CR Gruver Owner, Music Director, Piano Teacher
CR Gruver began his classical training at the age of nine, and by 13 he left formal instruction as a top student to immerse himself in the world of rock and funk. The next three decades were dedicated to perfecting his craft, touring the country relentlessly, and building a successful performance career. He is currently a member of the national touring band New Orleans Suspects in addition to being the active owner of School of Rock Metairie / New Orleans. His experience as a national touring professional and seasoned musical director makes him an ideal owner of a School of Rock, as he’ll be able to impart decades of wisdom and knowledge to his students and faculty.
Jessica Troske General Manager
Jess is a Louisiana native. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in English Literature from Northwestern State University and attended graduate school for English Literature at her alma mater. Jessica has a strong background in non-profit, financial and operations management and has worked in these capacities in both non-profit organizations and in educational sectors in New Orleans and Denver, CO. Her love for music began when she was a child where Rock music was always playing at home and listening to her father playing guitar. She played the flute in junior and senior high school and always sought out new music, attended as many live concerts as possible. Jessica moved from New Orleans to Denver, CO in 2013 and worked as the Assistant General Manager for School of Rock in Denver, CO, where she found her calling. She is a strong believer in the arts and the power music plays in the long-term effects on the growth and happiness of families. She believes in the School of Rock’s mission and programming and has a strong love and dedication to the city of New Orleans; she believes that those three things combined and with such an eclectic and community-driven city to operate in will yield a successful and dynamic school.
Jenna Hunts Singing Teacher
Jenna Hunts is a singer/songwriter, performer and recording artist. With her pop/rock style, she has a unique sound that audiences of all ages enjoy. Born and raised in New Orleans, she performs locally around the New Orleans area at events such as Family Gras, Freedom Fest and Gretna Fest as well as venues such as The House of Blues and The Howlin’ Wolf Den. She has been performing on a stage since the age of seven and has competed in nationally televised series, including "American Idol." Jenna is currently recording an EP in Memphis, Tennessee at CrossTrax Studios made up of all original compositions. Having taking vocal lessons for many years, she has a wealth of knowledge in technique and style. Jenna seeks to use what she has learned to teach those who are passionate about music and those who are striving to progress in their abilities. She is currently attending school at Loyola University of New Orleans studying music.
DeMarcus Robinson Drum Teacher
DeMarcus Robinson was born and raised in Grenada, Mississippi. Always having a love for music, he started playing drums at a very early age, and throughout his adolescence developed his skills playing for several artists and groups in his city. After graduating from high school, where he played with the Jazz Ensemble, Gospel Choir and Marching Band, he went on to intern with Songfarm Studios as a session musician, technician and production engineer. DeMarcus attended Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Since graduating, he's played on several recording projects, as well as worked as a Audio Engineer, Musical Director, and Clinician. He’s also written compositions for TV and film. With all of his talent and experience, he brings a multitude of skills to Rafiki Music Collective. Believing strongly in giving back to the community and helping those who are less fortunate than he is, DeMarcus worked with The Building Bridges Center of the Arts in Jackson Mississippi for a few years, imparting his exceptional knowledge of music to both adults and children. He presently works with a non-profit organization called New Orleans Renaissance Movement in several capacities, including Musical Director, Session Musician, Live Sound Engineer, and Producer.
Anthony D'Antonio Guitar Teacher
Anthony D'Antonio, a New Orleans native, has been playing guitar for 32 years and has earned an Associate Degree of Music from Delgado Community College. He has played with numerous metal and rock bands in New Orleans for many years. He is currently playing with the band Alpha Tribe.
Anthony Del Barrio Piano Teacher
Anthony Del Barrio is an active performing pianist/keyboardist and music educator. Classically trained on piano, he is also well rounded to play more genres and styles of music including blues, rock, funk, R&B/soul, reggae, jazz and Latin jazz. Anthony also enjoys playing multiple instruments like guitar, bass, drums and percussion. After Anthony graduated from San Francisco School of the Arts High School, his experience in jazz, funk and Latin jazz among other styles led him to Berklee College of Music in Boston. His experience at Berklee provided an extensive foundation in performance skills and ensemble practice.
Sharing musical experience and knowledge is what motivates Anthony to teach young students how to learn an instrument and most importantly to play and perform music at their best. Anthony has been teaching out of his private lesson studio for over five years. Now he is looking to prepare students of all ages to play and sound great in a band setting at School of Rock so they can put on the best of live shows and performances for audiences that love live music.
Grant D'Aubin Bass Guitar Teacher
Grant grew up around live music and began playing bass when he was nine years old. He played folk music with his family and classical music in the orchestra from sixth grade to his senior year in high school. During that time Grant also played rock and original music in bands. Having decided to pursue music as a career, he was invited by an instructor to enroll in the University of Arkansas music program to play double bass in the symphony orchestra. Grant became active in multiple musical projects in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He became a contributor to several groups from Lost John, who play their own unique fusion of folk rock, to Second Line Strings, a group which focused on traditional New Orleans and gypsy jazz, to the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. He helps write and arrange music for the bands he plays in and brings his unique musical aptitude to every project he participates in. Grant taught as the jazz bass instructor for summer youth programs at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith for three years. In the summer of 2017, he was a semifinalist in the International Bucharest Jazz Competition with the Akakaze Quartet. After graduating from college with a music degree, Grant decided to move to New Orleans which is both close to his roots and a hot bed for performing musicians seeking to expand and diversify their skills. Since moving to New Orleans Grant has become a regular performer around the city in a wide variety of musical styles.
Brandon Giltz Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Brandon Giltz's musical journey began with the Christmas gift of piano lessons at age six, and since then he's become a professional multi-instrumentalist, national touring artist, soundtrack composer and full-time music educator.
His love for music began to expand by playing flute in middle school band, but it was the day he learned his first song on guitar, Journey's "Any Way You Want It," that he knew his life would be spent pursuing a career in music. A native of Virginia Beach, he began teaching friends and young children in their homes and soon discovered a new passion: sharing the joy of music with others. After graduating high school a year early, he moved to neighboring Norfolk, Virginia to establish his own teaching school. As extra work, he picked up a job at School of Rock and fell in love with performance-based teaching.
Following his first national tour, he paid a week-long visit to New Orleans and fell madly in love with the city in January of 2018. Promising himself he'd move down before the end of the year, he discovered through a coworker that a new School of Rock was opening in the area. After landing the job, he moved to Bywater in June of that year.
His musical accomplishments include an iTunes EP released when he was 17, the soundtracks to two independent video games and a successful career as a session bassist. His current project, a musical theatre adaptation of "The Great Gatsby," has attracted the attention of Broadway producers and actors and is predicted to begin live production in 2019.
Derek DeBlieux Guitar Teacher
Derek DeBlieux is a guitarist, songwriter and music producer living in New Orleans. While attending Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, he studied under some of the most accomplished guitarists in the world including Scott Henderson (Chick Corea Elektric Band), Steve Hunter (Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper) and more. After leaving school he pursued a few different musical projects and has shared the stage with national artists including One Republic, DNCE, Panic at the Disco, Plain White Ts, Kongos, Cher Lloyd and many more. His guitar playing can be heard on the movie soundtracks for "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "Never Back Down 2," as well as on the television show "American Idol."
Kyle Melancon Drum Teacher
Kyle Melancon first fell in love with drumming at the age of nine when he saw Keith Moon in the film “The Kids Are Alright.” At that moment he knew that he was going to be a drummer. It seemed a foolish dream at the time but he was determined. In 1995, that dream became a reality when Kyle joined legendary Louisiana band Dash Rip Rock. With Dash Rip Rock, he toured the world for 20 years and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Kyle also plays drums for Emmy Award-winning children’s group Imagination Movers, touring the world entertaining and educating children of all ages. The education aspect of children’s entertainment made him realize that he wanted to pass on his knowledge and experience to the next generation of drummers and he couldn’t be more thrilled to be at School of Rock doing just that.
Sabrina Graham Little Wing Director
Sabrina Graham, from Franklin Lakes, NJ, is a guitarist and pianist. She has a background in musical performance and composition, as well as stage production and marketing for live events. Having graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, Sabrina is proficient in music theory and harmony, melodic and rhythmic dictation, and composition analysis. She has also studied Western musicology, music in religion, modern American music and opera. Having worked in the New Orleans music industry for four years, Sabrina currently works at Gasa Gasa as the Marketing Director and directs the Little Wing program at School of Rock Metairie / New Orleans.
Megan Frye Little Wing Assistant Teacher
Meg Frye was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Meg grew up with a love for old time rock and roll. She studied Music Performance and Music Business at Delgado Community College. Meg is an aspiring songwriter and poet who enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. Her love of music is what inspires her to spark a passion for the art in the mind of young people, hopefully inspiring them to someday aspire to create and grow a love for music.
Matt St Germain Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Matt is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, experienced in performance and instruction on drums, bass and guitar. With years of experience teaching the School of Rock method at the School of Rock in Clear Lake, Texas, Matt has returned home to New Orleans to join the staff at the school here in Metairie / New Orleans and expand his skills by becoming one of their show directors.
Dani Kardon Singing Teacher
Dani spent most of her childhood in a School of Rock practice room. She enrolled when she was eight and has been hooked ever since. She is now a student in the Popular and Commercial Music program at Loyola University. She is excited to use her knowledge of the School of Rock program to help kids realize their own unique sound.
Kyle Thomas Guitar Teacher, Singing Teacher
Throughout the last four decades, Kyle Thomas has gone from third grade trumpet player all the way to international recording artist. Having grown up in a household that relied on the arts as a source of income, Kyle understands as well as anyone the importance of a family's support in the artistic development of a child. After five years on the trumpet, he traded in the horn for rock. The early 80s music grabbed Kyle and he began to develop a love for the bass. After a few years of garage band action, eventually the backup vocals that he added took him to front and center as a lead vocalist. Throughout his teenage years, Kyle ended up being voted outstanding singer by his classmates in the Brother Martin High School Chorus, and also performed with the New Orleans Symphony on Beethoven's 9th, the "Ode to Joy," in two sold-out performances at the Orpheum Theater. Shortly thereafter, Kyle's career as a recording artist began its course.
Kyle has released five full-length albums on three different labels internationally, and has appeared on countless compilations, touring three continents. With many features and appearances in magazines, on MTV and live concert broadcasts, his writing and performances have helped influence and shape heavy metal as we know it today. He has written and performed songs with several world famous musicians and producers, including Joey Jordison of Slipknot and Max Norman of Ozzy Osbourne fame. In addition to his musical background, Kyle is a devoted and loving husband and father. Family is always first, but he truly believes that a family with a love for music is always a happier one.