Hilary Kearns has been teaching for 3 years and has been playing piano and studying voice since 2002. She has accompanied choirs, musicals, and singers of all kinds. Hilary has performed in several operas and musicals, including playing Fantine in Les Misérables: School Edition, Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Hilary graduated from Northwest School of the Arts in 2009. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Appalachian State University in 2013, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Florida State University in 2015.
Hilary is currently the music director at Sardis Baptist Church. She is a member of the Charlotte Symphony Chorus, and takes part in various opera and musical theatre productions in and around Charlotte.
Colin Ray’s passion for drums and all things percussion extends over 17 years. He has been taking private lessons for most of that time, studying everything from jazz, marching, and orchestral percussion to rock, funk, and R&B.
He is currently in pursuit of a B.A. in Music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he studies everything percussive with local living legend, Rick Dior.
Colin has been performing in a variety of settings in the Charlotte area since 2008, including musicals, and is a member of several local bands.
Kirsten Allen has been playing the violin since she was four years old. She was classically trained at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Upon moving to SC, Kirsten played in an orchestra in Tega Cay, studying under Violet Pan of the Charlotte Symphony. Kirsten was a member of the College of Charleston orchestra for four years studying under Yuriy Bekker and Tomas Jakubek of the Charleston Symphony.
Kirsten began teaching violin lessons in Mexico City in 2011 and offers lessons in Spanish as well as English. She specializes in methods of Suzuki with focus on sight reading and music theory. Kirsten enjoys playing violin for the theater, fiddle, and a variety of other styles from jazz, punk, rock, bluegrass, and mariachi.
Music is an essential part of Kirsten’s life and she believes firmly that it is essential for every person to implement it into their lives in some fashion.
Valerie Freeman has played violin for more than 30 years and viola for more than 20. She has been a strings instructor for over a decade.
She attended the highly selective Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Since returning to Charlotte, she rounded out her training with Jon Singleton.
Valerie’s music interests have broadened beyond her solid classical training to include traditional folk music (primarily Celtic), topped off with musical show tunes.
Her most recent performance experience includes 2 years with the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, where she fills in as needed in the 1st and 2nd violin and viola sections.
David Liotta has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for more than ten years and teaching for four. He has experience in a multitude of genres including Rock, Indie, Metal, Jazz, Gospel and Contemporary Worship.
David has a degree in Guitar Performance from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC where he has received numerous awards for his endeavors.
David plays regularly for local musicals, recording artists, contemporary worship groups and a professional cover band. He is currently a musician at a church in Charlotte.
Russell Sharp, originally from Connecticut, started playing drums in ‘69, after being inspired by Woodstock. He has been teaching drums for over 10 years.
Having over 35 years of experience, Russ has made tremendous strides in the Rock n’ Roll, Blues, Funk, R&B, Jazz/Rock and Progressive Rock areas. The use of dynamics and a free feel are key elements to his style.
Over his career, he’s taken lessons from Graham Lear (Santana’s Drummer), jammed with Tim Bogert(Vanilla Fudge), Chris Pinnick(Chicago), Chet McCracken(Doobie Bros), Aynsley Dunbar(Zappa, Journey) and has jammed with Eddie Van Halen.
Carmelo Smith has played guitar for 25 years and taught for 10. His roots are in Gospel and R&B but has studied and performed Jazz, Rock and Top 40 styles as well.
Carmelo is self-taught, developing his skills in eastern North Carolina until relocating to Charlotte in 1999. Since then he has performed with some of today’s best artists, including Anthony Hamilton, KC and JoJo, Erykah Badu, and Fantasia Barrino.
Carmelo is currently playing for Charlotte area churches, local musicals, and teaching professionally around the North Carolina/South Carolina border. He is currently the music director and lead guitarist for a well known Top 40 band.