Musicopia Staff Bios
Catherine leads with a unique combination of analytical drive and creative vision in the role of Executive Director of Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly. Dedicated in service since 2017, and ED since 2020, Catherine has led the organizations through transformational programmatic and budgetary growth, established formal processes and streamlined business operations, expanded partnerships, and deepened community engagement. As President of the Board, Catherine inaugurated and steered the development of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Charter leading to Board DEI Champions, and DEI culture throughout strategic goals, policies, and board/staff education.
Catherine has a passion for healing through the arts, expressing our interconnectedness with the world and each other through her art as a pianist, composer, nature photographer, and speaker on creativity and spirituality.
Charlton received her B.S. in Engineering with Distinction and Executive Certificate in Financial Success for Nonprofits from Cornell University. Career highlights include serving as an Assistant Vice President in Market Research at a multi-billion-dollar credit card company, creative entrepreneurship, teaching piano to hundreds of students, and numerous honors as a recording artist. Catherine was named an Education Power Player by Metro Philadelphia and, in 2023, was elected by her peers as President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy.
Director of Grants & Research
Alecia has been with affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP) since 2018 and leads grant writing and reporting, in addition to cultivating institutional donor relationships.
Alecia first experienced the power of Musicopia as a Musicopia String Orchestra parent, which has forever shaped her family’s extracurricular focus and her professional passion. Alecia previously covered the action of the U.S. Congress as a Washington, D.C.-based journalist. She uses her professional writing expertise, investigative and database research, and her deadline management skills to engage supporters of arts education.
Alecia received her BA from Randolph-Macon College with a minor in writing and has taken professional courses at the Center for Publishing and Applied Liberal Arts at New York University and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, a collaboration between Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Missouri School of Journalism.
Christina joined affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP) in 2022, contributing to the Programming teams' efforts and being a DCP Ballroom and K-Pop Teaching Artist.
Christina came to the organizations hoping to provide support and guidance for students, allowing them a safe space to step outside their comfort zones. She believes that music and dance are positive, alternative avenues for improving mental and physical health as well as social relationships.
Christina received her BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Asian Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining DCP and Musicopia, she worked with various Philadelphia dance and arts organizations such as Asian Arts Initiative, The Rock School for Dance Education, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers.
Director of Community Engagement & PR
Caitlyn has been with affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP) since 2016. She leads public relations efforts, guides marketing and outside fundraising initiatives, manages interns, and handles website updates and in-house videography and graphic design.
Caitlyn is thrilled to be part of the Musicopia/DCP team, as the organizations encompass many of the Lasallian values that she holds true to her heart: concern for people experiencing poverty, social justice, respect for all, quality education, and inclusive community.
Caitlyn earned an MA in Professional and Business Communication from La Salle University. She also completed her undergraduate studies at La Salle, focusing her education on both communication and the study of music. During this time, she successfully completed an internship with 93.3 WMMR and later accepted a part-time position with their Promotions Department.
Alexa joined affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly in 2022, developing and publishing content for both organizations, including press releases, e-newsletters, and student stories, to connect supporters to the organization's impact.
Alexa is eternally grateful for the confidence and artistic expression she developed through her performing arts education, which she also credits for helping her find herself and her voice. From experiencing the transformative power of the arts first-hand, she strongly advocates for all young people to have an arts-inclusive education.
Prior to joining Musicopia/DCP, Alexa completed a BA in Theatre Studies and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship at Montclair State University, and went on to work with a few Philadelphia-based arts/ cultural organizations. She started her arts administration career in fundraising before expanding her talents into communications and marketing.
Gift of Music Program Liaison
& Van Driver
"Mr. Ken" joined Musicopia as a Master Percussion Teaching Artist in 2016. Since April 2021, Ken has been the Gift of Music Instrument Donation Program Liaison, coordinating instrument collection, reception, repair, and distribution to music teachers and students. He also provides Musicopia String Orchestra rehearsal transportation for students and is responsible for bringing drumline equipment and participants to performances.
Ken’s musical experience includes musical theater, world champion drumline drumming with countless bands and ensembles, and time spent as President of the SUNY University at Buffalo Chamber Choir and Drum Department Manager of Sam Ash Music in Cherry Hill, NJ. Ken is currently the Principal Percussionist and President of the Merion Concert Band. Supporting the music scene in the greater Delaware Valley area, including his work with Musicopia, speaks to his spirit.
Artistic Director & Conductor
Taia joined Musicopia in 2020 and directs and conducts the organization’s student string orchestra ensembles: Musicopia Young String Players, Musicopia String Orchestra, Musicopia Chamber Orchestra, and Musicopia Camerata Orchestra. She carefully cultivates the repertoire to represent the diversity of students in the orchestra and develops young string instrument players’ artistry and skill development.
An active performer and educator, Taia is passionate about providing access to quality string programs for every child. She believes in the benefits of these programs for youth and works tirelessly to meet the needs of students who gather for rehearsals each week.
Taia received her BM in Violin Performance, BM in Education, and Master’s in Teaching from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She has taught and performed for over 30 years in the Philadelphia area.
Director of Student Development & Family Engagement
Rasaq joined affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP) in 2021, leading Student Development and Family Engagement and contributing to DEI initiatives. He supports events and programs and uses his experience as an educator, facilitator, and community leader to further the overall missions and shared vision of Musicopia and DCP.
Rasaq has been involved in youth education and the arts spaces for seven years. A community dance champion, Rasaq believes in the power of the arts as a catalyst for a better life. Rasaq has seen first-hand the power of dance and music as a tool to build community, improve mental health, create financial opportunities, and so much more. Rasaq is passionate about giving these gifts of the arts to young people and communities.
Rasaq received his BA from Washington and Lee University with a major in Economics and minor in Dance composition and technique. He has also completed a DEI certificate program through Delaware County Community College.
Senior Director of Philanthropy & Community
Kate has been with affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP) since 2008. She leads the Philanthropy, Community Engagement, and Marketing/Communications teams, with a special focus on cultivating individual donor relationships.
A professional modern dancer, Kate spent many years teaching in DCP classrooms and was also DCP’s former Managing and Artistic Director. Her unique skillset rooted in programming, a passion for student and staff development, and her gift for bringing diverse groups together guides her work.
Kate received her BFA from The University of the Arts and Certificates from Bryn Mawr College’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute and Boston University’s Professional Fundraising program. She also completed the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia’s Designing Leadership program.
Dionne joined affiliates Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly in 2022, leading the daily financial operations, working alongside management for financial planning and analysis, and assisting in strategic planning.
Over the past ten years, Dionne has worked as an accounting professional in both Pennsylvania and California. She has provided services to small businesses and tax-exempt organizations, including Charter Schools and Universities in service as auditor, Virtual CFO, and business strategist. Dionne has a strong affinity and commitment to education and not-for-profit organizations. She is an engaged part of her community, having served on several volunteer Boards of Directors.
Dionne is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Drexel University. She specializes in accounting, federal tax-exempt compliance, and organizational financial strategy for not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly, Dionne was the Managing Director of an accounting firm serving not-for-profit organizations.
Dionne Long, CPA, MBA
Senior Director of Finance
Senior Director of Programming
Leslie has been with Musicopia since 2016. She directs all areas of in-school and afterschool programming, including our Drumlines and String Orchestra programs, and oversees all programs’ Directors, Managers, and Teaching Artists.
Leslie is a seasoned arts professional focused on working with traditional music from around the world, with more than 20 years of experience working in all areas of non-profit management. Throughout her career, Leslie has worked with internationally acclaimed artists, arranging performances and educational programs at major performing arts centers and educational institutions worldwide. She has served on grant panels for the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, and a host of other arts organizations and on the Boards of Dance USA and International Ballet Exchange.
Leslie has worked for various organizations in New York and Philadelphia, including the World Music Institute, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Dance Theatre Etcetera, and the Philadelphia Folklore Project. She co-founded Mamadêlê Foundation, an organization that arranges performances and educational programs that present the music, dance, and martial arts of Bahia, Brazil. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Leslie received a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School, where she studied Ethnomusicology and International Politics.
Nathan has been a part of the programming team at Musicopia since 2018. As Program Director, he cultivates many school relationships and places teaching artists in schools or community spaces to provide diverse music and dance education and performances. Nathan also leads the operations for the Philadelphia Lullaby Project, a Carnegie Hall program managed by Musicopia in Philadelphia.
As a longtime music educator, including being a former teaching artist for LA Opera, Nathan knows the importance of providing access to the arts and what those experiences can do for young people.
Nathan has had the pleasure of having Arts Integration training at the Kennedy Center and the Folger Shakespeare Library. A lifelong performer, Nathan has also been the musical director for many community theatre productions. He graduated with a BM, summa cum laude, from Longwood University.
Social Media Coordinator
Niamh joined the Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly team in 2023 to moderate and create content for both organizations’ social media channels.
She has always been inspired by the power of digital media to bring important causes to a wider audience. She was deeply engaged with arts education programs in her youth and is honored to combine her passions in this position.
Niamh graduated from Muhlenberg College with a BA in Theatre and Music, having served as Publicity Manager for the Muhlenberg Theatre Association during her time in school, as well as receiving a Digital Scholars Research Grant and completing multiple internships.