Lisa Riley Owner, General Manager
My husband, Neville, and I, have lived in Philadelphia since the 1980s, and I moved to Philadelphia in the 1990s. We live in the Queen Village neighborhood and our children go to Philadelphia public schools. Needless to say, as long time residents and parents in Philadelphia, we have a deep commitment to the city and a great understanding of Philadelphia as a community. Music has played a key role in our lives ever since we were kids. We’ve also seen the positive effects that SOR has had on our own children.
For the past 25 years I have worked in the field of mental health. The majority of my career was spent working in an outpatient setting as a psychotherapist treating adolescents and adults. I have also created and managed programs in the behavioral health field.
Neville has spent the past 25 years working in a range of businesses and creative-sector organizations and is now a professor at Drexel University in the Department of Arts & Entertainment Enterprise, where he teaches the business of arts and entertainment. He serves on the board of directors for several arts organizations and has cultivated valuable relationships in Philadelphia’s creative community. Although Neville will not be involved in the daily operations of SOR, he will serve as an excellent resource by guiding strategic planning in the execution of ideas, and fostering connections and potential collaborations with other arts/music/creative organizations.
Cecile Urmenyhazi Assistant General Manager
Cecile was born and raised in Philly, going to Greenfield Elementary and then Masterman for middle and high school. She has immersed herself in music and dance from a young age, playing viola in orchestras, singing in choirs, playing guitar in bands, and dancing ballet and tap. Cecile's love for music and understanding people led her to study ethnomusicology at Barnard College, where she continued to perform with music and dance ensembles as well as worked at the Columbia Music & Arts Library. Cecile is so happy to be at School of Rock Philadelphia, in such a positive environment where she can be involved in the musical and personal growth of our students.
Michael Kowalski Music Director
Michael Kowalski has been a part of School of Rock for over 14 years in Princeton and Philadelphia. He was a long time member of the House Band and All-Stars. Michael went to the University of the Arts as a Set Design Major and works around Philly as a musician and artist.
Michael Kordish Keyboard Teacher
Since the age of four, Michael Kordish has been composing and performing at the piano. His prolific performing career has included a wide array of genres and styles including classical, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, trance, fusion, Eastern/Indian, rock, progressive, avant garde and free-form. In addition to performing solo, Michael has performed with (or as a member of) The People, Digable Planets, Planet 22, Satchmo Filter, Saigon Slimm, I Yahn I Arkestra and Sfogato.
Yanni Papadopoulos Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Yanni first got involved with SoR back in 2003 and quickly became a favorite among students for his dynamic guitar lessons and fantastically directed shows. Yanni graduated from St. John's College with a BA in Classic Literature before embarking on his unique music odyssey. He has composed, performed, produced, and toured with his legendary Philly-based genre-bending band Stinking Lizaveta for the last 20 years in the US and Europe. Along with also playing hip-hop, space rock, and jazz, he has also accompanied modern dance companies and belly dancers. Most recently, he's gained more traction in the music world playing with Mark Morton (of Lamb of God) and J.P. Gaster (of Clutch) in Mark's solo project.
Ryan O'Grady Guitar Teacher
Ryan is a SoR alumni coming from Downingtown, PA. There he was in the House Band and toured in All-Stars playing across the US, including Lollapalooza. He graduated from Drexel University with a BS in Music Industry and currently works on his own music, audio engineering, and producing.
Bella Amada Bass Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher, Guitar Teacher
Bella is a School of Rock alum who has returned to teach at her home school. During her five years at the school, she learned foundational skills in guitar, bass, and vocal performance, which she utilized in SOR Philadelphia’s House Band and took with her beyond. She is currently pursuing a degree in bass performance with a minor in music education at the University of the Arts, and is on track to receive a masters in arts teaching in five years. Bella believes teaching is a crucial aspect in her own education, and desires nothing more than to inspire students the way she had been inspired at School of Rock.
From House Band to original bands, Bella is a seasoned Philadelphia-based gigging musician. She is currently writing, recording, and performing with Gloss, an all women Indie Pop/Rock group. Bella is excited to help prepare young musicians for the Philadelphia music scene!
John Caserta Drum Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher, Ukulele Teacher
John Caserta has been playing music for over 20 years and recently graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for music performance, with a minor in music business entrepreneurship & technology. He has taught privately for over 10 years and believes that the best way to teach a student is to find their interests and build upon them. He believes that every musician/person has their own sound/voice, and that finding that voice can be a very exciting and fruitful adventure. John teaches bass, guitar, piano, and ukulele and specializes in drums and percussion. While he mainly plays drum set, he can also teach students a variety of world/orchestral percussion as well as music theory. Please feel free to ask about lessons on any percussive instrument.
Diamond Princess Franklin Singing Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Diamond Princess Franklin is a classically trained Vocalist specializing in Opera, Jazz, and Gospel music. A Mt. Airy Philadelphia native, Diamond has trained under renowned musicians: Monette Sudler, Ruth Naomi Floyd and Angel Joy Blue, and has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Walnut Street Theatre and The Kimmel Center with Rock and R&B artists, Jon Bon Jovi and Estelle. Diamond received her Bachelor's of Music from Cairn University, and in addition to performing, also works as a music instructor and vocal coach.
Tim Phy Bass Guitar Teacher
Tim encompasses the meaning of Punk music. He's a die-hard actively driven bass player that has some serious stage presence. He's been in bands his whole life, toured the country, and has a genuine passion in passing on his knowledge to the next generation of rockers.
Kenny Rosario-Pugh Guitar Teacher
Kenny Rosario-Pugh (a.k.a. Kenny RP), a Philadelphia native, is a graduate of Roman Catholic High School and has realized his goal of entering the University of the Arts as a Guitar major. He expects to graduate in 2019 with a degree in Music Performance. Kenny began playing electric guitar by ear at the age of 12. One of his inspirations for learning the instrument came from playing the video game, Guitar Hero. Essentially, Kenny has advanced from playing a plastic toy music instrument at home to playing the real thing on stage. Under the instruction of the great Yanni Papadopoulos, Kenny developed his guitar technique and love of performing live on stage while attending the Philly School of Rock (SOR), from which he graduated in 2015. Playing for 7 years with his fellow Philly SOR musicians in different venues around Philly and Jersey was a hugely fun and unforgettable learning experience that the very dedicated and enthusiastic Philly SOR faculty helped to create for him and all the music students. That he could really pursue music as a career was realized when he was accepted into the University of the Arts as a Guitar Performance major. Kenny plays jazz, rock, hip hop, blues, salsa, and is always open to learning other music genres. Kenny is very dedicated to developing musically and inspiring youth through teaching, and hopes it will make a difference wherever his hard work and determination take him.
Erin Fox Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher
Based in Philadelphia, Erin has been singing since she could talk. Her musical education began at the age of seven when she discovered the viola, shortly afterwards moving to the guitar, and she began to write music in elementary school where she eventually would find that she wanted to pursue music all the way through college at Immaculata University majoring in Performance. Her first band was an all-girl rock group formed with her sister, and she’s graced stages with many groups since. Her band Resilient and her solo career continue to flourish with releasing new music consistently and touring in support. She's played events like the Philly Folk Fest with Ben Gibbard and has shared the stage with artists like Sick of Sarah, Hunter Valentine, and Robert Ellis.
Jace Miller Singing Teacher
Jace grew up in the Philadelphia area and has been in the music scene since he was a teenager. He currently is the singer/guitarist/songwriter of the rock/alternative trio Alright Junior based out of Philly. The band has been touring and has shared the stage with Incubus, Toadies, Local H, Everclear, Cake, Circa Survive, Flogging Molly, Civil Twilight, Maps & Atlases, Sponge, Our Lady Peace, Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age, Wheatus, McRad, 10 Years, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Young the Giant, The Ataris, She Wants Revenge, The Head and The Heart, KONGOS, The Spill Canvas, The Juliana Theory, Bear Hands and more!
Jace studied at BCCC as a Vocal major where he finished his AA and at UMass Amherst as an Arts Management major where he finished his BA. He also is a booking agent with TSE Entertainment that books local, regional, national, and international acts across the US and the world. "I'm very proud to be a part of a team here at SOR that gives back by passing along a true heart and soul to aspiring young artists via music. Watching music change their lives in real time is remarkable and inspiring."
Maya Stith Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Maya comes to SoR with years of performance and teaching experience. With a background that includes radio work with WRTI, founding and curating Tea & Talk, and as a music consultant, she has lots to offer her students. She graduated from Temple University with a degree in Africana Studies and Music.
Patrick Richardson Drum Teacher
Patrick Richardson's drumming thrives to balance-yet-extend the two extremes of any musical system. On the Left, the unconscious flow of the body connected to acoustic forces. On the Right, the sound-shaping poetry of intentions wired to analog and digital technology. If indeed "drum machines have no soul," Patrick wants to meet them in the middle.
Patrick started drumming in punk/surf/psychedelic/riot-grrrl bands in high school in Tulsa Oklahoma, before moving east to Oberlin, playing drums (and eventually electronics) in ska/rock/noise projects like "Both Heads Failed" and "Robot Versus Dinosaur". Moving to Philadelphia, he recorded with psych-rock outfit music.for.headphones, doom-metal nerds WormRider, and now leads various projects (PowerLoader, FmReader, LESS) from his home studio. Somewhere along the way, he conducted graduate research on Guitar Hero, learned to write code, and picked up a hobby building/modifying/repairing analog and digital music gear. When not serving the School of Rock, Patrick is an adjunct at Temple University and Drexel University.