Meet Our Instructors for 2022!

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Andrew Small, JAMs Instructor & BRS Enrichment

Currently serving as the Artist-In-Residence for the Crooked Road - Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, Andrew Small is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and composer who holds a master’s degree in music performance from Yale University. He has performed around the world with artists including Sierra Hull, Mandolin Orange, and the North Carolina Symphony, and he performs in the house band for the PBS television show Farm and Fun Time as a member of Bill and the Belles. Andrew’s original music has been featured on recordings, podcasts, and the PBS documentary film, Rock Castle Home, and he was awarded first prize in the bluegrass category at MerleFest’s 29th Annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. An avid performer and proponent of traditional music styles from the Blue Ridge region, Andrew’s old time string band The Alum Ridge Boys & Ashlee won first place at the 85th Annual Old Fiddlers' Convention in Galax, VA and he performs old time, bluegrass, and country music in the duo Ashlee Watkins & Andrew Small.

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Ashlee Watkins, JAMs Instructor & BRS Enrichment

Ashlee Watkins is a singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from New South Wales, Australia who now makes her home in Floyd, VA. Her powerfully unadorned vocals possess a timeless quality that evokes a rare emotional poignance. She has been awarded a number of blue ribbons from fiddlers’ conventions around the southeast for her folk singing and old-time banjo and guitar playing, and in 2021, her string band The Alum Ridge Boys & Ashlee won first place at the 85th Annual Old Fiddlers' Convention in Galax, VA. Ashlee’s music has been featured on recordings, podcasts, and the PBS documentary film Rock Castle Home, and she performs old time, bluegrass, and country music with her duo, Ashlee Watkins & Andrew Small.

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Chesley Mercado, Instructor for JBC Little Ear Worms

Chesley Sigmon Mercado, Ed.D., MT-BC has many years experience sharing music with people both young and old. She was department chair and professor of music therapy at Georgia College & State University for the past 19 years. Her primary instruments are flute, fiddle, guitar and piano. She is passionate about sharing music with others and the friendships that form , the joy it brings, and the learning that takes place in a non-threatening fun environment. Chesley recently moved here with her dog Bella to be closer to her family who are long-time residents of Floyd County.

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Elizabeth Shelor, Lead Violin Instructor for BRS

Elizabeth has been involved with many music organizations in the area, including Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Blacksburg String Quartet and Ensemble, St. John's Music on the Corner, Piedmont Suzuki Ensemble, and CelloFest of Blacksburg. She was a big help in getting the Blue Ridge Strings program started at The June Bug Center, and has been a great asset to this community and students. She is also trained in the Suzuki Method.

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Emily Gruver, Musical Theatre Instructor

Emily received a Bachelor of Arts in both Communications (Media Production) and Theatre. Before working at The June Bug Center, she worked as a video producer at Citizens Cooperative and a News Producer at WDBJ7. She is also co-founder of The Floyd Community Theatre Guild, which is part of The June Bug Center and has directed many of the young actors' productions such as Frozen, Big Bad Musical, Oz the Musical, and many others.

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Mac Traynham, JAMs Instructor

Mac is a master musician that has been a part of the community for years, and has been with the Floyd JAMS program since the beginning. Mac is the owner of custom cabinets, banjos and more since the 1970’s. Through his love for native old-time music for the region, Mac has become a nationally known musician with much to his credit as a player and a teacher of traditional mountain music. 

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Paul Tremblett, Computer & Robotics Instructor

Paul has worked for 25 years in the telecommunications industry. He spent a couple of years writing software for the television advertising industry and then left there and worked for Vonage. After he and his wife moved to Floyd in 2007, he worked at the corporate research center at Virginia Tech for seven years, and then worked three more years from home for a company in Canada. He is the author of three books that have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, and Spanish and that deal with computer programming and software development. He has written numerous articles for technical publications.

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Valerie Moran, Acting Out! & Lego Instructor

Valerie Moran is our lead teacher for the Acting Out program. Valerie has volunteered for many years at The June Bug Center and has been a big part of bringing theatre to young, aspiring actors in our community. She helped start our Acting Out program and is excited to keep our young actors growing!

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Resa Mattson, Improv Instructor

Resa is our Programming Coordinator as well as the Improv instructor. She has always had a soft spot for improv as it is her favorite part of theatre. She has been an assistant as well as an instructor for theatre for over 2 years. She enjoys playing the improv and theater games with the students, helping them use their wacky creativeness to create something they can enjoy.