Mariah was born in Minnesota and moved to Idaho in middle school. She began playing piano in first grade, singing in choirs and playing viola in sixth, and private vocal lessons in ninth. During high school, she worked her way up to be section leader of the Varsity Mixed Ensemble, principle alto in the Varsity Jazz Choir, and student conductor to the Junior Varsity Mixed Ensemble. This music leadership experience led her to attend Whitworth University to pursue a music education degree. However, after a practicum in a kindergarten classroom, she discovered her love of teaching elementary students, and ended up with an elementary education degree and a music minor. After teaching kindergarten for a year in Spokane, this past summer her and her fiancé moved down to Bend. She is excited to start sharing her joy for music with students in the area!
Katie "Pinto" LeBrun
Katie grew up in a very musical little area of Wisconsin, and has been surrounded by musicians her entire life. Her father (a drummer) would bring her along to gigs, put her on stage next to him, and hand her a tambourine. Katie would also sit next to her mother and learn to sing harmonies in church choir. by the time she was in elementary school, her parents started her in piano lessons, with guitar and voice lessons developing by the time she was in high school. Katie grew into quite the multi-instrumentalist, playing accordion, keys, and percussion in local orchestra pits, while also directing the Chippewa Valley Boys Choir. Naturally during college, she pursued Music Education and Performance. In the end, Katie finished her undergraduate degree in Music Liberal Arts (piano and voice) along with fine arts management, later going back to complete her Masters in Business. Some of her accomplishments included assistant teaching for a middle school band in Washington D.C., presenting at the National Opera Association Convention in Los Angeles, appearing as an artist in residence for high school choirs in the Milwaukee suburbs, teaching lessons locally, and directing a church choir in her home town.
Post-college, Katie moved to Boston where she developed her love of teaching in other disciplines, completing certifications for Yoga and Hula Hoop Instruction. She developed these programs into her own company, “Pinto Bella Movement Arts,” and started traveling the country. For almost three years (and over 100,000 miles) she drove around the United States presenting at libraries, schools, studios and other community organizations. On the road, she found inspiration to begin writing music again. She learned many new instruments, making ukulele and hang drum two of her main instruments for writing music and performing. She joined a small rock band for a couple tours, replacing their lead guitarist with her voice and ukulele. Katie then started doing daytime performances at nursing homes, sharing her original music and old classics with the residents.
In October of 2016, her travels then lead to Oregon, and she fell in love with Bend. She decided it was time to create a home base and return her focus to the music that has always been at the heart of her journey. When she returned from a tour in Georgia/Florida in January 2017, she unpacked the suitcases and started calling Bend her home.
Katie believes that learning should be a side effect of having fun, wanting to help others find the same joy and freedom from music that she has been blessed with during her life. Let’s make some noise!