Meet the Kennedy Violins Staff of Professional Performers & Teachers

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Meet the Staff

Kennedy Violins is owned and operated exclusively by trained, educated, and experienced professional performers, teachers, and luthiers who know classical music and are experts in their individual areas of focus. With our unparalleled expertise, we can guarantee that every instrument is setup and inspected to the highest standards of excellence. 

Contact us at or 1-800-779-0242 with any questions about our instruments or services. We are always here to help! 

Leading Representatives


Private Lesson Instructors


Joel Kennedy, President

Joel Kennedy is president and global strategist for Kennedy Violins, Inc. He has played viola and violin for over thirty years. He attended the Eastman School of Music in New York, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in viola performance and completed graduate studies in education there as well. He has played professionally with orchestras in the Unites States and around the world and has students attending top conservatories in the U.S. and abroad.

Joel Kennedy originally started Kennedy Violins in order to create a platform to provide high-quality instruments for his own string students, who often showed up at lessons with violins that were barely playable. Since then, Joel has traveled the world in search of makers who not only approach violin making with the highest professional standards but also as an art form to be respected. Every instrument maker that Kennedy Violins represents has been hand-selected because they adhere to Joel's specific standards. He currently volunteers with several youth orchestras and continues to lead Kennedy Violins towards an even brighter future!


Karen Kennedy, Vice President/International Liaison

Karen Tsao is a sales representative who specializes in premium instrument consultation. She received her bachelor’s degree in viola performance from the Eastman School of Music. She has performed professionally in orchestras all over the world.

Karen has served as the principal violist for the Portland Opera. Her particular expertise is traveling the world to test and select the best instruments for Kennedy Violins. She is fluent in several languages and is a great asset to Kennedy Violins in communicating with luthiers and selecting only the highest quality instruments.

Adam Easley web developer/marketing analyst

Adam Easley, Chief Operational Manager

Adam has been involved with music since he was eight. He plays violin, guitar, and piano. His high school string orchestra was excellent and toured throughout the United States. He studied with Krzysztof Zymovski and James Stern at UOP. At San Francisco State he played jazz violin in the Creative World Ensemble with Havez Modirzideh with whom he also studied advanced improvisation. He also worked in production in San Francisco for Bill Graham Presents as a stagehand and projectionist. At Evergreen State he studied Music Technology and Audio Engineering.

Adam enjoys composing and recording in his home studio. He has taught at the 4/4 School of Music in Clackamas Oregon for two years.


Amy Crocker, Administrative Assistant & Head of Online Sales

Amy started playing the violin at eight years old, and after ten years of private lessons, Suzuki camps, private gigs, and performances with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Clark College Orchestra, and Harding University Orchestra, she finally found her musical passion playing in the pit orchestra for The Music Man. Her favorite musical experiences so far have been performing in her university's production of Beauty and the Beast and Peter Pan with Vancouver’s own Journey Theater. She loves the theater thrill.

Amy brings that same love of teamwork and camaraderie to her position at Kennedy Violins. She is excited to work with customers to find instruments that help them find their own passion.


Alberto Gonzalez, Customer Service Representative

Alberto Gonzalez was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington, and began playing the violin at the age of ten. He has participated in school orchestras throughout his life, most recently performing with the top chamber orchestra at Mountain View High School from where he graduated in 2016. He also performed in the Evergreen School District Honor Orchestra for multiple years.

Alberto is passionate and dedicated to his work for Kennedy Violins, and is excited to be in an environment where he can be close to what he loves to do — play violin. With music as a main focus in his life, Alberto also teaches ballroom dancing at a local dance studio.


Katie Lubiens, Online Sales Manager & Violin Instructor

With a background in performing classical, traditional Irish, Celtic, gypsy, blues, rock ’n’ roll, country, folk, modern, klezmer, and even improvisation, Katie customizes her lessons to the style of music her students want to learn. Her energetic teaching style gets her students excited about making music while learning the fundamentals of technique and theory which are imperative to becoming a great violinist. She believes that with a strong foundation of reading sheet music and understanding impeccable intonation, her students can take their learned skills into any genre of music with ease. Each lesson with Katie incorporates some form of ear training, sight reading, technique coaching, muscle memory exercises, and defining the student’s personal goals with their violin so Katie can create a customized curriculum to attain their musical aspirations.

Katie currently performs with several groups around the Pacific Northwest. Her groups range from a classical quartet, a traditional Irish group, a classic rock and folk band, a country and blues group, and a gypsy steampunk band. Her vast experience with these different musical genres has influenced her teaching style to incorporate fun new repertoire, technique, and teaching methods into her lesson program. Katie recognizes that music comes in many different forms and styles, and she loves exploring both traditional and new ways to express oneself through music. As a teacher, Katie hopes to inspire her students to find the same joy from making music as she has for so many years. 


James Manuele, Customer Service Representative

I have been a music teacher for over twenty years, learning and advancing my craft as a teacher. I have studied guitar pedagogy, piano and have written a basic method book that have I use successfully. In my years teaching, I have dealt with students needs from learning disabilities to social issues that create obstacles in their development. I have learned a lot of techniques and communication skills using music as a medium to help those students overcome barriers in their lives.

Music is a powerful tool and used as a universal language that can motivate and inspire students to learn. With years teaching guitar privately, I have also been teaching music and guitar classes since 1997. I have lectured as an educator on the importance of art in the community, at libraries, schools, churches, museums; I am a resident of Vancouver, WA and have offered myself as a liaison to students in the surrounding schools. I have been a part of teaching programs in the middle and high school level and have been invited to participate in school music education advising and productions. I have great joy taking on the responsibility of teacher and mentor and have seen the result of my work from the responses by parents as well as students themselves.

I have been my own advocate as promoter, manager, and local artist in Vancouver, WA. I would like an opportunity to visit with you and welcome you to our family here at Kennedy violins.

Anthony Rabago, Shipping Manager

Anthony brings over 10 years of warehouse experience to his role as shipping manager for Kennedy Violins. His attention to detail and organizational background are key to keeping the shipping process worry-free. He enjoys being around people who play so many different instruments and appreciates the family environment at KV.


Zach Sears, Customer Service Representative

Zach Sears is a Portland native with a bachelors degree in bass performance from PSU. He’s been an active private teacher in the Vancouver area since graduating in 2010. He’s studied with Jeff Johnson of the Oregon Symphony as well Jazz artists Glenn Moore, Alan Jones, Dan Schulte, and Kevin Deitz. Zach performs as a member of the SW Washington symphony as well as freelancing throughout SW Washington and the Portland area. When he’s not playing bass Zach enjoys permaculture gardening, mountain biking, kayaking, and anything that gets him out in the great outdoors of the pacific northwest. 


Bryce Witherington, Customer Service Representative

Bryce Witherington is a passionate violist and is a student of the sciences and the arts. His interest in music began early with his introduction to his grandmother, and he found a perfect match in the viola near ten years ago. Since, he has studied privately in the viola and in composition, and performed in honors groups all throughout his public education. He is currently focused on his studies at Clark College and working/teaching at Kennedy Violins, but he hopes to begin performing again soon.

His philosophy on musicality is rooted in traditionalism, mostly because of his upbringing with romantic era pieces, but he isn't afraid to explore newer schools of thought surrounding music and society. This is reflected in his personality and expression through expanding his interest in music to his hobbies and interests such as film and animation, where music is often not the centerpiece but an emotional guide.

Shiloh Congleton, Luthier & Amazon Product Specialist

Shiloh Congleton apprenticed one-on-one for several years under an exceptional luthier and master repairman in a West Coast shop authorized by C.F. Martin & Co. After performing warranty-related work on Martin instruments, Shiloh’s professional training has given him the ability to recognize the subtle differences that make instruments perform both as they should and at their best—the latter for which he strives.

Shiloh loves putting instruments in the hands of those that wish to play them, spreading the power of music as far as possible. He strives to provide anyone with a desire to play instruments with high-end setup that are both affordable and playable.

Beyond his expertise in violin setup, Shiloh enjoys building instruments and spending time with his beautiful wife and daughter.

Jason Dollar, Luthier


Jason Dollar is an Apprentice Luthier at Kennedy Violins. Along with his musical background, Jason is excited to bring the technical finesse of his production background to the art of luthiering. He is invigorated by the unique differences every violin has and enjoys the subtleties of this craft. He is inspired by the shared focus of the Kennedy team in providing quality and furthering the world of musicians.

Jason is a Northwest native who loves camping, hiking, and just exploring the outdoors. He has been playing guitar for many years, and has recorded and performed Rock n' Roll of various styles. He looks forward to further sharing the joy of playing music with his niece and nephew.


Jeff Pomerantz, Luthier & Guitar Instructor

Jeff has been performing on guitar for over ten years, concentrating in classical and jazz studies. Other styles include rock, blues, country, and bluegrass. Jeff recently graduated from Frostburg State University in Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Business, and moved to the Vancouver/Portland area to pursue a life in music. Through designing and customizing a lesson plan for each student, Jeff will provide a personal experience that enhances the strengths of each student, in addition to developing their interest in all music.

Jeff primarily works with beginner to intermediate guitarists on music theory, tonal skills, reading, and technique. Through developing a core background of these skills, students will be free to then become inspired to learn and create. Improvising, group exercises and song arrangement is also apart of Jeff's lessons.