Mansfield Music Department Welcomes New Faculty

Mansfield Music Department Welcomes New Faculty

Ms. Melissa BeckerMelissa Becker


  • BM, Pennsylvania State University
  • BS, Clarion University of Pennsylvania
  • MM, Pennsylvania State University
  • ABD, The University of Texas at Austin

Melissa Becker is a string educator and performer, whose primary teachers include James Lyon, Tim Deighton, Helen Callus, Roger Myers, and Laurie Scott. She is currently the principal violist of the Williamsport Symphony and has performed as section violist and violinist with the Austin Pops, Altoona Symphony, Nittany Valley Symphony, Pennsylvania Centre Chamber Orchestra, the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra, and others. In addition to her classical endeavors, Melissa is also an active fiddler, winning over one hundred fiddle contests in the Northeast, including the Pennsylvania State Championship. Melissa has also toured and recorded with country artists such as Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis.

As a string educator, Melissa has worked at Lycoming College, Austin Community College, the University of Texas String Project, and in her private studio. Also a public school teacher, she taught elementary and middle school orchestra in Pennsylvania for several years. She has taught fiddling and chamber music at string camps in Pennsylvania, Texas, and California, and presented research on imitation learning and fiddling and conducted clinics on fiddling and string teaching at state, national, and international conferences, including The National American String Teachers Conference, the International Conference for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and the Texas Music Educators State Conference.

Currently, Melissa is also a faculty member at Lock Haven University, where she teaches strings and music education courses. This fall, Melissa is excited to begin a post as conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra. She resides in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, with her husband and daughter.

Mrs. Rebecca CiabattariCiabattari%20bio%20photo


  • BM, Eastman School of Music
  • MM, Cleveland Institute of Music
  • MA with Teacher's Licensure, Case Western Reserve University

Mrs. Ciabattari has held positions in trombone sections of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (SC), Canton Symphony Orchestra (OH), Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Ohio Light Opera Orchestra, and the Graz Festival Orchestra (Austria). She is currently a member of the 12-piece touring ensemble, Burning River Brass, which has been invited to perform in cities in 33 of the United States, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan. The ensemble has produced 6 recordings since its inception in 1996, and Mrs. Ciabattari has doubled on trombone and euphonium for each. Her primary instructors have included Ed Zadrozny, John Marcellus, Paul Ferguson, and the late Steve Witser.

As an educator, Mrs. Ciabattari has been a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University, Hiram College, South Carolina State University, and Lycoming College. She has also instructed beginning and middle school bands through MusicAlliance of Ohio and West Branch School in Williamsport, PA. From 2009-2011, Mrs. Ciabattari assisted in writing cyber courses for viaAcademies, a music education source for online learners. Courses included beginning band instruction for 6 different instruments, as well as Exploring Music through GarageBand and Mixcraft for secondary general music.

In 2011, Mrs. Ciabattari founded the Trombone Consortium of Central PA, a community trombone ensemble dedicated to performances in central Pennsylvania. She has also frequently performed with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, and currently holds the title of Orchestra Manager/Librarian for the ensemble. Mrs. Ciabattari resides in Williamsport with her husband and three busy children.


Mr. Daniel FosterDan%20Foster-1

Jazz Ensemble/Trumpet

  • BM, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
  • MM, University of North Texas

Mr. Foster is originally from Endicott, New York. He previously taught at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and was a freelance trumpet player and teacher of all styles in the metropolitan areas of Indianapolis, Chicago, Dallas, and Fort Worth. Mr. Foster is a former lead trumpet player of the 6-time Grammy-Nominated North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band. As a member of that ensemble, he performed at the Guinness Jazz Festival in Cork, Ireland; on a radio and internet broadcasted show from the Bull's Head in London; with the Houston Symphony; and at the Jazz Educators' Network Conference in New Orleans. As a lead trumpet player, he is found on the One O'Clock Lab Band's Lab 2010 and Lab 2011 albums, and on the DownBeat Magazine Award-winning North Texas Two O'Clock Lab Band's album, Too Two. He has backed The Four Tops, Chris Vadala, Wayne Bergeron, Lyle Mays, Denis DiBlasio, George Rabbai, Ingrid Jensen, John Mosca, Michael Davis, and many others. Mr. Foster is an avid clinician and guest artist and has worked with numerous groups ranging from middle school to professional ensembles. More information, including photos, audio, and video, can be found on his website:


Mr. Zachary SweetZ. Sweet


  • BM, Eastman School of Music
  • MM, Eastman School of Music

Zachary is an educator and performer in Ithaca, NY; director of Ithaca Free Concerts (@IthFreeConcerts), on the faculty at Colgate University and at Mansfield University. He completed his Master’s in Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music in 2006 where he served as a Departmental Assistant for Alan Harris. During his studies there, he became a member of the Eastman Chamber Society, was Principal of Eastman Philharmonia, Eastman Chamber Orchestra, and Eastman Opera Orchestra, and studied chamber music with the Ying Quartet, Elinore Freer, Dr. Jean Barr, Richard Kilmer, Kenneth Grant, and Alan Harris.

As a performer, Zachary has performed extensively throughout the Tri-State area. Venues have included the War Memorial in Syracuse, Shewan Recital Hall at Roberts Wesleyan College, Gibson Hall at Elmira College, Bristol Hall at Westminster Choir College, the Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester, NY, Kilbourn Hall at Eastman School of Music, Kiplinger Theatre at Cornell University, and the “Nassau at Six” recital series in Princeton, NJ. He has had the honor of performing with artists such as Sharon Sweet, J.J. Penna, Phyllis Lehrer, Jose Melendez, Yin-Min Chang, Tabatha Easley, Patrice Pastore, Leanne Darling, Dr. Peggy Dettwiler and the late Erick Friedman.

Currently, Zachary plays with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Tri-Cities Opera, and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. He has also had the pleasure of mentoring local Youth Orchestras in Tompkins County. From 2001-2003, Zachary held the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival, where he acted as mentor to the Concert and Symphonic orchestras while playing with the Festival Orchestra under the batons of David Zinman and James Conlon.