Mrs. Nevilla E. Ottley-Adjahoe
NEVILLA E. OTTLEY, B.Mus.Ed., M.A. (organ & music history), M.Mus. (conducting) is the founder of the Ottley Music School, established in 1973 a year after she graduated with her Master of Arts in organ and music history from Andrews University where she had earned her B.Mus. in music education and piano performance. She came to Maryland after spending time in New York (accompanying the fledgling Boys Choir of Harlem) and New Jersey (teaching piano and organ at Garden State Academy) where she accompanied the bass baritone Wintley Phipps at age 17 at the beginning of his career. The Ottley Music Studio existed at first out of her home in Maryland, while she taught piano and theory, and later added other piano teachers, violin, voice and clarinet teachers. For more information on the development of her school and other work, see the Principal page above.
Nevilla, as a child of two Trinidadian singing parents, began her musical career as a singer at the age of 3, singing at what is now Andrews University. By the time she was almost 5, she had sung on the pilot radio show produced by Uncle Dan and Aunt Sue, known to children nationwide as "Your Story Hour." As an elementary child with two singing parents, Neville as a tenor, and Myra as a contralto, she sang all over Southern California and later in Trinidad with her siblings in the Ottley Trio. As a teenager she formed a ladies sextette called the Valley Echoes, which sang all over Trinidad. When she returned to the USA, she continued her college education at Andrews, singing in the University Chorale, taking voice lessons, and playing for voice lessons. When she came to the Washington, DC area, she coached and accompanied many singers in the church scene until she added voice lessons to the Ottley Music School ca 1989, with vocal student Anika Sampson at George E. Peters SDA Elementary School.
Mrs. Ottley makes sure that when students are prepared, she gives them the opportunity to sing not only in the monthly recitals at Ottley Music School, but also for churches, other community events, and Ottley Music School productions. Over the past 3 years the Summer Voice, Drama and Dance Camps/Institutes have immersed the students in The Sound of Music, Scott Joplin's Treemonisha and in A Century of Broadway. The 2004 fall production was Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, 2005 was Mozart's The Empresario, 2006 was Amahl and A Miracle (excerpts from both Menotti's and Mark Fax's christmas operas), and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus which they performed with orchestra on W*USA Channel 9 in the Washington D. C. area. In 2007 they perform Elijah and Messiah scenes from the oratorios of Mendelssohn and Handel with the Hyattsville Symphony. Some of them were priveleged to go to Trinidad and to sing (and play) there in the summer of 2007 under the auspicies of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Culture, Youth Development and Gender Affairs.
Some of her piano and voice students who have done well as vocalists include Barbara-Gene Brown, Hazel Thorpe, Anika Sampson, Anika Tene McKinney, Jasmine Murrell Brann, Amanda Ambrose, and now college student, coloratura Nichelle Anderson. Some of her piano students doing well include Victoria Alma Castello, Nicole Anderson, Tracy Scott, and the late Nathan Anderson. Some of her students have returned as faculty or staff members, such as Kieron Irwine (trumpet teacher), Anwar Ottley (former piano, organ and steel drums, Clayton Taylor (piano), and Jonathan Adjahoe (as network administrator). Others are serving in other leading capacities in various careers such as medical doctors, lawyers, speech pathologists, scientists, church choir directors, composers and arrangers, reporters for major news organizations, and business people.
Mrs. Ottley's piano students have always rated very high in both the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and of the National Guild of Piano Teachers annual examinations and auditions (NGPT are for all instruments and voice through the Ensemble exams). Over the past 40+ years, her piano, organ and voice students have taken (and are still taking) places of responsibility in the music world and other fields internationally. Most of them have gone on to colleges and universities around the world as students and professors, such as Johns Hopkins University, Andrews University, Loma Linda University, Western Michigan University, University of Maryland, Oakwood College, Duke University, Howard University, Berkelee School of Music, Morgan State University, Bethune Cookman College, Mannes College, Princeton, Northern Caribbean University, University of the Southern Caribbean, Bowie State University and others.
Mrs. Ottley has high ideals and goals for all students and teachers of the Ottley Music School. She expects teachers to have the same level of motivation and achievement for their students as she expects of hers. Therefore, she has selected a faculty that we hope will continue the high ideals and level of achievement. She serves at the OMS as a teacher of piano, voice, organ, music theory, music history, and conducting, and is the Music Director and principal conductor of the Hyattsville Symphony, comprised of students, OM School teachers, and community musicians, including many of the Prince George's Philharmonic's "Symphony Kids." She also produces the concerts and operas at the OM School and directs the summer camp/institute programs. To request Nevilla E. Ottley as conductor or speaker at your next event, contact Voices of Diversity by clicking here.