Mark Pellegrino – Drum Instructor

Mark has been playing drums for 29 years and he has been teaching off and on for 20 years. He’s been a full time teacher for the last 10 years. In the summer of 2006, Mark started Pellegrino’s School of Music & Art to try and create an environment much like what he was exposed to during his time at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he received a 2 year certificate in drumset performance. Mark has studied privately for 10 years with the likes of Jim Chapin, Kenny Arronoff, and Dave DiCenso to name a few. He has toured all over the states playing every style of music. Marks teaching method includes trying to find what motivates the student and helping them set and develop their goals. He pushes his students to take advantage of the stage at Pellegrino’s School of Music at our free jams, recitals, and our band program.

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Bart Kelley- Drum Instructor

Bart is a highly skilled drummer and has performed and recorded music in venues and studios across the U.S. His most notable projects include the instrumental group Super String Theory, Useful Idiot (a tribute to Tool), 4jax (featuring Star Search winner Jake Simpson), Mark Chapman Band, Mr Scary, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Golden Circle full-length feature film score and soundtrack (composer and actor). Bart was the Instructional Studio Manager for 4 of his 12 years as an instructor at The Percussion Shop in Springfield, Missouri. Several of Bart’s students have themselves gone on to become successful performers, instructors, and leaders in the industry. Bart is known for his versatility, professionalism and his desire to always keep it fun.

Bryce Burney- Drum Instructor

Bryce has been playing drums for 10 years and teaching for 5 years. When in high school at Carl Junction, he performed with the All-District band for 4 years and received I-ratings on his solo performances for 4 years as well. He played drums at the University of Arkansas for 3 years in both the Razorback Marching Band and the Hog Wild Basketball Band. While drumming in Arkansas, he played many gigs with whatever groups needed drummers at anywhere from house shows to coffee shops to event entertainment. More recently, he taught 6th grade through high school percussionists at School of the Ozarks in Branson. Bryce is now attending Missouri State University where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Spanish.

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Justin Ward – Guitar Instructor

In 2017 Justin Ward celebrated his 28th anniversary of playing guitar, and his 15th year of full-time teaching (10 years at Pellegrino’s)!  Justin currently has the largest private student roster in the area, and is currently instructing 8 bands in the Pellegrino’s Band Program. His years of experience, knowledge and tailored instruction have produced many of the areas finest players.

Justin has a Bachelor of Science degree from MSU. While attending MSU he played in the University Jazz and concert bands, and received private instruction from department heads Joe Leiter and John Strickler. His diverse style has made him one of the most popular guitarists in the area, playing for the groups Clockwork, 4 Jax (featuring 2-time Star Search winner Jake Simpson), Lost Highway and Sequel Dose. Justin is also a “gun for hire”, playing many one-off performances as well as playing in the pit for Springfield Little Theater. He is co-owner and Creative Director at Tasdar Creative, a music production company. Tasdar writes and produces music of all kinds for commercial/corporate use. Under the moniker of Smiley Miller, Tasdar produced the song “You Know the Kind” (featuring Mark Pellegrino on drums) . His group VINYL7 produced the songs “In the Middle of It” and “Run” (all songs available on Spotify, Apple Music, and ITunes).


Jim Bultas- Guitar Instructor

Jim has been playing and performing professionally on guitar and bass for over twenty years. He is a well versed and accomplished player in rock, folk, jazz, classical, metal, bluegrass, latin and country styles. Jim has more than ten years of teaching experience and has written a library of thousands of lesson plans which were developed for students of all ages and experience levels. He is an honors graduate from Musicians Institute (GIT) and has performed and studied with Victor Wooten, Scott Henderson, and Paul Gilbert among others. In addition, Jim also enjoys film directing, composing, and podcasting. His film work has received worldwide distribution and national airplay as well as being a finalist for the 2011 Parsec Awards. He frequently performs in the orchestra for the Little Theater and his cover band Bender.

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Kevin Lane Breshears – Bass Instructor

Kevin Lane has played professionally for over 30 years, which includes 23 as a Bassist and backing vocalist with country music star Mickey Gilley’s Grammy award winning Urban Cowboy Band. With Mickey Gilley, Kevin has played across the country, on television, numerous live performances in Las Vegas, Branson, and other various places. He has also appeared on 5 studio recordings by Gilley. He also backed up other music superstars such as Johnny Lee, Tony Melendez, Moe Bandy, Doug Kershaw, John Schneider, Joann Castle, Mille Walker, and the Lennon Sisters. As an original member of the Misstakes, an Eighties favorite of the Midwest, Kevin Lane made his start as a fixture of the local music scene. With the Misstakes, he has recorded records, and played in numerous main stage settings (i.e. having played in front of or having “opened up for” bands such as U2, Crowded House, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, the Ramones, and many others.) Kevin also founded and fronted an R&B, funk-rock group, the Horndawgs. As a Branson favorite, the “Dawgs” have been a centerpiece of the “pro-pickers” after-hours scene. Kevin has served as music director and worship leader at Living Waters Community Church in Nixa, Mo from 1998 to2009. Kevin is an alumnus of the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, California, where he studied Jazz theory and performance, and he has studied music theory at Southwest Missouri State. He uses the experience in teaching private bass and guitar lessons.

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Ryan Hunt-Piano/Vocal Instructor

Ryan Hunt has performed in several different venues across the country. Although originally from Ponca City OK, Hunt moved to Springfield, MO at a young age and graduated from Kickapoo High School in 1995. He then went on to pursue studies in piano performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Missouri State University. Ryan moved to New York City in early 2003, and performed nightly as a pianist/singer. His performances include Lincoln Center, and the famous jazz club, Birdland. Since that time he has relocated back to Springfield, and has taught professionally at Pellegrino’s School of Music & Art since 2007. Hunt also serves as the Staff Pianist for the Springfield Regional Opera, as well as Missouri State University Opera, and is the church organist at First & Calvary Presbyterian. Ryan has also worked closely with Springfield Public Schools and has accompanied, coached, and taught several children, teens, and adults from the greater metro area.

Emily Estes Bailey- Piano/Vocal Instructor

Emily’s love of music started at a young age. She began voice lessons at the age of 8 and continued through high school. Prior to college, she joined the touring cast of Grease as Jan in California. After attending Evangel University, she earned her degree in Vocal music. She worked as a Music director at a local church before joining as a teacher at Pellegrino’s School of Music and Art in 2015. Emily also preforms with various local bands in Springfield and has recently been involved with some recording projects. Teaching music is her passion and she strives to make learning music a fun and enjoyable experience for all of her students!

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Vic Vaughn- Vocal Instructor

Vic hails from New York City, Brooklyn to be exact. He began playing music and singing at an early age. He grew up listening to the likes of The Beatles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder and other great artists of the time.Vic brings a funky, infectious groove as well as a wealth of experience in various musical and vocal styles. He is proficient on several instruments, is a seasoned singer, songwriter, producer and an excellent entertainer. Vic has performed with or on the same stage with a virtual “who’s who” of the music industry including Chuck Berry, Patti Labelle, The Coasters, The Gatlin Bros., Luther Vandross, Hank Williams Jr., Rare Earth, Blondie and The Allman Bros. Vic has been a vocal teacher/coach at Pellegrino’s School of Music & Art since it began. He is anxious to share his musical knowledge and encouragement with his students!

Lisa Meendering- Piano/Vocal Instructor

Lisa is excited to be included in the Pellegrino School team!  After graduating with a double BS degree in Music Education and Elementary Education from the University of South Dakota, Lisa began her teaching journey in her homestate of Iowa.  She met and married her husband, Brian, and they moved to Missouri.  Two years later, they were both active on the Praise team of their church and expecting their daughter.  When Brianna reached age 7, God placed the opportunity of home schooling into their lives.  As the years progressed, Lisa was given the opportunity to teach beginner band theory, and later added the intermediate band theory class for Play and Sing His Praises homeschool music program.  They joined James River Church, where she was given another wonderful program of teaching at James River School of Fine Arts.  Lisa auditioned for and joined the James River Worship team.  She also has had many private students wishing to increase their musical abilities. Over the years, Lisa has been blessed with opportunities in choirs, concerts, musicals, and plays, as well as directing, teaching, and performing in various avenues.  She gives all the glory to God and is humbled by being His servant.

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Elsa Godding- Violin,Viola and Cello

Elsa Godding grew up here in the Ozarks and has been playing the violin for almost 15 years. When she was 16 she started teaching music and has been teaching and loving it ever since! Elsa has played all over the country and all over the world; performing in 17 different states, Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and the Czech Republic. She has played classical, country, Celtic, bluegrass, worship and improv in multiple orchestras, ensembles and groups.

Kaela Funke- Violin Instructor

Kaela has been playing violin for eleven years now, and also has some skills in piano, guitar, and ukulele. Kaela is a junior music therapy major at Drury University hoping to work in a hospital setting in the future. She is a part of the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra and loves being a part of the big performances they have done since she has been at Drury. Some of these performances include: Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, and most recently the collaboration with the Drury Choirs and Springfield Regional Opera in the production of Othello. She loves being able to work with students who are eager to soak up knowledge about the violin. She believes it to be such rewarding work, and hopes to continue teaching for many years to come.

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Megan Gerbrandt- Violin/Viola Instructor

Megan Gerbrandt is from Lenexa, KS, and she has been playing violin for 11 years. She studied under the tutelage of Keith Stanfield, graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, from 2013 to 2016. She has received multiple Superior “I” ratings from KSHSAA for her solo performances. Megan was a member of the 2015-16 KSMEA All-State Orchestra and Northeast District Honors Orchestra. Megan has toured around the United States and Europe with multiple honor ensembles, including the Youth Symphony of Kansas City’s Academy Orchestra.

Megan is currently furthering her education in Instrumental Music Education at Missouri State University, and she is privately studying with Dr. David Hays. She has been teaching students of her own since 2016, and she has assisted multiple teachers in Springfield Public Schools. Megan is a current member of the Missouri State University Symphony Orchestra, and she is a recipient of the Orchestra Governors Award.