Upbeat Colorado has been providing access to classical music to a wide range of communities since 2001, with a focus on underserved areas. Our 501c3 has brought numerous performances to schools, churches, day care centers, retirement homes, hospitals, and coffee houses. Upbeat Colorado is proud to announce our plan to offer scholarships for high quality music lessons to students from low income families.
the University of Texas at Austin and a masters degree in Music Education from the
University of Colorado Boulder. She began playing piano at the age of 4 at the Yamaha
Music School in Albuquerque, New Mexico and violin at the age of 10 with Strelsa Burks in
Austin, Texas. During her time at the University of Texas she studied with Dr. Eugene
Gratovich and while she was a CU Boulder she studied with Hurumi Rhodes. She has
received teacher training certification through the Suzuki Association of the Americas with
Christie Felsing, Susan Baer, Ed Kreitman, and Mark Mutter.
Priscilla has had experience teaching a wide range of students in a variety of settings. She
has taught Orchestra, Mariachi and music elective courses at the middle school and high
school level in public schools. She has also maintained a private studio throughout her
teaching career, primarily using the Suzuki method. She then had the opportunity to teach
at the university level when she taught the String Tech and String Pedagogy courses at CU
Boulder as a graduate level TA.
Priscilla’s background is very unique in that she is considered a “nikkei”. In other words,
Priscilla is of Japanese descent, but ethnically influenced by Peruvian culture. Her parents
are both Japanese, but grew up in Peru, and so both cultures a large part of Priscilla’s
upbringing. For this reason, her first language was Spanish and grew up speaking and
hearing that language regularly.
This background has heavily influenced Priscilla’s teaching and performance. She enjoys
working with students that come from minority and underrepresented communities. As she
had similar struggles navigating a system so different than one her parents grew up with.
She also performs with Las Dahlias, an all-female group that performs primarily mariachi
Today, Priscilla teaches at Sunset Middle School in the St. Vrain Valley School District. She
primarily teaches Orchestra, but has also grown the mariachi program at Sunset and has
helped start mariachi programs at three schools, with two more programs starting in the
next school year.
Sarah Biber has played the cello and viola da gamba across the United States, Australia, and China. She studied the cello at Oberlin Conservatory with Peter Rejto, and then at the Sydney Conservatorium with Georg Pederson, where she performed in the Opera House with the Sydney Symphony and as a member of the Sydney Sinfonia, the training orchestra of the Symphony. After returning from Australia, she founded, directed, and taught the string orchestra program at KIPP DC: AIM Academy, a charter school in the Anacostia neighborhood of DC, at the time, grades 5-8. Sarah received her last degree, a Doctorate of Musical Arts in cello performance, at Stony Brook under renowned cellist Colin Carr. From 2010 to 2011, she was an assistant professor of cello performance and pedagogy at Montana State University, teaching music theory and string pedagogy to future music educators and founded Second Strings, an orchestra based in DC of adult amateur string players and Hill Harmony, an organization providing string classes and instruments to public schools in SE DC. Since 2015 Sarah has lived, performed, and taught in Colorado. She lives in Golden with her partner Keith Bradley, their two daughters, three cats and a parakeet named birdie.
Advisory Board Members
After being “on the road” for many years, Mike came home to work in Colorado, using the skills and experience he’s gained to contribute to community change and community innovation with the Denver Foundation.
Mike was the training director of the ABCD Institute’s Neighborhood Circle for four years. This was a learning partnership of twenty community organizations across North America, formed to explore “what works’” for community building. With Henry Moore, John McKnight, and Jody Kretzmann, Mike founded the ABCD Training Group in 1997, which offered training, consultation, and workshops for over ten years. Mike Green, Henry Moore and John O’Brien have published a book and DVD about ABCD implementation for successful community partnerships: “When People Care Enough To Act: ABCD In Action” (published by Inclusion Press, Toronto, 2007.) The book is about community partnerships that work with residents at the center.
Mike Green grew up in a small Texas town and has lived in Denver for many years. He is most importantly married to Carol Rankin, the founder of Upbeat Colorado, and has one grown child, Annie. Mike’s present framework for practice came from three key life experience areas: community organizing, social work and business. He has community organizing experience developing neighborhood resident organizations, congregation based organizations, and community partnerships among neighborhoods and agencies to address social and economic issues. Mike had the opportunity to work in Denver for Metropolitan Organizations for People, now known as Together Colorado, two times from 1984 to 1988.
Mike has also worked in business having started three different successful companies, He has experience in business development, marketing, organizational development, and management. Mike was a licensed clinical social worker (L.C.S.W.) for 20 years and worked as a family therapist. Mike has worked as a social worker in human services, public welfare, mental health and schools. Mike helped start one of the first charter schools in Colorado, P.S. 1.
A key question often asked in Mike’s work is “How can helping agencies, local government, and schools shift from offering “service to clients” towards offering both services AND support for “citizen action?” He believes it takes both good programs and organized community members to solve most community problems today.
Much of Mike’s work is about the question of building more inclusive welcoming communities: How do marginalized clients move to being valued, contributing members of the community? Mike’s inclusion work has a focus on two related issues: organizing local residents in everyday life for inclusion of more isolated people; and helping service provider agencies get organized to support these local community groups in their work for community inclusion. Mike’s daughter, Annie, is a person with cognitive disabilities who inspires his work.
Mike wants to contribute in Colorado working on the necessities of a good life that only more organized local communities can achieve: health, safety, a good environment, stronger local economy, well being of children and families, access to the arts and affordable food.
All families and children need the opportunity for art and music in their lives. Mike feels that Upbeat Colorado is so important because it recognizes that beautiful music and high quality music education must be available to all people.
Sydelle Buyungo, Student volunteer