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SACRED BEGINNINGS offers a unique and exclusive musical training experience.  The goal is to train and equip musicians to use their talents for the Lord.  Students are accepted after a brief interview with the owner to determine if their goals and desires equate with those of the studio.  The mission is to serve students of any age that are looking to take a general interest as well as raw talent in piano, voice, and music writing to a new and exciting level.  
SACRED BEGINNINGS prepares students to serve the Lord with their gift so that not only their lives, but the lives of those they minister to might be truly blessed.  Through long-termed commitment to this mission, the studio desires to produce musicians that are versatile, dedicated, Spirit-filled, and well-equipped to serve in their churches as led by the Lord.

Sonjia L. Upshaw


Sonjia Upshaw was born and raised in the small, southwestern town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. She was very active in music from elementary school where she learned how to play the clarinet, to being a member of the four time state of New Mexico Championship Marching Band, the pride of the Tularosa Basin – the Alamogordo Tiger Marching Band! Over the course of high school, Sonjia was a drum major, a member of the flag corps, as well as a part of the show choir and a cappella choir. She performed at the state level, sitting first chair alto clarinet for three out of her four high school years.

While completing her studies in Music Education at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, she took on the challenge of developing a choral music program at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School. What started with 12 eager students in 1988 blossomed over a two year period into a strong, competitive choral program that continues to thrive today.


She has performed in show choirs, performance choirs, operas, musicals, and jazz choirs both in high school and college. She had the privilege of performing Mozart’s Requiem in Lincoln Center with a national collegiate choir. Since 1990, Sonjia has taught choral music at the middle and high school levels, training a cappella, performance, jazz, and competitive choirs. She has been a church accompanist since the age of 13 and currently serves as the head accompanist for Southside Baptist Ministries in south Richmond.


Sonjia began working as an assistant director at the Studio Performance Academy under owner Ellen Pappa. In her short tenure with Studio P, she has done script writing, vocal coaching, and preparing students for mini-musical performances of Newsies, Hairspray, and The Wizard of Oz Twister. She was part of the directing team for SPARC’s August Adventure 2014 as the musical director for Jungle Book Kids.  She has been invited back as the Musical Director the SPARC'S summer production of Annie.  Sonjia worked as the Choral Director at Richmond Preparatory School located on Monument Avenue in Richmond's West End from 2021 until 2023. She currently teaches private students and  keyboarding classes as well as conducts summer musical camps for Greater Richmond School of Music, where she has worked as an independent contractor since the spring of 2019.


Sonjia is a piano, voice, and music theory instructor who also plays every member of the clarinet family. Her love for teaching and performing is translated into her students. She composes and arranges music and her heart’s desire is to tap into the undiscovered talent each child has and use it to help them develop strength and confidence that will translate into success across all areas of their lives!

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