Teaching Staff

St. Cecilia Music Center’s School of Music faculty members are dedicated musicians and education professionals whose passion lies in creating the next generation of talented artists and concert audiences. Read on for more information about our current instructors.

Cyndi Betts

Grand String Orchestra

Cyndi holds a degree in violin performance and music education from the University of Michigan. She spent time teaching and playing in the Chicago area and studied at the graduate level at Roosevelt University. In addition to her role as the Grand String Orchestra director, Cyndi also serves as SCMC’s Education + Community Engagement Director. She also directs two orchestra ensembles at Grand Rapids Christian High School, where she served as the Director of Orchestras for more than 20 years. An accomplished performer, Cyndi recently retired as the Kent Philharmonic’s concertmaster, a position that she held for 30 years. She also previously spent 9 years conducting the SCMC Concert Orchestra.

Marilyn Brannen

String to Schools

During her school years, Marilyn was involved in St. Cecilia Music Center programs, participated in advanced string quartets and master classes through Grand Rapids Public Schools Educational Park String Program, attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and was a member of The Grand Rapids Youth Symphony for four years. She received her Suzuki Violin certification at The Interlochen Center for the Arts. After graduating from Calvin College with a degree in elementary education, she began teaching Suzuki violin for Grand Rapids Public Schools Educational Park String Program and later for the Arts Outreach Program at Grand Rapids Community College. She has been a member of the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra since 1982, currently serving as assistant principal in the 2nd violin section.

Erin DeYoung

Sinfonia

A passionate advocate for raising awareness regarding the benefits of music education, Erin works to help students grow in musicianship and technique while helping to nurture a life-long love of music. Erin holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from Calvin University. Erin currently teaches orchestra for the Grand Rapids Christian Schools. Previously, she taught in the Rockford Public Schools where she founded the district’s orchestra program in 2014. She has experience teaching at MASTA and Knollcrest music camps, and she is a frequent clinician and guest conductor for local school orchestras and honors orchestras.
 
As a professional violinist and violist, Erin performs actively in the Grand Rapids area performing as a member of a local string quartet, performing as a freelance musician, collaborating with a wide-range of professional musicians, and leading worship at her church. Erin currently lives in Ada, Michigan where she enjoys being outdoors, reading, running long distances, and spending time with her husband and three sons.

Dan Scott

Philharmonic

Dan holds a bachelor of music degree from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in technology education from Grand Valley State University. As a cellist he has performed with the West Shore Symphony, Signature String Quartet and numerous other orchestras and for special events. Dan is the orchestra director for Jenison High School. MSBOA named him Orchestra Teacher of the Year in 2014 and MASTA awarded him String Teacher of the Year in 2015.

Anne Thompson

Concert Orchestra

Anne is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, Western Michigan University, and the University of Notre Dame with degrees in Cello Performance, Music History and Music Education.  Anne has been an orchestra director for the Kentwood and Forest Hills Public Schools.  Her orchestras have been selected to perform at the Midwest Music Conference at the University of Michigan, and at the Michigan Music Conference at DeVos Hall. She has been nominated as Teacher of the Year for Michigan’s American String Teacher’s Association and was awarded Orchestra Teacher of the Year for Michigan’s School Band and Orchestra Association. Anne was also a recipient of the WGVU Cool Teacher Award.

In addition to teaching in the public schools, Anne has served as an Adjunct Professor of Music Education at Grand Valley State University, where she taught the string techniques course to undergraduate students.  She has also served as Assistant Director of the MASTA Elementary String Camp and the MSBOA District 10 Executive Board. Anne has performed as a cellist with the Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, South Bend, West Michigan Symphony Orchestras and was an artist-in-residence at the GVSU Cello Festival. During many weekends throughout the year, she can be found performing with the Signature String Quartet. When not performing or teaching, she enjoys hiking, riding her fat tire bike, and traveling the world with her spouse.

Jordan Waller

Stella Royce Piano Camp

Jordan Waller is a Michigan native who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano and composition from Grand Valley State University and a Masters of Music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Louisville. Waller is an active member of MTNA (Music Teachers’ National Association) as well as the Grand Rapids Piano Teachers’ Forum and is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM).  She has experience teaching private piano lessons, group piano  lessons, master classes and undergraduate courses. Her students regularly participate in festivals and competitions throughout West Michigan and have won both the St. Cecilia Piano Concerto Competition and the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony Competition. She was awarded the RMM Studio Fellowship Award in 2014 by the National Piano Foundation and Yamaha as well as the Steinway & Sons Top Teacher Award in 2016 and 2021 by West Michigan Piano. Waller is the owner and director of the Ada Conservatory of Music in Ada.

Music Teacher Referrals

We often receive calls for private music teacher referrals. If you would like to be added to our referral list, please contact Cyndi Betts at cyndi@scmcgr.org

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Community Programs

St. Cecilia Music Center has served a vital role in the community for 140 years. Our wide array of music education classes offer West Michigan youth the chance to experience the power of instrumental music.

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Attend a School of Music Concert

Reserve a seat in our historic Royce Auditorium and experience our talented musicians at one of our many School of Music concerts throughout the year.

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Instructional Videos

We believe that music perseveres. During the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Cecilia Music Center began producing instructional videos for the community. These lessons are now an ongoing reference library for remote education and connection.

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