Instructors

Leonard Kacenjar
Leonard Kacenjar is conductor of the Project String Power student orchestra. He received his Bachelor degree from Juilliard School of Music in New York and a Master’s degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Mr. Kacenjar is active in the East Texas musical community, is the retired conductor of the Marshall Symphony, artistic director of the Shreveport Summer Music Festival and the moving force behind many artistic endeavors in the Arklatex. He teaches violin at the college level, and provides instruction in violin and viola for Project String Power.

Karen McGarrettKaren McGarrett
Karen McGarrett has played harp for more than twenty-five years and has studied both pedal harp and lever harp. She has a studio in Nacogdoches, Texas, plays for many civic and church engagements, conducts harp workshops and teaches harp for Project String Power.
Contact Karen McGarrett Mcgarrettharpstudio@gmail.com

Martyn PopeyMartyn Popey
Martyn Popey gained his Bachelor degree in Performance from Trinity College of Music in London, England with a joint first study in jazz guitar and upright double bass. He worked as a professional musician throughout Europe and now performs jazz and classical music in the East Texas area. Mr. Popey teaches all styles of guitar, including classical, rock, blues, country and jazz; bass guitar; and upright double bass at the college level and for Project String Power. He also directs the country and rock bands.
Contact Martyn Popey martynpopey@yahoo.com

Evgeni RaychevEvgeni Raychev
Born in Russe, Bulgaria, Dr. Evgeni Raychev began his studies on the violoncello at the Vesselin Stoyanov Music School in Russe with Elka Effremova as his teacher. He further continued his music education with professor Zdrako Yordanov at the Bulgarian Music Academy in Sofia, where he received his Bachelor and Master degrees.

Upon arriving in the USA in 1997 he attended Florida State University, where he completed his second Masters and Doctoral degrees with professor Lubomir Georgiev. Winner of several competitions, Evgeni Raychev has performed with orchestras in the USA, Bulgaria and Czech Republic and his chamber and solo music experience includes performances in the USA, Bulgaria, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Columbia, and Costa Rica.

Dr. Raychev has played for the Bulgarian National Symphony Orchestra for five years and has served as a principal cellist of FSU Symphony, Chamber and Opera Orchestras, as well as Tallahassee Symphony and Southeast Symphony Orchestras. He has played in the Bulgarian Twelve Cellos Ensemble next to his teacher, Prof. Yordanov for six years. Currently Mr. Raychev plays together with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Dalmas in the violin-cello Hachidori Duo.

Contact Evgeni Raychev raycheve@sfasu.edu

Tim BlakeTim Blake
Tim Blake, banjo performer and teacher, has been playing banjo for more than 20 years. He is a member of the Blake Brothers Bluegrass Band of Shreveport, the premiere bluegrass band of the Ark-La-Tex. Not only does he play and teach, but he also repairs string instruments. Tim really enjoys leading the BlakeBrothers Bluegrass Band and playing gospel music.

Nancy Spanial-Blake
Nancy Spanial-Blake, founder of Project String Power, teaches beginning guitar. Nancy has played guitar since high school, and used it as a teaching aid and accompanying instrument in her church music. She formed a junior choir group in her church in Florida, which led in area competitions. Her vision of offering affordable music lessons to anyone who has a desire to play is what led to the beginnings of Project String Power.

Besides church music, Nancy is active in bluegrass music. Her husband is banjo player Tim Blake, whose bluegrass band “The Blake Brothers” is popular in the Ark-La-Tex area. Nancy has an extensive background in working with children, and currently has a puppet ministry for churches and libraries. She also works as an EMT/Firefighter in De Berry, Texas. Her teaching method includes flatpicking, chord progressions, and tablature, in acoustic guitar; both bluegrass/country style and classical. Once a foundation is laid and a student progresses to an intermediate level, she refers them to Martin Popey for more advanced lessons.

Kent GillKent Gill
Kent plays fiddle and alternates on guitar and vocals with various bands, performing genres from Bluegrass to Classic Country to Vintage Rock. He developed his Bluegrass fiddle style during eleven years performing with the Blake Brothers Bluegrass Band around the Ark-La-Tex. In early 2010, he joined Project String Power teaching Bluegrass music, and during that time, led the Bluegrass students in forming their Silver Dew Bluegrass Band.