Erin Armstrong General Manager
Erin has been with School of Rock Aurora since December of 2015 and is happy to call the SoR staff her second family. She has been involved in music for as long as she can remember, always singing, strumming her guitar and writing songs to perform for anyone who would listen. Erin graduated from CU Denver with a BS in Music Business and Entertainment Industries. Since then she has managed, performed, and recorded with several local bands over the years including Thanks to Philo, Fable Heist, Extra Gold and most recently Mother Derringer.
Kathryn Fernandez Studio Coordinator
Kathryn Fernandez started singing in her elementary school choir when she was 6 years old, where her love for music began. In Warwick, New York where she spent most of her childhood, she continued learning music through high school honors women's choir, musical theatre, piano lessons, and voice lessons. In her undergraduate career, Kathryn started learning jazz guitar and was a part of various experimental music ensembles, rock bands, and choirs.
She graduated from The State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta with a Bachelor's of Science in Mass Communications and a Bachelor's of Arts in Music Industry. Kathryn has passions in several creative arts including music, art, photography, and film. She is our Studio Coordinator as a part of the School of Rock Aurora team.
Donald Young piano Teacher, Trumpet Teacher
Donald Young is a graduate of Ft Lewis College (BA Music) and has over 30 years of experience as a professional keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist. He has played with some of Denver’s best groups, including Hot Lunch and The Freddie-Henchie Band, and has toured extensively in the western US as well as the Pacific Rim. He has opened for national recording artists such as KC & the Sunshine Band, The Temptations, Sir Mix-a-Lot and saxophonist Eric Darius. He is also a composer, arranger and session musician.
Greg Foster Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Greg has become a staple in the Colorado music scene by playing and recording throughout the Midwest in a variety of cover and original bands ranging in styles from hard rock to country, to R&B/funk and blues. He is also a musical composer and producer that can be heard on albums from Millionaire Freaks and 2 Dog Tuesday among others. Bands of note include Nasty’s Nightmare (with KBPI's prime time DJ Uncle Nasty), Sheryl Renee, The Broken Everlys, Kelly J, Buckner FunkenJazz, Voodoo Kings and Carolina Reign. National artists that Greg has worked with or been an opening act for include Mr. Big, Savatage, Styx, Steve Morse Band, Chris Duarte, Jason Ricci, John Lee Hooker Jr., Joe Bonner and Hamilton Loomis. As an instructor he believes that learning the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ results in improved comprehension and performance.
Carl Sorensen Drum Teacher
Carl Sorensen started playing drums in his elementary school band. He continued learning music through middle school and high school by taking lessons and playing in jazz band, concert band and marching band. This led him to take his education to the next level at Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon), Terri Lynne Carrington (Herbie Hancock), and Kenwood Dennard (Jaco Pastorius) among many other world-class professionals. Carl has since built a reputation in Denver for being 'Denver's Hardest Working Musician' ("Westword," 2014), having played with 100+ different bands in the Denver metro area. Carl currently performs with Dragondeer, Chimney Choir and Extra Gold among others, as well as hosts multiple jam sessions.
Greg King Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Greg King grew up in Boston, MA and started playing guitar at a young age. After graduating from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Guitar Performance, he taught and played gigs all over Boston, New York City and Colorado, as well as in various other cities and states. He loves sharing his passion for music with students, as well as teaching ensembles and group classes. He has experience gigging and playing with many different bands that vary in style/genre. When Greg isn't teaching or gigging he is most likely listening to Led Zeppelin or a variety of funk, jazz, fusion or rock music. He loves teaching all ages and experience levels and is a guitar teacher and bass teacher. He excited to be living in Denver and teaching at School of Rock Aurora.
Josh Bennett Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Josh Bennett has been a musician for 20+ years. His primary instrument is guitar but he dabbles with drums, bass and vocals, as well as ukulele when the mood feels right. Over the years he has played with dozens of bands and artists in genres including rock, blues, country, metal, jazz, funk, ska and punk. Josh has spent years touring the USA, as well as time abroad in Europe and Southeast Asia. Nikki Sixx once described him as "a really cool guy." Josh has recorded on multiple commercial albums, and, with his band Acidic, held the #1 indie song in the country and was #33 on Billboard. During his free time he is an avid hiker and works as a personal trainer. He is a guitar teacher and bass guitar teacher at School of Rock Aurora.
Colin Shore Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Colin Shore is a guitar player specializing in rock, funk and jazz fusion. Born and raised in Atlanta, Colin moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. Colin spent several years touring the country with his band Mister F, who played well over 100 shows per year. He has been invited to play with blues/soul icon Robert Randolph, smooth jazz artist Earl Klugh and bands such as Twiddle, Aqueous, Kung Fu, Dopapod and Mungion. Colin’s teaching style is highly adaptive to each student’s individual tastes, skills and goals. He is a guitar teacher and bass guitar teacher at School of Rock Aurora.
Jimmy Finnegan Bass Guitar Teacher
Jimmy Finnegan is a bass guitar teacher and Rookies teacher at School of Rock Aurora. With his first primary instrument being cello, he has a deeply rooted understanding of the role of low-register instruments in a variety of musical settings. He began playing bass at age 13 and his enthusiasm for the instrument has flourished since. Jimmy is a former student and House Band member at School of Rock Aurora, which has given him the knowledge necessary to help students succeed in School of Rock and in other facets of the musical world. He currently attends Metro State University of Denver, majoring with a BA in Music and using jazz bass as his primary instrument. He aims to expand his students’ musical versatility through structured and exciting lessons that translate directly to practice and professional rehearsal settings. Jimmy has learned everything he knows from other teachers and musicians whose musical passion profoundly inspired his own.
Kirk Larson Drum Teacher
Music has always been a big part of Kirk’s life; He has been playing music for 16 years! An artist that has had a big influence on him musically is Steely Dan. He is currently in a couple of different bands, including Kessel Run and Quite Frankly, which are Denver based and Fresh Intellect which is Chicago based. During quarantine when Kirk wasn’t teaching private lessons or running some of our Master Classes, he was recording new music, cooking and watching some of his favorite movies such as Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Tess Healy Keyboard and Singing Teacher
Tess was born in Denver and is happy to be back! Throughout her childhood she toured nationally and internationally with a children’s choir and was always involved in music inside and outside of school. Tess studied music, completing her BA and MA in London where she often performed in the city and was played on BBC Radio 2. She concentrated on music therapy for her master’s dissertation and is a passionate believer in music’s capacity for healing and rehabilitation. After graduating, she lived in Ireland working for a touring Country musician. Tess loves many genres of music and believes singers benefit from diverse musical interests and exposure to different styles. Some of her favorite musicians include Arvo Pärt, Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Nina Simone.
Ben Eberle Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Ben Eberle is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who has played with various bands in the Denver area since 2013. At an early age, Ben showed signs of a music-rich future with his professional skills at rhythm games such as Guitar Hero, and Rock Band. Playing these games kick-started his obsession with music, and he soon began learning how to play drums. After a few years of drum lessons, Ben decided to pick up guitar and bass, with a goal of honing in on harmony and songwriting. The knowledge of these 3 instruments has furthered Ben's musical prowess over the years, with a focus on how these instruments work together in a band setting. Ben strives to pass this knowledge along to the students at School of Rock, as he believes there is no better feeling than to lock in with your band, and collaborate with others to make musical magic.
Kahlea Qualls Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Kahlea Qualls is originally from Boston, MA. She moved to Denver several years ago to pursue her passion for teaching. After graduating from Metro with a degree in Music Education she took a job teaching grades K-8 at Denver Public Schools where she has been for the past 2 years and continues to teach. She’s super excited to be joining the School of Rock Aurora team and can’t wait to inspire students of all ages to experience the awesomeness that music can bring to their lives.
Rico Southee Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Rico Southee, a professional guitarist and instructor has been around the guitar for most of his life. His family noticed his love for music when he was three years old and from then on the guitar has been his dream and passion. Whether being asked to play with the Sam Rivers Big Band, United States Air Force Band in Europe, Mississippi and Georgia or the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, he always gives his heart and soul to every performance. His versatility as a guitarist has given him the opportunity to perform in countries such as Norway, Sweden, England, Holland, Russia, the Netherlands, France, Romania, Germany, Austria, Italy, Sardinia, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Saudia Arabia and the Dominican Republic. He attended the jazz performance program at the University of North Florida, where he studied music theory and improvisation with Jack Peterson, one of the best jazz guitar educators in the United States, music clinics with Joe Henderson, Dianne Reeves, Kenny Burrell and studied recording engineering at the Full Sail School of Recording Arts and Kingston Polytechnic, London, England. He now composes and produces his own CDs, teaches private students and performs as a guest/recording artist.
Lauren Black Singing Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Having grown up in a musical household in Rockville, Maryland, Lauren began her musical career with classical piano and voice. She is currently pursuing a degree in vocal performance at the University of Denver. In her first year of her undergraduate degree, Lauren formed a passion for songwriting. She released an album in the year 2020 called "Seven Corners" under the artist name Lu, and has performed at various local venues including Mercury Cafe and Union Station in Denver, and The Meadery in Laramie, WY. With her interest in all genres and the voice, Lauren is passionate about teaching the fundamental techniques of the voice, including pedagogy, so that any pupil can reach their desired vocal sound.
Brittany O'Reilly Singing Teacher
Brittany O'Reilly is originally from Dallas, Texas but is currently studying music business at CU Denver. She specializes in performance technique and vocal quality/awareness. Throughout her time at School of Rock Texas, Brittany was able to perform and command a stage in front of some amazing crowds. Her favorite being SXSW in Austin, Texas. Brittany's key strategy when it comes to teaching kids is that they will always have the healthiest vocal quality that they are capable of producing, and they will always be the best performer they can be on any stage that they touch. Her background of being open and willing to work with any and all types of genres has allowed her to work on many amazing diverse projects. Brittany is known for being someone who has an ear for good music and this has led her to travel to many different cities being a “studio sit in”. This is someone who artists call when they need help writing songs, composition/production, vocals, etc. She's also managed a few bands in the Denver and Texas area as well. Brittany hopes to teach her students that once they're willing to step outside of their musical comfort zone, there is no limit to what they can do.
Ben Suyat Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Ben has been playing guitar since the age of 4, beginning with Classical, and extending to Blues, Rock, Jazz, and much more. As a Colorado native, he developed his skills at none other than SoR Aurora, where he was part of Houseband for 5 years and Allstars for 3. Additionally, he has played in 21 different seasonal shows from 2014 to 2020. Ben has gigged, toured, and recorded professionally over a number of genres, and has studied in USC Thornton’s Popular Music program with world-class guitarists. Ben credits School of Rock for teaching him the true value of the guitar in a variety of musical settings, and giving him a true passion he hopes to share. Ben thrives in providing his students with a better overall understanding of not only the instrument, but of music as a whole, through their particular interests and goals.
Jake Fernstrum Drum Teacher
Jake has had a passion for music for as long as he can remember. He started playing drums at age 5. After being self-taught for 6 years, he began taking lessons and playing shows at age 11. He began to play professionally at the age of 14. Jake is a former student and Houseband member with School of Rock Aurora, and was selected as a four-time international School of Rock AllStar from 2017-2020. While attending School of Rock, he performed at iconic venues such as Lollapalooza, Red Rocks, Summerfest, and the World Cafe Live. When asked who his “Top 5” drummers are, he replies with John Bonham, Tony Williams, David Garibaldi, Dennis Chambers, and Aaron Spears. Jake has worked with a vast array of artists across many styles of music, is currently playing with the Thomas Harpole Experience, Wild Love Tigress, Downtown Michael Brown & Finding NED, and has worked as a session musician for artists across the US. Jake believes that some of the most important parts of playing any instrument is to be passionate, listen to everything, and never have a comfort zone. Jake hopes that he instills a passion for the instrument in every student, and a lifelong love for music as a whole.