Staff


INTERIM DIRECTOR

BETH RAY

Beth has a background in choral music, guitar and trumpet. She brings great energy and enthusiasm to the administrative side of SOPA having worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Hunter Street Baptist Church, UAB Medicine and Jefferson State Community College in various capacities. Her love for all things in worship arts will bring a new dynamic to our program. Her desire is to see students develop their God-given talents and gifts to glorify Him.

 


PIANO INSTRUCTORS

GLORIA SUSANNE GILMER, NCTM

Tuesdays  

Gloria Susanne Gilmer is a professional pianist, teacher, and composer. She has an extensive background in the performing arts, from directing and acting in musical theatre productions to teaching dance and arranging music for ballets. Susanne’s childhood studies in piano took place at Northwestern University Preparatory Division of Music. She obtained a B.A. in Music from Hope College and M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University, where she was awarded a teaching fellowship. Her philosophy is that everyone is musical: with encouragement and clear directions, students can develop music skills. Susanne believes that frequent performance activities help children and adults to build self-confidence and poise while they develop their God given talents.

AMANDA HEASLETT

Tuesdays and Thursdays 

Amanda Heaslett has over 18 years of experience assisting and teaching others music. She has been a church pianist since her junior year of high school as well as an assisted with the church choir.  She graduated from Samford University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. While studying there, she participated in the A Capella Choir, accompanied many vocal students, and competed in several competitions statewide. Music is something she is very passionate about and wants to share that passion with others. Her primary goal is for her music to bring glory to God and minister to others.

LAURIE JONES

Mondays and Tuesdays

Laurie Jones is an Alabama certified k-12 vocal music and ESL teacher.  She has loved teaching music over the past 16 years in private lessons and in the classroom. She currently teaches choir, voice, and piano at Hope Christian School in Pelham. She has a passion for teaching students to recognize their God-given talents and to learn to share their gifts with others. Laurie focuses on the fundamentals of both voice and piano to give students a good foundation on which to build. She teaches voice and piano lessons on Mondays and Tuesdays.


VIOLIN INSTRUCTOR

BETHANY BRACKER

Mondays and Tuesdays

Bethany Bracker began playing the violin at the age of 9.  She studied with Jeffrey Flaniken at Samford University and played with the University Orchestra.  She has been teaching violin for 6 years.  She uses the Suzuki and the Sassmannshaus method books and other supplemental materials in her teaching. She makes lessons fun and does include some music the students enjoy playing as part of the curriculum.


VOICE INSTRUCTOR

Laurie Jones

Mondays and Tuesdays

Laurie Jones is an Alabama certified k-12 vocal music and ESL teacher.  She has loved teaching music over the past 16 years in private lessons and in the classroom. She currently teaches choir, voice, and piano at Hope Christian School in Pelham. She has a passion for teaching students to recognize their God-given talents and to learn to share their gifts with others. Laurie focuses on the fundamentals of both voice and piano to give students a good foundation on which to build. She teaches voice and piano lessons on Mondays and Tuesdays.


 

GUITAR INSTRUCTOR

MATT JONES

Tuesdays

Matt Jones holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Mississippi and has been teaching general music, choral music and guitar as a classroom teacher for 10 years. Over the course of 4 years at Lafayette Middle School in Oxford, MS, Matt daily taught 3 sections of guitar in a program made up of more than 60 students. Matt has also taught hundreds of private guitar students in his home, at music stores, and in churches for the last 16 years. Matt is currently serving as Minister of Music at Wilsonville Baptist Church in Wilsonville, AL and is entering his third year teaching guitar class at Hope Christian School in Pelham.  He has a passion for sharing his love of the guitar with his students, and longs to see each student realize their potential.


DRUMS/PERCUSSION INSTRUCTOR

Mike McGuire

Mondays

Mike began playing drums as a child and continued through high school and college with a scholarship.  He took a small break from playing to work full time to support his family.  After missing the fun of playing drums, he picked up the drumsticks again 25 years ago and took lessons to learn new techniques.  He then began 8 years ago.  He has been playing in praise and worship bands in various churches all over Birmingham.  He teaches drum rudiments that are used in middle and high school bands, as well as drum set for praise and worship or rock bands.  He has an enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge of percussion with anyone.


BALLET / TAP / JAZZ / RECREATIONAL GYMNASTICS INSTRUCTORS

KATY HALL

Mondays and Thursdays 

Katy Hall is a certified teacher with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. After years of teaching in Shelby County Schools, Katy is thrilled to devote her life to teaching dance and taking care of her 2 children. Katy has always loved children and enjoys sharing her talents with them. Katy has 22 years of dance training and experience. She trained in tap, ballet and jazz with a focus on ballet and pointe. She has been in numerous performances and competitions including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While serving as captain and choreographer of her high school’s dance team, Katy was awarded the title of Universal Dance Association All Star. Katy has choreographed many routines for dance teams, as well as solos for girls participating in pageants. Katy has taught at a local dance studio for the past eleven years. She continues her dance education by attending professional workshops and conventions.  She teaches ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and tumbling. Katy resides in Chelsea with her husband, Nate, and her sons, Nolan and Christian.

CECILIA FIELD

Tuesdays

Cecilia Field is a student at Samford University. She is currently working on a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Worship Leadership. Cecilia has been dancing for 11 years and is a former student of the School of Performing Arts. She took ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop with Katy Hall. Cecilia also studied at the Kansas City School of Ballet and the Louisville School of Ballet. With a passion for dance, music, and children, she has taken every opportunity to teach dance or music. Due to all of her dance experience, she was given the honor of choreographing her high school musical for 2 consecutive years. At Samford, she is on the leadership team for Grace Dance Ministry, where she leads bible studies, choreographs, teaches dance, and ministers to fellow students. Cecilia is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with others!