Meet Our Team

The staff and instructors at Dark Horse Institute are each passionate about the creative and business sides of music, and about helping you succeed in your chosen field. All of our instructors are working professionals in the field, which means you will be learning the best and most relevant information in the music world.

Staff, Cathy Baird
Cathy Baird has worked in the field of college admissions and operations for more than 14 years, including as Director of Enrollment of the Chef’s Academy at Harrison College, and Director of Admissions at Daymar College and Southwestern College, both in Kentucky. Baird holds degrees in Business Administration and Management from Volunteer State Community College and Triton College in Illinois. Driven by a desire to help students get on track with their educational goals, she was recently promoted from Institutional Director to Vice President of Academic Operations.
Cathy Baird
President
Staff, Cathy Baird

Cathy Baird

President

Cathy Baird has worked in the field of college admissions and operations for more than 14 years, including as Director of Enrollment of the Chef’s Academy at Harrison College, and Director of Admissions at Daymar College and Southwestern College, both in Kentucky. Baird holds degrees in Business Administration and Management from Volunteer State Community College and Triton College in Illinois. Driven by a desire to help students get on track with their educational goals, she was recently promoted from Institutional Director to Vice President of Academic Operations.
Staff, Lynn Jones

Lynn Jones

Director of Admissions

Lynn Jones joins the Dark Horse Admissions team with over 20 years of college admissions experience. She holds a degree in liberal arts from Mount Ida College. The success of Lynn’s long-term career in Admissions is her consistently positive attitude, her unique gift of connecting with students, and her outstanding leadership skills. Lynn loves empowering people to pursue their educational and career goals. She is so proud of her many graduates working in their chosen fields today. Lynn is married to her lovely husband Cedric, and together they have five wonderful adult children and six grandchildren. Lynn enjoys music, motivational speaking, and reading.

Eric Galvan

Eric galvan

Admissions Advisor

Hailing from Chicago, IL, Eric relocated to Nashville in 2012 and has worked for notable companies such as Concord Music Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and the Ryman Auditorium. In 2020, Eric founded Galván Talent Enterprises, LLC., a talent curation, consultation, and development firm. He is also a board member of the “Nashville Is Not Just Country Music” program initiative, promoting Nashville’s diverse music scene. He earned his BA from Belmont University in 2016. His background is testament to his drive for cultivating students, aspiring artists and producers breaking into the industry.

David Abbott

Admissions Advisor

David is originally from Rhode Island and graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2019. He is an avid sports fan whose love for music and the outdoors brought him to Nashville in 2020. He has experience in Admissions, Customer Service and Management. He enjoys helping people discover their passions while pursuing their educational and career goals.

Celeste wisniewski

Admission Advisor

Celeste Wisniewski is from Charlotte, NC and has a degree in Education. Prior to joining the Dark Admissions team, Celeste has worked as an educator in the public school system for nearly 15 years. With her passion for music and education, Celeste joins the Dark Horse family with excellent resources to collaborate with students as they forge their career path in the music industry.

Staff, Jason Hollis

Jason Hollis

Student Career Services

Jason Hollis is a music and entertainment industry veteran, having served in various capacities over the last 30 years; playing with recording artists and bands in many different genres as a singer-songwriter, touring, and session musician from the 1980’s to the present. On the entertainment and music business side of things, he has worked in film, video production, television, radio broadcasting, record labels, radio promotions, marketing, booking, national print media magazines such as Billboard Directories and Musician Magazine, music distribution Sales/A&R everyone from EMICMG, Diamante Media Group, Crossroads Music Distribution to creating and launching Infinity Music Distribution. He has signed & worked with several Gold and Platinum selling artists/labels like Lecrae, Stryper, Tamela Mann, Tonex, P.O.D., and MXPX, just to name a few. I’m not just in the music business because it’s “cool” or I’m not just a musician to “be seen” not at all; My heart is to seriously take the knowledge of everything that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of in my life and give it away to others.

Staff, Dave Hagen

Dave Hagen

Director of Education

Dave is a Grammy winning Producer/Engineer who has been with Dark Horse for over a decade. He has been writing and teaching the Audio Engineering curriculum since the dawn of DHI, while also Head Engineer at our studio. Dave started out working on records with rock artists like Relient K. He has gone on to work with diverse artists across the industry including Keb Mo’, OneRepublic, Carrie Underwood, RED, Reba McEntire, Foghat, Chris Tomlin, Ashley Judd, and many more! Dave has moved into the Director of Education role to help keep our programs and facilities fresh in an ever changing industry.

Staff, Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie

Instructor / Engineer

During Dennis’s diverse career he has created charting hits in Pop, Rock, Country, Gospel, Blues, and Bluegrass as well as commercial music for radio, network television, and movies. His Grammy-nominated skillset runs from studio design to final mastering. A small sampling of his credits include Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Charlie Daniels, Michael Martin Murphy, Ricky Scaggs, Tanya Tucker, Delbert McClinton, and New Grass Revival.

Staff, Rob Tate

Rob Tate

Instructor / Engineer

Rob Tate is a Producer, Live & Studio Engineer, Songwriter, avid-fru-fru-coffee-drinker and water snob. Since 2015, he has served as an artist mentor and panelist for The Objective; an annual artist-centric event. Rob has been blessed to work alongside respected industry veterans like: Alan Shacklock (Roger Daltrey, Jeff Beck, Phil Keaggy, Sir George Martin, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Meatloaf), Audio Adrenaline, Scott Bernard (Kenny Loggins), Greg Hagan (LeAnn Rimes), Quinton Gibson (Darius Rucker), Jon Knox (Rage Against The Machine, No Doubt), and many others.

Staff, Sam Falle

Sam Falle

Instructor / Engineer

Sam, was born and raised in Jersey (Channel Islands) but Nashville, Tennessee is where he calls home, prior to moving to the U.S. in 2016 Sam spent 10 years working as a professional freelance Engineer, Producer & Musician in various studios across the U.K. As well as a live sound engineer & musician working in clubs and at festivals. Operating as the house engineer for both Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan at his own private as well as working as an engineer & writer at Mothership Studios for English Producer Ray Hedges, Sam's various credits include Mercury Records, Sony BMG, ITV television, Mercury, Syco Music, X-Factor (UK), Ed Sheeran, The Struts, Joe McElderry, Clean Bandit, Mauro Picotto. Charlie Worsham Among others. Since Living in the U.S, Sam has been on staff as the house engineer for a music publishing company 'Old Bank Media Group' producing work for some of Nashville's finest songwriters.

Elliott Sabbagh

Instructor / Engineer

Ell is an American DJ, record producer, audio engineer, radio host who works with artists and clients from around the globe. Since 2008 Ell co-hosts the Midwest’s longest-running Hip-Hop radio show the ‘Prop Shop’.He is best known for performing in concerts and tours in the U.S. and Europe with acts including: ASAP Rocky, J. Cole, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa and many more. Ell enjoys teaching many of those skills over the years to the next generation of artists.

David Mullen

Music Business Instructor

David Mullen is a critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer who has garnered 22 number one songs, produced multiple platinum and gold records with millions of sales in multiple genres. Starting out as an artist on Warner Brothers, Mullen has gone on to develop talent, write and publish songs, and produce for every major label. He’s had multiple nominations and wins for GMA Awards, Grammies, won the prestigious NSAI Song of the Year Award twice, as well as ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year.

Staff, P.G. Banker

P.G. Banker

Composition & Songwriting Instructor

P.G. Banker is a songwriter, producer and audio engineer originally from Nashville, Tennessee. He studied music composition at King's College in London, England and received a Bachelor's Degree in Music & English Literature from Boston College in 2003. With over 1,000 placements on more than 100 different TV shows, P.G.'s compositions have been licensed on networks such as Fox Sports, CBS, NFL Network, CNBC, MTV, VH1 and Bravo among others. P.G. is passionate about writing music and inspiring others to create their own success!

John Lucasey

Online Music Business Instructor

John is an accomplished music industry veteran with a record of building successful entertainment businesses. John founded Studio 880, one of California’s largest premier recording facilities and was host to several grammy-winning recording artists such as Green Day, The Killers, Keith Urban, The Black Keys and many more. John was also the Director of Audio Production and Mix Engineer for Soundcheck, Walmart's original online performance series, working with and mixing artists such as Beyonce, Faith Hill, Drake, Brad Paisley, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande and many more prominent recording artists. John also evaluated new talent for "Risers" Walmart’s program for upcoming artists, including MGMT and Neon Trees. John is a partner in Lucasey Getter Creative Management, a Nashville-based artist management company seeking to advocate and develop undiscovered talent using an equitable business model. John enjoys playing music, listening to podcasts and spending time with his wife Carolyn and their five adult kids.

Staff, Michelle Hilton

Michelle Hilton

Accountant

Michelle attended the University of Florida before setting down roots in Nashville. For over a decade she has been managing the finances for many of Nashville’s biggest stars. When she’s not at DHI keeping the books, she’s hanging out on her farm with her thoroughbred horses.

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