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Performing Arts


Full-Time Faculty  

Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith

Office: Room B-315
Office Hours:
Mon 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Tue 11:00 - 12:30 pm
Thu 11:00 - 12:30 pm
Fri 10:00 - 11:30 am

Taylor Smith joined the Cuyamaca College faculty in 2008. He earned a PhD in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University, and MA in Music (Historical Performance Practices emphasis) from CGU, and a BMA from BYU-Idaho. Dr. Smith frequently performs on double bass, viola da gamba, bass guitar, and as an electronic musician.

Chair of Performing Arts

Intro to Music Technology

Intro to the Music Industry

Music Industry Seminar

Digital Audio Recording and Production

Great Music Listening

Director of the Rock, Pop, and Soul Ensemble

Adjunct Faculty  

Joe Bigham
History of Rock Music

Jonathan Davis
Class Guitar

Jonathan Davis began playing the electric guitar at the age of 13, and made the switch to classical at 17. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Arizona and his Master's degree (also in Classical Guitar Performance) from the University of Akron, where he was awarded a full scholarship as a graduate teaching assistant.

Mr. Davis studied privately with Professors Thomas Patterson and Stephen Aron (at the Universities of Arizona and Akron, respectively) and in addition has performed in master classes for some of the most well known guitarists in the world, including Pepe Romero, David Russell, Paul Galbraith, Odair Assad, and others.

Jonathan Davis has experience performing classical music in a variety of settings, including solo, chamber, and as a member of an orchestra. In addition, he has also played electric guitar in various rock bands.

His debut solo CD, Très Viste, features music ranging from the Baroque to the Twentieth Century.


Amity Ecker Photo

Amity Ecker

Amity is thrilled to be a part of the faculty at Cuyamaca College. She holds an M.A. from San Diego State University in Theatre Arts and received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego.  She is the Theatre Director at Grossmont High School where she has run the theatre program since 2002.  She has received numerous awards for outstanding direction from National Youth Arts and several education awards from the San Diego Theatre Educator Association. As a professional voiceover actor, she has lent her voice to everything from Volvo commercials to movie trailers.  She is excited to bring her passion for all things theatrical to Cuyamaca College!

Amy Hacker

Intro to World Music
History of Rock Music

Esther Jordan Photo
Esther Jordan

Class Voice


Esther Jordan is a versatile singer, music educator and director who has performed various styles of music, from early music, opera, gospel, blues to light rock. She graduated from Grand Canyon University in Arizona with a B.A. in Vocal Performance and Music Education and earned her M.A. from San Diego State University. She has taught and directed in Arizona and California public and private schools, community theaters and churches. Esther has toured with performing groups in the United States and Europe. From 1994-1997 she lived in Japan where she conducted the Yokosuka Choral Society, Hand Bell and Chapel Choirs and performed in recitals. She also taught English in the Japanese public school system. Esther's past voice credits include soloist with the Phoenix Symphony Pops Concerts, featured artist with Theatre Organ Society of San Diego, soloist with San Diego Harmony Ringers and Camelot Strings. Currently, Ms. Jordan is Director of Worship Arts at Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church and is president of the San Diego Chapter of National Association of Church Musicians. She has been adjunct voice instructor at Grossmont/Cuyamaca Community College system since 1998 and is thrilled to be performing with Pat Setzer and Taylor Smith.

Merryl Nelson
Merryl Nelson

Class Piano

Merryl Nelson is currently in her first year as Choral Director at Cuyamaca College where she is an adjunct professor of music education. In addition to her work at Cuyamaca, she is also the Choral Director at Granite Hills High School, involving 120 students in three choirs. Merryl has directed choirs of all ages for more than thirty years in public and private schools as well as churches. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from the University of Redlands with additional study at the Eastman School of Music, Butler University, San Diego State University, University of California San Diego, Fresno State University, and Grossmont College. She also holds the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from San Deigo State University.

In addition to teaching, Merryl is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and the California Music Educators Association. In 2010, Merryl was awarded CMEA's Choral Educator Award for the state of California.
Scott Walton
Scott Walton

History of Jazz

History of Rock Music

Scott Walton is a bassist and pianist whose music negotiates the terrain between jazz, free improvisation, and classical avant-garde. Praised for his “dramatic” soloing (Downbeat), “graceful fluidity” (All About Jazz), and “propulsive energy” (OneFinalNote), the Downtown Music Gallery proclaims that Walton “consistently shines.” He has performed throughout North America and Europe in a host of collaborative contexts, and has recorded with Vinny Golia, Nels Cline, Myra Melford, and Bobby Bradford, among many others. Current projects include duos with Steve Adams, Tim Perkis, and Gilbert Isbin, the Michael Vllatkovich quartet, the Bill Horvitz Sextet, and Alex Cline’s Flower Garland Orchestra. Walton holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of California, San Diego, and has designed courses and implemented online music instruction for universities and colleges in California and Colorado. He has served as an adjunct instructor for Cuyamaca College since 2001
Department Staff  
Last Updated: 09/15/2017
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  • Cuyamaca
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