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

HAIDEE

(she/her)

HAIDEE MANANSALA // VOCALS, PIANO, GUITAR

EDUCATION: Diploma in Music, Grant MacEwan

NEXT PLACE SHE'S TRAVELLING: My Motherland, the Phillipines!

NEXT MASTERCLASS SHE'S TAKING: Dance

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: That I moved to Edmonton because of the 2016 Fort McMurray Fire!

DANE

(he/him)

DANE BJORNSON// VOCALS, PIANO, GUITAR, DRUMS

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

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

JON

(he/him)

JON PORD // DRUMS, GUITAR, BASS

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Octopus

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: That he's older than he looks - people always think he's 22

FEELS MOST ALIVE: When riding his motorcycle!

MEL

(she/her)

MEL SHIER // GUITAR, VOCALS, PIANO, BASS

EDUCATION: Diploma in Composition, Bachelor of Music

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: She loves video games

NEXT MASTERCLASS SHE'S TAKING: Cooking

NEXT PLACE SHE'S TRAVELLING: Italy - to eat everything!

SARAH

(she/her)

SARAH LAROCQUE // STUDIO ADMINISTRATOR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts

FOOD THAT MAKES HER GAG: Vinegar

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: Her celebrity crush is David Spade

FEELS MOST ALIVE WHEN: She has a great cup of coffee!

DAVE

(he/him)

DAVE MCCARGAR // UKULELE, BASS, PIANO, GUITAR, DRUMS

EDUCATION: Diploma in Jazz Performance

NEXT PLACE HE'S TRAVELLING: Scotland

DREAM BAND TO JAM WITH: John Lee Booker

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He likes church bells!

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!

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 

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 

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 TRAVELING: Probably somewhere with a lot of frogs!

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Cilantro

MARIA

(she/they)

MARIA MARTIRE // VOCALS, PIANO, GUITAR, UKULELE

EDUCATION: Diploma in Music, Vocal Performance + Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Art Education (in progress)

NEXT MASTERCLASS THEY'RE TAKING: Moviemaking

NEXT PLACE THEY'RE TRAVELING: Africa

IF THEY COULD JAM WITH ANY BAND: Janis Joplin - she is the greatest rocker of all time!

GARETH

(he/him)

GARETH GILLILAND // GUITAR, PIANO, UKULELE

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He has a diploma in Culinary Arts

HE FEELS MOST ALIVE: When he's standing in a forest or in front of the ocean.

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Jello!

ISIAH

(he/him)

ISIAH PLOUFFE // STUDIO COORDINATOR

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science (Ecology)

PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW: He's learning how to make pottery!

HE FEELS MOST ALIVE: 10 minutes after his morning coffee

FOOD THAT MAKES HIM GAG: Cottage cheese. Something about the texture doesn't sit right.

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.