Staff BIOS

Meet the Staff of Chester Performing Arts Studio



Barbara is the owner and director of the Chester Performing Arts Studio. She is a long time resident of Chesterfield County. She has taught in Chesterfield County since 1998 and got involved with plays as after school enrichment programs. She opened The Drama Club in Chester in the summer of 2008. Barbara is actively involved in all facets of each production. In September 2010, The Drama Club expanded to include Dance as well as Music classes and is now called the Chester Performing Arts Studio. This allows us to follow Barbara’s passion which is to help more children be enriched by the joy of performing, whether it be playing an instrument, dancing, singing or acting.

ALI PLUNKETT Asst Director

Assistant Director

Ali attended James Madison University majoring in education. She has assisted with after school enrichment programs as well as at The Drama Club since it opened in 2008. She is actively involved with play direction, choreography, set construction, as well as day to day business needs.

ERIN PLUNKETT Assistant Director

Erin attended Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in business. She has assisted with after school enrichment programs as well as at The Drama Club since it opened in 2008. She is actively involved with play direction, choreography, set construction, as well as day to day business needs.



Shannon Mills Dance Instructor

Shannon Mills
Dance Instructor

Shannon Mills is a full time college student and dedicated dance teacher. She has been dancing since the age of three; she danced competitively for many years and has worked at several dance companies. She has experience teaching contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, ballet, tap and jazz, as well as choreographing for the Powhatan high school dance team. She has had the privilege of taking classes from outstanding choreographers such as Travis Wall, Mia Michaels and Kathryn McCormick. Shannon looks forward to sharing her love of dance at our performing arts studio.


Leary Davis 

Soprano, Leary Davis, graduated from Longwood University with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance and from East Carolina University with a Master of Music degree in vocal performance. While attending college, she was an active member of their respective opera theatre groups. She performed roles such as Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Vixen (The Threepenny Opera), Jenny Diver (The Beggar’s Opera) as well as, was in scenes from The Spanish Lady, Hugh the Drover, Riders to the Sea, Bertha, and Fables.

She has performed with Farmville, VA’s Summer Garden Opera Program, Greensboro Light Opera and Song in Greensboro, NC, (Angelina (Trial by Jury), Celia (Iolanthe), Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast)) and Old Towne Opera in Petersburg, VA (Gasparina (La Canterina)). Leary has also actively participated in musical theatre, dance, and choir in Virginia and North Carolina.

Leary is a member of The National Music Honor Society, Pi Kappa Lambda, whose mission is dedicated to the furtherance of music in education. Leary feels honored to be able to share her knowledge and love of music and performing with those here at Chester Performing Arts Studio and at Saint Joseph Catholic School where she teaches Kindergarten through eighth grade general music.

K. C. Hatton Guitar and Piano instructor

K. C. Hatton
Guitar and Piano instructor

K.C Hatton is a guitarist with 20 years of performing experience. He began teaching in 2001 while studying jazz and classical guitar and jazz piano at Shenandoah University, where he majored in commercial music. He has recorded and performed with various rock, jazz,fusion and musical theater groups, and has songwriting credits with ASCAP. His experience includes touring the United States, Canada, and Japan performing at events such as the Vans Warped Tour, punkspring and the South by Southwest festival.

Barbara Rutherford Piano and Guitar Instructor

Barbara Rutherford
Piano and Guitar Instructor

Barbara Rutherford has been a music educator for 28 years.  She received her BM in Music Education / Special Education Music / Piano – Voice Concentration from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam College, and her MS in Music Education with Honors from the Aaron Copland School of Music, CUNY Queens College.  She has taught K-12 General Music / Choral in New York and K-5 Music in Chesterfield, and has had extensive piano studio work in both states, teaching children with various abilities.  Barbara has been a guest conductor for All-County Elementary & Middle School Choirs, and was selected “Teacher of the Year” at Marguerite F. Christian Elementary, where she implemented a beginning guitar unit for 4th and 5th graders.  She has also been an accompanist and choir director at local churches.  She is currently an Instructional Technology Integrator for Chesterfield County Public Schools, providing support to music and general education teachers.  However, her true passion is watching young people grow to be great musicians and human beings!





Carrie Bullard Voice, Piano, Drama Music Director

Carrie Bullard
Voice, Piano Instructor                 Drama and Show Choir Music Director

Carrie Bullard is a Vocal Music Education graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University. She started her musical journey at Goochland High School, participating in choir at a school and district level, as well as the theater program. Currently, she teaches private voice and piano as well as directing the music for our drama and show choir programs. She is incredibly excited to work with students and help them achieve their goals in vocals and piano.

Gian Passalacqua Piano and Guitar Instructor

Gian Passalacqua
Piano and Guitar Instructor

Giancarlo Passalacqua has been teaching music for over fifteen years. Gian studied piano at VSU and has continued to keep his music studies up to date.

“I have been given a special opportunity in life to teach music. Teaching music is most important to me, to leave behind significant changes in the minds and souls of my students that last a life time. To enhance the experience of life with music is fortunate. I am dedicated to my passion and look forward to meeting and teaching new pupils. To plant the seeds of harmony, melody, and rhythm into the minds of the future, especially the young, is profound and important.”