Meet Our Executive Director

Alexandra "Allie" Arpajian MS, LRT/CTRS, CPRP

Mrs. Arpajian has studied music since the age of three and has a passion for making music education equitable and inclusive to all. Allie comes to us from the Winston-Salem Symphony where she worked in the education department with the Symphony’s El Sistema program, The P.L.A.Y. Music Program. She has an undergraduate degree in Music Performance, a post-baccalaureate in Nonprofit Management, and a master’s degree in Parks and Recreation Management with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. Allie is a vocalist (soprano), percussionist, steel drummer, pianist, and beginning guitar, ukulele, and sitar player. 

Meet Our

Music Education Director

Andrew Beach

Mr. Andrew Beach is currently the music teacher at Claxton Elementary school in Greensboro. He received his bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His primary instrument is the double bass which he plays with orchestras, jazz combos, and old time music groups (pre-COVID). He also plays guitar, violin, cello, mandolin, and ukulele. He is passionate about making and teaching music and is excited to join Young Musicians of Alamance!

Meet Our

Teaching Artists

Jeannie Artley

Meet Cindy >

Artley, Jeannie_edited.jpg

Mrs. Jean Artley brings a long history of music education to Young Musicians of Alamance.  She volunteers her time most recently by teaching YMA's youngest students proper technique for holding and playing their instruments.  In her spare time, Ms. Artley volunteers with the First Reformed United Church of Christ and travels the world.

Byron Grimes

Meet Cindy >

Byron Grimes is a music educator and native North Carolinian who resides in Greensboro, NC.  He attended The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he earned both his Bachelor of Music degree in Education, and his Master of Music degree in Education.  He is also a certified K-12 Music teacher for the public schools in North Carolina, where he began teaching 4th and 5th grade orchestra at Grove Park, Hillcrest and Marvin B. Smith Elementary Schools in 2007, and continues to love his work.  Outside of the classroom, Byron plays percussion in the Greensboro Concert Band, teaches private violin and marimba lessons, and enjoys any chance to travel.

Cindy Smith

Meet Cindy >

Cynthia Smith is a native of Durham, NC where she began her music studies at the Duke String School. She holds degrees in Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music and UNC-Greensboro, as well as being a certified K-12 Music teacher for the public schools in North Carolina. Her professional experiences include orchestra, chamber music, and teaching in a variety of settings. Since 2007 she has been the Orchestra Director at Broadview Middle School and Cummings High School in Burlington, NC.

Sara Realini

Meet Cindy >

Sara Realini graduated from UNC-G in elementary and special education. She has played violin since fifth grade. Sara has participated in a master class with a few members of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra that ended with a combined concert between those members and the Williams Orchestra at UNCG. Additionally, during her senior year, Sara participated in an auditioned chamber orchestra group. Sara has been with the YMA program since January 2017. 

Meet Our Staff

Carol Burnett, Financial Manager
Ms. Carol Burnett has been the Ministry Assistant for the First Reformed United Church of Christ for thirty years.  Carol has provided financial/bookkeeping services for Young Musicians of Alamance since it began.  When not crunching numbers and keeping the Minister in line, she entertains her furry home companion Mr. Fizzles and travels in the mountains of North Carolina.
Susan Abernethy

Meet Cindy >

Image by Providence Doucet

Susan Abernethy has been active in music since childhood, and earned an undergraduate degree in violin performance at Elon College and a graduate degree in musicology at the College of Conservatory of Music.  She taught in the Fulton County Public Schools in Atlanta and Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina.  She retired after teaching in the Computer Science department for more than 25 years.  Her interests include creating botanical art, travel, and spending time with friends and family.  Mrs. Abernethy joined the YMA Board in 2018.

Raheem Aleem

Meet Cindy >

Raheem Aleem grew up in Jacksonville North Carolina. He received a BA from North Carolina Central University and a Military Commission from Duke University in 1988. . He constantly serves the community through volunteering and participates in performing arts through Huepa Culture & Arts Institute. He worked as a Hispanic Liaison and Law Enforcement Officer for over 24 years. He holds his Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates. 

Susan Evans

Meet Cindy >

Suzan Evans was elected to the YMA Board in January, 2020.  She has extensive nonprofit management and community outreach experience and currently works for the Children's Advocacy Center of North Carolina.

Thelma Gardiner

Meet Cindy >

Image by Providence Doucet

Thelma Gardiner is a teacher with the Alamance-Burlington School System.  Ms. Gardiner worked with the Women's Resource Center for several years.  She joined the YMA Board in November 2019

Dr. Beverly Pugh, Secretary

Meet Cindy >

Pugh, Beverly_edited.jpg
Dr. Beverly Pugh was a teacher  for the Alamance Burlington School System.  After receiving her Master's degree, she became a Principal in the Rowan County School System.  Bev currently runs her own bakery and is completing courses at Alamance Community College in the Culinary department.  
Dr. Beverly Pugh, Secretary

Meet Our Board

Phil Myers, President

Meet Cindy >

Reverend Phillip Myers has been the minister of the First Reformed United Church of Christ in Burlington, NC, for 25 years.  He joined the advisory board of Young Musicians of Alamance upon the organization's creation.  He currently serves as the President of the Board.

Shelley Realini

Meet Cindy >

Shelley Realini joined the Young Musicians of Alamance Board in January 2019.  She is a Certified Payroll Professional with Payroll Solutions, Inc. and has experience working in Human Resources and Payroll.  Shelley previously was the President of the Williams Zone Orchestra Boosters program for several years, where she oversaw budgets, approved purchases, assisted with fundraisers and volunteered at orchestra concerts for five schools.

Shearin, Wally_edited.jpg
Mr. Wallace Shearin worked with the Alamance Community College until his retirement.  He returned to ACC to work part-time currently.  Wally has two children and three grandchildren whom he visits as often as possible.  He has served as the Treasurer for Young Musicians of Alamance since it's inception. 
Wally Shearin, Treasurer
Yholima Vargas-Aleem

Meet Cindy >


Yholima Vargas is a native of Colombia South America. She is a Social Worker who is actively involved in community advocacy and engagement. Yholima promotes cultural understanding and diversity by celebrating her Colombian heritage through visual art and dance. She is the founder of Asi es Colombia (Canada) and Huepa Culture and Arts here in North Carolina.  She serves as a board member for Durham Nativity School and Mayors Hispanic Latino Committee in Durham.


YMA's Founder

Beth Bader_edited.jpg
Beth Bader, Founder
After watching a 60 Minutes report on El Sistema of Venezuela, Ms. Bader developed a plan for a similar music program for children in Alamance County, NC.  She founded Young Musicians of Alamance in 2016.  The organization has continued to grow since that day.  Ms. Bader retired in January, 2019.  She now resides in the mountains of North Carolina and volunteers at the El Sistema program in Asheville, NC, MusicWorks!