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FAME Coaching and Lessons

Musicopia’s Fostering Artistry and Musical Excellence (FAME) program provides sustained, year-round music education, through small group vocal or instrumental performance coaching and lessons to supplement your school or community program’s music curriculum.

FAME Teaching Artists interact with students for 45-to 60-minutes each week to build student confidence, knowledge of musical theory, and instrumental mastery. Teaching artists can develop curriculum independently or within existing music programming, providing instruction that ranges from basic to advanced.

Musicopia’s primary goal is to connect students with music. The FAME Program for Coaching and Lessons works with schools and community organizations to provide quality and cost-effective music instruction opportunities for in-school or after-school programs. All FAME coaching programs are developed to create a personalized, valuable, and fun learning experience for the students.

FAME programs are currently available for the following:

  • Brass

  • Guitar/Bass

  • Percussion

  • Strings – Bass (Upright)

  • Strings – Cello

  • Strings – Viola

  • Strings – Violin

  • Songwriting

  • Sound Engineering/Theater

  • Woodwinds

  • Vocal

  • Vocal – Ensemble

Available for: K-5  6-8  9-12  After school/community programs

For more information or to book, please contact the Musicopia Program Director at 215-829-9522, ext. 101

Meet just a few of our FAME Teaching Artists below:
Kris Alutius

Instrument: Brass-Trumpet and Guitar

Joined Musicopia: 2016

A former member of the United States Army Band with a long background in performance and composition. Kris has performed in almost all of the states and many countries in Europe. He hopes to bring his love of music to the next generation.

Angela Bartholomew

Instrument: Voice, Traditional Choir, Piano, Flute, Guitar, Ukelele

Joined Musicopia: 2014

Angela is a third-year teacher at the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School in South West Philadelphia. There, she teaches reading and writing with upper elementary students in addition to being the school's general music teacher. Through Musicopia, Angela is the choir director at PMCS. She is also the choral assistant at Church of the Holy Spirit, Harleysville, where she teaches the Cherub Choir (k-3) and assists with the St. Cecelia Choir (gr.4-12) and sings with the adult choir. Angela is very excited to again be a part of the Musicopia team.

Chris Coyle

Instrument: Bass-Upright, Guitar, Drums & Songwriting

Joined Musicopia: 2013

Chris Coyle is a bassist, composer, and music educator. Based in Philadelphia, PA, he can be found working throughout the Northeast and Midwest U.S. in a plethora of situations. He has built a decorated performance resume by playing with reputed jazz, folk, and experimental artists at notable venues (including Carnegie Hall, The Kimmel Center, The Brattle Theater, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art) and on various live radio/media programs (WRTI, WXPN, the NBC10 Show, Northwestern Radio, Oberlin Radio, etc...). As a teacher, Chris has worked with students of all ages through private lessons, assemblies, workshops, and regularly in classroom settings. He has also been recognized for his composition work and grant-funded project work by the American Composers Forum, The McKnight Foundation, and The Philadelphia Jazz Project.

Josh Craft

Instrument: Guitar, Bass, Piano, Voice

Joined Musicopia: 2015

Joshua Craft is a Philadelphia based songwriter and music instructor who has been teaching music for over 10 years. He is also the Program Director for Musicopia’s partner organization, Rock to the Future. Josh has worked for Paul Greens School of Rock, Farrington’s music, Major Music and privately. From arranging music for weekly band rehearsals to teaching music theory and songwriting, Josh is always ready to encourage, support and inspire young creative minds. He has written songs for such notable local bands as The Bee Team, Conversations with Enemies and The Wayfairs. He collaborates his love for music and teaching to ensure the success of his students.

Cameron DeWhitt

Instrument: Banjo, Guitar, Songwriter

Joined Musicopia

Cameron DeWhitt is a musician and music educator with a BA in Music Theory and Composition from George Fox University. Cameron is the Assistant Program Director for Musicopia’s partner, Rock to the Future, and he currently teaches guitar through Musicopia’s FAME program. Cameron is also a classically trained pianist and an American clawhammer banjoist who is currently working on original composition and studying traditional Appalachian music.

James dell'Orefice

Instrument: Voice, Choir

Joined Musicopia: 1985

James  Dell’Orefice,  pianist,  conductor,  composer,  and  producer,  received  his  Bachelor  of  Music degree from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and a Masters of Music from Combs College.  He has touredextensively  as  pianist  and  conductor  with  Connie  Stevens,  and  the  Las  Vegas  show group  “The Philadelphia  Story,”  in  addition  to  performing  with  such  luminaries  as  Sammy Kay, Ray  Eberle,  Frankie Lester,  Bob  Hope,  Joan  Rives,  Clark  Terry,  Lee  Konitz,  Lorna Luft,  Little Anthony  and  the  Imperials,  and Petula  Clark.    He  was  Musical  Director/Assistant Musical Director  of  the  production  of  “Waves”  at  the Academy  of  Music  in  Philadelphia,  as well  as Dee  Dee Sharp  Gamble’s  production  in  the  1980’s.  James’ keen  understand  of entertainment has  expanded  his  experiences  directing  dance  ensembles  and  writing commercial jungles for media events.  Among the highlights of his career are command performances for Luciano Pavarotti and President Clinton.  

Instrument: Strings, Double Bass

Joined Musicopia: 2015

John DiCarlo earned a BA in Music Performance from Ithaca College, and his MA at Temple University. John performs throughout the Philly area and teaches for both Musicopia and Tune Up Philly. He is also in a rock band, HOSS, and they are currently working in their second studio album.

John DiCarlo
Misoon Ghim

Instrument: Voice

Joined Musicopia: 2015

South Korean-born Mezzo-soprano, Misoon Ghim, has performed with New York City Opera and Opera Philadelphia as Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, Daegu International Opera Festival as Amneris in Aïda, and Opera Delaware as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. As a recitalist, Ms. Ghim has been a regular member with the Philadelphia chamber group, Dolce Suono Ensemble since 2013, and has collaborated internationally with some of the world’s leading conductors.

Ms. Ghim was educated at Seoul National University, Juilliard School of Music, and Curtis Institute of Music, and was the recipient of two Metropolitan Opera Education Fund awards. She also attended the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and toured as Cherubino with Western Opera Theater. Most recently, she served on the faculty for Curtis Institute of Music Summerfest.

Rebecca Graham

Instrument: Voice, Complaint Choir, Trumpet

Joined Musicopia: 2013

Rebecca Graham is an artist and an educator with experience in 21st century alternative arts education. Three years before she came to Musicopia, Rebecca was the Music Director and Education Coordinator at a start-up high school in Ithaca, New York, where she worked to incorporate social justice and sustainability curriculum in her music programming. Rebecca uses this experience of creating interdisciplinary and student-centered education in her work with Tune Up Philly as a brass instructor and Site Leader, and her work as a F.A.M.E. and Complaint Choir residency instructor, and board member at Musicopia. It is Rebecca's wish to change the way we view ourselves and how we interact with others through the power and beauty of music.

Hillary Heslop

InstrumentPiano, Woodwind

Joined Musicopia: 2018

Hillary Heslop, MAMT, is currently teaching general music, band, and chorus at Toby Farms Intermediate School, one of the schools of the Chester-Upland School District. She earned her Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Immaculata University, and a certificate in Drug and Alcohol Addiction. She then went on to earn a post-master certification in General Family Therapy from Northcentral Central University. Hillary as over 30 years of experience as a music teacher, specializing in piano, music theory and woodwind. She is an affiliate instructor for the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music, London, England, and can be credited for students earning Distinction awards in both piano and music theory. She has a passion for teaching and working with children, and believes that every child has an innate gift, and it is up to the teachers to help them to find it and nurture it so that they can be successful adults.

Leon Jordan, Jr.

Instrument: Trumpet, Flugalhorn, Cornet, Flugalbone, Valve Trombone

Joined Musicopia: 2010

Leon Jordan, Jr. has performed at the United Trumpet Summit with the world’s best jazzers such as Randy Brecker, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas, Eddie Henderson and Jeremy Pelt.  He has also been recognized as a two-time Jazz at the Clef Club artist poll winner in 2012 and 2016.


In addition to recording two solo records, Leon has played with the Roots; Michael McDonald; Earth, Wind and Fire; Boyz II Men; Maysa Leak; Chuck Brown; Gerald Veasley; Orrin Evans; Kurt Rosenwinkel; Robin Eubanks and many others.

Leon Jordan, Jr.
Bruce Kaminski

Instrument: Strings-Cello, Bass

Joined Musicopia: 2000

A professional bassist for nearly forty years, Bruce Kaminsky’s early musical influences are the Jewish and Middle Eastern music heard at home and in the synagogue. Throughout his career, Kaminsky has performed with various rock and jazz groups, classical orchestras and Middle Eastern ensembles. In addition to close to 50 recordings, Kaminsky has performed for the landmark 1994 Israeli/Jordanian Peace Concert at the United Nations, the 1998 Jewish Music Festival in Berlin, Germany, the 2003 Internacional de Musica do Algarve, Portugal, along with workshops with renowned Palestinian violinist Simon Shaheen and Concerts for Peace Tours with the multi-ethnic Middle Eastern group, Atzilut.

Bruce Kaminsky studied Music Education at West Chester College, Jewish Liturgical Music at Gratz College and holds a Masters of Music from Combs College of Music. Kaminsky is a faculty member at Drexel University’s College of Performing Arts and president of Kydd Products, Inc., manufacturer of Kydd Basses and the Kydd BassLab. He is also the leader of Spice Route, which performs in Musicopia’s school-based programs.

Heather Lardin

Instrument: Strings-Bass

Joined Musicopia: 2017

Heather Miller Lardin is an enthusiastic performer, teacher, and scholar of the double bass, on both modern and period instruments. She performs regularly with Tempesta di Mare, the Handel & Haydn Society, Brandywine Baroque, and the Philadelphia Bach Collegium; she also directs the Temple University Early Music Ensemble. Heather particularly enjoys teaching beginning and young bassists, with a focus on adapting healthy technique to each individual’s physical needs. She began teaching for Musicopia in 2017. At home, Heather teaches a select Suzuki double bass studio with her two Maine Coon cats assisting.


Heather is the editor of the early bass feature “Rumblings” in Bass World, the journal of the International Society of Bassists (ISB), and regularly presents lectures and recitals at the ISB’s biannual conventions. She holds a DMA in Performance Practice from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance from the Curtis Institute of Music.

Walker Lessene

Instrument: Voice, Piano, Flute, Cello

Joined Musicopia: 2006

Carrie Walker Lessene was born and raised in North Philadelphia. Her interest in music began during her education in the Philadelphia School System. After graduating from Girls’ High, she completed her Music Therapy degree at Montclair University.

As a member of the Grammy-nominated Gabriel Hardeman Delegation, Director of Intermezzo Choir Ministry, composer/soloist with the Robert Ladson Ensemble, and Director of Music for Berean Presbyterian, where she also serves as an Elder, Carrie has shared the world of gospel music with many. Carrie is also a member of the Freedom Choir directed by Dr. Nolan Williams, and has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra under world renowned conductor, Andre Raphel. In September 2015, Carrie also sang with The Philadelphia Heritage Chorale, accompanying Aretha Franklin and Andre Bocelli, under the direction of Dr. Donald Dumpson to honor Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. Other engagements have included the National Democratic Convention and “The Movement Revisited” at the Merriam Theater.

These events are a catalyst to encourage her students at Musicopia’s partner schools during her work as choral conductor. With over 35 years of teaching, choral directing, composing, solo performance, Carrie continues to sing before all ages, using her talents with joy and untiring exuberance. Her passion is to teach and encourage children to be great at whatever they pursue.

Instrument: Voice, Sound Engineering

Joined Musicopia

Ruth is a Philadelphia native who fell in love with performance at an early age. Ruth is known for her ability on and off the stage. You can find Ruth on stage performing or behind the scenes -- stage managing or controlling the lights.

Ruth Oliver
Rafael Pondé

Instrument: Guitar

Joined Musicopia: 2018

Rafael Pondé, an accomplished Philadelphia-based musician, originally from Salvador, in the state of Bahia, Brazil, promotes cultural understanding and combats racism through music. Early recognition began in 1999, when he participated in the Bahian Music Festival by University of Vitória da Conquista. Here, he and The Curupira band won the blessing of Waly Salomão, one of the greatest "Tropicalia" poets. This led to Rafael being placed in the hall of the great "novissimos baianos.” Waly traveled with the young Rafael to São Paulo to record the program "Música brasileira" in the studios of Trama, with João Marcelo Bôscoli, the son of the legendary Elis Regina.  


Rafael has recorded six albums, and has toured Europe and Latin America, and played in the Weltkulture Festival in Germany in 2010, among other important European festivals. In 2016, Rafael was elected as "Brazilian cultural ambassador" for the program "Partners of America" (founded in 1964 by JFK) of the U.S. Department of State. Having come to the U.S. since 2014 with grants from the Bahia government and Brazil's government, he is living now between Brazil and Philadelphia. His workshops, concerts, and speeches share Brazilian culture and focus on building cultural understanding and overcoming racism through music and the arts.

The Rafael Pondé Duo features Rafael Pondé, a Brazilian singer/songwriter, vocalist and accomplished guitarist, and Rob Curto, an American vocalist and accordion player. Together, Rafael and Rob play a Jazz-fusion with rhythmic roots in Samba, Bossa Nova and Forro. Other songs feature Latin music from the Caribbean such as Reggae and Salsa. The Rafael Pondé Trio features Rafael, Rob Curto and adds the percussion of Dende Macedo. The trio gets the audience dancing on their feet! 

Adam Shumski

Instrument: Percussion

Joined Musicopia:

Adam Shumski earned his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, Percussion Performance from Boyer College of Music, Temple University. Adam has performed on national/international tours and recording projects with bands including Among Criminals, Vita and the Woolf, Maitland, Family Vacation, and various jazz ensembles. Adam came to Musicopia through partner organization, Rock to the Future.

Emily Stewart

Instrument: Strings-Violin

Joined Musicopia: 2017

Emily Stewart teaches violin, viola, piano, and flute, though violin is her primary instrument. She studied violin performance at Temple University and graduated in 2014. It was there that she began teaching string instruments at the Philadelphia Strings Project. Since then she has taught string classes for multiple schools and programs throughout the city, working with Musicopia and Trenton Music Makers in addition to private lessons.  

Raymond Taylor

Instrument: Strings-Violin

Joined Musicopia:

Raymond Taylor earned his M.A. at Esther Boyer College of Music, Temple University; Artistic Diploma at University of Toronto; Spanish Music Diploma at Satiago de Compostela, Spain; and Suzuki violin training at the School for Strings, NY.


Mr. Taylor was concert master/soloist with the Royal Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra and Soloist with the Toronto Symphony and CBC Symphony Orchestras. A prize winner at the Royal College of Music in London, his credits include numerous commercial works for theaters and television. Mr. Taylor is certified in piano and violin teaching by the Music Teacher’s National Association. In addition to the FAME Program, Mr. Taylor performs in assemblies, workshops and residencies as part of the Latin Fiesta ensemble.

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