Welcome FAME’s New Team Members


Dr. Matt Rynes

Matt is the inaugural Music Director of FAME’s new Musicians in Training (MIT), a component of the FAME Jazz Band Program designed to build musical skills amongst developing young musicians.  He also serves as the saxophone instructor for the FAME Jazz Band.

Matt began his clarinet studies in high school and attended Towson University on scholarship.  He received his masters from the University of Michigan, and received his doctorate from the University of Maryland (UMD) in December 2019.  He has been a regular member of the Baltimore/ Washington classical music scene having performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Kennedy Center, Washington Chamber Orchestra, and many more.  Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Matt’s aim as a performer is to engage the greater Mid-Atlantic area through a variety of musical styles from classical, jazz and contemporary chamber music.

Dr. Melissa Morales

Melissa joined the FAME team in the fall of 2019 serving as Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. She is a clarinetist and educator originally from New Orleans, LA who came to Maryland in 2016 to pursue her doctorate at the University of Maryland (UMD). She manages the scheduling, record management, data analysis, and office administration. Melissa recently initiated and managed FAME’s Online Learning Program to continue programming during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Melissa is an active musician in the DMV both teaching lessons and workshops as well as performing. She served as the 2018-2019 artist in residence at Collington Continuing Care Retirement Community in Bowie, MD, artist in residence in Talbot County, performed as part of the Riverdale Chamber Music Society, National Music Festival – Resonance Chamber Series, and was invited to perform at Forum Cultural Guanajuato in Leon City, Mexico. She served as clarinetist for the Potomac Winds; and currently serves as second clarinet with the Apollo Orchestra. She has performed in numerous venues i.e.  the Kennedy Center, Strathmore and Meyerhoff, Annapolis Opera, and Symphony Center.

Langston Hughes II

Langston was named Music Director of the FAME Jazz Ensemble last year.  He  is an exceptionally motivated sophomore at Howard University majoring in Saxophone Jazz Studies with a minor in Flute. He has received numerous local and national awards for his volunteer work and musical performances.  Throughout high school he won State and local competitions, including the Berklee College of Music and NAACP National ACT-SO.

Langston was selected by the legendary Nat Adderly, Jr., as an inaugural member of the year-round FAME Jazz Band Program (FJBP), where he competed with over 45 top students for his position. On his own time, he serves as a mentor and tutor to other musicians. His belief is that next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure on earth.

Ava Morton

Ava serves as FAME’s  College and Career readiness Advisor.  She has worked in several industries: retail, telecommunications, and education; non-profit (United Negro College Fund-Special Programs Corporation) secondary education (Charles County Public Schools) higher education (College of Southern Maryland).  Ava started “Keeping Students on Track LLC” in 2017 to provide students and their families educational support during the high school years. It prepares students for life after high school whether it be College, Career or the Workforce. 

A graduate of Hampton University, Ava brings over 30 years of experience in the areas of Corporate Training & Development, Human Resources Management, Talent Pipeline Development Corporate Diversity and Inclusion and College and Career Readiness.  Ms. Morton evaluates assessment data, student academic and music diagnostics, coordinate schedules for periodic assessments along with annual evaluations.

Eric McMillan

Eric joined FAME as music advisor on the 2019 FAME Jazz Band CD, Yesterday Is Today. Later he served as an instructor in the Instrument Intensive Summer Program at the University of Maryland College Park.  Currently, Eric serves as the trumpet instructor for the FAME Jazz Band Program.

Eric taught trumpet at Morgan State University and The District of Columbia Youth Orchestra.  He also served as band director and trumpet instructor at the Duke Ellington School of The Arts in Washington, DC.  Currently, Mr. McMillan is a music teacher in the DC Public School System.

Eric graduated from Howard University with a B.M. in Music Education and a M.M in Trumpet Performance. 

Lorraine Montana

Lorraine serves as FAME’s Trombone instructor.  She is a Music Education major at the University of Maryland College Park and is currently studying trombone with Aaron LaVere. During her high school career, Lorraine participated in the Ohio State University Honor Bands, the Capital University Honors Wind Ensemble, and the Columbus Youth Jazz Bands. Lorraine also spent time at the Ohio State University Jazz Camp. At the University of Maryland, Lorraine has played in numerous ensembles including the Wind Ensemble and she was recently selected to the College Band Directors National Association’s Eastern Intercollegiate Band.


Allyn Johnson

Allyn serves as Master Piano Instructor for all FAME Jazz Band Program pianists and provides one-on-one musical training and performance guidance.  Allyn is the  Jazz Studies Director at the University of the District of Columbia.

Allyn is a native multi-talented musician, composer, arranger and producer whose trademark sound gives brilliance and fortitude to the art of jazz improvisation.  In 2019, he saluted the women and men behind the Apollo 11 mission with an ensemble debuting a new suite – written in honor of the moon landing.    The suite, commissioned by NEWorks Productions, explored the intense emotion of the experience and its aftermath for the astronauts.  It also foregrounds behind the scenes contributors who helped to put the first humans on the moon the “hidden figures”.

Mark Copeland

Mark  serves as music advisor to FAME’s CEO and program managers; and he conducts workshops.

Mark is a Pianist, Organist, Keyboardist, Music Producer, Composer, Arranger, Songwriter, and Educator. He is versatile in all forms of Contemporary music. He graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts and Graduate with a Contemporary Writing,  and a Production Degree from Berklee College of Music. Mark is also a professor in the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music.  Mark has played for and shared the stage with numerous artist such as Patti Labelle, Regina Belle, Al Jarreau, Brian McKnight, Jeffrey Osborn, Kenny Lattimore, Yolanda Adams, Walter Beasley, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright and Elan Trotman just to name a few…