Grace Academy Leadership Team

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Mrs Rachel Howley
Director of Grace Academy

BMus (Perf) QCGU GradBEd (Sec) QUT MMus Studies (Pedagogy) QCGU DMA QCGU (current)

Rachel began her musical training at age 8 on clarinet and later studied piano, flute and saxophone. She graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University with a Bachelor of Music in Performance on clarinet and then went onto complete her Graduate Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the Queensland University of Technology. Rachel has also completed a Master of Music Studies focusing on Instrumental Pedagogy at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University where she also pursued her passion for wind band conducting. In 2017 she commenced a Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at the Queensland Conservatorium.

In recent years Rachel has undertaken numerous conductor training courses and masterclasses with experienced Australian and international conductors including Dr Peter Morris, Dr John Lynch, Dr Ralph Hultgren and Dr Steven Capaldo. Rachel has extensive experience in conducting ensembles at from beginner to advanced levels and has conducted numerous school ensembles as well as the Queensland Wind Orchestra, Queensland Conservatorium Wind Orchestra, Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble.

Rachel began teaching at Grace Lutheran College in 2002 and has been influential in the growth of the Co-Curricular Performing Arts programmes over that time. This has been especially evident in her role, initially as Head of Co-Curricular Performing Arts since 2007, and now Director of Grace Academy. Rachel established and developed the group instrumental music program at the College, building on the private music tuition programme that had been previously operating. Additionally she forged partnerships with local Lutheran primary schools and has established instrumental music and other Arts programmes within those schools.

Rachel is also an active musician who performs regularly with the Queensland Wind Orchestra and chamber music groups. Rachel is passionate about growing creative cultures that are relevant and challenging, and that encourage students and musicians to engage meaningfully in the music and world around them.


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Mr Kerry Thomas
Primary Schools Coordinator, Head of Brass & Percussion

BMus (Perf) QCGU MMusStudies (Perf) QCGU GDTL USQ

Originally from Maryborough, Kerry’s musical interests began at a young age, commencing with piano lessons at age five, before adding French horn, cello, double bass and music theory throughout his school years.  After finishing high school, Kerry moved to Brisbane to study music at the Queensland Conservatorium under Peter Luff, graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance on French Horn, and a Master of Music Studies in 2007.

As a performer, Kerry has played frequently in many community and professional ensembles, including the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Pops Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, Queensland Youth Orchestra, Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, Ignatians Musical Society, St Andrew’s Sinfonia and Orchestra Corda Spiritus.  Kerry also plays tenor horn for Brisbane Brass, and has been Solo Horn of the ensemble since 2005. 

Kerry developed a fondness for arranging, particularly for brass, during his time at university.  In recent years he has also begun composing for brass band, winning brass band composition competitions both in Brisbane and nationally, with works performed by A Grade, B Grade and Junior Bands at local and national brass band competitions. Kerry has also composed for wind band and was runner up in the 2017 World Projects/ABODA NSW Composition Competition, and most recently, a finalist in the 2017 Wind Band Association of Singapore Composition Contest.

Kerry has been teaching privately and accompanying for concerts and AMEB exams since moving to Brisbane in 2002.  In 2009 he began teaching brass and piano at Nudgee College in Boondall, and completed his Graduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching through USQ in 2010.  Kerry has been teaching brass at Grace Lutheran College since 2012, where he is currently Head of Brass, Percussion and Piano, and co-ordinates the Grace Academy’s Partner Primary School programs.

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Dr Emma Di Marco
Community Programs Coordinator, Head of Woodwind

BMus (Hons – Adv.Perf) QCGU PhD QCGU

A 2017 Churchill Fellowship recipient, Dr Emma Di Marco is an Australian classical saxophonist based in Brisbane. She maintains a fulfilling portfolio career as a performer, chamber musician, educator, adjudicator, artistic director, and researcher.

As a champion of Australian music, Emma has toured Australia on multiple occasions with programs that consisted of specially commissioned Australian works. Some of these performances featured collaborations with Australian artists Nexas Quartet, Nathan Henshaw, Hourglass Ensemble, and Barega Saxophone Quartet. In 2014, Emma was appointed a sessional lecturer in saxophone at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. She is an endorsed artist with D’Addario Woodwinds and is a proud advocate for D’Addario Reserve Reeds. Emma is a founding member of acclaimed ensemble, the Barega Saxophone Quartet, and has performed across Australia and Europe with the group. Her involvement with Barega has seen over a dozen new works for saxophone quartet commissioned, multiple tours interstate and internationally, as well as collaborations with Trichotomy, Hourglass Ensemble, the Queensland Wind Orchestra, Lyre Duo, and a range of visual artists. In 2017, Barega were featured soloists with the Queensland Wind Orchestra and performed David Maslanka’s Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Ensemble. The group released their debut album, Three Serpents, in 2015 which featured compositions written especially for the ensemble and a follow up, Abandon Control, last year.

In 2015, Emma was specially selected to perform in the production of Greek by Mark-Anthony Turnage at the Tongyeoung International Music Festival in Tongyeoung, South Korea. Emma is a casual saxophonist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. As a concerto soloist she has performed Claude T. Smith's Fantasia for Alto Saxophone and Band with the Queensland Conservatorium Wind Symphony in 2011 and Alexander Glazunov's Concerto in E flat for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra with the Mueller International Chamber Orchestra in 2010.

Emma is an accomplished researcher in the classical saxophone field. Her research has examined the performance of classical saxophone music in Australia with the aim of fostering further development and growth through increased engagement with digital music-making practices and higher job satisfaction of performers. Her current research interests include: Classical Saxophone Music, Australian Music, Performance Practice, Performance Careers, Ethnography, Digital Music-Making, National Identity, and Job Satisfaction.

Grace Academy Coordinators

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Mrs Rachel Grieve - Dance

BCreativeInd – Dance/Drama (Hons) QUT BEd (Sec) QUT

Rachel graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Dance/Drama) with Distinction and a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) with First Class Honours. During her studies she completed work experience and training with Expressions Dance Company, LaBoite Theatre Company and QPAC. After working as a Dance Teacher at North Lakes State College, Rachel moved to Grace Lutheran College in 2010, and from 2012, has coordinated the Dance and Drama programs.
During her time at the College, Rachel has choreographed for Musicals including West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Wizard of Oz and Anything Goes. She has also choreographed the Finale at each Grace Celebrates event since it began in 2011 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, which usually involves around 60 dancers on stage. As Senior Dance Troupe director, Rachel has accompanied the students on tour to places such as Darwin, Singapore and recently as National Finalists in the DanceLife Unite competition in Sydney. Students were awarded two first prizes and a second prize for her choreography. Professional collaborations have been formed with working artists such as Gary Lang (Northern Territory Dance Company Director and former Bangarra Dance Theatre performer), Jason Coleman (Ministry of Dance Director – Melbourne) and Callum Mansfield (Harvest Rain Theatre Company) affording the students the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s best performers and teachers. Rachel is also a District Review Panellist with QCAA for Senior Dance and is currently a classroom Dance and Drama teacher for yrs 7-12 as well as coordinating all Dance ensembles and events both at Rothwell and Grace Lutheran Primary School.



Mr Travis McLaren – Drama

BA (English/Drama)/B Teach (Secondary) UoN, GradDipDiv ACT

Travis is a Novocastrian with a passion for theatre and the gospel story. He graduated in English, Drama and Teaching at the University of Newcastle. This included a season at Manchester Metropolitan University in England where he trained in directing and stagecraft. Travis has been involved in numerous productions as an actor, director and playwright. Of note is his work with Taree Arts Council, Maitland Repertory Theatre and Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.

A teacher of 7-12 Drama at Grace, Travis works full-time to teach students a range of disciplines so that they may devise, reflect on and perform drama. As the coordinator of Drama at the Grace Academy, he works alongside a variety of exceptional artists to provide young people opportunities to experience voice training, theatresports, short acting courses and feature productions all intertwined with the foundation that creativity is a gift to be used for glorifying Christ.


Grace Academy Teaching Faculty

Mr Peter Kellett – Director of Information Services, Robotics - B.Arts(Pol Sci/Law) UNE, Grad Dip Ed UNE, Grad Cert CompSci Monash

Ms Jenny Barnes – Visual Art Coordinator - BA (Visual Arts), Grad Dip Ed , Master(Education) CERT IV TAE

Mrs Natasha Erskine – Dance Instructor - BA (Dance & Drama) BEd (Secondary) QUT

Mrs Tertia Hogan – Upper Strings Specialist - GradDipMus (String Pedagogy) UQ, AMusA, LMusA, LTCL, MPhil UQ (Current)

Mr David Klokman – Guitar Specialist - BMus QCGU, GDTL CQU

Mr Owen Tilbury – Percussion Specialist - BMus (Perf) UQ

Miss Alexandra Murray-Lawler - Speech and Communication Specialist - BEd QUT

Mr Andrew Humphreys - Brass Specialist - BMus CQU

Mr Frank Fodor - Upper Strings Specialist - BMus UQ (Hons), MPhil UQ (Perf), LMusA, GDipMus GU

Mr Joshua Clifford - Voice and Piano Specialist - BMus UQ (Class I Hons)

Mrs Marta Preston - Woodwind Specialist - BMus QUT, AMusA, Dip Tech Production

Mrs Nicole Kancachian - Lower Strings Specialist - BMus Monash

Mrs Jackie Hamilton - Dance Instructor - CSTD Teachers Diploma Classical Ballet & Jazz, CSTD Student Teachers Diploma Theatrical and Tap, Cert I Sports Acrobatics Coaching

Ms Leanne Sharp - Piano Specialist - ATCL

Mr Michal Rosiak - Woodwind Specialist