The Rock Box Music School & Stage prides itself on a professional staff of teachers who have real-world experience in the music industry. From world tours, pro studio sessions and years of on-stage experience, our teachers have what it takes to get you to the next level.
Angel Bartolotta – Creator, Co-Owner, Teacher: Drums, World Percussion
Angel Bartolotta (aka Andrew Bartolotta) has been playing drums his whole life. From a kid banging on pots and pans, to a studio session drummer and hired-gun, touring The United States, Canada, Germany, France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Angel has devoted his entire life to the art of music.
Angel has over 80 credits in his discography. He is best known as the drummer for Dope (who’s album “No Regrets” debuted at #88 on the Billboard 200), Genitorturers, industrial rock pioneers PIG, Crossbreed, Switched, the iconic punk band The Undead and many other bands, as well as being an Artist on the DW Drums, PDP Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads and ProMark Drumsticks rosters. He is also the founder of Team Cybergeist, a collaborative music project featuring over 100 musicians from all around the world. In the Summer of 2018, Angel was chosen as one of the drummers to perform in the Volumes exhibit at The Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida.
Angel has a true passion for teaching. He has been teaching private lessons, group lessons, online lessons, and drum clinics/workshops for just under twenty years with students from 2 years old to 80+. He has released five instructional books and one DVD. He is also the creator of The Dinosaur Method, an easy-to-use lesson plan for kids. Angel is a member of the DW Drums Department of Education, the D’Addario Education Collective, and a certified member of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.). He specializes in beginner lessons, but also works with intermediate and advanced players who are looking to learn something new.
In 2016, Angel and his wife Sally opened The Rock Box Music School & Stage; a place where growing musicians can learn how to play an instrument, perform live on stage and record in a real studio.
With over twenty years of drumming experience, world touring and major studio sessions under his belt, Angel offers much more than the average drum instructor!
For more info on Angel Bartolotta, please visit www.angelbartolotta.com.
Contact us for lessons with Angel!
Sally Bartolotta – Co-Owner
Ray Rogers – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin
Ray Rogers was fortunate enough to have gone to school in a small town where music was part of the standard curriculum. From kindergarten to sixth grade, he had music class twice a week. In junior high and high school he was in the school band and participated in choir and theatre. He was also actively participating in a local church choir as well. In college, he took piano. Ray has been teaching now for about nine years.
Music is an essential part of Ray’s life. He believes music is the last tangible magic left in society. In 1988, he got a guitar as a Christmas gift. Building from what he learned in school, Ray taught himself how to play guitar. At 16 he started playing in bands outside of school. He continues to this day to play in bands such as The Sunsets and Rapid Fire. Ray has played in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and several towns and cities in Illinois. He has played in front of crowds that numbered in the thousands and was fortunate enough to open for national acts such as Theory of a Deadman, Halestorm, and Copper.
Ray taught a few people here and there in the late nineties. Nine years ago he started teaching again and it became his full time job. He has given private lessons at his home as well as local Sprigfield, Illinois music stores. Prior to moving to Florida, Ray taught at Rolens Brothers Music and Daddy O’s Music Shack. Both are located in Springfield Illinois. He taught every walk of life. Children, businessmen, soldiers, mailmen, and politicians to name but a few. A few of his students have tried out for “American Idol” and one student even made it onto “America’s Got Talent”.
Ray teaches an esoteric method based on numbers. If you can read an analog clock, know how many days are in a week, and how many months are in a year, you can learn music. He uses these foundations, that we were all taught from a very young age, to put music into perspective for the students. This works with all ages. Over the years he has refined his method to be as simplistic as possible. The three primary principles Ray teaches are Pattern, Degree, and Pitch (note names). The three primary attributes of music are Sense, Control, and Alter. He can teach students how to read music and understand musical notation. (Staff, clef, note duration, tempo, etc.)
Seeing students excel at their instrument of choice is most rewarding for Ray. His goal is to help students understand music so deeply that they can play any instrument they want. They need to know two things about their instrument. 1) How the instrument is tuned, and 2) how to get sound out of the instrument.
“Mistakes are a prerequisite for learning” Ray says. “They have to be made in order to learn what is correct.”
Contact us for lessons with Ray!
Savannah Brady – Teacher: Voice, Violin, Viola, Fiddle, Banjo, Cello, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Piano
Savannah Brady, noted as a “musical prodigy” by the North Port Sun, is an accomplished musician with years of performance experience. She can play just about anything with strings, from violin to guitar! Savannah is currently enrolled in Berklee College of Music online. She had the honor of playing three consecutive years with the Suncoast Super Strings under the direction of Itzhak Perlman. Savannah is a member of the Gamble Creek band led by Kim Betts (daughter of the legendary Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers Band) where she and the band had the opportunity to open for Blue Oyster Cult, Wynonna Judd, Marshall Tucker, and Lonestar. She also fronts her own band, The Savannah Brady Band, playing guitar and singing classic rock, country & originals. Savannah believes that she gives a unique teaching experience due to the fact that she is classically trained, and also has real world experience performing. Savannah is excited and honored to teach, giving opportunity to pass on her knowledge and help each student find their voice.
Contact us for lessons with Savannah!
Jess Guarino has had a love for music since childhood. She started taking piano lessons at the age of 5 and continued through middle school, then was self-taught until starting lessons again in high school, along with beginning voice lessons. She graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University (now known as Carin University) with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and earned over 50 credits of music in the Church Music Program, as well as trained privately in piano and voice. Jess has been involved in worship teams, choirs, ensembles, and even a few musicals from elementary school through college. She now teaches at The Rock Box and volunteers occasionally on the worship team at First Alliance Church.
Contact us for lessons with Jess!
Joe Westall – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo
Joe Westall has always had a love for music. When he was 9 years old, his parents started him with piano lessons and he instantly fell in love with the classics (Bach, Mozart, Handel, Chopin, Beethoven). At the age of 14, he found his new love. The guitar! His mom rented his first acoustic guitar for a few months until she saw that he was dedicated to the instrument, and on his 15th birthday, his father bought him his first electric guitar. With his parents #1 rule of keeping his grades up, Joe was fortunate enough to lock himself in his room for hours at a time honing in on his craft. At 16, Joe started playing with metal and experimental rock bands until the mid nineties when he created his first group, Tao. After a five year run of playing in front of thousands of people and two studio albums, he departed to spend time raising his two sons here in North Port, Florida. After years of a so-called “retirement”, he decided to jump back into the music scene to start his current band, Kadaver Dolls, who has shared the stage with Hed P.E, Wayne Static of Static X, Mushroomhead, Periphery, Born of Osiris, Audiotopsy (members from Mudvayne), and Superjoint Ritual (with Phil Anselmo of Pantera) to name a few. When it comes to teaching, Joe customizes every lesson to each individual student. “Everyone has that passion inside them!”
Contact us for lessons with Joe!
Kirstie Weaver – Teacher: Drums
Kirstie Weaver has been a member of The Rock Box family since the beginning, when she helped with painting and construction before the business officially opened in 2016. She would later become our Executive Office Assistant. Kirstie has studied drums and percussion under Angel Bartolotta (creator of The Rock Box) since early 2014. She was the first of his students to successfully complete the So You Want To Be A Drummer and Double Bass Boot Camp lesson courses, and has her own hybrid rudiment featured in RudiMENTAL Madness, the latest book from AB Drum Lessons. “As a teacher myself, I’m super proud of Kirstie for stepping up and taking the leap into the world of teaching” says Angel Bartolotta. “She has a calming laid-back teaching style, which is perfect for a creative and educational experience. I’m really excited for her students. They’re going to learn a lot!”
Contact us for lessons with Kirstie!
Tim Ferguson – Teacher: Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone
Tim Ferguson recently moved to Florida from New York, where he was a school band director for 15+ years. He has played in drum corps, funk/rock bands, pit orchestras, big bands, and has done some solo work of his own. He has a Bachelors Degree in Music Education, a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, and is a certified music teacher in New York and Florida. Aside from teaching at The Rock Box, Tim is also the band director at Garden Elementary School in Venice as well as the Director of Education for the Venice Symphony and the Venice Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Contact us for lessons with Tim!
Kelsey Mace – Teacher: Voice, Piano
Some of Kelsey Mace’s earliest memories are from when she was a little girl, playing around on her grandmothers piano. She has always been a singer, making up songs for fun from a young age. When she turned 7, she started taking piano and voice lessons and carried that on through high school where she played in every band class possible. She was the singer/pianist for her schools Jazz Band, singing songs by Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. Music has always been her passion. It’s how she expresses herself. As a teacher, she loves to pass her musical experience to young people as a way for them to feel proud, creative, and accomplished.
Contact us for lessons with Kelsey!
Bobby Saracino – Teacher: Guitar, Bass Guitar
Bobby Saracino was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. He started playing guitar at the age of 9 and quickly developed a strong love for music, deep rooted in blues and psychedelic rock n’ roll. He was involved in music all throughout high school, learning to sight read and heavily utilizing his ability of improvisation. As well as teaching his own private lessons outside of school, he was most well known as being the guitarist and vocalist of the north Sarasota rock n’ roll band The Cast Iron, best known for their cover of the classic song “Summertime Blues” that made made airtime on 105.9 The Buzz. Bobby has played with Donald “Duck” Dunn, Dickey Betts (of The Allman Brothers Band), and opened for the legendary punk band The Evil Streaks. He has over fourteen years of playing experience and specializes in technique, soloing, and rhythm guitar.
Contact us for lessons with Bobby!
Ricky Zaffuto – Teacher: Voice, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele
Ricky Zaffuto paved his musical path at a young age, surrounded with classical music, jazz, and funk. His musical background began in fifth grade with his elementary school choir. Staying involved in choir quickly led to other musical endeavors as he took on piano and guitar. As his teachers pushed him to become more involved, he began assisting other students and developed a new passion. A love for teaching! Since then, he has taken his talents to start teaching in the community from reading and writing music to just straight up jamming! Giving the gift of music is giving a gift for life.
Contact us for lessons with Ricky!
Dave Stark – Teacher: Drums
From a very early age, Dave Stark was always drawn to music. He started to play the guitar when he was 5 years old. That’s where his musical journey started. Dave’s cousins had a bunch of instruments in their basement and he was drawn to the drums every single time he visited them. He was hooked from the very first notes. Dave started his formal education on drums at age 7. Growing up on Long Island, he had a wealth of great teachers to study from, and he took full advantage of that opportunity. Some of the teachers he was blessed to study with are as follows: Jim Chapin, Dom Famularo, Jerry Ricci, Al Miller, Franke Malabe, Gary Chaffee, Gary Chester, John Ramsey, and Alan Dawson. After attending Berklee College of Music on a scholarship, Dave returned to NY to continue his studies and entered into the NYC playing scene. He studied with every great drummer who he could get a lesson with and quickly filled up his calendar with sessions and gigs. At that time Dave also started teaching. First at the Long Island Drum center, then eventually in NYC. In 1988 Dave was approached by DDrum to become a clinician. He was soon traveling the world doing clinics for them. He was also approached by Zildjian to be one of their artists and his career was now in full bloom. Since that time Dave has played countless sessions and gigs around the globe. Mostly moving around between NY, Atlanta, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Florida. He has also become a much sought after teacher and clinician, teaching many top pros who seek out his advice, guidance and mentoring. These days he keeps a very active schedule touring, recording, as well as teaching privately, in University’s, and doing clinics/workshops on drumming and careers in music. Dave is also a board member of the Drum Set Committee for The Percussive Arts Society.
Contact us for lessons with Dave!
Hallie Baltes – Office Assistant
Hallie Baltes recently moved to North Port from Ohio. As a graduate of NPHS, she plans to go to college to study Psychology. Although she doesn’t play any instruments, Hallie still appreciates good music and art.
Alaina Puza – Office Assistant
Alaina Puza joined our staff in the Summer of 2018. Aside from working the front desk on Side B, she also takes lessons for voice, guitar, and drums at The Rock Box.
Beth Miller – Office Assistant
Beth Miller loves rock music. She is currently taking voice and drum lessons at The Rock Box.
Chase Delorenzo – Office Assistant
Chase Delorenzo graduated from North Port High School in 2017. Since then, he has been using his culinary arts training as a career, but his passion has always drawn him towards music; having been brought up on 60’s and 70’s rock, folk, and blues. In his free time, Chase enjoys playing guitar.
David Ellefson (Megadeth)
Acey Slade (Misfits, Joan Jett, Dope, Murderdolls)
Daniel Fox (Mushroomhead, Dope, Marilyn Manson)
Michael Angelo Batio (Nitro, Guitar World Magazine’s “Fastest Guitarist Of All Time”)
Sean Paxton (The Shark Brothers)
- Interested in becoming a teacher at The Rock Box Music School & Stage? Send a message, bio/resume and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org