My Story

Sheila Graziano discovered her passion for dance at an early age. Rooted in ten years of tap lessons, her enthusiasm grew with the discovery of Appalachian clogging and other forms of traditional dance. Sheila has been performing myriad styles of percussive step dance for the past 30 years. Based in Chelsea, Michigan, she is the dance instructor and choreographer for Fiddlers ReStrung and The Saline Fiddlers, has ongoing adult classes, and teaches at festivals and dance camps throughout the region.

Jean Marie Learman-Lowe (flute, tin whistle, recorder, squeezebox, guitar and vocals) adds many musical dimensions to La Compagnie. She has performed in several musical groups and writes her own material. She is comfortable spinning a colorful story or belting out a sassy Irish sing-a-long or sailor chantey. A life-long performer, Jean Marie specializes in Maritime and Celtic music.  Jean Marie is a retired public school teacher and composes many of her own songs.  She grew up in Harbor Beach, Michigan.

Kathy Morris (tin whistle, guitar, banjo, bodhran and vocals) visited England as a child where she was inspired by the beauty and simplicity of English folk music. This early exposure to music grew into a love for exploring Celtic, English, Appalachian and Maritime styles. Kathy is the heartbeat of La Compagnie with her thundering beat on the bodhran and infectious laugh. If you want to request a number, Kathy is the "go-to" person.  She has an extensive knowledge of folk and traditional music that spans centuries and several genres.

Nellie Osantowski grew up in mid-Michigan where she studied violin from a young age at the Michigan State University Community Music School. She earned her undergraduate degree in violin and bluegrass performance in 2008 from Denison University in Granville Ohio. In 2010 she graduated with a master’s degree in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin. She has also studied many fiddling styles including French Canadian, Bluegrass and Celtic. Nellie has competed regionally and nationally in traditional Irish music and dance. Nellie is a public school orchestra director for Saginaw Township Community Schools and teaches in the Saginaw Strings program.

Genot Picor (guitar, Native American flute, cittern, hammered dulcimer, professional storyteller and vocals) danced three years with the Michigan Ballet Theater and has studied voice and movement at the Stratford Festival Theater, Stratford, Ontario. He assists Sheila with the interactive dance numbers. Born in Michigan, Picor has traveled across the country and eastern Canada.  In 2015 he received a Master's Degree from Eastern Michigan University, Department of Speech, Media and Theatre, specializing in Interpretive Performance Studies.  He is a retired public school teacher and writer for the Mackinac Journal, The Great Lakes Pilot and The Voyageur Press.

Mark Szabo (upright bass, guitar and vocals) is La Compagnie’s narrator and naturalist and an award winning member of the National Association for Interpretation. He integrated music into nature and historical programs for 33 years as a park naturalist and historical interpreter for the Huron-Clinton Metroparks in southeastern Michigan.  Genot likes to say Mark is the "bounciest bass player and fastest 'flat-picker' he knows...and a good clogger to boot!"  Mark provides the narration portion of La Compagnie's interpretive program.