The Gallery Performing Arts School 113 West First Street, Dixon, IL 61021 815/285-4924  

Broadening each student's exposure to the many facets of the Arts through Master Classes,
    workshops and performances by professional teachers and musicians.

Lauren Canitia, is a graduate from the Conservatory of Music at Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL), where she earned a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Pedagogy. She teaches Suzuki and traditional violin and viola, and has worked extensively with the Suzuki program at the Community School of the Arts at Wheaton College. Lauren is certified in the Suzuki Method and Musikgarten, and is an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

She has studied violin with Wei-Shu Wang Co, Paul Zafer and Lee Joiner, and did her Suzuki training with Rebecca Sandrok and Nancy Jackson. While teaching violin to young children, Lauren often incorporates her Musikgarten training. Although Lauren's passion is teaching, she has performed all over the Chicago area at various churches and in orchestras such as the Fox Valley Orchestra and Chicagoland Pops Orchestra.

Constance Deal

Constance Deal, violin, began her musical training in Hickory, North Carolina. Her summers were spent in study at Brevard Music Camp, Brevard, North Carolina and later at the National Music Camp, Interlochen, Michigan. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in violin performance from Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina. She studied with Varton Manoogian, Jeri Lucktenburg, Gabriel Pegas, and Louise Polay.

Ms. Deal is a registered Suzuki violin teacher with the American Suzuki Association. She teaches ages 2 ½ and up in the Annawan, Geneseo, Peru (at MUSIC SUITE 408).

Ms. Deal is an active member of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly at local churches and community functions. She is a founding member of the Piano Trio Music to Remember which performs at weddings and special occassions. She and her students have performed the National Anthem at games for the Peoria Chiefs Baseball team and the Peoria Rivermen Hockey team, recitals at the Hegeler Carus Mansion (LaSalle), the Reddick Mansion (Ottawa), Jeremiah Joes Coffee shop in Ottawa, and not to leave out her "Violins on Tour" at Christmas at nursing homes in the LaSalle-Peru area and the Geneseo Christmas Walk.

Ashley Fitzwater, violinist, is a teacher and performer in the Chicago area. She was appointed concertmaster of the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2011, and holds a Master’s degree from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University, both in Violin Performance. Ashley has studied with Mathias Tacke, Richard Young, John Harrison, and Nancy Luttrell. Before moving to Illinois, Ashley was a member of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and she performed occasionally with the Wichita Grand Opera. She has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Brevard Music Festival. Throughout her career, she has been an active chamber musician.

Ashley maintains a private studio in the Sycamore, Batavia, La Salle-Peru, and Dixon areas. Ashley is an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and is also trained to teach Music Together classes, and does so, in Sycamore and in the Elmhurst area.

Ashley Mekeel

Ashley Mekeel, holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in Piano Performance with an emphasis in Collaborative Piano.  She also received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in Music Education and Piano Performance.  Ashley was an active piano accompanist/collaborator in the Iowa City area during her college years.  Her major teachers have included Dr. Rene Lecuona, Shari Rhoads, and Christine Rutledge. Ashley is a registered piano teacher through the Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program. In June 2012, Ashley had ten students successfully pass the piano exam, enrolling from the preparatory level through level 7.

In addition to being employed by Viva! Performing Arts School, Ashley is employed by Illinois Valley Community College as the adjunct faculty piano instructor, and as a piano instructor at Fox River Academy of Music and Art, Inc. in Oswego.  In Ashley's spare time, she enjoys collaborating with vocalists. 


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