Heather Gifford
Heather GiffordMusic Teacher

Heather Gifford currently serves as the Music Chair at The Academy, and has been a part of the MSA music faculty since 2013. Originally from Alexandria, VA, she graduated from James Madison University: Bachelor Degree in Music Industry, with a Vocal Performance concentration.  After graduating, she performed professionally for 10+ years: Harrah’s, Las Vegas: Legends in Concert; Tropicana, Atlantic City: Havana After Dark; Holland America Cruise Line; Main Street Theater, Myrtle Beach: Tribute in Concert. She has prior experience in entertainment and event management: Venetian/Palazzo and Planet Hollywood Resorts in Las Vegas; Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor MD. She has Music Directed for ACCT: Seussical the Musical & Guys and Dolls. Heather enjoys performing locally when time allows: Keegan Theater: Chicago (Annie/Velma us); LTA: Legally Blonde (Brooke Wyndam). Heather is honored to be able to share her love for the performing arts and encourage the next generation of performers.

Crystal MosserMusic Teacher
Matthew Nall
Matthew NallMusic Director

Matt Nall is originally from Dallas Texas. He received his Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University and his Masters of Arts from New York University. In New York, he was a professional actor and appeared regionally as Gaston in Beauty in the Beast, Curly in Oklahoma, and Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol as well as others. In 2006 Matt accepted the position as Baritone Vocalist in the United States Army Chorus. For six years he has performed all over the country and for various dignitaries and ambassadors, as well as every living President. Matt has been the Music Director for Metropolitan Fine Arts Center for 5 years.

Julie Navarette
Julie NavaretteMusic Teacher

Julie Payne-Navarrette hails from Hartselle, Alabama, where she studied classical piano for ten years and also took voice lessons. She received a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of North Alabama in 1996. While attending college, she sang in the University Collegiate Singers, served as an accompanist in the music department and for local community events, and also taught private voice and piano lessons at The Linda Young Music Studio. After moving to Washington, D.C., she was interim music minister at National Church of the Nazarene for a year. In 2002, she became a licensed Kindermusik educator and taught for the private music lesson program at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia until 2006. She was musical director for Metropolitan
Performing Arts Theatre’s first performance, Honk, and taught Music Together at MSA for 3 years.

Jarrett Nicolay
Jarrett NicolayMusic Teacher

– Founding / Current Member of Washington DC Bands Virginia Coalition / Astra Via / My New Mixtape”

– Head Engineer at Georgetown Preparatory School North Bethesda MD

– Head Producer / Engineer at Underwater Wonderland Alexandria VA

– I’ve also had music featured in recent films such as “Blue Ruin” and “Waiting: A Documentary”.

Rosemary Perticari
Rosemary PerticariMusic Teacher
Maia Rodriguez
Maia RodriguezMusic Teacher

Maia Rodriguez, graduate of Syracuse University in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, studied theater, music and dance under Rodney Hudson, Gerardine Clark, Lizzie Ingram, David Wanstreet, Marie Kemp and Anthony Salatino. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she was a student of piano for 12 years with the Cleveland Music School Settlement under Mary Louise Emery and vocal performance with the Cleveland Singing Angels, traveling all over the world from the age of 13. She has worked professionally as a singer with Cirque du Soleil, Universal Studios Hollywood & Florida, and Tokyo Disney Sea. Maia has written her own original musicals, Evernight, which has been produced at the San Diego Star Theatre, as well as the Hack & Slash Comedy Christmas Special at the Chesapeake Arts Center. She is honored to serve in the United States Navy Band Sea Chanters as an alto vocalist, and-during her quarantine time-recently received her Yoga Teacher Training Certification after many decades of practice. Maia lives in Waldorf, Maryland with her husband and two children, both of whom have been active participants in the MSA homeschool program under Barbara Schwartz and Diane Spinelli. She believes that fundamentally that all children’s lives can be changed through the arts, and is proud to help facilitate that commitment with MSA’s core values.