Matt Flynn began playing saxophone in the 5th grade band and in high school began playing the electric bass and electric guitar. In his twenties, Matt discovered the vast world of percussion and joined the Miami University Steel Band and in 1999 took a trip to Ghana to study music and dance. After graduating from Miami University, with a degree in Religion and Philosophy, he began a Master's Program at Florida State University with a focus on Tibetan Buddhist Studies. While working on his degree, Matt joined Mas N' Steel and the FSU African Ensemble where he studied privately with Damascus Kafumbe learning various Ugangan melodic instruments. He has been working with children for the past twenty years first through AmeriCorps, then through various school programs, and also with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. In 2012, Matt helped form the Queen City Silver Stars, an ensemble primarily focused on the rhythms of Africa and the Caribbean, using the steel drum as its main melodic instrument. Matt has been teaching private lessons for the past eight years in the Hamilton area.
General Manager, Little Wings and Rookies Teacher
Shannon’s musical journey started at age 11 as the best (and only) trombone player in the 6th grade band. Her high school jazz director once told her that “variety is the spice of life.” Shannon took that as a challenge. She has played in concert bands, jazz bands, pit orchestras, and has even played trombone in a punk band. At the age of 14 she received a bass guitar for Christmas. She quickly fell in love with the bass and started her School of Rock journey at Mason. Since then she has been in more than 10 School of Rock shows on bass guitar, trombone, and vocals.
Shannon has always had a passion for working with kids, starting out as a camp counselor. She has been surrounded by music her whole life and believes in cultivating a love for all kinds of music from a very young age. Shannon teaches our Little Wing and Rookies classes and put together
the first ever Rookies performance.
Michael started playing musical instruments when he was in grade school. He has performed, recorded, and/or toured on bass or drums with original bands Liquid Hippos, The Love Cowboys, Great Uncle Short Fuse, Throneberry, The Afghan Whigs, The Twilight Singers, Howlin Maggie, Todd Almond, Brendan Benson, 5 Horse Johnson, and The Hiders. In addition, he has performed in musical theater productions in Cincinnati, New York City, and Peterborough, New Hampshire.
He has been writing and recording his own original music since the 1990s and continues to do so on his own as well as with his wife.
Michael was a drum instructor at the School of Rock Mason from 2012-2020 and a show director from 2013-2016.
Mike Troyer started playing guitar and taking lessons when he was nine years old in southern Indiana. He then went on to play with friends and bands in basements, garages and small venues all the way through college. The music ranged from polka to punk, but he has always favored blues, rock n' roll and alternative music. Family and profession (in his case, scientific research and teaching) took him in many different directions, but Cincinnati has now become his home base to connect with other local musicians. Mike’s children first enrolled at School of Rock, and then later he joined too. Mike is now co-director of our Adult Performance Program and helps Adult Band members quickly prepare for live, onstage shows at local area venues. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Cincinnati.
Danny Manning is a professional musician who has toured extensively and worked with artists from the bands Journey, Toto, The Romantics, Santana, Tommy Tutone, Kansas, Los Lobos, Ben Folds, Boston and many more. He holds a BA in sax with secondary emphasis on piano from Alderson Broaddus University and an MM in Conducting from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Locally he performs on keys, sax, and vocals with The Tuna Project, Sunburners, Leroy Ellington and Just Strange Brothers and tours nationally and internationally with The Philip Myers Band. His professional musical directing credits include RAGTIME, AIDA, CHILDREN OF EDEN, TOMMY, WONDERFUL TOWN, FUNNY GIRL and more. He is the past director of the Xavier University Singers and former Assistant Band Director at Walnut Hills High School.
Bass Guitar Teacher
Mason Daugherty is a bass teacher who's been playing professionally in a myriad of genres since 14. He holds a degree in Jazz Bass from Morehead State University and is currently pursuing his Masters at CCM. His expertise includes both electric and upright. He is very excited to be joining the team at School of Rock.
Stephen (pronounced Stef-en) Schwarz has been a drummer for what seems like his his entire life. He started playing drums at the age of 10, when his sister and her band would leave their equipment he would sneak in and play their drums. Stephen’s parents finally got him his own drum set when he was 17 and he never looked back. He has been playing professionally since that time and still currently plays with three local bands. Stephen has played with some of Cincinnati’s largest touring bands including Prizoner, Relics & Bad Habit. He also owned and operated the best drum shop in the area. Stephen’s teaching style is a bit unorthodox as he is self-taught, but his technique and style are both well developed.
Allison hails from the mean streets of NKY but has lived in NYC for the last 16 years. Music, especially singing, runs deep in her family DNA and she has been singing publicly since she was 4 years old. Most of her childhood she was known as the youngest of The Monroe Sisters and sang all over Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois. Knowing her love of music and singing she joined any choir she could, her favorite being Show Choir and singing with her Jazz Band in high school which led to her getting to sing all over Europe when she was 16. Growing up a preacher’s kid she dreamed to grow up and be Amy Grant. She has performed on multiple stages, churches, clubs, bars and parks. She also enjoyed every musical she could audition for and loves winning lottery tickets to Broadway shows but tries hard not to sing along.
Allison most recently has served as the Creative Arts Director at Forefront in NYC leading bands and singers. As well as working on her own recording project, she also has had the privilege of singing BGVs on more than a dozen projects and loves working in recording studios. She loves the process of learning a song and working with multiple people to create a beautiful sound and emotion. No matter how long it takes. After working with a vocal coach in her late 20s she realized the great need for stretching her voice and confidence. She constantly talks about her high school choir director and music mentors that saw something in her she hadn’t and would have never seen herself. They pushed her to not only be a better musician but to see singing in a whole new holistic way. But she also credits 8 years of piano lessons and her oldest sister for her love of harmonies as she would always demand she sing the melody so Allison and her other sister had to find the harmonies. Now she loves teaching them.
Allison has a deep love and connection to singing and finds her joy and passion there. She believes music can bring people together like nothing else can. She and her husband and son have just returned to their roots in Cincinnati which is where they met and married. She has 4 kids all who are incredible musicians and loves singing with them. She had a dream to be the next Partridge Family so she is crossing her fingers that her son, Ellis, will be the drummer that will complete the band. And that they aren’t embarrassed to jam with her.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Jacob Snow joined the School of Rock Mason location as a bass student when it first opened in 2012, where he played in the house band and made the School of Rock All Star Team in 2014. After graduating, he formed a band with other former School of Rock students, where they released music together and performed all over the Cincinnati area. Jacob has now returned to School of Rock Cincinnati as an instructor, where he will be teaching bass and guitar!
Eric Moreton was active in the Cincinnati music scene for 35 years, playing and recording with bands such as Sluggo, Middlemarch, BuBu Klan, Black Magic Rhythm, and the Ready Stance.
From 2005 to 2020, he taught at Wert Music in Erlanger, Kentucky. He also taught lessons privately during that time.
Eric is versed in most styles of music, with emphasis on Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk, Hip Hop, Funk, and the Blues.
Alex Nicodemus is a versatile pianist, composer, and educator with backgrounds in jazz, R&B, rock, and more. Alex has played piano for Cincinnati jazz fusion group Bumpin’ and R&B singer Chaya Jones. Knowledgeable in jazz music, he has played in jazz trios and quartets at venues such as the Phelps Hotel, Brew River, and Ghost Baby. Alex wants to see his students grow and develop a love for music. Currently, he studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Jubilee O’Connor (they/them) is a bassist, pianist, singer, and songwriter from Dayton, Ohio. After obtaining their BA in Jazz Studies at The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Jubilee began performing in jazz clubs and venues across Cincinnati such as Caffe Vivace, Memorial Hall, and The Hard Rock Casino. They frequently perform with groups like the JJJ Trio and the We Create Jazz Ensemble. Jubilee has performed with artists such as saxophonist Tia Fuller, singer Carla Cook, and Cincinnati legend Kathy Wade. They are the bassist in a local indie band, Hyssop, who released their first self-titled album in the summer of 2020 and are planning to release their sophomore album in 2022. Additionally, Jubilee writes original music on piano and guitar and performs them at various open mics and clubs in their free time.
Ben started playing music at an early age, initially starting on the piano. He primarily took classical lessons and continued playing throughout much of his childhood. When Ben was 13, he joined the School of Rock in Mason, where his passion for guitar was first ignited. This deep rooted interest became the focal point of his life and he's been learning and having fun with it ever since. Ben is currently enrolled in the jazz studies program at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. At this point in his musical career, Ben has learned enough to start giving back and to hopefully inspire others in the same way School of Rock inspired him.
Justin has been trying to pick out a melody on any instrument you put in front of him since grade school, eventually settling on guitar and bass in his early teens. A series of fun if ill-fated garage bands developed throughout his college years and beyond, accompanied by further study of all the guitar’s possibilities across different styles. As time wore on, collaborative musical endeavors unfortunately had to be placed on the back burner, but Justin still spent his free time exploring jazz, expanding his keyboard playing, and mining the depths of music history through internet and record bin alike.
Guitar of course remained a constant through it all, and through a strange confluence of life events that is best recounted in person he eventually began focusing primarily on solo acoustic finger-style playing. Over the past several years this had led to him learning dozens of popular songs across nearly every genre imaginable, developing a repertoire he is hoping to bring to performance in the very near future. In the meantime, he is also excited to get back to his electric guitar roots with School of Rock, exploring the myriad possibilities of the instrument along with the students he is teaching.
Brandon Harris is a guitarist who has been playing since he was 12 years old. Inspired at a young age by the classic acts like The Who and Black Sabbath, Brandon loves nothing more than playing loud. Though Brandon is a self-professed modern day metalhead, he has cut his teeth in various genres performing in jazz, metal, punk, rock jam bands, and even mariachi. Brandon has a musical education consisting of a combination of private lessons and college courses. Something Brandon prides himself on is his past work in the mental health field where he was able to intertwine music with clients to help illustrate the ability to overcome challenges big and small. He believes music education can make everyone feel important, strong, and confident in themselves. Brandon is new to the School of Rock team and is very excited to continue to help individuals pursue fulfillment through the joys of learning guitar.
Jim Swartwout is one of the newest members of the School of Rock team, but by no means new to the music business. He has been active in just about every conceivable venue for decades; 11 years at Howl-at-the-Moon, 6 years at Waterfront piano bar, dozens of club bands, duos, trios, big bands (Swingtime and Lee’s Junction), hundreds of studio sessions for songwriters, ad agencies, film scores, churches, theaters…most recently music director for the sold-out run of “Falsettos” at the Aronoff this summer. Come in and share our mutual love of music, learn a lot and have some fun!
Hadley was born with a love of music that she just couldn't shake, resulting in her getting her first guitar and microphone when she was just 4 years old. She grew up in a musical and music-loving family and began studying guitar when she was 8 years old.
Throughout school, she explored songwriting, joined band and choir, and participated in every musical activity her small Illinois town had to offer. She attended a Music Business summer camp at Anderson University in Indiana during high school, which quickly confirmed that music is what she wanted to do forever. She graduated from Anderson University in 2021 with degrees in Music Business and Journalism.
Hadley has two songs available to download and stream and is in the process of learning how to produce and record her own music. She currently works in marketing and social media while also playing live at various local breweries and restaurants. She has lived in the Cincinnati area since May 2021. Hadley is so excited to join the School of Rock Cincinnati team and looks forward to sharing her love and passion for music while helping students discover their inner rock stars.
Stephanie’s love of music started at a young age as she was bitten by the theater bug in elementary school. Stephanie went on to study Theater at BGSU where she graduated and moved onto performing with various bands and landing roles in community theaters. Steph began doing private lessons several years and also obtained her CPS teaching certification. Stephanie has called Cincinnati her home for the last 15 years and currently plays every Sunday for Legend Community Church and does various performances throughout Cincinnati with her musician friends. She is very excited to be apart of the SOR team and is eager to share her love of music with the SOR family.
Joseph Alsept has been playing drums since 2012 and has been passionate about them ever since. There are quite a few drummers he loves, but his biggest influences are Ringo Starr and John Bonham. He joined the School of Rock Mason and started doing the adult shows in 2017. He started teaching at the School of Rock in Cincinnati in 2020. He has done 15 adult shows between the Mason and Cincinnati schools.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Teacher
Zach Gutman, native of West Bloomfield MI, is a bass and guitar player who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Central Michigan University and has taught elementary general music, middle school choir, special education, and high school and college jazz band. He also is a producer, and performs very frequently in a variety of styles in the greater Cincinnati area and beyond.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Jake Kolesar is thrilled to join the School of Rock team! An active member of the Cincinnati music scene, he plays bass in the local indie rock band The Earthly Delights and in the jazz guitar duo YesterSwing. Specializing in keyboard and guitar, Jake has recorded original music and performs regularly as a solo artist. As a teacher, he strives to cater to the unique goals of each student, focusing on the styles that they are most interested in learning. Jake is also passionate about teaching songwriting, improvisation, and music theory.
Mary started singing in choirs and getting solo opportunities in grade school. She began taking musical theater and classical voice lessons at 12 years old. Mary also took piano lessons on and off throughout high school and briefly took drum lessons. She was a part of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir (now known as the Cincinnati Youth Choir) and toured in Europe, singing in Ireland, England, and Wales. Mary went on to study Vocal Performance at NKU, ultimately graduating with a degree in Public Relations concentrating in music and communication, and a Master of Science in Communication from Purdue University.
In undergrad, Mary studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria singing the role of Pamina in excerpts from Magic Flute. She has a vast range of musical knowledge and has sung in a variety of genres including opera, classical, rock, R&B, pop, jazz, folk, and more. Mary enjoys being a member of YPCC (Young Professionals Choral Collective) and has rocked many solos with this group. She performs at weddings, parties, and other opportunities that pop up. Mary loves going out to see a wide variety of live music including opera, musicals, rock bands, EDM shows, folk artists, and many more!
Singing Teacher, Drum Teacher
Sam comes from a musical family and learned how to play drums and sing at the annual Gorman Family Christmas Jam. Sam studied voice and drums at Denison University, graduating in 2013. He still plays with several classmates from Denison. Sam likes to make and keep it FUNKY!
Jack has been surrounded by music for as long as he can remember. Growing up with parents that were heavy into artists like The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and everything in between, he grew an appreciation for music very early on.
Jack joined band in middle school as a trombonist and he later switched to percussion because hitting things seemed fun. He continued with this throughout high school at Lakota West participating in marching band, jazz band, and their symphonic winds program along with multiple district honor bands and orchestras. Jack went to UC with the intention of studying music. However, things changed and he graduated with a degree in media production in 2022. Throughout his time in college, Jack met many people and started playing around again. Multiple projects later he currently plays in an Indy rock group called Los Chicos.
Los Chicos have a couple of singles and a full live album available on all streaming platforms and the group is set to release their first studio album on streaming in May 2023. You can catch Jack with Los Chicos at many different venues around Cincy, including bars, pubs, house shows, and more. Jack is excited that he gets to work with and inspire the next generation of musicians.
Sergio Reyes is a Colombian multi-instrumentalist musician with more than 18 years of music experience including formal education in music theory and singing. He started his music journey at age 15 founding the alternative rock band D Blanko a Negro in Fusagasugá, Colombia in which he was the main songwriter, guitar player, lead singer, and at one point, producer.
He was part of some other musical projects like:
Black Road (alternative rock - guitar player/singer/songwriter/producer),
The Sawyers (progressive rock/Rush tribute-singer/synth player),
The Freaks (alternative rock - singer/songwriter), and
The Luxo (alternative rock - singer/songwriter).
Sergio has also participated in jazz big bands as a singer like the ASAB big band and the Escaleno’s big band.
Nowadays, he is the lead singer of the ska band La Bregadera (Colombia). The band is launching an album by the end of 2023 and they’ve had the pleasure to play on the same stage with legends of ska like Bad Manners. Sergio is also the producer of Road to Nowhere (an online series in which he talks about his music career) in which he mentions, among others, his soloist project Nowhere Man in which he records songs playing all the instruments. He’s planning on launching an album in 2024 as a soloist with that format.