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Meet Our Instructors!

ERIK GILLASPIE | piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba

Erik is in his eleventh year of teaching band, choir, and general music for grades K-12 in the New Athens school district. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Concordia University Chicago (2011) and a Master of Music in Music Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (2022). Erik has played both piano and trombone for over twenty years and performs periodically with the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra. 

PETER HENSEL | trumpet, french horn, voice

Peter has music degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and The Juilliard School. He has performed with the Air Force Band and has orchestral performance experience throughout the U.S., central Europe, and Mexico. He now plays as a freelance musician while pursuing an MA in choral conducting at Webster University. Vocally, Peter sings currently as a principal tenor in the Bach Society of St. Louis Chorus and previously sang in the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus. 


CHRISTINE KESEMAN | piano, organ

Christine has taught organ and piano for several decades. She studied organ and music while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She has served for over thirty years as the organist and Director of Music at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, where she conducts the Handbell Choir and coordinates special music and musicians. Christine is a member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. 


JENNY PATTERSON | flute, piano, Mini Music Makers

Jenny currently teaches preschool music classes in the Metro East, where she has also been providing private flute and piano instruction for over twenty years. She judges local band contests and previously taught general music, band, and choir to students ages Pre-K through high school. She has played both flute and piano for over thirty years. Jenny earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Concordia University River Forest, where she was principal flute in the Wind Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. 



Dennis taught economics for 48 years at Southwestern Illinois College and Webster University. He played trombone extensively from ages 12 to 25, then took a break for his collegiate career until he started playing again 5 years ago. Currently, Dennis plays regularly in 2 jazz big bands. He often sits in with multiple smaller jazz ensembles and plays at a variety of churches. Dennis also plays in a homeschool orchestra where he performs with elementary and high school musicians.

KATIE VANN | piano, voice, aural skills, music theory

Mezzo-soprano Katie Vann is a singer, pianist, and instructor from St. Louis who specializes in classical voice, piano, jazz, and sacred music. She holds a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance from Webster University, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Her stage experience includes opera, jazz, and musical theatre appearances, and her choral performances have taken to her seven countries. She currently works as a private voice teacher and church musician at St. James Lutheran Church in Glen Carbon, IL. 

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