UMS Artist Facilitators
Allen Dennard is a trumpeter, composer, and bandleader who was born and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 9, Allen decided to join his elementary school’s band, John Trix Elementary. From then on he never put the trumpet down, finding a whole new passion for instrumental music. Throughout high school, he chose to play classical music, but around the 10th grade, he decided to dive into learning more about jazz. From then on he chose jazz as his musical style. He began to study players such as Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Woody Shaw, Lee Morgan, and Roy Hargrove just to name a few. Around his senior year of high school, Allen had the privilege of being mentored by the great Marcus Belgrave, one of Detroit’s own legendary trumpeters.
Allen attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where he received a full scholarship from the university’s jazz department. Allen has made three appearances as a sideman in the Detroit Jazz Festival, one with the great saxophonist Wendell Harrison (2015), with Detroit bassist Ali Bey (2017), and lastly with the Detroit Jazz Festival All-Star Alumni Band (2019). Allen is a bandleader and has three of his own groups, the Allen Dennard Trio, the Allen Dennard Quartet, and the Allen Dennard Quintet. All groups have been headliners in venues around Detroit, Metro-Detroit, and throughout Michigan, such as Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Cliff Bell’s, The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, Bert’s Marketplace, The Blue Llama, The Whisky Parlor, etc.
Susan Filipiak brings a life-long dedication to dance, focusing on American vernacular styles of tap, jazz, and swing dance. Years of music study (piano and voice) also gave her a strong understanding of the musicality of dance.
Susan studied extensively with the masters and mentors of American jazz & tap dance – Honi Coles, LaVaughn Robinson, Buster Brown, Frankie Manning, Gregory Hines, Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, Heather Cornell. Susan has decades of teaching experience in dance studios, universities, K-12 arts enrichment programs, and was named a Michigan Traditional Artist by Michigan State University in 2014. She is delighted to work again with UMS, bringing dance into the classroom.
Tariq Gardner is an electrifying drummer, composer, and educator from Detroit who has his roots in Detroit’s rich and storied jazz tradition. He was brought up in the music by his mother, bassist, Marion Hayden, who greatly impacted his musical knowledge and instinct. A broad lover of music, Tariq is driven to bring the worlds of Jazz, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, and live instrument oriented music together in the city.
A 2018 graduate of the University of Michigan’s Jazz Studies program, Tariq has served as the Drummer for the John Douglas Quartet from 2017-19, led groups at the Charles H. Wright Museum’s African World Fest in both 2017 and 2018, has performed with the Detroit Jazz Fest All-Star Alumni Band (a three-month residency featuring pianist Cameron Graves), played at the Detroit Jazz Festival (2018-2020) and at the Cape May Jazz Festival (2019). He continues to work as a drummer, composer, and bandleader for major events in and around Detroit (including his own group the Evening Star).
Andrew Morton is an award-winning playwright and theatre-maker who creates socially engaged theatre with and for vulnerable populations. His plays have been featured or produced nationally at the Write Now Festival, the New England Theatre Conference, Flint Youth Theatre, and internationally at the Blue Elephant Theatre and the Hampstead Theatre in London. Andrew previously taught playwriting at the University of Michigan-Flint, and from 2017-2020 he served as the Region III Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Playwriting Program.
Andrew lives in Detroit, where he is a project manager for TimeSlips, an award-winning international nonprofit that promotes creative engagement techniques for people living with dementia. He also works as a teaching artist and facilitator with various organizations, including the Ennis Center for Children, the Detroit Phoenix Center, and University Musical Society.
Susana Quintanilla is an educator (M.A. Bilingual Education) and a classically-trained Mexican folkloric dancer who began her studies at the Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. She studied under accomplished choreographers such as Amalia Hernández (Ballet Folklórico de México), Rafael Zamarripa (Universidad de Colima), Francisco Bravo (Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes), Graciela Tapia (Los Angeles), Luz María Gallego (Pánuco, Veracruz) and Miguel Vélez (Universidad de Veracruz).
As director of El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil (EBFE), Maestra Susana organized and produced the Midwest Folkloric Dance Workshops, Folkloric Dance Seminars for students in Mexico, and the Huapango Dance Workshop (Houston, TX). She produced youth performances with Mono Blanco, Sones de México, Los Folkloristas, Zazhil, Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández and Mariachi Guadalajara. She danced competitively in Concursos de Huapango (San Joaquín, Querétaro) and the International Folkloric Dance Competition (Chicago) where EBFE was awarded Second Place and the only U.S. group to place in the competition.
Always seeking cultural preservation and continuous improvement, Maestra Susana’s teaching focus for EBFE is to develop dancers and musicians as instructors with professional performance experience and academic knowledge in culture and literacy as well as to effectively empower all students with pride in themselves and respect for all ethnic groups.
Deidre D.S.SENSE Smith
Deidre D.S.SENSE Smith is a Detroit, MI native who has always shown great pride in her city. Her music, textured with layers of emotion and urban innovation, is a reflection of Detroit and the best it has to offer. The purpose of her music is to blend and mix all the eras and genres of music that have influenced her. By doing so, she hopes to introduce different styles and rhythms to intergenerational audiences everywhere.
As a Cultural Ambassador, Deidre D.S.SENSE Smith has performed on various stages both nationally and internationally, in support of equal rights, education, art, and the eradication of the many socio-political and economic woes plaguing our world. Smith has also developed S.Y.M.M.Y.S (Speak Your Mind, Mind Your Speech) and T.I.C. (The Inclusion Cypher) which are workshops with a curriculum rooted in the fundamentals and principles of Hip Hop. The goal of these workshops is to encourage community building, outreach, transforming conflict, and restorative justice through the Arts.