We are proud to have the following as our current Tholen Fellows!


Kazue Suzuki

Kazue Suzuki is a private piano teacher who was born in Japan. She moved to Oregon to study at Western Oregon University and received a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance, Magna Cum Laude, in 2001. For several years she taught general music and choir before becoming a full-time private piano teacher. It is her goal to deepen her piano study to be a better pianist and a better piano teacher. She regularly attends masterclasses in Europe and currently studies with  Dr. Jean-David Coen (Portland, Oregon), and Madame Francoise Thinat (Paris, France) in addition to her Tholen Fellowship with Tatiana Ioudenitch.

Rebecca Gooch

The Dalles, OR

Rebecca Gooch is a member of OMTA, NMFC, Vocalist for Europatopia a world music group and former teacher of Kindermusik in the Mid-Columbia.  Life long resident of The Dalles Or. I have enjoyed teaching piano in The Dalles for these past 15 years. I was fortunate to have the  wonderful mentorship of Jan Swartz of The Dalles. Through her I became introduced to Portland Piano International which has been a staple in my continued education as a teacher, music lover and indiviual. I am grateful for  Mid-Columbia District, OMTA and PPI.  Each of these organiztions has been so valuable in my continued growth.

Susan Ticknor

Hood River, OR

Susan Ticknor moved from Central New York to Hood River with her husband and three children in August 2011. She has maintained a private studio since 1990. For seven years she served on the piano faculty of the Eastman School of Music Community Education Division in Rochester, NY.  She has also held faculty positions at Duquesne University, City Music Center in Pittsburgh and at Westminster Choir College as a Graduate Assistant.  She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees respectively with honors in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY and Westminster Choir College and The New School for Music Study in Princeton, NJ.  Raised in Northern Virginia in a musical household, she has received numerous awards for her musical and academic excellence. She has performed in a variety of professional settings including soloist with orchestra, solo recitalist, choral accompanist, chamber musician, and organist/choir director.  She is a member of MTNA/OMTA/Mid Columbia Music Teachers Assoc and the National Federation of Music Clubs. Professionally her greatest love is nurturing young pianists into confident, artistic, mature musicians and people.

Diana Beterbide

Hood River, OR

Diana Beterbide is a pianist, organist, choral director and music teacher.  She is a member of the OMTA, National Federation of Music Clubs and the American Guild of Organists.  Diana received her Bachelors of Music in Performance from Arizona State University and has been operating a private piano studio since.  She accompanies the Mid-Columbia Community Choir and is the choir director and accompanist for the Riverside Community Church.  Diana gives annual concerts benefiting the local animal shelter, which involves community members and students from local piano studios.


Linda Taylor

Hood River, OR


Meagan Moody

Meagan Moody grew up in eastern Washington. She enjoys a simple and peaceful lifestyle with her husband and two small children, a boy and a girl.  Meagan is a full time mom and a part time private music teacher.  She is in her sixth year instructing students in beginning piano, guitar and voice.  She likes songwriting, playing music, traveling, baking and knitting.


Kathryn Porto-Apland

Hood River, OR

Kathy grew up in a musical household.  Her dad was in the Oregon Symphony for years and he inspired in her the love and joy in music.  In high school Kathy studied with Nellie Tholen, going on to obtain a BM in music performance from the University of Oregon where she studied with Victor Steinhardt and George Hopkins on R.L.Close Scholarships.  She also did graduate studies at Indiana University.  Kathy enjoys playing oboe, english horn and piano with the Mid-Columiba Sinphonietta, is a member of MTNA and NFMC and is excited to have the privilege of being a Tholen Fellow this year.  In her spare time Kathy loves to teach, play chamber music with her amazing family, and raise Guide Dog puppies for the Blind.

Rebekah Carter

Ontario, OR

Rebekah Carter has taught private piano lessons for 11 years and currently maintains a studio of 36 students in Ontario, Oregon.  She studied Piano Performance with Dr. Peter Mack, NCTM, and Early Music Harpsichord with Jillon Stoppels Dupree at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington.  Rebekah is a member teacher of the Oregon Music Teachers Association (OMTA) and the Snake River Valley Music Teachers Association (SRVMT) in Eastern Oregon.  She has served as SRVMT President since 2015, helping to coordinate scholarships and competitive events for over 120 students annually and teaching or coordinating professional development workshops for member teachers.  Passing on her love for music is Rebekah’s passion, and she has done so through her teaching studio, performances, and accompaniment services at many locations and schools in Ontario, Oregon; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Orlando, Florida; and the southern Oregon coast.

Mio Aoike

La Grande, OR

Mio Aoike holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Oregon, an MA degree in piano from the University of Southern California, and a BA from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Her serious training in music started in graduate school, where she studied piano performance and keyboard collaborative arts and served as a graduate teaching fellow in vocal and instrumental studios. She has studied both piano and accompanying with Nellie Tholen, Stewart Gordon, Daniel Pollack, Alan Smith, and Victor Steinhardt. Aoike spent her early years abroad, participating in international music festivals and studying with teachers in Japan, Jordan, and Venezuela. Since settling in the United States, she has won awards and honors including: semi-finalist at the Portland Chamber Piano Competition, finalist at the Iizuka International Competition in Fukuoka, Japan, and finalist at the Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

As a member of the Uchida/Aoike Piano Duo, and winner of the Ladies Musical Club of Seattle competition, she toured throughout Oregon, Washington and Kyoto. She also toured with the Oregon Breeze Chamber Trio. She has appeared as a soloist with the Portland Chamber Orchestra and Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra and participated in master classes of renowned artists, including: Joel Shapiro, David Bar-Illan, and David Shifrin. Aoike collaborates with artists at recitals and competitions organized by Music Teachers National Association, Oregon Music Education Association, and National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Since her appointment at Eastern Oregon University, she has been involved with various student recitals and concerts, including the Chamber Music Series, Missoula Children’s Theater, and EOU musical productions: The Last Five Years, The Phantom of the Opera, and Titanic. She also serves as an online instructor of music where she is constantly challenged by modern computer technology. She is an active member of the Oregon Music Teachers’ Association and was recently appointed chair of the Baroque Festival of the Blue Mountain District.


Lori Nelson

Vale, OR

Hannah Violette

Baker City, OR

Hannah Berko Violette started her musical studies at a young age while growing up in The Salvation Army.  Family accounts indicate that, as soon as she could walk and climb onto a piano bench, she was picking out Sunday School melodies on any and every piano.  Although she had regular vocal, brass, and theory instruction through her church, she was a self-taught pianist until the age of 15, when she began her formal studies in Yakima, Washington.  After two years of study with Cathy Elofsen and Danene Knudsen, she studied with Dr. Duane Hulbert at the University of Puget Sound and later voice with Kathleen Tresham Anderson (soprano) of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus.

Hannah has maintained several piano studios in The Dalles, Hood River, and Baker City, Oregon, as well as Mariposa, California.  She has served as choir director in several churches and has designed community music programs to reach underprivileged and at-risk youth.  In addition to currently teaching piano and voice in Baker City, Oregon, she is the Baker Middle/High School Choral Director and the co-director of the Baker Community Choir.  She regularly works with Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre as musical director for their musical theater productions and is also the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church music director.  She is currently working towards her full teaching credential and Master of Music Education.

When she's not busy with music (rarely), Hannah enjoys spending time with her husband, Scot, while he searches for the elusive Big Foot. She sports Real Tree gear with the best of them, and it should be known that she is a much better shot than her husband.  Hannah adores their four children and spouses and three grandchildren.  She sometimes usually enjoys their dog, Abby, and sometimes their macaw, Willow, who, incidentally, prefers Brahms to Queen.


Deborah Wolfe

Vale, OR

Deborah Wolfe teaches piano from her home studio in Vale, OR, where she lives with her husband and 3 children.  She has a Master’s of Science in Science Education and taught biology at the high school level for 6 years in Nyssa, OR.  She is a member of the Treasure Valley Symphony, playing the French horn.  She has a wide reaching background in music, which includes playing the piano, organ, French horn, and baritone on the performance level.  Her motto is "keep life musical."

Click here for previous cohorts of Tholen Fellows