Joey Sloan, a Texas native, attended high school in the DFW area. While attending North Mesquite High School he was a member of all region and all state orchestras and competed in UIL solo and Texas state solo and ensemble contests. His high school orchestra was a consistent finalist in the Texas Honor orchestra contest including winning in 1984.
Mr. Sloan earned his Bachelor degree in Double Bass performance and his Master degree in String Pedagogy from the University of Texas at Austin prestigious Butler School of Music. His bass teachers included Weldon Minnick, Dr. David Neubert and famed soloist Daxun Zhang. His music education teachers included famed pedagogues Phyllis Young and Dr. Laurie Scott. Under their supervision Mr. Sloan taught in the esteemed University of Texas String Project where his duties included conducting orchestra, teaching music theory and teaching bass to students whose ages ranged from 4 to 18 years old.
During his career he has performed with numerous orchestras including the Austin Symphony, Waco Symphony, and Richardson Symphony. Mr. Sloan has been teaching bass for over 25 years and has had numerous students in All Region and All State Orchestras.
In 2009, Mr. Sloan accepted the position of head orchestra director for the Lovejoy Independent School district. Under his baton the orchestra program has grown from 60 to nearly 300 students over the past 5 years and has consistently been awarded high ratings at contests and festivals. He currently teaches at Sloan Creek Intermediate School, Willow Springs Middle School and Lovejoy High School. Mr. Sloan and his wife, Jamie resides in Fairview with their beautiful daughter Belinda.
Amy Gearhart, a native of Saline, Michigan, earned a music education degree from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan and studied abroad at Oxford University. Ms. Gearhart began teaching in Plano ISD in the fall of 1997 at Haggard and Renner Middle Schools. In 1999, Ms. Gearhart opened Rice Middle School, also in Plano ISD. In 2001, she was named the Marjorie Keller Young Teacher of the Year for the state of Texas. Ms. Gearhart has also served as a conductor for the New Conservatory of Dallas and the Music in the Mountains Camp in Durango, Colorado.
For the past four years, Ms. Gearhart has been an orchestra director in Lovejoy ISD where the orchestra program has seen tremendous growth. She teaches at both Sloan Creek Intermediate School and Willow Springs Middle School. She and her husband, Brad, who is the head band director at Hendrick Middle School in Plano, reside in Allen with their daughters, Cassidy and Delaney.
Mary Winkler, born in Illinois and moved to the great state of Texas prior to starting 3rd grade. Started playing violin in the Arlington School District and graduated from Arlington High School in 1999. Mrs. Winkler attended Northwestern State University and earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education in the Spring of 2003.
Mrs. Winkler began her teaching career in August of 2003 as the assistant director at Ted Polk Middle School. In June of 2007, Mrs. Winkler accepted the Head Director position at Vivian Field Middle School. The orchestra’s from Vivian Field Middle School achieved numerous Superior ratings at both Peak Music Festivals, UIL Concerts and Sight Reading Contests. The program grew under Mrs. Winkler’s direction from 105 orchestra members to 230 members. In May of 2012, Mrs. Winkler became the Head Orchestra Director at Pioneer Heritage Middle School in Frisco, TX. The program received numerous Superior ratings for all performing orchestra’s at UIL Concert, Sight Reading Contest and Peak Music Festival. The Full Orchestra at Pioneer Heritage placed 9th in the TMEA Honor Full Orchestra Contest.
Mrs. Winkler is very excited to be a part of the Lovejoy Orchestra. While not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family. Her husband, Ray Winkler, is the principal at Sloan Creek Intermediate School and they have 3 kids: Brandon, Leo and Genevieve.
Jennifer Vanhook is a native of Oklahoma. She began playing the violin at age 3 with the Oklahoma City University Suzuki program. During high school she was concertmistress for the Oklahoma Youth Symphony as well as an Oklahoma All-State Orchestra member.
She attended Austin College in Sherman, Texas where she received her bachelor’s degree in music and master’s degree in education.
Mrs. Vanhook most recently taught at Wester Middle School in Frisco ISD where she grew the program from 35 to 200. During her tenure, the Wester Orchestra was awarded the National Mark of Excellence Award for String Orchestra, 5th-runner up for the State of Texas Middle School Honor Full Orchestra, as well as UIL Sweepstakes each year she was there. She conducts, clinics and judges orchestras throughout the DFW area. She is the lead string player in the Dallas Praise Orchestra and performs at many local churches. She is also the 1st violin for Simply Strings DFW quartet performing at weddings and events throughout the area.
Mrs. Vanhook is very excited to join the Lovejoy Orchestra team! In her free time she enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, running and going to the movies. She lives in McKinney with her husband John, a trumpet player, and her son Joel, a cello player.