Alana bennett • Cello
Known for a being a dynamic and versatile musician, Alana has performed in venues from New York City to Prague, and many places in between. Her musical journey has taken her genre-hopping from classical to music theatre to rock and roll. In addition, Alana has also made a reputation as a teacher and coach. She was invited to work with talented students at NYU’s Art of Solo and Collaborative Piano Playing Workshop, and for the quartet program of the fresh and inspirational Bolivia Clasica. Currently Alana maintains a very busy schedule serving as principal cellist of the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and playing regularly with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra as well as the Macon Symphony Orchestra.
Alana received her Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, from New York University in Classical Cello Performance under the instruction of renowned pedagogue Marion Feldman. She received her Master of Music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with a concentration in chamber music literature under the instruction of Sharon Robinson.
Mackenzie Newell • French Horn
Mackenzie earned her bachelors from Boston University and a masters from New England Conservatory, both in French Horn Performance. She has performed with a wide variety of groups from the Boston Pops to a Duke Ellington tribute jazz band. She recently moved to Atlanta and is excited to join the team at Ness Records!
Chris Whittington • Guitar, ukulele, pre-K
Chris has been a musician since he was a kid. Both of his parents came from the classical tradition, so there was always music in the home. Before long, Chris, with the help of his older brother, started to discover the enormous world outside classical music. He started with piano, and then joined the school band in 6th grade. His band experience included clarinet, drumline and drum major. Chris also started playing guitar right before high school and played in the jazz band.
With guitar being Chris’ biggest passion, he studied at Appalachian State University under the direction of Dr. Douglas James. There, he studied classical finger style, and with Andy Page, jazz guitar. Rock and pop was still in his heart, so he frequently submitted projects to his recording studio professor at ASU (Scott Wynne) focused on those genres.
When Chris returned to Atlanta in 2008 he worked at a few recording studios around town, and he played in various bands at venues such as the old Masquerade, Smith’s Olde Bar, and many others. He has always wanted to get back into the academic side of music, so now he’s teaching private lessons, doing recording sessions and helping others develop songwriting. With a focus on music appreciation, he just wants his students to enjoy music as much as he does.
Cecilia Trode • violin, viola, piano
Cecilia began playing viola in sixth grade and was working professionally by high school. She studied Viola Performance with Tania Maxwell Clements at Georgia State University and received a Masters in Music Theory from Northwestern. Cecilia has been teaching in Chicago for the last few years and is absolutely thrilled to have returned to her native Atlanta. She loves introducing children to the wonderful world of music and celebrates the potential in every child. In her spare time, you can find her on a bicycle dreaming up next week’s lesson plans.
Nick Edelstein • guitars, piano/keys, brass
Nick’s extensive performance career includes symphony orchestras, operas, casinos, Jazz and Blues club circuits, universities, regional festivals and lifecycle events. He started Ness Records in 2004 and has nearly 20 years experience teaching private and group lessons, lesson studios, summer camps, preschools, elementary, and middle and high schools. He has also served as Music Director for various bands and theatre companies including The Henry Players and Wallace Buice. In April 2020 he will reprise his role with Opera Carolina as lead guitarist for I Dream.
In the studio, Nick has tracked and engineered on reel-to-reel tape and modern DAW sessions. Nick is also an award-winning songwriter and arranger, having made the books for some of the Southeast's top horn bands in addition to online clients from L.A. to Europe to Bollywood. Most recently, he scored a scene for the film My Crazy Nature which won first prize at Italy’s Taormina Film Festival. His focus at Ness Records is pre and post audio production.
Isabel Mester-Echevarria • Recorder, Ukulele, guitar, Piano
Isabel has been performing lute guitar and recorders with Lauda Musicam of Atlanta for years. She has taught ukulele and recorder at Waldorf School in Decatur and is very active in music education.