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Meet Cathi Mangione and David Moyer of American Music Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cathi Mangione and David Moyer.

Cathi and David, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My wife Cathi and I have always been a team. So the best way to talk about our business is through both of our eyes. Both of our families have always been involved with music. We both come from musical families. She grew up with five brothers and sisters while I grew up with 9 brothers and sisters and all of us wither played and instrument or sang. Many of them are still quite active as musicians. Cathi and I met through Choir in Spokane Washington in high school. She began teaching music in 1969 and I began teaching in 1967.

Cathi and I have always been performers. She was on a TV talent show “Starlit Stairway” at the age of 2 and a half and won 1st place while I was on the same show in 1967 and won 1st place. In 1970 she won the famous “Zonta” award for being the number one college pianist in 5 states. In 1974 was hired by Fred Warings Pennsylvanians as a vocal soloist and instrumentalist and in 1980 was hired as a member of The NewChristy Minstrels. Shortly thereafter I became the music director, MC and vocal soloist for The Christys. Cathi and I moved to San Diego in 2008 and continued teaching in the entire San Diego County. I was hired by Kids College as a class instructor of band, guitar, choir ukulele, General Music and Drama Coach around 2012.

Currently we teach all over the county and have several other teachers that teach piano lessons through our company American Music Academy. Cathi got her degree in music from Fort George Wright of the Holy Names . I got my degree in music from Whitworth College. Both colleges were located in Spokane Washington. She teaches beginning to professional classical and popular piano. She also teaches voice. I teach private voice, choir, guitar flute, trumpet, bass, beginning woodwinds, beginning brass, ukulele, and beginning to intermediate piano and keyboard. Our other two teachers who are also married are James and Miho Gary. They have their degrees in music from The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. (please feel free to call me, David Moyer at 760-445-9043 for further information and to set up an interview. We will send you our pictures this week.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has never been a smooth road. The music business is a tough business to have economic success with. AS Kenny Rogers said, who also was from my old group The New Christy Minstrels,” If you do not learn how to run the music business, it will run you!” We have always been one step from living under the bridge and why: because most folks love to hear music and want to play around with it but very seldom want to pay for it. I remember in the 60s working for $5 and hour as a performer and then teaching in the early 70s for $12.50 per hour. When we got here to San Diego in 2008 in took us about 5 years to build a client base which we have to work at constantly to keep enough student s just to make ends meet. In 2008 I got paid $32.00 an hour as a teacher and it has taken almost 10 years to get that hourly wage to a living wage. California has great weather but you pay for the weather.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our business has a simple motto: We bring the fun in music into your home! We offer private music instruction in people’s homes from the north of San Diego County to the south, east and west. There are four teachers on our staff and all of us offer piano and keyboard lessons. Cathi Mangione Moyer offers vocal instruction as well. David Moyer, that’s me, offers instruction on fifteen different instruments. We are most proud of our students when they share their talent at a school function or at one of our student recitals. We are most proud of the success our students have with their musical growth. What sets us apart from the other guys? That is simple that we make learning music fun and we save the parents a trip to the studio because,” we bring the fun in music into your home!”

What were you like growing up?
I always love to sing. My mother said I was always singing. I also loved sports: swimming, baseball, basketball and football. I grew up with nine brothers and sisters and all of us sang and played instruments. I always wanted to be a professional performer and I loved to act as well as sing and play instruments. My family and many of my friends would make fun of me when I sang, especially in high school but I would just look at them and say, “Someday I am going to be a professional performer and you’re not!” Then I would give them a raspberry.

When I went to my 10 year high school reunion most of those who had made fun of me apologized because at that point I had been hired as a member of Fred Warings Pennsylvanians and had had many newspaper articles, radio programs, and TV Shows to my credit. i was always very conceited until I attended Whitworth College, got the part of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. At that point of my life I began to change. I even wrote a song about that experience titled, “I Began Lovin.”I loved snow skiing but had to choose between that and professional performing because I always got sick when I would go up on the mountain. I attribute that to my getting Rheumatic Fever as a boy with two relapses.

We found out later through a lung exam that my lungs are only the size of junior high boys lungs. I wanted to be a pro football player track star but at the age of fourteen got ( I cannot spell this correctly) Oshgood Slaughters Disease in both of my knees. That ended my sports dreams. However, my Mom got me to start playing guitar and singing for Women’s Clubs and I really liked that, then I started getting parts in musicals and solos in choir. I tend to ramble on but there is so many things that I remember that were and continue to be good memories. I even got open up for Bob Hope with a solo spot at the Paladeum. I also got to work with The Letterman, The Kingston Trio, Pat Boone, The Platters, The Inkspots, The Harmonicats, Annie, the understudy for the original broadway musical “Cats” and Phylis Diller. Now I am married to Catarina Louisa Mangione( Chuck Mangione’s cousin) and we have been going strong for over 33 years. God is good and I am glad to serve Him.


  • Our hourly rate for all instruments including voice is $60.00 per hour.

Contact Info:

  • Address: American Music Academy 1512 via risa San Marcos, California 92078
  • Website:
  • Phone: 760-445-9043
  • Email:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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