Participant Biographies

Kodi Lee

Kodi Lee is a musical prodigious savant, one of only 25 in the world today. Music has been a huge part of Kodi’s life, with his passion and love for music and performance growing stronger through the years and has continued to shape who he is today.

Kodi also happens to be blind and autistic – although it has presented many other challenges, it has never held him back. Kodi’s dream is to continue playing the piano, singing and performing in front of thousands of happy, excited people. Being a prodigious savant provides him with a photographic memory with music. His range of music is endless, ranging from R & B, Soul, Hip Hop, Rock n' Roll, Pop, Country, Oldies, Alternative and the classic composers. The library of songs in his repertoire continue to grow into the thousands and more. There are no boundaries when it comes to music and his ability to retain everything he hears. 

Kodi has performed all across the globe with some amazing artists and for a wide variety of audiences. His story has been featured on national television, special broadcasts and documentaries. Performing for charities and causes that are close to his heart is a favorite, having played for over 200 charitable organizations and events. Kodi is so glad to be able to share his love for music and passion to the whole world. Making people happy and excited through music is what he loves most in the world.

Some of Kodi’s appearances include performances on The Great Wall of China for special needs awareness, TEDx in Long Beach, California, wineries in Temecula wine country, Carnegie Hall, toured the U.S. at special sponsored events, and was featured in a documentary produced by KBS (Korean Broadcast Station). Kodi is also an Ambassador for Festival of Children held at South Coast Plaza, California.

David Ginther

David, 25, was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and has lived in Midland, Michigan for 23 years. David started playing piano at 10 years of age. He has had a lesson every week, including summers, with Barbara DuRussell of Midland, Michigan. David participates in studio performance classes in Mrs. DuRussell's studio and will be part of Midland MTA's Keyboardfest for his fourth year in January. David enjoys tennis, and rides his bike up to 100 miles a day.

Jack O’Hare

Jack is a 15-year-old sophomore at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona.  Jack was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of four.  He has studied piano with Mrs. Joanie Katzenberger since 2011, and enjoys playing the works of Chopin, Bach and Bill Evans.

Jack also plays percussion with his high school concert band, vibraphone in the Mountain Ridge High School “Pride of the West” marching band, and drum set at home.

Jack’s hobbies include solving puzzles of all kinds, especially Sudoku and the Rubik’s Cube, and bowling. He plans to major in geophysics in college. Jack’s mother, grandparents, uncle and cousin are all MSU alumni.

Dexter Schroeder

Dexter is a 13-year-old from the Minneapolis area, and an identical twin. His favorite pastimes include playing the piano, playing the guitar, reading, playing tabletop games, and playing video games. Although he studies classical piano, he has a special fondness for playing video game piano scores. He also loves listening to video game soundtracks. He is an avid reader, with favorite genres including sci-fi, dystopian, post-apocalyptic novels, and Marvel graphic novels. He and his brother are frequently known to check out over fifty books at a time, from their local library.

Jaxon Schroeder

Jaxon is a 13-year-old from the Minneapolis area, and an identical twin. He shares nearly all of his brother's pastimes. He, too, enjoys playing the piano and the guitar, reading, playing tabletop games, and playing video games. Jaxon enjoys tackling challenging classical pieces on the piano, but like his brother, especially adores playing video game piano solos. His interest in video game soundtracks matches Dexter's, and the two of the them end almost every day by listening to a soundtrack, or two. He also shares his brother's love of sci-fi, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic novels, but has a particular interest in werewolf novels, as well.

Masha Staples

Masha will be a high-school freshman this upcoming year in the Metro Detroit area. She was born with absolute pitch and could identify and sing any note requested. Masha has been a student of Mrs. Izabella Vilensky for almost three years. She loves everything related to classical music, naming Bach, Chopin, Shostakovich, Gliere, and John Williams as her favorite composers. Masha hopes one day to be able to travel to England's Royal Ballet Theater and Russia's Kirov Theater to attend the performances. Her dream is also to travel to China and Japan.