Mary Flanagan has a Bachelor of Music degree from Minnesota State University where she studied with acclaimed violinist Lydia Miller and violist Tyler Sieh. Mary is a child of the Suzuki method, starting at the age of five. She has had excellent instruction from numerous teachers, most notably Paula Anderson of the New Ulm Suzuki School. In middle and high school Mary won positions in the Mid Level Honors Orchestra for three consecutive years and to the MN All-State Honors Orchestra.
At age 17 Mary won a position with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, where you can still see her playing first violin. Mary also began teaching at age 17 and has experience teaching players of all ages. She is a licensed Suzuki violin teacher, having received training in Wisconsin and Michigan with well known Suzuki trainers. She loves being a teacher because she agrees with Dr. Suzuki that any person can learn and because she believes that playing and teaching help her be the best version of herself!
Originally from Michigan, Megan began lessons at the age of six, then studied Violin Performance at Michigan State University with Walter Verdehr, where she also performed with a variety of symphony orchestras. She obtained her bachelor's degree and graduated with honors in 2012. She moved to Minnesota in late 2021 and became Principal II Violin for the Mankato Symphony.
In addition to orchestral and chamber music, she loves playing and performing Celtic fiddle tunes. She has taught both styles to students of all ages for more than a decade, both through a private studio and at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Suzuki Family Camp in northern Michigan in the summers. When she isn't playing or listening to music, she's trying a new recipe, reading a new book, shooting traditional archery, or planning a travel adventure. She lives in Mankato with her husband Derek and their ever-growing library.
As the son of two music teachers, music has been a critical part of Michael's life since the beginning. Michael taught himself guitar at the age of 11 and quickly began playing for church services. He was involved in choir through high school and in college where he was part of the traveling college choir. He currently sings and plays guitar for his church in Searles, MN, where he is also the music coordinator.
When not playing guitar, Michael teaches high school English in Comfrey and sings in the Minnesota Valley Chorale in Mankato. Michael lives in New Ulm and has two boys and one girl all under the age of 3. Michael is excited to share his love of music!
Piano & Guitar
Laura Galbus graduated from Minnesota State University of Mankato with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She has taught band in classrooms in Arizona, Turkmenistan and China. She was awarded Top Ten Inspirational Teacher from San Manuel High School in 2018. Laura began learning piano in elementary school and then went on to learn clarinet in middle school band. She is self-taught on guitar and ukulele, and enjoys picking up either to play familiar pop tunes.
Laura became interested in music as a career after having been inspired by her high school band teacher. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing the progress that students make week after week, no matter how small. She enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family, including her cat Glinda.
Kathleen graduated Cum Laude from Concordia College in Moorhead with a Bachelors Degree in Music and has over 30 years teaching experience in both Suzuki and traditional piano lessons and plays regularly on the side. Her students have won numerous awards!
When she isn’t teaching her many students, Kathleen is a stay-at-home Mom and educator to her 3 children at home.
Michelle Sedivy is honored to be the vocal coach for the Mankato School of Music. Michelle began taking vocal lessons from college professors as a high school sophomore and continued taking private lessons through college. Michelle has sung in both auditioned and non-auditioned choirs. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocal Music from Mankato State University as well as extensive post-secondary training in the mechanics of singing.
Michelle directed a church choir in Mankato and has been giving private voice lessons for over thirteen years. She believes that the entire body is part of the singing experience, which is why she uses both imagery and physical activities to help connect you to the language of singing. Michelle specializes in teaching the fundamental mechanics of singing. She has experience teaching both kids and adults. She is eager to be a part of your musical journey!
Sarah Houle is an instructor based out of Mankato. She has a Bachelor of Music in Euphonium and Trombone Performance from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her first and primary instrument is the euphonium, but throughout her musical career, she has picked up trombone, tuba and trumpet, as secondary instruments.
Since 2003, she has taught euphonium, trombone, tuba and trumpet to many area students through the Music Mart. She enjoys working with each student and tailoring the experience to meet individual needs. Sarah is able to work with students of any level, from beginner through college.
Sarah performs with several local groups including the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Mankato Area Community Band, Minnesota River Valley Wind Ensemble, Powerhouse, the Schell’s Hobo Band, Captain Gravitone and the String Theory Orchestra, Machiko, Cabaret La Ruse, and has performed in pit orchestras for over 30 musical productions, including a four-month national tour. She has a very extensive and diverse musical background and encourages students to explore different musical genres with their instruments.
Trumpet, Cello, Saxophone
Trumpet, Guitar, Cello
Brent is from Bemidji Minnesota and is a third-year instrumental music Ed major at MSU Mankato. He started playing cello in fifth grade and trumpet in sixth and his passion for music has only grown since then. Though those are his two primary instruments, he is capable of teaching all beginner strings and brass. He taught lessons at Headwaters Music and Arts since 2018 for trumpet, cello, and piano. He is in a plethora of bands at MSU, and is versed in a wide range of musical styles. In his free time he likes to read, play video games, fish, workout, and play with his cat, Ani. He is very excited to connect with the Mankato School of Music students and witness their ‘ah-ha’ moments.
Patti Tryhus has been teaching violin and viola at the Mankato School of Music since 1979 and served as Director from 1988-2017. After studying violin for four years with Marilyn Bos at MSU, she received training in the Suzuki method at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point Wisconsin and attended numerous workshops and conferences over the years. She observes that “the best Suzuki teachers follow Dr. Suzuki’s lead in setting a high standard for tone while having fun with the children.
Patti has fiddled and sang for many years in a band with her husband Steve and played violin for nearly 25 years in the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. She still performs with Steve for various occasions. They raised two musical sons, Peder and John, and Patti remembers, “In our family it all started with singing and listening to good music. That was the easy part, the mother tongue method. The difficult part was setting aside enough time to be patient and feel creative with our home practice. I know it’s not easy. But watching other parents through the years, I see evidence that with persistence and love, much can be accomplished!”
Anne began studying cello at age 7 and took lessons from Faith Farr in St. Paul, local legend Sharon Rodgers and Tanya Remenikova at the University of Minnesota. Growing up she won positions in the MN Middle Level Honors Orchestra three years and MN All-State Orchestra for three years. At age 16 she auditioned and was accepted into the Mankato Symphony. She attended college at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for Music Therapy learning how to use music and the power of music in therapeutics to help improve the quality of life for all individuals, particularly those in hospice and kids with special needs.
While in college she served as principal cellist for the UofM symphony orchestra. Post college she has worked as a music therapist using cello and guitar in the Twin Cities metro area hospitals. In 2016 Anne won the MN State Fair Talent Show grand prize on the Grandstand playing “Julie-O” on her cello. She is excited to return to the Mankato area and join our staff at the Mankato School of Music using her love of music in an educational setting passing on the gift of music to the next generation.
Noah began studying piano in 7th grade through Scheitel’s Music in Mankato, then with Beth Winterfeldt through high school, and currently with the concert pianist, Dr. Elizabeth Karelse, in college. He currently attends Normandale as a piano performance major and plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota. Although he is a classical performance major, he is also the pianist for the Jazz ensemble and combo at his school, and has performed a diverse range of genres and styles. Those in the community may have seen him perform with one of the musical theatre companies in the area as he is a frequent collaborator with State Street Theatre Company.
His work has earned high praise from critics and reviewers as well as directors and employers. Noah also serves as the interim worship director at Messiah Lutheran Church from late fall to spring. He is excited to start this journey of teaching a new generation of musicians with the Mankato School of Music and hopes to share both his passion and knowledge with new students!
Trumpet, Saxophone, Cello
The Mankato School of Music is thrilled to welcome Lionel Cao to our teaching faculty! Lionel comes as our newest guitar teacher!
Lionel Cao is a passionate and committed music professional with the talent and drive to succeed. He is from Beijing, China where he has provided lessons to students of varying age and skill levels. He has also served as guitar instructor in Wenzhou China. He is fluent in Chinese (Manderin) and English.
He graduated in 2022 from Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. His proficiency and understanding of guitar playing has wowed audiences in southwestern Minnesota. He is thrilled to share his guitar experience and passion for music with his students.
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Originally from New Ulm, Abbey Guggisberg has recently returned to southern Minnesota to pursue a Masters of the Arts in Teaching at MSU. She began taking piano lessons at the age of 9 and was a multiple-time Minnesota Music Teachers Association piano contest winner and a participant in the MMTA Honors Concert. Her interest in music goes beyond performance and into music theory and history, and she loves sharing these interests with her students to help them achieve a dynamic understanding of their musical practice.
Abbey earned a Bachelor of the Arts in Music at the University of Minnesota, Morris where she studied voice (soprano) for 4 years. Her interest in vocal music includes both solo and choral singing. She currently serves as soprano section leader for the MSU Concert and Chamber Choirs, as well as for the First Presbyterian Church Choir. Abbey's favorite part of teaching music is helping students achieve the goals they personally want to accomplish while laughing along the way. She believes that anyone has the ability to go from music appreciator to musician with regular practice and a positive mindset!