Alum Marissa Maroni Opens Her Own Performing Arts School

Headshot of Marissa Maroni
Rhode Island College Impact

Maroni is proof that there’s a lot you can do with a RIC degree in music, theatre or dance. “The concept of being a triple threat deeply influenced me,” she says.

Alumnus Marissa Maroni ’13 recently morphed her private music studio into a full-blown school for the performing arts and called it the South County School of Performing Arts

Her new venture debuted two months ago (October 2023) and is located in North Kingston, Rhode Island.

Whether you’re interested in voice, piano, stringed instruments, acting or dance classes – or a little bit of everything – the South County School of Performing Arts promises to help you achieve excellence in your art form.

A double-major in music and musical theatre, Maroni says, “I shifted from teaching private music classes to opening an entire performing arts school because the concept of being a triple threat deeply influenced me.”

This is the model taught by RIC’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance from whence she came.

“It’s easy to become fixated on a single discipline, such as music or acting,” she says. “However, if a student aspires to make a career in the performing arts, it’s essential to have a well-rounded education.”

Along with children, teenagers and adults, Maroni’s clients include babies – yes, babies. The youngest learners are offered interactive classes that introduce them to the world of performing arts through music, movement and sensory experiences and their classes are carefully designed to foster creativity, imagination and early developmental skills.

A mother of two babies of her own, Maroni says, “I literally became a mom and a business owner at the same time, which has made managing a school quite challenging; however, my husband has been a huge supporter. He created my former music studio space and is now working on my new school. He’s been a sounding board and a shoulder to lean on. I quite literally wouldn’t be able to do the work that I do if it wasn’t for him being such an incredible husband and father.”

Instructor Alex Celico, a RIC music education major, teaches piano to a young client.

Maroni also has the support of 11 talented instructors, four of whom are RIC students – Alex Celico, Isabella McElroy, Abigail McNulty and Benjamin Passarelli.

Alex Celico teaches piano to a youngster
Instructor Alex Celico, a RIC music education major, teaches piano to a young client.
Headshot of Isabella McElroy
Instructor Isabella McElroy is a RIC music education and musical theatre major.
Headshot of Abigail McNulty
Instructor Abigail McNulty is a RIC music major with a concentration in voice.
Headshot of Benjamin Passarelli
Instructor Ben Passarelli is a RIC music education major.

“Bringing in teachers from my alma mater is a testament to the exceptional training provided by Rhode Island College faculty,” Maroni says. “Izzy, Alex, Abby and Ben bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise gained from their education at Rhode Island College, making them valuable assets to our school. They are the most dedicated, hardworking and talented individuals I know, and we all work together extremely well. They are more like family than coworkers.”

Maroni says RIC faculty influenced her teaching, as well: “My professors at RIC left an indelible mark on my journey as an educator and their expertise and passion have greatly impacted my teaching style.”

After earning her degrees at RIC, Maroni taught elementary school music for six years and then spent another 10 years teaching private voice and piano at the Maroni Music Studio in her home. Along with directing the South County School of Performing Arts, Maroni is music director, organist and vocalist at St. Thomas More in Narragansett.

Learn more about RIC’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.