CHSMA Welcomes New Faculty: Claire Chatelaine, Dr. Jay Pierson, and Melody Rike!

We are pleased to welcome three excellent teachers to our faculty!

clairec250CLAIRE CHATELAIN (VIOLIN)  Claire received both her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and her Master’s Degree in Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA. She brings to CHSMA a wonderful variety of teaching and performing skills. Most recently, she was a school Orchestra Director in the Roanoke Public Schools where she taught students grades 4-8 daily. Prior to that, she worked with the Virginia Tech String Project, where she served as a master teacher, working with students aged 9-18 and mentoring student teachers and arranging for and providing performances for the community.

She was also Director of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra After-School Program, where she developed curriculum, including theory and technique, led rehearsals and took students out in the community for performance opportunities. Claire is a deeply committed teacher who is comfortable working with students of all ages and is passionate about expanding their technique, their ensemble work and their love of the arts.


jaypDR. JAY PIERSON (VOICE) Jay has had a successful and fulfilling career as an educator, singer, conductor, pianist, harpist, and composer, spanning almost three decades. Former Head of the Voice Department and Opera Workshop at Bucknell University, (where he was awarded the Harold and Gladys Cook Award for Excellence in Teaching), former Associate Professor of Music at the School of Music at East Carolina University, and former Adjunct Voice Faculty at Santa Clara University and UNC-CH, Pierson has taught studio voice, diction, song literature, opera history, voice pedagogy, and conducting at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has presented master classes in vocal technique at many colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Jay holds a B.M.E degree from Olivet College, and the M.M. and D.M.A. in Voice Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music.

He debuted in NYC in Handel’s “Imeneo” at Merkin Hall with a subsequent solo recital at Carnegie Hall with pianist Robert Spillman. Jay has appeared as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Prince William Symphony, Washington DC Bach Consort, Buffalo Philharmonic, and the North Carolina Symphony. He has also sung lead and comprimario roles with Austin Lyric Opera,  Rochester Opera Theatre, Opera Under the Stars, Coastal Carolina Opera, Brighton Light Opera, Art Park Opera, White Iris Light Opera, and Meredith Opera, and was on the faculty of the Bach Aria Group at SUNY-Stonybrook.  In 1992 he toured Greece singing concerts of American Music and teaching at the State Music Conservatory of Thessoloniki, sponsored by the US Information Services and Fulbright Scholar Program.

Jay’s musical theater credits include Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls”, Padre in “Man of LaMancha”, Gangster in “Kiss me Kate”, Frank Butler in “Annie Get your Gun”, Matt in “The Fantasticks”, and Paul in the world premiere of the new musical “Stay With Me”.  Jay loves teaching students of all voice types and interests and is looking forward to working with students at CHSMA.


Melodyr250MELODY RIKE (VIOLA, VIOLIN) Melody’s viola studies began in Chicago at Northwestern University, after which she continued with the Chicago Symphony’s Principle violist, Milton Preves, until accepting a job with the Orquesta Symphonica de Xalapa in Mexico. She next studied in NYC at the Manhattan School of Music with imminent violist Paul Doktor and lastly, with Nobuko Imai, another premier violist.

Her first years were involved with orchestral performance, freelance work, and teaching. With Chicago Symphony she had the privilege of playing with some of the most talented musicians in the country and in the Chicago Chamber Orchestra she served as Assistant Principle Violist for over a decade while simultaneously maintaining a full roster of Suzuki violin students. Next, in SC she was a founding board member for the Long Bay Symphony and founder and violist in the Upton String Quartet, a South Carolina Arts Council approved project, where she toured the state introducing young people to classical music. In addition to these activities, she led a busy family life, taught a full roster of students, and played two seasons in Charleston Symphony.

She is still passionate about violin and viola education and believes that it is never too late to learn something new. Her students are taught in a warm, supportive, and welcoming environment and she particularly enjoys working with motivated adults or high school students no matter the level.