SHS grads teaming to benefit cancer research

The First Presbyterian Church of Salem will host an afternoon of organ and trumpet music at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Located at 436 East Second Street, the church will feature Salem alumni Vicki Schaeffer, organ, and Andy Schuller, trumpet, in a concert to benefit cancer research. This concert will feature music by G.F. Handel, Vincent Persichetti, Samuel Barber, J.S.Bach and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

Donations will be accepted for the Pelotonia Foundation, a 100-mile ride local cyclist Tom Wagner will take part in August. All donations will go to the James Cancer Research Hospital in Columbus.

Wagner, a 1975 Salem High School graduate, is riding in the memory of staff members of the Salem City Schools who have lost the fight to cancer.

Information about the history of the Pelotonia can be accessed at Individuals interested in donating but unable to attend the recital may make donations on the Pelatonia website. Once on the site, click on Search Profiles, Tom Wagner, ID # TW0030. To donate to Pelatonia by check or cash, you may contact Tom Wagner at 330-692-1469.

“Two years ago I rode the Pelotonia and the Salem High School Musical Department held a benefit performance for their spring musical to help with my pledge,” Wagner said. “This year with Vicki and Andy, both Salem graduates, coming into town to put on this recital makes it extra special because cancer has affected so many Salem School staff members. I would just like to thank everyone that contributes to my ride for helping to find a cure.”

Schaeffer, a native of Salem, graduated from Salem High School in 1974. She holds a doctor of music degree from Indiana University-Bloomington, with a double major in organ performance and church music, studying with Marilyn Keiser and Larry Smith.

Her dissertation and continuing research is in the field of Shaker hymnody. She holds a master’s of music degree from Kent State University and a bachelor’s of music education degree from Mount Union College.

A church organist since the age of 15, she is currently serving as principle organist and associate director of Music Ministries at McFarlin Memorial Methodist Church in Norman, Okla.

The majority of Dr. Schaeffer’s career has been in the field of education, having held teaching positions in Ohio, Hawaii, and Oklahoma. Her experience includes public and private schools, as well as university experience.

Dr. Schaeffer is currently director of recruitment for the Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Music, teaching church music classes and organ lessons, and also teaches for the College of Liberal Studies. Having served on the board of American Guild of Organists chapters in Indiana, Hawaii and Oklahoma, she was recently elected as the Regional Councillor of the Southwest, where she will oversee 33 chapters in six states. She is a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honorary society. Maintaining an active workshop and recital schedule, she can be reached at

Schuller, began playing the trumpet at age 6 under the instruction of his father, Bill Schuller.

His other teachers included Richard Howenstine, Allan Howenstine, Kirby Reese, Robert Fleming, and Esotto Pellegrini.

Following his graduation from Salem High School in 1976, he attended Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music. In 1981 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education.

From 1981-1986, Schuller taught instrumental music in the Salem Public Schools, where his main responsibility was the elementary band program at Prospect and Southeast schools.

In addition to his teaching, he performed with the Youngstown Symphony, Warren Chamber Orchestra, Top Notes Big Band and the Western Reserve Brass Quintet. He was also musical director for the Salem Community Theatre from 1981-1983, as well as the Youngstown Playhouse from 1983-1984.

Since 1986, he has been a trumpet/cornet player with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.

He has toured extensively throughout the United States, as well as performances in the former Soviet Union and Switzerland. Schuller is a frequent performer at the White House and has been a featured soloist on many occasions, as well as conducting small ensembles on the Marine Band’s Chamber Music Series.

He was appointed trumpet section leader in 1998 and high brass section commander in 2003. Additionally, he received a master’s degree in conducting from George Mason University in 1993, where he studied with Anthony Maiello. He resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife Heidi.

– Submitted material