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Marvelous Music Staff

Music Together® Specialists

Cathi Smits

  • Associate Degree, Mount Scenario College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cathi Smits has been teaching Music Together for the past 17 years.  After completing the Music Together training under the direction and mentoring of Dr. Lili Levinowitz (Coauthor of Music Together LLC), she taught at Pakachoag Music School in Worcester, MA for five years.  When her family moved, she continued to teach Music Together in Wisconsin. While teaching in Wisconsin, she completed the professional Music Together Cert I Training with Susan Darrow (now the CEO of Music Together). She operated a licensed site for four years in Hudson, WI for “Music Together in the Valley” for before moving to Kalamazoo, MI.

Along with teaching family classes at Crescendo, Cathi is a Preschool Music Together Specialist for Marvelous Music which is a collaboration between the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and Crescendo Academy of Music. Marvelous Music brings Music Together into nearly 40 Headstart, KPS PEEP, and other high-needs classrooms each school year. While preparing for the Marvelous Music program, Cathi continued her professional training with Music Together LLC by being selected for the challenging and demanding Cert II training, completing her training in 2010 under the direction and mentoring of Ken Guilmartin (co-author/founder of Music Together).  Cathi’s passion for making music with little friends and their families is well known.  Some have said that “Miss Cathi” is legendary in their child’s lives. She continues to work passionately and lovingly at changing the world one Music Together class at a time.

Caitlyn Bodine

  • B.A. Music, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX
  • B.A. Spanish, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX
  • MT-BC degree equivalency, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • M.M. Music Therapy, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Caitlyn has been teaching private piano lessons since 2008. After helping to establish a thriving music school in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, she relocated to Kalamazoo in 2011 to pursue a masters degree in Music Therapy. As a board-certified music therapist, Caitlyn works primarily with at-risk children and families and with seniors in memory care. In addition to private lessons and therapy, Caitlyn is a certified Music Together teacher and a Music Together Within Therapy provider.

Violin Teaching Artists, Crescendo Academy of Music

Audrey Lipsey, Executive Director

  • B.A., Western Michigan University
  • Graduate work, University of Michigan
  • Child Development Associate Certification

Audrey Lipsey has been teaching violin for over 40 years and has been the Executive Director of Crescendo since 2000. She was Associate Concertmaster for the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Audrey performs widely in the community with the following groups: Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (Assistant Concertmaster), Opus IV String Quartet and the Renaissance String Quartet.

Lipsey is a well-known educator in the area and serves as the conductor of the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Preparatory and Training Orchestras. She taught in early childhood settings for 18 years after teaching strings in the public schools for eight years. For her significant contributions to music education, Ms. Lipsey was awarded the Community Medal of Arts from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo in 2002; the Mary McLeod Bethune Communication, Arts, & Letters Award from the Kalamazoo Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 2003; and the Prism Award for Excellence in Music Education from the Kalamazoo Alumni Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Women’s Music Fraternity, Inc. in 2006. In 2012 she was presented with a Woman of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Kalamazoo for her years of dedication to the education of area youngsters.

Michelle Bessemer

  • Master of Music, Violin Performance, Western Michigan University
  • Bachelor of Music, Violin Performance, Stetson University, DeLand, FL

In addition to teaching for Crescendo, Michelle performs with several area orchestras, including the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, Toledo Symphony and more. Michelle has completed her Suzuki Book 1 training.

Sophie Petroski

  • Bachelor of Music, Violin Performance, DePaul University
  • Master of Music, Violin Performance, Western Michigan University

Sophie is a part of the Battle Creek Symphony, in addition to being the orchestra librarian. She plays in the Billings and Southwest Michigan Symphonies, as well as in the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Orchestra. Sophie performs in the pit orchestra for theatre productions at the Kalamazoo Civic, as well as for productions in Battle Creek, Lansing, and Chicago. Other freelance activities involve playing weddings and other social functions throughout the Southwest Michigan area. She has volunteered at Kalamazoo Kids in Tune.

Sophie has completed Suzuki Book 1 training at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels. It satisfies her to see her students progress, and her most important goal is their enjoyment of the music.

Joanna Steinhauser

  • Doctor of Musical Arts, Violin Performance, Louisiana State University
  • Master of Music, Violin Performance, Michigan State University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, Kalamazoo College

Dr. Joanna Steinhauser is a devoted violinist and educator residing in Kalamazoo, Michigan since 2010. A violin instructor at Crescendo Academy of Music in Kalamazoo and elsewhere, she teaches private violin lessons to over 30 students of all ages and levels.  As Visiting Assistant Professor of Music she teaches a series of Aural Skills classes and several other private students at Kalamazoo College, as well as plays Principal Second Violin in the college orchestra Kalamazoo Philharmonia.  In addition, she regularly coaches violin sectionals for the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and chamber music at Loy Norrix High School and Maple Street Middle School.  

As a performer Dr. Steinhauser enjoys a variety of solo, chamber and orchestral playing.  With the Steinhauser/Tung Duo she has performed recitals throughout Michigan, Missouri, West Virginia, Georgia, Spain and France.

Abigail Schubkegel-Weener

  • B.A., Indiana Wesleyan University

A native of Kalamazoo, Abigail Weener is a lively and energetic music teacher.  She currently offers violin instruction in multiple schools and programs across the Kalamazoo area, teaching both private lessons and chamber groups to over 40 students of varying ages and levels.  Abigail is a certified Suzuki teacher and currently holds her teaching license for Suzuki Books 1-3.  She has also completed training and received her teaching license as an instructor for Music Together, an early childhood music program.  Abigail sits as the Associate Concertmaster for the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, acts as a substitute musician for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and performs seasonally with the BachFest orchestra.

In addition to her violin teaching, Abigail is the director of Homeschool Performing Arts’ Lower Elementary drama class, providing instruction in musical skills, presentation, coordination, movement, etc.  Abigail thoroughly enjoys sharing the gift of music with others.  She is happy to return to her native city, Kalamazoo, and invest in the musical community that has invested so much in her.

Marvelous Music Program Manager

Cindy Cross, KSO Manager of Community Partnerships

Cindy is a Board Certified Music Therapist and was certified as a Neurologic Music Therapist in 2015. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Michigan University in 1990 and 2014 respectively. Cindy also works for the Allegan Area Educational Association as a music therapist for students with cognitive impairments, ages 3-26. She owns and operates Southwest Michigan Music Therapy, LLC; a private practice providing Music Therapy, Early Childhood music groups, and private lessons.