First Baptist Music Academy Director
Steve Allen has been the music director/assistant pastor at First Baptist Church of Troy and the band director at Bethany Christian School for 38 years. In 1977 Mr. Allen graduated from Maranatha Baptist University with a BS in both Bible and Music Education. He went on to receive a MA in Sacred Music from Bob Jones University in 1979. In May of 2005 he received an honorary doctoral degree in music from Bob Jones University.
Mr. Allen is a member of the National Association for Music Education. He directs the church choir and orchestra and oversees the worship services at First Baptist Church of Troy. He is the junior high and senior high band director at Bethany Christian School. In addition, he directs the percussion ensemble and teaches private music lessons. He also oversees all church and school/music academy activities. He has been a guest clinician and adjudicator at various state band and choir festivals. He has participated in music camps and conferences around the world. He has taught private lessons for 44 years. His desire is to help develop musicians who will glorify God with their talents by serving with their musical gifts in the local church. His greatest satisfaction has been training and encouraging over 50 graduates to major and minor in music. Most of whom are now teaching in schools and universities across the country.
First Baptist Music Academy Administrator and Elementary Orchestra Director
Kimmy Allen received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Bob Jones University (2008) and her graduate degree in Violin Performance from Wayne State University (2014). Ms. Allen has enjoyed teaching violin and piano for over 10 years. She has had the privilege to teach, perform and direct string groups in Singapore, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, New York City and Chicago. In addition to private instruction in violin and piano, she particularly likes overseeing the activities of the First Baptist Music Academy, along with directing the wonderful students in the elementary orchestra. She is passionate about passing on the love and knowledge that is involved in learning music to the next generation of musicians. Outside of teaching, Ms. Allen loves to spend time with family and friends, travel to other countries and go to art museums.
Brass, Woodwind & Kindermusik Faculty
Jacqui Allen has been sharing her love of teaching and passion for music with students for over 35 years. She loves connecting with her students, and she tailors each lesson to meet the students’ needs and goals. She has a Music Education degree from Maranatha Baptist University and is a licensed Kindermusik educator. Mrs. Allen is a devoted wife and active in the music ministry of First Baptist Church of Troy.
Jacqui has traveled extensively as a guest performer and teacher in countries such as Singapore, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. She was also assistant principal horn in the Lacrosse Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Elgin Symphony in suburban Chicago. Combined with her education, years of experience as a band director, and participation as a church musician, Jacqui brings a well-rounded perspective to teaching most band instruments. Her expertise equips her to prepare serious students for college auditions and allows her to teach children in a way that solidifies technique while naturally exploring the joy of music.
Carla has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a music minor from Bob Jones University. Carla has been teaching piano since 1987. Mozart is her favorite Classical musician. Carla views music as a gift from God to be used for His glory, and she desires for her students to enjoy music for a lifetime. One of my favorite sayings is “Music is more than just notes on a page!” Carla’s favorite music pun: “Why couldn’t the string quartet find their composer? Because he was Haydn (hidin’).”
Elementary MACS Coordinator
Lydia Mieczkowski coordinates the Elementary MACS fine arts event hosted at Bethany Christian School. I have run Elementary MACS for 5 years and also accompany students for various events during the school year.
Cello and Piano Faculty
Melody Mieczkowski started music studies at a young age; even singing in her crib was a favorite activity! She has been privileged to work under a number of skilled and dedicated conductors, teachers, and musicians, and her private instructors included Anthony Elliott (cello), professor at the University of Michigan, and Rebecca Harding Mayer (piano), graduate from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has taken Suzuki registered training in piano and cello for Books 1 and 2 with seasoned teachers Jean Dexter/Carey Cheney (cello) and Caroline Fraser/Rita Hauck (piano).
Melody enjoys the friendly and supportive atmosphere at FBMA along with the holistic focus on music education for the whole family. She has been teaching private piano and cello lessons since 2008. Melody attributes much of her heart for music to her parents' influence. They faithfully took her to concerts, consistently scheduled lessons and practice, and played classical music so frequently that as a young child, she thought the Beethoven violin sonatas were the only thing the radio would air! Speaking of sonatas, chamber music is her first love (Brahms Piano Trio in B major, anyone?!). Making music with family, friends, and students is a priceless gift she is thrilled to pass on to the next generation!
Brenda Needham received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, and a Masters of Music. She is a certified Suzuki Violin instructor, up through Level 4. She has been a private strings instructor and orchestra director for over 30 years. She also conducts the Alpha Orchestra at the Orion String Camp each summer. As a string teacher, Brenda's emphases are good technique and intonation. She is passionate about her students developing a love for music and also about finding ways to use their music in service to others, especially through the church. Besides music, Brenda enjoys writing, reading, camping, and spending time with her family. She is married and has four children.
Secondary School Choral Director, Private Voice Instructor, and Private Violin Instructor
John Swedberg has taught music for over 15 years. John is excited for his second year teaching violin and voice lessons at First Baptist Music Academy! As well as giving private lessons, John also directs several choirs at Bethany Christian School and is the music director for the Troy Metro Symphony Orchestra. He enjoys making music in many different ways and loves teaching at the academy because his students all have different musical interests!
Mr. Swedberg has an MM degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. While at Westminster, John was able to work with many excellent conductors and perform in places like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He has performed with groups including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and VOCES8. In addition, John has a BS in Sacred Music from Faith Baptist Bible College and an MA in Theology from Central Baptist Theological Seminary. John’s favorite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach, and one of his musical dreams is to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor! When he is not teaching, John enjoys reading books, playing soccer, watching football, and cheering for the Detroit Tigers.
Amy received her Bachelor degree in Piano Pedagogy and she has taught at First Baptist Music Academy since 1991. Amy loves teaching piano, and she enjoys seeing the progress each student makes. To her, what is so interesting about private music lessons is the different ways that individual students grow their musical skills. Amy instructs all levels of piano. While instructing in very traditional styles, Amy strives to keep a balance with teaching repertoire as well as theory. She appreciates and admires the influence that her own teachers have had on her musical journey, and she strives to be an encouragement to her students to be all they can be.
Lucy Alessio is a violinist and educator based in metro Detroit. She has been teaching violin privately since 2011, and was trained as a Suzuki teacher at the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Lucy teaches students of varying ages and levels, from two years old to adulthood, and she is committed to giving each student a musical experience that is tailored to their needs and learning style. Lucy is deeply invested in the Michigan musical community. She is a member of the Flint Symphony Orchestra and regularly performs with other symphonies in the area. She is currently a Master's candidate and will be completing her M.M. in violin performance at Wayne State University in 2021. Besides making music, Lucy enjoys fitness, cooking, and writing poetry.