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It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
                                              ~ Einstein

Our Teachers

Elyse Farrugia

Guitar

Elyse has been playing guitar for six years on her church worship team and has been teaching guitar for two years.  For the past three years she has attended the Oregon Fine Arts Convention for songwriting, and was invited all three times to perform her music at the National Fine Arts Conference which was held in Ohio this year.  


Elyse is currently a student at Rogue Community College where she studied music theory and is working on her Associate of Arts Degree.  In addition to music, Elyse also enjoys spending time with friends and family, songwriting, painting, the outdoors, and her three cats.

Jennifer Farrugia

Violin and Kindermusik

Jennifer is an experienced violin teacher and a licensed Kindermusik educator.  She has been teaching violin over a span of 15 years and has performed in multiple ensembles including the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, The Rogue Opera, The Jefferson Baroque Orchestra, local theater productions, several bands (including bluegrass, Celtic, and Christian contemporary), and her church worship team.

 

Jennifer lives in Grants Pass with her husband and three teens. When she's not playing the violin with her church worship team, she enjoys cozying up with some reading and coffee, cooking, baking, knitting, and spending time with her family.

 

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Music has been an important part of my life as long as I can remember. It's both therapeutic, and a way for me to continue to learn and grow. Sparking that interest in others, especially from an early age as I myself experienced, can have a wonderful, lifelong impact.

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Joe Gomez III

Voice

Joe is an accomplished bass soloist well known in the Grants Pass music community.  He studied music at Rio Hondo College in California followed by seven years of private vocal lessons with Joseph Klein and Dolores Davis.  Joe has performed with the Los Angeles opera, at the Hollywood Bowl, in Europe, at the Oregon State Capitol, and locally as bass soloist for the annual Josephine County Messiah Sing-along.

Joe has been teaching singing for over 30 years.  Students and parents alike express their appreciation for his professional but friendly and supportive teaching style.  

In addition to singing Joe enjoys gardening and working on projects at home.

Teaching singing is fulfilling for me.  I feel that I am passing on what I have learned and therefore it is not lost.  It is also gratifying to see my student's faces light up when they get it.

Teresa Northcross

Cello

Teresa began studying cello in elementary school and began private lessons in high school.  During that time played in many orchestras and chamber ensembles.   After a hiatus to finish college, start a family, and begin a career as an elementary teacher and reading specialist, Teresa returned to cello playing and continued improving her cello skills through study with private teachers.  
 
Now retired from public school teaching, Teresa has been teaching cello for over five years.  She is currently the principal cellist with the Three Rivers Orchestra and has performed with many other local ensembles including the Three Rivers Chorale, the Josephine County Messiah Sing-a-long Orchestra, and the One Eleven Theater Company.
   
When not playing the cello, Teresa is reading, working crossword puzzles, walking her dogs, playing with her two cats, book-clubbing on zoom, and doing yoga.  She enjoys spending time with her husband David and her sons Evan and Quentin.

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I keep coming back to music.  Music challenges, soothes, and energizes me.  I love exploring the intricacies of cello playing and I love sharing music with others.  I can’t wait to find out what I’m going to learn next!  I am inspired by my students, and find working with other cellists expands my own appreciation and understanding of the instrument.    

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I've always sensed the miracle of music in the joy that it brings.  As I've studied the research and observed the unbelievable benefits of music making in every area of child and human development, I feel privileged to participate in a life work that has such a powerful impact on the world.  I truly enjoy the relationships that develop with my students during our lessons.   I treasure the time I get to share with them.

Deborah Pratt

Kindermusik, Piano, Guitar, Singing

Deb holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa - Stevens Point and a Master of Arts in Music Education plus Elementary Education certification from the University of Iowa.  She and her husband moved to Grants Pass in 1998, and she founded Music4Kids in 1999.  In addition to teaching and managing Music4Kids, Deb worked as a substitute teacher in the local school districts for 12 years.

 

Deb has performed as vocal soloist with many choral/orchestra productions including Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Choral Union, the University of Iowa Women's Chorale, and the Josephine County Sing-Along Messiah.  As a conductor, she directed the orchestra for three Grants Pass High School musical productions and led the RCC Rogue Chorus for six years.  In 2019 she was invited with the Rogue Chorus to join choirs from around the world to sing Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall in New York City.  Deb has served as a church musician for many years and currently plays keyboard and guitar with the River Valley Community Church Redwood Campus worship team.
 
Deb and her husband Jim have three daughters and seven grandchildren.  She enjoys spending time with Jim, gardening, walking, visiting the Oregon coast, playing music, and connecting with family and friends.

Kristin Ryerson

Voice

Kristin holds music degrees from Iowa State and DePaul University.   Shortly after receiving her Master of Music in Vocal Performance, she began her professional career as an apprentice artist with the Santa Fe, Virginia, and Utah Opera companies. 

 

After completing her apprenticeships, she balanced performing with developing skills as a Business Manager in the Advertising Industry. During this time, Kristin performed with local and regional opera companies including the Chicago Opera Theater, Augusta Opera, Natchez Music Festival, New Jersey Opera Theater, and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.  Kristin was also a featured soloist for Manhattan Concert Performance and MidAmerica Productions performing at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, as well as Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fischer Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York. 

 After 12 years in New York City, Kristin left her performance career and moved to Oregon to focus on her family.  However, her love of music proved too strong to stay hidden.  She began teaching private lessons in 2016 after she was invited to teach a Master Class for the Grants Pass High School Choir program. Recently, Kristin served as Music Director for One Eleven Theatre’s production of Matilda and as a vocal coach for their Summer Camp.

Kristin loves sharing her knowledge of music and finding each student’s “true voice”.  Lessons are rooted in the classical model of breath support and a relaxed vocal tract.  Her belief is that no matter what style of music you want to sing, starting with a supported, relaxed tone promotes versatility, longevity and consistency in a singer’s production.

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 “I love helping singers explore their voice and unlock all the possibilities lying within.  My greatest joy is when a student has that “A HA” moment and they create the beautiful sound they were looking for.  I believe everyone can sing.  We each have different gifts and different voices.  My joy is in helping you find yours by exploring all the possibilities.  I tell my students there are no ugly sounds…only sounds that can be used for different purposes.  Every sound is a pathway to somewhere different.  It is up to you to decide where you want to go.”

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Music has been a part of my life since before I was born. I live in a family of accomplished musicians, and my love of music was instilled from a very young age. I believe music is such an important and integral part of development. It helps with coordination, timing, patience, and even learning other skills like dance, sports, and new languages.  I love to help cultivate a love and appreciation of music for all ages.

Heidi Sundin

Piano

Heidi is an accomplished pianist and accompanist.  She began learning piano at the age of 3 from her Grandmother who is also an experienced piano teacher. She has served as pianist with many choirs including the 3 Rivers Chorale and the Rogue Community College Chorus.  She has also played with local theater productions and church worship teams.  


Heidi has been teaching piano for over eight years.  An accomplished ballerina in addition to being a pianist, Heidi also has experience teaching ballet to young dancers at a local ballet studio.  

 

After living in Europe and then Eugene, Oregon, Heidi and her husband moved back to Grants Pass to live closer to family.  In addition to teaching piano and performing, Heidi works as a charcoal artist drawing commissions and selling her original art locally. She also enjoys reading, baking, dance, and spending time with her husband.

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