Mark A. Smith


Mark, the founder and President of the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts, has been working in the Mon Valley music industry for over 50 years. Starting as a student drummer under the tutelage of the famed Edward “Prof” Sweadner and moving on to study with Twin Coaches Orchestra drummer Bill Crockett, Smith advanced to the professional drummer level, working in all phases of the music industry: teaching, performing and recording. During a chance meeting in November 2015 with the late Maestro Joe Campus, the Twin Coaches Orchestra Project was conceived. Following the initial “Coaches Tribute” concert, the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts (MVAA) was established and it’s now the Mon Valley’s most active arts and cultural nonprofit organization. Mark is a permanent Mon Valley resident, father of five and grandfather of 11. With a lifetime of musical experience, Mark moved naturally into a leadership role with the MVAA, and his future goals and objectives echo the MVAA’s motto: “Save the music and pass it on to the next generation!”

Annette Buffer

Vice President

Annette is Vice President of the Board of Directors for Mon Valley Academy for the Arts and a member of the organization’s media team. Annette is a retired Nursing Home Administrator and Speech-Language Pathologist. She is a lifetime musician and choir director for over 40 years. Co-founder of the Power of Music (2014-Present), a not-for-profit group providing free summer concerts, she is a tireless advocate for live music. In addition to Annette’s duties as Vice-President, she is the instructor for the Fife students participating in MVAA Reg’t. Fife and Drum Corp and rehearses with them weekly. A new project under Annette’s direction is in the works for a show choir called VoiceZ on Fire. The students involved with the program will perform at concerts and by special requests. Rehearsals are weekly, and all music and direction are completed as a project under MVAA. Annette serves as a community choir director with the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir that she began eight years ago. Annette holds a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and an undergraduate degree in education from California University of Pennsylvania. Annette, originally from Brownsville, PA, relocated to Daisytown in 1981. She remains active in organizing community events, fundraisers, concerts, and choir performances. Email her at

Carla E. Anderton


Carla E. Anderton is Secretary of the Board of Directors for Mon Valley Academy for the Arts and a member of the organization’s media team. She is also a professor of English and communications at Westmoreland County Community College and Seton Hill University. From 2014-2019, she published Pennsylvania Bridges, a monthly regional newsmagazine, and from 2006-2009, she was Editor-in-Chief of California Focus. Previously, she served as President of the Board of Directors at Jozart Center for the Arts from 2010-2016, during which time she oversaw the general operations of the organization as well as helped plan and coordinate over 500 arts and entertainment programs and events. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts from Seton Hill University and an undergraduate degree in English from California University of Pennsylvania. Carla is the author of The Heart Absent, a fictional take on Jack the Ripper, and is an internationally recognized expert on the Jack the Ripper murders. Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Carla relocated to Pennsylvania in 1999 to attend California University of Pennsylvania. She currently lives in Daisytown, PA. Visit her website at

Gerald D. Onesi

Board of Directors

Gerald D. Onesi is the owner and operator of West Side Auto Repair, an award-winning auto repair and body shop in Uniontown, PA. A professional bassist, guitarist, and vocalist, he’s played in local and regional bands for over 50 years. Gerald is the lead singer of The Allies, an acoustic classic rock band that performs most weekends, and in recent years, was a member of a successful tribute band that toured the region and was named “best cover band” by Columbus, Ohio’s premier rock radio station. On Sundays, he can often be found playing acoustic guitar for services at St. Therese Church. In addition to serving on the board of the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts, Gerald also sits on the advisory board of the Uniontown Salvation Army, where he plays DJ for their 5K races, and chairs their nominating committee. 

Joy Tillman-DeFerrari

Board of Directors

Joy Tillman-DeFerrari is the owner of Live and Love Photography by Joy.