2019 Board of Directors Election

Below are the candidates for the 2019 FAME Board of Directors elections. Each position is for a two year term. As per the FAME Bylaws, only Active members in good standing may vote.

Please read each candidate’s bio and vote by May 1, 2019.

Cast your VOTE HERE!


Emily Maurek 
Candidate for President-Elect

Emily has been teaching general music since 1995 and is currently teaching Kindergarten through fourth grade with the Lake Central School Corporation in Northwest Indiana, where she utilizes both First Steps and Conversational Solfege. Her Feierabend journey began at Silver Lake College in 2008 and she has since earned FAME Certification and is an Endorsed Teacher Trainer in the First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege methods. Most recently Emily has worked with FAME Vice-President Chris Powers as FAME Conference Chicago co-chair where she assisted in the planning, organizing, and logistics of the conference events.

Emily has presented elementary music workshops and research at the Indiana Music Educators’ Association conferences and, most recently, she presented First Steps in Music guest lectures at Indiana State and Valparaiso Universities. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Music Education from Ball State University and holds a Masters degree in Music Technology from Indiana University. Emily is currently serving as FAME board secretary and is the founder of a FAME chapter for teachers living and teaching in the Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland area. In 2018 Emily taught a 20-hour First Steps in Music course at Indiana State University and presented workshops at area school districts.  

Emily lives in Valparaiso, Indiana with her husband John and their son, Max.

Personal Statement: I am thrilled and honored to be considered for President-Elect of FAME! To celebrate and share the Feierabend mission with educators around the world is my passion and the cornerstone of my teaching career. Riding the wave of the 2018 FAME Conference Chicago, it would be a true honor to continue working in a leadership capacity with the distinguished group of music educators and master teachers that comprise the FAME organization. It’s such an exciting time in music education, FAME specifically, with so many avenues and initiatives to explore it would be a privilege to be a part of the process as President-Elect. Thank you for your consideration!


Stephanie Schall-Brazee
Candidate for President-Elect

Stephanie Schall-Brazee is an elementary general music teacher for the Traverse City Area Public Schools where she also directs the select Women’s Choir, Bella Voce. As a choral director, Stephanie’s choirs have consistently earned first degree ratings at festivals, and have been invited to sing at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to her public school teaching, Stephanie is on the faculty of the Northwest Michigan College Children’s Choirs where she directs the Lyric, Prelude and Overture Choirs.

Stephanie’s training includes a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Music Education from The Hartt School, where she was a graduate assistant to Dr. John Feierabend, a leading expert in early childhood music.

In addition to her teaching, Stephanie has served as a clinician and teacher trainer presenting courses and sessions on “Singing Development in Young Children”, “First Steps in Music”, “Music and Movement in Preschool” and “Conversational Solfege“. Recently, Stephanie co-authored a chapter in the newly published textbook, Feierabend Fundamentals. Stephanie is an Endorsed Teacher Trainer for First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege 1 and 2. This summer of 2018, she will begin teaching Level 1 Pedagogy (First Steps in Music) for the Kodaly Certification Program at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI. Teaching alongside her teacher and mentor, John Feierabend, is an honor!

Stephanie is a founding member of FAME, and has served as Member at Large for the past 4 years. She would be honored to continue to serve, this time, as President -Elect because leading and spreading the word about the works and philosophy of Dr. John Feierabend is so important.

Personal Statement: To me, this method is so powerful because it gives teachers the tools to lead their students on a wonderful journey towards singing beautifully, moving and dancing expressively, understanding musical notation, expressing music through instruments, experiencing the finest folk music and masterworks, being part of a community of enthusiastic participants, and most importantly, experiencing what it feels like to be touched by music. In this highly technological world, children and teachers need FAME more than ever, and I would be honored to help this wonderful organization grow!



Alyssa DiNapoli
Candidate for Treasurer

Alyssa DiNapoli currently teaches K-5 vocal general music in Clifton, NJ where she uses both First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege. Alyssa has earned her Kodaly levels and FAME certifications from the Hartt School with Dr. Feierabend and is a member of the FAME finance, membership, and conference committees. In addition to her graduate coursework at Hartt, she holds degrees in both flute performance and music education, a minor in dance, and a masters degree in library and information science. Alyssa has also presented clinics at the state and local levels on incorporating children’s literature into the music classroom and on the benefits of First Steps and Conversational Solfege.

Personal Statement: I want to serve as the treasurer of the FAME board because I very strongly believe in this organization. My unique background in music, dance, and library sciences allows me to see the benefits of and truly appreciate the First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege materials through three different lenses. I’ve held the position of treasurer, vice president, and president at the collegiate level of NAFME (then MENC), and as a current member of the FAME finance committee I feel well prepared to serve in this capacity.


Andy Himelick
Candidate for Treasurer

Andrew M. Himelick has been an elementary music teacher in Carmel, IN for 25 years and an associate director with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir for 20 years. He graduated from Butler University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and was awarded Outstanding Student Teacher. In 1999, he completed the Kodály Certificate of Music Education from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI.

He completed Orff-Schulwerk Levels I and II at the University of St. Thomas St. Paul, MN in 2001 and 2002, and Level III at Anderson University in 2005. In 2006 he received the Indiana University School of Education Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Teacher Educator Award. Mr. Himelick has been a member of national and state music associations.

He is a charter member of the Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME), and is a FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainer in both First Steps in Musicand Conversational Solfege. He has been a presenter and clinician at national and state music conventions and festivals. He is co-author of GIA’s Feierabend Fundamentals: History, Philosophy, and Practiceand was a presenter on GIA’sFirst Steps in Music for Kindergarten and First Grade: In Action [DVD]. He is also a published composer through Colla Voce Music, Inc. He, his wife Lori, and two children, live in Indianapolis, IN.

Personal Statement: When I first met John in the summer of 1996, I knew my teaching and personal music making was never going to be the same. John was my solfege instructor as I was working on my Kodály Certification at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, WI with Sister Lorna Zemke. He was using a lot of his Conversational Solfegetechniques with us in the class, and my ears opened those two summers as I finally understood that “solfege is power!”

Jump forward to the summer of 2005, when I took Conversational Solfegeat Anderson University, Anderson, IN with John. After that class, I knew then that I wanted to switch my teaching from the traditional Kodály sequence to the 12 steps of John’s Conversational Solfege. I also started using First Steps in Musicwith my kindergarten and 1st graders. 

Within 6 months of using these research based approaches with my students, I could tell an amazing difference in their musicianship. Over the next couple of years, formative and summative assessments (along with the enjoyment in the classroom) gave proof to me that I made the correct choice. Since then, not only did I want to make an impact on my own students, but I wanted to get the word out to others about John’s materials.

Since then, I have had the privilege of apprenticing with John and becoming a FAME endorsed Teacher Trainer in both First Steps in Music andConversational Solfege. I have shared with other teachers in my district, at state workshops and FAME conventions. I also use his materials in my teaching and choral directing with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. I have student teachers each year that receive experience using his materials with my students. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that these future music educators will continue to make a difference in the musical lives of their students as they create communities that are “tuneful, beatful and artful.”

I would be honored to serve the FAME family in the capacity of Treasurer and making sure this important organization continues to grow and help other FAMErs!



Owen Hughes 
Candidate for Member-at-Large

Owen Hughes is a fourth year elementary music teacher in the Bedford Central School District in Bedford, NY. Owen teaches K-5 General music and chorus at Bedford Village Elementary School, as well as General music at Mt. Kisco Elementary School. For the past two years, Owen has served as co-conductor of the Elementary District Chorus.

In the classroom, Owen uses both the First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege methodologies. In addition to these curricula, Owen enjoys incorporating folk dancing, recorders, ukulele, and world music drumming into his lessons.

Owen received his Bachelor of Music as well as a BFA in Dance from SUNY Fredonia. He received his Masters in Music Education, along with all three Kodály levels from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Owen was one of the first student members of the FAME organization, and has remained active since 2012. He has attended (and loved) all three FAME conferences to date!

Personal Statement: Since joining FAME as a graduate student in 2012, I have grown tremendously as an educator. This growth is directly linked to my time spent learning from Dr. Feierabend, as well as the rich support from the Feierabend community at large. Over the past few years, I have made friends from around the country who share a passion for music education, and who continue to inspire my work in the classroom every single day. It would be an honor to serve on the executive board of an organization that helps so many to make beautiful music with the youngest of children. I am excited to have the opportunity to help shape the future of this organization, to help organize the 2020 FAME conference, and to watch this amazing community continue to grow.


Kelly Leibensperger
Candidate for Member-at-Large

Kelly Leibensperger has been a full-time music educator for ten years. Kelly teaches Elementary General and Choral music in Boyertown Area School District in Pennsylvania. In addition, Kelly is the Director of Children’s Music at Proclamation Presbyterian Church. Previously, she taught Middle School and Elementary General and Choral music in Southampton, New Jersey.

Kelly graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Music Education from Temple University in Philadelphia, where she taught Early Childhood music and became certified in GIML Early Childhood Level I and Elementary General Music Level I. During these years, Kelly also taught in the music education program at Tenth Presbyterian Church under the direction of FAME Endorsed Teacher Trainer, Dr. Missy Strong. Missy introduced Kelly to Dr. John Feierabend’s work and encouraged her to take his classes; she fell in love with his philosophy and work, and has been teaching with FS and CS since 2006.

In 2017, Kelly earned a Master of Music Education degree in Kodály from the The Hartt School through The University of Hartford, where she had a blast studying with Dr. Feierabend and completing her Kodály Level I, II, and III certificates. Kelly is also FAME certified in First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege Level 1 & Level 2 and has been a FAME member since 2013. She lives with her husband, Peter, who is a choral director, composer, music theory professor, and her trusted piano accompanist.

Personal Statement: Kelly is honored to run for member-at-large for the organization that has brought her so much fulfillment and helped nurture her students’ independent musicianship and joyful participation in music and community. She is grateful for the opportunity to potentially serve the FAME family!

Cast your VOTE HERE!