Sara Heyen graduated from the National School of Music in her home country of Honduras. She holds a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from Brigham Young University-Idaho and a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from Brigham Young University. She is the recipient of multiple academic and music scholarships including the Eliza R. Snow Outstanding Student award. Sara has experience in orchestral and choral conducting, having directed orchestras and choirs of 100+ performers each. She is a multi-faceted musician with experience recording cello for various popular music albums. She has recruited and directed musicians for Opera productions, and has performed with the Warren Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. Before joining JOY, Sara taught K-8 Music in southeast Michigan.
Sara values commitment and dedication to music and is a strong advocate of music education for all academic levels and outside the classroom. She believes in the importance of bodily awareness and in encouraging healthy playing technique to minimize potential stress injuries. Sara lives in Cornelius, OR, with her musician husband and baby daughte
Sadie Lapiers, a violinist and teacher from Washington State, graduated from George Fox University with a degree in Violin Performance. During her time at George Fox, Sadie performed with the University’s Chamber Strings in Portland at the 2019 National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-Northwest Conference, and also had the opportunity to perform in George Fox University’s Honors Recital. Currently, Sadie works at the Bach to Rock School of Music in Tanasbourne, runs her own private lesson studio, and is a new addition to the JOY Teaching Artist team where she instructs on viola.
In her free time, Sadie loves to read, write, play video games, go out dancing, and create ceramics.
Comfort Smith is a violinist who is passionate about teaching and believes that every child can learn to play an instrument. A native of Newberg, Comfort holds a B.A. in Music Performance and English from George Fox University. During her undergraduate studies, she won the George Fox Concerto Aria Competition in 2018 and 2020. She received her M.M. in Suzuki Pedagogy and Violin Performance at Ithaca College in 2022, studying pedagogy with Carrie Reuning-Hummel. In addition to performing as soloist in various recitals and concerts, she has served as concertmaster and principal second violinist in both the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra and the George Fox Symphony Orchestra, and she has also substituted in several professional ensembles. Comfort has had the privilege of studying violin with Ellen Jewett, Susan Waterbury, Rebekah Hanson, Emma Tepfer, and Sharon Neufeld, each of whom have inspired her to pass along the love of music to other students. She has maintained a private studio in Newberg since 2015, teaching Suzuki private lessons and group classes to students of all ages.|
Comfort has published original works for a variety of instruments, several of which she has performed and recorded. Her compositions are influenced by her love of classical music, fiddle, and jazz. In her spare time, Comfort enjoys cooking, crocheting, and going on hikes.
Native to Dallas, Texas, Julia spent her childhood playing the violin starting at age 5 through the Suzuki method. She holds a diploma from the world-renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Following her high school education, she earned a degree in String Music Education and Performance from the University of North Texas College of Music. During her time at UNT, she performed and travelled with the Concert, Symphony and Baroque Orchestras. This is now her third-year teaching in Oregon, currently teaching for the JOY music program and running a full-time private lesson studio. When Julia is not teaching or performing, she enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and spending time at home with her husband and dog.