CCGS Staff & Teachers

Meet the people behind the organization!


Staff: Operation and Events

Erik Mann, Executive Director

Cleveland Classical Guitar Society is headed by Executive Director Erik Mann, who has led the organization since 2009, a role which combines his love of classical music and education. Under his leadership CCGS has created the International Series, which now presents the finest classical guitarists in the world, as well as the Education Program, in partnership with Cleveland schools. Erik has been a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2004 and previously taught at three other colleges. He served for three years on the committee for review of stringed instrument applications of the Fulbright US student program. Erik’s performances on the classical guitar include The Cleveland Orchestra, Glimmerglass Opera, Erie Philharmonic, and Erie Chamber Orchestra. Erik holds degrees in music performance from Towson University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. In 2015 he was one of 25 arts leaders nationwide chosen for the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) of the National Guild for Community Arts Education.

Jon Poor, Events Manager

Jon Poor joined the CCGS team as Events Manager in January of 2022. Jon grew up in Sioux City, IA and Portland, OR. He moved to Birmingham, AL in 2000 and in 2005 earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He relocated to Cleveland, OH, in November of 2021. As a songwriter and guitarist, Jon has been a part of a variety of performing groups and has released recordings under his own name as well as with bands Feijoada and Willie and the Giant.

Since 2011 Jon has been an owner and Event Director for a music festival in Birmingham, AL, called Secret Stages which brought close to 600 artists, utilized dozens of venues, and garnered praise in publications like The Wall Street Journal, UPROXX, and Paste Magazine. For ten years Jon has been focused on refining and executing events that deliver a stellar experience for all who are involved including artists, patrons, sponsors, and volunteers. Jon is eager to bring his experience and enthusiasm to Northern Ohio and CCGS.

Yolanda Manley, Office Coordinator

Yolanda Manley joined Cleveland Classical Guitar Society as the Office Coordinator in August of 2023. Yolanda is joining the team after nine years as an Assistant Store Manager for Cuyahoga Community College Bookstores and has over twenty years of experience working in various Administrative/Office Management roles for non-profit social service and corporate organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management with a minor in marketing from Baldwin Wallace University and an associate’s degree in Visual Communication and Design from Cuyahoga Community College. Throughout her career she continued to stay steadfast in continuing her training and obtaining knowledge in all facets of the office environment. Yolanda is eager to bring her expertise to CCGS.

Staff: Education Program

Shannon Filice, Director of Education

Shannon Filice joined Cleveland Classical Guitar Society as the Director of Education in August 2023. Shannon is joining the team after teaching music in the public schools for over twenty years. Her expansive teaching experience includes fifteen years as an elementary music specialist, five years as a secondary choral director and one year as an orchestra conductor. She holds degrees in music education from Bowling Green State University, Boston University and is a doctoral candidate at Kent State University. She has presented her research multiple times at the Ohio Music Educators Association State Conference. Shannon resides in Medina, OH with her husband and three children.

Rodrigo Lara Alonso, Educator & Latinx Community Liaison

Rodrigo Lara Alonso joined Cleveland Classical Guitar Society in 2019. In addition to his job as Educator & Latinx Community Liaison with CCGS, Rodrigo is the Musical Pathway Fellowship Advisor and a faculty member of the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Program. Rodrigo is the founder of Sicarú, a guitar ensemble that has amassed sixteen first prizes in seven countries, including the Guitar Foundation of America’s Ensemble Competition. Rodrigo holds degrees in Music and Latin American Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and postgraduate degrees from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Indiana University. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Education at The University of Southern Mississippi. Rodrigo is a member of Apollo’s Fire Diversity – Equity – Inclusivity Committee and The Cleveland Orchestra’s Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color (BIPOC) Music Education Advisory Group.

Pedro L. Pérez Cáceres, Educator

Pedro L. Pérez Cáceres was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and joined CCGS in summer 2022. He began studying the guitar at Interamerican University, and obtained his B.A. in Music from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. Later he received his Masters Degree in Music from Arizona State University, where he was a Fulbright scholarship student  of Professor Frank Koonce. Pedro was awarded the Pro-Arte scholarship from the Asociación Pro Orquesta Sinfónica (APOS) to attend the National Guitar Workshop. His many chamber music performances include collaborations with flutists Sherry Finzer, Monica Anthony, and the former Phoenix Symphony Principal Flutist Alex Viazovtsev. Pedro previously taught guitar and was Estudiantina Director at the Rivera High School in Brownsville, Texas; and taught for Phoenix College, Arizona School for the Arts, and Lead Guitar.

Additional Teachers

Jeremy Bass, Educator

Jeremy Bass joined CCGS as a contracted teacher in January 2020.  He specializes in contemporary music for classical guitar, and in recent years, has focused on historical plucked strings. Jeremy has performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, and the Lexington Chamber Orchestra. He was a fellow at SoundSCAPE and Nief-Norf, and guest artist with Alia Musica Pittsburgh and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. His principal teachers were Dieter Hennings, Andrew Zohn, and Rafael Scarfullery. Jeremy holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Kentucky and Columbus State University, and was a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar Grantee at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. His solo debut recording, David del Puerto: Guitar Sonatas, Volume I, is available on the Orpheus Classical label. He can also be heard on the Irish-Americana group Wolf and Clover’s self-titled album. A fluent Spanish speaker, Jeremy is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ecuador 2007-2009), and a graduate of Woodstock School, Mussoorie, India.

Kevin Covney, Educator

Kevin Covney is a classical guitarist and music educator based in Greenwich, CT and teaching for CCGS’s remote platform, Guitar@Home Academy. In his teaching, Kevin focuses on a compassionate, equitable, and student-centered teaching approach, which helps learners of all types achieve their musical goals. As a performer, he has collaborated in Upstate New York with groups such as the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes and Opera Ithaca, and has also played in masterclasses for Grammy-Award winner Sharon Isbin in the 2019 Aspen Music Festival. Kevin received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College, and a Master of Music in Guitar Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Grammy-Award winning guitarist Jason Vieaux and Colin Davin.

Andy Poxon, Educator

Baltimore native Andy Poxon joined CCGS as the first Teaching Fellow in Fall 2017. Now a lead teacher for the program, he is an accomplished guitarist and arranger across many styles and genres. As a guitarist, Andy has won numerous competitions and awards across the United States, and has played at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Sacramento Music Festival, and Festival D’été, both as a soloist and with various bands. He has recorded three albums of original music released on Ellersoul Records, which have received extensive airplay on Sirius/XM radio and have been nominated for numerous awards. Andy is an active freelance musician in Cleveland, including several performances as a guest musician with The Cleveland Orchestra. As an arranger, he has been commissioned by Grammy-award winning artists such as Jason Vieaux and Anne Akiko Meyers. Andy holds degrees from Towson University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition to CCGS, Andy is a faculty member of the CIM Preparatory Department.

Craig Slagh, Educator

Craig Slagh joined CCGS in Fall 2021 as a contracted teacher. He began his music career in Cincinnati working with Jeremy Collins and Rodney Stuckey at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Prep department. He received his Bachelor of Music Performance in May 2021 from Oberlin Conservatory. At Oberlin, he studied under Stephen Aron and received numerous honors and rewards that included being a finalist in the Jim Stroud All-Ohio Guitar Competition and performing in the Dannenberg Honors Recital. He will be pursuing his Master’s Degree at CIM this fall with Jason Vieaux.

Kadirah McJunkins, Teaching Assistant

Kadirah McJunkins joined the CCGS teaching roster in March 2020 as the organization’s Teaching Assistant. She started learning classical guitar four years ago through CCGS classes at her school. She is an active student in the CCGS Education Program, performing regularly with the CCGS Advanced Quartet at events around Cleveland (including the MLK Day Celebration at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the CCGS International Series). As a soloist, she has participated in the organization’s open recitals and masterclasses. Kadirah was named the 2020 CCGS Education Program’s Student of the Year, awarded at the annual Showcase Concert. Her duties as the CCGS Teaching Assistant include assisting with classes, working one-on-one with students, and recording videos of student repertoire. A multi-talented artist, Kadirah is pursuing her visual arts talents at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she is majoring in Animation.

Damian Goggans CCGSDamian Goggans, Teaching Assistant
Damian Goggans started playing guitar in 2016 at Citizens Leadership Academy in an after school guitar club taught by Brian Gaudino, the former Director of Education for the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS).  Since then he has accomplished many wonderful things including: being on national television and radio, performing his own composition in Severance Hall and studying with virtuosic guitarists such as Adam Holzman (Brevard) and Mathew Cochran (Interlochen). Damian was an inaugural member, and now a recent graduate,  of the Musical Pathway Fellowship where he studied with Erik Mann, the Executive Director of CCGS. He is one of fourteen students from seven countries accepted into the inaugural Guitar Foundation of America Mentorship Program, where he has been studying with American guitarist Christopher Mallett and French guitarist Raphaël Feuillâtre. In May of 2020 he graduated from the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) high school where he majored in Orchestra under the direction of Dianna Richardson. Currently, Damian is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Guitar Performance at Oberlin Conservatory with Stephen Aron. Damian believes that his role as an African American Classical Guitarist is to help diversify the field of classical music. He wants to help promote the idea of musical equality and to help make classical music more accessible to  everyone no matter what their race, nationality, or religion is. While this is a huge task, he intends to start by performing compositions from more people of color and bringing classical guitar to those of us who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to take part in the creation of our musical language. He intends to use his music and his new classical guitar, a Glenn Canin that was purchased by Greg Maloney of Gifted Guitars, as a weapon against injustice. All Damian’s performances and accomplishments are dedicated to his brother,  and guardian angel, D’King Goggans who passed away in August of 2020.