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.

Randy Sabiston

Randy Sabiston

Online Music Business Instructor

Randy is a veteran of the music publishing business having worked for many of the major publishing companies including EMI Music Publishing, PolyGram Music and Warner/Chappell Music in New York. He started Sabco Music & Management in 2015 and relocated to Nashville in 2017. His various signings and projects over the years include The Lumineers, Gavin DeGraw, Will Hoge, Lifehouse, The Hold Steady and Quicksand among many others.

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

Instructor / Lead Engineer

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.

Staff, Peter Wahler

Peter Wahler

Instructor / Engineer

Peter is originally from St. Louis, MO, but moved to Boston, MA to attend Berklee College of Music. After graduating with a degree in Production and Engineering, he moved to Nashville, where he has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of artists including Keith and Kristyn Getty, Ricky Scaggs, Steven Curtis Chapman, John Patitucci, Richie McDonald (Lonestar), Ashley Judd, and Alison Krauss. In addition to playing bass and engineering in Nashville, including during his time as co-owner of a local recording studio specializing in rhythm section tracks, Peter has toured globally, playing in esteemed venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and Royal Albert Hall.

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.

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.

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