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.
JR Schmitt – voice, piano
JR’s musical interests range from traditional (participating in choirs and working toward his music education certification) – to untraditional (creating remixes of video game music and releasing them online). His first introduction to music was as a choir participant in his youth. JR went on to become an active member of his school vocal groups, winning the Chester County Choral Society's Excellence in Vocal Performance Competition and participating in Chester County Voices Abroad. All of this led to Penn State University, where he participated in more ensembles and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music. JR’s musical studies aren’t limited to voice: he also studied and boasts skills on piano, violin, guitar, and drums. When not practicing or performing, he enjoys composing and producing music, with projects ranging from film scores to video game soundtracks, concert music, electronic dance music, sound design, and recording. JR also enjoys performing, and a career highlight was singing in the chorus for "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at Heinz Field as part of the Rolling Stones 2015 Zip Code Tour. JR is currently studying at West Chester University for his music education certification, and teaches voice and piano for the school.
Rachael Lipson – piano, voice
Rachael has loved singing since her childhood (falling in love with music when her parents took her to touring Broadway shows). This led to an early start in her music education: she began piano lessons at age eight, and joined her first choir just a few years after. She continued private lessons throughout her youth, which led her to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. While there, Rachael was three-time Rider Scholar, whose recipients are in the top 1% of their class, as well as the winner of the annual Voice Scholarship Competition. She also had the opportunity to perform at the Kimmel Center, Lincoln Center and world-famous Carnegie Hall before graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music Degree. Rachael then went on to earn her Master’s of Music degree from the University of Delaware in May 2016, and continues to study music privately today. She keeps busy – she is also a Choral Scholar/Singing Mentor at the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware in Wilmington, DE, and an active gigging and auditioning professional vocalist in the Tri-State area. When not teaching or performing, Rachael likes to read, bake, snuggle her cat, David, and watch “a whole lot of Grey's Anatomy.” She teaches piano and voice for the school.
Peter Horst - piano, voice
Inspiration comes in all forms, and for Peter it came from the jealousy of watching his peers learn piano. Luckily, it didn’t take long for him to begin his own private lessons at the age of 8 and fall in love with playing music for its own sake. The piano has been part of his life ever since, as he continued lessons through college, learning classical technique, theory and musical composition along the way. Piano isn’t Peter’s only instrument – he also played trumpet and baritone with the band, jazz band, and orchestras in middle school and high school and was a member of his high school choir and Eastern University Choir. From Eastern, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda, received an award for academic excellence, and graduated Summa Cum Laude. As a final senior hurrah, he successfully organized a vocal quartet to perform a self-composed piece titled As Kingfishers Catch Fire, based on a poem of the same name. These days, Peter keeps busy developing software for non-profits, playing piano his West Philadelphia church and baking (he especially enjoys sourdough bread). He teaches piano and voice for Meridee Winters.
Kaitlin Borden – piano, voice
Kaitlin is a dedicated musician, as demonstrated by her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College and her Master’s of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her interest in playing and singing began in her youth, but the decision to pursue it as a career came while performing with the Texas All State Choir in High School. This led her to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where she studied both voice and piano formally, and received a presidential scholarship. At the Cleveland Institute, she continued her studies, earning the Max Berman prize – the school’s largest award for a vocalist, as well as trying her hand at stage-managing. Kaitlin is no stranger to teaching music; for the completion of her Music Education degree, she taught at New Hope High School and Middle School, teaching students grades 6-12. During this time she worked with a large number of choirs, as well as the middle school cast of Grease, and gave both class and private music instruction to students grades 6-12. Her other teaching experiences include teaching music as a volunteer at the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility, and at several elementary and middle schools. As a performer, she’s landed some impressive roles, including Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, Béatrice in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict, Antonia in Les Contes du Hoffmann, and the title role in Handel's Alcina. Kaitlin teaches piano and voice for the school.
Erin Alcorn – voice, piano
Erin’s musical studies have taken her all over the globe – reaching as far as Austria with the American Institute of Music and Italy with the “Oberlin in Italy” Opera Theater. A childhood love of music and singing led her to pursue musical studies in college, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas. Erin wasn’t afraid of extra-curricular activity — she was also part of the University of North Texas 2016 Young Artist Professional Development Program, The Dallas Opera and The University of North Texas Orchestra. Despite her opera background, Erin enjoys teaching both piano and voice in a variety of styles, including her favorites: classical, musical theater, and jazz. For voice lessons, she aims to teach “healthy, classical vocal technique that may be applied to all styles of music.” Her teaching experience includes over seven years of private instruction, as well as vocal pedagogy courses and seminars at both the Oberlin Conservatory and UNT. She also has several notable accomplishments in her trophy case, including First Place at the Tuesday Musical Association in Ohio, Second Place in the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition and the Women's Voice Award from The Women's Chorus of Dallas. Currently, Erin is a soprano chorus member with Opera Philadelphia. She teaches voice and piano for the school.
Selina Seymore - piano, voice
People often say they’ve been a music lover “since birth,” but for Selina it’s the literal truth: as an infant, piano music was often the only thing to get her to sleep. Within a few years, she was enrolled in lessons (and wide awake), which she continued through college. Much of her youth was dedicated to music. In addition to her piano studies, Selina was a member of her school choir, drum line, marching band and concert band. She followed her musical path to Lebanon Valley College, where she was a member of the dean’s list and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in music education. There, she also won several awards and scholarships for her musicianship, took vocal lessons, and participated in the percussion ensemble, marching band, concert band, wind ensemble and choir. Her musical expertise is not limited to piano – Selina is also a vocalist and is proficient in brass, woodwinds, percussion and keyboard percussion. When not making or studying music, Selina enjoys reading, bird watching and catching up on her Netflix queue. She teaches piano and voice 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.
Taylor Kelly - piano, voice, songwriting, trumpet
Taylor studied music and participated in ensembles throughout her childhood (her award-winning high school choir was even the subject of the BBC documentary "Gleeful: The Real Show Choirs of America"). This led her to SUNY Fredonia where she studied classical voice and music education. It wasn’t long before she transferred to the world-renowned Berklee College of Music, though, where she studied with accomplished vocalists and graduated with a Professional Music degree. At Berklee, Taylor also had the chance to sing background vocals in big productions, write her own music, and even form her own nine-piece band. Following graduation, Taylor began teaching private lessons, and has instructed students aged 5 to 65 on piano, voice and trumpet. She has experience working with students on their songwriting, building their repertoire, building their technique, and “most importantly, building their confidence and their passion.” Currently, Taylor performs with a number of groups, perhaps most notably as the front-woman and trumpet player for Jay-Z/Beyonce cover band For the Record, who even earned a spot opening for Salt N’ Pepa at Boston's ThrowABBQ Night. When not teaching or performing, Taylor enjoys traveling and the outdoors. She teaches piano, voice and trumpet 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.
Beatrice Osborne – piano, voice
While Beatrice has had a number of notable performances, her a cappella group’s 2014 performance at the White House for President Obama definitely ranks among the most memorable. (It even included a presidential handshake and photo op.) Ever since her family plopped her in front of the piano at age five, she has been attuned to her musical calling. Most recently she studied classical piano at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Temple University, where she was honored to receive the Esther M. Schulz award for choral excellence. Beatrice has performed with a number of ensembles, and boasts an impressive musical theater and acting resume – she’s landed leading roles in productions like West Side Story, Into the Woods, The King and I and a (very) long list of others. She has also enjoyed working with children as part of the Fulton Opera House children's camp. Beatrice is excited to be bringing music to mainline homes in her next adventure and will be sure to share stories of playing with her cat, Crumpet and her dog, Daisy, too. She teaches voice and piano for the school.
Logan Roth – piano, drums, voice
Logan’s resume reads a bit like a “Who’s Who” of music and education. His musical accomplishments have included performing for the Queen of Jordan and opening for Oprah (the queen of talk), complemented by a degree from Princeton University. He grew up playing classical piano at the Oak Brook Academy of Music and Art in Illinois, and by his teen years was taking lessons with Chicago boogie-woogie/blues legend, Erwin Helfer and studying classical piano and composition with film composer Oscar Jasso. (Along the way he also took drum lessons, attended the Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Program, and was hired for the Jazz Institute of Chicago's Jazz Ambassadors Program.) All of this hard work led him to Princeton University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in music and where he participated in numerous ensembles. Logan’s musical adventures have taken him all over the world: he was chosen as one of four Americans high-schoolers to perform as part of a global arts conference in Amman, Jordan (performing for the aforementioned queen), he has toured Japan with a blues band and Estonia with a Princeton ensemble. His educational experience is equally global. He taught music lessons at the Unwind Center in Chennai, India and established a music program for “Give and Surf”, a volunteer educational organization for indigenous and impoverished youth in Panama. In addition to music, Logan loves cartoons, chocolate and his giant orange tabby cat named Sophocles. He teaches piano, drums and voice 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.
Patrick D’Amato – piano, composition, musical theater, vocal coaching
Patrick's musical path has led him everywhere from orchestra pits to rock battles – he recently accompanied two different groups for a battle of the bands, managing to snag both first and third place. In the musical theater realm, Patrick has graced the stage (and the orchestra pit) in many local theaters including the Media Theater, Lansdowne Celebration Theater and Hedgerow Theater. Patrick earned his Bachelor's of Music Degree from Hillsdale College, with a dual focus in both piano performance and composition. He has also served as a substitute teacher for two local school districts, where he has had the chance to work with kids in grades K-12. Beyond the classroom, Patrick has also served as the musical director for two different children’s theater camps with the Media Theater. He recently began focusing on a musical pursuit of a different variety – composing original music for video games. When he’s not participating in a musical or competing on stage, Patrick loves reading, watching really good TV and movies, and hanging out with both two legged and four legged friends. (He has two dogs Abby, a Saint Bernard and Ernie a Mastiff.) Patrick teaches piano and voice for the school.
Rachel Woodward – piano, voice
A lifelong musician, Rachel has been singing as long as she can remember, and specifically recalls falling in love with the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. After spending her school years taking voice lessons, singing in the choir, and tackling solos at church and school, Rachel found herself at the University of Oklahoma, studying vocal music education. With her eyes on the East Coast, she decided to move to the Main Line area, where she enthusiastically studied piano, voice, and guitar lessons, adding rock and pop vocal styles to her classical and Broadway repertoire. After receiving a music scholarship, she attended West Chester University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a vocal and chorus emphasis. Rachel was also awarded an internship conducting with the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus. Over the years, she has used her certification as a K-12 music educator everywhere from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Philadelphia. When she’s not imparting her love of music (including creativity and songwriting) onto her students, she likes to collect interesting instruments, with a recent infatuation with world percussion. Rachel is known to keep a kite in her car "for emergencies" and teaches voice and piano 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.
Pia Ercole - voice, piano
From an early age, it was clear that Pia was in love with music. Whenever music was playing – whether it was a Beatles song or a Chopin Nocturne – Pia would dance and sing. Her parents quickly signed the 4-year-old up for piano lessons. She continued to study piano and voice at nearby SUNY Purchase, while also performing in jazz ensembles, snagging the lead roles in her school musicals, and heading off to prestigious summer performing arts programs at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and the Lee Strasberg Institute. These early successes led her to study music at Boston University’s School for the Arts, later transferring to The Juilliard School after being specially recruited. At Juilliard, she received numerous awards for her outstanding musicianship. Lately, Pia has been finding success in her performance and recording career. She is featured on two of King Britt's electronic albums, which have received much critical acclaim, and also recorded "Ave Maria" for the Red Hot Organization. Pia's recent performance highlights include performing in New York at National Sawdust, MOMA's PS1, and Deep Space at Cielo, the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit in Asheville, NC, XOYO in London, the Cleveland Museum of Art's Solstice Festival; and multiple performances at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia. Pia is active as a solo artist, songwriter, producer and deejay, currently working on her solo EP. She is a longtime MW teacher and teaches voice, piano, music theory, and songwriting for the school.
Brendan Fullam - voice, guitar
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.
Monica Schaffer - voice, piano
Monica Schaffer is a Meridee Winters veteran, having joined our team in 2006 and remained an enthusiastic member of the teaching community ever since. Her musical knowledge is extensive – she earned her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Toccoa Falls College (Toccoa, GA) and received her master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Monica works as a Master Teacher for the school, as well as working in the office as a Master Pedagogue and serving as a teacher mentor/meeting leader. Among other gigs, jobs, and side projects, Monica enjoys being a part of many different musical communities, and finding various outlets for her creativity. Monica teaches piano and voice for the school at the master level.
Meg Moyer - voice, piano, songwriting
A lifelong advocate for the arts, Meg has been playing music since the age of 4, and writing her own for nearly as long. Meg attended West Chester University, where she majored in both Early Childhood Education, and Music. She is now a notable singer/songwriter in the Philadelphia area and has been featured on NBC 10’s Singing Sensations songwriting competition, played live on The Key sessions on WXPN radio, and is currently working with notable producers on her first studio album. Throughout her career, she has lent her skills to many albums and recording projects – co-writing, producing and providing vocals/instrumentation. Meg is extremely passionate about creativity and the arts, and can often be seen out and about performing at various charity events, community shows and area coffee houses. In addition to writing, teaching, and cooking, Meg is constantly working to expand her instrumentation, which includes the piano, guitar, ukulele, drums, and whatever else she can tackle next. Meg believes in the power of musical expression and strives to empower children and adults in finding positive ways to do so. She teaches piano, voice and songwriting for the school, and works with Meridee as a Creative Consultant.
Danielle Simon – piano, voice
Two of Danielle’s passions are music and helping people, and it’s these passions that have led her to study music therapy and start her own community outreach program. In 2013, she founded MendedNOTE, Inc., which uses music to engage and reach at-risk youth and their families. Danielle’s love of music began at an early age – she started piano lessons at 6, flute at 10, and voice lessons at 12. She was classically trained and developed her skills by playing and singing in various bands and choirs, even competing nationally at NAACP’s ACT-SO competition for instrumental contemporary music composition and vocal composition. At Temple University, she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in jazz studies and vocal performance, going on to study music therapy at Drexel University. Danielle currently works as a social worker and is involved in many community events, after-school programs and local churches. When she’s not using her musical gifts to make the world a better place, she enjoys producing and composing for independent labels, performing at local venues, and singing/playing in a soul and jazz-influence band. Danielle teaches voice and piano for the school.