Jason Fein has had every role possible within School of Rock. He was initially hired on as a Vocal instructor/show director. Later he became a music Director and GM before leaving to open his own. Jason also practices what he preaches. His Punk Rock Band, The Run Around, has toured The States many times over. At one point he was on the road 150-200 days per year. They have had multiple Record deals and have shared the stage with some of the most iconic Punk bands in history (Descendents, Rancid, Green Day to name a few). All of this while going to college on a vocal scholarship and finishing his degree in music business. These days The Run Around still tours here and there but he stays busy with owning 3 extremely successful School of Rock locations in the Chicago area (4 with the addition of Knoxville) and a young family at home (Wife: Coleen, Son: Lennon(5), Daughter: Kona(1)). Jason is excited to help take SOR Knoxville to the next level!
Owner, General Manager
Kelsey is a former School of Rock student at School of Rock and quickly fell in love with creating, practicing, and performing music. She was a member of the School of Rock Performance Program and House Band for four years until she graduated in 2017. In high school, Kelsey was co-founder of pop-punk group California Killers where she wrote, sang lead vocals, and played guitar.
Shortly after graduating high school, Kelsey began working at the School of Rock location in Geneva, IL as a studio coordinator, vocal instructor, and show director while attending Waubonsee Community College. She worked alongside her fellow owners of School of Rock Knoxville, Jason Fein and Owen Szorc. During this time, she also performed many gigs at bars, restaurants, and events in Chicagoland both separately and as a duo with Owen.
After completing her associate's degree, Kelsey said goodbye to her School of Rock Geneva family and moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting and a career in the music business. During her time at Belmont University studying Songwriting and Music Business, she found herself back at School of Rock and realized that her real passion was for the families, friends, and mission of the School of Rock community. Kelsey is beyond excited to work alongside her music partner Owen and her mentor Jason to embark on this new journey with School of Rock Knoxville.
Owner, Music Director
Owen Szorc graduated from Elmhurst College with a degree in guitar performance in both classical and jazz and a degree in music business. He started as an instructor and show director at the School of Rock location in Geneva, IL. During his time there, Owen widely contributed to the culture of the students and School of Rock community through strong and organized leadership along with his signature ability to connect with students of all ages and skill levels.
Over time, Owen earned the role of music director and seasonally directed up to five performance groups including House Band, adult groups, and performance groups. Outside School of Rock, Owen has performed in many ensembles, including various rock bands, jazz, country, wedding bands, classical guitar, and solo performances over time.
Owen has many years of experience in teaching private lessons of all levels and genres, with many of his students finding success in their own groups and moving on to top collegiate-level programs. Owen is thrilled to be an owner, instructor, show director, and the music director here at School of Rock Knoxville!
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Charles' love for music first began in 1993 when he started playing bass, which led him to a deeper understanding and love of all things music. He has performed live and recorded with a variety of bands, spanning styles such as classic rock, modern rock, jazz, funk, country, folk, pop, jam band, rockabilly, punk, metal, oldies, R&B, soul and blues. Charles enjoys sharing the knowledge he has gained over the years as a musician and looks forward to helping develop the next generation.
Dustin Hurt is from a small farming community in central Illinois. His love of music began in fourth grade when he began playing trumpet in his school's concert band. Around the time he was 12, he picked up the guitar after hearing the sounds of Green Day and never looked back. Dustin has played in several bands and has experience as a musician, performing and recording jazz, classical, classic rock, heavy metal, punk rock, Christian rock and everything in between. He is a guitar teacher at School of Rock Knoxville.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Brian has a solid history as a performing musician in Knoxville starting with Bad Weather Blues in the mid 1990’s which was a solid house band for Baker/Peters and other venues in Knoxville. Brian has also played with The Royal Hounds (local rockabilly band) and is an accredited guitar teacher with 20+ years teaching experience in the Knoxville/Oak Ridge area. He is completely obsessed with everything Jimi Hendrix, and he is an avid Led Zeppelin vinyl collector! The rock/blues band Brian founded, AlienLoveCharm, is active in Knoxville, and he is also lead guitarist of Soul Finger, a funk band which plays throughout East Tennessee.
Keyboard Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Michael Peng is a professional performer and educator who was born in Oakridge and has known the Knoxville area his entire life. Michael started learning piano when he was 9 years old, and started singing when he was 12. Since then, he's joined a variety of professional choirs, musicals, and operas in shows such as Into the Woods, Carmen, and the local Forbidden Knoxville. These opportunities included travel abroad to perform, and Michael has studied and performed in Brazil and Hungary as part of his music career. Most recently, he has returned from China, where he performed and taught music both one on one and at an international school. Michael has a Bachelors in Vocal Performance and a Masters in Music Education from UTK. He has 9 years of experience teaching music lessons both one and one and to groups. Michael currently works as an elementary music teacher as well as a voice and keys instructor at School of Rock Knoxville.
Guitar Teacher, Vocal Teacher
Michael Jones has performed in the Knoxville music scene since he was a kid. He started by teaching himself to play guitar and bass from online video tutorials and song tablature. He then began singing and performing in church, in a cover band, and in his local talent show, which inspired him to pick up marching band and, eventually, a degree in contemporary music from Bryan College. He has since performed alongside musicians such as Abe Partridge, Kirk Fleta, Luke McQueary, and Jordan Foster. He currently performs in and around Knoxville solo and as a guitarist, bassist, and backup vocalist in a variety of contexts. He also writes songs for his current project, Lazarus Lake, as well as for collaborative projects with his friends.
Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher
Josh Rudes specializes in upright and electric bass. Josh graduated cum laude with a Jazz Studies degree from the University of North Texas and has been playing bass for about 12 years, with experience gigging and teaching all across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Josh has taught for 4 years now and is able to teach technique, theory and any genre his students want to learn! His main experience is in rock, jazz and pop, but he plays all styles from Latin and classical to country. Favorite musicians include Charlie Puth, Christian McBride, WatchHouse, Julian Lage and Madison Cunningham.
Singing Teacher, Piano Teacher
Lydia Barbour discovered her love of all things music at the age of fifteen when she started busking in downtown Knoxville with her clarinet and keyboard. This quickly developed into a passion for performance; catapulting her into a rush of open mic nights, jam sessions, and four years of music classes at the University of the Cumberlands. Growing just as emphatically as her musical knowledge, was a deep enthusiasm for teaching private piano and vocal lessons, conducting her church choir, and most importantly helping her music community thrive. Lydia has performed and recorded keys and vocals in multiple genres; rock, jazz, pop, and folk being her personal favorites. Lydia is excited and honored to teach piano and singing at School of Rock Knoxville.
After spending the last decade professionally drumming deep in central Texas, Dakota brings many avenues of expertise to the teaching staff. He draws upon various styles such as jazz, blues, country, and funk all the way to heavy metal, hip hop, and soul. Dakota has played just about every role in the musical process from bandmate, bandleader, songwriter, and engineer to producer and more recently, teacher. Hoping to change the world one student at a time, he aspires to show each student to tap into the infinite source of inspiration and creative energy that lies within them to learn and grow. Always looking ahead, he can’t wait to see what each student, each group, and the school at large is capable of achieving!
Braden Jones is a Tennessee-based musician with a passion for drums and the fire to share his songs with the world. Originating from Memphis, Tennessee, Braden is currently studying Studio Music and Jazz along with Music Composition at the University of Tennessee, where he was awarded a wide variety of musical scholarships. Furthermore, he has continued his personal private instruction since he was 17 years old and has acquired students of all backgrounds throughout his teaching career. He has been able to play with a myriad of talented artists and an assortment of genres ranging from jazz, indie, and classic rock and roll, contemporary avant-garde music, funk, Afro-Cuban, and electronic music.
Most recently, Braden has been hard at work honing his sound as a live performer, manning the rhythm section of his Indie-Rock group Okay Karma, and playing Jazz with The Harbingers. Performing through the Jazz music program at the University of Tennessee, Braden has played with artists like Gregory Tardy, Jon Hamar, Jack Roben, Eric Reed, Taber Gable, Sam Adams, Rob Linton, Bernell Jones, and Margherita Fava. He has also performed with the classic blues-rock band Vagabond Brew and country star Jason Lee Wilson.
Braden is also a member of the University of Tennessee Jazz Orchestra. His influences shine in his work, including drummers like Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Taylor Hawkins, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, and many others. He is influenced by bands including the Foo Fighters, the Eagles, James Brown and the JBs, Sly and the Family Stone, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Miles Davis Quintet, and the Jazz Messengers. Braden has also been an instructor at the Memphis Jazz Workshop and the Knoxville Jazz Workshop.
Singing Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Nick Horner relocated to Knoxville after a 7-year stint in the NYC music scene. His songwriting, arranging, and production can be found on over 30 full-length projects spanning all genres as a part of recording teams with legendary engineers such as Ron Allaire (Keith Richards), Jon Rosenberg (James Moody, John Zorn, Bill Frisell), and with Beehive Productions (Folk Alley on NPR).
As a performer, Nick has played on countless national festivals including The Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Lincoln Center’s Caramoor Roots Festival. He has also shared the stage with artists such as jazz legends David Liebman (Miles Davis), Sheila Jordan, avant-garde artists such as Martin Schmidt (Bjork) and Ethel, jazz fusion band Kneebody, contemporary artists Tracy Bonham and Boris Pelkeh (Gogol Bordello), and bluegrass artists such as Patrick McAvenue (Dailey and Vincent). He also wrote and performed the theme song for the United Nations’ Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador (held every 20 years) for 50,000 attendees with his band, Nick Horner Family.
As an educator, Nick has taught songwriting workshops across the country including work in summer camps as a Music Ascension educator. He has also sent students to regional and state festivals, including the PMEA All-State Vocal Jazz program in Pennsylvania.
He is also the founder of Porch Stomp, NYC’s largest free folk music festival, as well as Make Music Knoxville, the Knoxville chapter of Make Music Day which brings free music all across the globe every June 21st.
Nick received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Bucknell University.
Drum Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Alex Sadler is a professional musician and music educator from Sharon, TN. Alex has had the opportunity to play the drums and keyboards professionally in many different bands across the United States, at venues like Swampers in Muscle Shoals, AL, Beale Street in Memphis, TN, and the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.
Due to his commitment to giving back to the community and becoming an ambassador of the craft of music to others, Alex earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Tennessee at Martin. While earning this degree, Alex gained vital experience in teaching music to children of all age ranges and gained his official teaching Licensure in Tennessee.
Alex is currently continuing his education earning his master’s degree in music at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Alex also continues to work as a professional musician playing various gigs in Knoxville and the East Tennessee area.
Alex Wampler graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in theatre. Alex has always known their passion lies in performance; they grew up listening to rock music and dreaming of being a superstar, a dream that only grew when they wrote their first song at 10 years old, called Heartbreaker. The song has since been lost to time, but Alex's dream lives on in every song they write today.
Alex's history of performance began in middle school with cheesy musicals, continued into high school with choir competitions and self-written plays, and grew even further in college, where they led teams in UT's Mock Trial program as both a witness and an attorney for all four years. Alex is excited to work at School of Rock Knoxville as the Studio Coordinator and to help create a safe space for kids who have dreams just like theirs.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Tony grew up in a family of musicians. He fell in love with drums at the age of 8 and began taking lessons which he continued through his high school years at Karns High School. During this time, he performed with the Joey Pierce Project, the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra, the Knoxville Pipes and Drums, New Lily, and others.
During his time performing with the Karns Marching Band, Tony discovered his love for teaching, which he pursued directly after high school. He started teaching at Anderson County High School before finding his way back to teach at Karns High School. After a few seasons with the Karns Marching Band and Indoor Drumline, Tony dove into the country scene which he still plays today. Tony continues to play with musicians like Sara Collins and American Mixtape, and he runs a YouTube channel where he plays an eclectic mix of instruments.