Laura Patterson: Executive Director
Laura has an MA in Arts Management from American University and a BM in Flute Performance from the University of Southern California. Her previous work experience includes the Departments of Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State and the Organization of American States, New York Youth Symphony’s Chamber Music Program, A Midsummer Music Quebec, CW Post Long Island University’s Summer Festival, and Opera France. In April of 2014, Laura was chosen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a “Person of Character, Courage, and Commitment” in honor of Women’s History Month for her work with Make Music NOLA.
In addition to administrative work, Laura also has 9 years of experience teaching group classes and private lessons. Her teaching experience includes working for the Harmony Project, an award-winning music education organization now serving 1,500 students in Los Angeles. She has performed at the Lima International Jazz Festival (Lima, Peru), the International Arts Festival (Rotterdam, Holland), Electronic Music Midwest (Chicago, IL), the Southern Voices Dance Festival, French Quarter Festival, and Bach Around the Clock. Laura currently performs with Versipel New Music Collective and several other projects in New Orleans.
Matt Rhody: Head Violin Teacher and Curriculum Development
Matt Rhody is a fixture on Frenchmen Street. He currently plays with several bands, including the New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings, The Hot Club of New Orleans, Luke Winslow King, Lynnzi Zaorski, and the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus. He has also worked with The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., and Stevie Wonder. Matt was recently singled out to solo with Stevie Wonder onstage at the Smoothie King Center and to perform with Luke Winslow King at South by Southwest. He also teaches at UNO and has a private studio at his home. Matt Rhody is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Tucker Fuller: Violin Teacher
Tucker Fuller attended Bard College (B.A.), the Peabody Institute (M.M.) and the University of Michigan (DMA), and has studied with composers Joan Tower, Christopher Theofanidis, Evan Chambers, Michael Daugherty, and Bright Sheng. He has had premieres with the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Colorado String Quartet, and the American Symphony Orchestra. Tucker is a frequent collaborator with poet Megan Levad. Writing as 1928, Tucker and Megan write song cycles for both conventional and unconventional places.
Rebecca Gaillot: Violin Teacher
Rebecca is currently a full-time teacher at Metairie Park Country Day school, where she also teaches private violin lessons and assists with the orchestra. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys biking and competing in tri-athalons.
Michael Olejniczak: Violin Teacher
“Michael Olejniczak is a graduate of Tulane University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music. He largely attributes his love of music to having grown up in New Orleans. His orchestral participation includes the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra and the Tulane University Orchestra. Michael’s other interests include medicinal research, collecting vinyl records, and fixing cars and bicycles.”
Charles Lumar II: Bass and Cello Teacher
Music is inspiring. Music is infinite. Music is fun. That’s why Charles plays music, and that’s why he teaches music. Music shows us that we can explore places that we never even knew were there. In addition to teaching, Charles is an apprentice luthier at Keller Strings and plays bass with local artists Where Y’acht, Kristin Diable, Kettle Black, and Keisha Slaughter.
Leah Hennessy: General Music Teacher
Leah Hennessy is a vocalist, songwriter, and educator who claims Charleston, SC and Boston, MA as home. She holds both a Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance and a Masters Degree in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory, and has performed in venues up and down the East Coast. For the past four years, Ms. Hennessy taught at Conservatory Lab Charter School, an El Sistema and Expeditionary Learning school based in Boston. She believes that music can uplift, inspire, and empower people, and has witnessed first hand how music education can help students to build connections across academic disciplines, and develop social-emotional skills like perseverance, cooperation, and responsibility. Having recently moved to New Orleans, she is excited to be working with Make Music NOLA as K-4 General Music Instructor at Arise Academy. Ms. Hennessy also works with New Orleans Airlift, assisting with production at the Music Box Village. She looks forward to immersing herself in the vibrant culture of New Orleans, and hopes to become an active performer in the music scene.
Jordan Peota: General Music Teacher and Program Assistant
Jordan teaches Kindergarten through 4th grade general music at Mildred Osborne Charter School and is the program assistant for Make Music NOLA. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and started playing clarinet in his high school band there. He attended Loyola University New Orleans and graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education. Besides teaching music, he loves to ride his bicycle and his motor scooter. Jordan can solve Monday crosswords without Google and he’s working on Tuesdays.
Nathan Money: Orchestra Teacher
Having recently moved from Boston, Gabrielle Fischler is excited to be a new member of the Make Music Nola faculty as of Fall 2015. In Boston, she received degrees in violin performance and International Relations. Gabrielle is also a co-founding member of the conductorless string orchestra Palaver Strings, an ensemble committed to diversifying the accessibility of classical music and promoting social justice and human welfare through cross-collaboration of the arts and unconventional partnerships. One such partnership includes collaboration with the Boston Medical Center, where Palaver frequently performs and engages with hospital staff and patients.
Gabrielle is loving her new life as a freelancer in New Orleans with her tuxedo cat, Gandhi, who she met by the Fairgrounds Racetrack.
Joelle Britt: Orchestra Teacher
Joelle began her study of music on the piano at age 4. She has performed with the City Opera’s “nutshell” orchestra for over 4 years. She performed in the New York Youth Symphony (NYYS) chamber music program. Joelle enjoyed two years in the New York InterSchool Orchestra (ISO), where she also served as a coach in two junior orchestras, and music instructor for two beginner violin students.
Joelle founded a classical string trio with her two siblings. JoSunJari debuted in summer 2007 and has since enjoyed delighting audiences at various scheduled venues including, a special feature at the world famous Apollo Theatre, guest performer on the “Amateur Night at the Apollo!”, the Apollo’s Annual Spring Benefit honoring Smokey Robinson and Denzel Washington, featured artists at the annual international Cari-Com conference, opened events at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other venues during the centennial celebration of the NAACP.