R I Z A P R I N T U P

f o u n d e r

Jazz harpist, composer and arranger Riza Printup has always had a special place in her heart for education. In addition to performing and/or recording with the likes of husband Marcus Printup, Paquito D'Rivera, Kenny Werner, the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Lady Gaga and Kathleen Battle, she continues her work as an Educator (Grades PreK-5). Ms. Printup served as Director of Early Childhood Music and Orchestra at The Greater Atlanta Christian School (Atlanta, GA), and Director of Strings at The Cicely Tyson School of Performing Arts (East Orange, NJ). She was also an Instructor for the WeBop program at Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York, NY).

Riza’s passion for education has taken her to develop the I Have A Song Inside My Heart ™ program and curriculum for early childhood and author her first two children's books, Theodore and Hazel and the Bird (2016) and The Great Big Spider & The Waterspout Blues (2019).

Ms. Printup pursued her undergraduate studies at the Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN under the instruction of Distinguished Professor of Harp, Susan McDonald. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Music from Columbia College, Chicago, IL where she continued exploring studies in Jazz. She pursued her Master of Music from Georgia State University's School of Music under the tutelage of Elisabeth Remy Johnson. Other instructors include Dominique Piana, Linda Wood, Beverly Wesner-Hoehn, Deborah Henson-Conant, Stella Castellucci and Distinguished Professor of Jazz, David Baker.

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M A R C U S P R I N T U P

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Born and raised in Conyers, Georgia, acclaimed jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger and highly sought out educator, Marcus Printup, had his first musical experiences hearing the fiery gospel music his parents sang in church. He would later discover jazz as a senior in high school. 

Marcus attended Georgia State University, then transferred to the University of North Florida on a music scholarship. It was during his studies at UNF that he competed and won the prestigious International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet Competition

In 1991, Mr. Printup's life changed when he met mentor and friend-to-be, the incomparable pianist Marcus Roberts. Mr. Roberts introduced him to world renowned trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis which led to the invitation to join the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1993. Marcus has remained a member ever since.

As a featured artist, Mr. Printup has led multiple recordings on several major record labels:

Mr. Printup has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Betty Carter (an inductee of Ms. Carter's inagrual Jazz Ahead class in 1993), Dianne Reeves, Eric Reed, Cyrus Chestnut, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Roberts among many others. 

Mr. Printup is in demand as a facilitator/educator for clinics and masterclasses. He is involved with educational programs such as JALC's Essentially Ellington Competition, The New School (Manhattan), The International Trumpet Guild and Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center.

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L A U R A D A H L

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Laura Dahl began her teaching career as a Special Education Teacher (LBS1) at Somonauk Junior High (Somonauk, IL). She has served as Junior High Choral Director at St. Mary of Dekalb and High School Choral Director at Hiawatha High School.  From 1990-1997, Laura was the Director of Early Childhood Music for the Community Music School at Northern Illinois University. She currently teaches General Music, Beginning Choir, Beginning Band and an after school Program at Passow Elementary School in Franklin Park, Illinois. 

Laura holds a Bachelors Degree in Special Education from Illinois State University, a Masters Degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.  She studied Suzuki piano with Marilyn Montzka (Northern Illinois University Suzuki program) and Early Childhood Music with Dr. Beth Bolton (Temple University).  Laura has received training in the WeBop Curriculum with Dr. Lori Custodero (Teachers College Columbia University) and in the summer of 2018, Laura completed her Orff-Schulwerk Certification with Jean Hersey (Vandercook College of Music).

Laura lives in Brookfield, Illinois with her husband, Mark and two daughters.

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M I K A N I S H I M U R A

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Mika Nishimura is a graduate of The Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). During her time at Berklee, Mika participated in many highly acclaimed festivals and showcases. She was selected to lead the Berklee Monterey Quartet and perform her original music at the Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, CA), one of the most anticipated annual jazz festivals.

Mika is an award recipient of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). She and her group showcased their talents at the Kennedy Center (Washington,D.C.) and Lincoln Center (New York, NY) and traveled throughout Central America where they performed and facilitated clinics for young children. Mika was selected and participated in the annual Siena Jazz Festival in the Province of Siena,Italy.

As a resident of New York City, Mika is highly sought after for studio work and live performances. She actively performs at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Apollo Theater. In addition to jazz, her deep love for gospel music has led her to perform for the HIFA Harare International Festival of the Arts and participate in a gospel tour throughout Italy.

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A N N I E L O W E R Y T A Y L O R

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Annie Lowery Taylor is an Event Operations Regional Supervisor for Dreamtek at Facebook. Previously, she served as Director of Operations for Inwindow Outdoor working with national brands such as Converse, Fila, and Duty Free.

Her background in Operations and Project Management include opportunities in film, theater, fashion, and hotel events.

Annie’s love for drawing and illustration has been with her throughout her life. She is a graduate of Belhaven University with a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Theater Production. You can follow her art musings on Instagram @annieday518

She is honored to be the resident illustrator for I Have A Song Inside My Heart™

Annie currently lives in New York City with her husband, AJ Taylor.

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A J T A Y L O R

d e v e l o p m e n t & g r a n t w r i t e r


Alvin “AJ” Taylor currently serves as the Assistant Director of Development for Columbia Entrepreneurship (CE). He works with the Senior Director and Special Advisor to the President, scaling Columbia Entrepreneurship’s fundraising and alumni engagement efforts to match its growth.

Prior to joining CE, AJ served as Development Officer at the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. AJ also had the pleasure to create and sustain meaningful work through philanthropy and programming at other renowned institutions such as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Northwestern University.

Hailing from the Southeast, AJ experienced success as a music educator and performer in Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and New York.

AJ holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Mississippi State University and a Masters of Education in Education Administration from The University of Southern Mississippi. He also completed graduate coursework towards a Masters of Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.

AJ is excited to be part of the I Have A Song Inside My Heart™ team as Development and Grant Writer.