Music Department


Paul Geissinger (Department Head / Associate Professor)
Office M2-10

Paul J. Geissinger is a Philadelphia-based producer, composer, DJ and artist. He is an associate professor at the Community College of Philadelphia, current chair of the Music Department as well as the director for the College’s record label, Spring Garden Records. The majority of Paul’s production work has been released for over a decade under the moniker, Starkey, releasing on labels such as Ninja Tune, Planet Mu, Deadbeats, Decca, Alpha Pup, Civil Music, Smog and Keysound amongst others. Paul’s music has been featured in ads for British Airways, Adidas, GoPro as well as on MTV, BBC 1 and Netflix’s original series, Sense8.  He also composed the music for the award winning room-sized VR experience, Vestige (2018 Tribeca Film Festival / Geneva International Film Festival).  Paul is the owner of the Internationally distributed Seclusiasis and NOREMIXES record labels: the former celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021.  Paul was also a two term Governor for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy.

Robert Ross (Assistant Professor)
Office M2-13

Robert Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education and master’s degrees in Conducting and Composition from Temple University, and pursued post-graduate studies in Musicology at City University of New York. He teaches music history and theory courses and directs the CCP Vocal Ensembles, and served as chair of the Music Department from 2008–2015. He currently directs choirs at Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park, PA and Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ, and also is bass section leader at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, DE. His compositional catalog numbers well over three hundred works, including choral works, three cantatas, two symphonies, instrumental chamber works, experimental pieces, arrangements and editions. His publishers include Coronet Press, Theodore Presser Company, Oxford University Press and Bärenreiter-Verlag. His music has been recorded by the Gregg Smith Singers, the Lady Chapel Singers/Women’s Sacred Music Project, and Voces Novae et Antiquae.


Mary Ellen Desmond (Adjunct Instructor)

Graduate of New Jersey's Thomas Edison State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, vocalist Mary Ellen Desmond also received her Associate's Degree in Music Performance from Community College of Philadelphia and is an alum of Philadelphia's University of the Arts. In addition to performing professionally for over 30 years from venues in the Philadelphia / New Jersey area to the legendary Tavern on the Green in New York City's Central Park West, as well as accepting engagements in Japan, she teaches vocal instruction on the faculties of CCP and UArts. Classically trained, Professor Desmond is considered a crossover artist covering repertoire in a variety of styles with a focus on jazz standards. She has released three CD recordings to date, and is active as a fund raiser for lives affected by AIDS/HIV through her annual holiday concert offering, Comfort & Joy, which she organizes and performs each December, now in its 15th year.

Beth Dzwil (Adjunct Instructor)

Beth Dzwil (viola/violin) is a seasoned chamber musician, performing for over thirty years with the Fairmount String Quartet and for fifteen years with the Elysian Camerata. She served as principal violist of the Pottstown Symphony for over twenty years and has been a featured soloist with several area ensembles. In addition to her classical work, she has performed Internationally and recorded six critically acclaimed jazz albums with the Tyrone Brown String Sextet. She records and performs with the contemporary Christian band “For the Spirit”. She is a voting member of the Grammy organization.


Calli Graver (Adjunct Instructor)

Calli Graver has created a versatile and steady career as a crossover vocalist. A native of Lancaster Pennsylvania, Calli moved to Philadelphia to pursue her degree from the University of the Arts (B.M. in vocal performance/MM in jazz studies). Calli has been fortunate to travel as a soloist with various Pops orchestras, holds positions in choirs and bands across Philadelphia, and celebrated her debut jazz album release in December 2017. Calli has notably performed with Peter Nero, Christian McBride, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ben Folds, Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, and is a regular with the Philly Pops. She teaches voice at the Lumberton School of Music and is an adjunct professor at the Community College of Philadelphia.


Evan Graver (Adjunct Instructor)

Originally from Lancaster Pennsylvania, Evan Graver is a Philadelphia-based vocalist, pianist, composer, and music educator. He obtained his master’s degree from the University of the Arts in the field of Music Education and performs professionally both domestically and abroad. Evan has had the opportunity to perform with artists such as Kathleen Battle, Aretha Franklin, Ben Folds, and Andrea Bocelli, and currently performs with the Voices of the Philly Pops under the direction of Jeff Kern. Evan also maintains a private studio consisting of vocal and piano students of all ages, and composes/arranges musical selections for different performers and ensembles throughout the area.


Frederick Hall (Adjunct Instructor)

Rick Hall teaches composition, music technology, musical acoustics, and piano for CCP. He holds a master's degree in World Music Studies from the University of Sheffield in England and is a certified Pro Tools Instructor. He has been a music producer, composer and performer in Philadelphia for more than 35 years. His professional activities include running his own recording studio, where he has produced over 150 albums since 1991; scoring extensively for television, film and advertising; writing art music; and playing keyboards in a wide variety of musical settings.


Paul Klinefelter (Adjunct Instructor)

Paul Klinefelter brings over fifty years of bass playing experience to his teaching at CCP. Starting on bass guitar in 1964, he specialized in blues, rock, and R&B. Nine years later, he took up the double bass to pursue his interest in jazz and classical music. His teachers were Tony D'Addono (Granoff School), Eligio Rossi (Settlement Music School), Lou Kosma (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), and Neil Courtney (Philadelphia Orchestra).

Paul has played and recorded with numerous local and International jazz and classical artists. He has been a member of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra since 1989 and has been on the faculty of CCP since 2001.


Jill Meehan (Adjunct Instructor)

Jill Meehan has been an adjunct faculty member at CCP since 2006. She has earned degrees in Music History from Boston University (B.M.), Temple University (M.M.), and Rutgers University (Ph.D). Her specialties in music history are diverse, which include music of the classical era and American musical characteristics in late nineteenth-century art music. As a trumpet player, she has had the opportunity to perform in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her interests include travelling, playing sports, and going to hear The Philadelphia Orchestra. In addition to classical music, she loves alternative rock and EDM.


James Sauppe (Adjunct Instructor)

A graduate of University of the Arts, James Sauppe is a Philadelphia-based producer, composer, drummer, and educator. He’s written and produced several records on various labels under his production moniker, RVLVR (Revolver). He’s also the proud founder and owner of Montco Music Inc, a charitable music school that donates quarterly to Play On, Philly, a local organization that provides musical instruments and lessons to children who’d otherwise not receive them.


Anne Sciolla (Adjunct Instructor)

Annie Sciolla, a graduate of The University of the Arts, is a professional vocalist specializing in crossover technique and vocal pedagogy. An accomplished and respected musician, Sciolla has extensive experience as a recording studio musician with appearances on the soundtrack of Steve Guttenberg’s film production P.S. Your Cat Is Dead and, performs on world renowned jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco’s album Never Can Say Goodbye, the Music of Michael Jackson, High Note Record Label, which was Grammy nominated for “Best Jazz Contemporary Album” in 2011. She has toured with Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals, served as vocal coach to Courtney Love, performed with jazz greats Randy Brecker, Jimmy Bruno, Kevin Eubanks, Bob Berg, Uri Caine, Tom Lawton and John Swana and has debuted as a solo guest artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Besides having served two terms on the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy, adjudicator for the Miss New Jersey Pageant, Atlantic City, NJ and adjudicator for Miss America Outstanding Teen, (MAOTeen) Orlando FL, she continues to perform regularly in both jazz and classical idoms.  She has been on the music faculty at CCP since 1986.


HL Smith II (Adjunct Instructor)

HL Smith received his Masters in Music from the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University in choral conducting and organ performance.  HL specializes in both harpsichord and organ performance, as well as vocal coaching, conducting arranging and performing as a piano accompanist.  HL is a proud composer member of ASCAP with music published by Theodore Presser Music and ScoreExchange.  He is also a Sibelius notation software engraving specialist.


Elivi Varga (Adjunct Instructor)

Flutist Dr. Elivi Varga is an active member of the Philadelphia area music community performing as a soloist and chamber musician. She is a founding member of the Lyra Ensemble and frequently performs as part of the Fine Art Music Company. In addition to teaching applied flute at CCP, Dr. Varga teaches music history at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. She studied music at Goucher College, the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Illinois State University, and the University of Illinois, where she earned a D.M.A.