About Us

Who's Who

Kathleen Hill
Kathleen Hill
Executive Director

Kathleen Hill is the founder/director of Central Coast Music Academy, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on expanding instrumental music for elementary/middle school students in San Luis Obispo County. She recently returned to the Land of Enchantment following five successful years on California’s central coast, where she was the conductor for “Super Bows!,” the entry-level string ensemble of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony.

She is currently Conductor of Orchestra and Onate High School and was conductor/instructor at Alma d’Arte Charter High School for the Arts, both in Las Cruces. She was a founding director of Southwest Music Academy, Inc., in New Mexico. Both CCMA and SWMA offer instrumental programs for students, including summer camps. Kathleen is a frequent guest conductor of several ensembles in southern New Mexico, including the New Horizons Symphony Orchestra, Mesilla Valley Concert Band, and The Brass Factory.

Hill received her Bachelor of Music Education degree (viola and piano concentration) and Master of Music degree (Instrumental Conducting) from the University of New Mexico. She studied viola with Atar Arad, John DiJanni of the Metropolitan Opera, and Leonard Felberg. She studied conducting with Dr. Jorge Perez-Gomez. In January 2016 Kathleen was the conductor of the 2016 New Mexico Music Educator’s Association All-State Concert Orchestra. She directed the orchestra at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces from 1998 until 2011. During her tenure at Mayfield, the orchestra was NMMEA honor orchestra in 2001 and 2004. She also led the orchestra during concert tours in China (2007) and England (2010). Prior to teaching at Mayfield, Hill directed orchestras at Cibola High School from 1987 to 1997 and Rio Rancho High School from 1997 to 1998. The Cibola orchestra was recognized as NMMEA All-State honor orchestra in 1991 and 1996 and the Rio Rancho orchestra won the Heritage Music Festival’s National Competition in 1998, the school’s very first year.

Hill has been a member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, the El Paso Symphony, El Paso Opera, Las Cruces Symphony, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Santa Maria Philharmonic, Opera San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo Ballet and Santa Barbara’s State Street Ballet. She also has performed with the San Juan Symphony, Opera Southwest and the Figueroa Project. In 2008, Hill was the recipient of the New Mexico Music Educators Association, Music Educator of the Year Award and was the 2013 Emeritus Teacher Award recipient. She was an instructor with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony, under the direction of Dale Kempter, for 22 years and is an active clinician and adjudicator throughout the southwest United States.

Larry Hill
Larry Hill
Board of Directors

Larry Hill is executive director of Brass Factory, a performing and mentoring organization in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He mentors trumpet and brass student throughout southern New Mexico and is on staff with Southwest Music Academy (NM) and Central Coast Music Academy (CA). He is teacher in the Jazz Program at Onate High School in Las Cruces and is on staff at Holy Cross Catholic School. He performs with New Mexico State University Faculty Brass Quintet and the Las Cruces Symphony.

A graduate of the University of New Mexico and the Community College of the Air Force, Larry served in the United States Air Force Academy Band for over 23 years, where he was co-principal trumpet. During his active-duty Air Force career, he performed in 49 states and throughout the world, including more than 60 appearances in southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa in support of community engagement missions as well as troop support in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hill served as director of public affairs for the USAF Academy Band and chief of community relations for Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. He is a former board member of the Santa Maria Philharmonic, Leadership Santa Maria, Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program and Southwest Music Academy. He currently serves as national secretary/treasurer for the Air Force Musicians Association and serves on the boards of Central Coast Music Academy and The Brass Factory.

Larry has performed with The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (now New Mexico Philharmonic), the Santa Maria Philharmonic, Lompoc Pops, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Opera SLO, Central City Swing Band, Santa Fe Symphony and the Figueroa Project. He maintains a large private studio and is an active performer and clinician in New Mexico.

Mi Young Shin
Mi Young Shin
Chief Operating Officer

Mi-Young Shin is an active violin instructor in San Luis Obispo, CA and was a member of the San Luis Obispo Symphony from 2005-2018. She also served as the Music Education Director for the San Luis Obispo Symphony, leading a staff of five conductors and seven Strings in the Schools instructors.

Mi-Young earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in Graphic Communication from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she was concert master of the Cal Poly Symphony. Following graduation, she served as associate conductor of the Cal Poly Symphony for two years.

Prior to coming to California, Shin was director of orchestras at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, VA. She was also active as an ensemble coach and private string instructor throughout northern Virginia. While living in Virginia, she was also a violinist with Prince William Symphony.

Ms. Shin was recognized as one of the San Luis Obispo Tribune’s 2016 “Top 20 Under 40,” an award that honors the accomplishments and achievements of young women and men under the age of 40 who have demonstrated excellence in their professions and a profound commitment to community service. Her work in music education reaching 16,000 community members, her licensure as a foster care family for SLO County, and songwriting work with at-risk high school students were some of the accomplishments noted. She is also a 2017 graduate of Leadership San Luis Obispo Class XXVI.

An accomplished singer/songwriter, she is the founder of SHIN KICK a vocal/guitar and drum duo with drummer, Trent Ellingsen. SHIN KICK’s debut album, “You” and 2019 released album “Speak the Truth", are available on iTunes, Spotify and other similar platforms. Mi-Young is a sought-after clinician and adjudicator throughout the central coast and is has been a private string instructor for more than 20 years.

Amanda Lake
Amanda Lake
Summer Camp Teacher

Amanda Lake holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and a teaching credential in Music from Humboldt State University.

She has been an elementary music teacher for San Luis Coastal Unified School District for the past seven years, teaching general music and beginning band.

Amanda has provided instruction with San Luis Obispo Symphony educational programs in several different capacities, including SLO Youth Symphony sectionals. Strings in Schools and Super Bows!

She has been on faculty at Sequoia Chamber Music Workshop, teaching advanced music history, theory, and choral techniques.

Though violin is her main instrument, Amanda has played banjo in a Dixieland Jazz band, been the vocalist for the HSU Jazz Orchestra, played guitar in a folk trio, and is currently learning how to play viola and the mbira (a percussion instrument from Zimbabwe).

When she is teaching beginning band you might catch her playing flute, trumpet, clarinet, saxophone or even occasionally the trombone or baritone.

Anthony Yi
Anthony Yi
Summer Camp Teacher

Anthony Yi is an educator, teaching students of all ages on the Central Coast.

Anthony received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific where he studied under the baton and tutelage of Dr. Eric Hammer.

Upon graduation, he assumed the position of Director of Bands at Arroyo Grande High School. After a fantastic four years of developing a high-quality music program at Arroyo Grande High School, Anthony began working in the elementary schools to bring music back into the children's lives. He currently works in Santa Maria teaching third Grade classroom music and elementary band.

As a saxophonist, Anthony has had the opportunity to perform in various capacities. He started the XYZ Saxophone Quartet, who performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance, NASA, western regional conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2009. The quartet has performed a world-premiere orchestral piece by composer, Franćois Rose, and the Symphony No. 4 by Charles Ives. Anthony and the Quartet have also had the honor of performing for former President Bill Clinton.

Anthony is also a founding member of the Neptune Reeds, an up and coming woodwind chamber group from the Central Coast. He also performs with various ensembles in the area, such as the SLO Wind Orchestra, the SLO Symphony, and Brass Mash.

Heather Diesta
Heather Diesta
Camp Manager

Heather Diesta has been a Central Coast resident for more than 26 years.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in English from Cal Poly in 2001, she was enamored with the Central Coast and has considered San Luis Obispo my home ever since.

She is a busy parent of two active children, a daughter who is a violinist with the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony, and a son, who is a dancer at Ryan’s American Dance.

Heather enjoys spending time volunteering to help others and she has served in various capacities on several non-profit Boards serving San Luis Obispo County and the greater central coast region.

She enjoys reading, writing, spending quality time family, and is an avid at-home crafter.