Sarah Abbott

A graduate student at the University of Michigan (violin performance), Sarah has concertized throughout the US and Europe. Last year, she performed with the McDuffie Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. She is a graduate of the European American Musical Alliance located in Paris, France, as well as the Aspen Festival in Colorado. She has also had the great privilege of playing alongside artists such as Lynn Harrell, Robert McDuffie, Gil Shaham and Stefan Jackiw. Currently, Sarah enjoys being a member of the Dearborn Symphony here in Michigan, as well as a substitute for the Utah Symphony. Her passion is teaching young students. She focuses primarily on the Suzuki method. Sarah’s aim is to help children be passionate about the violin.


Emily Bargen

Emily grew up in a musical family and has been playing the piano since she was 6 years old. She was taught by her mother and is so blessed by that experience. Emily competed in multiple music festivals during her junior and high school years. Through her high school and college years, she accompanied the school choirs. Emily received a bachelors degree at Great Lakes Christian College with a minor in music/piano performance. She also has had many years of experience playing keyboard and piano in worship team settings. Emily has taught piano since 2004 and has a passion for using her talents to help and teach others.

Piano, SFTA Director

Stacy Christensen

Born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire, Stacy Christensen began playing piano at age 6. She has a passion for sharing the gift of music with others, and started instructing students in piano at age 16. Also a teacher by education, Stacy holds both a B.S. in Math Education and a Masters of Education. She has taught Montessori elementary and high school, working alongside many different ages to help students grow and gain confidence in their skills. Stacy loves working one on one with students, and skillfully combines her educational background with her excitement for and knowledge of piano here at School for the Arts.


Jessica Culver

Jessica fell in love with singing early in life. In high school, she sang in choir and was involved in several musicals. Jessica received her Bachelor of Vocal Performance at Grace Bible College where she sang nearly all the time, including a yearly dinner theatre and as the lead in the opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors”. She’s been active in her local worship teams and choirs by singing and even directing; she has also sung in a number of weddings. Her passion for kids and education is evident in her three kids, two of whom she home-schooled for 3 years and the third who can sing the ABC’s even though he’s too young to know the letters yet! She is looking forward to sharing her love of music with students and helping them develop their talents. 


Tyler Floyd

Tyler is a multi-instrumentalist with 11 years of experience playing the guitar. Throughout this time he has played at several churches, accompanied solo acts for local and national competitions, and has played/ plays in numerous bands — including a couple touring acts.  He has a certificate in Audio Engineering and Music Production from Washtenaw Community College and now runs his own recording studio (Summit House Studios) providing high quality recordings for mostly Michigan artists.


Kimberly Holback

I first learned to paint with my mother and grandmother as a small child.   Like most artists, I have loved to create as long as I can remember.   My artistic interests were encouraged by my family and teachers along the way. I really discovered my talent and love for painting when I was in high school. I went on to study Art and Psychology eventually exploring the field as a professional artist.  I began my art career creating murals, portraits, and various projects. About ten years ago I began teaching art out of my home studio and in the community. I have been honored to have my work hang in the Studio West Gallery in Brighton, the Howell Opera House, and Kaleidoscope, also published and shown with the Connected Art Book project featured at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, as well as many other shows and art events over the years. I am passionate about art education for children, and I really love each of the young artists that I get the privilege of working with.  When I’m teaching, my goal is to inspire the students to see the world as an artist sees and to experience the joy of creating and personal expression in a fun and positive environment.  In class, we try to focus on the process, not the product, but we celebrate the end result when it’s finished as well.


Jeremy Hutson

As a career musician, award-winning guitarist Jeremy Hutson has served in many areas of the music field. He currently works in full-time music ministry as Worship Director at Highland United Methodist Church, in addition to teaching at the School for the Arts. Jeremy has been a faculty member at several colleges including: The Lancaster Conservatory of Music, and The Pennington School. Additionally, Jeremy owned and managed a thriving private lesson studio from 1997-2014. Jeremy was a founding member of The Pedrick Hutson Guitar Duo, who from 1998-2006 toured nationally and recorded three internationally acclaimed recordings which remain in regular public radio rotation. They were hailed as “master guitarists” by the Annapolis Capital Gazette. Recent recording work includes sessions with notable producer Marshall Block at Reel 2 Reel Productions in Fenton, MI with Taylor Clark. He has also played in various musicals and been in quite a few bands over the years, and plays many different styles of music. Jeremy and his wife, Annette, have two young daughters, and live in Fenton.


Paul Lundin

Paul is currently living in SE Michigan where he is a freelance violinist. He has performed locally with Ann Arbor, Flint, Midland, Saginaw, Oakland, and Rochester Symphonies. He studied at the University of Iowa where he earned Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Violin Performance. Most recently while living in Wisconsin, he performed with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Waukesha, and Green Bay Symphonies and held the post of Concertmaster for the Racine Symphony from May of 2000 until 2008.  In addition to performing, he was a sabbatical replacement at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (2001) and was adjunct instructor at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin for 8 years. Formerly, he was a fulltime member of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra from 1992-1999, was on the faculty of Northwestern State University and Centenary College and concertmaster of the Longview (Texas) Symphony. He received critical acclaim as soloist in Longview playing Erich Korngold’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra” in 1998.

Flute and Clarinet

Amber Nellett

Amber is a flutist with 12 years of public and private music education. She is an alumnus of Garber High School where she participated in concert band, solo and ensemble, jazz band, musicals, choir and more. Her formal studies include lessons from Julie Stone and Lauren Rongo. She has also participate in The Consummate Flutist event at Carnegie Melon University. While there she participated in lessons, master classes, and lectures from Alberto Almarza, Sook Yeong-Park and Marianne Gedigian. She is continuing her studies at Eastern Michigan University as a student of music education with a focus on instrumental music. Amber is very passionate about sharing and creating music in a mutual, organic fashion. Her desire is for students to experience music while learning values such as hard work, patience, focus and creativity.


Marianne Potter

Marianne started playing the piano at the age of five and studied piano at Rochester College while pursuing her Elementary Teaching degree. She took classes at Schoolcraft College through their Piano Teacher’s Program, when she first began teaching piano. Marianne finds joy in seeing young children master a new skill and develop their musical abilities. She believes piano not only enriches lives, but also is a great teacher of discipline and contributes to higher success in other academic areas as well.


Allie Rittle

Allie has been dancing since she was a young girl.  She began assistant teaching in 2006 and has been lead teaching in tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical and hip-hop classes since 2009.  Allie has also volunteered for many recitals and performances by creating programs, organizing dancers, choreographing and teaching finales to all dance program students.  She currently continues to study advanced tap, advanced ballet, lyrical and contemporary dance herself in an effort to continue to grow as an artist.  Allie adores working with children and dance is her passion.
Allie is assisted in her dance classes at School for the Arts by her sister, Sabrina Rittle.


Annaliese Schindel

My name is Annaliese Schindel and I’m a piano teacher at School for the Arts. Growing up I played a number of instruments but piano was always my favorite. During high school I started to take it more seriously and began to study under a private instructor. I was also able to teach a couple of young girls from my church around that time. After I graduated I continued to teach and have been growing my studio ever since. Teaching piano is a passion of mine and it is my desire to instill a love of music as well as give a solid musical foundation to each child I teach.


Timothy Stockdale

A native of North Canton, OH, Tim initially studied at Zampino’s Drum Shop. While there, he explored rudiments, jazz, rock, funk, fusion, Latin, and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and earned many outstanding ratings in solo and ensemble competition. Over the years, he has played with numerous jazz and worship bands, and he currently drums with the 2|42 band. Tim’s teaching style involves demonstration, discussion, and playing together with the student. He uses books as a reference to communicate established ideas and concepts as a foundation for creativity while holding musicality at the center of rhythmic artistic expression.


Julie Usborne

Bio coming soon!


Deborah Whitson

Deborah holds a master’s degree in education from Oakland University and has taught in both public and private schools. Her love of the stage and everything theatric led her to work with a local youth theater for the past seven years. There, she directed Seussical, Jr. and The Nutcracker along with producing many other popular shows such as: Willie Wonka, Aladdin Jr. and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She cannot wait to share her passion for the dramatic arts with the students at School for the Arts. She is married, the mother of three amazing children and makes her home in Hartland, Michigan.

Violin, fiddle, ukulele, mandolin and more!

Neil Woodward

Neil has taught private and group lessons for over forty years with a number of string and wind instruments. Neil’s impressive list of instruments he plays and teaches  includes: violin/fiddle, guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, dulcimer and more! He enjoys working with students of all ages, with or without previous musical experience. Finding the student’s expression through their instrument of choice always guides Neil’s musical instruction. In 2003 the Legislature of the State of Michigan officially named Neil Woodward Michigan’s Troubadour, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to preservation of Great Lakes folk music and culture. Neil has released eight albums and regularly plays at Crossroads Village, Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Greenfield Village. His songs, recordings and concerts have earned him nine Detroit Music Awards. Neil’s experience in performance, research, writing, arranging, theatre, audio and video and his skill with over a dozen musical instruments offers a unique perspective to his students.