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Dr. Jennifer McQuade

Analine Hellman

Piano Teacher

Analine Hellman is originally from Brazil. She began studying classical piano at the age of 11. Mrs. Hellman received her Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance at Universidade Sagrado Coração in Brazil. In 2013 she received an assistantship to study at Valdosta State University and in 2015 received her Master's in Piano Performance under Dr. Lyle Indergaard. Analine has numerous years of experience in private and group piano instruction within various schools around Brazil and in the USA. Since an early age Analine has participated in many music festivals in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and the US. In addition, Mrs. Hellman has played for several choirs in Brazil as well as the US, and has also accompanied several instruments and ensembles.


Trace Johnson

Woodwinds Teacher

Trace Johnson serves as the band director at Pine Grove Middle School in Valdosta, Georgia. Graduating summa cum laude from Auburn University, Trace played an active role in different groups on Auburn’s campus. He served as both a drum major, clarinet section leader, and soloist for the Auburn University Marching Band. Outside of the AUMB, Trace was an active performer in the Auburn Symphonic Winds, Auburn Clarinet Ensemble, Auburn Community Orchestra, and the East Alabama Community Band. 


Trace has also worked throughout Alabama and Georgia as a woodwind specialist and technician with both marching and concert ensembles. His private students have consistently made the Alabama All-State Band and have performed well in competitive solo festivals and honor bands. 

A native of Auburn, Alabama and a graduate of Lee-Scott Academy, Trace is excited to share his love of music and band with his students in Valdosta.

Dr. Mark McQuade

Voice Teacher

Dr. Mark McQuade serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Voice Area Chair at Valdosta

State University, teaching private voice and vocal pedagogy. Along with his deep-rooted

passion for the art of singing he brings nearly 20 years of experience as a performer and director of opera and musical theatre. His voice students have been featured in principal and supporting roles with university, community, and professional opera and musical theater companies, and they are regular award winners, finalists, and semi-finalists at state, regional, and national voice competitions.

As a performer, McQuade has appeared in opera, musical theater, concert, and recitals

throughout the United States and Canada. His operatic performances have included singing

leading roles such as Horace Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte,

Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, Mr. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, Bob in The Old Maid and

the Thief, the title role in Tartuffe, and Ko-Ko in The Mikado. Other professional credits include

appearances as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale with the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in

Fairbanks, Alaska; the roles of Marco in Gianni Schicchi and Sciarrone in Tosca, as well as the

Baker and Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods Jr., all with the Natchez Festival of Music in

Natchez, Mississippi; and the roles of Marco in Gianni Schicchi and Fiorello in Il barbiere di

Siviglia as well as being a featured soloist for “Opera on the River” with the Como Opera Guild.

Recent operatic and musical theatre directing projects have included Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte,

Susannah, Suor Angelica, Street Scene, Fortune’s Favorites, Passion in the Principal’s Office, Le

nozze di Figaro, Le Mariage aux Lanternes, The Tender Land, Hairspray, Joseph and the

Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Godspell. His production of Street Scene earned a top

honor in the 2013 National Opera Association Production Competition. McQuade also served as

the General Director of the Western Plains Opera Company from 2015-2017.

McQuade is an active researcher and published author. His article, "Second Formant Tuning in

Males Above the Secondo Passaggio" was published in the Journal of Singing, Nov/Dec 2014

and his co-authored article, “Cinderella Meets Cendrillion: Musical Theatre and Opera Living

Under the Same Roof” is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Singing in late 2018. His

work, "Richard Miller: A Retrospective" was presented at the 2013 International Congress of

Voice Teachers in Brisbane, Australia. In addition, McQuade has presented poster presentations

and lectures on formant tuning at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Brisbane,

Australia (2013) and Georgia Music Educators Association (2018).

McQuade received the Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Oberlin

Conservatory of Music where he studied voice and worked in the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts

Center with renowned vocal pedagogue Richard Miller. McQuade also earned a Master of

Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Oklahoma and Doctor of Arts in

Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Mississippi. McQuade is an active

member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), where he has served as the

Texoma Region Governor, the Oklahoma District Governor, North Dakota District Governor, a

National Board Member, and was the recipient of the NATS Emerging Leader Award. He is

also an active member of the National Opera Association and the College Music Society.


Caitlin Moore

Piano Teacher

Originally from Redmond, Oregon, Caitlin has been playing piano since she was five years old. She has been accompanying since she was eight years old. 


In 2019, Caitlin graduated from Young Harris College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance. While attending Young Harris, she was awarded the Edwin Gerchefski Scholarship in Outstanding Piano in 2017. She was the chorister and student accompanist for the Zeta Kappa chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, an international honors music fraternity.

Caitlin recently graduated from Valdosta State University with her Masters in Music Performance in collaborative piano, and was awarded a graduate assistantship.  While at VSU, she accompanied Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, and VSU Opera. Cailtin also taught class piano and secondary piano lessons for non-music major students at VSU. She has played for many different instrumentalists and all voice types. 


Caitlin is currently the organist at First Baptist Church of Valdosta, and has played at various churches throughout her life.


Alex Nguyen

Brass Teacher

Alex Nguyen is the current Band Director at Lowndes Middle School in Valdosta, Georgia. He recently graduated from Auburn University with a Master’s degree in Music Education while also serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Auburn Bands. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Mr. Nguyen assisted with teaching the Auburn University Marching Band (AUMB), Pep Band, Symphonic Winds, Concert Band, and Campus Band. He also performed various administrative duties including maintaining and inventorying instruments for all Auburn University Bands; planning and organizing band trips, including the Final Four pep band trip to Minneapolis in 2019; and organizing the Auburn University Summer Camps and Symphonic Honor Bands. Prior to this position, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, also from Auburn University.

While at Auburn, he performed with the Symphonic Winds, Concert Band, AUMB, Pep Band, Jazz Band, AU Singers Band, AU Community Orchestra, and the East Alabama Community Band.

Mr. Nguyen has performed with the Jazz Band at the Alabama Music Educators Association In-State Conference and as a soloist with the AU Community Orchestra for the Biannual Concerto Competition. He was also a founding member of the Alabama Voices, based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mr. Nguyen is a graduate of South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia, and was highly involved in the band program, performing with the marching band, concert bands, jazz band, and indoor percussion. He currently resides in Valdosta with his wife, Emily-Anne Nguyen and their cat, Goodwin.

Rebeca Sierra

Piano Teacher

Rebeca Sierra started playing piano as a hobby when she was 8 years old At age 12, she enrolled in music school with french horn as her primary instrument. She continued playing piano on her own for several years before returning to it as her focus. While at first the change proved difficult for various reasons, as time passed she found a great passion for making music with other people through playing piano and french horn with an orchestra. In addition, she accompanies her classmates at Valdosta State University where she studies as a piano performance major. This has changed her perspective and desire to study piano more deeply and to be a better accompanist.

Prior to teaching for VAPA, Rebeca taught in her mother's music studio. From working with her mother, she has learned that every student needs a different approach. Rebeca is a patient teacher and knows how to organize activities to accomplish the goal of each lesson. Rebeca is also bilingual, so her students also benefit from learning some music terminology in Spanish. 


Catherine Yara

Violin Teacher

International Graduate Student currently finishing her master’s degree in Music Performance at Valdosta State University (2021). Born in Ibague, Tolima (Colombia), where she started her education in music at the age of 5, attending Liceo Musical Santa Cecilia (a primary and secondary school created to encourage music development from an early age), where she served as concertmaster for both the Pre-Infantile Orchestra and the Children’s Symphony Orchestra, both of which offered a number of traditional and classical concerts across the country and abroad between 2003 and 2006, performing in several venues in Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Miami and Toronto, before audiences including local legislative representatives, international diplomats, and the Spanish monarchy.


Miss Yara carried out her undergraduate degree at the Pontifical Xaverian University, becoming a member and (in 2010) soloist for their Symphony Orchestra as well as working as an assistant professor for elective subjects from the Music Syllabus between 2014-2015. Invited to guest on the Colombia Symphony Orchestra in 2015, and as a tutor for music programs in the municipality of Tocancipá (2015-2016) and the city of Cartagena (2016-2018), where the experience acquired encouraged her to extend her formal training in Performance under lecturer Dr. Kristin Pfeifer Yu at Valdosta State University (2019).


Jay Hicks

Guitar, Ukulele, and Trumpet Teacher

Jay Hicks has been teaching private and group guitar lessons for over 20 years. Before retiring from public education, he taught general music and band at Madison Creative Arts Academy, a K-8 public charter school in Madison, Florida. Mr. Hicks is a writer and editor of guitar publications for the FJH Music Company in Fort Lauderdale, having written the publisher’s first method for bluegrass guitar, and having served as an editor on its Young Beginners Guitar Method as well as its Everybody’s Guitar Method series. He is also a writer and developer for Method Teacher, LLC, a Tallahassee based company providing online music curriculum for virtual schools around the United States. Hicks is an adjunct guitar instructor at North Florida College in Madison, where he also serves as Musical Director for the community theatre program.

Hicks earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Theory from Charter Oak State College, and a Master of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Florida. He did additional studies in jazz improvisation and performance on guitar at Valdosta State University. 

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