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


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.

Careta Gilmore

Stella Royce Piano Camp

Careta is the Assistant Director and piano teacher at the Ada Conservatory of Music. She is a native of Dayton, Ohio, where she received a B.M. in Music Performance from Wright State University. She served as staff accompanist for vocal majors and the Wright State Community Choir. Gilmore has performed at the Dayton Masonic Temple, Schuster Center, and various piano and collaborative recitals. After graduation, she became adjunct staff at Stivers School for the Arts High School where she taught a group keyboard class and private lessons to the piano magnet students. During that time she also taught private lessons to students at Wow Elementary and through Piano Lessons in Your Home. In 2009, she moved to Grand Rapids, where she began her studies at Michigan State University in Lansing, MI. After graduating with an M.M. in Piano Pedagogy she began working for the Academy of Music in Grand Rapids as a piano teacher. Gilmore has attended many workshops, received her GIML certification, and earned the title of “Teacher of the Year” at the Academy of Music in 2015. She is an active member of MTNA and the Grand Rapids Piano Teachers Forum. Gilmore’s students regularly perform in events such as the Michigan Student Achievement Testing and Ensemble Festival. She is the former music director and an active member of the worship team at Relevant Church.

Rebecca Kilgore

Middle School Band Camp

Rebecca Kilgore is in her 25th year of teaching band, with the past 19 years at East Rockford Middle School.  Bands under her direction have consistently received superior ratings at both the MSBOA District and State Band Festivals. Prior to East Rockford Middle School, she taught in the Kelloggsville and Kalamazoo Public Schools. She received her Bachelors of Music from Western Michigan University and her Masters in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. 

In January 2023, Ms. Kilgore was named MSBOA State Band Teacher of the Year. She was selected as MSBOA District X Band Teacher of the Year for 2022 and 2015. She is an MSBOA Solo and Ensemble District/State Festivals and MSBOA District Band Festival, and is in demand as a clinician throughout Michigan.  She was nominated for the Who’s Who Among American Teachers award two times and was nominated for the Strathmore’s Who’s Who Award. In 2022, Rebecca became a member of American School Band Directors Association. She currently serves as MSBOA District X President and has served on the executive board since 2005 as Adjudicator Chair, Secretary, and Medals/Plaques Chairperson.

She also serves on the faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and conducts the Middle School Band at the Knollcrest Music Camp at Calvin University.

Ms. Kilgore lives in Rockford with her two daughters, Madison and Elizabeth. She enjoys going to the beach, playing dominos/card games, attending Broadway Musicals, occasional tent camping and hanging with friends.

Dan Scott


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.

Shannon Shaker

Beer City Winds

Shannon Shaker holds the position of Assistant Professor, Director of Bands at Grand Rapids Community College. She leads the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble, and teaches applied clarinet, along with other music classes in the department. Shannon served as Director of Bands and Music Education at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland from 2018 - 2020.

Shannon is from Pinconning, Michigan, and earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University in 2009. She then taught in Edwards, Colorado and Ypsilanti, Michigan before pursuing graduate studies. She earned her Master of Music degree in Wind Conducting from Central Michigan University and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from Arizona State University.

Dr. Shaker is active in the professional music community. She is a member of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), College Music Society, National Association for Music Education, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), and Women Band Director International (WBDI), where she has served as scholarship chair since 2019. She is also on the Strategic Planning Committee for the Maryland Music Educators Association, and served on a small-bands working group for the eastern division of CBDNA. Shannon is an active guest conductor, clinician, and presenter.

Shannon's hobbies outside of music include cooking, baking, dog walking, hiking, and travel with her husband and two rescue dogs. Shannon and her husband are currently working on a website to connect living composers with musicians and encourage collaborations.

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.

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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In the Classroom

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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