About UsFaculty and Staff
Schwaba earned a Masters degree in Adult and Continuing Education Leadership from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Communications from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI, and is a certified Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Instructor. In addition to her role at MCA, Jamie is a member of the Education Committee for Great River Shakespeare and a former Secretary of the River Arts Alliance. Before relocating to Winona for this position she was the Director of Continuing Education and Children's Theatre Director at University of Wisconsin- Marinette from 2007-2014. Also while living in Marinette Schwaba was an active member of the Menominee Area Arts Council who's mission was to promote, educate and support local arts activities. Prior to living in Marinette she spent 8 years in the Milwaukee area where she was the Education Director at Milwaukee Youth Theatre, taught at First Stage Milwaukee, Danceworks, To The Pointe Fine Arts Academy and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music as well as performed professionally with Skylight Music Theatre, Discovery World and Windfall Theatre. Contact Jamie at: email@example.com or 507-453-5501
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.
Michael Charron, M.F.A.
Dean of Arts and Humanities
Charron earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and English with a secondary education license from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He continued his education by obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre from the University of Minnesota. Charron was a faculty member at Concordia University in Saint Paul, MN from 1983 – 2007. During his years at Concordia, he became a tenured professor of theatre arts, as well as Chair and Artistic Director of the Department of Theatre. Charron has extensive experience as a director, playwright, actor, and leader within the arts community. Additionally, he served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2004 – 2006 and is currently the Chair of the Minnesota State Arts Board. While a student at Saint Mary’s, Charron was an active participant in Theatre Department productions. Furthermore, he was involved in Winona Community Theatre and The Ballet School [MCA].
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 - Voice
Burmeister holds a Bachelors in Music/Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Viterbo University. During her time at Viterbo she was a member of the Viterbo Concert Choir, 9th Street Singers and studied privately with Dr. Diane Foust. Additionally Burmeister has experience as a Vocal Director at Appleseed Community Theatre and is a volunteer director of the the Jr. Choir at Immanuel Lutheran Church in La Crosse, WI.
Instructor - Theatre, Flute, & Dance
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 - 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 - 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 - 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.
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 - Strings and Piano
Lehi started piano lessons at age 7 and learned violin in the public schools system in
Oconomowoc, WI. She received a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
where she took classes in Suzuki Pedagogy. She has earned a Graduate Teaching License
from the University of Minnesota, Mankato. She is the director of the Winona Senior High
School Orchestra. She also plays violin in a local band, Crooked Willow. She has been a
fiddler in numerous bands with a wide range of musical genres. Lehi owes part of her
improvisational knowledge to her experience in high school jazz ensembles. She also
enjoys playing in Irish sessions and old-time fiddle workshops.
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 - 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.
Instructor - Art
Haupt graduated from Winona State University with a degree in K-12 art education with an emphasis in printmaking. She currently teaches at Riverway Learning Community Winona. Her art has been seen locally at Acoustic Cafe, Some Sum Studio and the former Smith Gallery.
Instructor - Piano
MCA is delighted to have Hendrickson a Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Graduate join the Music Division Faculty. In addition to teaching at MCA she is the Director of Liturgy and Music at Saint Mary’s Parish in Winona and she has performed throughout the area including with HCO (Home & Community Options), Dance Repertory Company and Fountain City Players.
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.
Instructor - Piano
My name is Meghan and I am currently enrolled at Winona State University as a Piano Performance Major and a Music Education Vocal Major. I hope to also pursue a graduate degree in music someday. Music is something that brings me happiness and it gives me great joy to be sharing my love with other people who are excited about music. I started my musical study when I was 4 at Yamaha Music School and I later moved on to private lessons. I’ve participated in several recitals, competitions, and exams through MMTA and MMTF.
Kristi J Bade Krause
Instructor - Oboe
Instructor - Piano
Daniel Lewis graduated from Winona State University in 2016, earning a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. In May of 2018, he graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Master of Piano Pedagogy & Performance degree. As a piano pedagogy student, Dan helped teach piano to two classes of 16 adult beginners. He also taught ear training classes to undergraduates as a graduate assistant. Dan has been teaching piano since 2015. He currently teaches music classes at Hope Lutheran High School and serves as organist for both St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and First Baptist Church.
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.
Instructor - Piano
Lauren credits her parents for a wonderful childhood filled with love, learning, and lessons. “From a very young age, lessons in music were a huge part of my life. As teachers, my parents taught me that intelligence is measured in different ways, and that people learn in different ways. Finding the good in each student was my parents’ credo, and that notion stays with me to this day in all aspects of my life, not just teaching.”
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 and private piano instruction. Lauren is the recipient of an award presented by Winona State University sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon for acknowledgement and appreciation for her dedication and excellence in teaching.
Throughout her career, Lauren has maintained a private studio of students and has been active as an adjudicator for the National Federation of Music Clubs in Illinois, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and the Wisconsin Music Teachers National Association.
Mixing music and philanthropy for the past fifteen years, Lauren and her husband have helped raise funds for Home and Community Options, a Winona based group that provides support and residential services to people with developmental disabilities. The HCO summer musical is an event that brings the Mechell family together to give back to the Winona community through their performances onstage and in the orchestra pit. “Helping to provide quality musical productions that integrate individuals with disabilities into the performing arts enhances life in our community for all.”
Lauren has been a member of the National Association for Music Education, Minnesota Elementary Music Educators, and the American Choral Directors Association. She also has sung with the Winona Oratorio Chorus for twenty years where she served on the WOC Board of Directors.
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.
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.
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
Raina's dance roots and shoots sprouted here in Winona, training, performing and even starting to teach ballet with Stefannie Valencia Kierlin. After 10 years with Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (formally known as The Ballet School and Children in Concert), Raina dove barefoot into modern dance at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where she earned a BFA degree in Dance, after which, she attended a Summer Intensive at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City. Raina has enjoyed teaching dance in Honolulu and Hilo, HI, Durham, NC, Chicago, IL, Haifa, Israel and Winona, MN. Her performing career has included a range of work in ballet, modern and hula dance, musical theatre, theatre, choral singing, French horn tooting and a touch of aerial strap flying. Raina feels blessed to have traveled the world and performed in places such as Kyoto, Japan, Vilnius Lithuania, and at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Some companies Raina has worked with are: Children in Concert of Winona; Chicago Moving Company, Rachel Bunting and the Humans, and Lyric Opera Company of Chicago; Convergence Dance Theater, Ohi'a Productions and Wai Company of Oahu, Portland Musical Theater Company and Randee Paufve and Dancers in Oregon. When not in the studio, Raina loves spending time gardening and being with her beloved husband and children.
Instructor - Piano and Voice
Remick began studying piano at age four, winning several awards at local and regional competitions during middle and high school. She began her vocal studies at The Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC, and went on to receive a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Eastman School of Music, where she performed with several choral ensembles, Eastman Opera Theatre, and Gamelan Lila Muni. Theresa received her masters in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College, and worked for organizations such as Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, Washington National Opera, National Arts Strategies, and The Metropolitan Opera before moving to Winona in 2015 to serve as Managing Director of the Performance Center at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Rachael Ryan Dahlgren
Instructor - Cello and Dance
A recent 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 - Dance
Jen started dance training at age four and continued to study ballet, jazz, modern and tap at La Crosse Dance Centre. She continued her to study modern at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and at Viterbo University in La Crosse where she graduated cum laude in 2005 with a B.A. in English Writing and minor emphases in Dance and Art-Graphic Design from Viterbo University. She has attended the Miami Dance Festival; American College Dance Festival, PULSE workshop in Minneapolis, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project Summer Intensive, and was fortunate enough to work with Broadway tap legend Ted Levy through his work with La Crosse Dance Centre in 2006 and 2007. Jen was on staff at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts in Winona, MN from 2005-2010 and has choreographed for MCA’s Dance Repertory Company and taught in more recent Summer Dance Intensives. Currently, she is an instructor at Viterbo University, Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and La Crosse Dance Centre. She has choreographed numerous musicals throughout the area, including “Oklahoma,” “L’il Abner,” “King and I,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “42nd Street;” “Suessical the Musical” for Appleseed Community Theatre, and many annual summer musicals with Home and Community Options of Winona.