Guest artists & instructors
Stu Fuchs is a heart-centered, lifelong musician and teaching artist. “Classically trained, improvisationally freed", his ukulele and guitar workshops empower people of all backgrounds to connect with their inner musician. His music spans jazz, world & original styles with playing that is both meditative and exciting. Stu weaves virtuosity, humor, audience participation and soulful musicianship into his uplifting performances.
Over a 25 year career, Stu has performed gypsy jazz guitar with symphony orchestras, presented ukulele workshops at festivals worldwide, toured internationally and recorded with Snatam Kaur on her 2018 Grammy-nominated album “Beloved”. In 2014 he was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for his work offering healing music at cancer hospitals for patients and their families.
Stu’s offers weekly ukulele lessons and inspiration on his popular YouTube channel “Ukulele Zen” to Uke enthusiasts around the world. He holds his transformational Ukulele Zen retreat at holistic
centers around the world.
Marina Elise Sneider, also known as Awkward Marina, is a self described "musical mess from Westchester, New York." Her unique sound combines quirky electronic beats with Broadway-inspired theatricality and emotionally-raw lyrics. Performing frequently in both the Westchester and NYC areas, Marina is a skilled singer and electronic producer, and plays both the piano and the ukulele.
Marina grew up surrounded by music: Her mother, father, brother, and uncle are all musicians. In 2012, Marina created a YouTube channel, which now has 29,000+ subscribers and over five million views. Inspired by her favorite artists’ abilities to connect with and inspire fans, Marina’s goal is to write music about her experiences with mental health to let others going thru the same thing know they are not alone. Marina is perhaps most well-known for her TV work: Since 2015, she has been on the songwriting team for Nickelodeon's hit show “ALVIN!!! And The Chipmunks”.
THOMAS TOYAMA, born and raised in Hawaii, came to Rochester to study Music Education and clarinet at the Eastman School of Music where he received both his Bachelors and Master’s degrees. After 42 years of teaching instrumental music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and being advisor of the ukulele club at Caledonia-Mumford Central School, he retired in June 2019. Tom spent several years as lecturer of clarinet and saxophone at Roberts Wesleyan College and served as an auxiliary clarinet member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and directed All-County Bands in Monroe, Genesee and Livingston counties along with Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Thomas has directed pit orchestras for Cal-Mum, as well as Gates Community Theater, Roberts Wesleyan College Community Theatre, Westside Theatre Productions, and Everyone’s Theatre Company-Victor Summer Stage. He has been lighting and sound designer for over 100 productions including shows at Caledonia, STAGES, Norman Howard School, Main Street Players Theater Company, and the Home School Academy. He offers private ukulele instruction and when in the area, has a standing invitation to play with a Waikiki ukulele group in Honolulu, Hawaii. He and his wife Cheryl have been married for 43 years. They are proud parents of Eric, Ryan, and Lani, and grandparents of Grace, Owen, Phoebe, and Sophie.
Korean American guitarist and composer Sungmin Shin maintains a vigorous schedule divided between performing and teaching in a wide variety of musical settings. As a musician, Dr. Shin finds a unique balance between his classical training and deep roots in popular guitar styles. Dr. Shin is a devoted educator and shares his passion for music with students of all ages and levels. He is currently on faculty at The University at Buffalo (SUNY) where he directs the UB Guitar Ensemble and teaches acoustic, classical and electric guitars. He is an adjunct professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology teaching guitar and history of popular music and is the director of the Penfield Guitar Studio. For full bio and more information, please visit - http://sungguitar.com.
Randy Pollok is a music teacher in Rochester, who offers lessons in piano, organ, guitar, ukulele and other instruments. He is the music director at First Presbyterian Church in Brockport and is a Rochester Ukulele Orchestra and clarinet quartet member. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music at Illinois State University and is a dedicated instructor with specialized programs for recreational learners and aspiring professional artists. Randy helps to lead and teach the Rochester Ukulele Support Group and teaches workshops at Bernunzio Uptown Music. He teaches group ukulele classes at the Hochstein School of Music
Rochester Ukulele Orchestra
The Rochester Ukulele Orchestra plays everything from folk and jazz to pop and rock music throughout Rochester. They liven up music festivals, farmer’s markets, senior living facilities, charity events, schools, parks and wherever else people gather to enjoy good music and have fun. In the past few years they performed at many events/venues including Fringe Fest, TEDx Rochester, the 19th Amendment Festival, Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery, the Little Cafe, the Uke Cruise on the Erie Canal and their home away from home, Bernunzio's Uptown Music.