Meet our Team

Julia Andrews Headshot
Julia Andrews

Julia Andrews

Executive Director and Piano Instructor

Julia Andrews is an active performer of chamber music and jazz piano. She is in demand throughout the region as an accompanist, jazz pianist, clinician, and adjudicator.

Julia has owned a piano studio for 22 years and opened a full music studio in 2021. She has served on the music faculty at Monmouth, Knox, and Cornell College. Lessons with Julia are varied, student-centered and fun!

In addition to private teaching, Andrews is the Grants and Compliance Manager at Cornell College and the Music Director of First Presbyterian Church, Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Read more about Julia the pianist by clicking here.

Marie Riechers

Artistic Director and Vocal Instructor

Marie has been a voice teacher and professional performer in the Cedar Rapids area since 2018. Trained in classical music and Opera, Marie now enjoys performing a wide variety of music, especially those where she gets to “break the rules.” 

A life-long learner, Marie enjoys building her knowledge of singing, music, and teaching, and sharing what she’s learned to her students in a fun and comfortable environment. Marie teaches students as young as 5 up to adult, and especially enjoys working with shy singers and helping them gain confidence and find their voice. From individual voice lessons to small group classes to large group music camps, Marie shares her passion for music through clear instruction, healthy technique, and a good amount of fun! 

When not teaching, Marie works as the Office Manager at the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon, and enjoys spending time making music with her family and playing with her two dogs.

Marie Riechers

Kelsey Legore

Kelsey Legore

Piano, voice

Kelsey Legore has taught in public schools for eight years.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Music Education from Luther College and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting degree from Simpson College.  While at Luther, she studied voice and piano and participated in choirs and opera productions.  Simpson afforded her many conducting opportunities, including chamber works, large, full-orchestra masterworks, and collaborative programming and presenting with colleagues. Most recently, she served as Co-Director of Choirs at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids.  In addition to directing choirs, Legore music-directed the spring musical and served in various leadership capacities at PHS.  She sings alto in Vocal Artists of Iowa, a semi-professional choral group in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City. 

Kelsey lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband, Ben, and her rambunctious and hilarious kiddo, Simon.  She is excited to continue to work with students in a private studio capacity as she steps back from full-time classroom teaching!

Nicole Philbrick

Irish Fiddle and Owner of JA Clair School of Music

Nikki started playing the violin over 25 years ago under the instruction of Janet Ault through her public school program in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. She quickly realized it would be a life-long pursuit (as much as any 8-year-old can realize such things) and took to playing as often as she could. In addition to continuing with her studies through the school orchestra program and the Preucil School of Music, Nikki attended numerous musical programs, including the Idaho Viola Camp (McCall, ID), the Red Cedar Chamber Music Summer Festival (Cedar Rapids, IA), Credo (Oberlin, OH), and numerous honor orchestras in her community. Nikki ultimately went on to obtain a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Iowa, studying with Dr. Katherine Wolfe.

After college, Nikki realized that what she really wanted to do was play fiddle in an Irish band. So, that she did! Nikki currently performs with Blame Not the Bard, an Irish band that tours the midwest, gracing the stages of numerous venues and festivals, including the Iowa Irish Fest. In March of 2022, Nikki made her television debut when Blame Not the Bard was featured on the program “Greetings from Iowa” on Iowa PBS.

While she loves touring with the band, she realized that she would like to share what she has learned with young musicians across eastern Iowa. To this end, she founded the JA Clair School of Music in March of 2020. Inspired by Janet Ault’s generosity toward her students, Nikki made a decision that there would always be a pay-what-you-can class option available at JA Clair, thus ensuring that all students have an opportunity to participate. Now entering its third year, JA Clair School of Music will join forces with Music Works Iowa to expand their shared vision of building a community of musicians.

When Nikki isn’t busy performing with the band, or serving as a performance consultant for Yume Dance Studio, she enjoys writing, drinking coffee, eating ice cream, and hanging out with her dogs, cat, and husband.

Making music and building community since 2003.