Ms. Tricia Hardy is in her eleventh year as orchestra director at Dickerson Middle School in Marietta, Georgia and twentieth year of teaching middle school orchestra. During her years of leadership, the Dickerson program has doubled in size to 500 students. She created the Dickerson Chamber Strings and 8th Grade Sinfonia Orchestras, who have performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) state music conference and the American String Teachers Association National Conference (ASTA) National Orchestra Festival in 2016.
Ms. Hardy earned her bachelor's degree in music education at The University of Florida and a master’s degree in educational leadership from The Ohio State University. She recently completed her specialist degree in Educational Leadership through Berry College. Before moving to Marietta in 2012, Ms. Hardy directed middle school orchestra programs in Ohio and Florida where her ensembles consistently received superior ratings. Ms. Hardy has significantly grown the size of each orchestra program in each of the four school districts in which she has taught.
In 2016, Ms. Hardy was honored to represent the state of Georgia in "50 Directors Who Make a Difference," by the School Band and Orchestra Publication. Ms. Hardy has presented clinics at the state and national levels, including the American String Teacher Association National Conference, The Ohio State String Teachers’ Workshop, and state music conventions. In her fourth year of teaching, she was named “Arts Teacher of the Year” at the Rochelle School of the Arts in Lakeland, Florida. Ms. Hardy served as a certified adjudicator throughout the state of Florida and also served as state secretary and state president-elect for the Florida chapter of ASTA.
Ms. Hardy is a member of ASTA, NAfME, and GMEA. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, and exploring the Atlanta area with her two boys. Charlie is a 7th grade violinist at Dickerson, and Anderson, a 5th grader at Timber Ridge Elementary.
Mr. Jacob Bitinas is serving his eighth year as assistant orchestra director at Dickerson Middle School in Marietta, GA. Every day, Mr. Bitinas provides instruction to over 500 orchestra students in sixth through eighth grade. These students make up six heterogeneous orchestra classes with an average 85 students per class. At the core of Mr. Bitinas’ philosophy of music education is to develop a deep appreciation for music and to expose each student to music history in an engaging way that does not stifle curiosity. In his eight years as a public school educator, Mr. Bitinas has had the opportunity to present sessions at Columbus State University, The University of Alabama, and the Alabama Music Educators Association on topics related to early music, double bass playing, and music history education.
As an active performer, Jacob Bitinas can be heard playing viola da gamba or double bass on concerts and recitals of early and modern music throughout the southeast. His enthusiasm for modern music written for early instruments extends beyond just performance. In 2021, Mr. Bitinas began pursuing a Master of Music degree in music composition at Stephen F. Austin State University. As a composer, Jacob Bitinas was recognized by the Viola da Gamba Society of America as one of the three winners of the International Leo M. Traynor Composition Competition for new music written for viols. His piece, "Eidolon No. 3", was premiered at the VdGSA Conclave in 2017 and is published by the Viola da Gamba Society. Mr. Bitinas has worked closely with Martha Bishop, Gail Ann Schroeder, Gesa Kordes, Dr. Don Fader, Dr. Anne C. Witt, and Dr. Carl Hancock over the course of his career and study of musicology and historically informed performance practice.
In August of 2017, Mr. Bitinas was selected as a recipient of five viols through the Viola da Gamba Society of America's consort loan program. With the instruments loaned through this program, Mr. Bitinas introduces 7th and 8th grade students at Dickerson Middle School to music history and viola da gamba by engaging them in the study of a new instrument. There are currently 25 students participating in the Dickerson Viol Consort.