Meet our very talented and dedicated MusicGirl Instructors
Laurie Alsobrook - Dulcimer Instructor for Junior MusicGirls and MusciGirls
After retiring from a 42-year teaching career, Laurie jumped into the dulcimer world with both feet! She is a dulcimer instructor and jam leader during the Dulcimer U Summer Week at WCU and at the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat. Laurie also was an instructor at the Dulcimer U Winter Weekend, in Lake Junaluska, NC in this past winter. At the Florida Folk Festival, the Barberville Festival and the Will McLean Folk Festival, Laurie leads workshops and dulcimer jams.
Later in 2019, her workshops will also include the Alabama Folk School and PAMfest, in Vermont.
Laurie’s festival favorite is “The Dulcimer Petting Zoo,” when she enthusiastically draws folks into the dulcimer world with her many student dulcimers, offering an “I’ve never-touched-the dulcimer-before” workshop.
Needless-to-say, she is very happy to be the on staff for Sandy’s MusicGirl Camp and is looking forward to this super experience for girls!
Cindy Bear - Guitar, Songwriting Instructor for MusicGirls
My Mother made sure there was always music in the house while I was growing up. I never knew she had or played a guitar until I was between 4-5 years old, because I had snuck in her closet and found it. It was hidden towards the back, dusty and forgotten. She let me play it a and was proud of how dedicated I was at practicing.There were times I would get discouraged and think of giving it all up, like when people would make fun of me or couldn't get a part right in a song, but Mama would put her foot down and tell me outright, "Never give up, and never give in." She said that I could be anything I wanted to be, and not to listen to anyone who said otherwise, including myself. She had no idea how much she and her encouragement with me, and my music changed my life.
My favorite instrument is Guitar. All kinds of guitars: 6-string, 12-string, resonator, electric, and all strings in between. Banjo and harmonica are my other go-to instruments. My favorite new instrument is the native american flute.
I like to play Folk, Americana, Blues, Rock, Country, Celtic, and all variations in between. I love and/or appreciate all genres of music.
Music is everywhere! It plays an important role in our lives, our culture, and influences our development from child to adult. It provides a a creative outlet that a girl needs to build self confidence, allows her the freedom of artistic expression in a world that tends to suppress individuality at a young age, and empowers her to be her own person. It is especially important for them to know that they are worth giving music a try while they are growing up. Whether it is singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, a girl will never know how music can change her life until she tries it. It sure changed mine. Website: Cindy Bear
Madii Carr - Guitar Instructor for MusicGirls
We welcome Madi to our MusicGirl Camp. She will be an inspiration to the MusicGirls
Madi Carr, 18, is a second generation Crystal River native. She now resides in Jacksonville Beach and performs at different festivals and venues throughout the state. She has been playing music and performing for as long as she can remember, and she plays six instruments. Her main passion is writing songs, and she hopes to keep folk music alive with her generation.
Madi has had the privilege of performing at the Florida Folk Festival, Jax Jazz Fest, Gamble Rodgers Music Festival, Will McLean Music Festival, High Springs Music in the Park, Barberville festivals, and the Mudville Music Room. She has also been featured on NPR's WJCT and WJXT TV's River City Live.
Her influences include Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, and Patsy Cline.
Website: Madi Carr
Dawn Dewitt - Guitar and Songwriting Instructor for MusicGirl
My mother and older sister took guitar lessons and I did the lessons on my own and taught myself how to play guitar. When I heard a song I liked, I listened to it over and over again and tried working out the chords if it wasn’t in my song book. I have been performing since an early age playing acoustic folk music. At a music festival I heard someone playing the acoustic bass and got a chance to check it out and knew that I had to get one but, I knew it would not fit in my car. I had to wait to get a stand-up bass until I had a car big enough to haul the instrument around. Now I own three stand-up basses! I have written a handful of songs and play in two different bands that play mostly at festivals in Florida.
This is my second year as an instructor at Sandy’s Girls music camp. I had such a great time last year that I have great excitement for the camp this year. Bands : Roadside Revue Peters Roads Swamp Blues Band.
Carolyn Dunn - Bass Instructor for MusicGirls
I got my first electric bass at the age of twelve, and ten years ago, I bought an upright bass so I could play at bluegrass and old time events. Playing bass and singing harmony has landed me on many stages (big and small), and since moving to Florida in 2004, I've found a thriving and exciting music scene. I have a deep appreciation for folk, rock, jazz, blues, old time and country music; variety is great and bass lends itself to all genres. Music is my happy place and I want to encourage young people to find their happiness in music too!
Website: The Dunn Deal
Gail Keel - Auto-harp Instructor for Junior MusicGirls
Years later I discovered that it was fun to play music with others and learned how to play the Autoharp, bass, and penny whistle. I enjoy playing the piano for contra dance rhythms, and English dance music. I also play piano accompaniment for singers for Sing alongs and more. I also play the accordion, concertina for Irish music, swing music and French music
I have performed for 20 years at The Florida Folk Festival.
I love sharing music with others and jamming in all kinds of music. I have taught both styles of concertinas at various workshops and music camps. I have some knowledge of fiddle. I started a fiddle group in ft Myers many years ago that is still going strong helping fiddlers to gain confidence in playing with others.
I especially love teaching children the fun of playing music
Whatever instrument I have in my hands at the time would be my favorite.I
Bari Litschauer - Banjo, Mandolin Instructor for MusicGirls
I Grew up listening to what I’ll call “folk” music, blues and 60’s rock, on recordings, live at our house and at festivals but never really played an instrument or sang. Although I didn’t play or sing, I would sit for hours listening, especially to songs with lyrics that spoke to me. I also spent a lot of time writing prose and poetry.
Fast forward to age 39 or 40 when I left a corporate job of 12 years with Florida Power & Light to start my own business, The Amp Shop & Music Parlor. It was during this same time period that I started playing mandolin and then a few years later, the banjo, which has become my primary instrument although I still love playing mandolin. I do now give private lessons on both.
I find that music touches me deep in my soul and gives me “respite from the storm” when things aren’t going so well. It is also an outlet for expression as I do like to write and being able to connect my own lyrics to a melody to create a song is a very gratifying experience. Finally, music connects us to others which, at the end of the day, are the moments that we remember, the moments that have real meaning in our journey.
Website: Roadside Revue
Silvia Medina - Mandolin, Guitar Instructor for Junior Music Girls and MusicGirls
Silvia Medina was born in Cuba and grew up in New York. Music was always an integral part of her life and her experiences helped her incorporate into her music repertoire not only the Latin music of her childhood but also the music she was exposed to as she grew up. Starting on the piano and later on learning the guitar, she played folk in the 60’s, country in the 70’s , and eventually settled on the mandolin as she ventured into the realm of bluegrass music. Today, she plays all kinds of music, including her own originals.
Sylvia plays at many music festival around the state and is very active on the west coast of Florida.
Kricket Moros - Fiddle (Violin) Instructor for MusicGirls
Kricket is the “Pied Piper “ for all things fiddle. Her teaching style is energetic and encouraging. Her love for folk music and art is contagious! Kricket plays professionally for public and private events and is lead fiddler in the band “Robbin the Bank”. She resides with her family in Port St John ,Fl
Website: Robbin the Bank
Maribeth Mundell - Ukulele, Performance Instructor for Junior Music Girls and MusicGirls
Maribeth Mundell is an elementary music teacher at Churchwell Elementary in Lakeland. She teaches voice, ukulele, tin whistle, and performs locally as a vocalist. She is the alternate cantor at Holy Spirit Church in Lake Wales, and comes from Long Island, NY, where she has multiple performance credits with St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir, the New York Symphony Choir, and as a soloist for the New York Women's Choir.
She has sung at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and has also been a member of several cover and original rock bands both on and off the island. A long time vocal coach, her students vary in age from 6 to 92, range from special needs to professionals, and one of her students performed recently as "Brigitta" in the NBC Live version of The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood. She has studied Music at Sarah Lawrence College and New York University, and has a dual Masters Degree in Elementary Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Jacque Lyn Palomaki
Jacque Lyn Palomaki - Crafts and Guitar Instructor for Junior MusicGirls and MusicGirls.
Jacque Palomäki is the Art Director and co-founder of Florida Wildflower Studios in Downtown Frostproof Florida previously Jackie’s Art Cafe in Haines City where Art and music are featured.
Her ongoing creative spirit, positive attitude and love for God and the outdoors has helped her to become the singer songwriter and artist she has grown to be.
Stacy Smehyl - Director of Junior MusicGirl Camp, MusicGirl Singing
I was involved in music from an early age. By the time I was 8 years old was in choir and/or piano lessons. I am so thankful my parents never allowed me to quit. Their encouragement has allowed music to give me life-changing opportunities that I otherwise never would have had.
My first year of college I had no music classes and knew immediately music wasn't just something I did, it was something I needed. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Music Education with a focus in Vocal Performance. I have been teaching for the last 15 years in my home town of Sebring, FL. I began my career teaching K-5 general music and am currently a middle school choral director.
You'll find me rockin' out to CCR, Bob Seger, or Journey but nothing speaks to me like praise and worship music. I sing and play piano and drums for our worship team.
My kids have been a huge motivation as they are taking lessons and allow mom to learn too! The Lord has taught me age is just a number and there is no reason for me to stop learning and growing! So we've picked up the ukulele, cajon, and drums in the last several years!!
I've personally seen what a huge impact music can have on lives and love watching young people get excited about learning! This will be my third year being part of Music Girls and I look forward to seeing what exciting things will take place!