nine years.  He attended SSA for four years as a camper, and is excited to be returning to camp to be a part of the counseling side.  Hudson just completed his first year at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  He is currently studying for an instrumental performance degree with minors in neuroscience and psychology.  In high school Hudson was principal of the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2013-2014.  

When not engaged with practice or classwork, Hudson enjoys a variety of pastimes such as writing music, reading books, ukulele strumming, and swing dancing.