Founder/Owner & Vocals
Megan Friese-Kaufman is a classically trained vocalist, with a Masters of Music Arts Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Florida. She received her Bachelors of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from the Music Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. She studied under the esteemed, internationally acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano, Tracy Watson.
After performances at the Historic Chicago Auditorium Theater (home of The Ziegfield Follies), and other Chicago venues, Ms. Friese-Kaufman has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus and Grand Opera. She recently performed as a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Chorus at Lincoln Center in New York in the fall of 2014. Her opera performances include roles in The Jacksonville Symphony Grand Opera presentations of Turandot, Cossi Fan Tutti, and The Elixer of Love, La Boheme. Additionally her performance repertoire includes numerous performances in Opera, Stage Musicals, Vocal Competitions, and Ensemble and Solo Work.
Ms. Kaufman’s instructional methodology includes pedagogy, theory, and performance & vocal techniques to insure the healthiest and most productive vocalists. She is a member of The National Association for Teachers of Singers (NATS), GMEA and NAfME providing competition training and expertise for her students. Students of Ms. Kaufman have auditioned for and been accepted into College and University Music Programs, Musical Theater Productions, Singing and Talent Competitions in High School and University Programs, as well as national entertainment competitions such as American Idol and The Voice.
Ms. Kaufman is the Founder and Director of the St Marys Children’s Theatre. She also volunteers as Music Director for the St Marys Little Theatre.
Guitar and Ukulele
Jay Fettinger (JayBone) is a full time guitar instructor with 25 years of performing experience and 15 years of teaching experience. JayBone has earned certificates in each of the following online courses of study: Fundamentals of Music Theory - University of Edinburgh, Music Business Concepts and Introduction to Guitar - Berklee College of Music.
JayBone is the band leader and lead guitarist in Milltown Road Band. He began teaching at the Friese studio of music in 2010 and continues to provide personalized instruction with weekly assignments that help students achieve established goals. This approach is challenging and motivating. Students are encouraged to perform at student showcases. JayBone’s curriculum includes the “Hal Leonard Essential Elements for Guitar” and the “Practical Theory” series by Sandy Feldstein
Violin & Piano
Lucie Tracy is a professional, warm, and passionate teacher with over 17 years of experience teaching private violin lessons in one-on-one, classroom, and group music environments. Her students have ranged in age from as young as age 4 up to 84. She holds a BS in Music from City, University of London, UK with violin performance studies completed at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, UK. In addition, she holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. After passing her ABRSM Grade 8 exam with a Distinction at age 17, she was privileged to be invited, after audition, to perform with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. She played professionally and semi-professionally with orchestras and ensembles in London and Cambridge, UK, and was a member of the Everett Symphony Orchestra, WA, before relocating to Saint Marys. Lucie’s approach to teaching is multi-fold: while nurturing in her students a passion for the violin, she will also develop in them strong foundational skills such as note reading, music theory, violin technique, ear training, musicianship, sight reading, and recital preparation. Her education and performance background, coupled with her experience as a mother of three beautiful children, make her both professionally and personally qualified to provide students with a highly skilled, yet warm and empathetic lesson experience. She is a strong believer in the value of music in a person's life, and an individual's right to musical self expression. Whether a student wants to learn simply as a hobby, or they have higher music career goals, their learning journey is important to Lucie. Students will always receive her respect, full attention, and careful preparation for their lessons.
Violin, Cello & Piano
Laura Ingalls, a Violinist and music educator, is based in Jacksonville, Florida. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Music Education from University of North Florida and a Master of Church Music from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Laura began studying violin when she was five years old and started teaching violin when she was seventeen years old. She has taught violin, viola, cello, piano, general music classes and children's choirs.
Laura plays with the Jacksonville University Orchestra and for local churches. She has been a member of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Durham Symphony Orchestra and Coastal Symphony of Georgia. She has played musicals, operas, oratorios, shows and for bands including the following: Phantom of the Opera, The Music Man, Hello Dolly, Into the Woods, HMS Pinafore, Iolanthe, Messiah, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Johnny Mathis, Electric Light Orchestra and Celtic Woman!
Vocal, Piano, Trumpet & Pre-School Music, Musical Theatre and Theatre Tech
Brandilyn Kessler's primary instrument is voice and was classically trained at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. She studied voice under Mrs. Sarah Hancock, Mezzo-Soprano and Dr. Maureen Simpson, Soprano. She also studied Opera under Dr. Arikka Gregory and Dr. Tamara Watson Harper. Her secondary instrument is the trumpet, which she has played since 6th grade. While attending GSU she studied trumpet further under Dr. and Mrs. Schmid.
Mrs. Kessler is from Camden County, GA. She has performed in madrigal dinners, operas, and musicals all over Georgia. She started singing in her home church of First Baptist Church Kingsland at two years of age and was the youngest member of the GA State Honor Chorus in second Grade. She has made governor honors in band and voice for the state of GA. Mrs. Kessler has continued to study Contemporary Christian and Southern Gospel while attending First Baptist Church St. Marys where she directs the Children’s Choir and participates in the adult choir as a first soprano. She started taking piano lessons from her mother Mrs. Sheryl Brown, a local pianist, and continued under Dr. Tom Pearsall at GSU.
She will be teaching voice and beginning piano and helping with our preschool music program.
Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Piano
Chelsea Franklin was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Her love of music began at a young age. She picked up her first flute in middle school and studied under the direction of Deborah McDuffie, an esteemed music educator and producer. She studied for several years with Ms. McDuffie before getting accepted to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, This is where her love of music really began to develop. After graduating from Douglas Anderson, she was accepted to the University of North Florida where she studied for four years under Rhona Cassano from the Jacksonville Symphony. Franklin performed at acclaimed UNF Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Gordon Brock and was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall with the group. She has also performed at the 2007 Florida Music Educator Association (FMEA) convention and at the annual breast cancer awareness concert emceed by newscaster Donna Hicken and Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Edith Perez. Chelsea continues to develop and hone her craft under the direction of Laura Dwyer, former principal flute of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra and flute/Piccolo in the Santa Fe Symphony. Chelsea continues to perform and teach in the Jacksonville area.
Woodwinds & Camden Community Band Director
Carol Smith is originally from Maitland, Florida and attended Seminole County Schools. She began her college career at Seminole Community College and then transferred to Florida State University. Carol taught middle school band in Seminole County and then moved to South West Georgia when she got married. She lived in Americus, Georgia where she taught middle school band. Carol also taught applied woodwind lessons at Georgia Southwestern University. When they moved to Saint Marys Carol began teaching elementary music. She attended Orff Training Levels 1, 2, and 3. Carol is currently teaching Kindergarten, but hopes to one day be back in the band room. She has 2 sons ages 17 and 19.
Musikgarten Program & Advanced Piano
Rebecca Rassi attended Taylor University for 5 years as a music education and piano pedagogy major. She has been teaching and playing professionally for over 35 years and is currently the pianist and choir director at Kingsland UMC. She is certified and licensed to teach Musikgarten. Rebecca played flute and piccolo in the Coastal Symphony and now enjoys playing in the Camden Community Band and Silver Winds Flute trio. She also plays hammered dulcimer.
Erik Nesteruk caught the drumming bug in sixth grade and has enjoyed playing a wide variety of percussion instruments and styles ever since. His experience includes marching and symphonic band percussion at the high school and college level, including stints with the Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Spirit of America Marching Band. On the drum set, he has played rock and jazz music with various groups including church bands, a rock band, and several musical theater productions. Today, he is the percussionist for the Camden County Community Band and continues to play for local theater productions when not working as a computer system administrator. He has degrees from Vanderbilt University and the Naval Postgraduate School in subjects other than music and lives in Kingsland.
Piano & Beginner Voice