Berks Piano Quartet



In a unique music studio setting, the Institute offers both Music Classes as well as Private Instruction for students of all ages. The music wing encompasses five private studios that are scheduled with lessons throughout the day year-round. Lessons take place once per week at regularly scheduled time and are typically 30 minutes in length.

In addition to instruction the Institute provides performance opportunities to all students of the music department. The Yocum Gallery serves as a recital hall and is equipped with two Steinway Grande pianos. Students can experience both solo and two-piano performances.

We offer lessons in:
• piano • voice • guitar • violin/viola • brass • woodwinds • percussion
Students must have an instrument available for daily practice.

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Music Private Instruction is offered on our Private Schedule.

Session 1: September 5 – November 11
Session 2: November 13 – January 20
Session 3: January 22 – March 28
Session 4: April 2 – June 9

Summer 2017: June 18 – August 18

Please refer to Calendar for closings and holidays.

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To view and register for Mini Session 2017 classes, please click HERE or view and print a printer-friendly version of the catalog HERE.

Private Lessons are available in Music. Please call 610.376.1576.




Berks Piano Quartet:

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Members for 2016-2017 are:  Abi Bashore (home-schooled), Jacob Isaac (home-schooled), Alexia Forsythe (cyber schooled), Michaella Mellen (recent graduate from homeschool).


In 2012, the Yocum Institute for Arts Education introduced the Berks Piano Quartet, four young keyboard virtuosos playing on two pianos.

Building on a successful first year, our quartet program has expanded, and now includes three quartets at varying levels of study.

Directed by educator and composer James Neher, these ensembles are a cooperative effort involving accomplished students drawn from prominent area teachers. They appear year-round as ambassadors of music (playing exciting versions of symphony showpieces, classical favorites, and lively extras from Sousa to ragtime) at concert venues and community centers of all kinds.

For more information about auditioning or to book a performance, please call Susan Forry, Music Director, at 610.376.1576 ext. 206 or email

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Sue Forry

Susan Gish Forry Music Director







Susan Gish Forry – Music Director teaches Piano for ages 4 to adult. She has studied with Dr. Malvina Leshock, internationally acclaimed concert pianist and composer. In addition to private lessons and introductory classes to young children, she coordinates music for the Institute Preschool and has been an accompanist for internationally renowned operatic Bass-Baritone Brian R. Gibson.

Tara Bernstel teaches voice, piano and music theory. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Kutztown University. She has experience in concert choir, chamber choir, Drama Club and Musical Production.  She teaches voice and piano to all ages.

Theresa Cocci  is an Orff-Schulwerk certified teacher completing levels I, II, and III at Villanova University. Graduate studies at West Chester University include certification as a First Steps in Music Instructor and Conversational Solfege. She is also a graduate of Kutztown University with BS in Elementary Ed and a minor in Music. She is a member of MTNA, Early Childhood Music and Movement Association, Philadelphia Area Orff- Schulwerk Association, and continues to teach private piano for many years. She currently serves as music instructor for our Preschool Department.

Michele Cooper teaches voice, elementary through adult.  She has a BA in vocal performance from Boston Conservatory and a Masters from University of Cincinnati, College of Conservatory Music.  She has been teaching voice for over 10 years.  She was a professional singer with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Vitalij Kuprij is a graduate of KievLyssenkoMuisAcademy in Ukraine, Basel Conservatoire, Switzerland and Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes and was the youngest person to win first prize in the All Union Chopin Competition and won first prize in the Kiev Conservatory Competition and the Geneva Duo Competition for Piano and Violin.

Steven Holgate teaches beginning band instruments, beginning ukulele, and advanced brass instruments.  His primary instruments are tuba and euphonium.  He earned a Bachelors of Science of Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Masters of Music in Performance degree from Illinois State University.  He has taught music in the Governor Mifflin School District since 1999.  His private students have won auditions with many of the PMEA Festivals, scholarships and solo competitions.  He is principle tuba for Bravura Brass Quintet, and director of Berks Summer String Institute.

James Neher teaches piano, theory, and composition, and is director of our Piano Ensemble program. He is a former student at Manhattan School of Music, and has a BA in music from SUNY at Stony Brook and a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has directed small vocal and instrumental groups for over forty years, and was Executive Director of Community School of Music and the Arts in Reading in 2002-2003. His piano students include local, state and national competition winners.

Danny Phillips teaches guitar at the Institute and has been studying and playing guitar for 36 years. He has performed in numerous local and regional bands including “Hunter”, “Rogue” and “Karnevil of Souls”. He is versed in many styles of music and holds degrees in Music Theory and Modal Study. Mr. Phillips has studied classical guitar with the virtuoso classicist Rod Hill and has attended National Guitar Workshops in Connecticut for cutting edge guitar techniques.

Lisa Speece teaches voice elementary through adult. She received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Susquehanna University and Master of Science in Education from Duquesne University. She has been a choral/music teacher as well as general music.

Mary Grace Harris teaches violin. She is a recent graduate and has been studying violin since an early age. Mary has been teaching private violin for the last few years and has played at many community and church functions.

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