Saturday, April 16, 2016

Students Warmed Hearts at the Tampa Picture Show

Sunday, April 10, 2016 was a beautiful afternoon in Tampa. Certainly one for the beaches or outdoor activities. However, over 120 attendees were at the Tampa Pitcher Show (TPS) on N. Dale Mabry in Tampa to witness a recital by the students of the Koss Music and Cultural Institute.  The students warmed the hearts of the attendees that included instructors, parents, groupies, and fans of the Institute. This was the Institute’s second recital at the Tampa Picture Show.

The recital began at 2:30 pm following a well prepared Spaghetti dinner buffet. Greg Koss, founder of the Koss Music and Cultural Institute kicked off the event with a brief introduction and acknowledgement of the sponsors, especially the Florida Medical Clinic Foundation of Caring. Mr. Koss specifically acknowledged with special “Thanks” to Sheri Schwab the Founder and Director of the Florida Medical Clinic Foundation of Caring serving Pasco and Hillsborough Counties. 

First on the entertainment card was Adelin Pop a trendy 16-year-old who had the poise and confidence of a budding entertainer. Adelin played the guitar as he sang the Eric Clapton hit song, “Let it Grow.” He closed his set with “As my guitar weeps,” by George Harrison. As the afternoon progressed, a lineup of piano players, guitarists, drummers and violinists appeared on stage before the audience. Others played wind instruments such as the clarinet, trumpet and alto sax. Some of the students played more than one instrument which was a display of their attention to detail. Mr. Koss accompanied all of the students on guitar. It was evident that he was extremely proud of the students and their individual performances. Equally and even more proud were the parents of the children who clapped and cheered after each performance.

The final act was the Rock School Band. This band consists of five students, the youngest being 6-year-old Makayla Dickinson. They closed the event with Pat Benatar’s song, “Hit me with your best shot.” Makayla is evidently a star in the making. She danced and sang as her costume flowed across the stage. Her costume was a custom made sequined silver and black dress with an extended train which flowed behind her. 

The students whose ages were from 5-16 at the TPS are as follows:
·         Adelin Pop - Guitar/Voice
·         Angelina Ateek – Piano
·         Anya Kalakota – Piano
·         Ava Gatto – Piano
·         Bryce Carroll - Drums
·         Carlos Demorizi – Piano
·         Chase Kruegar – Drums/Rock School Band
·         Chetan Kalakota – Piano
·         Chole Dickinson – Piano/Violin
Conner Turner – Percussion/Drums/Rock School Band
·         Emma Dickinson – Violin
·         Garrett Carroll - Trumpet
·         Jackson Jasinski – Guitar
·         James Dube – Drums
·         John Larsen – Lead Guitar/Rock School Band
·         Jojo Sinson – Piano
·         Kennady Sabo – Piano
·         Kevin Stinett - Piano
·         Lance Perez – Drums
·         Laney Brinson – Violin
·         Makayla Dickinson – Piano/ Lead Vocal/Rock School Band
·         Makayla Phillips – Guitar
·         Malina Perez - Drums
·         Matt Lewandowski – Violin
·         Olivia Kawalya – Guitar
·         Sarah Bliss – Clarinet
·         Skylar Kruegar – Piano/Voice
·         Sophia Demorizi – Piano
·         Sylvana Pesola – Piano/Guitar
·         Tessa Leberman – Guitar

Ironically, all of the students performed flawlessly in front of the audience, taking into consideration, it is the first time many of them performed in public. Each student played their instrument or sang with confidence. Credit must be given to the instructors at the school for diligently ensuring the student’s success and of course the parents who encourage them. Also attending and supporting the students were Burt Leppela, guitar instructor and Mrs. Sandy Koss (wife of Greg Koss) who is also a piano and guitar instructor. She specializes in early childhood development. 

The Institute’s Instructors have rather impressive resumes. For example, Steve Fowler who was an assistant instructor with Greg Koss on stage at the event is an accomplished baritone vocalist. He has performed on Broadway as the lead in the musical "Starlight Express."  He was also a feature in the opening of the 1988 Tony Awards in Hollywood with Angela Landsbury. Fowler spent 29 years head lining on cruise ships in the Mediterranean Sea. He spends most of his time assisting at the Institute.

The gifted Greg Koss is the founder of the Koss Music and Cultural Institute. He is a composer, arranger, and trumpeter and has been hailed throughout the country by jazz educators as well as jazz critics for his skills associated with his music. His recorded album Greg Koss: Sound Factory has received national recognition from such greats as Dr. Herb Wong, Past President of the National Association of Jazz Educators to Marian McPartland, world renown jazz pianist and critic. Greg is able to get and hold the attention of all of these students on a daily basis. It is no wonder that students from the Institute have gone on to the University of South Florida’s School of Music and the county All-Star band.

Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute became a 501 C-3 organization in 2010 and since then been providing opportunities for youth who want to have music in their lives. The Institute is located at 1922 Oak Grove Blvd, Lutz. To support the Institute, please contact Greg Koss at telephone number 813.949.6881. You may also email Koss at kmcaigreg@gmail.


Monday, April 13, 2015

T'Was Night of Stars At StageLeft

StageLeft, a new and vibrant restaurant in Lutz, Florida just outside Tampa was a natural venue for a Koss kids night out.

Tuesday nights is usually open mic at StageLeft, but the night of Tuesday, April 7th  was special. In place of the usual Open Mic last Tuesday night, StageLeft's neighbor, The Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute literally took over the stage with a powerful Recital featuring over 20 acts. Although the age group ranged from 6 years to 70 plus, it was the young musicians that were the stars of the night. The students of several ethnic backgrounds demonstrated that music is a unifying factor. All of them nailed their sets in the diverse variety of music they played.

Tony Melia, an accomplished singer and entertainer opened the Recital on Stage at 6:30pm and was followed by a series of more junior acts but well trained and choreographed students of the Koss Institute. Greg Koss, Executive Director, coach, accompanist and chief cheerleader was excited about the families that turned out and more importantly, the high level of performance of his students.  He consistently commended each performer on their "spectacular performance". Koss said that he is "most grateful to the Foundation of Caring and Community Foundation of Tampa Bay for their support." He added his sincere appreciation for the families and friends who turned out to support the students. Also important to the student performers were some of the other music teachers who were present to cheer them on. Steve Fowler, a professional singer and voice trainer at the Koss Institute could not contain his excitement. He was like a proud dad watching his kids scoring three pointers at a basketball game.

Adriana at the keys while Koss looks on
Ariana Rebelo, an eighth grade Middle School student began her love for music at school and learned to play the guitar. She has been studying at the Koss Institute for the last 2 years. The talented Ariana played the piano with a level of grace, poise and control that made it seem she had been training in music for a lifetime. As with the other performers, Ariana was fearless notwithstanding the full house that night. She performed her set with the utmost confidence and precision. It is not surprising that  Ariana expects to pursue her studies as a neurologist while continuing to excel with her love for music. Ariana's family was present to support and cheer her on and were obviously quite proud of her performance.

Some performances worth special mention were Robbie Calco and daughter (duet), Violinist Deandre Satche and Timmy Calco on guitar.
Violinist Deandre with Koss
The Calso's and Koss
Robbie Calco has been a long time supporter and teacher at the Koss Institute.






See a list of other performers below:


Matt Lewindowski     15     violin
Laney Brinson            10     violin
Emily Leal                   9      violin
Chris Leal                  10     piano
Sage Anderson            9     piano
Reese Anderson          6     piano
Sylvana Pesolo           13    piano/guitar
Jessica Amen               9    piano
Jackson Jasinski         15   guitar
Adalin Pop                 16   guitar/vocals
Shreesh Byready        10   guitar
McKayla Phillips        13   guitar
Liam Montanez           15    guitar
John Larson               11    guitar
JJ January                  12    guitar
Nora Cloutier            adult   flute 
Summer Scott            11     guitar
Jillian Scott                  9      vocal
Grayson Fisher           11    drums
Sean Zupnick             14   drums
James Dube               10   drums
Kaitlyn Wall               13   guitar

StageLeft is located at 24400 State Rd 54   Lutz, Fl. 33559. For events and menu, they can be contacted at 813-777-7029 or online at:

The Music and Arts Institute is a non-profit organization. It is open for auditions and new students daily from Monday to Friday starting at 3:30pm. Appointments are preferred. The Institute is located at 1922 Oak Grove Blvd, Lutz 33559. You may contact Greg Koss at 813-949-6881 or email at Please visit the website for more information at

This blog is written and produced by Harland Henry, SunBiz Showcase Alliance on behalf of the Koss Music and Arts Cultural Institute.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Koss Music Institute Holds Recital at Alez Haitian Cuisine and Cafe in Tampa

It was another lights, camera, and music and the spotlight was again on the Koss Kids at the Alez Haitian Cuisine & Cafe on East Fletcher Ave in Tampa on a rainy June evening. Never mind the drinks and food being served to a full house of patrons. The lights shone brightly on about 25 of the Koss Institute's students.
Alez Haitian Restaurant

As the ever dedicated and famous Tony Melia sang through dinner, the patrons were anxious to hear  the first act. Tony Melia is a childhood friend of the famed Frankie Vallie of the Four Seasons and has regularly appeared at the Koss Kids' concerts.

It was a pleasure to see the advancement in skills of the kids from just a few months at prior performances. The kids were focused, dedicated and ready for the spotlight. Whatever Koss is teaching his students it's working. Previously, some kids had stage fright and were a bit intimidated by the crowd. This time, they were ready, bold, prepared and relaxed. The Dickenson twins Chloe and McKayla stood out as they clearly enjoyed the stage.
Dickenson Twins
Here is a list of the participating students:
Sylvana Pesolo  - piano/guitar  - Age 13
Sidney Adams  -  trumpet - Age 17
TJ Shegog    -    drums     - Age 17
Tylor Button -  violin - Age 11
John Larsen -  sax - Age  12
Kathrine  Larsen - vocal - Age 14
Elisa Howell  -  vocal - Age   14
Nora Cloutier - flute    adult
McKayla Dickenson - piano/ vocal - Age  6
Chloe Dickenson  - piano/violin - Age 6
DeAndre Satchel - violin - Age 14
Austin Deal - guitar - Age 10
McKenna Yingling  - piano - Age  9
Summer Scott - guitar - Age 10
Gus Eberhard - trombone - Age 11
McKayla Phillips - guitar - Age 13
Reese Anderson - piano - Age 8
Sage Anderson - piano - Age 6
Joe Izzo - guitar - Age 10
Shawn Zupnic - sax - Age 13
Tony Rubelo - guitar/vocal - Age 15
Ariana Rubelo - cello - Age 13
Victoria Russian - violin - Age 12
Jacob Weyandt - drums - Age 15
Max Burton - drums - Age 6

Supporting the efforts of the Koss Institute at this event was Sheri Schwab, founder and member of the board of directors of the Florida Medical Clinic Foundation We thank the Foundation for their generous grant of $7,500.00.

The Koss Institute is happy to appear at one of your fundraisers or business events. A small donation to the Institute is always appreciated.

Koss Kids will be performing at the Pasco Hernando Hispanic Chamber's Business and Career Expo at the Wesley Chapel Toyota Showroom floor on October 17, 2014.

The Koss Kids will again be featured on December 9, 2014 at the Pebble Creek County Club in New Tampa.

Special thanks to the members of the Koss Institute's board of directors (Carla Adams, Nomi Ebb, Tim Stradford, and Andy Stefano), for their dedication and support.

Harland Henry, CEO of SunBiz Showcase Alliance assists with Marketing and Media support. For more information and images from the Koss Institute events, visit our website at

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Koss Kids Hold Another Recital in Tampa

On the evening of February 25th the Alez Haitian Cuisine in Tampa was transformed into a recital venue where several young and aspiring musicians and vocalists from the Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute thrilled the audience.

The Koss Kids, as they are fondly known, are trained at the renowned Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute in Lutz, Florida. The kids are mostly from the Pasco County area and are trained to read, write and play music by Executive Director Greg Koss and several other professional volunteers. The Alez Haitian Cuisine restaurant is located in the Fletcher Regency Plaza could well have been a specialty concert hall that night. To top it off, a buffet of Caribbean cuisine was served as patrons filled the large room. Click this link to see more Koss Kids in action.

Through collaboration with the Rotary, the Community Foundation and the Alez Haitian Cuisine, about 29 of the Institute's students ranging from five to nineteen years old performed for the audience. Students played the guitar, flute, piano, drums, trumpet, saxophone, violin and several other instruments. Others sang renditions of various popular songs including their own written and arranged tunes.

The audience loved it all as each artist performed their act. Although for many, this was their first public performance before a live audience, they demonstrated strong talent and bravery as they sang and played their instruments. All of the students were accompanied by at least one adult family member and they cheered their new found celebrities as they performed on stage.

The Executive Director, Greg Koss was elated. He said, "As I looked into the audience while the kids were performing, I could see how the parents' pride in their children was exploding as they watched their child perform. You could see the bond between parent and child strengthening. Two students, Mckayla and Chloe, two 6 year old twins, who sang the theme to the "Lion King" and also played the piano, enjoyed their experience so much that they just walked right up on stage an hour after they performed and asked if they could do it again! They did and they brought the house down!"  

Koss added, “What a great evening for all to watch and witness the abundance of humanity happening between families and new friendships." He was right. Parents who previously did not know each other were cheering each other’s kids and chatting in between sets.

All in all, it was a great evening and a wonderful occasion. Everyone was pleased with the results. The Alez Haitian Cuisine now has a new act added to its menu. The restaurant is located at 1428 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa at the corner of 15th Street in the Fletcher Regency Plaza. They serve traditional Haitian dishes inspired by island flavors.

Special thanks to the members of the Rotary, Alez Haitian Cuisine, the volunteer staff and all who contributed to making this program a success. Ann Berg of the Community Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the Institute with new ideas and opportunities. For that, the Executive Director and his volunteer staff have always expressed their gratitude. The parents of all the children must also be commended for their support.
We hope that this will not be the last time that the Koss Kids will perform at the Alez Haitian Cuisine. Apart from being a perfect venue, it also serves as an inspiration to all kids to explore their musical talents.

Greg Koss can be contacted at 813-949-6881. You may email Greg Koss at Like us on Facebook at Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute.

Contact Harland Henry at for media assistance.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Koss and Kids Warmed Up the Mall in Wesley Chapel For Christmas

It was a chilly night at the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel, Florida on December 12th. Several students from the Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute bravely performed on stage in front of a crowd of about 250 spectators who eagerly cheered them on.
Greg Koss and Drummer Eddie Slivka

Many of the spectators were family members who vigorously clapped and whistled after each individual performance. The students showed their versatility when several played more than one instrument during the performance.

The kids ranging from 5 to 15 years old played the guitar, drums, violin, piano, and other instruments while some displayed their vocal skills. The string ensemble included the following students:

  • Tony Rubelo
  • Arianna Rubelo
  • Evan Hernandez
  • Tyler Button
  • Matt Lewendowski
  • Tori Russion
  • Deandre Schatshel
The band Eyes of a Child Band was formed by the students and teachers and is made up of: Troy Button, Tyler Button, Chris Calco, Deandre Schatchel, Nora Cloutier, Robbie Morito, Sylvana Pesola, and Eddie Slivka.

Solo performances were performed by:

  • Evan Thoby - piano
  • Shirly Thoby - piano
  • Karin Warren - Flute
  • Marrissa Mohammed - flute
  • Ascmit Rama - drums
  • Aditi Rama - piano
  • Gus Eberhard - piano
  • Kathrine Larson - vocal
  • Tylor Button - violin
  • Tont Rubelo - guitar/vocal
  • Alex Aponte - guitar
  • Matt Lewendowski - violin
  • Elisa Howell - vocal
  • Jessica Ahmen - piano
  • McKenna Yingling - piano
  • McCabe Yingling - drums
  • Mikayla Santiago - drums
  • Nadya Lopez - piano
  • Mikayla Phillips - vocal

Family members seemed proud as they watched their little ones perform on stage. It was quite remarkable. None of the them appeared to have stage fright. Each were eager to perform as their turn came. Maestro and CEO of the Koss Institute Greg Koss was the chief cheerleader. An inspiration to the kids, he coached and cheered as they performed. One was oblivious to any mistakes made because Koss and the spectators made them feel welcomed and accomplished.

The highlight of the evening was a check from the President of the Tampa Latin West Rotary Club, Luis Aponte to the Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute.
Even though the evening was chilly, the students warmed the hearts of the spectators and their comrades with great music.

Special thanks to Ann Berg and the Community Foundation of Tampa for her continued support and belief in the mission of the Institute. You too can support the Koss Music and Cultural Arts Institute by donating your time, money or instruments to the Institute.  Contact the Institute by calling 813.949.6881.