A native Arkansan, Stella grew up surrounded by the sounds of gospel and bluegrass in a family of self-taught musicians. She began study of the piano at the age of 10 with a local church pianist. Lessons took place in the broom closet at the local high school. After a few years, Stella began lessons with a classically focused teacher located in a nearby town. She immediately fell in love with the sounds, colors and beauty of classical music. By the age of 14 Stella accompanied all music at her church and at the age of 18, she performed the second piano concerto by Saint Saëns with the University of Arkansas Concert Orchestra.
Currently a private teacher and popular choral collaborator in the Boulder area, Stella is a graduate of the University of Colorado where she studied with pianists Angela Cheng and Alvin Chow and completed her Masters Degree in Piano Performance. While at CU, Stella was a graduate assistant and winner of the Norris Piano Award. Other awards and honors include a year of study in Paris at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse as a Rotary Scholar (1992-93) and semi-finalist placement at the International Hilton Head Piano Competition (1997).
Stella has worked with Cantabile since 1999. She currently lives in Gunbarrel where she maintains a thriving piano studio for students of all ages.