Teacher Biographies

We are proud of our talented teachers, many of whom have several years of teaching experience. Our student teachers have received faculty recommendations and are mentored by faculty members.

We assign a level to each teacher depending on their teaching experience and training. The fee for lessons depends on the teacher's level. You will need to contact us for fee information for some teachers at the Faculty level.

  • Faculty: NIU faculty members who teach advanced students and require an audition.
  • Associate: Teachers with many years of experience. Most have a bachelor's or master's degree. Some are graduate students.
  • Apprentice 3: Recent NIU graduates with at least four years of teaching experience.
  • Apprentice 2: Graduate students with at least three years of teaching experience.
  • Apprentice 1: Undergraduate or graduate students with at least one year of teaching experience.

Teachers by Instrument

Teachers with a symbol are available to teach private lessons during the summer.

Accordion

Art

Victoria Peel (Associate)

Victoria Peel teachers art lessons through the CSA. Please contact the main office for more information. 815-753-1450.

Ari Norris (Apprentice 1)

Ari Norris, the son of two artists and educators, comes from Muskegon, Michigan, in pursuit of a bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture at Northern Illinois University.

During the summer months, Ari has spent his time learning the trade of historical and figurative sculpture from nationally recognized bronze and marble sculptor, Gary Casteel, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This apprenticeship has taken place during Casteel's largest commission, the National Civil War Memorial.

This experience has recently led to two current bronze commissions of Ari's own; one being of Muskegon native Clarence Zylman, the trumpeter that inspired the 1940's hit, "the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

Ari is available for private instruction in full-round clay modeling, clay portraiture, bas-relief techniques, and life drawing.

*Modeling clay is a non-drying, non-toxic, sulfur free alternative to natural clay, and is considered a separate study from ceramics.

Keep up with Ari on his personal website.

Banjo

Aaron Lenz (Associate)

Aaron Lenz is a musician, songwriter and professional music instructor who has studied music performance at Colorado State University. He has more than 14 years of experience teaching private lessons to students of string instruments, and several of his students have completed recording projects. Mr. Lenz teaches banjo and mandolin at the CSA and he looks forward to working with others who share his life-long love of composing and playing music.

Bass

Chano Cruz (Apprentice 1)

Chano Cruz, a St. Louis native, has been an active bassist on the scene for the last 4 years. He has played with many current jazz artists such as Terrell Stafford, Matt Wilson, Adam Larson, and countless others.

Chano is the bass instructor at the Jazz St. Louis summer camp every year and assists with multiple high schools in the city. He is currently studying with John Floeter, Marlene Rosenberg, Clark Sommers and Bob Deboo.

Chano currently plays in the NIU Jazztet, Jazz Ensemble, and Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra as an undergraduate.

John Floeter (Faculty*)

John Floeter is currently taking on new string bass students at all levels in both Classical and Jazz. He teaches in Cary and DeKalb, both of Illinois.

While he primarily teaches college-level classical bassists, he has taught every level, including the complete beginner. John has different approaches for different needs, but circles back to the same fundamentals and proper technique. He likes to coordinate instruction with the repertoire of the school ensemble and the guidelines of ILMEA competition. In all of this rigor, he believes the most important aspect of study is the enjoyment of music and the growth of the individual student.

John is currently Principal Bass of the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Lake Forest Symphony, and a member of the Grant Park Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Milwaukee Symphony, Fulcrum Point, and Chicago Opera Theater. He has had a decades-long association with the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic. John is the Instructor of Double Bass at Northern Illinois University, and also teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago and Roosevelt University. He has been a guest lecturer and performer for area universities and the Chicago Bass Festival, as well as a coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and Midwest Young Artists. He has been an active bassist in the Chicago area since 1979, covering several genres of music, including classical, jazz, folk, and musical theater.

Cello

Elizabeth Eastman Becker (Apprentice 3)

Elizabeth Eastman Becker is a 2013 graduate from NIU with an undergraduate degree in music and political science. Her cello instructor at NIU was Avalon Quartet member Cheng-Hou Lee. She has taught private cello lessons for several years to students of all ages and abilities. She has also coached chamber groups as well as cello sectionals in the community and has been a member of the NIU Philharmonic and Kishwaukee Symphony.

In the past few years, Elizabeth has also studied the Korean martial art, Taekwondo. She has earned her 1st-degree black belt and is perusing her 2nd-degree in the summer of 2019.

Thomas Cappaert (Associate)

Thomas Cappaert recently received a performer's certificate in cello at NIU, where he studied with Professor Marc Johnson. He earned his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Eastern Michigan University and is certified to teach both Suzuki cello and Suzuki violin. He has been the orchestra director for the Indian Prairie School District and the Kalamazoo Public School District. He has a master's degree in Suzuki cello pedagogy and studied Suzuki pedagogy with Laurel Thurman at NIU. He has attended many Suzuki institutes and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He has been principal cello with the Kishwaukee Orchestra since 2006. He taught Suzuki cello in Elgin for two years.

Gerardo Sánchez Pastrana (Apprentice 2)

Colombian cellist Gerardo Sánchez Pastrana was the winner of the second prize of the "Nicolas Finoli Award" during the VI Latin American Cello Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2016, the winner of the first place of the concerto competition in the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2014. He earned a fellowship for the VII Cartagena Music Festival in 2013. He has also won the contest "Jóvenes Intépretes" of the Banco de la República in Colombia in 2012. In the same year, he earned an internship of the Culture Ministry to be part of the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra. He was selected as one of the winners of the "V Encuentro de Estudiantes de Música" organized by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia Conservatory in 2010. In 2016, he got a Graduate Assistantship to study at Ball State University. In 2017, he was selected to be part of the 2017 season of the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, and he received a public recognition given by the Mayor of Neiva, Colombia, for his contributions to the cultural development of the city. In 2018, he received an Artistic Talent Tuition Waiver Award to continue his studies at Northern Illinois University.

He has participated in many festivals and competitions, such as the VI Latin American Cello Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina; FEMUSC in Jaragua do Soul, Brazil, in 2016; I Festival InternacioUNAL de Violonchelo in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2015; Festiqartetos in Bogotá, in 2014; the VII Cartagena Music Festival in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2013. He has participated in master classes with many cellists such as Kyril Zlotnikov (Belarus), Leonard Elschenbroich (Germany), Hans Jensen (Denmark), Eduardo Vassallo (Argentina), Natalie Clein (England), Andrés Díaz (Chile), Kristina Michael Hell (Austria), Marcy Rosen (USA), and many others. In addition, he has participated in chamber music masterclasses with the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Celeste Trio, Marcos Machado, and members of the Miami String Quartet.

As a teacher, he has taught cello lessons privately, at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia as teaching assistant , at Ball State University as graduate assistant, and in the summer camp at La Escuela de Musica Sinfonica de Perez Zeledón in Costa Rica.

As a soloist, he has performed recitals in Colombia, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Argentina and the United States of America. In addition, ha has performed as soloist with orchestra the Vivaldi's Concerto for 2 Cellos and Orchestra with Collegium Musicum Orchestra; the Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Colombia National Conservatory Symphony, and the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Bogotá Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.

As an orchestra player, he has worked with the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra, Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, Ball State Symphony Orchestra and Muncie Symphony Orchestra. From 2014 to 2016, he has worked with the Bogotá Youth Philharmonic Orchestra as principal cellist. He has worked with very renowned conductors such as Andres Orozco-Estrada (Colombia), Irwin Hoffman (USA), Mathew Hazelwood (USA), Baldur Brönnimann (Switzerland), Guerassim Voronkov (Russia), Jose Luis Domínguez (Chile), Rossen Milanov (Bulgaria), Marco Boemi (Italy), Carlos Villa (Colombia), Shlomo Mintz (Israel), Laurent Campellone (France), Joachim Gustafsson (Sweden), Catherine Larsen-Maguire (England), Leon Spierer (Germany), and many others; and soloists such as Daniel Muller-Schott (Germany), Claudio Bohorquez (Germany), Leticia Moreno (Spain), Juanita Lascarro (Colombia), Benjamin Schmidt (Austria), Shlomo Mintz (Israel), Ala Voronkova (Russia), Ning Feng (China), Vicente Amigo (Spain), Mario Brunello (Italy), Paul Meyer (France), and many others. He was a member of the Colombia National Conservatory Symphony in the recording of the CD "Luis Carlos Figueroa: Orchestral and Chamber Music" with Toccata Classics. With the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, he performed several in different cities and festivals in Colombia, Germany and Austria in the summer of 2017. In addition, he participated in the recording of the last Sutton Foster's album with Ball State Symphony Orchestra.

Gerardo holds a bachelor's degree in Cello Performance from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and an Artist Diploma from Ball State University. His principal teachers have been Julio Gutierrez, Diego Garcia, Magdalena Eichmeyer, and Peter Opie. Currently, he is pursuing his Master's degree in Cello Performance at Northern Illinois University under the guidance of Cheng-Hou Lee.

Linc Smelser (Faculty)

A native of Arizona, Linc Smelser received his bachelor's degree in Cello Performance from the University of Arizona where he studied with Gordon Epperson, Ph.D. and received his master's degree and performer's certificate in Cello Performance and Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University having studied with renowned cellist and pedagogue Raya Garbousova. Advanced study included work with cellists Marc Johnson, Ron Leonard, Gabor and Peter Rejto, Heinrich Schiff, the Vermeer Quartet, and pianists Richard Faith and Jerome Lowenthal.

In 2003, Smelser was appointed conductor/music director of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra in DeKalb, IL. In 2009 he was awarded Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Arts Council. He has most recently been appointed conductor/music director of the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra. He has guest conducted the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic, the Harper Symphony Orchestra, the Fox Valley Orchestra (Aurora) and the Skokie Valley Community Orchestra. He is also conductor of the NIU Sinfonia and Symphonette, two youth symphonies that attract students from the Northern Illinois area.

Smelser has appeared as a soloist with Camerata Chicago, Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and has twice appeared in recital on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Series in Chicago, which is broadcast live on over 44 stations across the United States. He has won several awards including first prize of the National Society of Arts and Letters Chapter Competition, top prize of the National Federation of Music Clubs Regional Competition and first prize of the International Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Competition.

Smelser has been a member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra Cello section since 1992 and has been an active substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1997. He is also Principal Cellist of Camerata Chicago, a chamber orchestra based in Chicago. He continues to perform in The Three Celli, a chamber ensemble with Stephen Balderston and Brant Taylor, throughout the Northern Illinois Area.

Smelser has most recently been appointed a faculty member of the Music Institute of Chicago in Winnetka. He is also a faculty member the Northern Illinois University Music Department and has been teaching private cello lessons through the NIU Community School of the Arts since 1988. He served as guest lecturer of cello at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music from 2006-2016. He is also on the faculty of the Chicago Suzuki Institute and the Intermountain Suzuki Strings Institute in Utah and is pianist/accompanist of the Northern Illinois University Suzuki program.

Carolyn Wright (Apprentice 3)

Carolyn Wright is a graduate of DePaul University, where she received a bachelor's degree in music performance. She received her master's degree from NIU in 2013 where she studied with Cheng Hou Lee. She has been a member of a number of orchestras, most recently the Fox Valley Philharmonic and the Bel Canto Sinfonia. She has attended several music festivals, including the Hot Springs Music Festival.

Clarinet

Aerie Bernard (Associate)

Aerie is excited by the fusion of musical ideas and the unique consciousness we experience when musiking together. She is an experienced teacher and has been teaching woodwind and plucked string lessons throughout Illinois' Fox Valley area since 2006.

Aerie offers private lessons in clarinet and guitar to players of all ages through NIU's Community School of the Arts. She also teaches a group guitar course for children ages 8-12.

Aerie encourages students to approach music as a personal journey and lifetime pursuit. She is proud of her students who have successfully nailed auditions, won awards, or formed bands; however, she finds particular satisfaction when she can help students who might have otherwise given up on their instruments find the spark that interests them and, as a result, find their own voice in music.

Aerie is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at NIU with a focus on Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology bridges multiple disciplines to explore music as a universal phenomenon within which lies infinite variety of technique, aesthetics, and function. She is a graduate teaching assistant and is responsible for teaching MUHL 220, an undergraduate World Music Appreciation course. In 2014, she completed a bachelor of Arts contract major at NIU, "Trends in World Music: Performance, Technology, and Pedagogy" with a minor in Chinese studies. A cornerstone of her program was the study and playing of Chinese traditional and modern orchestral music. Her instrument of specialization is liǔqín, a Chinese lute the performance of which relies heavily on flatpicking techniques.

She is grateful to her teacher, Professor Yung-Hsin Chen for helping to demystify Chinese musical practices and for her many hours of instruction; and to her mentor, Dr. Jui-Ching Wang, for helping to transform a simple love of music into a challenging and rewarding mental and physical study. Aerie has studied with a number of remarkable teachers including clarinetists Katherine Betts and Beverly Anderson and has happily jammed with idols such as Nik Phelps of San Francisco's Club Foot Orchestra.

She learned guitar in the folk tradition, meaning many hours spent with friends, family, and pros learning, playing, and performing. While a student at NIU, Aerie played guitar in Zambian singer-songwriter Mathew Tembo's Afro-Pop Ensemble. Aerie is also an active bassist. In addition to her own projects, she has performed on bass with Malaysian world-pop singer-songwriter Amirah Ali and with renowned qanon player Ali Amr. A member of the hard-rock group Kadooge!, Aerie's playing is featured on the album "Nothing Is Almost Everything" released in 2014.

Karli Bunn (Apprentice 1)

Karli Bunn is attending Northern Illinois University for jazz studies, learning from saxophonist Geof Bradfield and pianist Reggie Thomas. She has played with Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, among others. Classically, Karli studies with Thomas Snydacker, and has worked with members of the Prism Quartet, as well as with Holmes, the principle saxophonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Karli has played with the Josh Duffee Orchestra, the Manny Lopez Big Band, Ten of Soul, the Ken Paulsen Orchestra, the Quad Cities KIX Orchestra, and the Tony Hamilton Orchestra. Classically, she has also played with Maquoketa's community wind ensemble. At NIU, she has been in a variety of ensembles: Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, the Huskie Marching Band, the Sandy Beaches jazz combo, University Chorus, and the Vermilion Saxophone Quartet. In addition to being a saxophonist, Karli is a pianist, vocalist, and a doubler, playing woodwinds including the clarinet, bass clarinet and flute.

Drumset/Percussion

Raelyn Erwin (Apprentice 1)

Raelyn Erwin is currently double majoring in Music Education and Percussion Performance at NIU under Greg Beyer and Ben Wahlund. She began playing percussion at Naperville Central High School under the direction of Brandon Estes and DJ Alstadt. She has teaching experience in a private and public setting. She also has experience teaching students ranging from an elementary to a high school level.

Paul Perrilles (Apprentice 1)

Paul Perrilles (dubbed "the kid" by Ray Charles trumpeter David Hoffman) is a young professional musician who derives from the Peoria, IL area. Paul found his passion for the drums at a very young age. Drums have been in his family for 3 generations and he picked up the sticks just like his father and grandfather did before him.

Paul is not just a drummer, but also a musician. His musical versatility enables him to play across a wide spectrum of musical styles. He has played with bands representing several different genres: rock, fusion, jazz, and even folk. His most notable discography includes a year-long stint with The Way Down Wanderers, a fast-paced, soulful americana band from Peoria, IL. Paul can be heard on their album "Path to Follow."

Over the past two years, Paul has made the 2015 and 2016 Honors All State Jazz Ensemble under direction of Brent Wallarab and Reginald Thomas. He has also attended several prestigious jazz camps, including Michigan State University, Northern Illinois University, Birch Creek Music Performance Center, and Simpson College. While at Birch Creek, Paul made the top jazz ensemble and the Jazz Ambassadors and toured Wisconsin with those groups for two weeks during the summer. In high school he was honored with several jazz awards from accredited colleges such as Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, and University of Missouri in St. Louis. In 2016, the YoungArts Foundation named Paul a finalist in their jazz competition. Paul has studied with some of the greatest set players in the business today: Kenny Washington, Rodney Green, Joel Spencer, Stockton Helbing, Kelton Norris, and Montez Coleman.

Paul loves teaching drum set. He started his private studio in high school and has continued to build upon it. He has taught students young and old, beginner and advanced and has proven to be a well-rounded performer and educator. One of the key lessons Paul tries to convey is this: anyone can be a drummer, but not all drummers know how to play musically. Lessons in his studio involve the technical aspects of drumming as well as the musical side of the playing. Paul believes that a student's success hinges not only on technical advancement, but also having fun along the way!

Tyler Shields (Associate)

Known for his fluid groove, musical ingenuity and inimitable expression, Chicago-based drummer and percussionist Tyler Shields is becoming a regular name in the Midwest music scene. As a pliable musician, he covers a wide range of genres including jazz, rock, country, gospel, Afro-Cuban, R&B, hip-hop, and show drumming both on stage and in the studio.

Originally from Indianapolis, Tyler's formal education in percussion began with Paul Berns, principal percussionist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and pupil of Vic Firth, Cloyd Duff and Joseph Adato. Throughout his studies with Berns, Tyler performed as principal timpanist with the New World Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Susan Kitterman, principal timpanist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Side-By-Side program, and lead drummer for the IMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble. Tyler continued studying with Berns, as well as jazz saxophonist Harry Miedema, and Hal-Leonard studio musician Art Reiner, while receiving his bachelor's degree from University of Indianapolis from 2010-2014. In 2015 Tyler began studying at the University of Illinois, where he completed his master's degree in jazz studies and studied under nationally recognized jazz drummer Joel Spencer, bassist Larry Gray, percussionist Ricardo Flores, trombonist Jim Pugh, saxophonist Chip McNeill, pianists Chip Stephens and Joan Hickey, and trumpeter Tito Carrillo. Tyler performed with Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Concert Jazz Band and the four-time international award winning UIUC Jazz Trombone Ensemble.

Tyler's most recent professional appearances have been in the world of musical theater, performing in a countless variety of shows and musicals with The Phoenix Theater, Indy Fringe, Sullivan Theater on The Square, Summer Stock Stage, Center Grove Choirs, Indianapolis Men's Chorus, and many other equity and professional theaters/groups throughout Indiana and Illinois. Other professional credits include performances at The Grand Ole Opry, The Duke Energy Center, Indianapolis Convention Center, Indianapolis Jazz Festival and The Blue Wisp Jazz Club as well as regular appearances at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, The Indianapolis Jazz Kitchen, The Chatterbox jazz club, The Indianapolis Arts Garden, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Jazz Upfront, The Iron Post, and many more, sharing the stage with renowned artists including Grammy award-winner Kirk Franklin, Chip McNeill, Jim Pugh, Jamey Aebersold, Steve Davis, Steve Allee, Vaughn Wiester, Rich Perry, Larry Gray, Ron Bridgewater, Chip Stephens, Harry Miedema, Mark Buselli, Rob Dixon, Joan Hickey and many more.

Tyler is a progressive musician covering many different musical styles in both percussion and drum set performing in venues all around the Midwest. He maintains a tight schedule, performing and teaching students of all levels.

Learn more about Tyler Sheilds

Robert Ward (Apprentice 1)

Robert Ward is majoring in percussion performance at Northern Illinois University under the direction of Gregory Beyer and Ben Wahlund. He has been playing music for close to ten years, and in those years he has experience playing in multiple large ensembles and percussion ensembles as well as jazz bands and jazz combos. He also has two years of private teaching experience with percussion.

Euphonium

Kurt Bonamer (Associate)

Kurt Bonamer is a founding member of the Molten Brass Quintet at NIU; the group was invited to perform at the Honors Convocation in Spring 2012. He has played with the Protege Philharmonic in Chicago and has also performed with the Wheaton Municipal Band, as well as with the NIU Philharmonic, NIU Wind Ensemble, NIU Wind Symphony and the NIU New Music Ensemble. He has taught lessons for the past year.

Flute/Piccolo

Karli Bunn (Apprentice 1)

Karli Bunn is attending Northern Illinois University for jazz studies, learning from saxophonist Geof Bradfield and pianist Reggie Thomas. She has played with Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, among others. Classically, Karli studies with Thomas Snydacker, and has worked with members of the Prism Quartet, as well as with Dr. Holmes, the principle saxophonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Karli has played with the Josh Duffee Orchestra, the Manny Lopez Big Band, Ten of Soul, the Ken Paulsen Orchestra, the Quad Cities KIX Orchestra, and the Tony Hamilton Orchestra. Classically, she has also played with Maquoketa's community wind ensemble. At NIU, she has been in a variety of ensembles: Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, the Huskie Marching Band, the Sandy Beaches jazz combo, University Chorus, and the Vermilion Saxophone Quartet. In addition to being a saxophonist, Karli is a pianist, vocalist, and a doubler, playing woodwinds including the clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute.

Cheryl Haines (Associate)

Cheryl Haines has a master's degree in music performance from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor's degree in music education and performance from Ohio State University. She performs with a Chicago-area harp and flute duo and is a public music teacher in Illinois. She has performed as a soloist with several orchestras and has recorded three albums. She was the principal flutist for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. She has taught private and group lessons to children and adults for many years.

Lynn Hansen (Associate)

Lynn Hansen earned her degree in flute performance from DePaul University. She has taught private and group flute lessons for many years, has assisted the DeKalb band program and has taught for the community school for several years. She is principal flute with the DeKalb Municipal Band during the summer, plays piccolo and flute with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, has played for numerous Stagecoach Theatre productions and plays in other area ensembles.

French Horn

Laura Fairfield (Associate)

Laura Fairfield is a member of the Illinois Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Lake Forest Symphony. She has a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Northern Colorado and has taught for the community school for a number of years.

Guitar

Aerie Bernard (Associate)

Aerie is excited by the fusion of musical ideas and the unique consciousness we experience when musiking together. She is an experienced teacher and has been teaching woodwind and plucked string lessons throughout Illinois' Fox Valley area since 2006.

Aerie offers private lessons in clarinet and guitar to players of all ages through NIU's Community School of the Arts. She also teaches a group guitar course for children ages 8-12.

Aerie encourages students to approach music as a personal journey and lifetime pursuit. She is proud of her students who have successfully nailed auditions, won awards, or formed bands; however, she finds particular satisfaction when she can help students who might have otherwise given up on their instruments find the spark that interests them and, as a result, find their own voice in music.

Aerie is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at NIU with a focus on Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology bridges multiple disciplines to explore music as a universal phenomenon within which lies infinite variety of technique, aesthetics, and function. She is a graduate teaching assistant and is responsible for teaching MUHL 220, an undergraduate World Music Appreciation course. In 2014, she completed a bachelor of Arts contract major at NIU, "Trends in World Music: Performance, Technology and Pedagogy" with a minor in Chinese studies. A cornerstone of her program was the study and playing of Chinese traditional and modern orchestral music. Her instrument of specialization is liǔqín, a Chinese lute the performance of which relies heavily on flatpicking techniques.

She is grateful to her teacher, Professor Yung-Hsin Chen for helping to demystify Chinese musical practices and for her many hours of instruction; and to her mentor, Dr. Jui-Ching Wang, Ph.D., for helping to transform a simple love of music into a challenging and rewarding mental and physical study. Aerie has studied with a number of remarkable teachers including clarinetists Katherine Betts and Beverly Anderson and has happily jammed with idols such as Nik Phelps of San Francisco's Club Foot Orchestra.

She learned guitar in the folk tradition, meaning many hours spent with friends, family, and pros learning, playing, and performing. While a student at NIU, Aerie played guitar in Zambian singer-songwriter Mathew Tembo's Afro-Pop Ensemble. Aerie is also an active bassist. In addition to her own projects, she has performed on bass with Malaysian world-pop singer-songwriter Amirah Ali and with renowned qanon player Ali Amr. A member of the hard-rock group Kadooge!, Aerie's playing is featured on the album "Nothing Is Almost Everything" released in 2014.

Quentin Dover (Associate)

Quentin Dover has an undergraduate degree from NIU, where he majored in music and studied guitar with Fareed Haque. He has been a private and group guitar instructor since 2001 and enjoys teaching students of all ages. He specializes in classical guitar. In addition to his teaching, he is currently working on a graduate degree at NIU in world music. He teaches a general education music class at NIU.

James Larcom (Apprentice 2)

James Larcom is a masters student studying Vocal Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University. James graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 2013 with a B.A. in music - vocal concentration, with secondary lessons in acoustic guitar. Along with performing classical and broadway repertoire in college, James has worked as a worship pastor for five years, leading congregational music vocally and on acoustic guitar.

James has experience working with a wide range of ages from elementary school to adult and he welcomes students of any age.

Eric Schroeder (Associate)

Eric Schroeder is the director of the community school's Suzuki guitar program. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in guitar performance from NIU. A veteran soloist who specializes in flamenco, he performs with many ensembles. He has taught lessons in the community school for many years and has training in Suzuki guitar through Book 5. Eric has presented several sessions at the Suzuki Association of the Americas conferences. He is on the music faculty at Rockford College. He started the NIUkulele Ensemble in fall 2012.

Harp

Lauren McCombe (Apprentice 2)

Lauren McCombe is an alumnus of Northern Illinois University and earned her Bachelor of Music in 2018 and a Performer's Certificate in 2019 while studying under Ms. Faye Seeman. She is currently earning her Master of Music at Ball State University.

Lauren has been a musician from early childhood and has been playing the piano for sixteen years and the harp for ten years. Lauren's past instructors include Karen Kulzer (classical) and David Nuccio (jazz) for piano and Nichole Luchs and Erin Freund, Ph.D. for harp.

Lauren has many orchestra credits, which include all of Northern Illinois University's large choral, orchestral, and wind ensembles, the Harper Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. She attended the BirchCreek summer intensive Symphony Session program in 2014, the Midwest Harp Festival in 2017 and 2018, and has performed in the Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Her piano credits include accompanying for the Fox River Academy of Music and Art's voice recitals, their piano ensemble, and their rock band ensemble.

Lauren was also the NIU Music Theory and Aural Skills Peer Assisted Learning Tutor for the 2017-2018 NIU schoolyear and makes a point to include theoretical and musicianship aspects in her lessons.

Lauren was a selected finalist for the Lyon and Healy Harp Auditions and Evaluations Competition for 2013 and 2015 and was given the opportunity to showcase her winning piece at Lyon and Healy Hall on Harp Day. In 2017 and 2018, Lauren competed in the Midwest Harp Festival's Annual Solo Competition and took Second Place in the Intermediate II Division, earning her a spot to perform at the Winner's Showcase Concert the following evening. In 2018, Lauren was the winner of the Carlos Salzedo Competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lauren has also competed with many Evaluated Performances at the Fox River Academy of Music and Art, and was placed on the Honors list for her piano performances.

Music has always been the center of Lauren's life and she is looking forward to installing excitement for learning and loving music at the Community School of the Arts.

Mandolin

Aaron Lenz (Associate)

Aaron Lenz is a musician, songwriter and professional music instructor who has studied music performance at Colorado State University. He has more than 14 years of experience teaching private lessons to students of string instruments, and several of his students have completed recording projects. Mr. Lenz teaches banjo and mandolin at the CSA and he looks forward to working with others who share his life-long love of composing and playing music.

Oboe

Ben Crosby (Associate)

Ben Crosby is an active oboe player in the region and holds a bachelor degree in oboe performance from Northern Illinois University. He has been an oboist with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra since 2002 and has played with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Ben also enjoys playing with the Lyric Winds Woodwind Quintet based in Peru. In addition to teaching oboe and guitar from his home town of Oregon, he is the oboe instructor at Music Suite 408 in Peru as well as the Community School of the Arts at Northern Illinois University.

Victoria Pho (Apprentice 1)

Victoria Pho received her degree in Music and Biochemistry at Northern Illinois University, where she studied oboe with J. Ricardo Castañeda. During her time at NIU, she was a member of the NIU Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic, Chinese Music Ensemble, Middle Eastern Ensemble, Gamelan, and has subbed for the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Dekalb Municipal Band.

Victoria has been involved in music most of her life, taking lessons since a very young age. Aside from having private lessons, she has participated in the Granquist Music Competition for piano and performed at American Grands annually for five years. She was also involved in the Achievement in Music (AIM) Program, a comprehensive theory and performance curriculum comprised of 14 levels of achievement for piano students, which is sponsored by the Illinois State Music Teachers Association. In addition, she has participated annually in Solo and Ensemble Festivals, obtaining district and state Class A Gold Medals for both oboe and piano.

Victoria enjoys working with children and has taught private oboe lessons at Marmion Academy. She looks forward to working with the CSA to continue teaching lessons and instilling her love of music to other students.

Piano

Karli Bunn (Apprentice 1)

Karli Bunn is attending Northern Illinois University for jazz studies, learning from saxophonist Geof Bradfield and pianist Reggie Thomas. She has played with Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, among others. Classically, Karli studies with Thomas Snydacker, and has worked with members of the Prism Quartet, as well as with Dr. Holmes, the principle saxophonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Karli has played with the Josh Duffee Orchestra, the Manny Lopez Big Band, Ten of Soul, the Ken Paulsen Orchestra, the Quad Cities KIX Orchestra, and the Tony Hamilton Orchestra. Classically, she has also played with Maquoketa's community wind ensemble. At NIU, she has been in a variety of ensembles: Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, the Huskie Marching Band, the Sandy Beaches jazz combo, University Chorus, and the Vermilion Saxophone Quartet. In addition to being a saxophonist, Karli is a pianist, vocalist, and a doubler, playing woodwinds including the clarinet, bass clarinet and flute.

Ann (Yi-Chu) Chen (Apprentice 3)

Ann (Yi-Chu) Chen holds a master of music degree in piano performance from Northern Illinois University under Professor William Goldenberg. She is currently pursuing her Performer's Certificate in piano performance. She has experience teaching students of all ages and has assisted students with their entrance examinations for music schools focusing on ear training and aural skills. When she was in Taiwan, Ann also taught music history and music theory classes at middle school. In addition, Ann is a piano accompanist for competitions, juries, music festivals, and recitals.

Soo-Yon Choi (Associate)

Soo-Yon Choi was an instructor at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Maine and at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her bachelor's degree in music is from Seoul National University and her master's degrees (both in music) are from University of Illinois and Florida State University. She has a doctoral degree in piano performance from Florida State University. She is an accomplished accompanist and performer. She has taught piano since 1999.

Jodeen Coulter (Associate)

Jodeen Coulter received her bachelor's degree in music education (with a vocal emphasis) from NIU. She currently teaches general music in DeKalb. She has taught strings to children in the DeKalb schools and has directed school choirs and musicals. Ms. Coulter has had 12 years of singing experience with a traveling musical group that has performed with pre-recorded soundtracks.

Izabella Gieron (Apprentice 1)

Izabella Gieron is currently an undergraduate Music Education and Music Performance Major at Northern Illinois University, where she studies with Blaise Magniere. She is a member of the NIU Philharmonic and is also involved in chamber music.

Izabella was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. As a child, Izabella displayed advanced skills on both violin and piano. Izabella's early involvement in the music field has provided her with the necessary skills to succeed. She has been studying piano since age 4 with Katarzyna Nowak until high school. Moreover, she was a member of the Protégé Philharmonic in Chicago under the direction of Joseph Glypmph. Joseph Glymph continued as her mentor until college. Izabella has continued to be an avid learner and role-model in Argo High School's Honors Orchestra where she maintained the role as concertmaster.

Throughout her music career, she has been chosen to play in both District and All-State Orchestra throughout high school. Izabella has also been chosen to perform in the All-Conference Jazz band for three years. She had an opportunity to perform alongside various artists. It is her talent and dedication in the music industry that has allowed her to perform with artists such as Marek Balata, Wici Song and Dance Theatre. Not only has she performed at venues within the states, but she also performed internationally. In 2016, Izabella performed at the Folklore Music Festival in Paso Fundo, Brazil. In 2018, she has performed at the CIOFF International Festival in Arequpia, Peru.

Not only does this music aficionado hope to become a music educator, but she hopes to become a conductor and travel the world "to share her undying passion for music".

Ke-Yin Kilburn (Associate)

Ke-Yin Kilburn is an active singer, pianist, conductor, and music therapist. She is the dean of Asian Studies at the American Conservatory of Music School of Music Therapy and has taught at Waubonsee College and Kishwaukee College. She recently made a presentation about Chinese musical therapy at the University of Hawaii. She has taught for the community school for many years.

James Larcom(Apprentice 2)

James Larcom is a masters student studying Vocal Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University. James graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 2013 with a B.A. in music - vocal concentration, with secondary lessons in acoustic guitar. Along with performing classical and broadway repertoire in college, James has worked as a worship pastor for five years, leading congregational music vocally and on acoustic guitar.

James has experience working with a wide range of ages from elementary school to adult and he welcomes students of any age.

Michelle (Hiu Tung) Lo (Apprentice 1)

Michelle (Hiu Tung) Lo is currently an undergraduate music education major at NIU, where she studies piano with Professor JeongSoo Kim. She has been playing piano for eighteen years. Michelle has seven years of experience teaching private piano lessons to students of different ages and backgrounds. When she was in Hong Kong, Michelle also taught private music theory and general music classes at the children's choral and performing arts center. In addition, she is also an active member (flutist) of the NIU Wind Symphony. Michelle enjoys working with children and believes that early childhood music education is important to every child. She is very excited to share her music by teaching at CSA.

Lauren McCombe (Apprentice 2)

Lauren McCombe is an alumnus of Northern Illinois University and earned her Bachelor of Music in 2018 and a Performer's Certificate in 2019 while studying under Ms. Faye Seeman. She is currently earning her Master of Music at Ball State University.

Lauren has been a musician from early childhood and has been playing the piano for sixteen years and the harp for ten years. Lauren's past instructors include Karen Kulzer (classical) and David Nuccio (jazz) for piano and Nichole Luchs and Erin Freund, Ph.D. for harp.

Lauren has many orchestra credits, which include all of Northern Illinois University's large choral, orchestral, and wind ensembles, the Harper Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. She attended the BirchCreek summer intensive Symphony Session program in 2014, the Midwest Harp Festival in 2017 and 2018, and has performed in the Christmas Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Her piano credits include accompanying for the Fox River Academy of Music and Art's voice recitals, their piano ensemble, and their rock band ensemble.

Lauren was also the NIU Music Theory and Aural Skills Peer Assisted Learning Tutor for the 2017-2018 NIU schoolyear and makes a point to include theoretical and musicianship aspects in her lessons.

Lauren was a selected finalist for the Lyon and Healy Harp Auditions and Evaluations Competition for 2013 and 2015 and was given the opportunity to showcase her winning piece at Lyon and Healy Hall on Harp Day. In 2017 and 2018, Lauren competed in the Midwest Harp Festival's Annual Solo Competition and took Second Place in the Intermediate II Division, earning her a spot to perform at the Winner's Showcase Concert the following evening. In 2018, Lauren was the winner of the Carlos Salzedo Competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lauren has also competed with many Evaluated Performances at the Fox River Academy of Music and Art, and was placed on the Honors list for her piano performances.

Music has always been the center of Lauren's life and she is looking forward to installing excitement for learning and loving music at the Community School of the Arts.

Agape Montero (Apprentice 1)

Agape Montero is currently a Junior at Northern Illinois University, working to complete a bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as the Creative Writing Certificate. Although her major isn't related to music, it's always been a part of her life ever since she was young.

Agape has played piano starting from a very young age until now, picking up various other instruments along the way. In addition to piano, Agape's main instruments include flute and baritone/euphonium which have aided her in getting a little taste of the other instrumental groups.

Beginning with classical music, Agape has also branched out into learning show/movie music, video game music, anime music, as well as pop and band music in which she has helped numerous students prepare for various sorts of concerts and recitals with a variety of music genres. A bit unlike traditional classical teachers, Agape is all about learning whatever one is interested in!

After graduating from NCC's Piano Academy, Agape became a piano instructor at Hix Bros Music Store in Batavia, Illinois, where she has taught for two years from 2016-2018. It was there that Agape discovered a love for teaching piano and helping students find their own passion for different types of music through the instrument. Agape has taught a variety of ages, starting from young children eager to learn, to elderly people who are interested in getting into the passion. Agape understands that every student works and learns differently and with that, she wants to help each person find their special connection with the piano!

Agape is currently a nursing tutor at NIU as well as an occasional mentor pianist/organist at her church back in Plainfield, Illinois. Both experiences have aided her in teaching, giving her insight into how to correctly guide a student through whatever may seem intimidating and daunting. She's eager to begin teaching once more here at the Community School of Arts and to help her students discover an amazing new world of music through piano!

Marilyn Montzka (Associate)

Marilyn Montzka is the director of the community school's Suzuki piano program. She has a bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatory. Her Suzuki teacher training was with Yasuko Joichi. She has been a teacher, accompanist and photographer at Suzuki Institutes in Colorado, Utah, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. She plays viola in the Kishwaukee Symphony and directs the handbell choir at Federated Church in Sycamore.

Victoria Pho (Apprentice 1)

Victoria Pho received her degree in Music and Biochemistry at Northern Illinois University, where she studied oboe with J. Ricardo Castañeda. During her time at NIU, she was a member of the NIU Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic, Chinese Music Ensemble, Middle Eastern Ensemble, Gamelan, and has subbed for the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Dekalb Municipal Band.

Victoria has been involved in music most of her life, taking lessons since a very young age. Aside from having private lessons, she has participated in the Granquist Music Competition for piano and performed at American Grands annually for five years. She was also involved in the Achievement in Music (AIM) Program, a comprehensive theory and performance curriculum comprised of 14 levels of achievement for piano students, which is sponsored by the Illinois State Music Teachers Association. In addition, she has participated annually in Solo and Ensemble Festivals, obtaining district and state Class A Gold Medals for both oboe and piano.

Victoria enjoys working with children and has taught private oboe lessons at Marmion Academy. She looks forward to working with the CSA to continue teaching lessons and instilling her love of music to other students.

Georgia Price (Associate)

Georgia Price received her bachelor's degree in music education with a piano emphasis from NIU in 1992. She studied piano with Professor Bill Koehler. She accompanies groups and soloists and has been a piano judge for the Illinois State Solo and Ensemble contest. She is currently a church organist and has directed church choirs. She taught privately before joining the NIU Community School of the Arts in 1995.

Franchesca Romero (Apprentice 2)

A native of Miami, Florida, Franchesca Romero began her piano studies at the age of five. She began her piano studies in the classical realm until she entered New World School of the Arts High School where she began her jazz studies. She is a Young Arts winner and held the piano chair in the Florida All-State Jazz Ensemble. Additionally, she was a member of the Thelonious Monk National Performing Arts High School All-Star Sextet in which she toured San Francisco with trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. She has participated in competitions such as the Essentially Ellington Big Band Competition, where she received an outstanding soloist award.

Franchesca is a Michigan State University graduate with a bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies. She was a part of the prestigious Jazz Orchestra 1 under the direction of Rodney Whitaker. She studied privately with Xavier Davis, as well as other professors such as Michael Dease, Etienne Charles, Diego Rivera, Randy Napoleon, and Randy Gelispie. During her time at MSU, she performed alongside the likes of Christian McBride, Jimmy Cobb, Tim Warfield, Rufus Reid, Anat Cohen, Michael Philip Mossman, Roy Haynes, Steve Wilson, and Ron Carter to name a few.

Franchesca is pursuing a master's degree at Northern Illinois University with a teaching assistantship under the tutelage of Reggie Thomas.

Tyler Shields (Associate)

Known for his fluid groove, musical ingenuity and inimitable expression, Chicago-based drummer and percussionist Tyler Shields is becoming a regular name in the Midwest music scene. As a pliable musician, he covers a wide range of genres including jazz, rock, country, gospel, Afro-Cuban, RandB, hip-hop, and show drumming both on stage and in the studio.

Originally from Indianapolis, Tyler's formal education in percussion began with Paul Berns, principal percussionist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and pupil of Vic Firth, Cloyd Duff and Joseph Adato. Throughout his studies with Berns, Tyler performed as principal timpanist with the New World Youth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Susan Kitterman, principal timpanist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Side-By-Side program, and lead drummer for the IMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble. Tyler continued studying with Berns, as well as jazz saxophonist Harry Miedema, and Hal-Leonard studio musician Art Reiner, while receiving his bachelor's degree from University of Indianapolis from 2010-2014. In 2015 Tyler began studying at the University of Illinois, where he completed his master's degree in jazz studies and studied under nationally recognized jazz drummer Joel Spencer, bassist Larry Gray, percussionist Ricardo Flores, trombonist Jim Pugh, saxophonist Chip McNeill, pianists Chip Stephens and Joan Hickey, and trumpeter Tito Carrillo. Tyler performed with Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Concert Jazz Band and the four-time international award-winning UIUC Jazz Trombone Ensemble.

Tyler's most recent professional appearances have been in the world of musical theater, performing in a countless variety of shows and musicals with The Phoenix Theater, Indy Fringe, Sullivan Theater on The Square, Summer Stock Stage, Center Grove Choirs, Indianapolis Men's Chorus, and many other equity and professional theaters/groups throughout Indiana and Illinois. Other professional credits include performances at The Grand Ole Opry, The Duke Energy Center, Indianapolis Convention Center, Indianapolis Jazz Festival and The Blue Wisp Jazz Club as well as regular appearances at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, The Indianapolis Jazz Kitchen, The Chatterbox jazz club, The Indianapolis Arts Garden, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Jazz Upfront, The Iron Post, and many more, sharing the stage with renowned artists including Grammy Award-winner Kirk Franklin, Chip McNeill, Jim Pugh, Jamey Aebersold, Steve Davis, Steve Allee, Vaughn Wiester, Rich Perry, Larry Gray, Ron Bridgewater, Chip Stephens, Harry Miedema, Mark Buselli, Rob Dixon, Joan Hickey, and many more.

Tyler is a progressive musician covering many different musical styles in both percussion and drum set performing in venues all around the Midwest. He maintains a tight schedule, performing and teaching students of all levels.

Get more about Tyler on his personal website.

Ahhae Song (Apprentice 2)

Ahhae Song is pursuing a master's degree in music from NIU with Dr. William Goldenberg after earning her bachelor's degree in South Korea and a piano performance certification from Judson University.

She has experience teaching all levels of students and also teaches group piano classes at NIU. She worked at many piano studios in South Korea and now, she is teaching students in the Dekalb area. She believes a flexible teaching style leads to the best outcomes with her students and also believes that learning music can help students express their thoughts and feelings freely. This leads to greater wellness and healing for all involved.

Ahhae is also an experienced accompanist. She has accompanied for many summer camps, recitals, juries, and competitions. She also has accompanied vocalists, choirs and instrumentalists at NIU and Judson University as a graduate assistant. She has also performed on concert tours throughout Europe and Jamaica with the Judson University Choir.

Molin Wang (Associate)

Molin Wang (Ph.D.) received her bachelor of music degree in piano performance from Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She completed her Professional Performance Certificate at Lynn University Conservatory of Music and has her master of Music degree in piano performance from Northern Illinois University. In 2016, she earned her Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in piano performance and literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her doctoral study at UIUC, she chose piano pedagogy as her minor, and focused on both college level and elementary/early childhood levels of piano teaching.

As an experienced piano teacher, Wang had served as piano faculty at the Preparatory School of Lynn University Conservatory of Music and the Piano Department of Shanghai Youth and Children's Education Center. She has been teaching piano to students of different ages and levels for over 10 years. Many of her students have won numerous national and international piano competitions held in the United States and Asia. She designed and conducted a piano fairy tale concert series, "Animal Carnival", which was performed successfully by her students at the Shanghai Music Hall.

Molin has given solo recitals and chamber performances throughout the United States and China. Her musicianship has been recognized in many competitions and music festivals, including Florida BYRD Piano Ensemble Competition, Northern Illinois Concerto Competition, Kawai China Piano Competition, Florida Atlantic International Piano Festival, Shanghai International Piano Festival, and Xi'an International Piano Festival. Her repertoire encompasses a wide range of works including composers from the Baroque to the present.

Teaching Philosophy: My goal as a music educator is to help my students to progress the best of their musical potential, to achieve their goals, and to build a life-long appreciation of music making. I believe it is my responsibility to support and challenge my students and to develop their confidence and individual working ability throughout our pianistic journey together. In my classroom, my objective as a teacher is to motivate my students to develop their own learning interest and critical thinking. Particularly, my teaching plan is always concerned on my students' level and interests, and I periodically re-evaluate their learning progress and adjust accordingly. Looking back on my own piano learning experiences, I greatly value the supportive and caring relationship between teachers and students. I believe that clear, open communication with both students and their parents is the key element in helping my students to enjoy and persist in their music study.

Dain Yoon (Apprentice 2)

Dain Yoon has earned a bachelor's degree in music from NIU. She is pursuing master performance major at NIU where she studies piano with Professor William Goldenberg. She attended Ye-Won Art Middle School and Seoul Art High School in South Korea. She has performed on concert tours that have taken her throughout Europe. She has won several solo competitions and is very active in chamber music. She is an engaged, patient and experienced private lesson instructor. She has taught piano since 2012.

Recorder

Cheryl Haines (Associate)

Cheryl Haines has a master's degree in music performance from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor's degree in music education and performance from Ohio State University. She performs with a Chicago-area harp and flute duo and is a public music teacher in Illinois. She has performed as a soloist with several orchestras and has recorded three albums. She was the principal flutist for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. She has taught private and group lessons to children and adults for many years.

Saxophone

Karli Bunn (Apprentice 1)

Karli Bunn is attending Northern Illinois University for jazz studies, learning from saxophonist Geof Bradfield and pianist Reggie Thomas. She has played with Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, among others. Classically, Karli studies with Thomas Snydacker, and has worked with members of the Prism Quartet, as well as with Holmes (Ph.D.), the principle saxophonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Karli has played with the Josh Duffee Orchestra, the Manny Lopez Big Band, Ten of Soul, the Ken Paulsen Orchestra, the Quad Cities KIX Orchestra, and the Tony Hamilton Orchestra. Classically, she has also played with Maquoketa's community wind ensemble. At NIU, she has been in a variety of ensembles: Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, the Huskie Marching Band, the Sandy Beaches jazz combo, University Chorus, and the Vermilion Saxophone Quartet. In addition to being a saxophonist, Karli is a pianist, vocalist, and a doubler, playing woodwinds including the clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute.

Adam DuVall (Apprentice 2)

Adam Du Vall is a jazz and classical saxophone player in the Northern Illinois area. Hailing from Green Bay, WI, Adam has been playing professionally since high school. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2015 studying Music Recording and Technology.

His studies have been with Marty Robinson Ph.D., Sarah Kind and Dr. Drew Whiting. During his time in Northeastern Wisconsin, Adam has played with Big Band Reunion, Water City Jazz Orchestra, the UWO Jazz Ensemble and Combos, and the New Orleans-style band Brass Differential.

After graduation, Adam moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area to pursue an internship at RiverRock Studios in Northeast Minneapolis. While in Minnesota, Adam found work playing in numerous groups such as Good Foot Express and the Jason Price Infinity Group. He also performed frequently with a number of big bands such as the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, Bill Simenson Orchestra, and the Cedar Ave Big Band. Adam, while maintaining a small private studio at his home in St. Paul, also worked for Schmitt Music Company as their saxophone pro shop manager, specializing in fitting advancing students to the proper gear for their future endeavors. He was a guest artist at several area high schools, and gave numerous masterclasses regarding technique, improvisation, and saxophone equipment, while with the company. Currently, Adam resides in DeKalb, Il and is pursuing a master's degree in Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University.

Alex Pontious (Apprentice 1)

Alex Pontious is an undergraduate Jazz Studies major, with an emphasis in Saxophone Performance at NIU and currently studies with saxophone professors Rich Moore and Geof Bradfield. Alex has had experience performing various genres of music on the saxophone for the past 11 years, including and not limited to jazz, blues, Latin, and classical. He has been a member of the NIU Jazz Ensemble, touring to multiple locations, and has also performed with the NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, and various other small groups. Alex has led others by example and provided assistance at school music camps. He was also a member of the Honors All-State Jazz Ensemble in 2014.

Alex is working to become a virtuoso saxophonist and he enjoys helping others reach their potential. He is engaged, positive, and strives to meet the needs of all students.

Steel Pan

Jaron Woodsley (Apprentice 1)

Jaron Woodsley is currently a sophomore at Northern Illinois University – where he studies with steelpan virtuoso, Liam Teague, and is pursuing Music Education and Music Performance. He is a national of Trinidad and Tobago, where he is a member of the Golden Hands Steel Orchestra. After playing in the engine room of the band since 2005, he decided to follow his dream of becoming a steelpan musician in 2011, aged 13, where he first started to rehearse with the band for the 2012 national panorama.

Under the tutelage of Vanessa Headley and Franka Hills-Headley, Jaron has dedicated his time to better himself as a musician and has, in the process, amassed awards and certification in music. Some of these include Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Music Exam (I), Grade 7 UWI Solo Steelpan Examination - Double Seconds (Distinction), and in the 2016 Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival he has won the 16-19 sight reading award and received the adjudicators' award for best steelpan composition. He was also one of two Golden Hands members to be awarded a scholarship by the Music Literacy Trust of Trinidad and Tobago to attend the two-week Percussion and Steel Band camp in Wisconsin at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center in 2015.

As a member of Golden Hands, Jaron was able to assist in the teaching and preparation of students for the Trinity Theory of Music Examinations and the UWI Solo Steelpan Examinations, where they had a 100 percent pass rate. He also has experience in hosting beginner music theory classes at Visual and Performing Arts camps and workshops for children aged 4 to 13.

He looks forward to continuing as a steelpan performer, composer, arranger and educator, and being able to nurture the talents of young steelpan musicians in Trinidad and Tobago.

Trombone

Derek Detzler (Apprentice 1)

Derek Detzler is currently an undergraduate Jazz Studies major at NIU. Prior to attending NIU, Derek spent four years in the United States Marine Corps as a trumpet instrumentalist. During his time in the service, Derek played in four countries and performed everything from marches to jazz standards, to bugle calls.

Derek actively performs in the DeKalb community with the Stage Coach Players and playing Lead trumpet with Jazz in Progress.

Darren Figgins (Apprentice 1)

Darren Figgins is a Sophomore Vocal Performance and Instrumental Music Education major at Northern Illinois University. A former Missouri All-State singer, he has been actively involved with academic, community, church, and pre-professional ensembles across the country for the last 8 years. At Northern Illinois University he has held the Principal Chair as a trombonist with the NIU Wind Symphony and is actively involved within both the voice and brass areas. He is currently studying under Professor Jeremy Moeller (Principal Trombonist of the Chicago Lyric Opera) and Professor Myron Myers (Acclaimed Basso Cantante and former member of the Music of the Baroque).

Trumpet

Garth Anderson (Associate)

Garth Anderson received his performer's certificate from NIU in spring 2012, and his master's in trumpet performance in 2011. He earned a bachelors of music education degree from DePauw University in 2009. While at NIU, he studied with Professor Mark Ponzo and played principal trumpet for the NIU Philharmonic, was section leader for the NIU Wind Ensemble, and played with the Graduate Brass Quintet. He is currently teaching beginning band and general music in the Sycamore public schools. Garth currently performs as a regular member of the Fox Valley Orchestra, principal trumpet with the DuPage Symphony, as a member of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble, and has played principal trumpet for the Chicago Bach Ensemble. In addition, Garth is the personnel manager for the Wheaton Municipal Band and personnel manager for the Fox Valley Orchestra. He has taught private lessons since 2004, having taught students of all ages from beginning to high school to students returning to the instrument later in life. Several of his students have gone on to All-State honors in high school or to study music in college.

Derek Detzler (Apprentice 1)

Derek Detzler is currently an undergraduate Jazz Studies major at NIU. Prior to attending NIU, Derek spent four years in the United States Marine Corps as a trumpet instrumentalist. During his time in the service, Derek played in four countries and performed everything from marches to jazz standards, to bugle calls.

Derek actively performs in the DeKalb community with the Stage Coach Players and playing Lead trumpet with Jazz in Progress.

Michael Swope (Associate)

Michael Swope, an accomplished freelance trumpeter, currently resides in Dekalb, IL where he is a member of the Rockford Brass Quintet and a substitute member of the Rockford Symphony, Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra in Decatur, and the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra of Dekalb. Michael is a former member of the Indiana Wind Symphony, Indianapolis Brass Choir, Reunion Brass Quintet and performed as Auxiliary Trumpet with the Louisville Orchestra. He holds degrees from the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University in Indianapolis (B.A.) and the University of Louisville (M.M.). Michael has been teaching trumpet since 2001 and has had a number of students place highly in All State Band and go on to pursue music at the university level.

Tuba

Kurt Bonamer (Associate)

Kurt Bonamer is a founding member of the Molten Brass Quintet at NIU; the group was invited to perform at the Honors Convocation in Spring 2012. He has played with the Protege Philharmonic in Chicago and has also performed with the Wheaton Municipal Band, as well as with the NIU Philharmonic, NIU Wind Ensemble, NIU Wind Symphony and the NIU New Music Ensemble. He has taught lessons for the past year.

Ukelele

Aaron Lenz (Associate)

Aaron Lenz is a musician, songwriter and professional music instructor who has studied music performance at Colorado State University. He has more than 14 years of experience teaching private lessons to students of string instruments, and several of his students have completed recording projects. Mr. Lenz teaches banjo and mandolin at the CSA and he looks forward to working with others who share his life-long love of composing and playing music

Viola

Izabella Gieron (Apprentice 1)

Izabella Gieron is currently an undergraduate Music Education and Music Performance Major at Northern Illinois University, where she studies with Blaise Magniere. She is a member of the NIU Philharmonic and is involved in chamber music.

Izabella was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. As a child, Izabella displayed advanced skills on both violin and piano. Izabella's early involvement in the music field has provided her with the necessary skills to succeed. She has been studying piano since age 4 with Katarzyna Nowak until high school. Moreover, she was a member of the Protégé Philharmonic in Chicago under the direction of Joseph Glypmph. Joseph Glymph continued as her mentor until college. Izabella has continued to be an avid learner and role-model in Argo High School's Honors Orchestra where she maintained the role as concertmaster.

Throughout her music career, she has been chosen to play in both District and All-State Orchestra throughout high school. Izabella has also been chosen to perform in the All-Conference Jazz band for three years. She had an opportunity to perform alongside various artists. It is her talent and dedication in the music industry that has allowed her to perform with artists such as Marek Balata, Wici Song and Dance Theatre. Not only has she performed at venues within the states, but she also performed internationally. In 2016, Izabella performed at the Folklore Music Festival in Paso Fundo, Brazil. In 2018, she has performed at the CIOFF International Festival in Arequipa, Peru.

Not only does this music aficionado hope to become a music educator, but she hopes to become a conductor and travel the world "to share her undying passion for music".

Tanner Longfellow (Apprentice 1)

Tanner Longfellow is currently an undergraduate music education major, French minor, and receiving an endorsement in Physics at Northern Illinois University where he studies viola with Anthony Devroye. Furthermore, Tanner participates in the NIU Philharmonic and Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Starting on violin, Tanner has shown advanced skills with performing and continuously grew. Eventually changing instruments to viola, he has continuously grown and shown strength in music. Exponentially rising from his peers, Tanner was selected to partake in groups such as his local Chamber Orchestra and the McHenry County Youth Orchestra as the principal violist. He continuously shows his passion for music by pursuing the best outcome for him and his peers.

However, Tanner's largest passion lies in teaching others. He believes that every person deserves education to some degree. He wants to open the world to each of his students to allow them to experience everything that occurs around them. Planning to incorporate this passion into his teaching, Tanner wishes to educate each of his students on what is occurring around them and to inspire each of them to take a step towards making a change in the world with music.

Ann Montzka Smelser (Faculty)

In between receiving her bachelors of Music Education and masters in Performance and Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University, Ann studied with Shinichi Suzuki, Ph.D. at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.

In 2003, Ann was the recipient of the Byron Hester Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2013 was Inducted into the Sycamore Music Boosters Hall of Fame with the Legacy Award.

Ann has performed in many orchestras and chamber ensembles and is currently principal second violinist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Ann became a Registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer in 2005 and has since taught courses in Singapore, Lima, Peru, Mexico City, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica. Ann enjoys working with Suzuki families at Suzuki Institutes and workshops throughout the United States.

Ann is the director of the NIU Community School of the Arts Suzuki Strings Program. Ann is a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas has written several articles for the SAA Journal and currently serves as the Violin Coordinator for the 2016 biannual Suzuki Teachers Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ann lives in DeKalb, Illinois with her husband, Linc, and their two children, Genevieve and Benjamin.

Esther Langer (Apprentice 1)

Esther Langer is currently an undergraduate music performance major at NIU, where she studies viola with Anthony Devroye. She is a member of the NIU Philharmonic as well as the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She is also involved in chamber music.

Esther grew up in Southern California where she studied viola and violin in a Suzuki strings program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music with Rachel Fabulich. She also studied chamber music at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, as well as the Colburn School of Music, and various summer music institutes. One such institute was Idyllwild Performing Arts Camp where she had the opportunity to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In addition, Esther was involved in various orchestras, including the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra; the Marshall Fundamental Chamber Orchestra, of which she was the concertmaster; and the Verdugo Young Musicians Association, where she was a member of the Chamber Orchestra as well as a mentor for the Youth Orchestra.

Esther loves sharing her passion for music through teaching. She taught private lessons throughout high school, and most recently she taught over the summer at Cazadero Performing Arts Camp in Northern California. Esther is very excited to be teaching at the CSA, and she hopes to inspire her students as she was inspired by her music teachers!

Christopher Monzel (Apprentice 1)

Chris Monzel is a sophomore Violin and Music Education major here at Northern Illinois University. He currently studies violin with Professor Mathias Tacke and is an active member of NIU's Philharmonic along with the Kishwaukee Symphony. Chris has held multiple principle and assistant principle positions throughout his career and is excited to once again be involved with private teaching!

Claire Wright (Apprentice 1)

Claire Wright is a native of Aurora, Illinois. She is currently an undergraduate viola performance major studying under Anthony Devroye at Northern Illinois University.

Claire has been Suzuki trained since age five through the Wheaton College CSA program under Lisa Hirschmugl, as well as growing up attending the Blue Lake Suzuki camp. She also has studied Suzuki training under Ann Montzka Smelser at NIU.

Claire has been involved in several orchestras, including Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, Bel Canto Sinfonetta, Wheaton Symphony Pops, and most recently the NIU Philharmonic and the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra. Claire is also involved in chamber music at NIU, as well as having attended several camps for chamber music such as Wintergreen summer music festival and Credo summer music festival.

Claire hopes to provide a good environment for growth in students so that they might develop a love for music that can enhance their lives and others.

Violin

Hanna Bingham (Apprentice 1)

Hanna Bingham is an undergraduate performance major at NIU, where she studies violin with Blaise Magniere. She has assisted with both Huntley Middle School and DeKalb High School orchestras. She has won several solo competitions and is very active in chamber music. She is the current first violin of the Risata String Quartet, principal second violin of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the NIU Philharmonic. She has taught private lessons.

Chantel Davis (Apprentice 1)

Chantel Davis, local violinist, started taking lessons at the age of 5 with Dave Nelson from Rock Valley College, and later, through the Community School of the Arts began under the instruction of Karen Weckerly, then Ann Montzka-Smelser with whom she studied her entire high school career. Chantel is beginning her freshman year at Northern Illinois University as a Music Performance major and will be studying with Mathias Tacke as her private instructor.

In 2011, Chantel won the Olympic solo in the Illinois Guitar League, placed third in the RYSO Concerto Competition in 2014, third at Rockford's Mendelssohn Club Chandler Starr Miller Scholarship Competition in 2014, and first in 2015. She was awarded the Talent Scholarship from the CSA in 2012 and 2014. Davis has been chosen to play in both District and AllState Orchestras for three years and was invited to participate in the NAFME AllNationals Honors Orchestra two years consecutively. Chantel has also been awarded Musician of the Year by the Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Currently, Chantel plays in the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, is Concertmaster of CSA Sinfonia and was Co-concertmaster of the Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra. This past year, she has been selected to play in the Sterling String Quartet and the RYSO Chamber Orchestra, where she alternates positions as Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin.

Chantel has been featured as a soloist in the CSA Sinfonia, RYSO Chamber Orchestra, and the Rockford Youth Symphony Orchestra. Chantel has cultivated teaching experience by instructing swim lessons over the past four years, including working with a wide variety of ages, needs, and learning abilities. She has also actively worked with children in the CSA as a practice partner over the last five years.

Izabella Gieron (Apprentice 1)

Izabella Gieron is currently an undergraduate Music Education and Music Performance Major at Northern Illinois University, where she studies with Blaise Magniere. She is a member of the NIU Philharmonic and is involved in chamber music.

Izabella was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. As a child, Izabella displayed advanced skills on both violin and piano. Izabella's early involvement in the music field has provided her with the necessary skills to succeed. She has been studying piano since age 4 with Katarzyna Nowak until high school. Moreover, she was a member of the Protégé Philharmonic in Chicago under the direction of Joseph Glypmph. Joseph Glymph continued as her mentor until college. Izabella has continued to be an avid learner and role model in Argo High School's Honors Orchestra where she maintained the role as concertmaster.

Throughout her music career, she was chosen to play in both District and All-State Orchestra throughout high school. Izabella also was chosen to perform in the All-Conference Jazz band for three years. She had an opportunity to perform alongside various artists. It is her talent and dedication in the music industry that has allowed her to perform with artists such as Marek Balata, Wici Song and Dance Theatre. Not only has she performed at venues within the states, but she also performed internationally. In 2016, Izabella performed at the Folklore Music Festival in Paso Fundo, Brazil. In 2018, she has performed at the CIOFF International Festival in Arequipa, Peru.

Not only does this music aficionado hope to become a music educator, but she hopes to become a conductor and travel the world "to share her undying passion for music".

Esther Langer (Apprentice 1)

Esther Langer is currently an undergraduate music performance major at NIU, where she studies viola with Anthony Devroye. She is a member of the NIU Philharmonic as well as the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She is also involved in chamber music.

Esther grew up in Southern California where she studied viola and violin in a Suzuki strings program at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music with Rachel Fabulich. She also studied chamber music at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, as well as the Colburn School of Music, and various summer music institutes. One such institute was Idyllwild Performing Arts Camp where she had the opportunity to perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In addition, Esther was involved in various orchestras, including the Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra; the Marshall Fundamental Chamber Orchestra, of which she was the concertmaster; and the Verdugo Young Musicians Association, where she was a member of the Chamber Orchestra as well as a mentor for the Youth Orchestra.

Esther loves sharing her passion for music through teaching. She taught private lessons throughout high school, and most recently she taught over the summer at Cazadero Performing Arts Camp in Northern California. Esther is very excited to be teaching at the CSA, and she hopes to inspire her students as she was inspired by her music teachers!

Ann Montzka Smelser (Faculty)

In between receiving her bachelors of music education and masters in performance and pedagogy at Northern Illinois University, Ann studied with Shinichi Suzuki, Ph.D., at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.

In 2003, Ann was the recipient of the Byron Hester Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2013 was Inducted into the Sycamore Music Boosters Hall of Fame with the Legacy Award.

Ann has performed in many orchestras and chamber ensembles and is currently principal second violinist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Ann became a Registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer in 2005 and has since taught courses in Singapore, Lima, Peru, Mexico City, Mexico and San Jose, Costa Rica. Ann enjoys working with Suzuki families at Suzuki Institutes and workshops throughout the United States.

Ann is the director of the NIU Community School of the Arts Suzuki Strings Program. Ann is a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas has written several articles for the SAA Journal and currently serves as the Violin Coordinator for the 2016 biannual Suzuki Teachers Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ann lives in DeKalb, Illinois with her husband, Linc, and their two children, Genevieve and Benjamin.

Christopher Monzel (Apprentice 1)

Chris Monzel is a sophomore Violin and Music Education major here at Northern Illinois University. He currently studies violin with Professor Mathias Tacke and is an active member of NIU's Philharmonic along with the Kishwaukee Symphony. Chris has held multiple principle and assistant principle positions throughout his career and is excited to once again be involved with private teaching!

Laurie Rodriguez (Associate)

Laurie Illions Rodriguez has a bachelor's degree in violin performance and pedagogy from Brigham Young University. She has been teaching violin lessons since 1991, in Utah, Ohio, and now Illinois, and has been directing and coaching chamber music workshops since 1997. She was the founder and director of the Utah County Youth Chamber Music Workshop and is the director and coach of the String Chamber Music Summer Camp for the community school at NIU.

She has been teaching early childhood musicianship classes since 2002, first at the Suzuki Music Center of Central Ohio and now at the community school. She has participated in Suzuki teacher training workshops since 2002 and teaches both traditional and Suzuki violin lessons. She performs with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra and with a local chamber music group. She lives in DeKalb and enjoys playing music with her husband and children.

Claire Wright (Apprentice 1)

Claire Wright is a native of Aurora, Illinois. She is currently an undergraduate viola performance major studying under Anthony Devroye at Northern Illinois University.

Claire has been Suzuki trained since age five through the Wheaton College CSA program under Lisa Hirschmugl, as well as growing up attending the Blue Lake Suzuki camp. She also has studied Suzuki training under Ann Montzka Smelser at NIU.

Claire has been involved in several orchestras, including Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, Bel Canto Sinfonetta, Wheaton Symphony Pops, and most recently the NIU Philharmonic and the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra. Claire is also involved in chamber music at NIU, as well as having attended several camps for chamber music such as Wintergreen summer music festival and Credo summer music festival.

Claire hopes to provide a good environment for growth in students so that they might develop a love for music that can enhance their lives and others.

Voice

Karli Bunn (Apprentice 1)

Karli Bunn is attending Northern Illinois University for jazz studies, learning from saxophonist Geof Bradfield and pianist Reggie Thomas. She has played with Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Marcus Printup, among others. Classically, Karli studies with Thomas Snydacker, and has worked with members of the Prism Quartet, as well as with Dr. Holmes, the principle saxophonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Karli has played with the Josh Duffee Orchestra, the Manny Lopez Big Band, Ten of Soul, the Ken Paulsen Orchestra, the Quad Cities KIX Orchestra, and the Tony Hamilton Orchestra. Classically, she has also played with Maquoketa's community wind ensemble. At NIU, she has been in a variety of ensembles: Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, the Huskie Marching Band, the Sandy Beaches jazz combo, University Chorus, and the Vermilion Saxophone Quartet. In addition to being a saxophonist, Karli is a pianist, vocalist, and a doubler, playing woodwinds including the clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute.

Jodeen Coulter (Associate)

Jodeen Coulter received her bachelor's degree in music education (with a vocal emphasis) from NIU. She currently teaches general music in DeKalb. She has taught strings to children in the DeKalb schools and has directed school choirs and musicals. Coulter has had 12 years singing experience with a traveling musical group that has performed with pre-recorded soundtracks.

Darren Figgins (Apprentice 1)

Darren Figgins is a sophomore vocal performance and instrumental music Education major at Northern Illinois University. A former Missouri All-State singer, he has been actively involved with academic, community, church and pre-professional ensembles across the country for the last eight years. At Northern Illinois University he has held the Principal Chair as a trombonist with the NIU Wind Symphony and is actively involved within both the voice and brass areas. He is currently studying under Professor Jeremy Moeller (Principal Trombonist of the Chicago Lyric Opera) and Professor Myron Myers (Acclaimed Basso Cantante and former member of the Music of the Baroque).

Brianne Duncan Fiore (Associate)

Brianne Duncan Fiore is a Chicago based actor, vocalist and voiceover artist, and instructor. She has acted, directed and/or coached with Arc Theatre, Chicago Commercial Collective, Commedia Beauregard, Muse of Fire Theatre Company, Profiles Theatre, Spartan Theatre, Steep Theatre, as well as many independent producers in service of industrials, voiceover, musicals, theatre, film and television.

Having received her Bachelor's degree in Music Business, Spanish and Vocal Performance from Elmhurst College, she privately instructs voice lessons, and since earning a Masters in Acting from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, she directs dialects and accents as well as vocal coaches productions.

Brianne enjoys the challenge of vocal instruction, understanding that each student's goals may be different, however, she maintains focus on healthy production and technique.

Ke-Yin Kilburn (Associate)

Ke-Yin Kilburn is an active singer, pianist, conductor, and music therapist. She is the dean of Asian Studies at the American Conservatory of Music School of Music Therapy and has taught at Waubonsee College and Kishwaukee College. She recently made a presentation about Chinese musical therapy at the University of Hawaii. She has taught for the community school for many years.

James Larcom (Apprentice 2)

James Larcom is a masters student studying Vocal Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University. James graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 2013 with a B.A. in music - vocal concentration, with secondary lessons in acoustic guitar. Along with performing classical and Broadway repertoire in college, James has worked as a worship pastor for five years, leading congregational music vocally and on acoustic guitar.

James has experience working with a wide range of ages from elementary school to adult and he welcomes students of any age.

Sara Lemen (Associate)

Sara Lemen is a local singer and piano player with vast performance experience. With a versatile voice, she specializes in singing for weddings, funerals, fundraisers and special events. Some of her credits include performances with the Downers Grove Oratorio Society, Alan Stone's Young Artists of Chicago Opera Theater. She has also performed at the Kaz Bar at the House of Blues in Chicago and Rockford's Coronado Theater for The Mayor's Fine Arts Awards Concert. She has been a member of several singing organizations. Currently, she sings with the Rockford Bach Chamber Choir and The Rockford Operetta Party. She is a private voice teacher in Rockton, IL. as well as the Music Director at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Rockton, IL.

Alex Rattana (Apprentice 1)

Bass Alex Rattana hails from Elgin, Illinois, and will graduate with his bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2019. Alex has performed with the NIU Philharmonic as Osmin in Die Entfürung aus dem Serail and other opera companies in Chicago and Elgin. An accomplished conductor, he has taken the positions of a conductor/music director for organizations in Lombard, Rockford, and Oswego. He currently is the Bass Section Leader of professional choirs in Elgin and Schaumburg.

Sunhye Yoon (Apprentice 2)

Sunhye Yoon is currently pursuing her Performer's Certificate in voice performance at Northern Illinois University under Professors Orna Arania and Robert Sims. She earned a Bachelor's degree in voice performance from Kyungwon University and a Master's degree in voice performance also from Kyungwon University in South Korea. She has extensive performance experience in choirs and opera, and she has won several competitions. She has also attended international music camps in Spain and Vienna. She has extensive experience teaching children, teenagers and adults, also served as a voice coach for opera youth choir.