The Mercyhurst University’s Sullivan Conservatory of Music offers private lessons to students of all ages in the Erie area. It is named after Sister Helen Jean Sullivan, who, for over fifty years, kept music alive at Mercyhurst. She served as the director of the music department from 1954-1973, and then founded the conservatory, for which she was the director of until her retirement in 2005. The conservatory was renamed in her honor in 2008.
Our goal at the Sullivan Conservatory is to provide exceptional music education while nurturing a life-long love of music. Not only do we strive to push our students to know his/her potential as musicians, but also in other areas of life. Lessons are taught by professional musicians who are active performers in the community. Students learn on the Mercyhurst University campus in the D’Angelo Performing Arts Department, while our recitals are held in the beautiful Walker Recital Hall in the Audrey Hirt Academic Building. We offer two programs - traditional lessons and Suzuki Strings, which you can learn more about on this website and/or by contacting the Sullivan Conservatory director below.
The Sullivan Conservatory offers traditional lessons in violin, viola, cello, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, flute, voice, trumpet, trombone, and piano. A request for an instrument not listed is welcome, but is not guaranteed. The approach to this style of instruction uses a variety of method books based on the needs of the student and the direction facilitated by the instructor.
Traditional instruction includes one private lesson a week lasting 30, 45, or 60 minutes in length. There is no age requirement; however, younger students should be able to demonstrate appropriate maturity and desire to learn in order to start lessons. Additionally, student participation in conservatory recitals is strongly encouraged, but is not required.
Piano, Clarinet, and Saxophone
Rebecca Wunch, M.M.
Sullivan Conservatory Director
Instructor, D'Angelo School of Music
Office: D'Angelo 16
Rebecca Wunch graduated from Duquesne University where she studied clarinet performance and minored in saxophone and piano. She received her Master’s degree from Bowling Green University with a dual in Music Theory and Performance. Additionally, while there, she had a teaching assistantship in Music Theory/Aural Skills. As a performer, she has played in various venues, including a composer’s series at Carnegie Hall, the Nutcracker with the Toledo Ballet Company, and a soloist with the Mercyhurst Orchestra. As a teacher, Rebecca developed the curriculum for the Perseus House Charter School of Excellence Middle School music program, where she previously taught. In addition to teaching at Mercyhurst University, she currently works for local after-school music programs, performances with the Misery Bay Big Band, the woodwind trio Reed’m & Weep, and the Presque Isle Sax Quartet.
Education and Experience: MM Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN;
BM Vocal Performance SUNY@Buffalo, NY; Lake Erie Choral Artists (formerly the Erie Renaissance Singers); Erie Opera Theater; Soloist Erie Chamber Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic; Adjunct Instructor Gannon University, Mercyhurst College D’Angelo School of Music; Asst. Prof. and Choir Director, Pikeville College, KY.
Margaret Andraso has her Masters of Music in classical voice and opera performance from Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN and her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from SUNY@Buffalo, NY. As a performer, Margaret has been a soloist with the Erie Opera Theater, Erie Chamber Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic, Erie Phil Chorus, and Erie Phil Opera. She is a performing member and Artistic Director of the Lake Erie Choral Artists (formerly the Erie Renaissance Singers), and a member of both St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral Choir and a vocal quartet at Temple Anshe Hesed during high holy days. Her teaching experience includes the Sullivan Conservatory of Music, adjunct instruction at Gannon University and Mercyhurst College D’Angelo School of Music, and Assistant Prof. and Director of Choirs at Pikeville College, KY.
She can be heard regularly in Erie at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and also in surrounding area churches as both a freelance soloist and with small instrumental chamber ensembles.
Clarinet and Saxophone
Geoffrey Wands has been teaching and performing on the various members of the clarinet and saxophone family for over 25 years and his students have won many honors and awards (e.g. attended Interlochen, members of the PMEA State Band, Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, Erie District Jazz Band, OMEA Solo and Ensemble Contest participants, Erie Junior Philharmonic Concerto Competition winners).
A native of Tonawanda, New York, he moved to Florida when he was 13 and graduated with honors from Fort Myers High School. As a teenage clarinetist he was a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony (for four seasons), the Florida All-State Marching Band, and attended the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. In his 20’s he earned an Associate’s (Edison), a Bachelor’s (Central Florida), and a Master of Music degree (Illinois State).
For six seasons he was the principal clarinetist with the now defunct Erie Chamber Orchestra and has played in several other symphonies as a freelance clarinetist or saxophonist (e.g. Akron, Canton, Erie, Wheeling, Youngstown). Since 2014 he has been the award-winning saxophonist in The Groove and has been a jazz saxophonist in several different big bands. While attending the International Worship Institute in Dallas, Texas he was a featured saxophonist.
Guitar and Voice
Katelyn (Kurpiewski) Barbour holds a B.M. in Music Education from Mercyhurst College, as well as a M.M. in Music Education from Boston University. She has served as a music educator to hundreds of students in grades K-8 for over a decade. Her teaching and directing experience includes general music, choir, theater, guitar and vocal instruction. She is currently a music teacher and theater director in the Erie Catholic School System. As a performer she has experience in a variety of genres ranging from classical to pop. She is the recipient of two local REMAs as both an artist and a songwriter. She currently enjoys playing guitar and singing professionally in the tri-state area, while also frequenting other music scenes such as Nashville and Muscle Shoals to write, record and perform.
The Suzuki Strings program is a relatively new concentration that the Sullivan Conservatory offers. This style of teaching started more than 50 years ago by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki. He realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learned to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother=tongue approach. To learn more about his philosophy, visit suzukiassociation.org.
Suzuki instruction includes one private lesson a week lasting 30, 45, or 60 minutes in length and a 30-minute group lesson once a week. Student participation in recitals is strongly encourage, but is not required.
Mary Moser has her Masters of Music in Violin Pedagogy from Arizona State University and her Bachelors of Music in Performance from University of the Pacific. She is a teacher, freelance musician, and a homeschooler of three laughing children. Ms. Mary has trained with and observed many phenomenal Suzuki teachers. You can view her list of registered courses by clicking here. Dr. Suzuki was a big proponent of self-growth and encouraged teachers to work together. Appreciating this holistic approach, in addition to the Suzuki method, Ms. Mary has studied the pedagogy of Paul Rolland, Mimi Zweig, and Music Learning Theory of Dr Gordon, among others.
Ms. Mary enjoys working with students of all ages. She’s ready to work with anyone ready to try and ready to learn. “If you’re ready to try and learn, then be ready to grow and achieve! And with music... be ready to dream and dance.”
Suzuki Association page: https://suzukiassociation.org/people/mary-moser/
Kellen Degnan is a versatile musician, active as both a performer and educator. An accomplished orchestral cellist, he is a member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and Ashland Symphony Orchestra, and was previously a member of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in the Canton Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and Erie Philharmonic. Kellen is also an avid chamber musician. He is equally comfortable with the sonata repertoire. One of Kellen’s greatest passions is the performance of contemporary music.
Kellen is also a passionate teacher and educator. He studied pedagogy through the Cleveland Institute of Music's renowned Suzuki pedagogy program, and is certified as a Suzuki cello teacher through Book 4. He recently accepted a teaching appointment at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, as Adjunct Instructor of Cello in the D'Angelo Department of Music and Suzuki Cello Instructor in the Sullivan Conservatory of Music, and will begin teaching there in September 2018. Kellen also offers private cello lessons at his home in Cleveland Heights.
Kellen holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Anthony Elliott, and a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned Cleveland Orchestra cellist Richard Weiss. He has also performed in masterclasses taught by Alisa Weilerstein, David Geringas, and New York Philharmonic principal cellist Carter Brey.
Suzuki Association page: https://suzukiassociation.org/people/kellen-degnan/
Be advised that there is a difference in pricing between the traditional and Suzuki programs.
- Cash, Check, and online Credit/Debit Card payment accepted.
- Payments per term/year are preferred, but monthly payment plans are available upon request.
- Initial online registration prompts a deposit of $50 with the $30 registration fee to hold a spot for the student(s). The deposit is applied towards your total, but not the registration fee.
Please have the following information available (if known):
- Name and age of interested party
- Instrument of interest
- Traditional or Suzuki lesson track
- Previous music study (location and duration)