The Rookie Rockstars team are a mix of very experienced musicians and office staff who are passionate about the work we do. Many of our music tutors have toured internationally, won music awards and had TV and radio appearances worldwide as part of some well known bands or as solo artists. We work together to try and impact as many young people as we can in a positive way. Find out about who’s who below.
Dave Brackenridge (Founder, CEO)
Dave wrote the original Rookie Rockstars programme with a view to positively impact young people all over the UK. Dave had a tough time at school, having been severely bullied for a number of years. He wanted to seize the opportunity to help children understand that they are all special, they should have confidence in themselves, that they should never give up and to always remember that bullying is not right! His energetic, fun songs have helped teach these positive messages to approx ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND! school pupils across the country. On the back of the success of the programme Dave has written a second programme for schools and opened our very own School of Music which currently has two campuses in Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld respectively. He is passionate and focussed about continuing to grow the charity and helping as many young people as he can! Dave has pretty solid musical credentials too having toured worldwide with his band before starting the Rookie Rockstars Programme.
Sara Danson (General Manager)
Sara has been involved with many charities over a number of years. Yorkhill Children’s Charity, MediCinema, Homestart Glasgow North, Noah’s ark Children’s Hospital for Wales and Ronald MacDonald House have all benefited from her experience over the past number of years. Having joined initially as a volunteer her talents were noticed early on which saw her offered a key role within the organisation. She now manages the office and its staff as well as working closely with schools to ensure the smooth delivery of the Rookie Rockstars Programme.
Kristin Kudeva (Media & Administration)
Kristin is currently a media student by day and an important part of our team by night. She has previously been involved with charities such as Glasgow Sport and her freelance work has been focused on creating media content, filming and editing promotional videos.
Kristin has a passion for video-making and advertising and views Rookie Rockstars’ programme as an inspiring project where she could enhance her skills. She is also the first face you will see when you attend our School of music in Kirkintilloch and your first contact on the phone for all of our Music schools after 3pm.
Emma Husband (Fundraiser)
Stephen Brackenridge (Literacy through music)
Steve, did his first Rookie Rockstars week in September of 2014. He is an accomplished singer, musician, songwriter and playwright! He has performed internationally and played in bands with a variety of styles including indie, folk, soul, punk and of course, rock! He is a loveable big guy and very popular with all pupils, perhaps because of his love of robot dancing! After doing our schools programme for a few years Steve now works in schools helping pupils improve their literacy skills through song writing.
Glyn Harris (Outreach Worker)
Also in our East of Scotland team is Glyn. He has had a long and successful career in the music business from playing to teaching and even selling musical instruments. He still performs regularly however he wanted to get involved with Rookie Rockstars having seen how worth while the project is. We are glad he did.
Nick Tomlinson (Outreach Worker)
Nick has recently moved to Glasgow to join the Rookie Rockstars team having spent the last 3 years living in Edinburgh where he gained his Degree in music. Before that he trained as a Primary Teacher. He has a passion for working with young people but decided the formal class room environment wasn’t for him. Having spent 3 years working as an Early Stages Teacher at Stagecoach Theatre School in Aberdeen and another year in Perth, Nick is no stranger to jumping around and making a fool of himself for the amusement of youngsters and when he’s not doing that he’s usually performing onstage himself, either with theatre group Limelight Productions or Pop Rock band, ‘Peyton Place’.
Chloe Watson (Outreach Worker)
Ellyn Oliver (Voices of Rock)
David Stephen (Guitar Tutor)
David is a music facilitator based in Glasgow that has worked with Paragon Music, Capability Scotland, Glasgow University and Aberdeen City Council amongst others. He is a multi-instrumentalist whose main instrumental focus is guitar/bass which he has taught to children and adults over the last twenty years. He has a BA Music Performance from the University of the Highlands and Islands and a BMUS (Hons) Music and Communities from the University of Aberdeen.
Along with David’s teaching work he is also a touring musician that has shared stages with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, the Fratellis and the Proclaimers. He has performed all across the UK and Europe including UK festivals appearances at T in the Park and XPO North. David’s a published songwriter and is a member of the Performing Rights Society (PRS), many of his compositions have received airplay on Radio 1 and national press in publications such as Rocksound and Record Collector.
Neil MacDougall (Drum Tutor)
Neil went to college to study performance drums & popular music and uni to study music composition, performance and popular music study. But his experience in music and his skills were made and honed as a live performer for the last 14 years or so. He has Recorded, Toured & played all over the country and around the world with over 30 acts, artists and bands of all sorts of genres. When he’s not gigging he runs his own studio for recording, production and composition of music and drumming the company is called ‘Nautilus Studio Productions’. His passion is playing drums, making music and showing others they can do it to!
Carolyn Morrison (Mental Health Counsellor)
Iain Chapman (Concert Front of House)
Iain has been with us right from the start. He has volunteered, worked full time, helped us renovate the office and now works part time helping us out with concert set ups and merchandise sales. He is a cracking chap who is always willing to help with whatever is needed. A valued member of the team.
Aaron Brackenridge (Concert Front of House)
Dave’s eldest son Aaron is a regular at concerts helping with set up’s , tickets and merch sales! He is keen drummer and is about to embark on his drumming education at Glasgow college next year.
School of Music Staff
Ela Brackenridge (School of Music Coordinator)
As you can see by looking through our staff list, Dave’s family have been a massive support to him in getting Rookie Rockstars off the ground and getting it to where it is today. In fact in order to actually see Dave (who works a lot!) his wife Ela has decided to officially join the staff team to help out with admin for both the schools programme and our school of music. Our first school is open in East Dunbartonshire but we hope to open many more over the coming years.
Felisha Wills ( Reception)
Felishia is currently visiting from America. When she is not wandering about trying to get a feel for all that Scotland has to offer, you may find her volunteering at the desk of one of our locations. With years of experience in hospitality, early childhood development, and special education, she has been inspired by the vision of Rookie Rockstars; and is encouraged by the impact the program is making in the lives of participating students.
Ross Millar (Drum Tutor)
Upon completing his BA(hons) degree in popular music, Ross focused his efforts in learning and performing Jazz, Latin, Pop and Theatre. Ticking off some of the best stages in the UK, Ross has performed at countless festivals and gigs including World Music Festival & Giants of Lovers Rock featured in the London 02, Belladrum, One Love Fest. Along with gigging, Ross has used this experience to develop his teaching over the past 5 years where he worked as a private tutor.
Alanna McCuaig (Keys Tutor)
Alanna McCuaig is a young, highly motivated and dedicated musician who recently graduated with 1st Class Honours on the reputable BA Applied Music course at Strathclyde University. She plays the piano as her first instrument and also sings. Her specialism is in celtic music, jazz and classical music, but also holds a healthy interest in most styles including rock, world, salsa, acoustic, indie, singer songwriter, funk and alternative. You can hear these incorporated into her playing and compositions. To her, music is not about the boundaries between the different styles, it’s about realising that they all come from the same place. Alanna is delighted to be part of the family here at Rookie Rockstars and looks forward to working with out stars of the future!
Calum Borthwick (Guitar/Keys Tutor)
Calum developed a love for music and guitar at an early age, which would lead him to a successful career as both a performer and a teacher. He began his formal studies at Strathclyde University’s BA Applied music course before moving to the United States to study at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, where he earned a Masters in Classical Guitar performance.
Tommy Gorman (Guitar)
Tommy is a guitarist and songwriter based in Glasgow. He is an experienced performer, having participated in professional productions in venues such as The O2 ABC, The Beacon and numerous other venues across Scotland. Through studying Music at West College Scotland where he gained top marks, as well as spending a year on the BA Applied music course at the UHI, Tommy became proficient in a variety of styles – from funk/jazz fusion to rock and punk. In addition to performing, Tommy has gained experience in a number of areas of the music business: From organising and promoting concerts to working as an audio-engineer/producer from his home studio.
Self-taught from a young age, Tommy started teaching because he knows it can be difficult to learn about something as complicated as music without a little help and is passionate about guiding students to reach their full potential as musicians by equipping them with all of the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed!
Christine Duncan (Vocal/Keys Tutor)
Christine is an accomplished singer, pianist, and a lover of all things musical theatre! She has a passion for performing, and currently sings with choirs and regularly performs solo’s in concerts with different groups. She is currently in her honours year studying an MA in Music at University of Glasgow, and her goal is to go on to become a high school music teacher. She has always had a passion for music education and it’s benefits for all children, Christine is really excited to be joining the Rookie Rockstars team and we are delighted to have her!
Dario Palazzo (Guitar Tutor)
Dario is a Glasgow based guitarist and is a new member to the Rookie Rockstars team. With musical influences ranging from rock, pop, jazz and folk, Dario has a lot of experience in performance. He is a self-proclaimed guitar nerd with what he describes as “an expensive habit” when it comes to buying guitars! He has a BMus Hons degree in Music Performance and a BA in Music Performance. Alongside his studies, Dario performs regularly across Scotland with folk band Eriska and function band Studio as well as his recent solo endeavour Dario looks forward to bringing this experience to the Music School to help our Rookie Rockstars!
Fraser Wills (Drum Tutor)
Fraser is a soulful drummer based in Glasgow who has toured internationally with Harakiri, the MCSM Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and The Human Empire. He learned his trade at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota, under the guidance of internationally in-demand drum set clinician Dave Stanoch. Alongside this master technician, Fraser has learned from greats such as Paul Stueber, David Schmalenberger, Kevin Washington, Marv Dahlgren and Gordy Knudtson.
Fraser was the principal percussionist for four years at Bethlehem Baptist Church under the directorship of Dr Matthew Westerholm and served as the Assistant for Worship and Music. During his eight years as a professional, Fraser has enjoyed playing a variety of styles including neo-soul, funk, rock, pop and hip hop alongside various artists such as; Ian Everson, Ethan Yeshaya, Trevor Wiest, The Brandon Projekt, Ashley Dubose and many more incredible artists.
Chris Kenny (Key’s Tutor)
Chris joins us a keys tutor. He is a very sought after keys player and is an expert in keys and computer technologies. Full Bio coming soon.
Allie Carson (Vocal Tutor)
Allie is a singer/songwriter from Glasgow. She is an experienced performer, having sung since she was three years old and attended lessons for 5 years. She has supported acts such as Stooshe, performed in many well-known venues such as the Royal Concert Hall, the SECC and the Lowry Theatre in Manchester and has appeared in productions of Grease, Camp Rock, Little Shop of Horrors and High School Musical. She has recently graduated from the Academy of Music and Sound with a 2:1 honours degree in Performance Industries and is keen to put it to good use. When Allie isn’t out performing or writing, she loves to encourage singers to utilise whatever talents they have and build confidence in others as she has not always had confidence in performing herself.
Larissa Currie (Vocal Tutor)
Larissa has had a strong passion for singing from a young age. She has recently graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) degree in Musical Theatre from New College Lanarkshire. She is an Estill trained vocalist and enjoys singing a variety of genres incuding Musical Theatre, jazz, rock and pop and is thriled to be coming on board to work as a Vocal Tutor. When she’s not singing, Larissa also has a passion for literature and achieved an MA in Literary Studies from Glasgow University before pursuing her studies in the performing arts. She is looking forward to meeting the students and helping them develop their vocal skills and confidence!
Maria Robertson (Vocal Tutor)
Maria has been performing and teaching for many years since achieving her BA Honours Degree in Music Performance at Abertay University. She now teaches music in schools around East Dunbartonshire and performs as the lead singer of function band ‘The Karma Rockets’. She performed for many years as a soloist of ‘The Gospel Truth Choir’, sharing the stage with the likes of Ricky Ross, Horse, Marti Pellow and Tom Jones. Maria has a huge passion for teaching singing and is an extremely enthusiastic vocal coach. She goes out of her way to make sure that students have a ball during her lessons, and always pushes them to the limits to ensure they reach their full potential.
Rhona Boyle (Guitar Cover Tutor)
Rhona is a young musician who started playing guitar at the age of 8 and joined her first ceilidh band aged 10. She achieved her RGT Grade 8 Acoustic Guitar aged 15 in 2015 and received the Student Of The Year award at her music school. As a result of playing in the ceilidh band, Rhona was encouraged to take up bass guitar and fiddle and is currently working towards grade 6 violin. She has been in various Folk and Rock bands and has played festivals such as Celtic Connections and several times at The Dougie Maclean Festival. Rhona has also performed solo guitar and fiddle at G66+ Live and Mayfest. She is currently a member of The Campsie Scottish Folk Players and The Campsie Ceilidh Band, playing fiddle. Rhona will be providing cover mainly for our Kirkintilloch Campus.
Sam Gallagher (Sound Engineer)
Sam not only plays music, he has also produced several albums for some serious artists and bands. The recording of the school CD is a big part of what we do. Although Sam is never in the schools he works hard behind the scenes to make sure the CD is put together to a high quality.
Jillian is an experienced Speech and Language Therapist. She selflessly took a year out to support Dave after he approached her and asked for help to turn the programme into what it is today. She also toured internationally with Dave’s former band. Her understanding of Music, Education and her experience in working with young folk with additional support needs, gives her a huge amount of knowledge to bring to the table!
Philip is to be frank a legend! He has a career that spans TV, Radio, Musical
Performance and Events management. He has performed in some of the biggest venues in the UK and had numerous acting roles on major soaps. He has performed with Cilla Black and interviewed some of the biggest artists in the world on various radio stations over the years! He was also part of the cast, along side Amy MacDonald for the Common Wealth Games 2014 opening ceremony.
Despite her young looks Helena is a very experienced Lawyer and we are thrilled she has agreed to lend her knowledge and advice as a member of our trustees.
Alan Gunn (IT)
We all know someone great with technology! Alan is a massive support to Rookie Rockstars with all things computer and internet related. His company Enrich IT provides our web hosting for free! He was able to secure donations from Microsoft and other software providers to help run the organisation. He is always available to provide help and advice on technology issues, ideas for our website and fixing issues. He’s even been known to run cables for our printers! A huge support.