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Nancy Mathison - Co-Director/band and woodwind teacher

Nancy Mathison taught elementary instrumental music for 18 years with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and was the band director at La Cumbre Junior High.  Since 2014 she has directed band programs for Goleta Union School District's elementary schools.  She is the co-founder and former co-director of the Santa Barbara Symphony's BRAVO! Program, and has taught at Westmont and Cerritos colleges.  As a clarinetist she is a member of the New West Symphony, Santa Maria Philharmonic, Symphony of the Vines, and plays principal clarinet/reeds for the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.  She is a member of the Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara, and also performs with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Orchestra Novo, San Luis Obispo Symphony and the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale.  She has performed with Leonard Bernstein, the Hamamatsu Academy in Japan, American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Houston Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Rudolf Nureyev Ballet, toured with Andrea Bocelli, was a member of the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, and played principal clarinet/reeds with the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera for its 20-year tenure.  Nancy attended the Music Academy of the West, and received her degrees in clarinet performance from the University of Southern California (bachelors), and UCSB (masters).  She studied with Gary Foster, James Kanter and Mitchell Lurie.

Stephen Hughes - trombone teacher

Stephen's favorite part of teaching is helping his students get their very first note.  From that point on, their possibilities are endless! Stephen is the band/orchestra director at La Colina Junior High School, where he has taught for 8 years.  Additionally, he teaches trombone and tuba for Santa Barbara City College and Westmont, as well as brass students for the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony's the Camerata and Philharmonia ensembles.  You might see Stephen playing in the "Slideways" Trombone Quartet or the SBCC's Monday Madness Jazz Band, Stephen is excited to meet new students in the South Coast Youth Band, and to see where their musical journey leads.

Dick Prato - percussion teacher

Dick was born and raised in Santa Barbara and attended local schools. He played in band, orchestra and jazz band in both junior high and high school.  He studied percussion with studio musicians at Drum City in Hollywood, and attended the Music Academy of the West for two summers. Dick played percussion in the US Army band in Germany and Italy for 3 years. He taught teen jazz band at the Santa Barbara Recreation Center and also taught privately. He has been teaching percussion at Goleta Valley Junior High for the past 7 years, and at  elementary schools in the Goleta Unified School District. 

Monica Bucher-Smith - flute teacher

Monica Bucher-Smith was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and began playing piano at the age of 7. She discovered her love for the flute in her elementary and junior high school bands. During her high school years, Monica was the principal flute and section leader in her marching and concert bands, and also performed in the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony and the Santa Barbara Youth Ensemble. She continued at Santa Barbara City College performing with the SBCC Concert Band, SBCC Symphony under Dr. Jack Ullom, SBCC Chamber Singers under Barbara Harlow, and was privileged to perform with the Chamber Singers at the World Expo in Vancouver, Canada. Monica received her degree in music from San Jose State University while studying with Isabelle Chapuis Starr, and performed in the SJSU Symphonic Band under Dr. Vernon Reed, as well as the SJSU Flute Choir. She has also studied privately with Margaret Eisler and Jill Felber.  Monica returned to Santa Barbara after college to perform and teach music, and is a member of the National Flute Association.  She plays in a variety of musical ensembles in the Santa Barbara area, and you may see her performing with some of our other instructors in the SBCC Symphony.
As a teacher, Monica is a strong advocate for every child to have the opportunity to include music as part of their education. She believes music expands our understanding and appreciation of the world around us, and is the universal language that connects us all. She is excited to meet her South Coast Youth Band students and looks forward to helping them discover their own love of music and seeing where their musical adventure takes them.

Paul Marcantonio - trumpet teacher

Although a scientist/engineer by training and vocation (Ph.D. Metallurgical Engineering, 1976) Paul’s avocation of music has always been his %rst love. As a high school senior Paul joined the 23rd Army Band to fulfill his military obligation through college. While an undergraduate at the University of Utah Paul was enrolled in many of the school’s musical programs and was also a member of the prestigious U of U Brass Quintet. In his last two years in college he was invited to play in the Utah Symphony when they needed an extra trumpet. It was during this time in 1967 that the orchestra’s conductor Maurice Abravanel invited Paul to spend, what turned out to be the best summer of his life, attending the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.


Realizing that his “first love” would not be compatible time-wise with intense graduate studies at the Colorado School of Mines and then back to the University of Utah, Paul reluctantly took a music hiatus of nine years while he finished graduate school plus a couple of years work. He rediscovered the joy of playing again in Lexington, MA where he joined a brass group at his church which led other playing opportunities. After five years on the East Coast Paul moved to the Bay Area where he worked at Chevron Research Company for the next 25 years. During this time he played in a local Brass Band, a Dixieland Band, two dance bands, the Marin Civic Light Opera, the Cinnabar Theater and other groups.


In 2005 Paul retired and happily moved to Goleta where he says he now plays more now than he has since college. His is the founder of the Santa Barbara Brass Sextet, and plays in about a half dozen different groups including the SBCC Concert Band and the Holiday Horns Quintet. He has had an active teaching schedule in private lessons and also in the Goleta and Santa Barbara School Districts. He loves teaching new beginning students to give them a good foundation for future performance. Several of his students have held positions in the Santa Barbara Youth Orchestra. His favorite teaching moment is when a student says, “That’s impossible! I’ll never be able to play that!” Paul’s response: “Great! Now we have a goal! With proper teaching techniques on my part and diligence on their part, they soon realize that they can and then they do ‘play that’. It’s not just a matter of talent; it’s mostly about perseverance. That’s a life lesson, and I love teaching life lessons.

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