Salem First Presbyterian Church to host recital May 21

SALEM — Cody Tonkinson and Dawn Bradley Filler, two Salem High School graduates who grew up in the Salem First Presbyterian Church, will return to share their musical talents in a piano and organ recital at 1 p.m. May 21.

They took many years of lessons in piano, organ or both and according to their former piano/organ teacher, longtime church organist Nancy McNeal, “it’s their love of music that got them to where they are.”

In fact, their love of music led them to pursue a college level of study majoring in performance.

Tonkinson, who graduated from SHS in 2017, is currently enrolled at Youngstown State University and scheduled to graduate in December 2022 from the YSU Dana School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. He gave his senior piano recital on April 30.

The Salem resident plays music from the late 1800s and 1900s. In his studies, he has been the pianist for the YSU Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble and has been an accompanist for other students at YSU. In 2019, he participated in a master class sponsored by his applied teacher at YSU, Dr. Caroline Oltmanns, in Kaufbeuren, Germany.

Filler, who lives in Stow and graduated from SHS in 1997, is the organist at the United Methodist Church of Kent. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance with an emphasis in sacred music from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where she studied with Dr. John Walker, Dr. Ann Labounsky and David Craighead.

She also earned a Master of Music degree in organ performance from the University of Akron, studying with Dr. Barbara MacGregor. She is past dean of the Akron Chapter American Guild of Organists and former chairperson of the chapter’s scholarship program. She is a member of the community handbell ensemble, Summit Bells, and the Brahms Allegro Teachers Club which supports students who study music.

She specializes in sacred music.

Both Filler and Tonkinson played trumpet in the SHS band and Filler was also involved with choir.

All are welcome to attend the one-hour recital at Salem First Presbyterian Church off of East Second Street, with a meet and greet to follow the performance.


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