WHO WE ARE

OUR TEAM IS OUR SECRET SAUCE

OUR CO-FOUNDERS

DAN

(he/him)

DAN SABO // CO-FOUNDER

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Education + Master of Music

NEXT MASTERCLASS HE'S TAKING: How to be a bike mechanic

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He lived in Slovakia for three months

FEELS MOST ALIVE WHEN: Flying down a trail on his mountain bike

NELLA

(she/her)

NELLA SABO // CO-FOUNDER

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Commerce + MBA

NEXT MASTERCLASS SHE'S TAKING: Woodworking

FEELS MOST ALIVE WHEN: Going for a long run or cross-country ski

NEXT PLACE SHE'S TRAVELLING: Copenhagen

MEET THE REST OF OUR TEAM

MARY-LEE

(she/they)

MARY-LEE BIRD // GUITAR, DRUMS, PIANO, BASS

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts, Music Major + Diploma in Music Composition

FOOD THAT MAKES THEM GAG: Mayo

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: That they had glasses since they were two years-old

FEELS MOST ALIVE WHEN: They're out in nature!

DANE

(he/him)

DANE BJORNSON// VOCALS, PIANO, GUITAR, DRUMS

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music 

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Olives. And he has trust issues with raisins. 

NEXT MASTERCLASS HE'S TAKING: Filmmaking and editing

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: That he's a huge (borderline insane) hockey fan.

WILL

(he/him)

WILL SCOTT // BASS, GUITAR, DRUMS

EDUCATION: Diploma in Music, Recording Arts Major

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELLING: South America

DREAM BAND TO JAM WITH: Can

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He doesn't have a thyroid

FRAN

(he/him)

FRAN RIZZUTO // GUITAR, VOCALS, UKULELE, PIANO, BASS

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELLING: New Zealand to see the Shire.

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Pickles!

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He once held the high score on a Pac Man arcade machine.

JAKE

(he/him)

JAKE PEAKE // DRUMS, GUITAR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music in Jazz & Contemporary Pop, Composition Major (in progress)

NEXT MASTERCLASS HE'S TAKING: Drawing or painting

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELING: Seoul, Korea

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He played water polo!

ANGELA

(she/her)

ANGELA PROULX // BASS, GUITAR, DRUMS, PIANO

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music (in progress)

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: I'm a hardcore introvert

NEXT PLACE SHE'S TRAVELLING: New Orleans, baby!

FOOD THAT MAKES HER GAG: Nothing, she likes everything!

JD

(he/him)

JD SPEELMAN // BASS, GUITAR, DRUMS, PIANO

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music, Composition Major

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He's terrible with technology

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELING: Ireland

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Pickles 

CLAYTON

(he/him)

CLAYTON AMERO // GUITAR, PIANO, BASS

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Jazz & Contemporary Popular Music, Guitar Major + Diploma in Jazz & Contemporary Popular Music.

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He used to help run his family's firewood business!  

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELING: Yerevan, the capital of Armenia

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: He loves it all!

WREN

(he/him)

WREN KAUFFMAN // STUDIO COORDINATOR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major (in progress)

NEXT MASTERCLASS HE'S TAKING: How to knit a sweater.

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELLING: Hmmmm...probably somewhere with a lot of frogs.

HE FEELS MOST ALIVE: When it's Halloween!

MAYA

(she/her)

MAYA GONDALIA // VOCALS, GUITAR, PIANO

EDUCATION: BTEC Musical Diploma, Brook House International School

NEXT MASTERCLASS SHE'S TAKING: Natal chart astrology (she's a Leo!)

NEXT PLACE SHE'S TRAVELING: Nicaragua. She loves being near the ocean.

FOOD THAT MAKES HER GAG: Sushi. The raw fish kind. Yuck! 

MIRANDA

(she/her)

MIRANDA SMITH // VOCALS, UKULELE, PIANO, GUITAR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music in Performance (in progress)

NEXT MASTERCLASS SHE'S TAKING: Jewelry making!

NEXT PLACE SHE'S TRAVELING: Backpacking around Europe

FOOD THAT MAKES HER GAG: Onions 

COOPER

(he/him)

COOPER RAY // DRUMS, GUITAR, PIANO

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music (in progress)

NEXT MASTERCLASS HE'S TAKING: How to cook!

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: His grandpa is from West Bengal, India.

HE FEELS MOST ALIVE: When in nature; biking, walking, or doing anything with others. 

RYAN

(he/they)

RYAN KORBUTT // DRUMS, GUITAR, BASS

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music (in progress) 

NEXT MASTERCLASS THEY'RE TAKING: How to hold back the blinding flood of tears that shows up when cutting an onion.

NEXT PLACE THEY'RE TRAVELING: Turkey

IF THEY COULD JAM WITH ANY BAND: Tom Waits!

TAYLOR

(she/her)

TAYLOR MCHUGH // STUDIO COORDINATOR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts, Criminology Major (in progress) 

FOOD THAT MAKES HER GAG: Bleu cheese

NEXT MASTERCLASS SHE'S TAKING: Mixology

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: Her thumbs bend back at a 90 degree angle!

MARGRET

(she/they)

MARGRET ELEGINO // VOCALS, PIANO, GUITAR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Education (in progress) 

NEXT MASTERCLASS THEY'RE TAKING: Foreign languages. All of them!

NEXT PLACE THEY'RE TRAVELING: Japan

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: they grew up and lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years!

OUR STORY

Dan was a junior high band teacher who ran an after-school rock program. Nella was working in the world of post-secondary and had a deepset curiosity about people and business. They both believed in the potential and capacity of youth with all their hearts.

Fast forward a few years, Dan decided to take a break from teaching to pursue his Master of Music. This is when the conversations started. This is when the dreams started. They started to dream about creating something different. About introducing kids to a whole new way of learning music. They imagined community, creativity, belonging. And fun! Having a crazy amount of fun.

In 2012, Dan and Nella decided to take the leap and Backbeat was founded on Whyte Ave in Edmonton. They started with about 25 students, one rock band and a life-size cardboard cut-out of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. Today, Backbeat has taught hundreds of kids and formed dozens of kid rock bands. Backbeat students have played on stages at major festivals, community events, and in back alley rock shows.

We're changing the way kids learn music. We're giving them a fun place to connect and try new things so they can grow in confidence and be proud of who they are.  As for Sheldon? He's still here, but...well...let's just say he's not exactly aging gracefully.

WANT TO JOIN THE FUN?

Use the button below to see if we're hiring and learn more about what we look for in a new team member.