About UsFaculty and Staff
Director of Dance
Schmidt holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ballet from Texas Christian University and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Oklahoma. In 2017 she became an ABT (American Ballet Theatre) Certified teacher for Pre-Primary-Level 3 and in 2018 she was certified as Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Instructor. As director of dance, Schmidt leads and teaches in the dance division of MCA, as well as the dance minor program at Saint Mary's University. Additionally, she serves as artistic director for MCA's Dance Repertory Company. Schmidt has restaged and choreographed several full-length ballets for the company including: Cinderella, Paquita, The Nutcracker, Excerpts from Swan Lake, and the Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère. Schmidt received the State of Oklahoma's Miguel Terekhov award for her original ballet, A Tender Age. Schmidt is a member of the American College Dance Festival Association and the National Dance Education Association. She has previously taught at Viterbo University, Winona State University, La Crosse Dance Centre, the University of Oklahoma, North Houston Ballet, and Backstage Dance Theatre. Her performing career includes work with Ballet Dallas, Houston Ballet, Ballet Austin, Milwaukee Ballet, and Oklahoma Festival Ballet. Contact Tammy at: Tschmidt@smumn.edu or 507-453-5502.
Brady holds degrees in art history from the University of Texas at Austin (M.A.) and Tulane University (B.A.). He comes to MCA from The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (Charlotte, NC), where he was Assistant Director for Education, and he has worked in education and outreach at The University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art (Iowa City, IA), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR), The Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX), and The Museum of Fine Arts—Houston. In his work he has always valued the opportunity to cultivate “ah ha” moments and deep connections between people and art, in all its forms. He is excited to continue this work in his role at MCA, which also allows him to engage his arts administration and leadership skills to sustain the excellent creative work that happens here. Outside of work Brady is a coffee shop enthusiast and Netflix addict.
Megan is originally from Winona, growing up and going to school in the Winona School District. She very briefly attended ballet class with Mrs. Stephanie Kierlin and was a part of the Dance Team at the Winona High School. Megan has more than 7 years experience in an administrative assistant role. She was most recently with Ashley Furniture in their Human Resources department. When Megan’s daughter was 2 years old, she decided to take a break from working and stay home with her. It was an opportunity to watch her child grow and be a part of her daily development.
Instructor - Clarinet and Saxophone
Ryan began teaching music lessons in 2006 and has been teaching at MCA since 2010. He has earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Arts in Instruction degree. Ryan is a licensed teacher in K-12 Instrumental/Classroom Music. He has performed in a variety of ensembles including concert bands, jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, and theater pit orchestras.
In addition to teaching lessons at MCA, Ballanger works full-time in information technology and often incorporates technology into music education. Ryan is an active performer in community ensembles as a member of the Winona Municipal Band and Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Concert Band.
Instructor - Dance
Jessica has been studying all forms of dance since the age of three. She eventually turned her lifelong passion for the art into a career when she began teaching at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts in 2006. She was a founding member and dancer of the Two Lakes Dance Project in 2010, and in 2014 restaged Plum's Divine Crazy Quilt for the DRC 40th Anniversary Concert. Dienger has created original works for both DRC & DRC. Dienger now teaches jazz, hip hop and tap at MCA. In 2017 she became a certified PulsePointe Barre Instructor. She resides in La Crosse, WI with her husband, Mitch and daughter Elliotte.
Instructor - Music Instructor
Instructor - Music & Visual Art
Douglas grew up in a home where music was always present and appreciated. Her father learned to read music and sing harmonies from his grandmother. Douglas’ mother learned to love music from her father who was in the Navy Band and later directed a small town municipal band.
Douglas began formal piano studies at age five after trying to figure out the instrument from the time she was old enough to climb up on the piano bench and entertain (annoy) her family. After a rough start with having a new teacher every year and finally, in third grade, being told by a highly recommended teacher that she would never be a pianist because she had too many bad habits, Douglas determined that pursuing music should be enjoyable and therapeutic for anyone who chooses to do so. During that time she started studying other instruments including guitar, flute and french horn and in her early teens started coaching the younger students in the small, private school she attended. She has fond memories of practicing band pieces at home with her brother and her best friend, their combo being flute, trombone and sousaphone and then trading instruments and playing again. The trio continued practicing and performing together on different instruments for many years and all work in the music industry today. Douglas arranges music and performs often in the Winona area with various individuals, choirs and ensembles.
Douglas also had an early love for art and crafts that started with drawing pictures of horses, sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlework and an incessant need to know how things were made. She took every art class she could fit into her schedule and continues to pursue new skills. Currently she is studying fiber arts by spinning, dyeing and weaving fiber from her alpacas and angoras.
Instructor - Dance
Bio coming soon!
Instructor - Piano
Finke joins MCA bringing over 40 years of experience in music education. He received a BS in Education from Concordia University-Nebraska where he majored in music and minored in music education and English. He received a Masters in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has served Lutheran and Catholic parishes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota in educational and music ministries. He has also taught Music Appreciation and Fundamentals of Music for the North Dakota University System and serves as the organist and Director of Music at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church and School in Winona. In whatever spare time he can find, he likes to read, write, and do woodwork. Larry and his wife, Bonnie, have six children and eight grandchildren.
Instructor - Dance
Instructor - Brass and Jazz Combos
Dave Gudmastad directed the Winona Cotter High School Band Program for 25 years. He retired from teaching band at Cotter in 2012, and continues to work as a music educator in the Winona area. He is currently an instructor in the Music Education Department at Winona State University. He also directs the Winona Middle School Jazz Band and the Jazz Combo Program at MCA. Dave also teach private brass lessons at MCA. Prior to his tenure at Cotter High School, Dave served as Vocal and Instrumental Music Director for West River Public Schools in Dupree, SD, and the Lynnville-Sully Community Schools in Sully, IA. Dave earned a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College and a Master of Music from the University of South Dakota Dave was named the Minnesota Music Educator of the Year in 2007. Dave has been a Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin adjudicator for large group, solo/ensemble, jazz ensemble and marching band festivals since 1980. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) and on the Music Advisory Council for the Minnesota State High School League. He is also a charter member of the Winona Brass Band, as well as member of the Jazz Education Network, Minnesota Band Directors Association, Phi Beta Mu, and International Trumpet Guild.
Instructor - Art
Brianna Haupt grew up in Manitowoc Wisconsin and moved to Winona, MN to attend Winona State University. In 2013, she graduated with her K-12 Art Education degree with an emphasis in printmaking. Brianna currently teaches at Riverway Learning Community, a public charter school in Winona. Brianna teaches youth and adult classes at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts and was an integral part in executing the E.A Michelson Philanthropy programming for adults 55 years and older. Brianna volunteers on various boards and committees at Riverway and within the City of Winona. When she’s not teaching art, Brianna enjoys gardening, photography and working in her home pottery studio.
Instructor - Dance
Honecker-Sherman is a graduate from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Studies: Dance and Movement Studies. She has performed with MCA’s Dance Repertory Company, as well as performing for WSU, the University of Minnesota, Ballet Arts City Children’s Nutcracker Project, American College Dance Festivals, Sam Costas “10,000 Dances” Company, Sweets of May Irish Dance, Children’s Dance Theatre, and many other community performances. She is a graduate of Perpich Center for Arts Education where she has also been a guest artist. Her teaching experience includes ballet, modern, jazz, tap, clogging, improvisation, swing, and Irish dance. Honecker-Sherman is also a certified Pilates instructor and Personal Fitness Trainer, skilled in kickboxing, land and water aerobics and weight training.
Instructor - Percussion & Piano
Originally from Winona, Jannsen graduated with highest honors from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and an emphasis in percussion performance. Having been heavily involved in campus ensembles, Jannsen has experience in concert band, concert choir, jazz band, pit orchestra, chamber orchestra, and drumline. Additionally, she has studied piano since her elementary school days, and she is currently a pianist and organist in her church. Outside of music, she enjoys reading fiction and spending time with family and friends, and she tends to dominate in Wii Mario Kart.
Instructor - Violin & Piano
Julia Kirk is a violinist, violist, and pianist from Jackson, Mississippi. In the summer of 2013, she attended the inaugural year of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, which toured to Russia and England under the baton of Valery Gergiev. In the summer of 2014, she received a scholarship to attend the orchestra program at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, where she won an audition to be the concertmaster of the Interlochen Philharmonic and assistant concertmaster of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra. She also was honored to receive the Maddy Summer Artist Award. In the summer of 2015, Julia attended the NYO-USA for a second time and won an audition to be the principal second violinist for performances in Carnegie Hall and China under the baton of Charles Dutoit. She has been a substitute violinist and violist for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra since 2013. In 2015-16, Julia studied at the Conservatoire de Versailles in Versailles, France as a violin performance major. In the summer of 2017, she attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a violinist on a fellowship. She will be returning to St. Mary’s University this year as a conducting major.
Kristi J Bade Krause
Instructor - Oboe
Megan began her dance training at a very young age at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, under the direction of Tammy Schmidt, and performed notable roles such as Cinderella in Cinderella, Clara, Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, and Artemis, in Brian Moore’s Artemis and Orien. In addition to training at MCA, Megan trained intermitally at Ballet Blake in Rochester, MN and in the summer attended programs such as the American Ballet Theater, The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Austin, Utah Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet School. Currently a junior at the University of Utah, Megan is pursuing a BFA in Ballet, and BA in History, with an emphasis in Southeast Asia.
During her time at the University of Utah, Megan has had the opportunity to perform in many works, including Don Quixote as Kitri, La Vivandiere, as a Soloist and Vivandiere, Second to Last, choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo, Resilience by Rick McCullough, Experiment #84 by Brent Schneider, Threshold, by Justine Sheedy-Kramer, as well as participated in many student-led productions. She has also performed internationally in Incheon, South Korea, under the direction of Oleg Vinagrov, as Cupid in Paquita, and as a soloist in Seh Yun’s original work, Triple Bach. In addition to her performance pursuits, Megan is a member of the National Dance Education Association (NSDA), certified in Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT), the President of Character Dance Ensemble (CDE), and choreographs original works. Megan is thrilled to be returning to her Minnesota roots, and looks forward to sharing her passion for dance with all.
Instructor - Dance
Martin has been a faculty member at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts since 1994 and served as managing director from 1999 to 2012. She also teaches dance for Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Viterbo University, and Winona State University. Martin previously taught at Virginia Luoma Dance Studio and Viterbo University. Martin's performing career includes work with the Minneapolis-based tap company, Keane Sense of Rhythm at: The Minneapolis and Thunder Bay, Canada Fringe Festivals, the Minneapolis and Chicago Human Rhythm Projects, and Choreographer's Evening at the Walker Arts Center. She has staged and choreographed a variety of original works and excerpts for Classical ballet's for the MCA's Dance Repertory Company including Paquita, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Martin has choreographed several musicals including A Chorus Line, Baby, Cabaret, Company, Dames at Sea, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Little Shop of Horrors, Showtune, Urinetown, and The Wizard of Oz for Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre, Home and Community Options, SMU's Department of Theatre and Dance, and WSU's Theatre and dance Department. Martin is a graduate of Saint Mary's University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations.
Bio coming soon!
Instructor - Voice
Ruby Oian holds a B.S. in Music Education (K-12 with honors) from Winona State University. She has directed choirs of various ages at Central Lutheran Church has been the musical director of 2 musicals there, 3 at Winona Senior High School, and the technical director on one musical at CFC HS. Ruby, has spent her lifetime, signing in choirs, school and 4-H competitions, and musicals for church. Her college experiences include singing with the WSU Choir in Gettysburg, PA when President Eisenhower died and while he was lying-in-state they viewed the body and sang at Washington’s National Cathedral. She sang as a member of the Winona Oratorio Chorus during its founding year and many subsequent years plus has sung for over 45 years in the Cantori Choir at CLC. She has sung in small groups and as a featured soloists in each of these choirs plus many weddings, funerals, religious and social events.
Ruby was the founder, co-organizer, director and singer of Winona’s Sesquicentennial Historic Gospel Concert in which over 150 children’, adult singers and instrumentalists were on stage to celebrate Winona’s history and raise funds for the Winona Country Historical Society.n Ruby’s has also been involved with preparing costumes for MCA’s Dance Repertory Company performances.She and her husband, Charles owned and operated a bridal business in Winona until Dec. of 2016. Their proudest moments have been in raising 4 children and sharing in the lives of their 8 grandchildren.
Instructor - Voice & Choir
Lindsy O’Shea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and a Master of Arts in Instruction from Saint Mary’s University, where she has been teaching voice lessons for the past decade. In the past, Lindsy directed the SMU Women’s Choir, MCA’s Winona Area Youth Singers (2008-2012), taught K-12 music in public schools, and taught small groups and individuals from preschool age through adulthood. She is a cantor at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and has performed with LaCrosse Chamber Chorale and at SMU Faculty Recitals. Lindsy is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, International Music Fraternity, advising the Saint Mary’s chapter, and has been a member of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association. She, her husband, and their five children are happy to call Winona home.
Valencia Chorale Director
A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Patrick O’Shea joined the Saint Mary’s University Faculty in August of 1997. He holds degrees from Shenandoah Conservatory (voice performance), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Arizona State University (both in choral conducting). He has conducted choirs of all ages, from children’s choirs to adult community choruses, and currently conducts the Saint Mary’s Concert Choir, a 64-voice select ensemble of mixed voices, and the university’s premiere choral ensemble, the Saint Mary’s Chamber Singers, which numbers from 24 to 26 and tours each year, alternating between domestic and international tours.
A composer of choral and instrumental music, Dr. O’Shea’s works have been performed throughout the United States, and in Europe and Asia. He has been active as a church choir director in a number of denominations, and has served as a clinician for numerous choral festivals and workshops. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), American Composers Forum, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
He resides in Winona with his wife, Lindsy O’Shea, herself a voice teacher, and their five children.
John C. Paulson
Music Instructor- Jazz Improvisation
John Paulson started his musical journey in Rochester, MN playing in area rock bands and participating in school music groups. He migrated west and got his B.M and M.M from the University of Utah and later completed his DMA in music education from the University of Washington. He started playing the saxophone at age 10, studied flute and clarinet with symphony players and jazz improvisation in New York. After 35 years of full time teaching, Dr. Paulson retired from Saint Mary’s University and taught jazz studies at Winona State University for five years. Now, he’s excited about becoming a part of the programs offered by MCA. Visit his website at www.paulsonjazz.com for more.
Instructor - Dance
Alanna grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago and enjoyed Irish dancing, gymnastics and being an all-around pool rat with her three younger brothers. Besides “playing school” and teaching her brothers, she began coaching gymnastics at 16 and teaching swim lessons at 17. She danced with the Mayer School of Irish Dance from when she was 5 until 20. As an older dance student, she helped work with the younger dancers at the school. She came to Winona in 1999 and has attended Winona State and St. Mary’s Universities. During college and after college, as a guest artist, Alanna participated in the Dancescape productions at WSU. She shared her enthusiasm for Irish dance and her heritage with the Winona community by leading her “Sweets of May Irish Dance Troupe” back in the late 90’s at the YMCA and performing at local nursing homes around St. Patrick’s Day. Alanna’s husband Jeremiah is from Winona and they have a son, Waylon.
Instructor - Dance
Claire Penning is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a BA in Dance. She started her formal dance training at Gotta Dance in Winona, Minnesota under the direction of Kim Whipple and Sheena Gifford and trained in hip hop, tap, lyrical, pointe, jazz, and musical theater. She was a part of the competition team that traveled throughout the Midwest to conventions and competitions. At UWSP Claire trained in modern, ballet, tap, jazz, composition, and Pilates under the direction of Joan Karlen, Michael Estanich, Jeannie Hill, Pamela Luedtke, Patrick Strong, and Amy Beversdorf. University performance credits include Afterimages Outtakes (2013), Afterimages Unplugged (2015-2016), Afterimages (2013-2016), Arts Bash (2014,2016), and Danstage (2016-2017) in works created by student choreographers, faculty Jeannie Hill and Michael Estanich, and guest artist, Max Pollak. Claire presented her first choreography, At the Corner of East and 10th: Some Call It Funk, in Afterimages 2016. Post-graduation Claire began teaching at Trollwood Performing Arts School in Fargo, ND and returns each summer for their month long intensive. She taught classes at SG Danceworkz and Fitness Studio, Winona, MN, and choreographed for their performance company. Claire is now an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN and Viterbo University, La Crosse, WI. She also teaches classes at La Crosse Dance Center and Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. She is also working with Cotter High School, choreographing their fall musical and working with their show choir. Claire is choreographing the spring musical for SMU, Legally Blonde, and Wabasha Kellogg High School, The Little Mermaid.
Instructor - Cello and Dance
A graduate from the Eastman School of Music, Ryan earned her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance. While at school, she frequently performed with the Eastman Philharmonic, Eastman Collegium, and Ossia. Over the years she has participated in several acclaimed music festivals such as Bowdoin International Music Festival, Colorado College Music Festival, The Quartet Program, the Rochester Early Music Festival, and Northern Lights Music Festival. Ryan has performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the Winona Oratorio Chorus and La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she has worked alongside many of the world’s leading artists, prize-winning soloists, and Grammy-award winning musicians such as Phillipe Jaroussky, Paul O’Dette, Charles Castleman, Lika Yakupova, and Jaroslaw Nadrzycki. Ryan’s performance on the Viola da Gamba at the Boston Early Music Festival in the Summer of 2011 was described as “mysteriously beautiful” by the Boston Globe. Additionally, Ryan is an alum of MCA where she studied Classical ballet for over a decade. She performed many soloist and principal roles as a member of MCA’s Dance Repertory Company.
Instructor - Saxophone & Flute
Jake is attending Winona State University pursuing Music education. He is primarily a saxophone player as well as doubling on the flute. He has competed in multiple competitions throughout high school as well as the Schubert Club competition in March of 2019. At school, Jake participates in Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Jazz ensemble, Jazz combos, Saxophone quartet.
Instructor - Theatre, Flute, & Ukulele
Catherine graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, and a minor in Spanish. She began dancing, singing, and playing piano at the age of 8. She studied tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, kick line, and baton twirling with Pat Peare School of Dance in Eagan, Minnesota. In addition, she studied baton twirling at Dance-Twirl Minnesota where she also taught beginner ballet and tap. Catherine studied musical theatre at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in high school where she combined her acting, dancing, and singing while performing in various shows around the twin cities including Junior Claus with the Director’s Studios, Four Little Girls and Almost To Freedom at Stepping Stone Theatre. At Saint Mary’s, Catherine was a member of the concert choir and chamber singers ensemble, flute choir, and was the captain of the dance team. During the week you can find Catherine teaching second grade at Rochester Arts and Sciences Academy. She lives and breathes teaching and couldn’t be more excited to join MCA.
Instructor - Guitar
Bio coming soon
Instructor - Piano
In 2018, Lauren Mechell joined the MCA faculty with a dream to create a top-notch Class Piano
Lab. Within a year, a brand new state-of-the-art lab was completed. Lauren’s focus is to bring
the power of music to students of all ages. A passion for learning itself is not exclusive to
young students or to older students. People can develop a passion for learning and music
throughout life - from beginning to end.”
Graduating with honors from Temple University Esther Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia,
PA, Lauren holds professional teaching experience that spans over forty years and four states.
Lauren served as adjunct professor at Winona State University for sixteen years as part of the
WSU music faculty where she specialized in class piano instruction. She has been active as an
adjudicator for the National Federation of Music Clubs in Illinois, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and
the Wisconsin Music Teachers National Association. Lauren has been a member
of the National Association for Music Education, Minnesota Elementary Music Educators, and
the American Choral Directors Association. Lauren sang with the Winona Oratorio Chorus for
twenty years where she served on the WOC Board of Directors.
A few acknowledgements include Lauren’s Pond - dedicated in Lauren’s honor on the
WSU campus, WSU Delta Phi Epsilon Outstanding Professor award - for dedication to excellence
in teaching, and the Winona Home and Community Options Community Builder Award -
acknowledging individuals who provide outstanding volunteerism to the community.
“As teachers, my parents taught me that intelligence is measured in different ways. They also
taught me that each student has their own unique learning ability. Discovering a student’s
unique ability to learn is a guiding principle that stays with me to this day.”
Instructor - Fitness
Jackie has been leading group fitness classes in the Winona are for the last 10 years. She is nationally certified in Group Fitness, Personal Training, and Barre Connect through NETA (National Exercise Trainers Association). She has additional training/certifications in CPR/AED/First Aid, Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Kids, Les Mills BODYPUMP, Kickboxing, Pilates, Insanity, Nutrition, Body Image, TRX, Special Medical Considerations, and Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness. She is a graduate of Winona Senior High School and is currently studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management at Capella University. Jackie lives in Winona with her husband, 3 daughters, 3 cats, and 1 dog, and excited to join the fitness team at MCA.
Instructor - Music Composition/ Song Writing
Grace attended Winona State University and earned a degree in communication studies and music. She writes, releases, and performs for all ages; in genres including acoustic rock, children’s music, gospel music on the piano & guitar. She is also in a women’s contemporary folk band called Wildflower that performs regionally. She enjoys teaching at Young Writing Conferences within the state and has released 3 albums since 2010 titled: “Trains, Cars & A Trip To Mars,” “Embrace,” & “Keeping Hearts.” She is currently back in the studio working on her 4th album and hopes to launch a 2nd children’s album in 2016.
Caitilin McCoy has a Masters in Acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a Bachelor degree in Theatre Arts, emphasis in stage management, and a minor in Arts Administration from Winona State University. In addition she trained at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. Further experience includes Nadine George Voice Work, Suzuki Method, Lecoq Method, and broadsword training. Her passions include playwriting and devising new works.
Instructor - Piano
Harvey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from Saint Mary’s University. She has been giving private piano instruction in the Winona area for the past ten years. Harvey is also the music director and organist at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church. In addition to her church and teaching duties, Harvey accompanies several choirs in the Winona area.