CR Gruver began his classical training at the age of nine, and by 13 he left formal instruction as a top student to immerse himself in the world of rock and funk. The next three decades were dedicated to perfecting his craft, touring the country relentlessly, and building a successful performance career. He is currently a member of the national touring band New Orleans Suspects in addition to being the active owner of School of Rock Metairie / New Orleans. His experience as a national touring professional and seasoned musical director makes him an ideal owner of a School of Rock, as he’ll be able to impart decades of wisdom and knowledge to his students and faculty.
Stacey Morigeau found her way to New Orleans in August 2004. As a lifelong music lover, New Orleans was the perfect place to make her home. That passion for music led to her working with a music nonprofit for over 12 years. Using her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Montana (musical theatre is her favorite), she has embraced the role of stage manager for many music festivals from French Quarter Festival to Po Boy Festival. You may have heard Stacey on air at WWOZ where she has been a long-time volunteer, or bought merchandise from her locally at gigs for many bands including, Bonerama, the Radiators, New Orleans Nightcrawlers and many more.
Derek DeBlieux is a guitarist, songwriter and music producer living in New Orleans. While attending Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, he studied under some of the most accomplished guitarists in the world including Scott Henderson (Chick Corea Elektric Band), Steve Hunter (Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper) and more. After leaving school he pursued a few different musical projects and has shared the stage with national artists including One Republic, DNCE, Panic at the Disco, Plain White Ts, Kongos, Cher Lloyd and many more. His guitar playing can be heard on the movie soundtracks for "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "Never Back Down 2," as well as on the television show "American Idol."
Studio Manager, Bass Guitar Teacher
Nelson Capote is a bassist and multi-instrumentalist located in the New Orleans area. Nelson was raised in a non-musical family but found himself falling in love with music at the age of 13. Once getting exposed to New Orleans culture and music, Nelson became a protégé under New Orleans saxophonist Clarence Johnson III.
Nelson studied at Loyola University New Orleans, majoring in Music Industry Studies. During his time at Loyola, Nelson had the opportunity to perform with some of the school's most renowned gigging artists. Nelson uses social media to share his experiences with fellow musicians, as well as to show off exciting gear that inspires him. Nelson hopes to inspire others by creating content that he wishes his favorite musicians would make.
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Marketing/Social Media Manager
Conner McCready is a multi-instrumentalist from Cleveland, OH now living in New Orleans, LA. He has been an active member of the Cleveland music scene for over a decade and is now currently playing in various groups around New Orleans ranging from soul to bluegrass and hip hop.
Conner is primarily a guitarist but is also proficient in drums, bass guitar, and piano. He is very active in the recording scene as a session musician and engineer for numerous Cleveland and New Orleans-based projects. He received his BA in Music Studies from the University of New Orleans.
Kate Parker was inspired to start her saxophone career in elementary school after finding a role model in Lisa Simpson. Through joining School of Rock in Chatham, NJ she discovered she had a passion not only for sax but also for singing, and picked up flute and piano along the way. During her time in All Stars she played iconic stages across the country including festivals like Lollapalooza and Summerfest. She developed a love of working with kids to build their confidence and help them shine through teaching Little Wing classes and working as a writing tutor for elementary and middle school students. Whenever she wasn’t buried in books working towards her degrees in Political Economy and English at Tulane, she wrote folk songs or jammed with friends at NOLA spots like The Willow and Neutral Ground. Kate is currently working on an EP with another former SOR All Star.
Brayden Turner is a drummer and multi-instrumentalist. He was raised in New Orleans and received a rich music education from some of the best musicians in the city (Johnny Vidacovich, Ricky Sebastian, Chris Severin and others). He also grew up playing and sitting in with his step-father, musician Billy Iuso. He is an alum of the Berklee College of Music, where he attended on a full scholarship. He has played at The New Orleans Jazz Festival and French Quarter Festival, and toured with two bands during his time at Berklee (Mosie and Lilacs). He played the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas with the band Mosie. In addition to drums, he also plays piano, bass, guitar and vibraphone, and composes his own music. He is a drum teacher at School of Rock Metairie.
Bass Guitar Teacher
Ryan is a native of Pittsburgh but moved to New Orleans in 1999 to pursue his passion for music. He fell in love with music at the age of 4 from being surrounded by his parents that taught at the local University. Ryan began piano lessons followed by learning the drums all at the age of 5. The moment he listened to Rush he fell in love with Geddy Lee’s bass playing. During his career Ryan has had the pleasure of working with Doctor John, Allan Toussaint, Gatemouth Brown, Bryan Lee, Gary Brown, and many more! In 2005 he began his transition into “Top 40” gigs, thus finding his way into The Phunky Monkeys were he holds the role as Lead Bass player. In Ryan’s free time he enjoys time with his two sons, Oliver and Miles - many say they’re the sweetest kids ever. Other than time with his children, you can probably find Ryan playing chess, practicing archery, studying cosmology, and many outdoor activities.
Michael Rivera is a New Orleans based drummer, percussionist, and multi-instrumentalist. He holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from Southeastern Louisiana University where he studied under Michael Brothers (Phantom of The Opera), and Kevin Estoque and Dr. Guy Gauthreaux of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He is actively involved in many musical projects, and has toured with acts such as Big Freedia, LeTrainiump, Hand Out, and others. He also has extensive experience on the industry side of the business where he has served as tour manager and booking agent for various artists, and talent buyer for various New Orleans area venues. He hopes to bring all of his knowledge to the table to provide a unique and well rounded educational experience.
From a young age, Michael Fishman discovered he had a passion for music. While growing up in Northern California, he started playing piano and guitar but quickly moved to drumming at the age of 7. Michael has played in Funk, Rock, Blues, Reggae and Jazz groups and has experience playing all over the United States. He started teaching in the Bywater before the pandemic. Michael hopes to share his knowledge of drumming concepts and applying them to real world scenarios. He has a serious passion for spreading excitement and a joy for engaging in the musical process. With patience and focus on the forefront of tackling any new concept, fun and improvement is the ultimate goal with Michael. One of his favorite quotes "People don't want to watch you work, they want to watch you play" -Hal Galper
Guitar and Bass Teacher
Connor Finney is a guitarist/bassist from New Orleans. He is the guitarist for Blues Rock Band, Voodoo Roux, and Pop Punk tribute band, Superbloom. Connor has played guitar on a number of sessions along with Choppa’s song, “Louisiana.” Connor hopes to continue to strive as a musician and help teach the next generation of rockers at School of Rock Metairie.
Philadelphia-bred and New Orleans-based, Jess Araten has a passion for music and education. Jess fell in love with performance as a School of Rock student, honing her craft as a guitarist and artist in seasonal shows, House Band, and All-Stars. She has studied with seasoned musicians across the country, and has played alongside members of classic acts such as Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Jess spent much of her late teens and early twenties in Philadelphia-based bands and projects, and has integrated herself into the New Orleans music scene since her move here in October ’21. She releases music under the name ‘Yska.’ With roots in rock, funk, and blues, Jess has quickly fallen in love with New Orleans, playing shows along Frenchmen and gaining an unparalleled music education through playing with established NOLA musicians. She loves to share her excitement with students, and to watch young musicians grow, find their unique voice, and fall in love with their craft. As a teacher at School of Rock Philadelphia, Jess again found herself amazed and revitalized by the talent and drive of her students. She believes every young musician holds the. key to their own learning, and has an immense amount of respect and gratitude for every student that allows her to help guide them along their artist path. Jess can't wait to continue her role at School of Rock Metairie/New Orleans, and to rock on with you all!
Thea Aksland was born and raised in colorful Colorado. She started her music career in the Rocky Mountain Children’s Choir at age five and progressed to songwriting, production, and solo performance which led her to Denver School of the Arts. She is now currently studying popular and commercial music at Loyola University with a concentration in songwriting and production engineering. Throughout the course of her musical career, Thea has won the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life with over 10,000 streams each year. She has released three albums and five singles within the past three years. As a solo artist taking the world by storm, she continues to write, create, and perform her music for audiences to enjoy. She has been earning the admiration and affection of fans around New Orleans and internationally ever since. Her fans serve as both an inspiration and creative drive. As much as she loves the stage, teaching and inspiring young artists is the best way to bring others' passion to center stage. Music changed her life, and her mission is to change yours.
Guitar Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher, Little Wing Teacher, Rookies Teacher
Ray was born and raised in New Orleans and started studying music at the age of 9. He continues to study to this day and has most recently attended master classes with Certified Guitar Player Tommy Emmanuel. Ray has had the pleasure of performing in coffee houses as well as the French Quarter and Satchmo Festivals.
Ray gained a good foundation in record production and engineering through studies at Ultrasonic Studios, and with this knowledge, he engineered and produced independent projects. With a successful background in counseling youth activity programs, Ray is very comfortable sharing and teaching music to children.
Devon Edmond is a drummer originally from Chicago, IL. He got his start with music in marching band and then later transitioned to playing drum kit. He now plays with a variety of performers in New Orleans but mainly as the drummer for Sierra Green and The Soul Machine. Devon has performed at French Quarter Festival as well as High Sierra Festival. He has been instructing one-on-one lessons as well as full classes of all ages since 2014. Devon loves music history and bringing out the passion and motivation in his students by exposing them to the greats who came before us.
The daughter of two opera singers, Debbie Davis never had a chance. She made her professional singing debut when she was 2 years old and by the age of 5, she was traveling with her parents and performing in opera and musical theater all over the U.S. She became well-known in her native New Jersey as a rock and roll singer in several bands.
Debbie moved to New Orleans in 1997 and began to make a name for herself in the local music community. Since then she has recorded and performed with a who’s who of local, national, and international acts including Irma Thomas, John Boutte, Soul Asylum, The Misfits, Lillian Boutte, Michael Cerveris, The Dukes of Dixieland, Leigh “Little Queenie” Harris, Paul Sanchez, Susan Cowsill, Harry Shearer, and many more.
In 1999, Debbie joined the world-renowned vocal harmony group The Pfister Sisters and worked with the group for 18 years, performing locally and internationally. Debbie was the jingle singer for the 2003 Zatarains ad campaign and contributed to Grammy and Emmy Award-winning soundtrack to HBO’s award-winning series, TREME.
Debbie also appeared as herself during its four-season run. She has recorded, produced, and released six full-length recordings under her own name in multiple styles and contexts including two with longtime collaborator, pianist Josh Paxton. She performs regularly at Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest, and large and small venues nationwide. When she is not singing or playing the ukulele, you will find Debbie in Gentilly, tending to her towering sunflower garden and surrounded by her devoted cadre of rescue dogs.
Singing Teacher, Keyboard + Piano Teacher
Samantha Royer takes life’s twists and turns and creates music. She has been singing since her earliest days, learning all the words to “Goodbye Earl” by The Chicks at the age of 4. Since then, she has picked up the guitar and piano and taken the stage. Samantha began taking music seriously at the age of 11 when she enrolled in a music education program similar to School of Rock!
It was there that Samantha learned the art of songwriting, and how collaborating with other musicians is the heartbeat of musical creativity. She has studied at some of the country’s highest-rated musical conservatories such as The New School and Loyola University of New Orleans, gaining insight into the modern world of music production.
Since beginning her career, Samantha has performed at venues such as The Bitter End in New York City, and New Orleans's own Tipitina’s. She has recorded, produced, and released her own works of music on SoundCloud and plans to expand to the rest of the streaming world in the future. When she isn’t writing songs, Samantha can be seen rollerskating in Audubon Park or taking time to learn something new!
Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Alan Howard is a guitarist and songwriter from Baton Rouge currently living in New Orleans. Since 2017 he has been writing, recording, and performing under the moniker Sleep Habits. Through consistent performances, his band has become a staple of the New Orleans indie rock scene.
With the experience Alan gained from recording the first two Sleep Habits albums by himself, he has been able to help other New Orleans musicians in the studio as an engineer and session musician.
Alan graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in Music Industry Studies. While attending Loyola he also studied music theory and jazz and developed a diverse skill set that he applies to all aspects of his musical career.
Joshua Verdun is a singer, dancer, and performer. Singing has been a passion for Joshua since he was 7 years old. He has a degree in Performance and Vocals, and has traveled all over the world performing with a group called The Young Americans. Joshua works with students on many different styles from Pop to R&B, Rock to Broadway, and even Jazz. He loves working with kids and adults of all ages in hopes of inspiring them to keep chasing their dreams no matter what obstacles stand in their way! Joshua strives to push every student to the best of their abilities and beyond. Everyone can improve and everyone has to start somewhere!
Aron Lambert is a true New Orleans cultural bearer. A member of the Preservation Hall Collective, he has been playing and teaching drums in New Orleans for over 25 years. In addition to the Hall, he also plays with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Treme Brass Band and many other local icons. Aron has played with Stevie Wonder, Art Neville, Dr. John, and many other musical legends.
Sean began playing music at a young age, picking up trombone and bass simultaneously. This led to a rich musical upbringing and later, the acquisition of a bachelors in jazz studies from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Sean's musical career has seen high-caliber performances with a variety of acts, including groups in his native Indiana and freelancing in his current city of residence, New Orleans.