Jamie holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Anna Maria College and is a registered Suzuki instructor. She teaches private cello, violin and viola lessons for pre-K through grade 12 students at Whitinsville Christian School, where she also conducts its chamber and high school orchestras. Jamie has played with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and Southeastern University Orchestra (both of Florida), WPI Orchestra, Clark University Sinfonia, attended Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Massachusetts All-State Orchestra, and was concertmaster three years in the Massachusetts Central District High School Orchestra. She has studied under Tammy Kaye, Monica Vander Baan, Beth Yue, Joanne Kuder and Eleanor Blake. Jamie started her musical studies on violin at age seven, but after high school discovered that she is meant to be a cellist.
Laura Sousa Wagner, Resident BVQ Member, Violin
A native of Massachusetts, Laura Sousa Wagner began playing the violin at the age of five. After completing the Suzuki method, she went on to train at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, studying in the private studios of Fudeko Takahashi and Kelly Barr. While at NEC, she was a member of the Baroque Chamber Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. She has toured extensively across the United States, Europe and South America with various orchestras, and has performed in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil, Venezuela, and Canada. While on tour in Venezuela, she collaborated with El Sistema under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel.
Mrs. Sousa Wagner has been the winner of several competitions, including the Vassar College Soloist Competition in both 2006 and 2008, and she was the Massachusetts winner of the VSA Arts International Soloist Competition in 2008. She served as concertmaster of the Rhode Island All-State Orchestra from 2003-2006, and of the Vassar College Orchestra and the Vassar College Camerata from 2006-2010.
In addition to classical music, Mrs. Sousa Wagner studied fiddling and folk music with Myra MacLeod, and she enjoys performing these genres in addition to pop, jazz, and modern music.
Mrs. Sousa Wagner earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Vassar College in 2010. She is currently the strings teacher and chamber orchestra conductor at the Dedham Country Day School, and is also on the string faculty at the Dedham School of Music, the Ivy Music Academy, and the Foxboro Music Den.
Lynne Canavan, Associate Member, Violin
Lynne Canavan received her undergraduate degree in violin performance from The University of Lowell, Massachusetts, and master's degree in management from Lesley College. She has studied violin with Alfred Schneider, Joseph McGauley and John Lowry. Ms. Canavan has been a freelance violinist in the New England area for over 30 years, performing many with symphony orchestras including The Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra in Milford, MA. She is currently in her 17th year as Assistant Director of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Coach for WPI’s Medwin Honors String Quartet. Among her many past accomplishments, Lynne has taught traditional and Suzuki violin lessons, and she also successfully designed and implemented a pilot string program for the Billerica Public School system. In addition to Lynne’s classical music endeavors, she also enjoys performing as a strolling violinist in communities designed for those with memory impairment throughout the Boston area. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing with her big, furry ginger tabby, Benji, planting flowers in her yard, hiking and mountain biking.
Melissa Haringa, Associate Member, Violin/Cello
Melissa Haringa started taking violin lessons when she was 7 years old and studied the Suzuki method. She picked up the cello at the age of 21 and enjoys improvising and jamming with Max's Monsters, which she has played cello with since 2014. Melissa has studied violin and cello under the direction of Elliot Markow, Jessica Stensrud, Joanne Kuder, Monica Vanderbaan, Tammy Kaye, and Gerri Fogg. In high school, she participated in multiple music competitions and received a scholarship to the New School of Music for cello and studied under Sandy Kiefer.
Melissa has been teaching violin and viola for several years. In 2000, she taught violin lessons in Romania and also taught violin, cello, and group classes at Umass Lowell for the Strings Project for two years.
Melissa played in the orchestra at UMass Lowell as well as in Onstage With the Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2015. She also played in the pit orchestra for West Side Story and Kiss me Kate at Eastern Nazarene College. Melissa has been playing with the Seven Hills Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and recently became an ensemble member of the Blackstone Valley String Quartet & Ensembles.
Leeann McMorrow, Associate Member, Violin
Leeann McMorrow graduated with a bachelors degree in music therapy with a concentration in violin from Elizabethtown College. She worked as a hospice music therapist for six years, before going back to school to study aging and end-of-life care. Leeann works as a data analyst and enjoys performing. She has performed with several folk/rock groups in the Boston area, touring and recording withe several artists. Leeann met the members of the BVQ in high school and has enjoyed performing with them ever since!
Steven Sergi, Associate Member, Viola
Violist, Steven Sergi began his musical journey at eight years old in Franklin Massachusetts. Under the tutelage of Don Krishnaswami, Steven served as principal violist for the Boston Youth Symphony Repertory Orchestra, the Metrowest Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Franklin Repertory Orchestra.
Steven continued his studies at the Boston Conservatory studying with Rictor Noren. During his time in Boston, he performed frequently as an orchestral musician. Steven was a finalist for the New York String Orchestra Seminar and participated in orchestral festivals such as Round Top Festival Institute and the National Orchestral Institute. As a chamber musician, Steven has performed in numerous chamber ensembles and has collaborated in chamber music performances with such musicians as Joseph Silverstein, and Rictor Noren among others. Steven has also received chamber music coaching’s from members of the Muir and Lydian String Quartets and has participated in the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and the chamber music series, Music from Salem in Salem New York. In 2014 Steven received his Master of Music Degree in Viola Performance at the Boston University College of Fine Arts studying with Karen Ritscher. As a freelance musician in the New England area he performs regularly with the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Symphony and is a founding member of the Glenside Quartet. Steven also recently joined the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra.
As a passionate teacher, Steven is a strong advocate of natural and artistic playing supported by good physical posture and technique. Steven teaches violin and viola privately for the Foxborough Music Department, the Lifelong Learning Music Academy and is on faculty at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School in East Providence.
Michael Mellen, Associate BVQ member, Singer/Guitarist
Michael Mellen is a singer/songwriter from Northbridge, Massachusetts. He has been playing guitar and singing for nearly 10 years, and performing professionally on various stages and private events around New England, including weddings, festivals, candlelit dinners, and everything between.
Currently residing in Portland, Maine, Michael tours with his acoustic cover trio all year round, playing upwards of 75 shows per year. When he settles down from performing, he focuses his efforts on writing and recording albums of original music inspired by the observations and details of everyday life, with the hope that he can inspire others to not only live in the moment, but to become creators and artists in their own way.
Caitlin Leffingwell, Associate Member, Violin
On something of a whim, Caitlin Leffingwell started taking Suzuki violin lessons at the ripe age of eight. Her love for music grew rapidly and led her to join the Whitinsville Christian School Strings Program two years later, where she spent the next eight years studying under Gerri Fogg, Monica VanderBaan, and Joanne Kuder. While traveling to different states and countries as part of the WCS Advanced Chamber Orchestra, she also developed a passion for using music to serve under-served communities. This passion ultimately led to a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Community Studies from the University of Connecticut and a Master's degree in Urban Studies: Community Arts from Eastern University. She has also completed several Suzuki trainings (ECC, SPA, Volume 1, and Volume 2), received several certifications from Berklee College of Music, and currently studies under Dr. Luciana Arraes from the Hartt School of Music.
Caitlin teaches Suzuki violin in six very different locations around the Greater Hartford Area: Thirman L. Milner School, St. Thomas the Apostle School, Grace Academy, Environmental Sciences Magnet School, the Artists Collective, and her own private studio. She is passionate about connecting diverse individuals and communities through music--all with the hopes of creating a more just, loving, and equitable world in the process. She also enjoys performing with several local bands in a wide variety of genres, as well as freelancing for local orchestras and recording artists.
Ben Thayer, Associate Member, Cello
Ben began playing the cello at age 8, and has been classically trained for the past eighteen years with over ten years of experience playing weddings professionally. He is a graduate of Whitinsville Christian School, where he played cello in the orchestra and advanced chamber orchestra, as well as the cello choir. He has studied the Suzuki method extensively under Joanne Kuder and Eleanor Blake. He has traveled the east coast playing on several tours throughout his schooling as well.
Ben holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and currently works as a process engineer. While at college, however he continued to hone his cello skills, growing not only in his classical abilities but in improvisation as well. He continues to play cello weekly at his church and other events. Ben is comfortable playing a wide variety of music from classical pieces to more modern songs. Playing the cello is one of Ben’s passions, and he loves playing a variety of events with the BVQ!
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