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 Music & Arts Academy Instructors 

Kathy Crowe (Vocal Instruction and Choir)

Kathy is a graduate of Meredith College with degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education.  Her teaching career has included several schools in Carteret County and in Johnston County.  She currently teaches music at  St. Egbert’s Catholic School in Morehead City, NC.  Professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, NC Music Educators Association and Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity.  Performance groups have included the Carolina East Singers, Encore! Vocal Jazz Band, Carteret Chorale and numerous Carteret Community Theater and Harnett Regional Theater productions. 

Dee Braxton-Pellegrino (Violin, Viola, Suzuki Violin, Suzuki Viola, Accordion, Composition and Theory)

Dee graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Music in Voice and Master of Music in Music Education.  Her professional affiliations include membership in Pi Kappa Lambda National Honorary Music Fraternity, Broadcast Music International and American Suzuki Teachers of America. Dee’s career has spanned many genres of music through the years including singing with big bands, church choir director, composer, school and adjunct college string instructor, as well as a freelance violinist, violist and conductor. Awards include the UNIMA Certificate of Excellence in composition, William Roberts Guitar Composition Competition winner, Music Educator’s National Conference Certificate of Excellence in Composition and the American String Teachers Association Journal review of her compositions “Flights of Fancy” and “Two Pieces for Young Violinists.”

Joe McCreary (Brass Instruments Instruction)

Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  He is presently the band director at Beaufort Middle School where he has been teaching 6th – 8th grades since August of 1991.  In addition to his job as band director, he is also the Music Director at Ann Street United Methodist Church, directing two adult choirs and handbells since 1999.  When he is not performing on the trumpet, he enjoys arranging music for various instrumental and choral ensembles.  His arranging achievements include four published works in Handbell Magazine.

Lori Muns (Piano Instruction)

Lori earned her B.A. in Psychology from East Carolina University and has spent several years in the health services field.  She is currently the pianist, Sanctuary Choir and Worship Team accompanist at First Baptist Church where she has served since 1991.  During her years at First Baptist, Lori has been an assistant and director of the Wee Musician’s Choir, has assisted with the Summer Music Activity Camp, and has attended many piano and worship leadership conferences.  Her professional affiliations include being a licensed Kindermusik instructor from 1997 – 2004. Lori has been a private piano instructor since 1995.

Mary Withington (Kindermusik, Music Therapy and Piano Instruction)

Mary holds degrees in Music Therapy, Music Education, and Piano Performance from the University of Georgia – Athens. She has over 30 years experience in working in the mental health, autism, older adults and early childhood fields and enjoys working with all ages, from newborn to adults.  She is a licensed Kindermusik instructor having taught since 2002, as well as having taught private piano since 1995.  Mary’s affiliations include the American Music Therapy Association, Southeastern Music Therapy Association, North Carolina Music Therapy Association, North Carolina Piano Teachers Association, and Kindermusik Educators Association. Much of her free time is spent volunteering in Carteret County and serving as the youth group director at her church.

Rob Blackwell (Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Music Theory, Composition)                                                

Rob was the lessons coordinator at 'Music Mania' music academy in Greensboro, North Carolina for 2 years and toured extensively playing music with bands such as Building 429, Fee, and Decyfer Down.  His knowledge of touring also includes writing with Grammy nominated and Grammy award winning songwriters who have written for Mandesa, Third Day, Lifehouse, and Toby Keith; just to name a few.  Rob is a native of Eastern North Carolina and has returned home to raise his family and share his love of music.  He was the low brass captain at West Carteret High School, and studied music and communications at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.  Rob is currently studying advanced music theory and teaching techniques from the University of Edinburgh through online classes.

Eric Montesano (drum set, percussion)

Eric is a graduate of East Carolina University with a B.A. in Music Education, focusing in Percussion. During his tenure at ECU Eric was involved in many performance ensembles, the Symphonic Orchestra, Marching Pirates, Jazz Combo and the Pep Band.  His leadership positions included Principal Percussionist with the ECU Symphonic Band/Wind Ensemble and Percussion Instructor with the J.H. Rose High School and New Bern High School Marching Bands.  He has been active percussion performance in Carteret County. Eric is currently employed with the Havelock public school system as a general music instructor.