WEST COBB STAFF
Shalunda Fincher, Director & Cello
Shalunda Fincher is a native of South Carolina. She began her amazing journey with the cello in the 5th grade. Ms Fincher holds a Bachelors in music education from the University of South Carolina and a Masters in cello performance from Bowling Green State University. She has performed with orchestras throughout Georgia, South Carolina, and Ohio. Chamber music and teaching privately are also areas that Ms Fincher loves and continues to be actively involved. She is currently an elementary music specialist in Fulton County where she was also an orchestra director from 2000-2010 and in Cobb County from 2010-2013. From 2013-2017, Ms Fincher was actively involved in a church plant where she continues to serve as worship leader. She is forever grateful for the many doors of relationship and opportunity that music has opened in her life.
Michelle Clupper is a native of Knoxville, where she attended the University of Tennessee. She began her teaching career in 2000 at West Valley Middle School where she taught for three years. In 2003, Michelle became the Assistant Director of Bands at Farragut High School and in 2008 she accepted the position of Orchestra Director. While at Farragut, she led the Orchestra program, co-conducted the Wind Ensemble, taught AP Music Theory and served as woodwind caption head for the Marching Band. In 2016 she was chosen as the Farragut High School Teacher of the Year by her fellow educators. Michelle has been honored to serve in leadership roles such as Secretary for East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, Executive Secretary of Tennessee Bandmasters, State Orchestra Chair for TMEA and was President Elect for East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association before moving to Georgia. In 2018, Michelle moved to Cobb County and accepted her current position as Orchestra Director at McEachern High School. She has conducted numerous orchestra and band clinics across Tennessee and Alabama. Michelle is currently a member of GMEA, NAfME and Phi Beta Mu.
Clay Rogers, Double Bass
Clay Rogers is currently a double bass player at Kennesaw State University who is working on getting a degree in music education. Clay has been playing bass for 8 years and in that time has made honors orchestra twice and is 2nd chair bass in the symphony at KSU. He has preformed all sorts of styles of music including classical, bluegrass, jazz as well as playing in multiple musicals. While he is a primarily a double bass player, he is not limited to just the bass. He has also taught himself how to play an assortment of other various stringed instruments such as the guitar, ukulele, and banjo. His plan is to learn most of, if not all of the stringed instruments at some point. While being around Clay, you are certain to learn more than you probably wanted to know about the British rock band Queen.
Kimberly Alfano is currently the director of orchestras at McClure Middle School in Kennesaw, and is thrilled to be back with Upbeat! this summer. Ms. Alfano is a native of Long Island, NY, where she studied music at Queens College and Long Island University, and where she began her career in 2009 teaching elementary, vocal, and string music. Ms. Alfano is primarily a violist, but loves to sing and play piano. In addition to music, Ms. Alfano enjoys traveling, the outdoors, and spending time with her family. She is excited to make music this summer with the awesome string players and faculty from West Cobb!
Catey Bitinas is currently one of two orchestra directors at Lost Mountain Middle School in Kennesaw, GA. She studied music education at the University of South Carolina, where she received a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2016. Mrs. Bitinas is primarily a violist but also enjoys playing other stringed instruments, particularly historical instruments like viola da gamba. In 2022, she was elected to the Atlanta Early Music Alliance’s board of directors, where she works to spread the enjoyment of historically informed performance. In addition to music, Mrs. Bitinas also enjoys reading, hiking, and crafting.