Oversees all departments and executive decision making for the organization. 

As executive director since 2013, Jody Hanet has overseen the growth of Kids’ Orchestra from 65 elementary students to 800 elementary students, developing the program into the largest afterschool music and academic enrichment opportunity of its kind in the United States.

Jody has spent more than 25 years working as a music educator and grassroots music programming instigator in New Jersey, Arizona, and Louisiana. She has been a public and private school teacher and children’s choir conductor, including with the Phoenix Boys Choir and the East Baton Rouge Parish Junior Choir. Jody holds a Bachelor’s degree in vocal music education from LSU and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership from Bank Street College in New York City. She became a certified Kodaly specialist from the Kodaly Musical Training Institute in Hartford, Connecticut.

In addition to her work with Kids’ Orchestra, Jody serves on the Board of Directors for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce and for the A. C. Lewis YMCA in Baton Rouge. Jody recently was selected to serve on the arts, culture, and leisure committee of the Mayor’s transition team.

Contact Jody at or 225.922.4656 ext. 102.


Oversees the content, quality, and implementation of music curriculum for all program sites and manages the the Westdale Heights Academic Magnet and Baton Rouge Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet program sites along with providing support to enrolled students and their families.

Sam holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Murray State University and a Master of Music in Percussion from Louisiana State University. He has studied percussion with Tom Vanarsdel, John Hill, and Jim Corcoran. Sam is currently studying with Brett Dietz while finishing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance at Louisiana State University.

Sam hails from Kentucky where he was active with the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Governor’s School for the Arts as the Western Kentucky recruiter and as a teaching assistant. He currently performs as a freelance percussionist in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, specializing in contemporary percussion, drum set, and chamber music. He also teaches privately throughout the region.

Contact Sam at or 225.922.4656 ext. 103.


Oversees strategy and logistics for program sites and manages organizational operations.

Dr. Brian Gallion holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in tuba performance from Louisiana State University, the Master of Music Degree in tuba performance from LSU, as well as the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Prior to joining Kids’ Orchestra, Brian held various teaching positions in secondary and higher education throughout Georgia and Louisiana.  In addition to working with Kids’ Orchestra, Brian currently holds the position of principal tuba with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra (Alexandria, LA), the Lake Charles (LA) Symphony Orchestra, and the Gulf Coast (MS) Symphony Orchestra.  He is also an active chamber musician with the Chimes Street Brass Quintet. He currently resides in Zachary, LA with his wife, Sarah, and their three children, Renée, Liam, and Claire.

Contact Brian at or 225.922.4656 ext. 111.


Oversees the Development & Communications Department and manages corporate, foundation, and individual giving.

Melissa has over a decade of nonprofit experience and has worked for a number of organizations, including Capital Area United Way, Baton Rouge Epicurean Society, and Audubon Louisiana.  Her roles have included annual giving, special events, management and major gifts.

In addition to working for nonprofits, she has served on the boards of Forum 35, Junior League of Greater Baton Rouge, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Manship Advisory Board and Maison Des Ami.  She was recognized as Baton Rouge Business Report’s Forty under 40, Forum 35 Member of the Year and Forum 35 Inaugural Young BR Original Award.

Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.  She is a Certified Fundraising Executive and has participated in the Baton Rouge Leadership Program and Next Wave program for nonprofit leaders.

Contact Melissa at or 225.922.4656 ext. 106.


Oversees the development and implementation of marketing and communications campaigns and initiatives.

Kristina brings over 7 years of experience in the areas of writing, editing, communications and development to Kids’ Orchestra. She has run her own creative services business, managed teams of writers, spearheaded creative project collaborations, crafted viral content, and ghostwritten for changemakers. She has also published over 400 articles and has worked for both philanthropic and for-profit organizations, including the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, One Green Planet, Croatia Times, and Ulix Foreign Language School.

In addition to her professional work, Kristina is committed to making a difference and being involved in her community. She is a member of Forum 35 and volunteers with Baton Rouge’s no-kill cat shelter, Cat Haven. She also participates in the John W. Barton Sr. Leadership Program through Forum 35. Kristina holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing, both from Grand Valley State University.

Contact Kristina at or 225.922.4656 ext. 110.


Oversees the afterschool music program at the The Dufrocq School and LaSalle Elementary alongside providing support to enrolled students and their families.

As a Program Manager, Erika is responsible for providing leadership in creating an inviting and safe environment for music students at The Dufrocq School and LaSalle Elementary program sites. She is also a liaison for Kids’ Orchestra and East Baton Rouge Parish schools. As a Site Coordinator, Erika carries out the daily site logistics, including the facilitation of a healthy snack, homework assistance, and the overall organization of the afterschool program.

As a Program Manager, Erika brings an abundance of insight to the Kids’ Orchestra team. With 17 years of experience as an English teacher in Louisiana and Texas, classroom management is a part of her area of expertise. While working as an Educational Specialist with the U.S. Dream Academy in Houston, TX, and the Boys and Girls Club of Franklin, LA, Erika discovered her passion for community education. Being a part of bringing music to the children of East Baton Rouge Parish with the Kids’ Orchestra team is a true pleasure.

Erika is a 1997 graduate of Grambling State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a concentration on English.

Contact Erika at or 225.922.4656 ext. 108.


Oversees the afterschool program at Park Ridge Academic Magnet and Zachary Elementary School sites and manages the care, maintenance, and distribution of the instruments and musical equipment used at program sites.

Wilbert holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Music in Clarinet Performance from Louisiana State University. He has studied the clarinet primarily with Deborah Chodacki.

Before accepting his position as Instrument Inventory Manager, Wilbert worked as a Teaching Artist for Kids’ Orchestra teaching clarinet and flute. Wilbert currently works as both a Program Manager and Instrument Inventory Manager in addition to managing Kids’ Orchestra’s Zachary Elementary School and Park Ridge Academic Magnet School program sites.

Wilbert is an active performer in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, performing with Versipel New Music Ensemble as well as several other chamber ensembles. He also teaches clarinet privately in Baton Rouge.

Contact Wilbert at or 225.922.4656 ext. 104.

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