Michael Alstad, Executive Director
Michael joined Music Center of the Northwest in January of 2007. "When I first walked through the doors, I could feel the warmth and caring that exemplifies Music Center. Music Center provides people with an opportunity to make a profound difference in their lives through music. It is an honor and privilege to provide leadership to such a wonderful organization." Michael has been involved in school and community music programs for the past 40 years in the United States and Canada. His educational background includes both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music Education from Eastern Washington University. In addition to his duties as Executive Director, he is the leader of Centerpiece, Music Center's resident jazz ensemble, and conducts the Around the Sound Community Band.
Janice Gockel, Director Emeritus
Janice founded Music Center in March of 1989 and served as Executive Director of Music Center for thirteen years. Still an active faculty member, she also works with the Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce, and performs with Philharmonia Northwest, and other organizations. In what remaining spare time she has, Janice is also an award winning baker, which is to great benefit of the faculty and staff.
Kendal Keyes, Assistant Director
Kendal joined the Music Center staff as Administrative Coordinator in 2014. Prior to joining Music Center, she worked in Development at a performing arts center and Music School in Eugene, Oregon. Kendal holds a degree in Music Business from University of Puget Sound and is an active violist.
Nicole Reimer, Student Services Coordinator
Nicole Reimer became a member of the Music Center’s office staff in May of 2017. “I was so excited when I found the Music Center, their goal to share music with everyone who comes to their door is so uplifting and important to me. Music has the ability to foster all around growth in people and I am happy to be part of a team that encourages everyone to experience this.” Nicole moved to Seattle after completing a Bachelor’s degree in cello performance from Whitworth University where she also worked as a student in the music office. She enjoys spending her free time reading and trying out new baking recipes.
Monica Allen, Early Childhood & Youth Program Director
Monica Allen is a South Carolina native graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Music Education. With a focus in music education, Monica has been teaching master classes and private lessons for several years. She has also taught Elementary, Middle, and High School music programs earning several awards for ensemble work. As well as teaching marching bands and concert bands, Monica has been working with early childhood music programs and teaching private clarinet lessons. Monica teaches Music Together® classes several times a week for babies through toddlers and the Big Kids classes for 5 to 7 year old students. Monica has recently began teaching through the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program and has her students recognized at the highest level of achievement through the method.
Ryan Schultz, Director of Educational Outreach & Partnerships
Ryan Schultz joined Music Center in September of 2015. “I am thrilled to become a part of Music Center. The opportunity to bring music and musical instruction into the lives of students who might not otherwise be able to afford it is very important to me.” Ryan has a diverse career as a performer, educator and administrator spanning over two decades. When not working, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and watching professional U.S. football.
Mary Lou Roels, Special Events
Mary Lou has a long standing history as an Executive Director, President, and owner of several nonprofit organizations. Originally, she began Clothesminded, a nonprofit dedicated to providing recycled business attire from the community to welfare to work recipients. Clothesminded provided clothing to over 3300 people per year in Phoenix. Simultaneously, she founded The Arizona Wind Symphony in 1999. Mary Lou served on the ground floor as a teacher and advisor for Rosie’s House (once called The Christmas house), a nonprofit music school in Phoenix serving over 900 underserved youth. She received several awards for her work in the community including the Ben and Jerry’s coveted “Citizen Cool” award and Mae Carvelle award.
Upon arriving in Seattle in 2000, she immediately started working as Executive Director and Producer of Eastside Musical Theatre. She then has since helped create and serve on the board of Spark Your Heart.org, worked with Seattle Children's Hospital, Hopelink, Star Guild, Spark Your Little Heart Guild, Lake Washington School District PTSA, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and several other nonprofits.
When not working in the nonprofit arena, Mary Lou is a multi-year award winning Broker for Re/Max, and a dual credentialed high school teacher for K12 Insight WA, an online state funded school. In her free time, she is a professional clarinetist that has been a member of the Washington Wind Symphony, Seattle Wind Symphony, Renton Community Band and Microsoft Symphony.