Voice, Show Choirs, Theatre, Musical Theatre
Megan Friese-Kaufman is the founder and owner of The Friese Studio of Music. She 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. Her middle school students have performed with the University of North Florida Opera Program.
Ms. Kaufman is also the Founder and Director of Saltwater Performing Arts (formerly St Marys Children’s Theatre). She is the music instructor for Bright Beginnings Morning School and teaches Family Music Programs at KingsBay Naval Submarine Base in Southeast Georgia. She has also volunteered as Music Director for the St Marys Little Theatre.
Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Music Theory, Songwriting
Jay Fettinger (JayBone) with over 40 years of performing experience and over 20 years of teaching experience, was the first instructor to join Megan at the Friese Studio of Music. He teaches Guitar from beginner to advanced, with a focus on fundamentals of music theory. Jaybone offers instruction in studio or online via zoom for Guitar (beginner to advanced), Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Music Theory, and Songwriting. His teaching style incorporates music theory such as timing and song structure and includes weekly assignments while preparing students to perform in showcases and beyond using Essential Elements for Guitar by Hal Leonard and Practical Theory by Sandy Feldstein. Students of Jaybone have gone on to impressive accomplishments including attending Douglas Anderson School for the Arts, University of North Florida, Berklee College of Music, Belmont University in Nashville. In addition, students of Jaybone have been on major tours across the U.S. and Europe as well as one group of students signing a record deal with a major record label. A few students have gone on to become guitar instructors themselves.
Jaybone's musical education includes learning from renowned musicians Mike Weaver, Tony Smotherman, James Hogan, and Megan Kaufman. He has certificates in Fundamentals of Music Theory (University of Edinburgh), Intro to Guitar, Songwriting, Jazz Improvisation, and Music Business Foundations (Berklee College of Music) His experience as a performer includes hundreds of appearances at festivals and music venues throughout Florida and Georgia. Career highlights include opening for the Charlie Daniels band at the Savannah Civic Center, opening for the Allman Betts Band at the Rhythm and Ribs Festival in St. Augustine, headlining the Shrimp Festival at the Palace in Fernandina Beach, recording sessions in Atlanta and releasing CD's with Milltown Road Band.
Jaybone is the founder and director of the R.A.W. Music Festival in Jacksonville, FL with the mission of Raising Awareness With Music for Multiple Sclerosis. Jaybone is also the co-founder and music director for the Walkabout Music Festival in Kingsland, GA. When not teaching Jaybone can be found working on his Facebook group page "Guitar Guidance by Jaybone" as well as performing with his band Jaybone and Friends.
Clinton Weinberg is a classically trained vocalist and instrumentalist who has actively been performing for over 20 years and teaching for 17 years. Clinton holds a Bachelors of Music in Classical Voice from the University of North Florida, a Master’s of Arts in Education from Bethel University, and he is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education from the University of West Florida. Clinton has lead numerous workshops and master classes and has completed graduate work in Voice Performance and Music Education at Valdosta State University and the University of Florida. Clinton’s primary teachers include Dr. Carole Clifford, Dr. Krzysztof Biernacki, Pegge Ealum, & Mary Ellen Potter.
He is at home on stage and has given numerous recitals and performance appearances with the U.S. Army Field Band, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Jacksonville University’s Instrumental and Vocal Ensembles, the UNF Opera Ensemble, the Valdosta State Univ. Blazer Quintet, the Orange Park Chorale, the Amelia Island Chamber Singers, and a touring production of Fiddler on the Roof. Additionally, Clinton served as the Choirmaster and Director of Music at Grace Episcopal Church (Orange Park, Florida) for nearly 8 years. At Grace, he founded and developed “Music to Go” & “Art in the Narthex”, a popular monthly lunchtime concert series and art exhibit.
Clinton is an experienced educator who has taught in the public-school system and private studio settings. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Jacksonville University. He is currently the President of the SE Chapter of the National Association of teachers of Singers (NATS). In addition to being a musician and educator, Clinton is also a licensed massage therapist, specializing in treatments for musicians which focus on alleviating pain, discomfort, and restriction resulting from repetitive motion injuries and restoring proper function for optimal performance.
Voice, Alexander Technique
Mariel Brewster is a vocal coach and Alexander Technique specialist who teaches full time throughout the First Coast. She began her voice studies almost 20 years ago in Vienna, Austria, and has since studied voice with many reputable teachers, including mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee at New England Conservatory and Angharad Sinclair of the Cincinnati School of Music. As a performer, Mariel has been asked to solo with the Amelia Island Chamber Singers, as well as performing regularly for weddings, church services, and other local events and across the country. She brings many unique skills to her vocal pedagogy, with a unique emphasis on how to apply the Alexander Technique in singing to maintain the overall health of the vocal mechanism and create easy, enjoyable singing.
As an Alexander Technique specialist, Mariel served as professor of Alexander Technique at the University of Florida School of Theater and Dance where she taught graduate and undergraduate classes. She has given many workshops at major universities throughout Florida, working with professional, graduate, and undergraduate performers in theater, dance, and music. She is a graduate of the Alexander Technique Training Center in Newton, MA where she earned a three-year American Society of Alexander Technique (AmSAT) certificate and finished a 2-year post-graduate study at ATTC. She studied under master teachers Ruth Kilroy and Rivka Cohen, both of whom studied with Patrick MacDonald, a student of F.M. Alexander himself.
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.
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!
Violin, Viola, Cello
Joseph Henderson has performed various genres of music throughout the eastern United States with all types of ensembles. He was accepted to participate in the National Orchestral Institute in the summer of 2019, as well the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in 2018. He had the honor of performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto as a soloist after being selected as a winner of the University of North Florida Concerto Competition. As an orchestral musician, Mr. Henderson has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony, the Coastal Symphony of Georgia, Civic Orchestra of Jacksonville, Symphony of the Goddesses, Roy Orbison Hologram Tour, Electric Lights Orchestra, and Video Games Live Orchestra. Joseph Henderson currently studies with Jacksonville Symphony’s Principal Violist, DJ Cheek.
Piano & Beginner Voice
Rebecca MacArthur is a native of Carrollton, GA. She is a classically trained pianist and vocalist that began formal lessons at age 7 and spent her childhood in Band, Chorus and Drama. Rebecca was a 4-time member of the Georgia All-State Chorus. In addition to voice and piano, she plays bassoon, oboe, and clarinet. At the University of West Georgia she majored in voice and piano performance and studied voice under Metroploitan Opera Soprano, the late Inge Manski-Lundeen and her piano studies under Betty Tolbert Smith. Rebecca loves Collaborative Piano and has many years accompanying church choirs, singers and instrumentalists. In addition to volunteering as an accompanist for Saltwater Performing Arts, she is currently the accompanist for the Camden County High School Fine Arts Department. In addition to her extensive music studies and experiences, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from LaGrange College, A Master of Divinity from Erskine Theological Seminary and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University. Married for over twenty-five years to Tom MacArthur (Camden Middle School Band Director) they are parents to 5 musical children and enjoy spending as much time as possible attending concerts with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
Beginning thru Advanced Piano & Musikgarten Program
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.
Rebecca is one of our studio resident accompanists and assists with studio showcases, recitals, concerts and competitions.
Woodwinds, Cello & 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.
Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Piano, Elementary & Pre-School Group Music Programs
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.
Nina Riley holds many titles; California native, musician, Navy wife, mom and brass instructor at The Friese Studio of Music. Nina is proficient in theory, Beginning Jazz Improvisation, beginning piano, brass instruments and specializes in Trombone performance. She has spent many years as a gigging musician playing everything from ska to big band music. Currently Nina is attending JU to complete her BM Jazz performance and commercial music studies. Nina firmly believes in building confidence through positive reinforcement with her students.