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Talented Music

The Talented Music Program strives to foster the student’s ability to achieve personal goals in music as developed between teacher, student, and parent.  The program aims to develop the student’s recognition, understanding, and application of music theory in relation to, and in the performance of, his or her chosen instrument.  Students will explore concepts of harmony, as well as composition and arranging, improvisation, ear training, melodic dictation, transcription, electronic media and recording, music history and culture, and marketing in the music industry.

Talented Music Faculty

Christopher French graduated from the University of Louisiana with B.A. degrees in Music Media and Jazz Studies and also earned a performance certification from the Berklee College of Music. Mr. French was recently nominated for two Grammys and has performed in many international festivals and competitions, including: the Hollywood Bowl, the Heineken Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and South by Southwest, City Stages, and DCI (Phantom Regiment). Mr. French has published two music method books and has performed on numerous album recordings, television features, and radio broadcasts with world class musicians such as Jimmy Buffett, Los Lobos, The Mavericks, Sonny Landreth, Marcia Ball, Marc Broussard, Wayne Toups, Michael Doucet, Roddie Romero, The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and many others. Mr. French also serves as the music director for the Acadiana School of the Arts and as the Youth Programs Coordinator for the Tipitina’s Foundation.

Timothy Gaffga received his String Education undergraduate degree at Loyola University in New Orleans in 2000 and his Masters in Music Education at UNLV in 2002. He became a certified Suzuki instructor in 2011   He spent over ten years in Nevada and Virginia serving as orchestra director of elementary, middle and high school programs. This year, Mr. Gaffga will begin his 7th year teaching in the LPSS Talented Music Program. Throughout his teaching career, Mr. Gaffga has also performed in semi-professional and regional orchestras including the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Arlington Philharmonic and the Washington Conservatory Orchestra. Mr. Gaffga attends National Music Educator conferences, and currently performs with the Acadiana Symphony, the Lake Charles Symphony and the Rapides Symphony.   He is the proud father of four children.

Timothy McFatter graduated from the University of New Orleans with a B. A. in music with a concentration in Jazz Performance. He also studied music composition at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has performed at numerous festivals and concert venues around the world, and performed with Trombone Shorty on television talk shows for Dave Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and others. He has performed on recorded albums for many artists including Zac Brown Band, Rod Stewart, CeeLo Green, and Mark Ronson. In 2017 he performed on a Grammy nominated album by Dwayne Dopsie. Previously, Timothy served as a teaching assistant  at the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Prior to teaching in Lafayette Parish, Mr. McFatter taught in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Paul Tassin is a working freelance musician who resides in Lafayette, and plays piano professionally. He holds an undergrad from McNeese in Jazz Studies, and Piano Pedagogy as well as a Masters degree in Jazz Studies from ULL.  He is the father of 3 boys, and performs regularly throughout the region. He has taught music for over 20 years, and enjoys building his musical repertoire and participating in creative endeavors.

Chad Viator has been working as a musician and teacher for over 20 years.  In 2000 he graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette obtaining a BA in music concentrating on classical guitar performance and electronic media.  During this time he was given the opportunity to study with Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, Manuel Barrueco, Christopher Parkening, and John Holmquist. Chad participated in various guitar competitions in the United States winning the Pine Belt Guitar Symposium and Lamson Guitar competitions in 1998. Upon graduating at the top of his class, he began to tour as a professional guitarist performing in many festivals and stages including: The New Orleans Jazz Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Cayamo Cruse, South by Southwest, D-Fest, Festival Du Voyageur, Louisiana Crossroads, Portland Riverfront Blues Festival, City Stages and has shared the stage with artist such as Sonny Landreth, Los Lobos, Zachary Richard, Jimmy Buffett, The Mavericks, Buckwheat Zydeco, Roddie Romero, Joel Guzman, Rotary Downs, The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Mark Broussard, GIVERS, Dickie Landry, Rhiannon Giddens, and Micheal Doucet.  In 2007 He was nominated for a Grammy award for his work on the album “Gulfstream” by Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars. In 2018 he was nominated for teacher of the year through LEF in the inspirational category. In addition to teaching with LPSS, Chad also runs a private guitar studio through the Acadiana School of the Arts as well as a music production studio where he has scored music for films that have been played at various festivals including Cannes film festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film festival, Fargo film Festival, GI Film Festival, and FLY festival and has recorded and produced music for artist such as Tiffany Lamson, Micheal Doucet, Tache De La Rocca, Julie Odell, Adam Torres, Early Day Miners, Ashana Sophia and others.