Monument Square Music School Faculty
Piano (Jazz, Classical, Rock, Pop) B.M. jazz studies, New England Conservatory of Music
Joe is a pianist/composer who brings a unique blend of jazz, classical, and pop music to his performances and teaching. He has played with many bands and as a solo artist in the Worcester and Boston area. Joe has studied privately with Ran Blake, Danilo Perez, Mark Marquis, Frank Carlberg, and Bob Moses. Joe has been teaching private piano lessons for over ten years. Joe’s Website
Sax/Flute/Piano University of Massachusetts, New School in New York
Originally from Texarkana, TX, by way of Springfield, MA, Charles L began
playing saxophone at the age of nine. Coming out of a musically rich and
diverse town, which spawned artists such as Phil Woods, Taj Majal and Avery
Sharpe, Charles began his musical training at home with his mother, classical
vocalist Mary L. Prior to reading music, with the instruction of Mary,
Charles learned his favorite saxophone solos note for note, starting with Paul
Desmond’s solo from “A Bridge over Troubled Water.” He began studying with
Harvey LaRose, Phil Wood’s saxophone teacher, at 10.
Charles began playing saxophone professionally at 13. Two years later, Charles
Majeed Greenlee, Dizzy Gillespie’s trombonist and the husband of John Coltrane’s
cousin Mary, became one of Charles’ first mentors. From that point, Charles
began sitting in at every opportunity with one of his most influential teachers,
Archie Shepp. Charles also spent countless hours listening to the musicians who
would become profound influences on his musical growth such as Grover Washington
Jr., David Sanborn, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Kenny G,
Michael Brecker, Stan Getz, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis.
After high school, Charles studied music at the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst with teachers Max Roach, Yusef Lateef, Archie Shepp and Lynn Klock. He
then went to Houston, where he opened for George Benson. Charles continued his
musical study in New York City, attending The New School. He lived in New York
for four years, playing with Melvin Spark’s, Norman Connors, The Temptations,
Hilton Ruiz and Joe Farnsworth while studying with Barry Harris, Donald Byrd and
Billy Harper. Charles was then afforded the opportunity to study privately with
the great George Coleman.
Since completing his formal education, Charles has toured world wide with
artists The Temptations, Solomon Burke, Mighty Sam McClain and Toni Lynn Washington.
Charles now takes his gift of playing saxophone, and the extraordinary education
he has received, into the realm of teaching.
Guitar/bass Berklee College of Music
James’ original guitar style makes him one of the most exciting and creative musicians in New England. James can be found performing locally throughout New England. He has studied with Mark Marquis and attended Berklee College of Music.
Piano, B.S. in Mathematics at Fitchburg State University
Theo’s integrates Jazz, Gospel, RnB, Soul, Fusion, Latin, and classical elements to create a style that is uniquely his own. He plays at two churches, both pastored by his father, and likes to help out at other church services in the area. He has also been an active member of Fitchburg State University’s music community and programs. While studying there, he was a key member of FSU’s jazz band and was a founding member of FSU’s a capella club, Harmonic Velocity, boosting it to one of FSU’s top sought after forms of entertainment. He’s also studied voice with the esteemed Maria Ferrante and was a member of FSU’s Chamber choir, a select choir open via audition. He was the music director for local artist Merrick Henry’s first concert “Merrick Live in Concert” in October 2016, performed at the Worcester Gospel Fest in 2017. Check out Theo’s Soundcloud here.
Voice (Jazz, R&B, Pop/Rock) Fitchburg State University, Worcester State University
Stephanie is a singer songwriter, currently working on her third studio album. She has studied Elementary Education extensively at Fitchburg State University. She has studied voice privately with MSCMS teacher Matt Rippere, and Berklee professor Paul Pampinella. She has also studied jazz theory and improvisation with Mark Marquis. Stephanie is bilingual and composes and sings in Spanish and English. Her music can be found on her website Stephanie’s Website.
Melissa is a lifelong resident of Fitchburg and has been on the stage just as long, with her involvement in local acts and community theatre. In her 25 years of experience in theatre she has been given the opportunity to portray various roles such as Cinderella in “Into the Woods” (Stratton Players), Judy in “9 to 5: the Musical” (Theatre at the Mount) and Yonah in “Children of Eden” (Theatre at the Mount), which garnered her an EMACT DASH award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. For a brief stint she performed at the regional theatre level at Turtle Lane Playhouse in Newton where she was Maureen in “RENT” and Mrs. Walker in “The Who’s Tommy”- two of her most favorite roles to date. Melissa has also been behind the scenes in the director’s chair, directing Monty Tech’s drama club for 5 years and is currently directing student plays at MWCC. She performs locally as a solo guitar/vocal act, as well as with various collaboratives, and with the bands Sweet Green and Soulstice- a five-time Pulse Award winning band, including “best female vocals”. Her musical influences include the Beatles, Janis Joplin, Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Sharon Jones to name a few. She is pleased as punch to be joining the Monument Square team!
Piano B.A. in Music at Westfield State University
Emily completed her B.A. in music from Westfield State University in 2013 where she studied privately with jazz pianist James Argiro and classical pianist Galina Gertsenzon. She currently performs locally with the Fitchburg-based band TREBEK and enjoys playing piano and organ at weekly church services. Her interests include music composition, production, and improvisation.
Andrew (AJ) Balthazar
AJ is an experienced drummer and teacher who brings his unique drum styles and eclectic tastes to the Worcester and North Central MA areas . He studied with drum great, Bob Gullotti where he learned how to play jazz, rock, funk and blues. He has performed and recorded with many bands in the Worcester area including Dusty Miller, Free Grass Movement, and The Stone Clovers. AJ gives tailored lessons to students of all ages.
Violin/viola/cello M.M Music Education from University of Miami
Laurie Strubbe has a Masters in Music Education from the University of Miami. She has been teaching cello and violin for over 35 years. She performs with two symphonies as well as various chamber music groups.
Voice (Jazz,R&B, Pop, Rock), University of Southern Maine, Fitchburg State University
Lizzy Marquis is a vocalist, pianist, and song writer who’s love for music started at a very young age. Her first music debut was when she was six years old singing at a Christmas charity event. She has studied music under her father Mark Marquis, Betsy Fiedler, Mary Bastoni, and Ann Marie Koivu. She has been playing professional solo performances since the age of 14.
On March 2, 2013, and at the age of seventeen, Lizzy Marquis won the Highest National “Superior Musicianship Award” and”Judges Choice” at the Berklee College of Music’s 45th Annual High SchoolJazz Festival held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. This is the largest High School jazz competition in the United States where more then 200 bands and over 3,000 students competed. Lizzy enjoys playing and singing all different genres of music including jazz, blues, country, etc. and also enjoys writing her own music. Lizzy has a way of making any song her own with her unique style and swing.
Maya Douglas has developed a unique and practical approach to learning piano which she enjoys sharing with her students. She loves working with students of all ages, emphasizing the development of good technique. Maya has years of experience playing classical piano and a vast knowledge of music theory that informs her teaching.
Masters of music department (piano, voice) from Hanyang University in Seoul
Bella is a well-accomplished and dedicated voice and piano instructor. Working with students from all ages, degrees of experience, levels, and playing/singing style, she works with her students in a variety of genres including musicals, theatre, opera, classical, contemporary, pop, rock, jazz, blues, and more in both focuses of singing and piano. Bella focuses on creating a balanced and dynamic approach to teaching students that incorporates a variety of applications that span from specific technicality to the artful expression of singing and playing the piano. While also identifying and analyzing areas of improvement, her teaching philosophy takes into high consideration the execution of developing key solutions that target and eradicate the student’s difficulties.
Masters in jazz composition and arranging from UMass Amherst
Owen Ross is a guitarist, bassist, and composer who channels the jazz legends of yore with a nod to classic funk and contemporary R&B. In his performing, writing, and arranging, he combines influences from bebop, hard bop, blues, gospel, funk, hip-hop, and R&B into a musical voice that is forward-looking while grounded in a rich musical tradition of harmony, groove and swing.
Based in Central Massachusetts, Owen performs across New England with his group The Owen Ross Trio, and as a sideman with many of the region’s finest jazz, funk and R&B acts.
In addition to his active schedule as a performer and writer, Owen is an in-demand educator, teaching out of his private studio and at the Monument Square Music School in Leominster, Massachusetts, and serving as a faculty member at the University of Montana’s summer jazz workshop.
Owen holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Composition & Arranging from The University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of Montana.