Meet The Teaching Artists
Our teaching artists are the heart and soul of Project Grace. They create welcoming spaces where children can experience making music while also growing as young people. Classes at Project Grace are small, which gives our teaching artists the chance to devote specialized attention to every student.
Naomi Brown is a multi-instrumentalist from St. John’s. She is studying violin at Memorial University’s School of Music. Naomi has over 15 years experience participating in group music classes, starting with Suzuki when she was 4 years old. She believes that making music in a group is one of the best ways to build life-long friendships and inspire life-long learners.
Annie Corrigan is an oboe player, a radio producer, a dog lover, and a brand new Newfoundlander. She’s played in orchestras all over the Midwestern United States. When the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra needs an English horn player, they call her. She works with MUN’s Chamber Music For Youth Program, and she teaches private oboe lessons. Annie is PG’s Program Coordinator.
Emily Finch is a trumpet player from St. John’s. She completed her Bachelor of Music with Honours in Trumpet from Memorial University, and she is currently enrolled in MUN’s Bachelor of Music Education program. Emily performs with the Jazz East Big Band, Quintessential Vocal Ensemble and Better Breathing Choir. In 2018 she co-created the contemporary music group Nova Collective.
Cleary Maddigan received his Bachelors of Music degree in cello and composition from Memorial University’s School of Music. He will begin his work with MUN’s Bachelor of Music Education program in the fall.
Susannah McKenzie-Sutter is a violinist based in St. John’s Newfoundland. She has a particular interest in music pedagogy that is accessible for neurodiverse students. She published the online course “Teaching Dyslexic Music Learners” as a free tool for music teachers. She is a current graduate student in the Master of Violin Performance and Pedagogy program at Memorial University.
James Paluk is a flutist who has performed and taught across Canada. He is completing his Master’s of Flute Performance at Memorial University’s School of Music. James works with the CBS Community Bands and he teaches private flute lessons. He has two cats named Oliver and Lincoln who just love it when he practices, especially piccolo.
Pianist Tabitha Payzant began her musical studies at an early age and performed regularly in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia growing up. She completed her Bachelor of Music Mount Allison University, and her Masters of Music at Memorial University. Tabitha is currently pursuing a second Masters degree in Piano Performance/Pedagogy. She is looking forward to many more performance and teaching opportunities in Newfoundland.
Born and raised in St. John’s Newfoundland, Gillian Sheppard is a piccoloist and flutist. She has played second flute in the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, and Opera on the Avalon Chamber Orchestra. She is also the Educational Support Coordinator of the Master of Business Administration in Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Memorial University. In 2019, Gillian earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Toronto. Gillian is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Grace.
Holly Winter is a clarinetist, improviser, and vocalist. She studied musical theatre and acting at Neptune Theatre School and with DaPoPo Youth Theatre company. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Dalhousie University, she worked with the Halifax Music Co-op as a voice and clarinet teacher and music librarian. She is currently studying music at Memorial University.
The mandate of Project Grace is to provide children, from all walks of life, with the opportunity to learn and make music together, and the chance to benefit from the individual skills and community values that are inherent in music-making. Project Grace’s vision is social development through an innovative and hope-instilling music education program that emphasizes the collective practice of music in order to achieve excellence.
Project Grace will:
- provide children in the local community with low-barrier group and individual music lessons and the opportunity to perform in a larger musical ensemble.
- instill and reinforce mutual respect, discipline, teamwork, creativity, and self-confidence — all values and skills that are inherent in music-making.
- foster community participation by encouraging young musicians to become mentors to children in the program.
- broaden the community’s understanding of the value of music and the arts by involving volunteers with diverse backgrounds and skills to establish a vibrant network of music educators, players and community members to strengthen music programs.
Project Grace will welcome all students and not discriminate by age, gender, social background, race, or religion.
Project Grace will represent the community. All aspects of the program will focus on the development of this group through the individuals that are a part of it.
Project Grace will develop partnerships with educational institutions and community organizations.
Project Grace will hold students and staff to a high standard of artistic excellence.
Project Grace will encourage students to share their knowledge and talents with others in order to build their confidence, skills, and sense of community.