Jo Kirk, Director
Jo Kirk nationally known educator and expert in Kodály based early childhood music education and methodology, holds a Masters in Music Education from the University of Akron and a Kodály Music Education Certificate from Silver Lake College.She has completed earlychildhood studies at the Hartt School of Music and the Westminster Choir College.
Her teaching experience spans from “little ones” to Kodály graduate level adults at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Colorado State University, Wichita State University, Morehead State University, and California State University Long Beach. As an adjunct faculty member of Muskingum College, Mrs. Kirk instructed the elementary music education courses, directed the Muskingum College Children’s Choir, and developed and instructed the Kodály-based early childhood music and movement enrichment program.
Mrs. Jo has served on the Community Music School faculty at Capital University, provides the early music education training for the Columbus Montessori Teacher Education Program, and is founder, President and CEO of WeJoySing, Inc. music and movement based learning programs. She maintains an active conference and public speaking schedule, has published: “A Kodály Approach,” Spotlight on Early Childhood Music Education published by The National Association for Music Education, 2000, and has authored Lullabies to Circle Games-An Early Childhood Music and Movement Curriculum.
Juliette Alexander received her bachelor’s in music education through The Ohio State University. At Ohio State she studied French horn, but took every opportunity to perform in different groups with different instruments (including voice, because your voice is an instrument you have with you all the time). Mrs. Juliette taught Preschool through fifth grade music in the Olentangy school system teaching beginning band, beginning strings, and general music for five years. Before that she spent six years in private pre-schools teaching three and four year olds. Miss Juliette continues to keep her ties with Olentangy by working with fourth graders in the Olentangy Strings Camp on Otterbein campus every summer. She met her husband while playing bass guitar in a rock band. They have a young boy who is the reason Miss Juliette knows about WeJoySing, because they attended classes when he was younger. Now that he is older, Miss Juliette is very excited to get back to teaching young children music.
Rachel Amidon is thrilled to be joining the WeJoySing family. Music has been an important part of her entire life and has brought her much joy. Rachel holds a bachelors degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University. She teaches part time at a private child care center and enjoys volunteering at a retirement community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing hand bells, riding roller coasters, and spending time with loved ones. Rachel lives in the Gahanna area with her husband and two cats, and is excited to be expecting their first child!
“Music has the power to help everyone communicate and connect with one another. It is a powerful way to express yourself, even before you can talk. I am excited to share this special gift with our WeJoySing families!”
Kinsey Cole is very excited to be a part of the WeJoySing family and is looking forward to making music with your precious little ones. Music has always played a huge role in her life, whether she was singing with her mom at the piano while growing up or performing with friends in her high school choir and band. It was only fitting that she decided to pursue music education when she ventured off to college. Kinsey earned a bachelor’s of music education from the University of Nebraska. As a “Fort Calhoun Pioneer,” she taught grades K-6 general music, jr. high choir, high school choir and show choir for 5 years in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska.
Kinsey and her family moved to Columbus, Ohio in June of 2014. As a “Mama,” she has been able to stay at home to care for her two sons full time. She loves being home with her boys reading books, playing “Star Wars," going on adventures outside and of course singing and dancing together. She is excited to have this opportunity to balance spending valuable time with her sons and sharing her love for joy-filled music making with you and your child!!
Kristi Frazier holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University. As an educator serving 12 years in the pre-school through second grade integrated classrooms; music and movement took center stage as a teaching tool because of its obvious effectiveness. Music has held a special place for Kristi since the earliest piano lessons to enjoying the High School band and choir. As an adult she has served on church praise teams, led children’s choirs and performed in musical theater.
Most recently, as a stay-at-home mother, Kristi found WeJoySing for her daughter and instantly fell in love with the HeartStrings class for all it provided for both Lila and Kristi! The playful bond she built with her daughter and the sense of community she gained with the other parents continues to be priceless!
Mrs. Kristi can’t wait to welcome you and your sweet little one to the magical world of WeJoySing!
Cathy Hahn holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Otterbein College. She has experience as a preschool teacher and has taught music to kindergartners in a private school in Jerusalem, Israel, as well as directing children’s choirs in Nashville, TN, Centreville, VA, and Erie, PA. Cathy lives in Hilliard with her husband Peter, and their children Anna, Ben, Paul and Mark, where she also serves as the director of children’s choirs for Hilliard United Methodist Church.
“Mrs. Cathy” has been teaching for WeJoySing since 1996 and believes that children should be encouraged to “make a joyful noise” and express themselves through music. “WeJoySing helps children develop so many skills through music and play. I feel privileged to be a part of that process. Especially now that my own children are all teenagers and beyond, I cherish the opportunity to play with the little ones and watch them discover the magic of music!”
Allison Jacobs is honored to join the WeJoySing family and share her love for music! Allison earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the University of Mount Union, where she was involved in a variety of musical ensembles including the women’s chorus, flute choir, and marching band. During her time there, she found her passion in teaching younger children.
Immediately following graduation, she and her husband spent the first part of their marriage working at a summer camp and retreat center. While they enjoyed their time working with children and families in nature, they were called back home to Columbus. They are currently living in Dublin with their fur-baby, Milo the cat. Allison spends her free time finding new walking trails to explore, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with family. After getting settled in the area, she hopes to volunteer her time working in the children’s ministry at her church. She is absolutely thrilled to begin building relationships within the WeJoySing family!
Lynnette Kline has been with WeJoySing since August, 1995. She holds a degree from Otterbein College and her Kodaly Level One certificate from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Lynnette also conducts three children’s choirs at Reynoldsburg united Methodist Church where she helps lead praise and worship services. In 1999, she received the “Towel and Basin” award for outstanding servant ministry to children by the Columbus South District United Methodist Church. During the summer months, Lynnette teaches music and movement to children at the Homeless Families Foundation.
“Mrs. Lynnette” feels music is a “gift” we can give to children of all ages. She loves helping them learn to express their feelings through music and the tugs of their own “Heart Strings.”
Debbie Liffick, mother of two, has pursued early childhood education studies at Ohio Dominican College. As a day care provider, preschool teacher, music educator and early intervention supporter, Mrs. Debbie has spent most of her life nurturing young children and sharing her love of music with them. Debbie coordinates a Contemporary Ensemble and provides the early childhood and elementary Liturgical music for the St. Pius X church.
“Music has filled every part of my life. I am looking forward to sharing the joy of music with you and your children.”
Julie Porretta is excited to be joining the We Joy Sing family. She holds a bachelors in Music Education degree from Otterbein University and Level I and II Kodaly Certification from Capital University. At Otterbein Julie studied both tuba and voice and has a duel degree in both. Julie has 7 plus years experience teaching elementary music in the Gahanna Jefferson School District before taking a few years off to be a stay at home mom. She currently lives in Westerville with her husband Mike, also a music teacher, and her two children, Maddie and Leo.
In addition to teaching, Julie loves performing as well. She has been seen on stage in several theater productions in the Columbus and surrounding areas. You might also see her in the winter months strolling the streets of Easton as a holiday caroler. Julie also enjoys teaching piano and voice lessons and singing in her church choir. In her "down time" you will probably find her baking and decorating cakes or running as she prepares for her next ½ marathon.
“Miss Julie” is looking forward to sharing her love of music with you and your children. "I believe that music is a universal language that can speak across generations, ethnicities and social divisions. It helps us to gain a better understanding of who we are as a people and can aide in shaping us into the individuals we will grow to be."
Krista Salvati is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio, and has loved music as long as she can remember. She has had training in voice and piano, and has also been active in musical theatre. “Mrs. Krista” originally came to the program as a parent with her then 16 month old son Nickolas. She enjoyed sharing the Heart Strings class with him so much that she was inspired to become an instructor. Nickolas has since been joined by brothers Christian and Zackary.
“Music opens up a whole new world of fun and learning for children, and also gives parents an added opportunity to bond and communicate with their child. I look forward to sharing the gift of song with your family.”
Kelly Smith-Armstrong brings a great love of music, children, and drama to her teaching. She earned her B.A. in Communications from The Ohio State University, and has extensive training in voice and drama. She has held several professional and acting roles over the years, but her favorite role has been as full-time mom to her two cherished children, Rachel and Ryan. She and her husband Chuck live in Grove City, which is where Mrs. Kelly became involved with the wonderful world of WeJoySing in 1999. “When I started WJS with my daughter when she was 6 months old, I was excited to find a program where my child could develop in all areas – cognitively, musically, physically, socially – and in a joyful and playful environment. I was so thrilled to start teaching in 2000, and truly understand the benefits behind it, as well as witnessing the results in my own children.” Mrs. Kelly is excited to help you do some of the most wonderful things: nurture a joyful bond within your family, build confidence within your child, and foster learning and development through music.
Karen Vogt is so happy to be back “home” with her WeJoySing family! She first joined the staff in 2001 when she and her husband moved to Columbus. In her time away from WeJoySing, Karen spent four years as a teacher of 3-4 year olds at a Christian Child Care Center in Grove City. “Music was a large part of every day!” In 2010, Karen became a full time Mommy to her two daughters, Eliana and Ava. One of their favorite things to do as a family is attend their own WeJoySing classes!
Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Toledo, and went on to study Music Therapy at Ohio University. Upon completion of her studies, she earned her MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified) credential in 2003.
Music has been a part of Karen’s life from the very beginning. Her earliest memories are from attending her aunt’s performances with the Cleveland chapter of Sweet Adelines. She began singing in elementary school, and has since had extensive training in flute, voice, guitar, and piano. She enjoyed being a part of numerous high school and collegiate music ensembles, as well as performing in musical productions.
“I knew it was time to come “home” to WeJoySing. I missed my families. I missed my kiddos! I missed the JOY that music brings! I am so thrilled to be back, and am looking forward to sharing the magical moments WeJoySing will bring into your lives!”
Julie McFeaters brings with her a great affection for children and passion for music. She holds a degree in Psychology from Grove City College, and she has received training in voice, piano, music theory, and flute. After spending ten years as a preschool teacher and director, she became a full-time mother of five. Music has always been an important part of her life, and she has participated in many singing groups and musicals. Mrs. Julie enjoys volunteering at her children’s school and is active in Children’s Ministries at her church. She lives in North Canton with her husband, Ed, and their children, Kate, Abby, Nathan, Aaron, and Jacob. She states, “I have always known that singing with little ones is lots of fun. Now that I have studied its proven benefits, I am excited to share this program with you and your child.”