Katie Merriman, Director

An Atlanta-based singer, actor, and teacher, Katie Merriman started her career in the arts with a Bachelors of Music from Georgia State University where she concentrated in vocal performance. Katie has been teaching private voice and piano lessons around Atlanta for over 15 years. From there she transitioned into event planning and administration in addition to music education. Ms. Patterson has been with First Presbyterian Church for 8+ years and enjoys working with church members and the Atlanta community to create a thriving and dynamic arts environment. Katie also performs frequently around metro Atlanta in professional theater productions, concerts, and cabarets.  

Faculty Bios 

Alana Bennett, Cello

Atlanta-born cellist, Alana Bennett, has proven herself to be a dynamic and versatile musician on an international stage.  From baroque to film music or rock to hip-hop, Alana has embraced all of music?s personalities.   As an undergrad at New York University, she principally studied with renowned cellist and pedagogue Marion Feldman and explored jazz with Laura Seaton-Finn and the Alexander Technique with Eddy Malave.  She then went on to study at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University with world class cellist and chamber musician Sharon Robinson.  While at Indiana University, Alana concentrated in chamber music literature. Her string quartet was invited on fellowship to perform Bartok?s String Quartet No. 2 at the Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia.  Alana has been invited to conduct masterclasses and coach students and ensembles at the NYU Art of Collaborative and Solo Playing as well as the Bolivia Clasica program.  As a performer she has been a member of the acclaimed New York String Orchestra and performed with them at Carnegie Hall.  She has played masterclasses and coached with Bonnie Hampton, Jorja Fleezanis, Jaime Laredo, Eugene Moye, and Anthony Elliott.  Currently Alana serves as principal cellist of the Dekalb Symphony Orchestra. She regularly plays with the Macon Symphony, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra Augusta.  Alana is a faculty member at Perimeter College at Georgia State University and also maintains a private cello studio in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brendan Callahan-Fitzgerald, Piano

Brendan Callahan-Fitzgerald is an Atlanta-based musician and teacher.   In 2013 he spent the summer participating as an apprentice artist for the Des Moines Metro Opera.  In 2013 he won the Georgia District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and received the Encouragement Award at the Regional level.  He has performed the roles of Rodolfo in La bohème, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Don José in Carmen, The Duke in Rigoletto, Le Chevelier de la Force, in the Dialogues of the Carmelites, King Kaspar in Amahl in the Night Visitors, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, the title role in Werther, and Giles Corey in The Crucible, and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Alfredo in La Traviata.   Brendan holds a position as a staff musician at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, and maintains a voice and piano studio in Atlanta.

Tim Haney, Guitar

Tim Haney has a Bachelor Of Arts in Guitar Performance. With ten years of teaching experience, he works well with children and adults of all ages. He teaches technique, theory, both finger styles, and how to effectively use a pic. He has extensive background in classical, blues, rock, flamenco and folk styles.

Elizabeth Lamberth, Piano

Elizabeth has taught piano while in attendance at the Oberlin Conservatory, at the Concordia Conservatory in Bronxville NY and privately for 24 years. As a pianist, she has performed, accompanied and collaborated in chamber music and has served as a pianist/organist for several churches, most notably as Director of Music for St. Malachy?s the Actors? Chapel in New York City. Elizabeth treasures her work with young people of all ages (as well as with adult students!) and is always inspired by their determination, creativity, energy, wit and intelligence; all of which come to light in the process of learning and making music together. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Indiana University, a Bachelor of Music in Piano from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music in Piano from Mannes College The New School for Music. She loves liturgy and the study of all the world?s religions, being outdoors, wildlife and birds, reading, cooking, singing and the arts. She is currently studying organ with Dr. Jens Korndorfer through SFA.

Allegra Whitney, Voice

Allegra Whitney, a graduate of Florida State University?s voice program, has performed as soprano soloist and ensemble member for Walt Disney World, Florida State University Opera, and several local musical theater organizations throughout her school years. Currently, Allegra sings with the Atlanta Opera Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus / Chamber Chorus, and serves as Co-Director of Children's Choirs, Staff Singer and Soloist at First Presbyterian Church. In addition to performing theatrically behind the mic as a VoiceOver Talent for Massive Dynamics, Allegra teaches private voice, piano, and guitar for the School of Fine Arts at First Presbyterian and is certified as a MusikGarten music educator.

Jonathan Urizar Violin

William Mann, Trombone

William Mann is the Assistant Professor of Trombone at Georgia State University.  He is also a founding member of the American Trombone Quartet and second trombone with the Des Moines Symphony. 

William is regularly sought after as a lecturer, clinician and performer throughout the United States and Brazil, including the Bay View Music Festival in Bay View, MI, the Third Coast Trombone Retreat, and the Festival Nacional de Musica in Goiania, Brazil.

In the summer of 2012, William won second place in the overall solo competition at the International Women?s Brass Conference in Kalamazoo, MI, competing against other brass musicians from around the world.

In addition to performing with the Des Moines Symphony, William?s orchestral experiences include performing with the Atlanta, Chattanooga, Columbus, Lexington Philharmonic, Ohio Valley, West Virginia, Quad-City, Missouri, Tuscaloosa, Meridian, Victoria and Waco Symphony Orchestras. He has also performed with the Austin Lyric Opera, as well as the Victoria Bach, Texas Music and Hot Springs Music Festivals, and the 49th Armored Division Band. His jazz experience includes performing with the Di Martino Osland Jazz Orchestra (DOJO) and the Waco Jazz Orchestra, among others.

William received his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in trombone performance from the University of Texas at Austin in addition to a Bachelor of Music Education from Baylor University.


Julie Coucheron, Piano

Born in Oslo, Norway, Ms. Coucheron began playing the piano at age four. She earned her Bachelor and Master?s Degree with honors from the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the age of 30, Ms. Coucheron has established an international career, winning awards in Italy, Germany, UK and in the United States.

Ms. Coucheron has worked with musicians such as Claude Frank, Emanuel Ax, Chee-Yun Kim, Christopher O?Riley, Steve Miller Band, Yo-Yo Ma, and Elton John, and has toured Europe, America, South America and Asia, performing in halls like Verizon Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.

Ms. Coucheron has performed with the Norwegian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic; Jena Symphony Orchestra, and the Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra in Kiev.

Ms. Coucheron regularly performs at festivals such as the Oslo Chamber Music Festival, Bergen International Music Festival, Amelia Island Music Festival, Madison Chamber Music Festival, Juneau Jazz and Classics and at La Jolla Summer Fest. She is Artistic Director of the Fjord Cadenza festival in Norway and for the Kon Tiki Chamber Music Festival in Oslo, Norway.

In addition, Ms. Coucheron also performed during the 2003 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, and at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.


In addition to her busy concert schedule, Ms. Coucheron is a sought after teacher and pedagogue. In August 2014, she was appointed Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the top 50 state schools in the United States.

Ms. Coucheron has given masterclasses and taught at schools such as the New England Conservatory, Emory University and Mercer University.


Marshall Isseks, Piano/Saxophone

Marshall Isseks is originally from a musical family in Liberty, New York. Having come to Atlanta in 2006 to attend Emory University, he graduated in 2010 with a BA magna cum laude in philosophy. Since then, he has worked as an in-demand musician and music educator and earned a Master's in Music in Jazz Studies in 2016 from Georgia State University. From 2013-2016, Marshall led the long-running jazz jam session on Thursdays at the Queen of Sheba and has performed with a lengthy and impressive list of the southeast's most respected musicians and groups. He believes that music education is an integral part of any person's general knowledge and vital to our society's overall well-being.


Lessons with Allegra required prior approval. Contact the office to register: 404-228-7753