Meet our Faculty!
Felicia Kaufmann is a graduate of King’s College with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Theatre. Prior to attending King’s College, Felicia attended a performing arts high school for theatre. Throughout her high school and college years she taught numerous theatre and dance classes with On Stage and Off and North Penn High School. Just last year, Felicia had the pleasure with working at the Walnut Street theatre’s performing arts camp and worked back stage for the Broadway Inbound Program at the Philadelphia’s Forest Theatre. Felicia has been dancing for the past fifteen years specializing in jazz, tap and musical theatre. She has been performing on stage since middle school and has been in many shows at King’s College, Theatre and Kids and The Dutch Country Playhouse.
Joe Aiello holds a Master of Music Degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Joe also studied with Frank Epstein of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Michael Bookspan of the Philadelphia Orchestra, jazz great Freddie Waits and Philadelphia icon and drum teacher Al Ipri. Joe was on the music faculty and head of the percussion department at the University of Southern Maine and has been teaching privately for over 20 years. Many of his students have gone on to successful music careers having graduated from West Chester University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music.
Don Bozzuffi attended Camden County College for classical guitar performance along with receiving private lessons in classical guitar at Rowan University. Don has over 13 years experience as a guitar instructor and taught at The Gift of Music Academy, The School of Rock, and Mars Music prior to joining Music Training Center’s faculty. Don has also been actively performing and recording in the Tri-State area for over 13 years, and has had the opportunity to play at New York City’s famous CBGB’s multiple times, as well as the closing night celebration of Philadelphia’s Doc Watson’s, and the grand opening of Philadelphia’s The Legendary Dobbs.
Peter Charalambidis is a graduate of Temple University with a Masters of Music in Piano Performance and a B.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. Peter began classical piano lessons at the age of 10. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, he studied for two years with Aaron Wunsch of the Juilliard School. At Boyer College of Music and Dance, he studied under Alexander Fiorillo and Dr. Mikhail Yanovitsky. Peter also serves as the choir director and accompanist for Tabernacle Lutheran Church in West Philadelphia.
Andrew Farace is a graduate of Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, California with an Associate’s Degree of Arts in Guitar Performance. At Musicians Institute he studied with renowned classical guitarist: Frank Hoffmeyer, jazz prodigy: Sid Jacobs, and contemporary guitar players: Pathik Desai and Antti Kotikoski. Andrew began his private guitar studies in South Jersey at age 12. He has also attended private vocal lessons, professional vocal performance workshops, and informally studied drum set. During the course of his studies, he performed and recorded with Philadelphia area and Los Angeles-based rock and metal bands. Andrew is fluent in many styles such as rock, jazz, blues, metal, and classical. He enjoys performing a fusion of these genres and helping his students find their own voice within their instrument. Andrew believes that creating music is one of the most rewarding things that life has to offer that benefit beyond, “simply playing an instrument”.
Erica Gibson is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and Composition. In addition to playing the piano Erica also plays the flute, piccolo, guitar, and mallet percussion. Erica has been teaching piano in the south NJ area since 1998, and has been a teacher in NJ public schools.
Craig Spear is a graduate of Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design with a Bachelors Degree in Music Industry Recording Technology. Craig began his piano studies at age 5 and continued to study privately through college. As a youth, he learned classical technique under the Suzuki Piano Method. In high school he was also introduced to jazz technique which later inspired him to study and perform under Lynn Riley with the Drexel University Fusion Band. Craig enjoys performing the works of Rachmaninoff and Chopin. His diverse piano training has supported his creativity to compose and record his own music. His recordings can be heard on the popular television station Animal Planet.
Laurie Zemble is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Choral and General Music Education. Laurie began singing at age 7, where she landed her first role in “Mary Poppins”. She continued performing in South Jersey including other favorite roles as Sandy in “Grease”, Little Red Riding Hood in “Into The Woods”, and Johanna in “Sweeney Todd”. At the University of Delaware, Laurie served as student conductor for various choral groups and a soloist for the University of Delaware Chorale. She was awarded the Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year.
Larry is a life-long resident of the Main Line and has been performing professionally for the past 38 years, beginning with the band Open Road in the early 70’s along with bandmate Brian Bricklin. Open Road appeared on TV several times in their early teens and in 1976, the band played in Villanova Stadium for the Bicentennial celebration. In 1976, Larry became the youngest performer to headline at the Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, a venue where many national stars like James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen got their starts. Larry’s band also opened for several prominent recording acts including the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and John Hammond.
Brandon Jones is a graduate of Bucks County Community College with a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance and Music Education. In addition to his jazz studies with John Sheridan at BCCC, he also studied classical guitar under Gabriel Handy at William Paterson University. Brandon began guitar lessons at age five, performing in jazz bands, vocal ensembles, and competitions throughout his K-12 education. He has performed in cover bands including the Rockets, Eleven Eleven and The Interns with performances at venues such as the Four Seasons, the Canal Room NYC, Finnegan’s Wake Philadelphia, and throughout Atlantic City, NJ. Performing and radio highlights include collaborations with Universal Recording Artist Brianna Taylor, Lukas Rossi the winner of, “Rock Star Supernova at the Borgata,” and the Preston and Steve Wing Bowl.
Jun Ibasco trained in guitar at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Jun’s musical career began in the Philippines and Japan touring intensively and working as a recording session artist. He specializes in fusion, rock, R&B, pop jazz, funk, and metal. Throughout his career, Jun has recorded and collaborated with Artists here and in Asia. Jun has been teaching guitar, ukulele, and bass at the Music Training Center since 2006. In 2014, Jun authored MTC’s Guitar Soloing Program.
Joyce Lin is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Violin Performance where she studied under Cyrus Forough. She holds certification in Orff Approach and specializes in teaching beginning students between the ages of 3 and 13 as well as advanced high school-age and adult students. Trained in both the United States and China, under a Philadelphia Orchestra member and multiple Shanghai Conservatory of Music faculty, her technique represents a Russian and Franco-Belgium school of violin playing. Joyce was the youngest member to join Chester County Youth Orchestra’s first violin section at age 10, and continued to become Concertmaster of Delaware County Youth Orchestra, Principal of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Concertmaster of District 12 Orchestra, First Violinist of MENC All-Eastern Orchestra.
Vahe Sarkissian is a graduate of the University of the Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in Guitar Performance and a Master’s degree in Music Education. Vahe has been a full-time member of Music Training Center’s guitar faculty since 2007. Many of Vahe’s students have achieved an advanced level of training including several who have since pursued music degrees at the University level. Vahe won the Lead Guitarist spot in 93.3 WMMR’s 2012 Building the Band contest where he performed at the Susquehanna Bank Center opening for Slash, Shinedown, and Halestorm. He currently has a single that can be heard on WMMR produced by Ron DiSilvestro of Forge Recordings. Other credits include opening for The Roots, features in Guitar World and Progression magazines, features in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly Weekly papers, the 2004 Fender Outstanding Guitarist Award, and performances at venues such as The TLA, The Trocadero, and the World Cafe Live.
Ben Bowles is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he studied guitar and composition, and of Boston College, where he studied physics. Ben has been teaching music and guitar for eight years to both young and adult students in all styles of electric, acoustic, and classical guitar. In his teaching, Ben emphasizes a strong foundation of music theory combined with efficient technique and repertoire that the student enjoys
Andrew Brown is a graduate of Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood, California with an Associate’s Degree of Arts in drum and percussion performance. At Musicians Institute he studied with drum book authors: Ed Roscetti, Chuck Silverman and Gary Hess, as well as World Snare Drum Champion: Rob Carson. Prior to attending Musician Institute, Andrew studied music theory at Bucks County Community College. Andrew was awarded, “Teacher of the Year 2007/2008” at Southern California Music School. He also received, “Best Drummer Award” at the Emergenza’s Battle of the Bands contest. Under Andrew’s instruction, Carver Middle School was also awarded 1st place during the NVISION Battle of the Bands contest.
Ruth Geissinger is a graduate of Cairn University with a Bachelor of Church Music and concentration in piano. Ruth first began her piano studies at the age of 10, and continued under pianist Kenneth Borrmann at Cairn University. Along with her piano lessons at Cairn University, Ruth also studied guitar and voice, and performed in chorale, handbells, and contemporary ensembles. Ruth performs and listens to composers from the Romantic period such as Chopin and Debussy, classical, jazz, and contemporary styles of music.She continues her own music studies with jazz improvisation piano and guitar lessons.
Brian Horvath is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Guitar Performance, and is also a graduate of Kutztown University with a Bachelors of Music in Music Education. While at Temple University, he studied under Ed Flanagan and Tom Giacabetti. Brian began his music studies on the saxophone at the age of nine. At age twelve, inspired by Eddie Van Halen, he began guitar lessons. His teaching experience includes 15 years of private instruction of guitar, saxophone, violin and piano, including having taught guitar and piano classes for seven years at Fullerton Union High School in California.
Marjorie Polunas is a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance and Theater. Marjorie continues her studies at Philadelphia Biblical University towards completion of a Master’s Degree in Education. Marjorie has performed as a vocalist in diverse venues and genres. She has performed in Philadelphia area productions at Pennsylvania Youth Theater, Without a Cue, and the Berrie Center, on the international stage with the CantaNova and SkyLark ensembles, as a professional cantor and wedding singer, and as the patriotic soloist at the World Horse Expositions combing her love of equine and music. Marjorie is a five time silver medalist for the International Festival of Academic Choirs
Yelena Rader is a graduate of Kiev State Pedagogic University, with a Masters Degree in Piano and Voice Performance. Yelena completed her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Kiev State Musical College in 1982, with a concentration in Piano Performance and Music Theory. A classical pianist and music teacher by training, Yelena was born in Kiev, Ukraine. At the age of 5 she decided to pursue piano as her chosen discipline and entered the Music School for Gifted Children in Kiev. When Yelena was 12 years old she won a silver medal in the Tchaikovsky competition. Yelena has been teaching for twenty years, and enjoys sharing her knowledge with all aspiring students.
Galina Sakhnovskaya is a graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Music with a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance, and also received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Computer Science Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Galina is the recipient of several awards and scholarships including Washington International Competition in Washington DC, Center for Contemporary Opera Competition in New York, Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition in New York, New York Vocal Artists Competition, Peabody Conservatory Graduate Performance Diploma Scholarship and grant, and Mayor’s Scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania. Galina has also been chosen to participate in the International Music Competition of the ARD in Munich.
Judy Sanger is a graduate of Wilkes University, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education. Judy has been teaching and performing professionally for thirty years. As a classical soprano, Judy has performed for composers’ weekends (Ben Steinberg, others), for The West Coast Chamber Orchestra and as a Cantorial Soloist in Congregation B’nai Brith. As a popular singer and pianist, Judy has performed venues on both coasts. Judy has performed in theater productions in New York City, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and has garnered several acting, singing, and directing awards. Judy has had leads in over twenty-five shows, and directed and musically directed a dozen more, including “Underground Goddess” at the New York Public Theatre.
Joshua Steingard is a graduate of the Berklee College Of Music with a Bachelors Of Music Degree in Professional Music and Drumset, and has been teaching drums at MTC since 2009. While attending Berklee, Joshua studied under drum legends Rod Morgenstein, Mike Mangini, Kenwood Dennard, and Skip Hadden Joshua started playing drums at the age of 9 and has years of gigging, recording, and teaching experience in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Salt Lake City, and Montreal. He also shared the stage with bands such as Soulive, moe., Brothers Past, Will Lee, and Tally Hall. oshua received praise from Billy Joel saying, “He’s a monster!” after being in the audience for a show at Berklee. In addition to teaching full-time at MTC, Joshua has performed with R&B/ reggae/pop artist Erin Barra, out of Brooklyn, NY, and rock/dub reggae trio Sugar Mama, out of Boston, MA.
Ryan Voelker is a graduate of Bucks County Community College with an Associates Degree in the Arts in Music and Jazz Guitar. Prior to attending BCCC, Ryan attended Gwynedd Mercy College where he studied history, education, and music. Ryan has been teaching and performing since earning his degree in 2007. A life-long musician, Ryan performed with his school Jazz band, marching band, and concert band, has played lead guitar in several rock bands, and has won awards including Guitar Center’s Guitarmaggedon rock guitar compeition, Sam Ash Guitar Challenge, Richboro Music Guitar Competition. In May of 2012, Ryan was the winner of the WMMR Building The Band competition for top rhythm guitarist.
What Parents Say…
We love Mrs. Judy Sanger! Our daughter has resumed her piano lessons after a one year break. She previously was attending a local music and dance academy classes. Here at MTC she made a quick progress with her piano lessons and developed a strong bond to her piano teacher, Mrs. Judy Sanger. Anyone should know from start this is a very serious music training center, they are following a curriculum, are monitoring and very much encouraging the child’s progress. After a few weeks, my girl went for a trial voice lesson, which proved to be a success. So now, she is taking both classes, piano and voice, with Mrs. Judy and loves practicing music. We are very happy with our decision to enroll her with the MTC Montgomeryville, highly recommended for music inclined individuals!
C. Protopopescu MTC Montgomeryville
Chad and Marjorie deserve Outstanding Teachers of the Year award. My daughter was shy and not confident when she first came to the Music Training Center in March of 2012. Chad and Marjorie changed all that — they changed her outlook, her enunciation improved dramatically, she stands up straight, she projects her voice, and she smiles with confidence every day. Chad and Marjorie provided the catalyst to fully appreciate the strict discipline of practicing, as well as the rhythm of drama, the thrill of the stage, and the confidence to do well while performing. Claire took the same discipline and applied it to every facet of her life and has shone academically and athletically. I cannot thank MTC for cultivating such talented teachers and helping my daughter find her “voice”. Keep up the GREAT WORK!
C. Choh MTC Ardmore
My son took guitar lessons at a very popular store for two years. He’s learned more in his first three months at MTC…and it’s less expensive! At the other place, he never learned scales, notes, or how to read music. Not only has he learned all of that already at MTC, he is more confident and playing very well; and he loves his teacher, Ryan Voelker. Ryan is an excellent teacher with a great personality! He’s helpful, fun, patient and passionate about his craft! He is also an awesome guitar player! We couldn’t be happier! I just wish we had come to MTC first!
S. Chandler MTC Montgomeryville
I brought my son to MTC one day on a whim, to try a free piano lesson. That was a year-and-a-half ago, and he’s become a fantastic piano player who fills our home every day with live music. Yelena Rader, his teacher, has a gift for bringing out the very best in our son. I treasure their relationship because it keeps him so motivated to keep learning and playing. She has incredible energy during the lesson, and every week she really gives it her all. It’s a special treat to hear her play! For my part as a parent, the staff at MTC are very professional and always make us feel welcome. It really is a fine place to hang out, and my son can’t wait till he is old enough for Rock Band.
J. Traub MTC Montgomeryville
My son is in his fourth year at MTC. He has been taking piano lessons and has recently started drum lessons with Scott Grande. The teachers are very professional working with a curriculum but also offering flexibility in working at my son’s pace and making time for his areas of musical interest. The recitals have enabled my son to conquer his stage jitters; intro to rock band will give him a chance to experience playing with his peers. The center is run efficiently; teachers are ALWAYS on time and substitutes are provided if a teacher is off for the week, giving the student a chance to work with other teachers’ styles. We have been impressed with all of the teachers thus far and I highly recommend MTC to anyone considering music lessons of any kind at any age.
M. Paino MTC Conshohocken
My son has been taking guitar lessons about 1 year from Ben Bowles. We are so thrilled in how far he has already progressed. We feel that this is due to the fact that his teacher listens to what music my son likes and he incorporates this into his instructions. Ben is great with kids and a natural teacher. We could not be happier with our experience at MTC.
K. Rodgers MTC Montgomeryville
We tried out MTC last summer with their one-week long Rock Band Camp. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. Our son (11) who’s been playing drums privately for 2 years, was given the chance to perform in a band and LOVED it. But, the big news was for our daughter (13) who was new to the guitar and still was able to participate fully. This led to her taking guitar lessons this year with Simon, and her first recital in June was a glowing success. The biggest change for our daughter was that MTC gave her the chance to find her “voice”, and her vocal lessons with Jon gave her the confidence to open up and sing – and does she ever do that now – EVERYWHERE we go!
J. Chasen MTC Marlton
The staff at MTC were amazing. My daughter had such a lovely time. She thoroughly enjoyed being in a musical theatre production and loved getting up in front of the audience. It was also a great experience for the rest of the family. Thanks to the nice lobby and free wifi, if I had to bring my older son, he was ok hanging out in the lobby area during my daughter’s practice.
A. Pettibone MTC Great Valley
My son, John, absolutely thrived while studying with Vahe. For me, it was more than just learning an instrument – it boosted his self esteem and to watch my shy, reserved son play at a recital – you cannot put a price on that kind of accomplishment. It is so wonderful to see my child excited about learning. Thanks for a wonderful experience.
L. Foran MTC Ardmore
We have so enjoyed taking lessons at MTC in Marlton. My daughter did not want to take piano lessons, but after working with Erica she now loves piano. She is also taking voice with Jon and he works so well with her selecting popular music she loves and as well as Broadway music. She has developed a real interest in Broadway. All the staff at MTC Marlton is first rate starting with Jessica, the Director. We love going here and appreciate all the hard work and dedication of the entire staff.
L. Watabu MTC Marlton