Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meet the Teachers!

Shanna Hilton Smith
When I was a teenager if anyone would ask me what I wanted to do when I "grew up", I would always say, "teach music to children!" I have ALWAYS loved music, singing, and performing.  Thankfully, at a very young age, my mother noticed this and enrolled me in voice and piano lessons as well as encouraging me to perform anywhere I could.  Music has been my life, and what a life it has been! Growing up I was involved in anything musical, participating in school choirs, school musicals, Madrigals and theater!  My favorite role I played in High School was Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls"! I continued my study of music at Ricks College and then Weber State University, receiving the Ray and Helen Nelson top vocal scholarship at Rick's College and a musical theater and vocal scholarship at Weber State. I traveled and performed with the Rick's College A Capella Choir, and Weber State Singers Showchoir. I graduated from Weber State University with a degree in Child and Family Studies and minor in Vocal Pedagogy (the study of the voice). After graduation I taught private vocal lessons for many years as I raised my young family and enjoyed the interaction with students of all ages. I became involved with TaVaci in 1995, when I was asked to join the TaVaci staff under the direction of Tami Van Dusen.  I taught for Tami for 12 years. TaVaci then became a corporation with Tami as the co-president and she offered me the chance to be the new Brigham owner/director. I accepted and have now owned Brigham TaVaci School of performing Arts for 12 years! Going on 24 years of being a part of what I dreamed of when I was so young! I enjoy teaching and I LOVE teaching children!  Music is powerful! It helped shape my entire life! TaVaci has a wonderful mission and it's all about the kids! It teaches kids how to sing, perform, interact in a positive way with their peers, be comfortable with themselves and their own talents, and be confident in every aspect of their lives! TaVaci is a family business! I appreciate the support of my husband, Will Smith, and my 5 children (ages 25 down to 10) who teach with me, help me in so many ways, and who have all graduated from TaVaci, except my youngest who has a few more years! I continue to be a part of theater and performing in the community!  I have been blessed to have been on the stage at Heritage theater in many roles over my lifetime with my own children and my TaVaci children! Such as Millie in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", Maria in "The Sound of Music", Miss Hannigan in "Annie", Dolly in "Hello Dolly", and Eliza Dolittle in "My Fair Lady"! My life is indeed blessed because of music and this program!

Megan Owen
Teacher/ 3rd-7th Grade TaVaci Classes

I have had a passion for music since I can remember! I grew up playing the piano, participating in school musicals, and of course, performing in TaVaci. My love for music grew through my teenage years, when I became very involved in Madrigals and show choir. After high school, I opted for a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Teaching children has been another passion of mine from the time I was young. Once graduated, I taught 1st grade for a number of years and loved every minute! I am now the proud Mother of three handsome (and rambunctious) boys, one beautiful baby girl, and the wife of my loving husband Matt.
Music continues to be a major part of my life. I feel blessed to be part of TaVaci, as it combines two things that are very dear to me: music and children. The program has had a huge impact on me as well as my boys. It is so much more than music alone—it teaches children how to perform, how to love themselves the way they are, and how to be confident in all aspects of their life. I am grateful for TaVaci and the joy it has brought me and many others!

Karalee Kidd
Teacher/ Preschool-2nd Grade TaVaci Classes

Hello! I am Karalee Kidd and I am so excited to teach TaVaci! I was a TaVaci student for years when I was younger and that’s when I met a good friend named Megan Parson, now Megan Owen! We sang together from then on in TaVaci, School Choirs, and lastly as Madrigals when we graduated from Box Elder High School in 2003.  Megan was President and I was the Treasurer.

I started taking Piano Lessons when I was 4 years old from my mom, Gloria Deem. That’s where my love of music really began. I taught Piano Lessons and held Recitals for my students during my High School years of 9th to 12th grade. That’s where my love of teaching really began.  My mom also ran a Day Care in our home, so although I am the youngest of 6 kids, I was always surrounded by small children and I assisted her.   

After High School, I attended Utah State University, graduating in 2007, with my Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education. In the middle of those year I married Justin Kidd and will forever more be a “Kidd”! I knew our little family would soon be growing, so after graduating, I decided to continue designing cabinets for my family’s business, Anvil Cabinet & Mill.  I still enjoy my time there and indeed our family did grow.  Our son Tate will turn 11 this year, followed by 3 girls: Kassidee turning 9, McKenzee turning 7 and Britnee turning 4. All of them, except Britnee have been involved with TaVaci, but Britnee knows several songs, thanks to the practice CDs.

Six years ago, I started teaching music to young children when I was called to lead the music in Primary.  I did that for 4 years. It brought back my love for music and teaching little kids.  I’m convinced that some of the most powerful moments come through music and watching little kids experience it.  You can see it in their eyes when they feel it. I am grateful for the opportunity to watch this happen with the TaVaci kids. I  know I have big shoes to fill and will do my best to keep the goals and purposes of Tavaci rolling forward.

Karalee Kidd, Shanna Smith, Megan Owen, (missing from picture: Sherrie Wayment; assistant teacher)


  1. Karalee Kidd, Shanna Smith, Megan Owen, are the best teachers I could have ever met. I (LOVE) doing tavaci it is amazing and I wish I could stay you guys always. Emma Bush,