Tihda Vongkoth is a second-generation Lao American womxn living in Sarasota, Florida (both of her parents are Lao refugees). Tihda was inspired to create Modern Marimba in October 2019 to form equitable spaces for music creators and for people to share community through mallet keyboard music.
Tihda has appeared as a marimba soloist with the United States Air Force Band, The Florida Orchestra, and the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. As a percussionist she has performed at the Rio Carnival Sambadrom (parading on caixa with Escola de Samba Unidos de Vila Isabel), the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival and Brevard Music Festival. She recently recorded marimba on ‘Arise – Choral Music of Ola Gjeilo’ with the Key Chorale of Sarasota and appears on ‘Symphony No. 1’ by Thomas Sleeper on Albany Records.
Tihda performs as a guest orchestral percussionist with the Sarasota Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Opera Tampa, St. Pete Opera, and has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony and the New World Symphony. She has also performed with many local performing arts organizations in Sarasota.
Tihda works as a web and marketing consultant with several Sarasota nonprofits and small businesses, and she has served as director of the board of the women’s sailing program at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. She manages the website for her neighborhood association as well.
She has presented educational master classes at Kutztown University and the University of South Florida and regularly presents master classes to K-12 students in Sarasota County. She grew up in Florida and attended the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, Interlochen Arts Academy, and has advanced degrees in music performance from Southern Methodist University and Temple University.
Tihda is also an Iyengar yoga practitioner and enjoys being on the water, traveling with her partner, Dean Anderson, adventures with her yellow lab, and listening to music on vinyl.
Interim Vice President
Steph Davis is a Boston based marimbist, percussionist, composer, and arranger interested in identity-focused art. They are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Steph studies marimba with Nancy Zeltsman, percussion with Sam Solomon, and is taking composition lessons with Marti Epstein.
Passionate about the marimba, they have premiered over 10 works for marimba in chamber ensembles, arranged eight works for solo marimba, marimba ensemble, and marimba in duo settings, and studied and performed numerous works in the solo marimba repertoire. Pierre Hurel (professor at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and pianist of the acclaimed Pierre Hurel trio) has described Steph as a “colorist” and a “virtuosic” chamber musician who can “weave in and out of the texture with ease.” They have performed in masterclasses with Andrew Thomas, Steven Mackey, Beverly Johnston, Colin Currie, Thad Anderson, Marja Kerney, and Nancy Zeltsman.
Steph’s music explores issues of Black/Queer identity, politics, and environmental issues. Their process of composing involves what they refer to as “aural painting,” in which inspiration takes the form of a mental painting, which then takes the form of sound. Their music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful,” “complex,” and “serious.” They have been commissioned by Modern Marimba and Marimba One artist, Cameron Denby.
When they’re not playing or writing music, Steph enjoys cooking (100% plant-based), tending to house plants, volunteering with local political campaigns, writing, and reading. Steph is the founder of So You Want to Talk About Race Book Club, a reading community of over 30 people around the United States who meet monthly to discuss books with themes of race and identity. Visit Steph’s website.
Jen Martinez-Bre is a physically disabled Peruvian/Cuban-American vibraphonist, percussionist, composer, and educator currently based in South Florida. Her performance style and initiatives have been commended by the Gold Coast Jazz Society and the Percussive Arts Society in the form of grants to continue her pursuits. In her handful of years studying, Jen has been under the tutelage of Stefon Harris, Warren Wolf, Tony Miceli, and David Friedman – as well as local jazz heavyweights Rodolfo Zuniga, Fernando Ulibarri, Jason Hainsworth, and her original mentor Hector “Pocho” Neciosup.
Most recently, Jen co-founded the ongoing translated interview/masterclass series “Mate Meetup in Espanglish” with Pauline Roberts to bridge the gap between the English and Spanish speaking music industry.
Jen also recently graduated with a BAS in Supervision and Management from Broward College. A portion of the coursework included courses in Accounting, such as several levels of Accounting and Managerial Accounting. She is currently working on obtaining the certifications necessary to become a licensed bookkeeper.
David Wing has been a Music Educator for 11 years. He earned his Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Southeastern University. He completed his student teaching at Stambaugh Middle School in Auburndale in December of 2008, and was immediately hired as the Director of Bands at Woodland Middle School. After a couple of years in the classroom, he went back and earned his Masters in Instrumental Conducting from Sam Houston State University.
Mr. Wing is currently the Director of Bands at Woodland Middle School, where his program is one of the most comprehensive programs in the state of Florida. The bands at WMS consistently earn Superior ratings at all Florida Bandmasters Association Music Performance Assessments. Mr. Wing was recently awarded the Linda Mann 5 Year Superior Award, which recognizes Band Directors who earn the rating of Superior for five consecutive years. The Band Program consists of Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, three periods of Beginning Band, and Wildcat Jazz Band. Many of the students participate in the Solo and Ensemble festival and has one of the largest participation rates of any school in his district. This past year the Band Program earned 120 Superior medals at the event with most students participating in some sort of performance. There are about 300 students involved in just the Band Program at Woodland and is a source of pride for the North Port Community. The Band has been invited to perform yearly at Walt Disney World for Disney Performing Arts workshops and stage performances and continues to seek outside performance opportunities to make the students better musicians.
Mr. Wing is also the Music Department Chairperson at his school as well as PLC leader for all the Arts Teachers. He was voted Teacher of the Year at his school in 2015. He is a member of the Community School Partnership for the Arts, a committee in Sarasota which advocates for Arts Education. Mr. Wing is an active clinician, FBA Adjudicator, and musician, playing Trumpet whenever he can in churches and with bands. He has served as the District Chairperson for his FBA District facilitating all MPA events. He currently serves as the District Secretary in the Sarasota FBA District. In his free time, he enjoys going to Disney as much as possible and spending time with close family and friends.
Learn more about Magida here.
Magida Diouri, born in Belgium from a Belgian mother and Moroccan father, graduated from the University of Kentucky with an Art degree. She was the Sarasota Film Society’s artistic director for a number of years.
Since leaving the Film Society, Magida stayed very active in the film industry as a representative for a European film distributor in film festivals and film markets – Cannes Film Festival, Toronto, and AFM are just a few of her stops. Magida worked with the Sarasota Film Festival as its programmer, selecting and scheduling films from submissions and various film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto and Sundance.
Through her company, broken rules, lc, Magida created the Fabulous Independent Film Festival in August 2011. Sarasota’s first independent LGBTq film festival just completed its ninth year and is now a component of the Harvey Milk Festival.
A few years ago, Magida’s life took an interesting turn, and she became a licensed Florida Building Contractor and has worked on independent projects as well as commissioned projects.
Magida also has been exploring the wonders of foods, spices, presentation and its preparation and cooking techniques.
Dean Anderson is experienced in many musical styles, including orchestral, avant-garde, multimedia, and commercial music. Currently retired in Sarasota, Anderson is Principal Percussionist of the Punta Gorda Symphony and performs with the Venice Symphony, and Southwest Florida Symphony. Mr. Anderson was Principal Percussionist with the Boston Ballet Orchestra for 25 years and a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for 42 years. He has also performed extensively with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cantata Singers Orchestra, and the Boston Opera.
A great lover of contemporary chamber music, Anderson was the percussionist in the contemporary music ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, from 1972 to 2012. Throughout his membership he premiered over 72 new music works, recorded eight albums, and performed on four European tours through 14 different countries. He has also performed internationally as an electronic percussion specialist with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Audiovisual Lab Artists and with the Berklee Virtual Orchestra.
In 1996, Anderson recorded Divinations, a solo percussion album available on Neuma records featuring new music by William Kraft, Shirish Korde, Peter Child, Alvin Etier, and Matt Marvuglio. As a soloist with orchestra, Anderson has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa performing Nikos Mamangakis’ Anarchia for solo percussion with orchestra and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under John Williams performing Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba.
Anderson was also Chair of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1974 to 2010 where he led the world’s largest percussion educational program. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Percussive Arts Society, and currently serves on the boards of the Sarasota Music Conservatory, Modern Marimba, and the Avondale Residents Association, taking an active role in the local Sarasota community.
Dean Anderson’s studies include degrees from the University of Miami and New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He is a performing artist for Avedis Zildjian™ cymbals, Pearl™ drums and percussion, Gibralter™ hardware, Remo™ world percussion, and Vic Firth, Inc.™ sticks.
As a straight cis-gendered man who also identifies as a person who is hard of hearing, Dean is committed to doing the work to dismantle white supremacy in himself, interpersonally, and in our institutions. He listens, learns, and amplifies the voices of people who identify as BILPOC, LGBTQIA+, and people with disabilities, is learning about his biases, and makes anti-racist actions in the Sarasota, Florida community.