Popplers Music Lesson Program
*Grand Forks Location
Popplers Music offers a semester-based lesson program featuring weekly, 30-minute lessons. 60-minute lessons are available upon request. Our semesters loosely follow our public school calendar, although the number of weeks per semester will vary. Students may join the program at any point in time. The fall and spring semesters will feature a recital to cap off the season, and while it is optional, it is highly encouraged to participate! Lesson fees are determined by each teacher, ranging between $20 and $26/half hour and all lessons occur during regular store hours. Please contact the store for further details!
Our Lesson Instructors
Shelley Bares (Voice / Piano) since August 2016
Shelley grew up in Grand Forks and earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and vocal pedagogy from UND in 1976 and completed her master’s degree at the University of St. Thomas in 2001. Outside of her music life, Shelley enjoys gardening, time with her kids and grandkids, and being at the lake. In college, Shelley spent two summers studying abroad in Norway!
Spencer Black (Guitar / Bass Guitar / Piano / Alto Sax) since August 2015
Spencer grew up in Devils Lake, ND and attended Lake Region State College and the University of North Dakota, studying music education, music theory and composition, and criminal justice. Outside of his music life, Spencer enjoys crocheting. He is also a second degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do!
Mike Blake (Percussion) since May 2019
Mike grew up in Marion, ND and attended the University of North Dakota, earning a bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis in percussion in 1974 and his master’s degree in 1976. He also studied privately with Marv Dahlgren, principal percussionist of the Minnesota Orchestra. Outside of his music life, Mike enjoys practicing, going to movies, and practicing (no, that’s not a typo!). He was fortunate to receive a donor heart over 25 years ago!
Katie Cermak (Flute / Piano) since September 2020
Katie grew up in Mandan, ND and currently attends the University of North Dakota, where she is studying flute performance. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2023. When not playing flute, Katie loves to go on walks with her dog, Sadie. She apparently likes to get her hands dirty too as she used to work at a hands-on science museum!
Allison Cox (Piano) since August 2019
Allison grew up in Park River, ND and currently attends the University of North Dakota, pursuing a degree in music. She intends to graduate in 2023. Outside of her music life, Allison enjoys riding horses, reading, and spending time with family. That can be a tall task as she has seven siblings and 10 nieces and nephews!
Angela Erickson (Piano) since February 2016
Angela grew up in Christine, ND and attended the University of North Dakota, earning her degree in elementary education in 2010. Outside of her music life, Angela enjoys reading, watching movies, playing piano and blogging about entertainment. She was on the news the day she was born, but no one was there to blog about it!
James Flores (Guitar) since January 2022
James comes to us from the Lone Star State, specifically Corpus Christi, Texas. He moved to Grand Forks at the age of 10 and currently attends the University of North Dakota, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in guitar. He plans to graduate in the fall of 2022. When James isn't studying, you can find him exercising, playing video games, or watching movies. Because of Mick Jagger’s incredible longevity, James has been able to see one of his favorite bands live in concert three times!
Ana Galdavadze (Violin / Viola) since August 2021
Ana comes to us from Tbilisi, Georgia (country) and currently attends the University of North Dakota, where she is studying violin performance under Dr. Alejandro Drago. She also holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Tbilisi V. Sarajishvili State Conservatoire and Siblelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. When she is not making music, Ana loves to travel and has been to many countries, where she enjoys getting to know locals, listening to their life stories, and embracing their culture. Speaking of culture, she enjoys cooking and loves inviting people to taste her dishes!
Josh Gratton (Piano / Alto Sax) since January 2017
Josh grew up in Langdon, ND and attended the University of North Dakota, earning degrees in music and business in 2017. Outside of his music life, Josh enjoys listening to podcasts, spending time with friends and family, and working out. Josh was once chased by a ram in Glacier National Park! Thankfully he wasn’t hurt.
Emily Hedstrom (Piano) since August 2021
Emily grew up in the Twin Cities (yes, she misses the 10,000 lakes!) and is attending the University of North Dakota as a graduate student in the counseling psychology program. She plans to graduate in the summer of 2022. When Emily isn't studying, you can find her outdoors riding a bike or cartwheeling on a good day. She is currently learning how to play the guitar!
Aleksandre Khatiskatsi (Violin / Viola) since January 2021
Aleksandre (Sasha) grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country) and is currently working on his graduate teaching assistantship at the University of North Dakota, having completed his bachelor’s degree in Tbilisi and master’s in Oslo, Norway. When Sasha is not making music, he enjoys travel photography (39 countries and counting!) and learning languages (he’s fluent in Georgian, Russian, and English). He considers himself a photo and tech geek, fixing his own electronics!
Alex Lieb (Cello) since November 2018
Alex grew up in Kearney, NE and attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, earning her degree in cello performance in 2018. Outside of her music life, Alex enjoys hiking, traveling, and cycling. Speaking of cycling, she has toured on her bicycle over 2,500 miles in the past five years!
Erika Pelach (Voice) since January 2021
Erika comes to us from Two Harbors, MN and currently attends the University of North Dakota, where she is studying vocal music education. She plans to graduate in May of 2022. When she is not making music, Erika likes to play video games, embroider, spend time with her pit bull Nugget and cat Mowgli, and go on road trips. Speaking of road trips, she once drove to Irvine, CA. That’s a 27-hour drive!
Amber Sickler (Piano) since January 2022
Amber spent her youth in Glendive, Montana and after a two-year stint at Dickinson State University, is now attending the University of North Dakota, where she is studying music education. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2024. When Amber isn't studying, you can find her playing video games or on the hardcourt with the UND Tennis Club. In 2020, she spent a week dressing up and taking part in the Miss Montana pageant! While it was sometimes stressful, she still enjoyed every second of it.
Jenna Tullis (Piano) since January 2020
Jenna grew up in Sauk Centre, MN and attended the University of North Dakota, earning degrees in music therapy and piano performance in 2016. She also has a Master of Science in music therapy from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Outside of her music life, Jenna enjoys cooking, knitting, reading, camping, and spending time with friends and family, including her Irish twin, who is 364 days younger than her!
Tyler York (F Horn) since June 2021
Tyler spent part of his childhood moving from town to town in northwest Minnesota, eventually going to high school and graduating from May-Port CG in Mayville, ND. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of North Dakota in 2006. When Tyler is not making music, he enjoys hunting (mostly bow hunting for deer, but he does also enjoy rifle and muzzleloader deer hunting and waterfowl hunting). Tyler is also one of the repair technicians here at Popplers!