Meet the instructors:
John Westley Hodges:
John Westley Hodges, a native of New Orleans, has been a Mississippi Gulf Coast resident for the past seven years. John Westley’s love for music began at the age of nine, and he has followed this passion for nearly two decades. As an accomplished musician, he has an amazing talent to learn an instrument within days of picking it up. Though his talent is brilliant, he has found ultimate satisfaction in spreading his knowledge and love for music to the next generation.
Following his love for music, he has performed and directed music at scores of churches; additionally, he has been a self-managing music instructor since 1999. Currently, he is the owner of john westley School of Music in Gulfport, MS, where he and his staff instruct over 200 students per week. When he is not teaching in his studio, he is performing one of his other demanding roles, which includes Choir Master for St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Accompanist for MGCCC Perkinston Campus, and Pianist/Vocalist for Salute Italian Restaurant. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Conference on Music and Liturgy and is on the Bishops Advisory Board for The Mississippi Episcopal Music Council. John Westley also stays involved in the local chapter of the Nation Music Teachers Association; he currently serves as the publicity chair for this organization.
In his limited spare time, he enjoys composing and arranging music, knitting and sewing, photography, painting, and working in the garden.
A native of Indianola
in the heart of in the Mississippi Delta, Elizabeth Adams is the
promotions coordinator for the Island View Casino. A 2007 graduate of
Mississippi University for Women where she was named to the Hall Of Fame,
Elizabeth received a BS in Communications, minoring in theater.
While at MUW she
participated in many collegiate and local theatricals. Elizabeth was a member
of the University Chorale and the pop vocal group New
Horizons. During her 4 year tenure at the W, she elected to take private
vocal and piano instruction. A three year resident of the Gulf
Coast, Elizabeth is excited to join the John Westley School of Music
as the piano and voice instructor.
Dawn Nelson was five years old in 1960 when she learned how to read music. As a child and teenager she took piano lessons very sporadically. In her later twenties, she studied music theory, orchestration, and piano in college, but never devoted the time and energy required to develop the technical skills for truly proficient playing.
In 2005, at age 50 and after Katrina, Dawn decided to do something she had never done before: Practice daily. Daily practice made such a difference that after three years she sought out a teacher to help with her technical development.
Dawn has discovered that one of the best benefits of daily practice is that the order and harmony found in music can be absorbed and related to every other activity and relationship in life.
Julian Wilkey was born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi. Growing up he has played many instruments including: Guitar, Bass, Piano, Voice, Viola, Violin, and Drums. Although he plays multiple instruments, his favorite music is of the Classical and Romantic period. His favorite composer is Beethoven and strives to become as great as him.
Julian has preformed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C with a Gulfport Chamber Orchestra and multiple venues around the gulf coast. Currently, he is working on his Bachelors Degree in Film Scoring through FullSail University located in Winter Park, Florida. He is excited to become the latest addition to the John Westley School of Music family and pass on all the knowlege he has learned through his many years of music.
Khara Molsbee is a native of Long Beach, Mississippi. Recently she
studied at the University of Alabama under the direction of Paul Houghtaling. She received a Bachelor’s
degree in music from the University of South Alabama. There she studied with
Linda Zoghby who continues to encourage her to pursue an opera career. Later
she received a Masters of Music degree from the University of New Orleans.
Khara has performed in several operas at the collegiate level, including,
Carmen, HMS Pinafore, The Medium, Turandot, and The Magic Flute. In September
of 2008, she made her professional opera debut as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus
with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Opera Theater. Khara also solos with various
choruses in Mississippi and Alabama. Currently Khara has moved back to The Gulf
Coast, she is currently taking new voice students and beginner piano students
at the john westley School of Music. Khara is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, one
of two of the nation’s music fraternities for women.
Murakami Carpenter has been studying music, particularly piano since she was five years old. As the daughter of a military family she has experienced many teaching styles and music genres throughout the years. Before spending a year taking college level music courses, Murakami accompanied the Gulf Coast Youth Symphony and Gulf Coast Symphony’s annual Peppermint Pops. She has been a vocal soloist with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis Singers and Coastal Vibrations (Honors Vocal Group). As well as being a member and soloist of the Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus, she has also performed vocally for various acclaimed choir competitions. Additionally, she is an aspiring composer, having composed several small pieces and is currently the accompanist at the First United Methodist Church of Pascagoula where she accompanies and helps lead the choir, soloists and children’s praise groups.
John Gruzinskas grew up in the Bay
St. Louis – Waveland area. He began
playing music when he was 12 at St. Clare’s Elementary, and continued to play
music throughout high school in the St. Stanislaus marching regiment. After marching band, however, is when he
began to realize what he truly loves about music; and that is creating it.
A second passion of his is not just creating
a composition or performing but to produce a recording. He says that learning how to use the software
is like learning a new instrument all over again, and he finds himself at a
dilemma when he has to choose whether to record or practice. Both can be
frustrating but also very rewarding. As
a recent graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and current drummer
of Racecar Racecar, John is extremely excited to and to have the opportunity to
teach along side of john westley School of Music.
john westley School of Music offering private lessons in piano, voice, guitar, clarinet, flute, saxophone, violin, viola, and drums.