Music Department - Faculty and Staff

The Music Department faculty are committed to your success and are always willing to help you in establishing goals, finding answers, and pursuing your musical aspirations.

Elaine Schaefer

Elaine SchaeferElaine Schaefer has a wide range of experience working with both instrumental and vocal music in Elementary, Junior High, and High Schools in California, Nevada, and Saskatchewan, Canada. She is in her fifteenth year at COS, having spent the previous 18 years in Saskatchewan where she was a well-known teacher, conductor, guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. At COS she serves as the Director of Vocal/Choral Studies conducting the Ladies' Chamber Singers and the Concert Choir, teaching the voice classes, Music Fundamentals and Ear Training, acting as Musical director for the annual Spring Musical and administering the Applied Music program. For ten years she was the Camp Director for the COS Vocal Jazz/Show Choir Camp held each year in the fourth week of June.

Ms. Schaefer received her B.A. from CSU Hayward in Instrumental Performance and her Masters in Choral Conducting from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, where she taught music theory and conducted the University Chorus. In her spare time, she plays clarinet in the COS Concert Band and Orchestra and Alto Saxophone in the COS Jazz Band.

The 2005-06 year was a special year of recognition for Ms. Shaefer who was accepted into Who's Who in America, Who's Who Among American Women, and Who's Who in American Education. She was also selected as College of the Siskiyous' first Faculty Member of the Year.

Ms. Schaefer is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the International Association of Choral Singings, the Music Educators' National Conference and the California Music Educators Association.

Ms. Schaefer may be contacted at: 530-938-5315 or

Jean Marie Sylwanowicz

Jean Marie SylwanowiczJean Marie Sylwanowicz, Department accompanist
Jean Marie Sylwanowicz (pronounced sil-van-o-vich) began playing piano at the age of five, starting with private lessons that she continued through high school. At fourteen, she started her first accompanist position with the LaColina Junior High School choir in Santa Barbara, and from there she performed in the San Marcos High School jazz Band, accompanied the high school chorale groups, and two musical production: “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Hello Dolly.”

In the early 1990’s, Jean began teaching private piano lessons in Denver, Colorado. A career she carries into the present after 22 year of experience. During this time, Jean taught group music classes to toddlers and preschoolers at Gymboree and the Stratford Preschool, and to elementary school students in private educational facilities. She has accompanied numerous church choirs, and has performed at weddings, memorial services and family reunions. She has worked with high school students, too, accompanying them at music competitions. She has been a member of the Music Teachers Associations of Colorado, California, and Oregon which have contributed to expanding her personal pianistic abilities.

She loves to perform and, in 2010, joined up with flutist Jeanie Locklear forming “A Pair of Jeans” in San Ramon, California. Their largest event was a benefit concert for the victims of the Japan earthquake, raising over $4,000 which was donated to the Trivent Lutheran Organization.

In 2011, Jean moved to Gazelle, CA. She had learned the ukulele from teacher and performer, Gary Peare of Lafayette, CA, and began teaching an “Introduction to the Ukulele” class in Mt. Shasta City’s A Melo Place. She also formed an all-female ukulele band called the “Ukuladyos” and the official local “State of Jefferson Ukulele Club.” She continues playing ukulele and teaching private piano and ukulele lessons.

Jean is thrilled to be part of the College of the Siskiyous music department, as she is a lover of classical and jazz music – not to mention Broadway musicals!

Janet Williams Stensaas

Janet StensaasJanet Williams Stensaas has been a staff accompanist at COS for over 30 years, playing for voice classes, choirs, and vocal jazz ensembles, working with every choir director the college has employed. She is also a singer and has been featured as soprano soloist in several concerts.

Twice at COS, Janet taught voice, two choirs and vocal jazz as sabbatical replacement. She also co-directed COS musicals for over 20 years. Her full-length musical, "The Good Old Days," was produced twice by the COS drama department. Janet has had several choral pieces published and has written four children's musicals and a book of holiday songs and histories entitled "Holiday Fun."

Chiharu Sai

Chiharu SaiPiano instructor, Chiharu Sai, was selected by Japan’s major newspaper, Mainichi Shimbun, as One of the 100 People in Tokyo to Represent the 21st Century. She performs widely as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Japan and the United States. Her performance highlights include solo recitals and orchestral appearances at Carnegie’s Weil Recital Hall in NYC as well as Opera City Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Ms. Sai balances her performance schedule with an active involvement in music education and pedagogy. In the past. She has taught classes at Willamette University and Arizona State University, and served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music’s summer Music Programs. Sai holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Her CD of Chopin’s 4 Scherzi and 4 Ballades released on King Records of Japan is available on

Eric Seiler

Eric Seiler

Eric Seiler, joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school, received advanced musical training from the Armed Forces School of Music, and spent the next four years travelling the world with the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band, playing clarinet in the concert band and performing on saxophone and voice with both the unit’s jazz and show bands.  Upon leaving the Marine Corps, Seiler began undergraduate studies at CSU, Chico and received his BA with a double major in Clarinet Performance and Music Education.  He performed with Chico State’s opera, choral and band departments for five years, and spent a semester performing with the school’s musical theater program as well.  As a college senior, Seiler won the university level Young Artist Competition, earning the honor of soloing on clarinet with the North State Symphony.  In addition to his undergraduate work, Seiler completed a master’s in Vocal Performance along with the Certificate in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy.  While attending Chico State, Seiler also served in the California Army National Guard where, besides his band duties, he served in the California Army Honor Guard which renders military honors at veterans’ funerals.  Seiler’s duties with the Honor Guard included folding the flag, blowing taps on the bugle, and playing bagpipes.

Seiler has played clarinet as an ensemble member with the North State Symphony, the Reno Pops Orchestra and the Solano Winds of Fairfield, CA. He has soloed on voice for the Solano Choral Society and The Vallejo Messiah production. Notable vocal roles have included Prince Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don José in Carmen, and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in A Little Night Music.

Eric Seiler presently teaches band, choir and guitar at Yreka High School and conducts the COS Siskiyous Serenaders and the COS Jazz Band.

Brian McKee

Brian McKee

Brian McKee Concert Band Director, was born in Palo Alto, Ca. in 1953. He grew up in Benicia, Ca. and graduated high school in 1971. He earned his BA in music education from Humboldt State University in 1976. From 1977 until 2012, Mr. McKee was the director of music at Yreka High School. At Yreka High School Mr. McKee directed the Concert Band; Jazz Ensemble; Marching Band; Percussion Ensemble; Chamber Winds; Concert Choir; Chamber Choir and was musical director for the musical. Productions done over the years include: Oklahoma; Carnival; Guys and Dolls; Annie; Grease; Aladdin; Wizard of Oz; The Boyfriend; Man of La Mancha; Bye, Bye, Birdie; You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown; Little Shop of Horrors; The Sound of Music; The Music Man; Cinderella; Oliver; Funny Girl; Damn Yankees; Hello Dolly; Once Upon a Mattress and Godspell.

Mr. McKee has served on the governing boards of the California Band Director’s Association and also the Northern California Band Director’s Association. From 1997-2012 Mr. McKee served the local region of the North Section CMEA as festival chairman.

Awards and honors include the Music educator of the year award from the North Section of CMEA in 2000 and Band Director of the Year Award from the Northern California Band Director’s Association in 2001.

Mr. McKee currently performs with the College of the Siskiyous Jazz Band, The Siskiyou Big Band and the Celtic Cats String Band. He is active as adjudicator in the north state.

Lloyd Elliot

Lloyed ElliotLloyd Elliot received his undergraduate training in voice, theory, and conducting at the University of the Pacific. He continued graduate studies in composition with Howard Hanson at the Eastman School of Music and further orchestral conducting with Pierre Monteux, Thor Johnson; choral conducting with Helmut Rilling, Elmer Thomas, Dale Warland, and Eric Erickson.

Mr. Elliott returned to California to teach, conduct, and write. He served as chair of the music department at Beyer High School in Modesto, as well as Director of Choral activities at Merced College. He has taught music at the University of the Pacific, San Francisco State University, Dominican College, Contra Costa College, and Santa Rosa Junior College. In connection with his teaching he has written books on harmony, principles of Choral Excellence, and Technical Studies for the voice.

He has conducted the Merced Symphony, Modesto Masterworks Chorus and Master Singers, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus, and the Kensington Symphony. He has held the post of Music Director for many church music programs throughout his career.

Mr. Elliot conducts the COS Orchestra, teaches second year theory, and teaches private voice and piano lessons.

Roger Emerson

Roger EmersonWith over 425 titles in print, and 11 million copies in circulation, Roger Emerson is one of the most widely performed choral composers in America today. Emerson has been awarded ASCAP's (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Standard Award for nine years running, and most recently has been applauded by environmental groups for his musical, Assignment: Earth, What Kids Can Do To Save The Planet.

His contribution to the Teen Series Musicals was recognized by inclusion in the Grammy balloting for 1987. In that same year Quincy Jones applauded him for his work on Hot Summer, a tribute to Donna Summer. Joe Preposo of Sesame Street fame gave Roger the supreme compliment on his arrangement of the hit, Sing when he said, "Finally, someone has done something creative with my song!"

He received his degree in choral music education from Southern Oregon University.

Mr. Emerson teaches applied guitar.