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The music department at Centralia College offers a wide range of classes. Several classes fulfill the Humanities portion of the core requirements and are great options for all majors.

In addition, Centralia College offers music classes for those who wish to pursue music as a major and plan to transfer to a four-year institution. The college ensembles are open to everyone, and are a great way to be a part of a musical community and be an active part of music-making.

Special Features

Centralia College's music program is located in Washington Hall, where a full array of facilities are available for music majors. From practice rooms to the state of the art Mac lab, students have access to resources comparable to those found at much larger music programs. Centralia College's class sizes are small and feature hands-on application of concepts and lots of opportunities for creativity.

In addition to offering face-to-face courses, Centralia College offers online music courses for those who wish to fulfill core requirements in the convenience of their own home, or from wherever they might be, including those who are deployed or travel for work. Centralia College faculty is highly qualified and has taught and studied at highly respected institutions of higher learning, including Yale University, the University of Texas - Austin, and the University of Illinois.

Employment Options

Students who study music can pursue many career options, including the following:
  • K-12 Music Educator, including band, orchestra, or choir director
  • Private studio instructor or owner
  • Composer for media, including video games, TV, films, or theme parks
  • Performing artist, including soloist, pit orchestra member, chamber or ensemble player
  • Instrument builder, repairer, store owner or manager
  • Church musician
  • Accompanist
  • Arts administrator
  • Grant writer
  • Music librarian
  • Music therapist
  • Session musician
  • Sound designer or sound engineer
  • Piano technician

Music Faculty

Born and raised in Centralia, Louie Blaser, director of Centralia College’s jazz ensemble and co-conductor and music director of the Lewis County Community Band, is currently serving as the director of bands at Centralia High School, and the 5th and 6th grade brass/percussion instructor at Oakview and Washington Elementary Schools. Louie graduated from Centralia High School in 2000 and, in 2004, earned a bachelor's degree in Music Education from Central Washington University, where he graduated magna cum laude. While at CWU, he taught the Intermediate Band (6th-8th grades) at the Ellensburg Christian School for two years and jazz band at Morgan Middle School for one year before coming back to Centralia to take over the high school band program in the fall of 2005. In September 2007, he began teaching the Lewis County Community Band, which he co-conducts with Karl Scarborough. Blaser plays clarinet with the Northwest Wind Symphony, of which he has been a member since 2000, and lead alto saxophone and piano with the local Sound of Swing Big Band since 1999. He teaches private lessons on nearly every wind and percussion instrument, and loves to plays guitar and accordion in his spare time. He resides in Centralia with his wife, Casey, and son, Leopold, and has two dogs, Bailie and Gizmo.

Dan Colgan, voice instructor, is currently serving as the director of music at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia. He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Dan also serves as the assistant director of the Olympia Choral Society, the men's choir director of the Olympia Youth Chorus, and current dean of the Olympia chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Vicki Jardine Tobin, director of Centralia College’s choir program, has been teaching music, adjudicating festivals, and directing choirs across the nation and overseas for more than 30 years. Her choirs have won acclaim in Europe for raising monies to rebuild cathedrals bombed in World War II, her piano and voice students have gone on to become professional musicians themselves and she has won several awards for distinguished classroom teaching in the fields of Music History and Theory. She holds a bachelor's degree in Piano from Carthage College and a master's degree in Choral Conducting and Piano with emphasis in Vocal Pedagogy from University of Colorado, Boulder. Presently she teaches at Centralia College, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, and Central Texas College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in addition to maintaining a private studio of voice and piano students.

Beth May, department lead, teaches music theory and aural skills, music appreciation, history of American music, piano, and composition. Prior to her arrival at Centralia College, she served as a tenured music faculty member at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas, where she taught for 12 years and helped to establish the music program. She is the founder and director of the Jack Stone Award for New Music, a national composition competition for community college composers, and holds her doctorate in music from the University of Texas at Austin, her master's of music from Yale University, and her bachelor of music degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to enjoying collaborations with the theatre department at Centralia College, she has written music that has been performed throughout the United States and beyond, and authored a textbook, Music Fundamentals: An Introduction, which is used by multiple colleges in the United States. While she is a transplant to Washington State, she loves it so much she convinced her parents to join her here.

Lesley O'Donel is instructor of Applied Flute at Centralia College, where she also enjoys teaching Music of the World, Fundamentals of Music, and Music Appreciation. She earned her bachelor's degree in Flute Performance from Central Washington University under the private instruction of Dr. Hal Ott, and completed her master's degree in Flute Performance at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA, with instructor Robert Willoughby. She is an active performer in local groups, such as The Northwest Wind Symphony, Olympia Chamber Orchestra, and as a substitute flutist/piccoloist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and teaches privately in the Centralaia/Chehalis communities. Her concerto performances have been with the Pacific Northwest Chamber Orchestra (Reinecke's Ballade), Northwest Wind Symphony (Chaminade's Concertino), the Longy Chamber Orchestra (Martin's Ballade for Flute and String Orchestra), and a Ferrell Scholarship chamber ensemble performance at Central Washington University of Nielsen's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra.

Kathleen Scarborough, violin and viola instructor, is a member of the Musicians' Association of Seattle and the American String Teachers' Association. She started piano lessons at the age of five and began studying violin at nine. Although she is classically trained and has extensive orchestral experience as a violinist and violist, she was a founding member of an Irish group and several early music ensembles, has performed with folk and classical guitarists, and played in a rock and roll nightclub band. She continues to play in many churches and synagogues, do strolling violin work, perform jazz standards, and act as lead violin in an internationally acclaimed big band. Past performances have included Carnegie and Alice Tulley Halls, NY and Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., in addition to 25+ years of orchestral and commercial work. She currently performs throughout the country as lead violinist with Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra (big band), duo with the Commander of the U.S. Army Strings, and freelances in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. She holds her bachelor's degree with honors from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, and completed extensive graduate work in violin and viola Performance (60+ hours) at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music.

Daven Tillinghast joined Centralia College’s faculty in 2016 and teaches guitar and piano. In addition to his career as an educator, he is a composer and music director. His original punk-rock soccer opera Fishnapped! (co-authored with Amy Shephard and Andrew Gordon of Open Road Productions) won second in Columbia Entertainment Company’s 2018 Jackie White Memorial National Playwriting Contest. He also stays very active performing in theaters, ballrooms, and nightclubs. He studied Jazz Arranging and Creative Writing at Western Washington University, and since then has worked with a long list of local acts, including the South Sound Swing Orchestra, The Olympia Jazz Tentet, Jessica Blinn, Joe Baque, Vince Brown, The Johnny Lewis Band, Steve Munger, The Northern Lights Orchestra, Go Go Typhoon 7, Audiosattva, Pegana Press, Vaisnava of Atmastudios, and Windham Hill recording artist Scott Cossu, also performing as lead guitarist in the house band for Harlequin Productions. He will be music directing Go Dog Go at Olympia Family Theater in spring 2019. He lives in Olympia, where he teaches privately at Music 6000.


Dr. S. Beth May
Assistant Professor
Email Beth May
Washington Hall 121