Our Family of Musicians

Jen Richeson, Violin

Jen Richeson started learning the violin at age 3 through the Suzuki method. She has studied with Margery K. Henke (conductor/performer), Benny Kim (performer), & Marcia Ferritto (performer). A performer since 4 years of age, Jen has been a part of many orchestras, ensembles, & rock bands around Northeast Ohio & several in the D.C. Metropolitan area, & earned both a B.A. in Music & an M.Ed. in Counseling from KSU. She has taught private lessons on multiple stringed instruments to over 40 students, and formerly directed the Plain Local Orchestra Program. Jen has enjoyed working with Suite Elegance since 2002 while teaching and pursuing a career as a Counselor.

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio, 2012.

Mary Bontrager, Violin

Mary Bontrager is both a musician and a music educator. She began her study of music at the age of 2 with Suzuki violin lessons at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. While growing up, Mary played in many orchestras, including the Northwest Ohio Youth Orchestra and the Lima Youth Symphony. Mary has both a Bachelors in Music Education from Bluffton University and a Masters in Music Education from Wright State University.

Mary has extensive teaching experience both in the private studio and in the classroom. In 1996 she began teaching music at Lake Center Christian in Hartville, Ohio. While on staff there she founded the school’s orchestra. She currently homeschools her three children, teaches a studio of private students, directs the Living Water Orchestra, and is both a teacher and an administrator of the CLM homeschool group.

Through the years Mary has performed in many orchestras including the Lima Symphony, Springfield Symphony, WSU Chamber Orchestra, and WSU University Orchestra, of which she was concertmaster. Mary is now the concertmaster of the Tuscarawas Philharmonic. She also performs with the Canton Players Guild, Cantate Singers of Wooster, and many other local churches and musical organizations. 

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio 2012.

Kendra Stickel, Flute

Kendra Stickel, flutist, has been playing for over 20 years and has a wide variety of musical experiences that range from marching band to wind symphony, and flute choir to jazz ensemble. She graduated from Malone University in 2004 with a double major in Music Performance and Early Childhood Education, where she was the principal flutist in both concert and marching band, studied with Julie Sarver, and participated as a soloist at a Chris Potter master class on Alto and Bass flute. Since graduation, as well as working as a reading and regular classroom educator, Kendra has continued to teach flute privately and has stayed active in the music world by participating in community music ensembles, working with local marching bands, and playing for her church. She is currently a member of the Stow Symphony Orchestra, flute trio Flutefully Yours, and as of last year has been very fortunate to join the Suite Elegance team. She resides in Kent with her husband, Ryan, daughter, Rose, and mischievous schnauzer, Silas. 

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio 2012

Kelly Schiele, Cello

Owner ~Business Manager ~ Founding Member

Kelly has been playing Cello since 1984 and has enjoyed a distinguished career as Principle Cellist in several local ensembles, including the juried All-State Orchestra. Kelly has also studied with some very prominent cellists in Ohio, including Leighton Conkling (Ohio University) and Madalena Marx Ryon (Akron Symphony).

As Business Manager for the ensemble, she is one of the founding members of Suite Elegance and has been with the group since its inception in 1995 which, incidentally, is when she realized a lifelong dream of working with weddings - and making music. In addition to her first love - performing - Kelly is a Wedding Coordinator and Event Planner, a wife and a mother of five beautiful children. Aside from Suite Elegance, Kelly is currently active in the music ministry of First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio, where she and her family are also members.

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio, 2012

Paul Olson, Guitar

Our youngest musician, 19 year old Paul Olson, began playing the classical guitar and performing at the age of 5. He has been performing with Suite Elegance since the age of 15. Paul has 8 years of classical and 3 years of contemporary music training, and studied with various teachers including Robert Gruca from The Cleveland Institute of Music and Northeast Ohio legend Steve Cipriano.  He has performed at numerous community events and recitals, including The Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, and has performed professionally for several years as a soloist and in local bands, including The Steve Cipriano Band. Paul has a strong mastery of both finger-style and flat-pick-style guitar that enables him to play a wide range of music from classical to contemporary to classic rock. His extensive knowledge of theory and ability to improvise makes him a versatile well-rounded musician. In addition to the guitar, Paul played the clarinet in high school concert band and consistently received number one ratings at OMEA solo and ensemble contests. Paul graduated in 2013 and was valedictorian of his high school class. He currently attends The University of Akron.

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio, 2012

Erin Vaughn, Guitar

Erin Vaughn is a guitarist and educator, born, raised, educated and currently residing in Northeast Ohio. He is a graduate of The University of Akron where he received his bachelor’s degree in jazz studies under Jack Schantz and Bob Fraser. He is (still) currently completing his master’s degree in music theory from Kent State University ( I can see the end).

Most recently Vaughn was the guitarist for Century Media Group recording artists, the Ryan Humbert Band (2009-2014), whose single, I Will Find My Own Way, enjoyed heavy rotation on Sirius/XM’s Coffee House station. From 2004-2009 he was the staff guitarist at Akron’s Carousel Dinner Theater with credits including Cats, Always… Patsy Cline, SWING!, Beehive and All Shook Up. Other show work includes the Canton Player’s Guild and the theater department at Kent State University at Stark. As guitarist for Phoenix Production’s national tour of Grease, he played across the United States and Canada.

Additionally, he balances his performance schedule with his appointment at Kent State University at Stark (instructor and coordinator for the guitar department, instructor of one of the university’s many Studio Ensembles, 2006-present) along with a thriving private teaching schedule.

Vaughn has also been involved in worship arts for over 10 years. He has been part of the worship teams at Trinity Baptist and First Christian (both in North Canton, OH). He is currently the worship leader at Family of Faith UMC in Akron, OH.

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio, 2012

Michelle Wadley, Viola

Founding Member

A versatile musician and a founding member of the original Suite Elegance ensemble, Michelle (Lippe) Wadley has been performing on the viola for over 28 years. While attending Lake High School, Michelle achieved four consecutive appearances in the OMEA Ohio All-State Orchestra. She also was one of four students chosen by audition to represent Ohio in the National High School Honors Orchestra. After these and many other accomplishments throughout high school, Michelle went on to attend Baldwin-Wallace University where she performed with the Symphony Orchestra and with the BW Student String Quartet for four years. Michelle continues to work and perform as a talented musician in many different capacities.

Photo by John Hall, Drobny Studio, 2012.