THE COFFEEHOUSE PROJECT
Our Mission: To create opportunities for all kinds of people to participate in music making activities that will enhance their lives.
Our Values: We believe that music is a means to achieve personal wellness and develop community; we practice inclusiveness and encourage commitment to shared outcomes. Ability levels will always vary but enthusiasm and dedication are universal.
The Coffeehouse Project Inc. is a a registered 501(c)(3) community music organization dedicated to providing arts education, with a focus on music making in the community, through classes, workshops, presentations and performances. Programming is directed toward people living in New Jersey who, otherwise, might not have outlets for artistic expression. Populations served include children and adults with special emphasis on providing music-making opportunities for seniors and people with additional needs.
Our Board of Trustees:
Christine Clause (President) is an advocate for adults with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. She is currently a Support Coordinator for Neighbours Inc. and the owner of Body & Soul Nutrition, LLC.
Gordon Keil (Secretary) is a musician and retired CEO/COO with a track record of both building and turning around businesses. His last COO gig was with Spirit Music Group.
Shawn Mahieu Ortiz (Treasurer) is a creative Public Relations professional as well as a strong believer in the importance of music in the life of young people on the autism spectrum.
John Ruán Fitzpatrick (Founder, CEO and Artistic Director) has more than twenty years of experience as an educator, a musician and a support for individuals with special needs. He earned an MA in Community Music at the Irish World Academy in Limerick, Ireland.
Rebecca E. Kaian (COO and Music Leader) can’t remember a time when she wasn’t singing; most recently, a 14 year stint with her local community choir gave way to singing in a rock band, learning the guitar in earnest and writing songs. Becca earned her MBA from Rutgers University and has a passion for working with start-up companies/organizations.
Chris Gardella (Music Leader) has been a musician as long as he can remember. From a very young age, he was playing guitar, piano, bass, and learning how to craft songs. He started teaching his classmates how to play in middles school, and never looked back.
Carrie C. Calnan (Music Leader) has no idea why she was born hearing harmonies but is compelled to help others find their optimum pitch. Carrie will sing for candy.
Taylor A. Rehe (Music Leader) is currently completing her undergraduate degree in music education at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. In addition to being an accomplished flutist, Taylor is also a choral music arranger.
Ryan Marie Smerdon (Musician Volunteer) has been part of The Coffeehouse Project since she was in 6th grade. Now an 11th grader, Ryan sings and plays guitar.
Marc Shipman (Musician Volunteer) started playing guitar a few years ago. Recently retired, he co-faciltates a weekly Music for Seniors workshop.