Brian is the owner and operator of Encore Music Studios, and an instructor of Voice, Piano, and Organ. He is a native of central and southern Illinois, holding a Bachelor of Music degree in Keyboard Performance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Arts degree in Liturgical Music with an emphasis in Voice Performance from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN. As a musician, Brian has served in many capacities across Southern Illinois and throughout Minnesota. He is Organist and Pianist at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, accompanist of the dementia-friendly community choir, The Victory Chorus, sings in the Twin Ports Choral Project and serves as Dean of the Arrowhead Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Courtney, an instructor of piano at Encore, is a pianist, singer, educator, and arranger/composer, hailing from the Twin Ports. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and English from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she was a Weber Scholar and a Reed English Scholar, graduating with honors in 2014. Courtney is currently working towards graduate degrees in Education and Music at the College of Saint Scholastica and the University of Minnesota, respectively. In her professional experience of over a decade, Courtney has performed, directed, and taught in ensembles and institutions in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She is also a current choral artist with the Twin Ports Choral Project.
Kale is an instructor of guitar at Encore. After studying Guitar Performance at McNally Smith College of Music, he transferred to the University of Wisconsin Superior to continue his music education. Blues, R&B, and Jazz drew him to the guitar where he later discovered a passion for singing and songwriting. He combines practical training such as sight-reading and ear training with songs and pieces that follow the student's interests. Kale enjoys listening to music as much as he does performing it, and he hopes to pass on his love and knowledge of music to his students.
Patrick is an active performer and educator, and is thrilled to be teaching at Encore. As Director of Music at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Duluth, he directs the choir and plays regularly for services, including the harpsichord every chance he gets. He regularly accompanies soloists, cabarets, and choirs. Patrick is an active theater artist in the Duluth area as a music director, pianist, and actor, and is a founding member of the Twin Ports Choral Project and the newly formed, Borealis Chamber Artists.
Dr. Thomas Hamilton
Dr. Thomas Hamilton serves as Minister of Music at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Duluth, a position he has held since 2013. He is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where he was a student of Ruth Berge and sang in the Concordia Choir under Paul Christiansen. He studied with Paul Westermeyer and John Ferguson at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, earning a Master of Sacred Music degree in 1994. Most recently, he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Iowa in the studio of the late Delbert Disselhorst. Hamilton has served churches in Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. He was also previously on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He serves as sub-dean of the Arrowhead Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and as organist/continuo for the Borealis Chamber Artists.