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

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, John Proctor

John Proctor

Director Of Admissions

John Proctor started out as a typical Tennessee farm boy, but after he completed his degree at MTSU in Agricultural Business he found he had a gift for growing not just crops, but careers. He has worked in sales, customer service, recruiting, management, and college admissions, and joins the Dark Horse team with a big heart and a wealth of resources to help you plan and succeed in your future career.

Eric Galvan

Eric galvan

Admissions Representative

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.

Staff, Lauren Adkins

Lauren Adkins

Admissions Representative

Musician, producer, and singer-songwriter Lauren packed up her car and moved to Nashville from native Cleveland to help artists like herself tell their stories. She’s worked for Jimmy Kimmel Live, edited sound for the Emmy winning TV show “The Deadliest Catch” and assisted in the production of the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2016. Lauren’s passion and experience provide students with excellent resources to plan a successful career in the industry.

Staff, Austin Bryan

Austin Bryan

Admissions Representative

Austin Bryan holds bachelors degrees in 'Business Administration' from 'Birmingham-Southern College' and 'Music Business/Music Production' from 'Belmont University'. Austin loves connecting potential students to Dark Horse Institute and seeing our graduates utilize their skills learned in "real-world" scenarios. When not in the office, Austin loves to play electric guitar, modify / build / and repair guitar effect pedals.

Staff, Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott

Student Career Services

Michael Elliott is a multi-talented producer, engineer, and musician from Milwaukee Wisconsin. With a certificate in audio engineering from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business from Middle Tennessee State University, Michael offers a first-hand understanding of what lies ahead for Dark Horse Institute students after graduation. Since moving to Nashville, Tennessee seven years ago, Michael has worked in several large-format studios across Nashville Tennessee and Milwaukee Wisconsin. With a passion for helping others, Michael is excited to provide counseling and one-on-one career development for students and graduates.

Staff, Regie Hamm

Regie Hamm

Online Music Business Instructor

Regie Hamm is a critically acclaimed and award winning artist, songwriter and producer, who has written or produced 25 number one hits, been SESAC’s songwriter of the year four times, and was the season seven American Idol songwriting champion. The solo song he penned, Time Of My Life, went on to be a record breaking (16 week) number one pop song for season winner, David Cook. His incredible journey is chronicled in the book, Angels and Idols, that is now in development to become a feature film.

Staff, Jennifer Paige

Jennifer Paige

Music Business Instructor

Jennifer Paige rose to pop stardom in the late 90's with the song “Crush,” which sold 11 million copies and went #1 in 16 countries. She has since navigated an extraordinary recording and touring career spanning two decades. As an artist, she has collaborated with major record labels as well as independents, and has interacted with managers, promoters, publishers, agents, publicists and entertainment lawyers throughout her career. Music business students will be inspired and encouraged by the wealth of first-hand experience Jennifer brings to the table.

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!

Staff, Dave Hagen

Dave Hagen

Director of Education

Dave graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Audio/ Electronic Arts before interning at Dark Horse Recording. In 2011 he became a staff engineer and in addition to teaching Audio Engineering and Producing has recorded dozens of bands on Sony, Capitol, Gotee, and Tooth and Nail including Ashley Judd, OneRepublic, Relient K, Matthew West, Jeremy Camp and For King and Country.

Greg Collins

Instructor / Engineer

Greg began his recording career at the world-renowned Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles, where he honed his skills working under such industry legends as Don Was, David Foster, Al Schmitt and Rick Rubin. Since then he has engineered, and produced recordings by U2, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, Matchbox Twenty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jewel, The Dixie Chicks, System Of A Down, KISS, and Mötley Crüe, among others. In 2006 Greg was awarded a Grammy for his work as mix engineer on the U2 album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

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, Matt Sepanic

Matt Sepanic

Instructor / Engineer

Matt Sepanic has been professionally producing and recording for over 19 years. Sepanic has worked with such notable artists as World Under, If Ever Was a Fire, The Envy Corps, Decoy, Johnny Reeferseed, and Slipknot, including recording their Platinum album All Hope Is Gone. His work with many of the artists has been showcased in various movies and television shows. Matt is deeply versed in both Pro Tools and analog recording.

Ted Skolits

Instructor / Engineer

Ted Skolits is an audio engineer and music producer located here in Nashville, TN. He has been in the music industry for 10+ years and has studied under Grammy award winning Mastering Engineer Bob Katz, Roger Nichols and Raul Valery. Ted works in music production and post production, as well as, TV Broadcast A1,A2 live production. He first cut his teeth working in an animation studio as lead sound design, then worked at EA Sports video game company as an audio editor and composer for multiple AAA game titles such as Tiger Woods and Madden NFL. Ted worked at the music label Integrity Music as a staff studio engineer working alongside award winning projects. Here he worked on mastering compilation albums such as Gotta Have Gospel and many others. He has ran FOH and live broadcast mixes for multiple mega churches. He has worked alongside multiple Grammy and Dove award artists. Ted taught courses as a professor previously at Valencia College. Ted has also worked in Nashville on various TV programs on the TBN and CMT network ranging from the Dove Awards to the Pickler and Ben show for various audio credits.

Staff, Emilee Wood

Emilee Wood

Operations Manager

Emilee moved to Tennessee from a small town in New Mexico just to attend Dark Horse Institute. With many late nights and early mornings, she graduated at the top of both her Audio Engineering and Music Business classes. After graduation, her hard work and determination quickly paid off in the form of her full time employment at the studio.

Staff, Benjamin Bynum

Benjamin Bynum

Chief Technical Engineer

Benjamin has been on staff at Dark Horse since 2020. He is a visionary known for his original and detailed approach in tracking sessions and in his ability to adapt and excel in any environment. He has earned both trust and respect from top-tier producers and session players.

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.

Staff, Erin Crafton

Erin Crafton

Accounting Assistant

Erin grew up in Rochester, New York, and after attending college at the State University of NY at Cortland, moved to the Carolinas. Erin is excited to be a part of the music culture at Dark Horse and when not at work, she spends time with her family outdoors and loves being a part of the Franklin community.

Staff, Sheree Spoltore

Sheree Spoltore

Program Development Specialist

Sheree Spoltore has more than 20 years of service in songwriting education and career development for artists and songwriters in Nashville, Los Angeles and New York. In 2013 she founded Global Songwriters Connection and has facilitated over 100 publishing deal agreements for the artists she works with and mentors. Sheree is an incredible addition to the Dark Horse team as she empowers our students to not only make a living with their talents, but to make a difference.

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