Our instructors have advanced degrees from leading universities and conservatories across the country, as well as exceptional performing experience around the globe.
Justin holds a double-major in Bible and Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance from Dallas Christian College and a Master of Arts in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He taught choirs in Katy and Cy-Fair ISD for seven years before coming on staff at St. Luke’s as the Associate Director of Worship and Music. His school choirs received multiple UIL sweepstakes in Concert and Sight-Reading, and coached several Texas All-State Choir members. He continues to serve local school districts as a clinician and adjudicator. At St. Luke’s, Justin conducts a student chamber ensemble, the men’s choir, and handbells.
Kiersten Baker holds a MM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and a BM in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University where she studied both piano and violin. Baker has been teaching piano and Suzuki violin since 2011 and has also taught music theory and aural skills as a part of her graduate assistantship at UH. Baker enjoys teaching music in a variety of settings with people of all ages and stages of life. In whichever context, she is most passionate about making music accessible, relevant, and enjoyable to each student.
B. B. Bamberg
Barbara Bamberg is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University with graduate work at University of Houston. She has taught piano for over forty years as well as classroom music, coaching and accompanying for schools, churches and seminaries. Her interest in motivating students to enjoy making music for a lifetime has renewed her desire to return to the Bridges faculty after a hiatus of several years.
Andrés González, Violin, attended the University of Miami and received the MM from Rice University, where he studied with Sergiu Luca. Now, a resident of Houston, he regularly performs with Mercury Baroque, Houston Grand Opera, The Bach Society and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. He is experienced with Suzuki violin and teaches all ages.
Monica Griffin, Director
Monica joined Bridges Academy in 2007. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Texas and has taught voice for over 15 years. Monica is certified by the LoVetri Somatic Voicework® program.
Jasmine Hatem is a graduate of the Conservatory of the University of Cincinnati, holds the MM in accompanying and chamber music from both The University of Houston's Moores School of Music and Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. She teaches piano and accompanying at University of St. Thomas in Houston.
Anne Heath-Welch has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Centenary College of Louisiana and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She also did doctoral work (DMA) at UT Austin before leaving to study and audition in Europe. She spent a year at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria studying on a Lieder Course. Anne has sung lead roles with Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, the Royal Opera House as well as Opera Zuid (Maastricht) and Pocket Opera, Nuremberg.
Katie Heerensperger has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of St. Thomas. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. She has experience teaching piano, aural skills, and music theory to students of all ages. She is passionate about education and aims to foster a love of music-making in every student.
Patty Holley is a Houston-based young artist establishing herself as a performer in a variety of classical and contemporary genres. As a recent graduate of the University of Houston (MM Performance), her most recent opera roles include Lady Billows (Albert Herring), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), and Amelia (Amelia al ballo). A native of Eclectic, Alabama, Holley received concurrent bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Auburn University. In addition to classical repertoire, Holley is equally comfortable singing musical theater and jazz, and recently performed the role of Sandra Bloom in the musical Big Fish. She is also frequently engaged for her skills as a chorister and sings on staff for multiple choirs in Houston, including her position as a chorister for Houston Grand Opera in their 2021-2022 season. In addition, Holley is also passionate about research and private teaching, and has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles on studio teaching and artistry, including the 2020 American Music Teacher Article of the Year.
Carrie Lelsz received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Houston Baptist University and her Master’s degree in Theology and Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. A trained pianist and vocalist, Carrie has spent more than fifteen years of her career teaching and performing a variety of genres, to include Classical, modern, music theater, jazz, pop and contemporary Christian. Carrie enjoys teaching her students to accompany themselves while they sing which is an art all its own. Carrie is also the worship director at branches, St. Luke’s new modern worship service launching this fall.
Clarinetist Molly Mayfield has been performing professionally in Houston for over 20 years. She received her bachelors degree in performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and her masters degree in performance from the Shepherd School at Rice University. She has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet, and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.
Chelsea Ryan McCurdy is a professional actress, director and vocalist. You may have seen her around town in productions with TUTS, The Alley, Stages Repertory Theatre, Unity Theatre, Mainstreet Theatre and more. Chelsea is a voice actor for Funimation and Sentai Filmworks. She has been an educator in both the private and public sectors and just returned from a Vocal Pedagogy Workshop under Kevin Wilson at Boston Conservatory Berklee College of Music. Chelsea can't wait to work with you or your student!
Randy Murrow, Associate Director
Randy holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Oklahoma and Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Houston. In addition to a career teaching choral and solo singing to secondary students, Randy has sung several seasons with the Santa Desert Chorale, Conspirare, Cantare, and Houston Chamber Choir. In additions to his responsibilities for Bridges Academy, he directs the St. Cecilia Women's Choir at St. Luke's.
Pianist Jessica Myers has performed extensively across the United States and abroad. Based in Houston, Texas, Jessica is a staff pianist for the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and has collaborated with many of the top musicians and conductors in Houston, including members of the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Moores School of Music Faculty, Texas Music Festival, Houston Chamber Choir, and the Houston Symphony Chorus. Jessica is an advocate for contemporary music, and she premiered and recorded new works as a member of the highly-regarded AURA Contemporary Ensemble. Equally passionate about music education and arts advocacy, she has held leadership positions in community arts schools and music teacher organizations and serves on the faculty of the Bridges Academy in Houston.
Jim Roman holds a BM and MM in Organ Performance and Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ where he studied with Ken Cowan and Alan Morrison. In 2020 Jim completed his Certificate in Music Performance at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music as a student of Daryl Robinson. He has also had additional private studies with Grethe Krogh in Copenhagen, Denmark and is the winner of the 2013 Joan Lippincott Organ Competition for Excellence in Organ Performance. Jim is the Organist at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston, TX and also serves as Dean of the Houston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Grace Roman is a lyric soprano and performs frequently in the Houston area. Previous roles include Josephine (HMS Pinafore), Meg (Little Women), Flora Bervoix (La Traviata), La Bellezza (Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno), Flaminia (Il mondo della luna), and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas). Grace made her professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the spring of 2015 in Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Ancilla II). She has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Florida and a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. Grace is currently Associate Director of Music and Fine Arts for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
John Edward Ross
John Edward Ross has 25 years of teaching experience, and enjoys working with students of all ages and levels. He performs professionally as a jazz, rock, gospel and folk musician; he also works as a composer, producer, and recording engineer. His musical output ranges from scoring films, to producing popular music, to writing music for musicals, to boundary pushing collaborations with modern dance choreographers and video artists, to creating a series of instructional books and recordings for guitar. In addition to offering guitar instruction, John Edward offers lessons in recording technology, music theory, and music production and composition.
Lauren Ruhl, Mezzo Soprano, holds a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance from Pepperdine University. She recently performed in The Magic Flute with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and Madame Butterfly with VAS in Colorado Springs. Lauren enjoys teaching voice to all ages and levels in Katy ISD, HISD and at Bridges.
Violinist Jacob Schafer is a multifaceted performer and dedicated teacher. In Houston, he is a core member of Loop38 and Kinetic Ensemble and regularly performs with the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet and Grand Opera Orchestras, Mercury Chamber Orchestra, and Musiqa. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Jacob holds a B.A. in Music and in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University and an M.M. in Violin Performance from Rice University, where he is currently completing his D.M.A. under the tutelage of Paul Kantor.
Violist Yvonne Smith received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University under the tutelage of Joan DerHovsepian and James Dunham. She performs frequently with Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Bach Society Houston, La Follia Austin Baroque, Ars Lyrica Houston, American Bach Soloists (San Francisco), and Lyra Baroque Orchestra (Minneapolis/St. Paul). In 2016, Yvonne founded La Speranza, one of the preeminent American ensembles dedicated (exclusively) to the historically informed performance of 18th and 19th century chamber music repertoire.
Josh Wharton received his Bachelors in Music Performance in percussion at the University of Kentucky. After graduation, he taught in the Clear Creek School district in south Houston for 4 years, directing percussion and teaching private lessons at both the Junior high and High school levels. He currently is a private instructor and freelance percussionist.
Steven Wiggs, Cello, plays with the Houston Grand Opera/Ballet Orchestra. He was principal cellist for the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and studied at the University of Kentucky. He has also been a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Oklahoma Symphony. Steven is experienced with students of all ages.
Amy Saxton Wiggs is an honors graduate of the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, where she earned her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Flute Performance as a student of Albert Tipton. Ms. Wiggs held the position of 2nd Flute with the New Orleans Symphony/Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra from 1990-1994. Currently Ms. Wiggs is Principal Flute of the Baytown Symphony Orchestra along with free-lancing and performing with the various arts organizations in the Houston area. She teaches as an adjunct professor at Sam Houston State University and Lone Star College – Kingwood, Montgomery and North Harris. Amy is the owner/manager of Accent Chamber Music.
JP Williams is a Houston-based singer and graduate of the University of Houston where he received his Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. He has performed for the mainstage shows at the Moores Opera Center as the title role from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, The Father from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Joseph Talbot in William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight. He has also performed the role of Toante from Handel's Oreste with Baylor Opera Theatre. He also works regularly with Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church as a Staff Singer and soloist. JP believes that performing and teaching go hand in hand when it comes to learning how to sing. He strives to provide his students with a safe atmosphere that helps them grow and learn in a nurturing environment. His primary goal is to provide each student with a strong technical foundation for singing that helps them achieve their artistic goals.