Kelsey - piano, guitar, saxophone, voice
Kelsey is a multi-instrumentalist, trained educator, and active member of Philly’s DIY music scene. She “can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in music,” and began her musical studies with piano lessons at age six, adding saxophone lessons in grade school. Some of her most formative musical experiences happened at Camp Louise in Shickshinny, PA, which she attended yearly. It was here that she learned how to play guitar and bass, and that she first sang in front of a crowd. Kelsey’s positive musical experiences at Camp Louise led her to pursue a career in music education, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Ed from West Chester University, where she graduated cum laude and made the dean’s list. At WCU, Kelsey added to her already extensive list of instruments; she learned and taught flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, French horn, and more. She also continued to study and play saxophone and piano, and participated in numerous music clubs, including the school’s professional music fraternity for women. Kelsey is a very active in Philadelphia’s music community. She has been performing in original rock bands since she was 16 years old, and has opened shows for Hall of Fame nominees, punk legends, and even a cast member of a hit TV show (Creed Bratton of “The Office”). Currently, she performs throughout the Philadelphia area as a solo singer/songwriter and as the vocalist/guitarist/songwriter for a rock band. Kelsey aims to giver all of her students “the tools that they need to share what they love to do with the world.” She teaches piano, guitar, saxophone and voice for the school.
Heather - voice, piano
Heather’s childhood taught her much about both the art and science of music: her mother is an otolaryngologist and voice specialist at the Medical University in Charleston, and both her parents are music lovers who exposed her to a variety of recordings and performances from a very young age. This was supplemented by formal music lessons in both piano and voice. Heather began singing in choirs at age 5, taking piano lessons at the Charleston Academy of Music at age 8, and added voice lessons a few years later. (Her musical path took a unique detour when Heather pursued figure skating for a short time.) A dedicated music student, Heather attended Charleston County School of the Arts, a competitive arts magnet high school, as a voice major. While there, she ranked and participated in multiple All-State Choirs and was awarded the Charleston Symphony Orchestra College Scholarship and the Charleston Music Club Award. Both scholarships were audition-based awards, given to exceptional academic and music students who planned to continue their music studies in college. From there, she headed to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and obtained her teacher certification. Heather is no stranger to teaching music: in addition to her music education studies, she gained musical theater coaching experience at Once Upon A Ballet’s Musical Theatre Center, and has also privately taught piano. Heather enjoys performing, and has had the chance to grace stages at Oxford University and Lincoln Center, among others. When not teaching, Heather actively participates in regional musical theater. She teaches voice and piano for the school.
Jared - piano, voice, songwriting
Jared’s journey with music began like that of many of our own students: he attended music circle classes with his mother as a two year-old, and then started private piano lessons at six. His love of music was clear from the very start, and he continued to study music seriously through college, including ten years of classical piano studies with Dorothy Poor (a student of Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi), and then Jazz piano lessons with Philadelphia educators and artists Jimmy Amadie and Orrin Evans. For college, Jared headed to business school, where he acted as music director for an all-male a capella group. It wasn’t long, though, before his educational focus shifted back to music, and he transferred to Boston’s acclaimed Berklee College of Music. (He managed to win the 2015 Contemporary A Capella Award for Best Song – the “Grammies” of a capella music – first, however.) Jared discovered his passion for teaching music during his educational experiences at Berklee, and through teaching voice and piano at his own private studio. In addition to teaching, Jared is an active performer and songwriter. He runs his own record label and publishing company affiliated with Broadcast Music International, and performs often locally. When not teaching, he can likely be found writing and recording. Jared teaches piano, voice and songwriting for the school.
Esther - violin, voice, piano
At four years old, Esther traveled to New York City, and become enamored with the city’s street musicians. She began violin lessons the next year and “hasn’t stopped playing since.” After hearing her sing at a concert, a local music teacher enthusiastically recruited Esther as a student, and added piano and vocal studies to her musical pursuits. In high school, Esther continued private lessons and participated in the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra and jazz band, while also taking classes at a nearby community college. Because of this, she succeeded at the ambitious goal of graduating high school and receiving her associates degree in music within the very same year. From there, Esther transferred to Temple’s Boyer College of Music with a music and academic scholarship, where she is currently working toward finishing her Bachelor of Music Degree. Over the course of her studies, Esther has sung at venues like the Peabody Institute of Music and Curtis Institute of Music, and she has taught music privately for several years. She enjoys teaching and playing classical, jazz, pop, and more, and also includes ukulele in her roster of instruments. When not making music, Esther can be found knitting, reading and cooking, and is a dedicated animal lover (with a soft spot for her pet lizard, Papageno). Esther teaches violin, piano and voice for the school.
Matt - piano, guitar, voice, songwriting
Matt credits his mom for “sneakily forming his musical taste” as a toddler by exposing him to acts like the Beatles, Queen, Billy Joel, and Elton John. He was quickly hooked on music, and his parents signed him up for guitar and piano lessons. However, his musical studies truly fell into place when he discovered songwriting. A passion for writing, matched with encouragement from his peers, led Matt to focus on guitar technique and begin voice lessons. Matt auditioned for and was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he strengthened his skills in general musicianship, vocal technique, songwriting fundamentals, ear training, composition techniques, and sight reading. From there, he moved to Philadelphia where he practiced furiously, gigged frequently, and completed college at Temple’s Boyer College of Music with degree in Music Production. Matt has performed at notable venues throughout the Northeast with several bands, including his current project Man Illuminated, and operates his own recording studio. In addition to guitar and voice, Matt plays piano and enjoys tinkering with keyboard synths and soldering his own DIY guitar pedals. He also enjoys woodworking and his two fantastic cats. Matt teaches piano, guitar, voice and songwriting for the school.
Alex - guitar, bass, voice, piano, drums, songwriting
Alex first showed a knack for music a very young age, and worked on his rhythmic skills by fashioning drum sets out of whatever pots, pans and stools he could find around the house. In elementary school, he graduated from cookware to an actual instrument when he joined the school’s percussion section, and not long after that, picked up one of the guitars that were “readily available” in his musical household. As he progressed through middle and high school, Alex built his skills on both percussion and guitar, adding hip/hop drums styles to his skill set, and collaborating with his brother in a band. While he initially intended on majoring in History at college, his love of music came calling – loudly. Alex graduated with his Associates Degree in Music from Montgomery County Community College, where he studied music theory, songwriting, choral arranging, piano, guitar and voice. He has supplemented these studies with classes at Temple’s Boyer College of Music, studying in voice, piano, and additional theory. Alex’s teaching experience includes early childhood education courses, classroom shadowing, and private music instruction on guitar, piano and bass. When not teaching, Alex is a member of The Loop, one of Philly and South Jersey’s busiest cover bands, and releases his own music as “Chop Robinson.” Alex teaches Guitar, Bass, Voice, Piano, Drums and Songwriting for the school.
Rachel – voice, piano
Rachel grew up surrounded by music – her mother was a choir teacher and taught singing lessons from their home. As a result, Rachel spent most of her childhood singing, later adding cello and piano to her list of musical skills. In high school she began to pursue classical voice more seriously: studying with Eastman alumna Esther Kulp and Professor Katherine Johnson, a teacher and mentor she continues to work with. For her higher education, Rachel headed to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she was the recipient of the Rider Advantage Scholarship, made Dean’s List every semester of her attendance, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Music. While there, she also had the opportunity to frequent venues such as the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall with orchestras like the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic. Rachel teaches voice and piano in a variety of genres, and especially enjoys musical theatre, singer/songwriter/folk music, and audition prep. Currently, she is a part of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir and is singing in the alto section of Haydn’s Four Seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra. When not teaching or performing, she enjoys exploring language and literature, and feels that they “both meld beautifully under the umbrella of music.” Rachel teaches voice and piano for the school.
Kathryn – 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 – 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.
Peter - 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 – 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.
Nelson - 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.
Beatrice – 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 – 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 - *Lead Teacher: 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 tis a lead teacher of voice, musical theater, piano and guitar.
David – *Lead Teacher: 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 is a lead teacher of piano, guitar and voice for the school.
Patrick – 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 – *Lead Teacher: 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 is a lead teacher of voice and piano for the school.
David - 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.
Monica - *Master Teacher: 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 - 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.
Brendan - *Lead Teacher: voice, guitar, piano
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 is a lead teacher of piano, guitar and voice for MW.
*Our lead and master teachers earned their positions through longstanding records of high performance within the school. Learn more here.