Outstanding Musicians, Outstanding Teachers.
Laura Patterson - Executive Director
Laura has an MA in Arts Management from American University and a BM in Flute Performance from the University of Southern California. Her previous work experience includes the Departments of Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State and the Organization of American States, New York Youth Symphony’s Chamber Music Program, A Midsummer Music Quebec, CW Post Long Island University’s Summer Festival, and Opera France. In April of 2014, Laura was chosen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a “Person of Character, Courage, and Commitment” in honor of Women’s History Month for her work with Make Music NOLA.
In addition to administrative work, Laura also has 14 years of experience teaching group classes and private lessons. Her teaching experience includes working for the Harmony Project, an award-winning music education organization now serving 1,500 students in Los Angeles. She has performed at the Lima International Jazz Festival (Lima, Peru), the International Arts Festival (Rotterdam, Holland), Electronic Music Midwest (Chicago, IL), the Southern Voices Dance Festival, French Quarter Festival, and Bach Around the Clock. Laura currently performs with Versipel New Music Collective and several other projects in New Orleans.
Georgia Rhody - Manager of Development and Operations
Georgia, a native of Columbus, Mississippi, has lived in New Orleans since 1996. She attended the University of Mississippi and Mississippi University for Women (B.F.A.). A deeply rooted love and appreciation for New Orleans food, music and culture led her to this City and its unique work opportunities with Dinosaur Records, Kingsway Studios, The Truck Farm, Event Specialists of New Orleans, French Quarter Festivals, and The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Georgia and her husband, Matt, enjoy all that the city has to offer and reside in New Orleans' 9th Ward with their aging pug, Tulip.
Anna Yates - Media and Communications Associate
Anna Yates is a senior at Tulane University, finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies, International Development, and History. Though originally from Seattle, Washington, she grew up with a strong appreciation for New Orleans music and participated in her schools’ music programs on the saxophone and piano. In her spare time, she enjoys leading outdoor trips through Tulane’s campus recreation center, photography, and eating Vietnamese food.
Matt Rhody - Head Violin Teacher and Curriculum Development
Matt Rhody is a fixture on Frenchmen Street. He currently plays with several bands, including the New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings, The Hot Club of New Orleans, Luke Winslow King, Lynnzi Zaorski, and the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus. He has also worked with The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr., and Stevie Wonder. Matt was recently singled out to solo with Stevie Wonder onstage at the Smoothie King Center and to perform with Luke Winslow King at South by Southwest. He also teaches at UNO and has a private studio at his home. Matt Rhody is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jordan Peota - General Music Teacher
Jordan is a clarinetist and saxophonist with a passion for playing and teaching music of many styles. He teaches general music at Elan Academy. Originally from Minneapolis, he moved to New Orleans in 2011 to earn a degree in music education from Loyola University. He loves baking bread, biking and bouldering.
Nathanial Money - Bass Teacher
Nathan is an educator and bassist originally from Kansas City. He moved to New Orleans in 2009 and currently teaches general music at Encore Academy. He has been teaching in after school programs with Make Music NOLA since it began in 2011. Nathaniel is a member of the band Cactus Thief, and he also stays busy performing everything from operas to square dances.
Tucker Fuller - Resident Rock Star Violin Teacher
Tucker Fuller attended Bard College (B.A.), the Peabody Institute (M.M.) and the University of Michigan (DMA), and has studied with composers Joan Tower, Christopher Theofanidis, Evan Chambers, Michael Daugherty, and Bright Sheng. He has had premieres with the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Colorado String Quartet, and the American Symphony Orchestra. Tucker is a frequent collaborator with poet Megan Levad. Writing as 1928, Tucker and Megan write song cycles for both conventional and unconventional places.
Sam Kohler - Cello Teacher
Sam Kohler is a composer, organist, and conductor in New Orleans, LA. He is currently studying composition with Professor Barbara Jazwinski at Tulane University. He has worked as the organist and choirmaster at St. Paul Lutheran Church in the Marigny since 2017, premiering many new organ and chamber works there. In 2013, he founded the Sam Kohler New Music Ensemble, a nine-member chamber ensemble dedicated to performing new works by contemporary composers. Kohler has released two recordings, Synchromy with the Ensemble and Synchromy No. 2 with the Cascade String Quartet.
David Thom - Violin/Viola Teacher
David is a classically-trained musician and violinist. Living in New Orleans the past eight years, David’s involvement in sound design and performing arts have steadily increased into a diverse musical career.
Gabrielle Fischler - Violin Teacher
Violinist Gabrielle Fischler is a fourth-year New Orleanian, having moved from Boston where she was a co-founding member of Palaver Strings. She currently serves on faculty at Make Music NOLA, Ellis Marsalis Center, and Birdfoot’s Young Artist Program. She also teaches private lessons and chamber music coachings and works with Musicollaborative. Gabrielle serves as the Community Director of Lyrica Baroque where she helps facilitate arts integration projects built to enhance social-emotional learning, as well as projects such as NOLA Chamber Fest. Gabrielle makes local appearances with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Orleans Opera, Lyrica Baroque’s education programs, Musaica, Crescent Chamber Artists, the New Resonance Orchestra, the Saenger, Groupmuse, and Jefferson Performing Arts Society.
Tim Paco - Cello and Bass Teacher
Tim has been a professional musician for 40 years He plays the bass, violin, tuba, electric bass guitar, and ukulele, and he currently teaches at Lafayette Academy and teaches adult ukulele classes at Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant. In his spare time, he has a string instrument repair shop and makes custom ukuleles.
Sultana Isham - Violin Teacher
Sultana Isham is an award-winning film composer, violinist and scholar based in New Orleans, LA. "Music is like magick, an invisible art used to create and destroy."
Givonna Joseph - General Music Teacher
Roberto Perez - General Music Teacher
Board of Trustees
Fred Neal Jr., Board Chair
Senior Planner, Villavaso Inc.
Ava Hernandez Executive Director, Public Allies
Kathleen Whalen Project Director, Safe School NOLA
Attorney-at-Law, Liskow and Lewis
Dirty Coast, Owner and Creative Director