Who are our Instructors?
The SPA employs a wide variety of studio instructors. Instructors are chosen for their background of education in their area of instruction as well as their performance experience.
James Graff, a native of Fort Morgan, is the founder and current administrator of The School for the Performing Arts. He first took an interest in music in middle school and went on to develop and refine his talent in high school and college. A classically trained baritone, James performed in several ensembles, choirs, musicals, and madrigals, as well as solo recitals throughout his education. He is best remembered in Fort Morgan for his role as Tevya in the high school musical production of "The Fiddler on the Roof." More recently, he was the male soloist in the April 2009 Glenn Miller music recording which is available on CD.
James earned his Bachelor of Arts in vocal music at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. At Hastings, he was assigned to his accompanist, Letty, whom he married. They have four children. James is the owner of Graff's Turf Farms, Inc. and leads worship at The Sanctuary church in Fort Morgan.
Letty Graff was raised in Bertrand, Nebraska, and has played the piano for almost 30 years. She attended Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska, where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance degree. Letty accompanied various vocal and instrumental ensembles and soloists, including her husband, James Graff, and accompanied numerous concert and recitals. She performed in 3 solo recitals of her own, even mastering Ravel's piano concerto.
James & Letty have four children, and she is worship leader and keyboardist at The Sanctuary. She is also the primary accompanist for the MCC Morgan County Chorale. Letty taught piano lessons in high school and college, then took a sabbatical after her first child was born. She is excited to be teaching for the fourth season at the School for the Performing Arts.
Tertia Cain graduated from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln with a degree in Vocal performance. She has been in several operas, musicals, and stage readings performing a number of roles ranging from Mozart’s enraged “Queen of the Night”, to the comical “Wardrobe” in Beauty and the Beast, to the belting “Frances” in the premier reading of The Burnt Part Boys. She has received numerous honors and awards including two from the Metropolitan Opera Council auditions and 14 from the musical theatre and classical divisions in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions. She is an active soloist in community concerts and performances as well as a leader and member of worship team at her church.
In 2011 and 2012 she was a finalist in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition. She is also Director of the Morgan County Chorale and is a member of NATS.
Tertia is extremely excited to be sharing her love of music with her students at The School for the Performing Arts. She is teaching voice and piano lessons to students of all ages. Tertia is married to Michael, and they have a two daughters, Lynden and Daphne.
Shirley Bowles comes to the School of the Performing Arts with over 30 years of working, teaching and performing in the musical and dramatic arts. A University of Colorado graduate with a degree in Music, Shirley previously maintained a studio of voice, piano and music theory. Former students include James Graff and Jake Bieber.
As a working musician, Shirley has directed the MCC Morgan County Chorale, Singers, Ltd. and the Vocal Vets. She is the Director of Music Ministry at the Fort Morgan United Methodist Church directing the chancel choir, the drama ministry music and is a vocalist with the Praise Team. Shirley is also the choral director of the newly formed MCC Voices on the Plains.
Shirley specializes in teaching students of all ages. She is currently teaching piano, voice and drama at the SPA. She believes it's never too late to study and learn an appreciation and a love for the performing arts as the arts enhance the quality of life.
Professional affiliations include the MCC Center for Arts and Community Enrichment (CACE), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Morgan County Toastmasters and Toastmasters, International.