MUSIC IS A BIRTHRIGHT.
The mission of Mile of Music’s Music Education Team is to help all people unleash their inner musician in order to build a community of active music explorers, music makers, and music lovers. We are committed to providing dynamic music-making opportunities for people on the Mile to set them on a path of discovering and developing their musical selves.

At Mile of Music, people don’t just hear the music, they are the music!


MET Members

Leila Ramagopal Pertl

Brian Pertl

Jaclyn K. Hittner

Credentials

Music Education Curator, Instructor in Music Education, Lawrence University, LU ‘87

My Bio

 

Leila Ramagopal Pertl (MET Curator) is the Music Education Curator for the Mile of Music Festival and teaches Music Education at Lawrence University. She created the innovative Music curricula at Next Generation School in Champaign, IL and at Appleton Public Montessori, where music is treated as a core subject; each student being immersed in drumming, dancing, singing, improvisation, composition, and music theory. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Lawrence University, a Master of Science degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois, and is a recipient of Pi Kappa Lambda Honors, Excellence in Music Education. She is an active presenter and has recently given presentations and teacher workshops for the Smithsonian Year of Music panel on the Future of Music Education, Appleton Area School District, the International Deep Listening Conference, and WMEA State Conferences. She co-presented a paper, with education colleague Dr. Stephanie Burdick-Shepherd, at the Northeastern Philosophy of Education Society at Tufts University: “Hearing the Lines: The Birth of Childhood and Philosophy through Music. Leila was the 2018 recipient of the Mentor Award from the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (WACTE). She is the WMEA State Chair for Composition and Improvisation and is the Chair of the Committee on Cultural Inclusion for the College Music Society. She believes that music is a birthright, and loves being with people in collaborative, creative spaces!

Credentials

MET Member, trombonist, didjeridu, Dean of LU Conservatory of Music, LU ‘86

My Bio

Brian Pertl (MET Member) is the Dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. He is a trombonist, ethnomusicologist, didjeridu player, Deep Listener, and a fierce advocate for music education at all levels. He has given over 400 presentations on world music across the United States. His lively performances give the audiences insights into other cultures through music. He has a BM degree in trombone performance and a BA in English from Lawrence University, an MA in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and worked on his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a recipient of the prestigious Watson Fellowship, and worked for 16 years managing the Media Acquisitions Group at Microsoft. He and his wife Leila Ramagopal Pertl are passionate about providing as many music-making opportunities to as many people as possible. They know the phenomenal power music has to change lives and are whole-heartedly committed to the transformational art of music education.

Credentials

MET Director of Operations, Choral Music Educator - Lawrence Community Music School (Appleton), LU ‘12

My Bio

Raised on sweet tea and family sing-alongs, Jaclyn Kottman originally hails from Atlanta, Georgia but is now proud to be a music maker, teacher, and learner in Wisconsin, as well as the Director of Operations for the Music Education Team. Musicking in different corners of the world has given her a deep appreciation for the way the Fox Cities uplifts the arts as part of the fabric of our community, and she has been a proud member of the Music Education Team since Mile 1. Jaclyn graduated from Lawrence University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music in Choral and General Music Education and a minor in Religious Studies. She is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Young Choral Director award from the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association and of Lawrence University’s Pi Kappa Lambda award for Excellence in Music Education. She currently teaches vocal and choral music with the Appleton Area School District and Lawrence Academy of Music, and is passionate about the power of singing to affirm the value of each person’s voice and build community.

Adam Korber

Alex Quade

Isabella Benner

Credentials

MET Member, Orchestra Teacher (Howard-Suamico), LU '18

My Bio

Adam Korber (MET Member) lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. He is an orchestra teacher in the Howard-Suamico School District, and loves how music brings people together. Adam fully believes in the words of one of his mentors, “everyone learns better with a smile on their face.” Adam strives to foster learning in a positive, supportive, and fun environment. He brings his passions for people, learning, and music to the Music Education Team.

Credentials

MET Member, percussionist, LU '20

My Bio

Alex Quade (MET Member) is a percussionist, drummer, teaching artist, and Deep Listener originally from Saukville, WI. He graduated from Lawrence University where he studied various classical and world percussion styles with Dane Richeson. As a performer, Alex has traveled around the world performing both classical and non-Western musical styles, bringing a broad knowledge of the percussive arts to bear in performance, pedagogy, and research. Since joining the group Kinkaviwo, the Ghanaian drumming and dance ensemble at Lawrence, he has been entranced by West African drumming traditions. Having studied in Ghana, Alex brings excitement and precision to the vibrant musical culture of the Ewe people, and is always looking for new ways to integrate into music curricula. This is Alex’s first Mile, and he’s very excited to join the Music Education Team in helping others discover and release their musical selves.

Credentials

MET Collegiate Member, Music Education Student

My Bio

Isabella Benner (MET Collegiate Member) is a third year student at Arizona State University. She is studying Music Learning and Teaching with an emphasis in band, and has a Minor in Dance. She has been a French Horn player for 10 years and has been teaching for 5 years. She is excited to be back in her hometown, but even more excited to be back for her third year on the ME team.

Keira Kowal Jett

Kenni Ther

Melissa Fields

Credentials

Workshop Artist, performer, song-writer, educator

My Bio

Keira Kowal Jett (MET Workshop Artist) is a performer, song-writer, and educator based in Appleton, where they work to build a more connected and loving community through music. They specialize in vocal music and youth advocacy, especially in combination with generative healing practices like creative writing and Deep Listening. Keira has previously given musical healing sessions with Diverse and Resilient and Harbor House, and they look forward to being an Artist in Residence at the Renaissance School for the Arts this fall.

Credentials

MET Member, Band Teacher - Merrill Middle School (Oshkosh), LU ‘16

My Bio

Kennison Ther (MET Member) is a graduate from Lawrence University with a degree in Music Education while studying percussion, as well. He is the band teacher for Merrill Middle School in Oshkosh and also the percussion instructor for the Oshkosh Youth Symphony. Ther continues to play percussion in multiple community/professional groups through out the Fox Valley. He has been on the MET since mile 2 so this will be his 7th mile! During his time at Lawrence he was a part of LUPE (Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble) which studied music in classical chamber settings and music from Brazil, Cuba, and Ghana. Ther completed further study of Brazilian music at the California Brazil Camp for many summers and brought what he had learned to the group at Lawrence and to Mile of Music. Samba and other Brazilian styles are a passion of Ther’s, and he wants to share this beautiful music and culture with anyone and everyone.

Credentials

MET Member, General Music Teacher - Highlands Elementary (Appleton)

My Bio

Melissa Fields (MET Member) finds joy in sharing her love of music with the community. She has been a music educator for over 20 years and is a passionate advocate for music education and musical literacy. Melissa continues to develop her own musicianship by being a section leader of newVoices vocal ensemble. She enjoys life with her children Sam and Sophia and her dog Bernard. Melissa believes everyone has a musical ability and she delights in inspiring others to be musical.

Mindara Krueger-Olson

Moreau Halliburton

Néstor Domínguez, Jr.

Credentials

MET Collegiate Member, Music Education Student, LU '22

My Bio

Mindara Krueger-Olson (MET Collegiate Member) is a senior Music Education major at Lawrence University from Neenah, Wisconsin and is thrilled to be on the MET once again! She has been making music all of her life, but began playing her primary instrument, violin, when she was 8. Mindara’s musical journey has seen her play with many different groups, including Neenah High School’s Touch of Class, WSMA State Honors Orchestra, the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, LU Percussion Ensembles such as Kinkaviwo (Ghanaian Drumming/Dancing), Sambistas (Brazilian Samba), and Tambo Toké (Afro-Cuban Drumming/Singing), the LU Mariachi Ensemble (LUMÉ), and Vic Ferrari’s “Symphony on the Rocks”. During the summer, she can be found teaching at Rock Infused Orchestra, and this summer has been Carnegie Hall’s Learning and Engagement Programs Intern! Educating and learning with others is one of her greatest passions, and her professors at Lawrence have inspired her to continue to look for opportunities to share this passion with others. Mindara is so excited to be making music at Mile again!

Credentials

MET Collegiate Member, Music Education Student, LU '22

My Bio

Moreau Halliburton (MET Collegiate Member) [she/her] is a Senior at Lawrence University with a self-designed major in “Music Identity Studies”. Upon graduation, Halliburton plans to find ways to work with children of all ages using music as a vehicle to support healthy identity development. Halliburton believes that everyone is born a musician and can use music to heal themselves, grow, and connect across differences. Halliburton identifies as a drummer, bassist, and songwriter/collaborator. Halliburton started playing djembe (West African drum) in 4th grade in a community choir and joined her high school band in 9th grade playing drum set. Halliburton loves Funk, R&B Soul, Reggae, and other soulful music. Halliburton has played with Lawrence’s Ghanaian Drum and Dance Ensemble “Kinkaviwo” and loves learning more about Africa, her ancestral homeland, through music and rhythm. Halliburton is co-president of Lawrence University’s SOL Studios (Insta: @sol_studioslu). SOL Studios is a student-run organization that provides space for all LU musicians to record their own music, perform on campus, and get their voices heard in the Appleton community. Halliburton can’t wait to meet diverse music lovers, help facilitate fun body percussion workshops, and make new friends during Mile 8!

Credentials

MET Member, Mariachi Music Educator, LU '14

My Bio

Néstor Domínguez, Jr. (MET Member) hails from the state of Guerrero in Southwest México. He is an alum of Lawrence University (’14) and The Chicago Public Schools. Upon graduating from Lawrence, Néstor returned to Chicago to provide a high-quality music education to Chicago students. He has taught wind band, music technology, world percussion and Mariachi during his 6 years of teaching. Néstor currently leads the Gary Mariachi program at Gary Elementary in the Little Village neighborhood where he teaches 4th – 8th grade. He is beyond excited to return after a year hiatus to share the beauty of Mariachi music with the Fox Valley community!

Sarah Phelps

Credentials

MET Member, General Music Teacher - Badger Elementary (Appleton), LU ‘07

My Bio

Sarah Phelps’ (MET Member) passion for the work of the Music Education Team draws from both personal and family member experiences of being shut out from musical opportunities because of “talent” or lack thereof. As a music teacher and 7 year MoM veteran, she strives to open students’ and community members’ minds to the fact that everyone has an inner musician. She hopes you will join her, her mother and her two lively daughters for some moving, grooving, and all kinds of opportunities to make music together on the Mile!

MET Ambassadors

MET Workshop Artist

Bernard Lilly Jr.

Betsy Kowal Jett

Expressive Therapies

Credentials

Workshop Artist, singer-songwriter, musician, LU'18

My Bio

With a sound that has been dubbed “a refreshing fusion of rhythm and blues, gospel. jazz and hip hop” and the stage presence of music legends, B. Lilly (MET Workshop Artist) sings, writes and performs from his soul. Born and raised on Chicago’s west side in the Austin community, he discovered his love for music at Greater St. John Bible Church where he grew up enjoying the band and choir. At 13, he channeled his love into learning to play the piano; then, during his senior year at Chicago’s Providence St. Mel School, he landed the role of Tony in a production of “Westside Story” and fully embraced his love for the stage. After serving as senior class president and captain of the basketball team, B. Lilly was named a Hurvis Scholar at Lawrence University. There, he received a B.S. in Anthropology; activated his passion for community outreach; and further developed his musical talent. He hones the musical influence of John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Mali Music, Bob Marley, Anthony Hamilton and Marvin Gaye to create a performance style that ranges from passionate and high energy to smooth and classic — taking his audiences on a soul-filled and soul-stirring musical journey. B. Lilly also has a heart for people and serves as a school-based mentor with the College Mentoring Experience (founded by his dad, Bernard Lilly Sr. in 2014), where he leads life-empowerment workshops for middle- and high-school youth. He is also a member of CHICAGO 200, a program for emerging leaders whose goal is to enhance the quality of life for residents across the city. His early, pre-pandemic performances include opening for the V103 R&B and Old School Fest warming up the stage for Keith Sweat, Mint Condition, and The Isley Brothers; opening for Howard Hewitt; as well as stages across the Midwest, including various corporate and civic engagements. Combining his love for community and music, he currently serves on the production team for Next Showcase USA, where he provides stage management and support to local artists. This served as his inspiration for creating Sunday Sessions Chi, a platform that showcases emerging, local talent by putting artists and their music centerstage at local nightspots. B. Lilly music is available for purchase on all digital media outlets, and includes his latest single, “Dear America” which highlights the fears and concerns of Black mothers (including his own, Valerie Lilly) raising children in a volatile nation. The song is preceded by two singles: “Let It Out,” which will be included on an EP scheduled for release later this year; and “Chicago,” which was in rotation on local Chicago radio. Voice of the community… lover of music… man of faith: B. Lilly is set to take the nation – and, ultimately, the world – by storm.

Credentials

Workhop Artist, early childhood educator

My Bio

Betsy Kowal Jett (MET Workshop Artist) is happy to again be part Mile of Music’s Music Education Team. Outside of the Mile, she leads the Presto! Tour at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, a program that explores how music can positively impact society and leads early childhood educational programming at Appleton Public Library. As a singer, educator, and creative, she has devoted her life to designing and implementing the way that the arts can increase community well-being.

Credentials

Workshop Artist, music and art therapists

My Bio

Expressive Therapies (MET Workshop Artist) is a team of music and art therapists seeking to empower individuals to live their best life. As licensed, board certified music therapists and art therapists, their mission is to create a safe and empowering space for equality with – race, gender, sexuality, age, economic status, cognitive, physical, spiritual needs and those living with mental illness – through trauma informed care: music therapy, art therapy and psychotherapy, to improve health and well-being.

Greg Forton

I Dewa Ketut Alit Adnyana

Indah Erdmann

Credentials

Workshop Artist, Band Teacher (Hortonville)

My Bio

Mr. Gregory A. Forton (MET Workshop Artist), M.Ed has been a music teacher since 1987 after graduating from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. He started his career in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he taught band, orchestra, and directed the middle level honors band. In 1989 he moved closer to family by accepting a position as director of bands for the Hortonville Area School District in Hortonville, Wisconsin. The first band Mr. Forton directed at Hortonville High School had 36 total members. Since that time, he has developed the program to over 200 students per year and is currently teaching Freshman Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, two Jazz Ensembles, Pep Band, German Band, Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Wisconsin’s first “High School Ukulele Orchestra.” His groups have performed for various events around the world. Most recently, he has performed in Hawaii for the Honolulu Ukulele Festival and at Pearl Harbor. In addition to teaching, Mr. Forton loves to learn. He holds a private pilot’s, commercial driving, and motorcycle license. He performs in various ensembles, hand throws pottery, is a photographer/videographer/audio technician, and is an avid backpacker. His philosophy is, “Experience life to the extreme, you only get one chance, so hold on tight and enjoy the ride.”

Credentials

Workshop Artist, Balinese Gamelan performer and teacher

My Bio

I Dewa Ketut Alit Adnyana (MET Workshop Artist) is an internationally esteemed performer and teacher of Balinese instrumental music. At Lawrence, he teaches traditional and contemporary Balinese music repertoire and directs Lawrence’s own Gamelan Cahaya Asri. Before coming to Lawrence, he was the Guest Music Director of Gamelan Sekar Jaya in Berkeley, CA, and an Artist-in-Residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dewa graduated from the Conservatory of Indonesian Musical Arts (SMKI) in 1999, though is primarily trained in the local performing arts of his village of Pengosekan, Bali. He is a founding member of Gamelan Çudamani, one of the premiere gamelan troupes from Bali, and has toured multiple times with Çudamani to the U.S., Canada, Japan, Italy, and Greece. Their recent tours of the productions “Odalan Bali” and “Bamboo to Bronze” won acclaim from critics across North America. Dedicated to the continuation of traditional Balinese music education, Dewa has been one of the core teachers of Çudamani’s educational programs for children in Pengosekan. He has played a critical part in supporting the development of the Çudamani Girls’ Gamelan, one of the only ensembles of its kind to offer young girls in Bali the opportunity to learn gamelan music. He also founded a young boys’ gamelan ensemble at Çudamani in 2006. Dewa teaches at the Çudamani Summer Institute for Music and Dance in Bali, and has had private students from the U.S., Canada, Japan, and the U.K. since 2000. Dewa is sought after for his clear and systematic teaching methods. Since 1998, he has been invited to teach gong kebyar, angklung, and gamelan semarandana repertoire to men’s, women’s, and children’s gamelans across southern Bali in preparation for their performances at temple ceremonies and festival competitions.

Credentials

Workshop Artist, Music Educator and Scholar

My Bio

Indah Erdmann (MET Workshop Artist) is originally from Indonesia. She used to be an elementary school teacher at some International curriculum schools. One of her passions is playing the angklung, a musical instrument made of bamboo from West Java-Indonesia. She moved to the US in 2015 and wrote “All About the Angklung”, a children’s book that describes what the angklung is and how to play it. She continues to promote the angklung through Angklung Goes to School program in Wisconsin that is supported by Indonesian Education and Cultural Attaché of Indonesian embassy in Washington D.C.  

Jando Valdez

Mariachi Ensemble

Sonja Downing

Credentials

MET Collegiate Member, founder & director of Mariachi Jabalí and Lawrence University Mariachi Ensemble (LUMÉ)

My Bio

Alejandro “Jando” Valdez (MET Collegiate Member) is an Appleton native who will be going into his second year at Lawrence University ‘24. After changing career paths, he has come back to fulfill his dream of being a musician and educator in his hometown of Appleton. He is currently studying in the Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree program with a secondary focus in Film Studies. Jando formed his first Mariachi ensemble at Appleton North high school in 2017 and most recently pioneered Lawrence University’s very own Mariachi Ensemble (LUMÉ). He is thrilled to be teaching the Appleton community to bring out their inner musician!

Credentials

Workshop Artist

My Bio

The MET Mariachi Ensemble (MET Workshop Artist) is made up of members from Appleton North’s Mariachi Jabalí and The Lawrence University Mariachi Ensemble (LUMÉ), both of which are led by Jando Valdez. With their combined experience, they are all looking forward to bringing mariachi to the Valley!

Credentials

Workshop Artist, ethnomusicologist, Balinese Gamelan instructor and scholar

My Bio

Award-winning author, musician, and professor Sonja Downing (MET Workshop Artist) teaches ethnomusicology at Lawrence University. She has performed with California-based Gamelan Sekar Jaya throughout the US and in Bali, and has studied with members of Gamelan Çudamani in Bali. Before moving to Appleton, she earned her PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her book, Gamelan Girls: Gender, Childhood, and Politics in Balinese Music Ensembles, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2019.

Wade Fernandez

Indah Erdmann

Credentials

Workshop Artist, International touring/recording/performing and award winning musical artist and educator.

My Bio

With Menominee Nation roots firmly attached, Wade Fernandez (MET Workshop Artist) has well over 60 international tours and continues to deliver music that knows no bounds. He has taken home multiple national & international awards and was a finalist in many musical genres from Blues/Jazz, Instrumental, Folk, Rock, Pop, Country, World, Guitarist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Native American Flute, Best Male Artist, etc. Both his music and his message are firmly grounded in his Menominee Nation roots and his love for the land, animals and people. His national and international educational work with youth, the disabled, the elderly, and the environment have been recognized in various ways including the Community Spirit Award and a Medal Of Honor from the Menominee Nation.

Credentials

MET Workshop Artist

My Bio

Indah Erdmann is originally from Indonesia. She used to be an elementary school teacher at some International curriculum schools. One of her passions is playing the angklung, a musical instrument made of bamboo from West Java-Indonesia. She moved to the US in 2015 and wrote “All About the Angklung”, a children’s book that describes what the angklung is and how to play it. She continues to promote the angklung through Angklung Goes to School program of House of Angklung (Washington D.C) in Wisconsin that is supported by Indonesian Education and Cultural Attaché of Indonesian embassy in Washington D.C.