Key to Change Guest Lecturers: Spring-Summer Trimester

Being a strong and effective musician requires more than just music lessons. We’re committed to providing opportunities for our students to continue learning, growing, and preparing for their future, even if their normal public school classes are on hiatus. We are bringing in guest lecturers from a variety of academic fields over the next few months to conduct video lectures with our students and help broaden the scope of their music training.

Join these professors and experts who will lecture on an array of academic topics via Zoom. Please RSVP at to receive access to these lectures. 

Friday, May 8, 3pm: Dr. PJ Alaimo
Seattle University Professor
Class Demonstration:  “Kitchen Chemistry: Acids and Bases”

Dr. Alaimo earned his B.S. in Chemistry and Philosophy from University of Michigan in 1994 and his PhD in organic chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1999.  After conducting research in chemical genetics and teaching biochemistry at UC San Francisco Medical Center, he started working at Seattle University in 2004, where he is currently a professor.

Friday, May 15, 3pm: Jonte Lee
Class Demonstration: “Crystals All Around Us”

Jonte Lee is a high school chemistry STEM teacher at Calving Coolidge High School in Washington DC Public Schools District. Before becoming a high school teacher, Jonte worked in the corporate sector as a marketing specialist. Through teaching, he found his life’s passion. He enjoys making meaningful connections with students and pushing them academically forward.

Wednesday, May 20, 4:30pm: Victor Zamora
Program Director for the College Success Foundation
College Preparatory Workshop

Victor Zamora currently works at the College Success Foundation as a Program Manager for Improvement and Quality. Previously, he worked as at KIPP Colorado Schools as the Director of KIPP Through College overseeing the College Counseling offices at two high schools. During his time in Colorado, he implemented strategies that increased the number of students attending their first-choice schools all around the country. He started his career working as an admissions counselor at Seattle University and then as Assistant Director of Admissions for Multicultural Recruitment at Oregon State University. He is passionate about helping families through the complicated admissions process as well as supporting students for a successful journey through college.

Friday, May 22, 3pm: Iann Seel
CPA and Key to Change Board Member
Class Discussion: “Balancing Your LIfe and Your Finances”

Iann is an auditor at CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, a national financial services firm. She work in the public sector, specifically auditing employee benefit plans and non-profit organizations. Iann graduated Magna Cum Laude from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting as well as minors in music and interdisciplinary studies. She played the violin in the Central Washington Symphony as well as the Tacoma Youth Symphony, and still plays the piano as a way to relax.

Friday, June 5, 3pm: Dr. Andrea Henderson-Platt
Assistant Professor at University of South Carolina 

Dr. Henderson’s research examines the influence of religion on health and family outcomes, with a strong emphasis on the implications of religious institutions, practices and values among Black Americans. An important aspect of her research examines how religious involvement protects against the different forms of stress, particularly racialized stress. To address this line of inquiry her work uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and takes an interdisciplinary focus incorporating perspectives from critical theory, social psychology, history, and public health. Her work has been published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Journal of Religion and Health, and Journal of Family Issues. Dr. Henderson received her PhD in Sociology at the University of Texas Austin in 2011, and she joined the Department of Sociology at UofSC in 2013.

Friday, June 12, 2020 3pm: Dr. Lisa “Osunleti” Beckley-Roberts

Dr. Lisa “Osunleti” Beckley-Roberts, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Interim Chair of music at Jackson State University, earned her doctorate in Ethnomusicology and Masters Degrees in Ethnomusicology and Harp Performance at Florida State University, after having received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Harp Performance from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Her research interests include Africana spiritual traditions and the role of music within them, the creation of sacred space through music, music and memory, and Africana music and dance traditions.  She is also an accomplished performer who has been principal harpist with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and the Central Florida Symphony Orchestra while also performing with the neo-soul and hip-hop performers of Tallahassee Nights Live.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 3pm: Daniel Hammes
Educational Administrator
Lecture: STEM and Music “The Perfect Duo for the Wonder Brain”

Dan has 20+ years in college administration as College faculty, Academic Advisor, and Campus Director. He currently serves as the campus director for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University overseeing the Renton and Joint-Base Lewis McChord campuses as well as teaches part-time as principal faculty for City University of Seattle in the School of Management since 1999. He has worked in public schools in Michigan, private schools in Washington, as well as in leadership roles both for-profit and non-profit companies in the Puget Sound. He holds a Bachelor’s in Theology from Faith Baptist Bible College, four master degrees from City University of Seattle, and a Master’s of Science in Project Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Friday, June 19, 2020 3pm: Kymani Thomas
Consultant and Key to Change Board Member
Music Wellness Workshop

Cellist Keith Thomas is a committed advocate for access and inclusion in classical music. With over a decade of experience in community engagement, as a member of the Da Camera Young Artists Program, principal cellist of the Longmont Symphony in Colorado, and most recently through the Teaching Artist program at the Seattle Symphony, he is especially focused on working with underserved populations and students of color. Keith also collaborates with nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies to help them develop and distribute compelling messaging.

Friday, June 26, 2020 3pm: Naomi Ishisaka
Seattle Times Journalist and Photographer

Naomi Ishisaka is the Social Justice Columnist for The Seattle Times. She is a journalist and photographer who focuses on racial equity and social justice. Through writing and photography, Ishisaka documents social justice movements, issues and events. Her writing and photography have appeared in The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald, Heart and Science Magazine and many other publications. Ishisaka served for eight years as the Editor in Chief of the award-winning ColorsNW Magazine, a monthly magazine focusing on communities of color in the Northwest.

Friday, July 10, 2020 3pm: Keisha McKinsley

Keisha D. McKinsey, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 16 years experience in the medical field, delivers individualized care to each patient.  Mrs. McKinsey started McKinsey Health & Wellness so everyone could have access to quality healthcare, whether patients have insurance or not.  Keisha received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA and her Master of Science in Nursing from Maryville University in St. Louis, MO. She’s currently a doctoral student at Abilene Christian University. She is a Renton High School graduate. 

Friday, July 17, 2020 3pm: Dr. Aronica V. Williams, MD
Doctor Specializing in Family Medicine

Dr. Williams graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin,Medical College of Wisconsin in 2005. Dr. Williams works in Milwaukee, WI and specializes in Family Medicine. Dr. Williams is affiliated with Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Orthopedic Hospital Of Wisconsin and Aurora Sinai Medical Center. She also holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and Music Theory from Loyola University New Orleans.

Friday, July 24, 2020 3pm: Michael Bean and Roni Ayalla
Business Development and Creative Strategists

Michael and Roni are the founders of Sandpaper Productions, a communications and design agency based in Austin, Texas. The firm helps companies and entrepreneurs of all sizes tell their stories more effectively with compelling visuals. Prior to founding Sandpaper Productions, Michael and Roni worked for media companies in New York. Both received their Masters of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington in Seattle, where each worked with youth at nonprofits on digital storytelling.

Friday, July 31, 2020 3pm: Dr. Stephen Luckey
Assistant Professor of Biology at Seattle University
Understanding the Covid-19 Pandemic: From Basic Science to Public Health

Dr. Luckey’s research aims are twofold: 1) to understand the role of cell cycle regulators in both physiologic and pathologic hypertrophy; and 2) to identify regulators that promote beneficial cardiac growth and improved cardiac function in the context of heart disease. Ultimately, findings from this research may contribute to the development of therapies to mitigate the effects of heart failure. Professor Luckey received his B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Dayton, his Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, and conducted his postdoctoral research in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has also taught classes at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Regis University, Denver.

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Key to Change Awards $11,000 in Daniel Ching Scholarships

“I was extremely honored and flattered when Key to Change wanted to start a scholarship fund in my honor. I’m overjoyed as these awards will give these young musicians the same opportunity I was given at their age, and all through the generosity of the entire Key To Change community which has given already so much to the fund. I feel tremendous pride that Key to Change exists because of the vision and hard work of my former student, Dr. Quinton Morris. I could not be more proud of what he has given to the community in South King County already, and look forward eagerly to the next stages of growth for the organization.” – Daniel Ching, violinist of the Miró Quartet

We are thrilled to announce the first round of recipients for the Daniel Ching Scholarship for Musical Excellence. Launched in 2019, the Daniel Ching Scholarship is named after the former violin instructor of Key to Change Founder and Executive Director Dr. Quinton Morris. Daniel played a critical role shaping Quinton’s career as a performer and inspiring him to give back to the next generation. Both artists overcame tremendous hardships on their way to becoming world-class violinists, and the new Daniel Ching Scholarship honors that journey by creating new musical opportunities for underserved students in South King County.

The inaugural recipients of the Daniel Ching Scholarship are as follows:

  • Richie Doan, violin, 11th grade
  • Nathan Wang, violin, 11th grade
  • Analisa Ruiz, violin, 10th grade
  • Jolene Nguyen, viola, 10th grade
  • Madison Woolery, violin, 10th grade
  • Ellie Whitby, violin, 10th grade
  • Alia Uffenorde, violin, 8th grade
  • Jasmine Wang, violin, 8th grade
  • Madison Cole, violin, 8th grade
  • Amariah Strand, violin, 8th grade
  • Hayley Camp, violin, Key to Change alumna, college sophomore and double major in violin at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and mathematics at Johns Hopkins University


Recipients of the Daniel Ching Scholarship each received personalized videos from Dr. Quinton Morris and Daniel Ching.

If you would like to donate to the Daniel Ching Scholarship Fund or learn more about this exciting endeavor, please click here.

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Six-Week Intercession Private Violin & Viola Lessons

Sign up now for private lessons during our special six-week intercession and receive weekly individualized instruction via video sessions with our Executive Director Dr. Quinton Morris. Plus, participate in a special guest artist master class online! Lessons are available for middle and high school students living in South King County.

The first 10 students to sign up will receive a free additional 30-minute lesson!

March 30 – May 8, 2020 
Tuition: $450
Payment plans are available.
Please call 425-243-2597 for more details.

Sign Up Now 

Recent accomplishments of our students:

  • Performing solo concerti as the recital opener for the Seattle Symphony’s Community Concert in Renton
  • Alumnus served as former concertmaster of the Tacoma Youth Symphony
  • Alumnus majoring in violin performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music
  • All-State participants and All-District Superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble Contests
  • Numerous Student of the Month awards
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Key to Change with the Seattle Symphony

In February three of our students shared the stage with the Seattle Symphony at a special outreach performance at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center. Amariah Strand, Alia Uffenorde, and Jasmine Wang all represented Key to Change and the broader musical community of South King County with their exceptional performances in a pre-concert recital. Key to Change collaborative pianist Joseph Williams was the accompanist.

Watch their performances and a post-concert interview in the videos below!

Amariah Strand performs the Kuchler Violin Concertino in G Major, Op. 11:

Alia Uffenorde performs the Kuchler Violin Concertino in D Major, Op. 15:

Jasmine Wang performs the Seitz Violin Concerto in G Minor and Polish Dance:

Post-Concert Interview with the Students:

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Announcing the Winners of our Solo String Festival!

Key Changemakers: Our Festival Winners
Highlighting excellence in our community

This month’s Key Changemakers are the three winners of our Inaugural Solo String Festival! Each of them will receive a scholarship to the college of their choice and have a chance to perform live on Classical KING FM 98.1!

Davie Ann Ross:
Senior Competitive Division First Place Winner

“When I began playing violin, there was no one there to guide my parents and me in the ‘right’ direction. What Key to Change is doing for hopeful string players is providing that necessary guidance, and I am so grateful to have been able to participate in a program that hits so close to home.”  – Davie Ann Ross 

Davie is a junior at Raisbeck Aviation High School. She began studying the violin at the age of 8, and now plays in both the Seattle and Tacoma Youth Symphony Associations, where she has served as a principal player and concertmaster. She also volunteers through her student-run string ensemble at local elementary and middle schools in the Highline School District.

Alia Uffenorde:
Junior Competitive Division First Place Winner

“Playing an instrument is an opportunity to focus and produce beautiful music after putting in the hard work of practicing.”  – Alia Uffenorde

Alia has studied the violin for the past two years and the piano for the past four. She first learned about Key to Change when Dr. Morris visited her middle school orchestra, and has now been taking violin lessons with the organization for the past year and a half. Through master classes and other opportunities at Key to Change, she felt empowered to join additional ensembles like the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

Ruby Ro:
Jury Prize Winner

“Music is one of the ways to make sense of things, a way to express feelings when we have no words, a way to understand things with our hearts when we cannot grasp them with our minds. Music is the language we choose when we are speechless. It’s hard to imagine life without music.”  – Ruby Ro

Ruby is a freshman at Todd Beamer High School. She has been playing the violin for seven years and says that music has taught her more about herself and what she want to do for a career. She says playing an instrument has helped her gain a better understanding not only of composers, but of people in general, because playing music is a way of telling stories and sharing life experiences.

We are thrilled to have all three winners of the Solo String Festival performing live on the radio this weekend on Classical KING FM’s NW Focus LIVE program. Tune in on Friday, May 3 at 8pm PT to hear Davie, Alia, and Ruby perform on air and talk with KING FM host Sean MacLean about their musical journey through Key to Change.

Tune in on the radio at 98.1 FM or click here to stream it online from anywhere in the world!

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Key Changemaker: David Couch

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting Excellence in our Community


“Béla Bartók said of music, it ‘builds bridges, not walls.’ I really like that sentiment, and feel Key to Change is also about building connections in the community. I hope from my position as a teacher, a conductor, or a bass player, that I strive to build bridges, not walls.”

– David Couch, Kentridge High School Orchestra Director
(Pictured with his wife)


Our Key Changemaker of the Month is David Couch! David is the Orchestra Director at Kentridge High School. He studied double bass at the University of Texas in Austin, and played in the Austin Symphony before moving to Washington in 1980. He has subbed with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and 5th Avenue Theatre, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. He also plays with the Auburn Symphony, and teaches orchestra to students grades 5-12 in Kent.

He says the level of musicianship has skyrocketed in the Pacific Northwest over the past 15 years and it’s a great place to be a musician! Thank you David for all the music you bring to our community!


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Key Changemaker: Alia Uffenorde

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting Excellence in our Community

“The violin is one of the hardest instruments in the world when you sit and think about it. If you can play the violin, you feel like you can really do anything.”
– Alia Uffenorde, Key to Change Violin Student

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is our violin student Alia Uffenorde! Alia began her musical studies by playing the piano, and a few years later discovered her love of the violin while taking an orchestra class at school. She now plays both instruments, and says that Dr. Morris has changed her idea of the phrase “Practice makes perfect” into “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Through master classes and other opportunities at Key to Change, Alia felt empowered to participate in additional ensembles like the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

Thank you Alia for all the music you bring to South King County!

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Key Changemaker: Shelia Holiman

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting excellence in our community  

“Playing violin gives me a peace of mind and lots of joy. I love when I can perform for family, friends, and for an audience. Through Key to Change, I have grown as a musician and bettered by skills as an artist.”  –  Shelia Holiman, Key to Change Violin Student

–  Shelia Holiman, Key to Change Violin Student

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is our violin student Shelia Holiman! Shelia is in 10th grade at Kentridge High School. She attended Key to Change’s Five for Five – Learn to Thrive summer music camp last June and is now studying violin at our studio on scholarship. Dr. Morris describes Shelia as “a delightful person, who always comes to class with a smile and ready to learn. She also makes the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever tasted!”

Thank you Shelia for the beautiful music you bring to our community!

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Donor and Event Manager Position Open




Position: Donor and Event Manager
Reports to: Executive Director; will also work closely with the Communications Director. The Donor and Event Manager is expected to work remotely and operate in an independent, self-motivated fashion.
Status: Independent Contractor
Starting Date: February 19, 2019
Salary: $20,000 (20 hours per week at $20 per hour)

The Donor and Event Manager will have a key role in building our donor base and increasing our grant income fundraising over the next 12 months. The Donor and Event Manager will participate in other capacity building priorities to strengthen Key to Change’s reach to underserved youth in South King County.

Event Management
40% of this position includes event management. The first four months will include assisting with the planning and execution of our spring fundraiser event and the following duties:
• Event logistics (venue, catering, décor, RSVP process and tracking, etc.)
• Event marketing
• Write compelling materials for production
• Secure and steward event sponsors
• Volunteer recruitment and coordination
• Assist Director of Development with audience development
• Assist with RSVP process and RSVP tracking
• Other duties as assigned

50% of this position includes donor acquisition, cultivation and retention
• Identify, solicit and support Executive Director and board members in identifying and cultivating potential new donors and prospects in South King County
• Engage potential donors to determine interest and set next steps for further engagement
• Assist with major gifts campaign logistics
• Assist with executing individual giving campaign logistics (year-end appeal, etc.)
• Call donors before the event for pledges
• Identify opportunities for donor recognition, stewardship, and appreciation
• Other duties as assigned

Grant Writing and Grants Management
10% of this position includes the following:
• Systematically research and propose relevant new funding opportunities through foundations, businesses and government aligned with Key to Change’s mission and general operating needs
• Assist with grant writing as needed to produce well-written, compelling, research-based, and competitive grant proposals, letters of inquiry, narratives, acknowledgement letters, and reports following funding guidelines, parameters, and procedures through completion and on-time submission of full proposal and report packages (narratives, budgets, and attachments)
• Other duties as assigned

Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Public Affairs, Communications, or related field. Will
consider equivalent combination of education and experience.
• At least 6-8 years of professional fundraising experience, five as a Grant Writer with
significant and increasing fundraising responsibility (general nonprofit fundraising
experience is preferred)
• Successful track record with small start-up nonprofits

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
• Corporate and foundation development and proposal writing experience, with a proven ability to secure grants and contracts, familiarity with the corporate funding community and knowledge of government (city, state, federal) and private funding sources
• Strong research, analysis and critical thinking skills
• Proven project management skills; highly organized, with an ability to balance projects in a highly deadline-driven environment
• Timely response and feedback
• Proficiency in all programs of the current Microsoft Office suite
• Google Drive familiarity

• Demonstrated experience creating and managing successful fundraising events, including logistics, sponsorships, and audience development, is preferred.
• Understanding and adherence to generally accepted fundraising ethics and privacy standards and policies
• Experience setting up endowments with community foundations preferred
• Previous grant, research, and budget experience of five (5) to seven (7) years
• Not-for-profit grant writing experience, preferred
• Ability to articulate a passion for the arts
• Demonstrated understanding of donor prospect identification, cultivation, and solicitation strategies
• Comfort working independently and collaborating
• Excellent verbal and written communications skills that can be adapted for different audiences

To Apply: Please send a resume, cover letter, two writing samples, and three professional references to Dr. Quinton Morris, Executive Director & Founder,

No phone calls, please.

Deadline: Review of application materials begins on January 22, 2019. Application materials received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Key to Change is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome all applicants, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or veteran status. We conform to the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations.

About the Organization
Key to Change is a Washington State 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization inspiring underserved youth through world-class music instruction and supporting their development as self-aware leaders. Key to Change strives to provide young artists with the educational tools and resources they need in order to grow and thrive as musicians and as individuals.

Key to Change operates two violin studios, of the same name, in South King County which provide private violin and viola lessons or group classes in Renton, Kent, Auburn, Tukwila, Maple Valley, and Federal Way communities. The Key to Change studio offers scholarships for students requiring financial assistance.

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Key Changemaker: Mollie Ewing

Key Changemaker of the Month: 
Highlighting excellence in our community 

“My passion for violin was encouraged by a supportive family, inspiring private teachers and great school music programs. I played with youth symphonies and knew when I got to college that I wanted to be a music educator.

I had been raising my boys and conducting for the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra when I heard there was a new middle school being built in Renton, just miles from my house. When I was hired, I had been mostly unfamiliar with the private teachers in the area and it was great when Dr. Morris got in touch with me early in the school year and offered to visit my school. I was able to attend a strategic planning meeting to see how much work Dr. Morris and others were putting into the dream of outreach and access to private lessons for students in South King County area.

I have seen how family incomes can dictate the level of involvement a student has, and what their local schools can offer. If Key to Change can help kids access private lessons and supplement and give individualized support for what they are receiving in their classroom orchestras, we can be a stronger force within the music community, offering our students more opportunities and broadening their learning experiences.”

-Mollie Ewing, Orchestra Director of Risdon Middle School

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is Mollie Ewing! As the Orchestra Director of Risdon Middle School she exemplifies the power of music education in our community. She supports our youth’s musical development both within and beyond the classroom, helping to cultivate the passion for classical music in South King County. Thank you Mollie for your work in the community and supporting Key to Change!

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