The Saint Lucia School of Music Welcomes New Staff Members
Head of String Studies
Marie Medina has been a violinist since the age of nine. She learned to play violin in the public school music program in El Paso, Texas where her talent developed in the rich, multicultural environment of her family and surroundings. Alongside her love for her native Mexican-American culture and the traditional music of her heritage, she quickly developed a deep passion for and commitment to classical music. In 1992, Ms. Medina began her Music Education studies at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, CA and completed her studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her move to Chicago, IL in 1999 would bring about noteworthy developments in her music career. Her own private studio flourished while serving as a violin instructor for Chicago area private and public schools such as the Old Town School of Folk Music and The People’s School of Music. During the final years of her stay in her Chicago home, Ms. Medina enjoyed a varied career as both a private teacher and orchestra conductor of the YOURS Project, a Venezuelan inspired social inclusion music program known as “El Sistema”. In the upcoming years, Ms. Medina is enthusiastic about sharing the success of Chicago’s YOURS Project with the Saint Lucia School of Music as a member of staff. She brings with her an inspiration to share her experience with the OAS Marchand Youth Orchestra and other departments at the school to enhance its goal of establishing a fully formed National Youth Orchestra.
Head of Piano Studies
Natalie McAllister-Chakhalashvili is a native of the Republic of Georgia former Soviet Union. An accomplished pianist, she possesses a wealth of experience as a music educator. Her music education began at the age of six where she studied piano at a music school for gifted children. As a youth, she played recitals and concerts with numerous Symphony Orchestras in Georgia. Between 1970-1975, Natalie studied at the Tbilisi Music College where she was conferred a Bachelor Degree qualification as a piano teacher and accompanist. In 1975, she entered the Tbilisi Conservatory of Music where she received a Masters Degree in Piano In 1980, having passed three graduation exams as a solo pianist, chamber pianist and accompanist. Between the years 1980-1996, she worked as a piano teacher and performed as an accompanist for the Georgian Philharmonic Society. In 1997, Natalie moved to Ohio in the United States where she continued to work as a pianist,an accompanist and piano teacher. Natalie has worked extensively around the world including South Africa where, in 2010 she was invited as a guest teacher to share American, Georgian and Russian piano teaching methods. She currently heads the Department of Piano studies at the Saint Lucia School of Music.
Wood Wind Tutor
David Bode has been studying music since childhood in his native Louisiana. He graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, and from the University of New Orleans with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies in 2007. His primary instrument is the saxophone As a recording artiste, David has released a full-length album, Bodesattva: Arrival, in 2006 and a 3-song collection of original Christmas music, Fig and the New Tones Present: Pine Cone Classics, in collaboration with Maxwell Eaton in 2009. In addition to his love for music education, he has a passion for performance, most notably Jazz music. David has led bands since high school and has performed with such notable ensembles as the New Orleans Opera and the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra. He has performed at important venues such as Tipitina’s in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Green Parrot in Key West, Florida, and East Shore Jazz Cafe in Beijing, China, David has performed at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival and the prestigious New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. David joined the faculty of the Saint Lucia School of Music on October 1st 2011 and is already putting his training to use in supporting the needs of a growing wind department. This includes working with Manmay-la Di Wai, a community based National social inclusion project of the Saint Lucia School of Music. David is also expected to take an active role in the establishment of a new Jazz Studies programme, which the School of Music will launch in the near future.
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