Meet the StaffThe People Who Make Musical Magic Happen
Voice, Musical Theatre Studio Sessions
Adam Walsh is a musician, composer, and teacher with a unique ability to connect with kids of all ages. With a strong desire to instill a love of music in his students, Adam sets out to create a learning environment parents will appreciate and kids will love. As a former children’s pastor, Adam has trained young musicians in the worship arts, taught songwriting, and recorded three albums of Bible memory verses. He’s written and edited curriculum for Group Publishing in Loveland, Colorado, He has performed in or musically directed over 25 shows, and is now, with his wife Courtney, the co-owner of The Studio. Adam has a B.S. in Music from Bradley University, is a father of three insanely entertaining kids, and loves games and puzzles of all kinds. At The Studio, Adam is not only a co-owner, but a teacher (voice, piano, brass) as well.
Mariah comes to The Studio with an eclectic and impressive array of experience – from teaching classes for 5-7 year olds to performing on stage, from directing full scale musicals to compiling media on social networking platforms. A graduate of Moody Bible College, Mariah is putting her skills in photography, management, and editing to good use handling all of The Studio’s admin and social media duties!
Piano and Flute
Rebecca Aupperle is a musician, writer and teacher who cannot walk by a piano without playing it, or hear a song without harmonizing to it, and she strives to instill that same love and joy of music into her students. As a former minister to college students, Rebecca loves to work with young people, helping them grow in confidence and leadership as creative persons. She has served as a church worship director and continues to contribute musically at her current church. Rebecca studied music education, piano pedagogy and English at Millikin University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She lives in Rockford with her husband Steve, also a musician, and secretly dreams of singing in a Vocal Jazz group one day. Rebecca loves swing dancing, her students and she thinks farmers’ markets are some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Born and raised in the musical islands of the Philippines, Olivia’s life has been dedicated to music. Holding multiple degrees from the prestigious University of the Philippines where she majored in Voice and Music Education, Olivia spent years teaching at the private studio of one of Asia’s most legendary composer. She was also pioneering member of her country’s first professional master chorale. Though she was classically trained in singing, with her versatility, she can also sing other genres of music. She performed in different parts of Asia such as China, Thailand and Vietnam where she and her band gained a great reputation. For the last two years, Olivia has been spreading her love of music here in the United States through teaching students, involvement in multiple local choirs, as well as performances of all types right here in the Rockford area. Olivia is a teacher at heart and has been teaching singing since 1998. She nurtures her students according to their musical ability and motivates them to maximize their musical and artistic potentials. Above all, she makes sure that her students are having fun making music.
Jessica Koenig loves sharing her passion for music and the relationships it forges with people of all ages and backgrounds. While growing up in St. Louis, MO, she was a leader in countless musicals and choirs, and was selected to sing solo for Pope John Paul II on international television at age 17. She has taught students both privately and in schools, and directed choirs and ensembles of all ages since 2003, after graduating from William Jewell College with a BS in Music Education. Her Children’s Choir at Holy Family School performed the National Anthem for the Harlem Globetrotters and has been featured in several choral festivals, including the Pueri Cantores Festival in Chicago, IL.
Jessica recently returned to the stage in The Studio’s production of Grimm as the Fairy Godmother. While she enjoys performing, teaching is her calling and she is dedicated to helping her students thrive musically and emotionally. Jessica has witnessed first-hand how transformative The Studio has been in the lives of her three children and is overjoyed to now be part of The Studio’s teaching staff!
Amy Sanderson has over 25 years of experience teaching private piano lessons to all ages. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music from Lincoln Christian University. Her experience also includes accompanying soloists, groups, musical theater and church worship services. She is currently taking new piano students at The Studio, where she’s excited to share her love of music!
Deborah has been in and around music since she was 5, bumping her brothers off the piano stool and trying to play their songs. A pastor’s kid, she sang and played at churches while accompanying choirs in high school. She majored in Special Education at Western Illinois, where she met her future husband – and they promptly moved out to Santa Fe, where they both finished their studies at the University of New Mexico.
She has four kids who are all involved in music in some way, and simply adores teaching and Starbucks.
Valerie Brandt-Soetermans graduated from Millikin University with a BFA degree in Musical Theatre and Dance. In New York City, she performed a cabaret act for 3 yrs and then accepted a position as a back-up singer and dancer for Louise Mandrell and toured the US with Louise for the next six years. Valerie has performed in music videos and concerts with such superstars as Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Billy Ray Cyrus, Faith Hill and Vince Gill. In addition to videos and concerts, she was trained at TVI Actors Studio in Hollywood, California, and has appeared in the TV shows, Family Matters, Melrose Place, 90210, Vital Signs, Mad TV, and several HBO specials. Valerie accepted a position as 1 of 3 performers to sing and dance for the Radisson Diamond Cruise Line so that she could travel again. The cruise turned out to be the “Love Boat” because she married the drummer, Jay. They decided to reside back in her “hometown” to raise their family and home school both their children. She is in her 14th yr of homeschooling.This will be her 19th yr of teaching. She also teaches advanced, adult, and senior citizen tap, couples dancing, and private acting. Valerie continues to perform alongside her husband in the band The Missing Links, and their own band; Stages.
Angela Martinez has played piano for over 15 years and has loved singing for as long as she can remember! Throughout high school and college, she sang in various choirs including an a cappella group and select choir. Angela was previously an elementary music teacher and taught kids ages 3-11. She has also been on the directing team for a number of shows with The Studio, and she was the musical director for The Lion King Jr. She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Teaching at Rockford University. She loves musicals and has performed in or worked on over 20 shows. Off-stage, she has also played in the pit orchestra for a number of shows. Angela believes that a kind, supportive environment that encourages both excellence and fun is the best kind of place to learn in!
Javier Roman is a multi-instrumentalist, performer, and music industry marketer from Rockford, IL. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Industry from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and plays in ensembles of varying styles around the Midwest. Being a musician since 11 years old, he has studied Voice, Guitar, Bass, and Piano both professionally and independently. He is an active songwriter with the Milwaukee-based Latin group Dear Dualidad, as well as his own solo music. Javier has a deep love for musical theatre which he has expressed on and off stage being involved as a cast, crew, and pit member in various shows across Illinois. He is excited to help students grow as musicians and performers while furthering their love of music and the arts.