Music has always been in Chelsea's life and started when she was a baby while listening to her mother play piano and sing lullabies. Her love of music took off once she was enrolled in piano lessons at age five and voice lessons in high school. She loved performing at local and state competitions and providing accompaniment for her choir group and friends. Once she went to college at Kansas State University, she decided to continue her love of music by playing for local churches in praise and worship bands.
Once she graduated from KSU, Chelsea began her music journey as the Praise and Worship Coordinator for Immanuel Faith Community Church in Belvue, KS. She loved singing and providing music for her church community. After a few years, she decided to move with her family and currently plays in the Praise and Worship Band at Crosspoint Community Church in Wamego, KS. It was at this church when she met an amazing mentor and musical friend, Heather Miller (former owner of Studio Ambit), and started teaching private piano and voice lessons at Studio Ambit.
Studio Ambit, now known as Flint Hills Academy of Music, was founded in 2017 and offers a bright future for children and families through private and group music classes and piano and voice instruction.
Chelsea and her husband Chris have been married since 2007 and have a son and daughter who love to have karaoke contests at home. Chelsea and her family also enjoy weekends at the lake, watching movies and riding ATVs in the beautiful Flint Hills.
Sonya Pearson lives in rural northern Wabaunsee County, seven miles from Wamego. She and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years and have two teenage daughters. Sonya works full-time as a para-educator at Flint Hills Christian School in Manhattan. She is also a pastor's wife and involved in many church-related activities, including playing piano and leading worship. Sonya has been a private piano instructor for over 20 years in Nebraska and Kansas. Some of her students have gone on to higher levels of performance. She has accompanied multiple high school choirs & ensemble groups, including the Middle School Music Festival at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. She has also directed small church choirs and accompanied many band students at various concerts and contests. She grew up taking piano lessons with award-winning instructors who were a part of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association and the Music Teachers National Association. When she is not busy working or teaching piano, Sonya enjoys watching her girls play basketball or run track and sitting by the firepit in the evenings with her husband.
I began taking piano lessons when I was six years old and finally stopped taking them when I graduated from college. I was fortunate enough to have a nationally recognized piano teacher throughout high school which gave me the opportunity to participate in the National Federation of Music Clubs Piano Solo Festival and the Multiple Piano Concert in Kansas City for several years. I have years of experience accompanying vocalists of all ages and skill levels. I was a pianist/vocalist for the praise and worship band at my church in Kansas City for five years before I met the love of my life and transplanted to the Wamego area. I have been the Worship Coordinator at Immanuel Faith Community Church, Wells Creek for a number of years. I am also one of the pianists and vocalists for the church.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Church Music with an emphasis in voice and piano from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. I have been teaching at the studio for two years now and have really enjoyed getting to know the families at the studio!
Ryan Rourke is a certified K-12 Choral and Instrumental teacher who has been teaching in public schools since 2018. Ryan began her career teaching 6-8 Choir, Guitar, and Ukulele at Fort Riley Middle School with USD 475. She is now teaching Choir, Guitar, Ukulele, and Drama at Wamego Middle School at USD 320. Ryan has taught private piano and voice lessons since 2015 and is now excited to join the Flint Hills Studio. Student ages that Ryan has had experience teaching inside a public classroom and/or in a private lesson range in ages from four to eighteen years old.
Ryan graduated from Kansas State University in 2018 with a Bachelor's in Music Education with a concentration in Voice and Piano and a minor in Dance. While at Kansas State University Ryan studied private voice lessons with Cheryl Richt and private piano lessons with Dr. Virginia Houser. Additionally, Ryan took advantage of many musical opportunities inside and outside of the university. Ryan accompanied and sang in multiple University Choirs while continuing to play the piano and sing for church.
Ryan has a big heart for children of all ages and strives to instill a lifelong skill and love for music in every student she meets. When Ryan is not teaching she is at home with her daughter, husband, and two big furry dogs.
Matthew Meals is a concert pianist, jazz bassist, and multi-instrumentalist. Mr. Meals completed studies in piano performance at Kansas State University under Dr. Agustin Muriago. Additionally, he pursued jazz studies under Dr. Wayne Goins and historical performance practice under Mr. David Wood. During his studies at KSU, he was a finalist in the 2016 Honors Recital, gold medalist in the 2016 KMTA Honors Auditions, and Winner of the 2017 KSU Concerto Competition.
To supplement his studies, Mr. Meals attended international music festivals at the University of Florida (2017), The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (2018), and The Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (2019). During these festivals, Mr. Meals had opportunities to study privately with some of the finest concert pianists in the world including Natalya Antonova (Eastman), Maria Szraiber (FCUM), Piotr Paleczny (FCUM), and Pavel Nerssesian (Moscow Conservatory), among others. Mr. Meals has performed in five European countries as a pianist and has performed extensively as a jazz/rock bassist locally throughout the state of Kansas. As a bassist, he performed with KSU’s top jazz ensembles and many student groups on and off campus.
Currently Mr. Meals resides in Randolph, KS. His hobbies include, reading, drawing, foreign language, and learning new instruments.
Charlie has played at various events and has several years of experience playing the banjo, mandolin, and guitar. He looks forward to providing professional private lessons for people of all ages and sharing his love of music with the community.
Brandon Collins (b.1995) grew up in Middlebourne, WV, and started playing music at the young age of 7. With many years of experience growing in music programs in West Virginia, He graduated from West Liberty University with a B.M. in Music Technology and Music Performance. His academic performance career has given him experience with multiple percussion ensembles, marching bands, wind ensembles, and jazz groups. He moved to Manhattan, Kansas in 2017 to pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Percussion under Kurt Gartner.
As a freelance performing musician, Brandon currently plays drums with local indie rock band The Box Turtles and new jam band The BPM Trio. Brandon has also performed with groups such as The Solars Trio (jazz), In Flow (fusion), The Thundering Cats Big Band, Los Yumas (latin jazz), Dan Evick and The Last Minute Band (light rock), Homemade Jam (classic rock/jam band), Phunk Phace (brass band), and multiple musical theatre shows.
As an educator, Brandon has worked with multiple drumlines and was a co-instructor of Kansas State University’s Percussion Techniques course. He also has experience with private teaching on his own and through the Manhattan Arts Center.
Peter Ruby is a 2014 Washburn graduate with a Bachelor in Music Education. After graduation, Peter was the Worship Coordinator at First Baptist Church of Silver Lake and transitioned to public school music education in 2018. Currently, Peter teaches General Music K-5 in the Wabaunsee School District and leads worship for Christian Challenge at Washburn University.
Teaching private lessons has been Peter's passion for over a decade; teaching students a wide variety of skills on the guitar, piano, ukulele, voice, and trombone. He has lived in Wamego with his wife since 2015 and loves the community and the opportunities it provides. Being the father of a young daughter, he has experienced the joys of watching a child discover new passions and explore new ways to experience life and the world. Peter's heart is to inspire students to pursue their love for music, and to equip them along their journey.
Peter is proud to be a part of Flint Hills Academy of Music since 2021, and is eager to meet more families in the area!