Our Team


Pat Lapinski

Owner, Drums, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Ukulele

Patrick is one of the owners of Noteworthy Academy of Music. He has a B. A. in Music Education with a concentration in Classical Percussion from William Paterson University. Patrick has been teaching drums, percussion, guitar, ukulele, bass and piano for over seven years while still performing in professional bands, musicals, orchestras and the Bethany Church Worship Team.


Rebecca Lapinski

Owner, Voice, Piano

Rebecca is one of the owners of Noteworthy Academy of Music. She has a B. F. A. in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University and has been teaching voice, piano and acting for over a decade. Her students have gone on to the Papermill Playhouse Conservatory, been on the Bethany Worship team, earned leading roles, and they all learn to use their skills to the fullest! 

Rebecca has been seen performing all over the country in productions such as "Bright Star" (Alice Murphy), "Ragtime", "Once" and "Alway's Patsy Cline". In addition to Rebecca's professional performing career and teaching, you will always find her serving on the Bethany Church Worship Team.


Steve Monk


Steve has been playing saxophone his entire life, studying at Brevard College and performing and teaching in various styles from jazz to classical. Steve has also received a B. M. in Vocal Performance from Westminster Choir College. Steve is one of the worship leaders at Bethany Church where he plays the sax, guitar, and sings.


John "Drace" Dracy

Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums

John has always studied and performed music, starting with the guitar and expanding to the piano, drums, and bass. He has performed in bands and other ensembles around NJ and you can find John leading teams of musicians at Bethany Church. He has a heart to teach the next generation and is highly involved in leading middle school and high school musicians on the Bethany Youth Worship Team. In addition to his teaching and performing, John also has a sound engineering degree from The School of Audio Engineering.


Nick Sagnella

Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Piano

Nick holds his degree from William Paterson University studying in the prestigious Jazz program, focusing on guitar and performance. He has been performing professionally for over 10 years in various musical styles from jazz to rock and classical. When Nick is not performing, he is pouring his passion for music into his students here at Noteworthy!

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Chris Hutter

Drums, Piano

Chris has been a public school band director for 17 years. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a B. A. in Music Business. He received his teacher certification from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.  Subsequently, he has received two Masters degrees; the first - a Master's of Art and Teaching from CUNY Lehman in the Bronx, and the second - a Master's in School Leadership with Principal Certification from Montclair State University. Chris has performed in several rock, jazz, and big bands.


Giuliana Carr


Giuliana Carr started learning the piano at 3 years old and never looked back! She has worked as a music director for concerts & productions, written jingles for fashion & online brands, taught children’s piano classes & workshops, and written/performed her own original music featured in live concerts & sketch comedy shows. She is also a trained saxophonist. Giuliana is also a professional actor and can be seen in multiple films currently circling film festivals around the country, and recently originated the role of Hannah Stern in Jenny Lyn Bader’s hit play “Mrs. Stern Wanders the Prussian State Library.” She is very excited to join the passionate and talented staff & students at Noteworthy.


Kurtis Jager

Piano, Strings, Brass, Voice

Kurtis has been a student and teacher of music for years but began his undergraduate education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a dual degree in B.A. Theatre Studies and a B.M. in Music, later transferring into the B.F.A Musical Theatre program at Montclair State University. He is an accomplished accompanist, music director, arranger, and has tutored in music theory and aural skills on top of the instruments he teaches. Kurtis has also been seen performing on stage and in pits all over the country.


Joseph "JQ" Quiles

Bass, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele

Joseph Quiles, JQ for short, discovered his love for music at a young age and has been pursuing his career as a professional musician ever since. Joseph is a multi-instrumentalist, playing bass, piano, guitar, and ukulele. He has worked with well-renowned gospel artists and he has toured and played in bands across the country. Joseph has a heart for inspiring kids in music and igniting their passion to take them to the next level.  He has music directed at numerous churches, bringing his musicality and communication skills with him wherever he goes. With a passion for teaching, Joseph is looking forward to bringing innovation to Noteworthy.


Mitch Samu

Advanced Piano

Mitch Samu has been playing, composing and performing music since the age of 14. Mitch has played keyboards and also conducted for Broadway Shows, National Tours and Prominent Equity regional theatres all over America. He is a well-respected music director, teacher and coach for professional musicians and performers across the country; many of whom are Tony Award Winning and nominated such as such as Annaleigh Ashford. Mitch is a highly motivated public speaker as well as a podcast creator and host of “Mitch Talks.” Some of Mitch’s most prominent compositions include: ‘A Kiss For My Daughter, A Kiss For My Father’; ‘Three Steps Back’; ‘Jesus, A Life’; ‘Motherhood: The Agony & The Ecstasy’; ‘I’m Not Waving, I’m Drowning’ and his 15-movement Oratorio – ‘Jesus, The Last Mile’, which all include lyrics written by him.


Mike Bereski

Bass, Guitar, Piano

Michael has been playing and dissecting music since he was 6 years old! He first started on guitar, playing classic rock standards and performing in many different bands. He is now an active student at William Paterson where he is enrolled in their highly acclaimed Jazz Program, applying his studies to the Upright Bass. Michael will graduate with a Music Education degree that qualifies him to teach grades K-12.  When Michael is not on campus learning, he is either playing in his own original band where he plays the electric bass, or he is producing, composing, and arranging as a studio musician.


Nathaniel Ward


Nathaniel has studied and performed piano for 8 years and is one of the lead pianists for the Bethany Church Worship Team. He is currently studying his undergraduate degree at Ramapo College in Business Management while facilitating and leading Bethany Church's youth worship band. Nathaniel is a talented and dedicated musical leader who has experience in classical and worship-style piano. He specializes in teaching beginner piano and music theory.


Randy Fernandez


Randy Fernandez began studying piano at the age of 6. He received his Bachelor's degree in Musical studies at William Paterson University. randy has won many awards in his youth as a pianist, including the Piano High School Diploma in Social Music in 2009. under the tutelage of the late Maria Fragela. He has taken flute, clarinet, trumpet, percussion, and voice lessons. Randy went through the WPU classical track as a pianist under the tutelage of Frank Pavese and Soyeon Park. He has also performed in many piano, percussion, and voice ensembles. Randy specializes in teaching beginner, intermediate, and advanced piano lessons. He has been teaching piano and percussion privately since 2017 and has experience in preparing young high school piano students for musical program auditions.

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Kristen Samu


Kristen is a singer, actress, director, and composer who discovered her love and capacity for teaching early in her career. She has helped over 150 students of all ages find their authentic voice and creative spirit. Her number one goal as a teacher is to help her students let go of all their negative messages and habits and make music from a place of love and self-acceptance. She has appeared in many theaters across the country and off-Broadway in such roles as Audrey in Little Shop, Margo in Applause, and The Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone. She has written four musicals for children based on familiar Bible stories that have been performed in churches and music camps to critical acclaim. She is also a published songwriter and has had her songs recorded by Broadway and television star Annaleigh Ashford. She loves spending time at the beach every chance she gets and hanging out with her family, Mitch and kids Willow and Orion.


Jacob Eccher

Beginner Piano, Woodwinds

Jacob Eccher has been studying music for 10 years. He specializes in woodwind instruments as well as piano, but his favorite instrument to play is the saxophone. He is currently attending Montclair State University and majoring in Music Education. Throughout his studies, he’s played in multiple pit orchestras for musicals including Chicago, Barnum, and Mama Mia. In his spare time, he leads a jazz quintet that plays in his town.


Noëlle Mena

Office Manager and Social Media Coordinator

Noëlle is Noteworthy's Office Manager and Social Media Coordinator. She is currently attending Fairleigh Dickinson University's Silberman College of Business to get her B. S. in Business Management with a Leadership Concentration and a minor in Marketing. She has loved music her whole life and began playing clarinet when she was 8 years old. Since then, she has taken on saxophone and singing, played roles in multiple musicals, and been in Madrigals, Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Worship Team, and Marching Band. Noëlle loves social media marketing and human resources management and is excited to enhance her business skills at Noteworthy.


Patty Lapinski

Office Manager

Patty Lapinski is Noteworthy Academy's Office Manager. She helps all of the lessons run smoothly and is in charge of scheduling our new students. Patty also operates a video and photography production company with her husband. Their pictures can be seen on our Website Gallery and in our office!