Ms. Mayen 'Meimei' Akpan, Piano.
With an eclectic musical taste, and exquisitely unique, diversified upbringing, Mayen's musical palette is inclusive and sweetly influenced by every musical genre. Mayen is a proud, native Houstonian, and has been teaching and tutoring for over 10 years. She loves helping her students discover their amazing talents, explore exciting new musical genres, set achievable goals, overcome challenges, encourage consistent improvement, and instill discipline and high quality performance. Mayen is very patient, kind, and has experience teaching students (from age 4 to adult).
Miss Akpan is especially grateful for her most recent piano performance engagements (California Concerto Weekend 2015, 4-time Houston Symphony Spotlight performer - Spring 2015, Piano Texas International Academy & Institute 2015, International Keyboard Institute & Festival 2015, and California Concerto Weekend 2016). She hopes to continue a good balance between teaching, composing, and performing music.
Mayen loves God, family, music, tennis, traveling, learning languages, and encouraging everyone to pursue their dreams, wholeheartedly and without apology. She is excited to share her many musical gifts with students of the Academy.
Mr. Wyatt Coleman, Violin and Piano.
Wyatt has been studying violin for 18 years. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, he was member of the Triangle Youth Philharmonic for six years, ranging in positions from Principal of second violins to Associate Concertmaster. A founding member of the Gemini Quartet, he attended the Fischoff National Chamber Competition and finished as a quartet finalist. He has participated in multiple masterclasses and worked with prominent musicians such as, William Preucil, Leila Josefewicz, Lucie Robert, and Emmanuel Borok.
Wyatt holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from the University of Houston Moores School of Music. He plans to pursue a Master's Degree in violin performance following his graduation. Wyatt enjoys teaching violin and piano to students of the Academy and crafts each lesson to allow his students to flourish.
Mr. Richard Power, Guitar, Piano, and Violin.
Richard has studied music for over a decade under Chris Robbins and was awarded he CCISD Intermediate Solo and Ensemble Competition gold medal for violin solo in 2008 as well as the UIL Region XVII Solo and Ensemble Competition gold medal for both guitar solo and violin solo. In 2010 he was awarded the UIL Region XVII Solo and Ensemble Competition gold medal for guitar solo and violin solo again. He has performed with the Clearlake Symphony Orchestra and the Clearlake Philharmonic Orchestra for the past 6 years.
In 2011 Richard was awarded the UIL Region 17 gold medal for guitar solo and violin solo and the gold medal for guitar performance in the Texas Solo and Ensemble Competition. He is currently pursuing a degree in Music on a Music Scholarship. He teaches piano, violin, & guitar for the Academy and enjoys helping each student find the instrument and style of music that speaks to their heart.
Mrs. Heather Scharbor, B.P.A, Academy Director and Piano.
Heather is the Director of the Academy. She has been an arts advocate in the Pearland area for the last decade striving for excellence in the arts for music, dance, and theatre. She has studied, trained and performed both nationally and internationally in these disciplines. It is her honor and privilege to provide uncommon excellence in training in piano, voice, violin, guitar, and cello to children in the Pearland area. Mrs. Scharbor’s mission for the Academy is to allow each student’s interest in music to flourish and to guide each student joyfully in developing mastery of their instrument while enriching the cultural atmosphere of Pearland.
Allegro also supports numerous local efforts that serve children and families in Pearland in need as well as Musicians without Borders which is an organization that brings healing through music to children and families in war-torn countries around the world.
Mrs. Scharbor is also an active member of the Pearland Arts League and Pearland Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Cheryl Lollar, Piano.
Mrs. Cheryl Lollar holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Arizona State University. Her passion has been teaching piano to both children and adults for the past 30 years. She taught in studios in Arizona and in Houston private schools. Having recently moved to Pearland, she was thrilled to find the Allegro Academy which has the same philosophy of inspiring students with private lessons that she has built her teaching career on.
While teaching in Houston, she had several students that stayed with her from age 6 all the way through high school. She laid the foundation for students who went on to attend HSPVA in Houston. She has also used her Music Therapy training to teach piano to special needs students for many years. She has also taught adults in a therapeutic setting.
For students of all ages and levels, she strives to instill joy from music by using fun method books, playing duets, and also focusing on the style of music the student enjoys. Her goal with every student is that they develop a lifelong understanding and love of music from a firm foundation of piano lessons.
Mr. Christian Ibanez, Cello & Piano.
Christian Ibanez studies cello and music education at the University of Houston. Christian studies cello with Vagram Saradjian and has previously studied with Evgeni Raychev and Charlotte Eads. He also performs with the Moores School of Music Symphony Orchestra. Christian is excited to teach cello and piano to students of the Academy.
Mr. Houston "Carver" Mathis, Voice and Piano
Houston "Carver" Mathis is a Vocalist, Church Music Curator, Stage Performer, and an engaging teacher. He is a lyric-baritenor, having trained with notable voice teachers and conductors of our time such as Chris Hoffman, Dr. Brantley Albright, Florence Birdwell, and Henry Leck. Carver has also attended the American Music and Dramatic Arts Conservatory Program for Opera and Musical Theater performance studies. In June 2018, Carver made his second appearance singing Dan Forrest's "Jubilate Deo" at Carnegie Hall and also sang at Lincoln Center while in New York City.
Carver has sang with the Houston Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Betsy Cook Weber and Andrés Orazco Estrada. Carver has also appeared at St. Lois Cathedral in New Orleans singing "A Little Jazz Mass" by world renowned composer Bob Chilcott.
Additional past performances include the off-Broadway touring production of Neil Berg's "PhantomS of the Opera" in Rudder auditorium at Texas A&M University. He appeared on the stage with Broadway greats. These included Marc Kudisch, Carter Calvert, and Timothy Splain. Other stage credits include: George in School House Rock Live at Lambert Hall in Houston.
Concert Adaptation Credits Include:
Coalhouse Walker (Ragtime), Porgy (Concert Adaptation of Porgy and Bess), George Gershwin/Dexter (Thoroughly Modern Millie), and Peter Quince with The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra abridged version of the iconic Shakespeare play "A Midsummer Night's Dream."Oratorio and Major Works include: Dvorak “Te Deum”, Bach “St Matthew Passion”, Brahms Requiem, Handel’s “Messiah”, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", and a Christmas appearance with The Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra (under the direction of Chris Hoffman and Dr. Marcelo Bussikki)
Carver has also served as a Music Curator at a local church in Pearland, TX. Carver was responsible for building the overall musical experience of the church and was responsible for building the congregants musical excitement. From there, Carver was appointed Director of Choral Activities and built a vibrant and flourishing choral program after 10 years of extinction. His flare for bringing communities together and connecting people to each other was a major contributing factor to the program’s success.
Here's what Carver’s students have to say about him:
"Carver is an engaging teacher. He can make anyone sound good."
"Carver is very much emotionally connected to the music and leads us to a place where we appreciate the text of hymns on a very emotional level."
"There is something incredibly joyful about working with Carver. Not only does he teach us the songs, Carver goes above and beyond by ensuring that we sing with healthy technique.
Carver is currently completing his degree from The University of Houston and is currently working to be certified in Performance Psychology through Juilliard's EdX program.
Carver currently resides in the Houston area and continues to inspire and educate those around him and is thrilled to be working with the talented students at Allegro Pearland Academy of Music.
Mrs. Naghme Karimimanesh, Violin
Naghme has been studying violin for 12 years. Originally from Shiraz, Iran, she has been teaching violin to children and adults for five years. She has written songs for children to help them learn violin techniques in a fun and memorable way. She has used music to encourage and aid in the memorization of great poems.
Naghme also worked as a choir coach for one of the top high schools in Shiraz. With her efforts, her team was awarded 2nd place in a prestigious Shiraz competition.
Naghmeh holds a Master’s Degree in Geology and is one of Allegro’s favorite music teachers. She enjoys teaching violin to students of the academy and uses Suzuki and additional teaching methods for each lesson to allow her students to have the most enjoyable learning experience possible while bringing out their best.
Mr. Joseph Rodriguez, Piano, Trumpet, and Voice
Joseph’s passion for music emerged when he purchased his first trumpet at nine years old. Throughout high school Joseph served as band president, worked his way up to section leader, and later became his high school band’s drum major. His senior year in high school, Joseph was recognized for his superior musicianship, excellence, and dedication to the music program.
Joseph has 13 years of experience in music and performance. He is proficient in a variety of genres such as symphonic band, chamber choir, jazz, mariachi, and church choir. Joseph’s most memorable musical achievement to-date is performing in the All-State symphonic band for the Texas Music Educators Association convention.
Joseph is currently pursuing a degree in audio engineering. Joseph enjoys sharing his love for music with others. He finds it rewarding to teach students of the academy and watch their musical talents grow.
Mr. Nathan Mays, Piano, Guitar, Double Bass, Composition, Improvisation
Nathan Mays is an active musician, teacher, and versatile composer from the Gulf of Texas, who has collaborated with numerous musicians, dancers, and painters to explore the artistic bounds of modern music. He began studying composition in 2010 at San Jacinto Community College, finishing his Bachelors of Music in Composition at Sam Houston State University and Masters of Music in Composition at Texas State University. Nathan’s music has appeared throughout the United States and Europe in festivals and on the air.
While maintaining an active composition career, Nathan regularly performs in the Houston area and enjoys teaching double bass, piano, guitar, and composition to students of the Academy.
Ms. Kimberly Belsley, Special Needs Piano
Kimberly Belsley is a certified teacher who has studied piano since she was 7 years old. She was born with a disability that limits her hand span and finger movement. Kimberly has overcome this obstacle, however, and continues studying piano with her mentor. Kimberly wants students at the Academy to love music and overcome their own obstacles, no matter what they may be. She loves working with children and adults who enjoy her dynamic and energetic teaching style.
Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree that enables her to teach Early Childhood – 6th grade General Education, Early Childhood – 12th grade Special Education, Early Childhood – 12th grade English as a Second Language and Special Needs Piano.
Ms. Lynn Wang, Piano and Bassoon
Ms. Lynn Wang holds a Bachelors degree in Music Performance from Taipei Municipal University and her Master’s from the Jacobs School of Music. She has worked as a private piano teacher for beginner through advanced levels in the Houston area since 2008 and formerly taught at Fort Bend Music Center. She also teaches aural skills, theory, and Mandarin. Ms. Wang has also taught band, orchestra and solo students from elementary to college level in Bassoon.
She has performed with the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, and Reimagining Opera for Kids. Ms. Wang is excited to be a part of the Allegro Faculty and enjoys bringing out the unique musical gifts in each of her students.
Mr. Shymon Spencer, Piano, Guitar, Bass, Drums, and Ukulele
Shymon has had a calling on his life to pursue music since he was born. Instead of engaging in secular music, Shymon chooses to use his talents to glorify God. Music has always been one of the most impactful things in his life. He has noticed a destructive theme in music throughout the generations. Therefore, he is making a move to promote positive music. His influences include Prince, Michael Jackson, Lecrae, Hillsong United, Eminem, Dr Dre, Red, etc.
Shymon was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He is the second oldest of six siblings. Shymon has been a musician for 13 years and teaching for 8 of those years. He is also heavily involved with audio engineering, DJing, composing, songwriting and music production. He teaches and performs playing the piano, guitar, bass, drums or ukulele. Shymon’s focus is to use music an inspiration to the world. When it comes to teaching, he makes sure that his students are taught music and its meaning.
Ms. Kirsten Hill, Voice & Piano
Kirsten Hill currently studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of a Music where she is pursuing a degree in vocal music education. At the University of Houston, Kirsten is a member of the internationally acclaimed Moores School of Music Concert Chorale. Kirsten is an active member of Moores Opera Center where she has been featured in The Love for Three Oranges, Romeo et Juliette, and The Crucible.
Kirsten graduated from Friendswood High School in 2015 where she was the choir president, a member of Tri-M Music Honor Society, and an international Thespian. At Friendswood High School Kirsten was a cast member in Mary Poppins, 42nd Street, and Guys and Dolls. Kirsten has been teaching voice and piano for the past 4 years. Her vibrant and exciting teaching style create an atmosphere of encouragement and give her students a feeling of accomplishment. Kirsten is excited to share her passion for voice, piano, and the theatrical arts with students of the academy.
Ms. Weijia Zhou, Piano
Weijia Zhou acquired her Master of Music and Bachelor of Musical Arts degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Oklahoma, where she studied with renown pianist Jeongwon Ham. In addition to her primary teacher, Zhou has studied with world-class musicians and pedagogues including Barbara Fast, Jane Magrath, Stephanie Leon Shames, Barry Douglas, and Andrew Cooperstock.
During her career, Zhou received numerous awards and accolades for her work as a solo and collaborative pianist, including first place at the OKC Ladies Music Club Competition, first place at the OU Concerto Competition, honorable mention at the Donna Turner Smith Competition, and was the recipient of the Bratton Family Scholarship, Hector and Sylvie Derdyn Memorial Scholarship, and Ruth Moore Memminger Memorial Scholarship.
As a soloist, Zhou has performed extensively in a wide variety of settings. She was featured soloist with the OU Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jonathan Shames. She has also collaborated with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists in public performance, masterclass, and competition. As part of her Graduate Assistantship during her time at OU, she served as Studio and Concert Pianist for the brass, percussion, vocal, and choral departments.
Drawing upon her strong background in performance, Zhou's teaching style emphasizes naturalness and efficiency in technique to better serve each student's own musical expression. After many years of teaching Ms. Zhou is skilled at bring out the best in each student and enjoys working with the dedicated students of Allegro.
Mr. James Masanotti, Violin
James Vincent Masanotti completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Furman University in Greenville, SC, and his Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston.
In addition to furthering his own studies, James has also been engaged in teaching students at music academies and public schools throughout Houston. As a private instrumental instructor, James employs a variety of pedagogical approaches, tailoring Suzuki, Sevcik, and other pedagogical methods to fit each individual student.
As a performer, James has been a member or leader of a myriad of school orchestras, scholarship string quartets, chamber choir ensembles, and school musical productions. In addition to classical music, James also plays jazz on the violin with his gypsy jazz ensemble “Bayou City Swing”. He enjoys living in Houston, TX, where he continues playing and teaching.
Ms. Monika Stewart, Piano
Monika has been classically trained in piano since the age of nine. Certified through the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music since 2015, she currently continues her studies to complete her Diploma ARSM in teaching with the ABRSM school of music based out of London.
She has five years of private teaching experience with students of all ages with Sugarland Music School from 2011-2017 and has over a decade of collective work with children. Dating back to 2000-2004 she worked as a youth coordinator for the Harris County Summer Street Olympics, a program targeting work with disadvantage youth from inner city communities to provide them with day camps and activities during the summer months.
In 2005-2006 she also worked with the Houston YMCA mentoring and after school programs for music and arts. Monika continued her work with children in 2007-2008 after winning the title of Miss Texas International 2007 where she was appointed as a Regional Spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Club of America, where she traveled all over the state as well as surrounding areas of Louisiana raising money for charity on behalf of the organization. Today she continues her love for work with children and music.
She specializes in training and preparation of students for the ABRSM examination process and is excited to offer prestigious opportunity to Allegro students.
Mr. Omar Escobedo, cello & piano
Omar Escobedo was born and raised in Houston, TX. He began playing violin at the age of 10 and cello at the age of 14. In high school, he served as principal and assistant principal cellist of the American Festival for the Arts’ Symphony Orchestra.
Omar received a scholarship to pursue his double degree in Music Education and Cello Performance at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. He is currently in his third year of study with cellist Vagram Saradjian, who was a notable student of Mstislav Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatory. While at the Moores School of Music, he has performed with the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Ballet Orchestra, and Opera Orchestra. He served as assistant principal for the Opera Orchestra. Omar also performed in masterclasses for Istvan Vardai, Suren Bagratuni and Escher String Quartet.
Omar worked as an AFA intern to help run the summer program while also coaching chamber groups. He currently works with Houston Youth Symphony El-Sistema inspired Coda Music Program as an intern where he helps to provide under-privileged children with free music lessons. Omar is excited to be a part of the rapidly growing strings program at Allegro!
Ms. Cindy Vasquez, Violin, Viola, Piano & Steel Drums
Cindy Vasquez is an active musician who holds a Bachelors degree in Viola Performance from University of St. Thomas in Houston where she studied under Wei Jang of the Houston Symphony. Cindy began her studies at San Jacinto College Central, where she was awarded multiple music scholarships for Viola, Composition, and Steel Drums. She also served as a Music Theory Tutor for the college. Cindy completed her degree in Viola at the University of St. Thomas where she received multiple scholarships for Viola and Academics. Cindy is now an active member of the Karovd Quartet and the San Jacinto College Alumni Steel Band. Cindy believes that each child has an individual style of learning and works hard to find a style that works for each student. Cindy is excited to be a part of the Allegro faculty and enjoys watching her students have fun and succeed through their love for music.
Mr. Arthur Gilligan, Drums & Guitar
A British citizen, Arthur Gilligan was raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the age of nine, he received his first drum set and began taking lessons with a local instructor. He immediately became enamored with the instrument and by the time he was fifteen, he was already playing professionally in his parents’ rock band. Arthur performed weekly with the group at prestigious venues all over Brazil while at the same time attending the famed Villa Lobos Music School for lessons in drum technique, music theory and music history. After completing his music studies at Villa Lobos in 2009, he began teaching private drum lessons. Arthur has always been a firm believer in nurturing the individual characteristics in every student’s playing and strongly encourages them to find their “sound” rather than always imitate exactly what he or another drummer does. Wishing to further his music education, Arthur moved to Houston in 2015 and received an Associate of Arts in Music from San Jacinto College in 2017. While at San Jac, Arthur won the Freshour Nelson Scholarship, was on the Dean’s List for the 2016 and 2017 school years and won first chair in the 2017 TCCBDA All-State Jazz Band auditions for drum set. He has since transferred to the University of Houston where he is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. Arthur enjoys sharing his many talents with Allegro students!
Mr. Ashton Jones, Voice, Piano
Ashton Jones began his studies in music at the precious age of seven, playing the piano. He was inspired by his grandmother and other family members who were well-established pianists. Mr. Jones acquired his first church accompanist position at the age of 13. During this time, he was playing and performing at different venues around the city of Tulsa, his hometown. During his first year of collegiate study, several professors discovered his natural talent as a solo vocalist. Jones has developed strong technical and artistic proficiency in a short time and shows great potential as a performer. An advocate for success, Ashton firmly believes that you can't reach your ultimate goal without achieving small successes along the journey!
Ashton most recently performed the role of Masetto in a fully staged production of Don Giovanni by Mozart in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. He has performed with the Houston Ebony Opera Guild Chorus, Grassroots Choir and as a frequent soloist for local university and church events within the Greater Houston region. Mr. Jones currently attends Texas Southern University (TSU), where he studies private voice with Jolie Rocke Brown and piano with Dr. Lucian Zidaru. In Opera Workshop scenes programs, Ashton has appeared as Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, Masetto in Mozarts’ Don Giovanni, and Bluff in Mozarts’ The Impresario. He has also held positions Accompanist for both the University Choir and Opera Workshop at TSU. Ashton’s teaching style for both piano and voice is joyous and energetic and he enjoys working with children and adults. Students of the academy gravitate to Ashton’s classes as they see something exciting is going on!
Ms. Christine Oakes, Piano and Voice
Christine is a Houston area native who was born and raised in Pearland. She has been exposed to music from a young age, placing in a high ranking at the Elementary Music Memory District Competition at the age of 8. She began taking voice lessons in 7th grade and continued them throughout her time in high school. Under the mentorship of her vocal coach in high school, Dr. Cassandra Black, she chose University of Houston’s Moores School of Music as her university to study music.
Currently a senior in college, Christine has had many amazing performing and teaching opportunities at Moores. She has thrived in the atmosphere of the music school and has made a ton of vocal progress under the mentorship of her voice teacher Melanie Sonnenberg. Being a double major in Music Education and Vocal Performance she has done a variety of things from conducting an a Capella group, to having principle roles in some of the operas at Moores, to being the church cantor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church. Christine is very excited for this teaching opportunity and is looking forward to spreading her love of music to her students.
Mrs. Amy Titus, Piano and Voice
Mrs. Amy Titus holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a choral concentration as well as a Masters Degree in Music Theory from Baylor University. She has studied and played the piano since the age of 10. She also has a passion for singing and has participated in choirs throughout her youth as well as studying voice at Baylor University. She has worked as a private voice teacher for students of all ages, specializing her curriculum and teaching method to meet the goals of each student. She also directed choirs at the secondary level in private schools throughout the state of Texas, helping students achieve excellence in choral singing.
Mrs. Amy believes that learning the language of music, both aural and written, is essential to truly understanding and enjoying music. She welcomes the opportunity to discover how each student learns so that she can help them become accomplished musicians. Through this learning process, she believes that each student will find the joy that comes with the ability to express oneself through music. For this reason, Amy is thrilled to be a part of the Allegro Pearland Academy of Music as she hopes to instill this same joy to others in her studio.
Ms. Andrea Walker, Voice and Piano
Soprano, conductor, and teacher Andrea Walker recently graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston with a degree in Vocal Performance. She is honored to have the opportunity to sing with professional ensembles in Houston including Bach Society Houston and Chorus Angelorum as well as each private voice and piano lessons at Allegro Pearland Academy of Music.
Andrea is a cantor at the Co-Cathedral of the Scared Heart and is thrilled to serve as Associate Music Director at St. John Vianney. In her spare time, she enjoys singing in a barbershop quartet and traveling the world.
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