Erik Kramer – bass, guitar, piano, drums, ukulele
Erik is a multi-instrumentalist whose musicianship resulted in scholarships to both the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and Boston’s Berklee College of Music. His musical studies began with piano lessons at a young age, after displaying a keen ear and sense of rhythm. In grade school, he added on trumpet lessons and joined the school band, in addition to private instruction on guitar. As a preteen, Erik took up the electric guitar and began learning how to play his favorite songs. This led to exploring the upright bass, performing in his middle school orchestra, and discovering a passion for world music, funk, and jazz on the electric bass. Music kept Erik busy: he was active in the orchestra, jazz band, pit orchestra, and chorus, and was selected to participate in the PA Governor’s School for the Arts. (This is a state-sanctioned scholarship program for the state’s top musicians, artists, sculptors, actors, writers, dancers, and more.) He was also referred to an improvisation-based jazz program called the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts, where he remained for five years until leaving to attend Berklee College of Music. At Berklee, he studied the technological side of recording music, the compositional end of classical counterpoint and jazz, and performing in all styles. Erik even got the chance to perform in hip-hop groups with Jay Z's top collaborators, rock n' roll quartets with the drummer for Elvis Costello, and a “whole plethora of other life-changing opportunities.” Since college, he has performed with a number of groups in venues throughout the country, including performing at Bonaroo with his band, The Blind Woods. In his spare time, Erik enjoys visual art, graphic design, filmmaking, and photography. He teaches bass, guitar, piano, drums and ukulele for the school.
Kathryn Kierstead – voice, piano, ukulele
Kathryn’s love of music has been lifelong – some of her earliest memories include jamming with her father and putting on concerts with siblings and cousins. By middle school, she moved from dabbling in music to pursuing it with fervor: she joined the choir, enrolled in music class, and began to learn piano, drums and write her own songs. She continued these studies through high school, also adding in guitar class, mallet percussion and a world drumming class. For her senior project, Kathryn composed an original piece for concert choir and arranged a Muse song for jazz band, both of which were performed at her school’s spring concert. Her dedication to music paid off: Kathryn completed AP music theory and scored a rare and impressive “5” on the AP exam. (The fact that she was a National Merit Finalist and graduated fourth in her class is also of note.) When Kathryn began college at The College of Saint Rose, her AP score allowed her to skip several levels in her Music Theory and Ear Training courses. She majored in Music Industry, where the curriculum included classes ranging from Keyboard Harmony to Record Production to the History of Rock. Kathryn also studied private voice, participated in an internship and completed a senior capstone project. For her efforts, she received the school’s highest academic scholarship, the Trustees Scholarship, in addition to making the Dean's List every semester and ultimately graduating Magna Cum Laude. A seasoned performer, Kathryn played synthesizer and sang in an alt-pop band called Callout Culture for three years, and currently writes and records her own music. When not playing or teaching music, she enjoys cooking, painting, and going for hikes. Kathryn teaches voice, piano, and ukulele for the school.
Jordan Rast – violin, guitar, piano, banjo
Thanks to his professional banjo-playing father, Jordan grew up spending his summers at Bluegrass and Old Time music festivals. He began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of five, while also exploring and learning his father’s collection of other instruments, including banjo, mandolin, and guitar. Jordan continued to study classical violin through high school, also taking private piano lessons, private guitar lessons and attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster, PA. He continued to study and perform in ensembles while studying psychology at Temple and then Millersville University for his undergraduate degree, later receiving his Masters Degree in psychology from Villanova University. Throughout all of his studies, Jordan has been an active performer. He was awarded second place in the 2016 Freshgrass Fiddle Awards, and has taken high (often top) honors at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival’s Band and Songwriting Contests several times. He currently performs as guitarist and singer for The Secondhand Suits and the Joe Hillman Band as well as his own solo and duo projects, and has performed in notable venues like Boston’s Club Passim and Brooklyn’s Pete’s Candy Store. Jordan has worked with kids and taught music in many settings, including private instruction, volunteering with Music For Everyone, and teaching music to adolescents with behavioral problems. In his spare time, Jordan enjoys traveling to national parks, and being a Philly sports fan. He teaches violin, guitar, piano and banjo for the school.
Rose O'Malley – guitar, bass, drums, piano
Rose is a versatile musician, skilled at guitar, bass, piano, voice and drums, who earned her degree from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. Her love of music began in her youth: she signed up for piano lessons at five years old, and at nine discovered her love for guitar. She continued guitar lessons into college, but also joined the jazz band on saxophone and was a perennial attendee of “Creative Arts at Park,” an arts, music and theater camp, along the way. CAAP was a turning point for Rose: it gave her the chance to participate in her first rock ensembles, experiment on different instruments and fall in love with bass and drums. This transition into a serious musician led her to Berklee of College of Music. While there, Rose studied with jazz and funk guitarist Bruce Bartlett, while also continuing her piano and vocal studies. Rose also returned to CAAP, but this time as a teacher. She gave guitar lessons, led rock and jazz ensembles, and taught a songwriting, rap and pop singing classes. Rose has also taught private music lessons in other settings and worked with the “Plugged In” program, coaching teen bands. Rose has opened for national act The Downtown Boys, and currently performs with two punk bands and accompanies a bluegrass musician. When not playing or teaching music, she is a self-professed “recording and engineering nerd.” Rose teaches guitar, bass, drums and piano for the school.
Carolann Futej – violin, guitar, ukelele, piano, voice
Carolann is no stranger to strings – whether they’re guitar strings, ukulele strings, violin strings, piano strings, cello strings or even double bass strings. (And, actually, do vocal cords count too?) Carolann’s first instrument was the guitar, which she received as a gift in elementary school, but it wasn’t long before she was also participating in the school choir, taking voice lessons, studying viola, and playing in the school orchestra and jazz band. When it was time for college, she attended Susquehanna University and majored in Music with a Music Technology minor. There, Carolann participated in the string pedagogy program, teaching weekly seminars in addition to being paired with private students. All the while, Carolann continued to study viola, hone her guitar, piano and vocal skills, and teach group music classes. Her educational experience doesn’t end there; she received her Masters of Education degree from Eastern University, was trained in The New Teacher Project's (TNTP) Teaching Fellows Program, and has taught in various school programs. A recent highlight was a stint at Community Academy of Philadelphia as a Creative Expression Teacher. Carolann brings her musical and educational knowledge to the Meridee Winters School of Music as a teacher on violin, guitar, viola, piano and ukulele.
Sam Borrello - guitar, piano
Sam may already be a familiar name – he’s a guitarist for the Philadelphia based band, ILL Doots. The band is known for uniting different perspectives and people to create fun music, as well as teaching young children about working together through their “I Love Learning” workshops. In addition, the group has received one of Philadelphia’s top honors, a Barrymore Award for “Best Original Music.” Sam’s music career started long before this, though. He was exposed to music early and took up piano lessons at the age of 8, continuing to study it into high school. A few years after beginning his piano studies, Sam took up the violin and clarinet and joined the Vermont Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. By high school, he was also hooked on the guitar, and began exploring rock and jazz repertoire. Deciding to continue his music studies in college, Sam graduated with honors from the University of the Arts with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance and began teaching, producing and gigging locally and nationally. Sam enjoys a variety of music including jazz, hip-hop, classical and rock and has performed locally at Ardmore Music Hall and World Cafe Live. He teaches guitar and piano for the school.
Nelson Remetz - guitar, piano, voice, ukulele, bass
It’s very likely that music was the first thing Nelson ever heard. He was born into a whole family of musicians and it’s been a way of life ever since. Nelson learned harmonica and ukulele at an early age, and had also picked up the saxophone by the end of grade school. Not long after, he joined the school choir and his additional music lessons allowed him to conquer guitar, piano and several other instruments. While completing his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Maryland, he joined the acappella group Faux Paz. Performing with this group fueled Nelson’s love of song and won him the ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella) Mid-Atlantic Semifinals in 2015. Currently, Nelson plays blues/rock with his Philly based band, SHKRS. He’s always up for sharing his love of creative songwriting and the mindful experience of music with others. He loves studying the Beatles and White Stripes for songwriting inspiration and teaches guitar, piano, voice, ukulele and bass for the school.
Sean Conlon - guitar, bass, drums, piano, ukulele, voice, songwriting, violin, cello, trumpet
Sean’s love of performing began as imaginative play: pantomiming the instruments to Beatles songs and playing “intense air-guitar solos” to Led Zepellin tunes as a young boy. This passion was quickly applied to actual instruments, though, and over the course of his youth he learned to play the drums, guitar, bass and piano. He was hungry to learn even more, so began to explore audio recording and mixing, overdubbing himself playing all the different instrumental parts to songs that he loved and applying effects to the tracks. Sean then found himself longing to understand more of the theory behind the music, and decided to sign up for every music class his high school offered. He joined the concert band on trumpet, the wind ensemble on double bass, jazz band and pit orchestra on guitar, and also sang with the a cappella group and studied AP Music Theory. It’s no surprise that Sean elected to study music in college, where he attended the University of the Arts. There, he demonstrated the same ambition he’d shown throughout his youth, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and his Master’s Degree in Music Education, as well as earning the guitar faculty award. Sean is also a seasoned music instructor — he taught private lessons on various instruments for seven years, in addition to student teaching during his music education studies. In his spare time, Sean performs with three different bands, and plays guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele for various musicals. Sean teaches guitar, bass, drums, piano, ukulele, voice, cello, trumpet and violin for the school.
Jared Scheetz - piano, guitar, bass, violin, cello
Jared first picked up the guitar in the 8th grade, and years of practice and self-instruction led him to advanced studies and a music education degree from West Chester University, and even to an opening spot for the hit band, Dawes. At West Chester, Jared studied not only guitar, but also aural skills, orchestral strings, advanced music theory, double bass and piano. He also performed with the West Chester University Classical Guitar Ensemble. Currently, he plays in an acoustic duo called Salient Roots. They play country, bluegrass and blues and are best known for their vocal harmonies. When not teaching, Jared is an avid woodworker, and has been teaching himself string instrument luthiery in his home wood shop. He teaches guitar, bass, piano, violin and cello for the school.
Chris Panico - piano, guitar
A graduate of University of the Arts, Chris is a multi-talented songwriter, composer, and creative writer with experience working with students of all ages, from toddlers to adults. Raised on Paul Simon and The Beatles, their influence shines through in the music he writes. At UArts, Chris received his degree in Music Composition, and has had several vocal arrangements performed in the area, most notably at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. While in school, Chris worked with every possible artistic medium, creating compositions and improvisations for films such as “A Rose For Amethyst” by Ashley Akunna and “Waves and Sand” by Marcus O'Leary, animations such as “Gary Gets a Job” and “The Adventures of Pencilman” by Maria DelBuono. When not teaching for Meridee Winters, Chris spends his time writing his own songs, favoring piano-driven electronic arrangements, although his experiences also include an impromptu tin whistle performance at the Renaissance Faire. He also spends time with his tiny Pekingese named Bobmur (after the dwarf in the Hobbit, of course). He teaches piano and guitar for the school.
Rebekah Fernandez - voice, piano, guitar, musical theater
Rebekah fell in love with music and acting at a young age, and followed that passion as it led her through music lessons and school theater all the way to professional productions and spots on commercials and TV sitcoms. The musical leg of her journey began with piano lessons, later adding voice and flute. Rebekah also picked up the guitar so that she could sing and accompany herself. Her acting experience is extensive – she has worked for professional theaters in Denver, Dallas, Virginia and PA and toured as an MC with the Radio Disney Road Crew. Rebekah graduated summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University with a BFA in acting and musical theater. While there, she was a presidential scholar, received a theater scholarship and studied abroad in Uruguay. While not teaching or performing, Rebekah loves to play with her cats, Mischief and Echo, and enjoys nature, biking, reading and painting. She teaches voice, musical theater, piano, guitar and works in the front office as the Vision Keeper for the school.
David Snyder – voice, piano, guitar
A born performer, David has graced the stage of many well-known Tri-State area theaters, including the Walnut Street Theater and the Arden Theater in Philadelphia and Candlelight Theater in Delaware. His stage credits have even taken him abroad to places like Edinburgh, Scotland and Beijing, China. David studied music throughout his youth – beginning with the saxophone and voice, and soon adding on the piano and the guitar. His love of music and the performing arts led him to Syracuse University, where he earned his BFA in Drama. (He also has extensive training in the Linklater voice method.) David has several years of music direction under his belt in various local school and music theater programs, and is currently serving as the music director for the Wolf Performing Arts Center. While his musical theater experience is extensive, David enjoys and teaches many genres, including jazz, rock, folk, classical and recording programs like Logic and MainStage. He teaches piano, guitar and voice for the school.
Nick Salcido - piano, guitar, bass
Nick’s interest in music began during his elementary school commute, when he would sing along to old Motown and 50’s songs on the radio. This interest led to guitar lessons, and later, the bass. His musical studies continued when he attended Bates College, where he earned a BA in Music, with Honors in Composition. By the time he completed his degree, he had already compiled almost 200 hours of student teaching in music as well as physical education classes. He later taught in smaller, private studios in Northeast Philadelphia and Washington, DC. In addition to private lessons, Nick has worked with kids, helping them form bands and prepare to compete in statewide “Battle of the Bands” performances. He currently plays in several ensembles in the Philadelphia area, earning the title of “Philly Band of the Year” at the 2012 Tri-State Indie Awards and performing at the Peach Music Festival, run by the iconic Allman Brothers. Nick has also toured with the Kalob Griffin Band and performed with a member of a popular funk-jazz group, Soulive. Nick loves to travel the US and explore the local flavor wherever he finds himself. Always looking to explore his neighborhood and discover new restaurants, he loves finding new foods that he never thought he would like.
Willie Nelson – piano, guitar, bass and drums
For Willie, music has never been a choice – it has been a necessity. His life has always involved music from his fascination with the bagpipes as a child to playing in punk bands in his teens and now as a student of music therapy. The arts, musical theater, chorale groups, jazz and marching bands played big role in his adolescence and they have helped shape his education and career paths. Today, Willie is studying music therapy and piano performance at Immaculata University. He was awarded a scholarship by the music department and more recently was elected president of the Immaculata Chorale. Prior to embarking on a musical education journey, Willie was trained as a professional photographer at Hallmark Institute of Photography. Willie taught private music lessons on his own before joining the MW Team and has also served as a Boy Scout camp counselor. Willie plays with several bands in Philadelphia including a wedding band and an original funk band. He performs his own original music under the stage name Crills Wilson and has played with the popular indie-rock band Cheers Elephant on many occasions. When he isn’t playing music, Willie enjoys working on home improvement projects. He teaches piano, guitar, bass and drums for the school.
David Trum - piano, guitar, voice, bass, drums
David has always had a strong interest in music and art. After seeing the iconic performance of “Johnny B. Goode” in the film Back to the Future, he was inspired to pick up the guitar, and began lessons at 7 years old. David later took up percussion and bass and played in rock bands, concert bands, jazz bands, marching bands and choruses throughout school. He's also no stranger to teaching – he began teaching lessons when he was a freshman in high school and has since worked in his own private studio and as the music director at Easter Seals' Camp Carefree. At Camp Carefree, he directed, instructed and wrote the curriculum for children with special needs. While in college, David studied composition privately with composers such as Robert Maggio, Adam Silverman and Michael Fiday. He graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory and Composition and from University of Cincinnati with a Master’s Degree in Music Composition. David genuinely loves and embraces a wide range of music styles from the Beatles to Beyonce, Bob Dylan and Luciano Berio. When he’s not busy studying the craftsmanship of all things musical, he keeps himself busy listening to podcasts about science, philosophy and the arts. David teaches guitar, bass, piano, percussion and voice.
Brendan Fullam - guitar, voice
Brendan grew up loving and listening to his Dad’s records. What he heard inspired him, so he started guitar lessons, formed a band with some friends, and began writing his own songs. Brendan followed this musical path to college, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Music Recording Technology from Lebanon Valley College where he studied both guitar and voice. Though he has a passion for jazz, Brendan loves playing in all different styles – rock, R&B, blues, progressive, and folk. His band, Johnny Action Figure, has performed at top venues in Philadelphia, Nashville and New York, alongside great bands like Wilco, the Get Up Kids, and Apollo Sunshine. Their music has been featured in television shows and commercials on MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central. Outside of music, Brendan is a big Philadelphia sports supporter. He teaches guitar and voice for MW.
Jason Herrmann - guitar, drums, bands
Jason graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and also received his Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance, both from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music. He was the recipient of both the Frances G. Lumsden Memorial Scholarship and the Temple Jazz Grant for his academic efforts there. Jason has been featured in Jazziz Magazine and one of his compositions was included in the Jazziz University Education in America Compilation to represent Temple University’s music program. He is currently performing regularly with several original and cover bands and writes, arranges, and conducts for his nine piece jazz ensemble Tap Room Nine. Although very accomplished in the Jazz world, Jason was raised on rock and heavy metal and loves nothing more than to get on stage and shred. His original rock band was recently featured on 93.3 WMMR's Local Shots Vol. 6 compilation and is in rotation on DJ Jaxon's radio program. Jason has been teaching for the MW School of Music since 2005, teaches guitar and drums and is a master level teacher for the school.
Andrew Fagan - guitar, piano, vocals, bass
Andrew graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Sound Design. Andrew writes, records, and produces music as part of The Skyline Industry, whose music has been featured on Philadelphia radio station WXPN as well as many internet stations and blogs. As a solo artist, Andrew writes and performs under the moniker The Dragons Were Numbers as well as his given name. When he is not immersed in his music, he can be found around town hosting a music night at a local venue, performing at a fancy dinner party or wedding reception downtown, or helping his students record their own songs and albums. Andrew’s other hobbies and interests include graphic design, camping, gardening, and movies. His hope is to inspire the potential and encourage the talent in each of his students. Andrew has been teaching piano and guitar with the Meridee Winters School of Music since 2005.
Michael Campanile - guitar, piano, bass
Michael Campanile has spent the past eleven years teaching, performing, and recording music on both the east and west coasts. A graduate of the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, he teaches private and group lessons, guitar clinics and online lessons. Michael has helped many students discover music, with lessons ranging from beginners starting guitar to advanced players looking for a more specialized focus, as well as piano and bass students. Recently completing his 10th studio album, "More Songs No One Wanted", Michael is involved in several projects: a local metal band, a rockabilly Sun Records cover act, and various electronic music recordings. He is comfortable teaching all genres, including rock, metal, jazz, folk, improvisation, and composition, as well as electronic music, recording and production. He has recorded/produced with West Coast performer Peter DiStefano (Jane's Addiction), and the notable east coast act Infernal Opera. Some of his favorite musicians include Claude Debussy, Pat Martino, Marty Friedman, and Brian Setzer. When Michael isn't teaching or performing, he enjoys hand tool woodworking, Z grade horror, and anything Dostoyevsky. Mike teaches piano, guitar, and bass for the school.
Doug O'Donnell - guitar, banjo
Doug holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from University of Delaware with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Anthropology. Doug started studying music at an early age. For most of his youth he studied with the great Mark Unruh mastering the styles of blues, bluegrass, rock, country and jazz. In recent years, he has been devoted to the study of bluegrass banjo and flat-picking guitar styles. Doug is a former member of the Philly indie-pop band Dr. Dog. During his tenure with the band he had the privilege touring with indie-rock darlings My Morning Jacket and has played venues across the country. He currently performs and records regularly with the rock-and-soul band Doublehorse!, and plays bluegrass, jazz and blues in a variety of group and solo settings in the Philadelphia area. Doug has been a teacher with the school since 2006 and teaches guitar.
Abhi Taranath - guitar, bass, piano, ukulele
Veteran teacher Abhi Taranath is no stranger to music. His musical resume includes performances at Philadelphia's Theater of Living Arts and opening for the Sugarhill Gang as part of "The Ernest Goodlife Band." In addition, he is currently pursuing a degree in Media & Technology at Villanova University that he will use to explore the fields of music, recording and digital audio. This passion for music began long ago; as a toddler, his father would play Beatles and Ravi Shankar albums "endlessly" on repeat, and Abhi credits that as when his lifelong love of music began. In his youth, he received high honors for his saxophone playing and, looking to expand his musical skills, also began his studies on guitar, which has continued to study and master. Throughout his life, he has been exposed to a great variety of music genres and instruments – his expertise ranges from guitar, saxophone and piano to the Indian tabla. With a strong understanding of the traditional guitar approach, Abhi is also well versed with the more unconventional uses of guitar sound (such as soundscaping, looping and noise), and he is happy to explore all genres and approaches with his students. In his spare time, Abhi is working on his debut solo album and enjoys raising his two children. He teaches guitar, bass, ukulele and piano for the school.