Think of your favorite teachers. Remember how they inspired you to do things you thought you couldn't do? We believe that those who inspire us serve as the Golden Spike, the Rosetta Stone, the essential missing link to a world filled with more joy.

We grant $5000 Fellowships to individuals with an exceptional talent for helping young people feel fully alive through rhythm -- as expressed in music and dance.

We proudly and gratefully present the Jubilation Fellows.

2018/19 Fellows:
Amelia Robinson
Emily Eagen
Emma Davis
Frenchy Haynes
Gregg Moore
Gwen Laster
Jessica Jones
Kent Stevenson
Koffi Toudji
Kofi Anang
Marissa Herrera
Melissa van Wijk

Andrew Drury
Brooklyn NY
Fellowship 2018/17

“Participating in music, and drumming in a group, is a powerful, mind-blowing, life- giving experience,” says Andrew. “Drumming, music-making, performance, improvisation… these are ancient human activities that contain a lot of knowledge, beauty, and life energy. I try to give people access to it, as others have done for me.”

Andrew has led more than a thousand workshops in schools, prisons, Indian Reservations, homeless shelters, museums, universities, cities, and remote villages in the United States, Latin America, and Europe...       more...

Anne-Marie Akin
Chicago IL
Fellowship: 2018/17

“There is power in music,” says Anne-Marie. “It erases division. It destroys despair. It reminds us of our humanity.”

A singer-songwriter, poet, essayist, and baby-whisperer, Anne-Marie has spent most mornings of her life making music with infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers from low-income families. She specializes in helping parents and children express and connect through music, rhythm, and vibrant language. “Everyone has rhythm,” she says. “To be alive is to be musical.”...       more...

Melissa van Wijk
New York
Fellowship: 2019/18

“If you have a body,” says Melissa, “you can dance. Period.” A teaching artist with a focus on special education, Melissa is the founder and director of Born Dancing, a nonprofit dedicated to inclusion in dance. “In our productions, there’s no separation between pros and novices, those that are able-bodied or those with a disability. It’s about coming together in dance as people, and supporting each other throughout the process of creating a show.”

It was on the subway one day that it dawned on Melissa...       more...

Shirel Jones
Detroit MI
Fellowship: 2018/2017

“The arts have opened doors to amazing experiences and have been an intricate part of my well-being,” says Shirel. “I want dance to open doors for each of my students as it has for me.”

The creator of Lil Dumplins , a program that explores the arts through play, Shirel teaches children ages one through seven. A dance artist since the age of eight, she stumbled upon a special talent and affection for teaching children after the birth of her daughter...


Jason McInnes
Chicago IL
Fellowship: 2018/17

“All people are born musical in their own way,” says Jason, “but they need time and space to explore their musical language.” A veteran music educator, Jason creates improvised musical gatherings and performance opportunities for people of different ages and backgrounds to play music together.

He begins by using and providing simple folk songs and instruments to create a path for musical exploration. These shared musical experiences...


Robert Eyerman
Seattle WA
Fellowship: 2018/17

"I am more than a dance instructor," says Robert. "I am the embodiment of a tragedy to triumph story. I am an example of how hard work and dedication pay off. I am a friend who understands adversity and can help guide you through it."

From ages 7-11, Robert and his siblings were in a foster care program. "My experience there was extremely negative, so I needed an outlet to channel my energy." That's when he joined an after-school breakdance program...


Rayann Kalei'okalani Harumi Onzuka
Seattle WA
Fellowship: 2018/2017

“We're loud, we're open, we're happy, and we're proud,” says Rayann of her hula classes. “Every day teaching is another very personal experience in my cultural journey. I've learned so much about the types of conversations we can have with children of all ages -- about culture, equality, and connection.”

Rayann uses hula as a tool: to make students feel like winners, and to build community. “As a shy, quiet six year-old on the island of O'ahu, I found my...


David Mills
Band Leader
New Haven CT
Fellowship: 2018/2017

“Music is, first and foremost, a form of communication,” says David. “Music should be judged on the power of its message rather than the prowess of its technique.”

An arranger-musician and music educator for 40 years, he founded the DoSo Dance Band to reunite live music with social dancing, “which brings together people from disparate cultures – band members are all ages, and from all socio-economic circumstances.”       more...

Aaron Nigel Smith
Lake Oswego OR Fellowship 2018/2017

“Creativity is key to unlocking potential in all areas of life,” says Aaron. “I am a teaching artist because I am called to cultivate creativity, communication, and community through the universal language of the arts.”

For the past 15 years, Aaron has worked to educate, empower, and entertain by teaching chorus and drumming. His passion is youth work, and his non-profit, 1 World Chorus, is committed to building bridges with music.


Bobby Williams
Hip Hop Musician
Olympia WA
Fellowship 2018/2017

“Music is a tool to connect you with yourself, and with other people,” says Bobby. “I work with youth who have experienced major life challenges -- foster care, homelessness, incarceration -- and show them how music and writing can be an outlet.”

Through his own hip hop music, Bobby has performed across the United States, Mexico, and India. After college, he became a foster care case-aide, which is when he founded The Bridge Music Project.       more...

Crystal Akins
Choral Conductor
McMinnville OR
Fellowship 2017/16

“To create music is to create joy,” says Crystal. “When we are in joy we realize anything is possible.”

A music-artist-in-residence since 2000, Crystal’s all-inclusive choirs are for anyone who has a desire to sing. “The human singing voice is a reflection of who we are. When a child sings they share who they are with the world. This is transformational, healing work.”


Michál Anna Carrillo
Hawi HI
Fellowship: 2017/16

"Embody your bodies," says Michál, "your mana is powerful!" The founder of Lavaroots Performing Arts, she teaches West African dance, salsa, hip hop, and creative movement. "Kids are creators, their voices matter. It's healing work, expressing who you truly are."

As a teacher, choreographer, producer, and major contributor to community events in Hawaii for 15 years, Michál's passion and dedication to cultural arts and expression through dance and music is infectious.

Sarah Taylor Ellis
New York NY
Fellowship 2017/16

"I've never been interested in top-down teaching," says Sarah. "It's much more interesting for everyone when we're all creating together, as colleagues." A gifted composer, Sarah works with K-12 students, but "the core of my teaching is with grades 5–10. I especially value teaching middle school groups, and have a passion for girls' education."

While pursuing her Ph.D, Sarah composed and music directed the family musical Thank You, Mr. Falker...


Charlie Murphy
Musician-Youth Mentor
Langley WA
Fellowship: 2016

"Charlie passed away peacefully on August 6, 2016. His long-time friend and PYE Global co-founder Peggy Taylor wrote: “Charlie died as he lived, with humor and grace, surrounded by the love of friends and family. He was truly a magnificent, deeply gifted, loving man.”

Charlie’s legacy is one of using creativity to transform groups into communities. “I believe we are all creative and that you don’t have to be an artist to use the arts,” he wrote. “I believe it is everyone’s birthright to claim their creative spark and to use that spark to ignite others.”       more...

Paul Reisler
Washington VA
Fellowship 2017/2016

""Everyone has a story," says Paul. "I help them get it out." Paul has been performing, composing, recording, and teaching songwriting for more than 40 years. His discovery that kids, with their vivid imaginations, make the best song co-­writers led to the founding of Kid Pan Alley, which provides group songwriting workshops to schools and camps worldwide. To date, he's helped 40,000 children write more than 2,700 songs.

"If I had to choose between writing with kids and writing with Grammy winners, I'd pick the kids every time." ...       more...

Michael Shantz
Seattle WA
Fellowship 2017/16

"We are part of a vibrant global classroom," says Michael to his students, "not just here in Seattle, but part of the world of steel pan and drummers worldwide."

A teaching artist for 30 years, Michael has taught and performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. "During the last several years I have prioritized teaching over performance, because I feel there is a strong need for what I can offer young people. I also really like doing it!"       more...

Alana Shaw
Performance Artist-Facilitator-Director
Boulder CO
Fellowship: 2017/16

"My work is participatory, experiential, and long-term," says Alana. "I believe that everyone has a gift to share, and if you are accepted for who you are right from the beginning, that gift will emerge."

Alana has facilitated joyful and healing movement events in cities across North America for more than 30 years. Her dynamic and energetic presentation style is both humorous and transforming, and consistently positive and uplifting...


Beth Sussman
Los Angeles CA
Fellowship 2017/16

"Kindergartners are some of the smartest people around," says Beth, "we underestimate them. Kids are problem-solvers, quite capable at a young age."

A Juilliard-trained pianist, Beth performs throughout Southern California introducing children of all ethnicities and languages, ages 4–12, to classical music in a fun and engaging way. She also teaches songs and dances from Africa, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Japan, including spirituals, blues, and Pete Seeger songs. ...


Jeff Busch
Seattle WA
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"We ARE the music," says Jeff. "We make it happen. We are the energy and excitement, and it’s up to us to sing, play, and dance our hearts out!"

Drumming since the third grade, Jeff was inspired by his jazz drummer cousin, as well as his parents. “They encouraged me to play along with their records, and join school bands,” he says. During college Jeff played in working bands to pay the rent, then went to Brazil and studied with various percussionists.


Chris Daigre
Seattle WA
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"My job is to create an environment where students feel safe, and learn how to move in a healthy, joyful way without fear of being judged," says Chris. "I believe that the joy and feeling of being connected to others is something they carry within them out into the world. It is a touchstone that will nurture and sustain them no matter what life brings their way."

As a shy kid in his mother's dance studio, Chris was fascinated by the teaching artists...       more...

Judith-Kate Friedman
Port Townsend WA
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"I was singing before I could talk," says Judith-Kate. "I've always loved to harmonize, dance, and jam with whoever wants to join in."

Judith-Kate teaches community-based songwriting, and has been a teaching artist since she was 16 years old. "I started out teaching 11-year-olds to play guitar." By 1990, she'd begun facilitating community-based songwriting projects, which evolved into the Songwriting Works™ method...       more...

Kathy Harrison
Musical Theater Artist
Orange NJ
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"I'm only the facilitator," says Kathy, "not the Almighty. Students are part of the process with me." With an exceptional feel for working with kids, Kathy has a phenomenal ability to bring them out of themselves, which increases their self-esteem and self-image. "Creativity is subjective," she says, "it's a sensitive subject. Anything can happen, it's not preconceived, but based on what the students give. I take an artistic approach to teaching."

Kathy is a multidisciplinary performing artist...       more...

Jessie Levey
West Park NY
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"There is nothing more satisfying than turning a classroom of kids sitting at desks into a playground," says Jessie. "We get silly and turn into movement explorers."

Jessie's teaching career began in 1984, as a high school junior, when she began assisting her dance teacher. Collaborative and generous, Jessie believes that dance and movement should be core elements in the education of all children. In addition to teaching in schools as an artist-in-residence, she runs her own school...      more...

Biboti Ouikahilo
Syracuse NY
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"Teaching is my duty, my service to the world," says Biboti, "a way to bring, be, and express peace, as well as nurture peace with others through music and movement."

Biboti was born in the village of Kouetinfla Progouri, in the central west region of the Ivory Coast of West Africa. A dancer, drummer, choreographer, and teacher, he has toured throughout the world...       more...

Rachel Panitch
Boston MA
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"I believe that musical improvisation -- creating one's own music -- can and should happen from the very beginning," says Rachel. "I also ask students to use their ears all the time, which makes for a very interactive learning process: 'what did you notice?' 'what was different that time?' 'what could make it even better?' 'what did you love about that?' With these questions, observation becomes a habit. Students start listening to their own and others' music with a curiosity about what made it sound that way...


Keith Terry
Body Musician
Oakland CA
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"Body Music is the oldest music on the planet," says Keith. "Before people were hollowing logs to make drums they were likely stepping, clapping, and singing to express their musical ideas. Body Music connects people at an essential level, exploring what is sonically possible with the instrument we all share, creating layers of music and movement in community. When students connect at this level, they become more open to verbal communication and collaboration."


Mafalda Thomas-Bouzy
Philadelphia PA
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"I have created a village of rhythm and movement and dance and love," says master drummer Mafalda. "I started with my own children, and over the course of 20 years, created a living village of art: performing, visual, all of it; in communities far and wide, by reaching out to children, and teaching them to believe that ‘I'm somebody!' Using dance to teach it. To the day I die, I'll be reaching and teaching these children and giving them a home."

An African-American single mom of three...       more...

Nicole Williams
Mishawaka IN
Fellowship: 2016/2015

"Turn off the device and let's drum," says Nicole. "We're building unity in our community!" A self-described music educator and world changer, Nicole dedicated almost 20 years to public school teaching. "I was the only music teacher of color for the entire district."

Frustrated and disturbed by the high level of violence committed by and against youth, coupled with the disproportionate suspension/expulsion rate and treatment of minority students, one day she asked herself, "Why can't I bring...       more...

Ryan Anderson
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"I firmly believe that people learn best by DOING," says Ryan. "Engaging the physical, mental, and emotional bodies is paramount for education as a whole."

In 2008, as part of a community outreach effort of the Downtown Greens Community Garden, Ryan founded a marimba ensemble for local youth. He called it Marenje Marimba ("marenje" means "sacred wilderness" in Shona), and it quickly blossomed into an eight-piece band...       more...

Carolyn Brandy
San Leandro, CA
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"Music is joyful medicine," says expert Afro-Cuban drummer Carolyn Brandy. "It can bring wholeness to the individual and wellness to a community. Each and every human being has music inside. I believe that a good teacher can unlock the music within, can encourage confidence and self pride, and can lift up a child of any age with the joy of music making."

Carolyn started playing congas after coming across some drummers in Pike Place Market in Seattle. A classical violinist of 15 years, once she started drumming, she never looked back.       more...

Kokomon Clottey
Oakland, CA
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"Drum for Peace! Drum for Happiness!" says Kokomon. "In a world of increasing fear and violence, let us be in the present with sound, rhythm, and joy!"

Mindful Drumming, as Kokomon teaches it, is a tool for wellness. "This ancient technology is a portal for mishe (inner happiness)," he says. "Drumming is a cross-cultural phenomenon. All indigenous cultures use some sort of drumming in ritual ceremonies. They create synchronistic, harmonic rhythms as tools to be unbound, to be free to fly like eagles, to experience happiness and inner peace."...       more...

Antonio Davidson-Gómez
Washington State
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"My job is to foster inquiry and guide journeys of discovery," says Tony, who began presenting Latin American music in the classroom in 1993. Music and movement were constant elements of his bilingual kindergarten classes in Oakland, California. And while teaching high school in San Francisco, he facilitated a student Brazilian-samba-reggae percussion ensemble.

A veteran teacher of California's K-12 classrooms, Tony has developed bilingual education resources for public television, and...       more...

Shireen Dickson
New York
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"Everybody is able to dance," says Shireen, the passionate director of Okra Dance Company. "The common denominator is rhythm. This is the connection I want to make for young people – rhythm as a cherished legacy, explored through the medium of dance."

One of the programs her company brings to schools is called American Dance from Africa to Broadway. "Kids are amazed when I demonstrate that the Applejack dance from the 1940s incorporates a Congolese dance step."       more...

David Freeman
New York
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"I'm not your typical drum teacher," says David. "I'm a skinny white Jewish kid coming into Black and Latino neighborhoods, talking about West African music. I open a window for students to see what else is out there."

David has taught in venues ranging from public schools to international jazz festivals. He got his start when a friend's mother (and director of the Middlesex County Division of Youth Services Juvenile Detention Center) asked him to speak to a group of juveniles about West African drumming...       more...

Martita Goshen
New York
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"Dance brings the world together," says Martita, classically trained dancer, long time teaching artist, and good will ambassador for joyful movement. "The sound of the wind, the touch of the sun, and the breath of the dancer: that's how world peace happens."

Since 1981, focusing on grades K-3, Martita has used creative movement to stimulate "both the imagination and the muscles." She believes that second and third grade are seminal years to reach kids. "You're gonna lose a lotta children if you don't get arts education into them by then," she says...       more...

Steve Housewright
St. Louis, MO
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"I see teaching as an art form," says Steve. "I approach each block of years and students as a developing artwork. As with any artwork, we start from scratch."

Steve has been a full-time teaching artist for 16 years, serving Los Angeles and St. Louis. Using American Roots music as his teaching tool, he works in neighborhoods where music programs don't exist or are underfunded. Guitar, ukulele, banjitar, washboard, harmonica, and jug are just a few of the instruments his kids learn to play...       more...

Kurtis Lamkin
South Carolina
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"I like for kids to use games, lyrics, rhythm, and contemplation to make poems," says Kurt, "and to cultivate the emotional stamina it takes to express what they feel."

A teaching artist for 33 years, he is inspired by the West African griot tradition, incorporating poetry, song, and storytelling. He composes on and plays the kora, a type of harp-lute that he made himself. "Most kora players make their own," he says, "so you can tailor it to your hand."       more...

Caroline Oakley
Musician-Square Dance Caller
Corbett, Oregon
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"I have the best job in the world," says Caroline, who has been teaching and calling old-time square dances for more than a decade. She also plays fiddle, guitar, and sings old country songs. "I feel so lucky to share one of the great joys of my life on a daily basis: the sense of connectedness and feeling of solace that results when I move with others through music."

Three mornings a week she facilitates parent/child music classes with kids up to five years old. "It is pure joy for me," she says. "One of my favorite aspects of the program is...       more...

Daniel Damian Pak
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"All youth deserve access to the arts," says Daniel, co-founder of Totem Star. "They deserve a safe place to take risks and explore their creative potential."

Music production and live performance are the hooks that Daniel uses to engage youth and offer life skills. Through Totem Star, which uses the model of a record label, kids create and perform music, produce public events, and contribute to the cultural richness of their communities as working artists, organizers, and entrepreneurs.       more...

Rosalba Solis
Performing Artist
Fellowship: 2014/2013

"It has been my experience that music opens doors," says Rosalba, founder and artistic director of LaPiñata, a non-profit youth arts organization in Jamaica Plain. With La Piñata, "children learn a variety of authentic Latin American music and art forms," she says, "and develop knowledge and pride in their heritage."

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, now a respected member of the Boston community, Rosalba is passionate about music, art, dance, politics, and history...       more...

Judy Caplan Ginsburgh
Fellowship: 2012/2011

"You shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back," says Judy. "Share the talents that you have with as many people as you can."

Judy is a singer, songwriter and recording artist specializing in Early Childhood Music, integrating music and arts into curriculum. She began singing in public when she was six years old, and has an opera degree. She teaches and performs all over North America.       more...

Jonathan Grusauskas
Millerton, New York
Fellowship: 2012/2011

"Music is a social glue," says Jonathan. "What can we achieve with just one weekly musical meeting and exchange of ideas within our communities?"

Jonathan lives and breathes music everyday. "Music has been a passion of mine since fifth grade," he says. As a founder of the Music Cellar, an underground music school and rehearsal space in Millerton, New York, he teaches music classes, and hosts Sunday Samba Sessions and Toddler Jams. His trio, lespecial, regularly performs and teaches master classes and workshops. He also arranges music and leads weekly rehearsals for...       more...

Thandiwe Shiphrah
Fellowship: 2012/2011

Enter a place where words dance and voices fly. This is where Thandiwe lives. Lucky for us, she's willing to guide us there.

A Poet & Artist of Encouragement, Thandiwe creates low-cost, high-impact community arts programming for all ages, working in partnership with schools, libraries, non-profits, and community groups. She demystifies the creative process, encouraging everyone to try it.       more...

Guy Thorne
Rochester, New York
Fellowship: 2012/2011

"We are all griots in our own way," says Guy, "storytellers who pass on knowledge, making history relevant to the current generation so we don't make the same mistakes again. We are inspired by what came before us."

A native of Guyana (South America), Guy studied at Dance Theater of Harlem, then became principal dancer with Garth Fagan Dance, before co-founding Futurpointe Dance in 2009. His work is a fusion of international dance styles and multi-media creations.       more...

Kilissa Cissoko
Buffalo, New York
Fellowship: 2012/2008

"People still have a fundamental and visceral need to come together around a common groove, to sing along with a song," says Kilissa, rockin' guitarist and singer. She also plays piano, flute, saxophone, and percussion. Before becoming a teacher, she toured for years as part of a duo called The Jazzabels.       more...

Paul Corbière
Coralville, Iowa
Fellowship: 2012/2008

"Support the Arts in your schools," says Paul. "Period."

Paul is the co-founder of Beat For Peace, a music-based intervention program that combines world music drumming and counseling. Originating in Florida elementary schools, he established the program in Iowa six years ago. "We used to have a gang problem here," he says, "but one day I stood up and said, I have a gang. Instead of beating skulls, we beat drums. Instead of kicking each other, we work together." Paul used his grant to support Beat for Peace, which reaches thousands of children.       more...

Geoff Johns
Vashon Island, Washington
Fellowship: 2012/2009

"I like engaging others," says Geoff, cross-cultural musician and enthusiastic teacher. "Traditional forms of music stress participation, inclusion, and community." He considers it his mission to help people sing, dance, and play percussion, and to encourage collaboration. He himself plays a vast array of instruments and sings in several languages.       more...

Kedmon Mapana
Fellowship: 2012/2009

"I'm trying to help my community through my passion for education," says Kedmon. "I'm very committed to the music traditions of my country."

Born in Tanzania, Kedmon is an internationally recognized dancer, singer, and drummer from the Wagogo tribe. With his Jubilation Fellowship, he shared his skills with Seattle schools by offering residencies for students and workshops for teachers.       more...

John Marshall
Fellowship: 2012/2009

"Children are gifted with the capacity to dodge the editing process... Children tap into a freshness of energy and spirit!" says John, drummer extraordinaire. He is using his grant to further his mission of getting kids rhythmically awakened and motivated.       more...

Eduardo Mendonça
Seattle, Washington
Fellowship: 2012/2009

"The seed of compassion is already planted in our hearts," says Eduardo. "It's up to us to water."

Using music as a common language, Eduardo nourishes compassion for diversity by combining Brazilian entertainment with education. Born in Brazil and now living in the United States, Eduardo is a musician, composer, and master teaching artist with decades of experience in schools on both continents.       more...

Matthew Nord
Director of Tangled Tones Music Studio
Fellowship: 2012/2009

"I truly believe that music and dance can heal our world, and bring us together to create stronger, more intuitive, and healthy communities. I believe that it is a fundamental and vital part of our survival and evolution. If we spent more time creating, dancing, and singing together, it would inspire and change the rest of our daily lives."       more...

Steve Swell
New York
Fellowship: 2012/2008

"Everybody is teachable. I'm a student myself, always learning something new," says Steve, master trombonist and improviser. He runs workshops around the world and is a teaching artist in the New York City public school system. He has an extraordinary capacity to translate skills to young people with little or no experience.       more...

Dr. Marisol Berrios-Miranda
Fellowship: 2012/2008

"The only way to compete with television and media for our kids' attention is to show them how much fun it is to make music themselves," says Marisol. "Let's fire it up!"

Marisol has a PhD in ethnomusicology, but her first education came from a childhood in her native Puerto Rico, where she was soaked in music.       more...

Photo by Holly Lynn Berlin
Tasana Camara
Florida/West Africa
Fellowship: 2009

Tasana comes from a long line of Griot musicians in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. He founded Group Laiengee, an ensemble comprised of children with significant disabilities who live and perform in Conakry. He has also used his expertise in the United States at the Sidney Lanier Center, a public school in Gainsville, Florida, for students with severe disabilities, assisting the school's community music program.

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