All of the instructors associated with The Hickory Music Factory have specific talents and skills. Collectively, they have extensive experience in many fields music instruction, recording, song writing, performance and more.
In 2004 Tony was asked by Rick Cline to help host his annual student concert where students have the opportunity to play on stage with a professional band. In 2005 Tony began taking students to local coffee houses to perform for the public to help further their musical education and also started his “Guitar Camp” for intermediate and advanced guitar students. In 2008 Tony was awarded a grant by the United Arts Council of Catawba County and started Hickory’s first ever “Rock Camp” which was a huge success and draws kids every year from all around the state. In that same year, Tony also started his annual “Christmas Jam” which helps raise money and instruments to scholarship kids for music lessons, camps and classes.
Because of his efforts and love of working with kids, Tony was asked by the Hickory Downtown Development Association to start up the “Teen Stage” at Hickory’s annual Oktoberfest. In addition, Tony host’s a monthly “Open Mic Night” in the community and recently founded the the Hickory Music Factory with Rick Cline. For more information about Tony Eltora, please visit, reverbnation.com/tonyeltora
Cline performs regularly with the Western Piedmont Symphony and the Hickory Choral Society. The past 11 years, he has hosted “Jazz OnTap” at the Olde Hickory Taproom, which was featured on PBS in the fall of 2002. Cline s “Hickory Jazz Orchestra”, an 18 piece Big Band, performs yearly for downtown Hickory’s “Swingin Under the Stars” and in 2010 was the recipient of the Best Downtown Event in North Carolina award by the NC Dept of Commerce s Main Street Center.
Rick has performed with Jerry Lewis, Marie Osmond, The “Diamonds”, Charlie Daniels and many more regional and national acts. He performs in several rock, swing and funk bands on a regular basis. His solo CD Must BeThis Tall to Ride was composed by Cline and has numerous percussion and steel drum ensemble pieces published including his book; “TOOLS for the Developing Drummer”. Rick Cline holds a Masters in Music Performance from UNC Greensboro.
After high school, Matt attended Lenoir-Rhyne University and the Audio Recording Technology Institute of New York. While in New York, he had the opportunity and privilege to study under Dom Famularo, one of the forefathers of his craft. Matt has 11 years of experience teaching private percussion lessons including drum-set, marching percussion, classical percussion, and hand-drumming. His students reflect Matthew s need to remain versatile as a percussionist while integrating modern techniques for a constantly evolving art form. Decker is currently the percussion instructor for the Hickory High Marching Band and performs regularly with Falls Avenue, The Pan Jive Steel Drum Band, The Gahu West African Drumming Ensemble, and the Hickory Community Theater Orchestra. In addition to performing, Matthew remains active in local and regional audio/video production.
From 1989-1985, she maintained a 25+ voice and piano studio, participated in the North Carolina Federation performance program, where she also served as an adjudicator. She had been a judge for Rotarian Idol Auditions for four years. She also has served on the Boards of Women’s Resource Center, Hickory Choral Society (Past President), and currently serves on the Board of the Western Piedmont Symphony in Hickory. Her love of music is a family affair – married to Michael Filip, percussionist, for 32 years, they have two sons who perform on various instruments.
Since returning to Gastonia in 1992 Alexander has performed in most of the festivals and venues in the Charlotte area. This year will mark his tenth year, with the group Big Octave, at Blue Restaurant and Bar in downtown Charlotte. As a member of the Charlotte Jazz Orchestra he has written arrangements of more than fifteen of his original compositions as well as arrangements of jazz standards for the orchestra featuring vocalist Rene Ebalaroza. His other performing credits include sixteen years with The Monday Night All Stars, chosen by Charlotte s Creative Loafing as 2000’s Best Local R B or Blues Artist/Group; Brothers, a five piece jazz quintet which was chosen as Best Local Jazz group by the editors of Charlotte’s Best magazine in 1999; and Carolina Sax And Rhythm, an eight piece jazz group including five saxophones, piano, bass, and drums for which he also composes and arranges.
As a member of a cultural delegation representing Gastonia, Alexander visited and performed at the annual spring festival in Gastonia’s sister city of Gotha, Germany in May, 2000. He also performed in Okinawa in December, 1999 as a member of the Ron Brendle Quartet.
He is also music director for gtownsound, LLC, which produced Reunion 2011, A Rhythm Blues Revival. a DVD featuring four Gastonia bands from the 60 s and 70 s and including The Counts, of which he is an original member.
His recording credits include contributing his original composition “Stargazer” to drummer Les Demerle’s On Fire recording for Pablo Records; the title tune for the south Florida big band Atlantean Driftwood’s Melts In Your Mouth recording; compositions, arrangements, and performance on Ira Sullivan: With Strings Attached ; Atlantic Blue for Earth Songs; Out Of Nowhere by vocalist Toshiko Watabe; and Brothers with pianist Gary Marcus; You Need ‘Dis. released in December of 2001 and including all original compositions; Debt To Heaven. including jazz arrangements of traditional hymns. His latest release, Big Octave, with the bassist Ron Brendle and drummer Chris Garges, is an adventurous collection of original compositions, jam tunes, and works by Ornette Coleman and the Beatles; and Many Hands. a CD of original compositions reflecting an array of contemporary musical styles.
Christa successfully completed her certification board exam after a 9-month music therapy internship. Christa received training at Levine Children s Hospital, (Charlotte), Holy Angels (Belmont), Special Kare for Special Kids (Gastonia), and Roots and Wings Music Therapy (Charlotte). She received specialized training working with children, adolescents, and adults with developmental and/or behavioral diagnoses as well as co-treating within an interdisciplinary team.
Originally from the Hickory area, she has performed with the Pan Jive Steel Drum Band since 1999. She volunteers with DrumSTRONG (Drums for Cures), and Levine Children s Hospital in the Ryan Seacrest Studio. In addition to percussion, Christa also enjoys playing guitar, ukulele, and piano.
Christa is passionate about providing person centered therapy. Her services are grounded by a humanistic approach.