The AMP Committee is proud to announce our All-Star line up of instructors, specialists, and band coaches. All of our teaching staff are professional musicians, performers, educators, and trained by some of the top academic institutions in the world. Cumulatively, they have centuries of experience teaching and performing, have performed tens of thousands of songs, and are well versed in countless genres. AMP is excited to provide these instructors to the young musicians of the Coachella Valley as coaches, mentors, teachers, and bandmates.
All AMP staff members have been background checked, live-scanned, and are held to the highest of professional standards. They comply with all the California State Department of Justice standards for employment working with children.
Calvin Williams - Guitar
Calvin Williams is a lifelong musician and guitar instructor and performer. Born in the suburbs of Boston Massachusetts, he began his music education at age seven with seven years of classical and contemporary piano study. By thirteen his musical interests had shifted more towards guitar and rock music. He began playing in bands in middle school and got his first experience playing live shows in high school. After high school he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, as a guitar performance major and greatly broadened his musical knowledge and capabilities. During this time he taught and performed in bands professionally throughout the Greater Boston area. In the spring of 2016 he moved to southern California and has continued to perform in multiple groups and teach guitar both privately and at the Academy of Musical Performance in the Coachella Valley.
Matt Forsyth - Drums, Percussion
Los Angeles native Matt Forsyth has been active in the music community for over 25 years as both a player, producer and engineer. He began his playing career as a drummer on the LA music scene in 1986. In 1989 he became a founding member of the progressive rock band “Cornerstone” during which time he worked with famed producers Peter Carson and Beau Hill. Honing his production chops Matt went on to work with super star singer Jackie Deshannon as both drummer and musical director. Over the next 15 years Matt would work with multi Grammy award winning artist such as Chick Corea and the Electric Band, Macy Gray, Ricky Minor, Blood Sweat and Tears, En Vogue, Marvin Hamlish, Lee Ritenour, Simon Phillips, Dave Weckl, Mike Stern, and many many more.
In 2017 Matt was accepted into the prestigious jazz studies program at California State University Northridge where he is currently working towards his masters degree in jazz performance and music education. He spends his time teaching privately, doing national clinics sponsored by Remo, and performing with various artist both in the studio and on stage.
Rosie Tucker - Bass
Rosie Tucker is a songwriter, composer, and performer based in Los Angeles.
She has performed her songs in a great variety of venues in Los Angeles and around the country and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California in May of 2016. During her time in university Rosie co-founded Musicians Unite in Support of Equality, a student group dedicated to connecting and educating aspiring female & nonbinary music professionals. Inspired by MUSE, Rosie’s undergraduate thesis project investigated gender disparities in post-secondary audio-technology education in the United States.
Humberto Vela - Drums, Percussion
Born in San Jose, California, drummer/percussionist Humberto Vela has been a sought after session player for over 10 years. Inspired by his father who was a Latin drummer, Humberto quickly learned his first beat's at age 7. His passion for drumming would drive him to learn all styles of music before ultimately graduating from Musicians Institute in Los Angeles in 1996. After studying under such great's as Bruce Becker, Walfredo Reyes Jr., and Richie Gajate-Garcia. Humberto turned his focus on playing all rhythmic instruments including percussion, cajon and even steel drum.
Now residing in the Palm Springs area Humberto can be seen fusing both drums and percussion to provide a full rhythm section sound. He has spent many year's touring steadily all across the world, performing in Indonisia, Spain and Germany. Humberto has had the pleasure of performing with such artists as Peter White, Spyro Gyro, Walter Beasley, Chris Botti, Gerald Albright, Erik Darius, Jessy J., Jeff Golub, Jeff Lorber, Kirk Whalum and Gerald Veasley and can be seen on the DVD/CD by Steve Oliver entitled "One Night Live" released on nu groove records and released by Sony.
Don Reed - Guitar, Songwriting, Theory
Don Reed, an award winning multi-instrumentalist, has been performing, composing, teaching and recording music for over 40 years. Don's multi-instrumental work and compositions have been featured on over 100 recording projects, television and film soundtracks and more. Don has performed with numerous bands and solo artists throughout his career as well as producing and managing artists. Don has explored such diverse genres in his career such as punk, bluegrass, hard rock, classic rock, jazz, folk, blues and much more. Don currently heads up the Pop Music & Songwriting program at Idyllwild Arts Academy and is also Chair of the Summer Songwriting Department at Idyllwild Arts.
Courtney Chambers - Vocals / Guitar / Keyboards
Southern California Native Courtney Chambers started singing and making up songs from the age of 5, but it wasn’t until she turned 10 that she began to formally study music on the piano.
At 17, her father bought her a guitar for a graduation present and this is where she finally found her musical voice and began to find her place as a writer on the guitar. She went on to study music at Fullerton College with an emphasis in Classical Voice. She founded Royal Daughter Records in 2001 when she released her debut album “Imperfect Like Me”. In 2003, she began teaching voice, guitar and piano, finding another way to share her passion for music.
Since then, she has released 4 more records on her independent label. In 2010, she joined the ranks of Dog N Butterfly (a tribute to Heart) playing the part of guitarist Nancy Wilson. In 2011, she also joined the country group Jasmine Fields as a guitarist/vocalist. She has also accompanied other artists on guitar and vocals such as LA artist Gabe Lopez and childhood heroine Belinda Carlisle. Chambers continues to make records and tour with several acts.
Abie Perkins - Vocals, Piano, Sax
Abie moved to southern California 20 years ago and has beensharing his gift of music ever since. Starting his own company, Shaken Not Stirred Entertainment, Abie’s diverse range of talents include, charismatic performances, producing, writing, acting, and instructing others in the philosophy in the entertainment of the arts. Whether on stage in front of thousands, or recording in a production studio, as long as it has something to do with entertainment, that’s where Abie will always feel at home.
Susan Benkin - Performance
SUSAN BENKIN has had a 25 year long performing career in almost every possible genre of music, beginning with a rock band as a teenager and moving on to a stage career with over 1,000 performances of operas, operettas and musicals. In addition to her American debut at Cincinnati Opera and her debut at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, Susan was also first cast Jenny-any-Dots in the Hamburg, Germany production of CATS, and participated in several world premieres of modern operas. She has taught voice privately in Europe and the US, and was on the voice faculty at AMDA LA for 7 years, is a member of NATS and has a BM, BME, MM, and Opera Diploma. Susan currently has a diverse teaching week here in the Coachella valley, working with several programs at Rancho Mirage HS coaching opera and musical theater singers, as well as working as a vocal/performance coach for many local desert rock bands including YIP YOPS, Minor Emergency and UU.
Bill Saitta - Bass, Music Theory
Bill Saitta is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. He plays electric and double bass and has worked with Tom Scott, Craig Chaquico, Ry Cooder, Louie Bellson, Ernie Watts, George Thorogood, Dick Contino, Jimmy Bryant, Les Paul and many others.
He has recorded with various artists including Bill Wolfer’s Mamborama, Steve Madaio, Manzanares Y Sol, and Los Angeles The Jazz Composers Orchestra under the direction of Mark Masters.
Bill is active in the So Cal area playing clubs, shows and symphony concerts. He also tours and records with his own group.
Deanna Bogart - Piano. Vocals, Tenor Sax
Genre-free multi instrumentalist singer songwriter Deanna Bogart has been a bandleader for over 25 years. Creating a unique fusion of musical styles, her eclectic streak and style of adventurous ‘blusion’ has garnered her numerous awards and accolades while touring throughout the US and abroad. An avid educator/mentor, Deanna has been guest soloist, band coach, artist in residence and gives ‘approach to improv’ classes for all ages. She has also played for our troops in Iraq, Kuwait and in Egypt as part of the ‘Blues on the Nile’ tour which included performances/master classes at Cairo University, Cairo Opera House and a historic concert at the pyramids. 4 time horn instrumentalist of the year/ 2 time nominated pianist of the year BMA awards (Memphis, TN) & 22 wammies (Washington area music awards)
Juan Espino - Keyboards, Guitars, Vocals
Juan Espino is a recording artist, rapper, multi- instrumentalist, songwriter and producer who performs and releases music under the name “Razor J”. He has played in various bands of many styles and has done session work for a wide variety of artists. He’s performed in stages up and down the west coast, has recorded in Conway Studios, OceanWay Studios and more.
Will Sturgeon - Music Director
Will Sturgeon is a 28 year-old desert native. He graduated with a degree in Popular Music Performance from the University of Southern California in 2012, or, as he refers to it, "the university version of a School of Rock," and has a Master's in Music Education from Boston University.
Will is a songwriter who writes, plays, and records all of the instrumentation in his recordings himself, and has been releasing music since 2007. He recently won the Tachevah 2016 Battle of The Bands, hosted by the Desert Sun, with his band brightener. brightener was also chosen to play at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in 2016, a dream come true for a songwriter from the desert. He also produces local Coachella Valley artists with The Sturdio, and won Best Producer from CV Weekly in 2018.
Will has been with AMP since day 1 and is passionate about making AMP a community where young musicians can grow into themselves, meet new people, be challenged with new music that they can relate to, and come out of every AMP experience as a better musician and a better person.