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Camp Staff Biographies

Summer in the Arts at Northern hires many talented individuals for the summer camps. NIU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, guest artists and area teachers, serve as camp directors, instructors and counselors. Camp directors devise the camp curriculum and oversee the week's activities. All have had extensive teaching experience. Campers are supervised at all times; the ratio of adults to campers is about one to 12. Counselors are assigned to each residence hall floor and accompany the campers to all meals and activities.

NIU Jazz Camp


Geof Bradfield (Camp Director)

Geof Bradfield's work as a saxophonist, composer, and bandleader synthesizes jazz and other African Diaspora influences with formal practices from the Western European tradition. 

He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East both as a sideman and as a leader of his own ensembles. His work is featured on 50+ CDs, including six critically acclaimed albums as a leader. As a composer, he has received commissions and awards from ArtWorks (with Guggenheim Fellow Ryan Cohan), Chamber Music America, Illinois Arts Council, City of Chicago DCASE, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Michigan State University Jazz Ensemble, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Mellon Foundation and DownBeat Magazine (Rising Star arranger, 2015 DownBeat Critics Poll).


Mark Dahl

Mark Dahl (big band director) holds a bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance and a master’s degree in music education from NIU. He has studied conducting with Steven Squires and Ronnie Wooten and jazz pedagogy with Ron Carter. He is currently band director and assistant division chair for fine arts at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange. The program consists of two concert bands, symphonic band, wind ensemble, marching band, jazz band, jazz lab band and jazz ensemble.

Mark’s groups have been selected and performed at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, the Illinois Music Educators Association State Convention, the Illinois Superstate Band Festival and the Essentially Ellington Competition in New York City. In addition to his school responsibilities, Mark conducts clinics and performs throughout the Chicago area and has been on the staff of the Birch Creek Summer Jazz Camp (2001-2009) and the Northern Illinois University Jazz Camp (2010-present).


Marybeth Kurnat

Marybeth Kurnat (instructor, counselor) earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from NIU​ and has been teaching professionally since 2012​. Marybeth is currently the music department chair at Cambridge Lakes Charter School in Pingree Grove, IL, and teaches beginning band and 3rd and 4th grade choral music. She also maintains a private woodwind studio with students in DeKalb, Kane and DuPage Counties​, and is frequently engaged as a festival clinician and adjudicator. ​During her career as a public school educator, she has been nominated for a Golden Apple Award and Kane County Educator of the Year. Marybeth has a dynamic performance background as​ a saxophonist and a classically trained soprano​, and is a member of the St. Charles Singers and the Chicago Choral Artists. ​She has been on the NIU Jazz Camp ​staff since 2011​.


Christopher McBride

Christopher McBride (saxophone instructor, counselor) is a graduate of NIU, where he majored in jazz studies. He started his musical career with Suzuki lessons at the age of 4; by age 7, he was one of the youngest members of his church choir. The turning point of his musical journey was when he discovered the saxophone at age 10. The son of a Honduran father and an American mother, his household was filled with the diverse musical sounds of gospel, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, soca, dancehall, world, and R&B.

His most recent venture is his 2012 debut album Quatuor de Force, which established his ability to front a group and write his own soulful, melodically indelible tunes. Lauded for his ability to play in all musical situations, McBride can unleash a fiery attack and serrated tone, but on this recent album, he explores a more measured, mellow sound heavily influenced by contemporary R&B—with a strong shot of Cannonball Adderley’s post-bop sensuality–but his improvising is still rigorous and cogent.

He is in great demand as a musician and clinician, and has performed and taught in the U.S. and around the world. Among the greats he has performed with are Billy Preston, Antonio Hart, John Clayton, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Broom, Percy Gray, Roy Hargrove, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Guy Sebastian, Jennifer Hudson, 88 Keys and Milton Mustafa. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



Kimberly Branch

Kimberly Branch (instructor, counselor) is currently pursuing a degree in jazz studies and music education at NIU. She performs with several NIU ensembles, including the Jazz Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Huskie Marching Band, and various jazz combos. She has many years of experience as a private instructor. She was the trumpet clinician at Dillard Center for the Arts Summer Jazz Camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the past three years. She was a counselor and taught voice and trumpet lessons at the 2012 NIU Jazz Camp.


Quentin Coaxum

Quentin Coaxum (trumpet instructor, counselor) started playing the trumpet in elementary school after listening to the jazz tapes and records left behind by his grandfather. A graduate of NIU’s jazz studies program, Coaxum has become one of Chicago's brightest emerging young trumpeters. He has garnered praise for his ability to perform with modern lyricism while also displaying knowledge of jazz's rich tradition.

His unique musical voice evokes the sounds of jazz, soul, alternative, hip hop, and R&B in a way that captivates listeners and fellow musicians alike. He has performed with Jimmy Heath, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. Willie Pickens,Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, Lew Solof. John Goldman's Quadrangle, Louis Bellson, the Willerm Delisfort Project, Sarah Marie Young, and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. He has been a camp instructor at the NIU Jazz Camp for several years. 



Bryan Carter (Head Counselor)

Bryan Carter (instructor, percussion teacher, head counselor) was a jazz studies major at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Carl Allen and Kenny Washington. While at Juilliard, he took a strong interest in composition, orchestration and interdivisional cross-collaborative performance. While in high school, he was selected twice to be a member of the Illinois all-state combo. 

Since graduating, he has played and/or recorded with many notable artists, including Clark Terry, McCoy Tyner, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Mulgrew Miller, Jon Faddis, Ted Nash, Terell Stafford, Bobby Watson, Lew Tabackin, Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut, Michael Feinstein and Kurt Elling. He has performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Staples Center and Chicago Symphony Center, and continues to travel and perform at clubs, festivals and concert halls around the world.

The Bryan Carter Quintet released its first CD, Enchantment, in May 2011; the album featured all original music. Carter has extensive teaching experience and has conducted many clinics, master classes and workshops at schools, colleges and universities around the world. Currently Carter serves as a teaching artist for the Jazz at Lincoln Center, “Jazz for Young People” program.

He lives in New York City and is a Vic Firth Artist. He has been on the staff of the NIU Jazz Camp for several years. 


Bernard Long, Jr.

Bernard Long, Jr. (percussion instructor. counselor) received his bachelor's degree in music with a jazz studies major from NIU in 2009. While at NIU, he performed with the NIU Jazz Ensemble, as well as with the Wind Symphony, Percussion Ensemble, University Jazz Band, and the NIU Jazz Lab Band. He is currently a student at Michigan State University, where he will graduate in May 2012 with his master's degree in jazz studies.



Ryan Chamberlain

Ryan Chamberlain is a bass teacher with NIU's Community School of the Arts. He began playing bass at 16 in his high school’s jazz band and went on to study music in college.

Ryan attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he studied bass with Zeb Briskovich and Fred Devaney. While at SIUE Ryan was awarded the Edwin Warren Memorial Scholarship. During his undergraduate, Ryan performed regularly in the St. Louis area as a gigging musician. He also was hired to play and perform with Washington University jazz ensembles. He obtained his Bachelor's of Music from Southern Illinois University in 2013.

Currently Ryan is pursuing a master's degree with a talent tuition waiver at NIU. He is studying with Kelly Sill and John Floeter and continues to perform regularly in northern Illinois.


Marlene Rosenberg

Marlene Rosenberg has emerged as one of the most talented and multi-faceted bassists on the scene today. She has played professionally throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Japan and toured with Joe Henderson, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Frank Morgan, Ed Thigpen, Albert "Tootsie" Heath, Benny Green, Roy Hargrove and Wallace Roney.

Currently at NIU she is coordinating the jazz combo program, and teaching Introduction to Jazz Studies. She is part time faculty at Northwestern in the small jazz ensemble program under the direction of Victor Goines. Ms. Rosenberg holds a Masters of Music in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Bass and Composition from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.



Scott Mertens 

Scott Mertens (piano instructor, big band director) is a pianist, educator, and composer/arranger in northern Illinois. He has a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His master’s degree in music is from NIU. He has written jazz charts for Jim Martin's jazz music site, and he was a contributing author for the 2007 book by Ron Carter and Richard Miles, Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz.

Scott currently performs in the Chicago area and has been a member of the Doug Stone/Doug Bratt Big Band. He was the director of the NIU Community School of the Arts Jazz Band, and has been a clinician at jazz festivals across the Midwest. He has worked extensively with middle and high school jazz bands, is a band director in Sycamore, Illinois, and has been with the NIU Jazz Camp for many years.



Brian Quinlan

Chicago based guitarist Brian Quinlan is a jazz musician by training, but he loves all forms of music. Wanting to create new sounds and draw from many influences is one of many things that drive Brian. He attended Northern Illinois University, graduating in 2015 with a degree in jazz guitar performance. While at NIU he studied with Fareed Haque, and played in many ensembles, from Mathew Tembo’s Afro-Pop group to the classical guitar ensemble. He was also fortunate enough to play with guest artists including Adam Larson, Mark Colby, and Howard Alden. Other musicians and groups on the Chicago scene Brian has played with include: Tony Cazeau, ConQuest the Band, Tamish, Ms. Philly, Larry Brown, Jr., Sam Trump, New Sound, Irvin Pierce, Tim Gant, and The Christopher LeMark Xperience. Brian is also a member of drummer Samuel Jewell’s band, whose upcoming release Journey of Process features a tune co-written by Brian. Be on the lookout for more great music from Brian soon at a venue near you!


Francisco Quintero

Guitarist Francisco Quintero, was born in Venezuela. He attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston MA where he obtained a bachelor's degree in performance and studied with some of the best musicians in the world including Richie Hart, Alain Mallet, Ed Tomassi and privately with Peter Bernstein in NYC. Recently, Francisco also obtained a master's degree in Jazz Studies from NIU, where also had the opportunity to study with top renowned jazz musicians.

While in Boston, Francisco was actively involved as a guitarist in the local jazz scene with different local projects, including his own trio and duo with Venezuelan Chicago-based guitarist Manuel Reyes, which recently released a full-lenght album entitled "Duet". Also, as an educator at the well known former Boston School of Guitar where he taught guitar and various music courses. He has performed internationally with renowned musicians such as Andres Briceno, Carl Allen and Derrick Gardner, and is currently an in-demand sideman around the Chicago area while keeping an busy schedule of teaching through his private studio and local music schools.



Nick Roach

Nick Roach holds a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas, and recently graduated from NIU with his Masters in Jazz. Originally from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and recently relocated to Chicagoland, Nick has quickly established himself as an in-demand composer, arranger, educator and performer. Having performed in several states and on cruise ships on five continents, Nick is an adept and versatile musician on multiple instruments. As a composer/arranger, he has written for groups of all different sizes and instrumentations, from trombone quartets to big bands and everything in between.As a student and professional musician, Nick has had the privilege of performing with many respected musicians of different genres, such as Arthur Barrow, Cynthia Scott, Brad Leali, Carl Allen, Derrick Gardner, Corey Wilkes, Robert Irving III, Ari Brown, Andy Narell, Al Smith, Geof Bradfield, Reggie Thomas, Camille Thurman and Tim Warfield.


Theatre Arts Camp

Nathan Wyman (Camp Director)

Nathan Wyman (camp director) is professor of theatre at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he also serves as director of Jewell Theatre Company. He graduated from the NIU School of Theatre and Dance in 1998 with a master's degree in fine arts in scene design and technology. He has been involved with the NIU Theatre Arts Camps for many years as head counselor and assistant to the director and is excited to return each year to work with these creative and energetic staff and students!


Hannah Gilbert

Hannah Gilbert (instructor, counselor) hails from Horicon, Wisconsin. She completed her fourth year in the NIU BFA Acting program in spring 2016. While NIU focuses on the Stanford Meisner technique, she was also able to train in the technique of Michael Chekhov, rooted in the techniques of Konstantin Stanislavski, at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia for a semester. Hannah has experience in Dialects, Verse Drama, and Movement.  Hannah is currently writing, working on music, and getting her feet on the ground professionally. She can't wait to return for another year of camp!


Jaelyn Hawkins

Jaelyn Hawkins graduated from NIU's B.F.A. in the acting program in May 2016. Since graduating she has moved to Chicago and is loving the theatre scene there! She plans to go to graduate school in a few years to continue her education and is thrilled to be back for heranother summer at NIU's Fine Arts Camp! 


Kendra Helton

More information on Kendra coming soon!


Bryant Hayes

More information on Bryant coming soon!


Daniel Kies

Daniel Kies is a South Florida native pursuing his MFA in Acting at Northern Illinois University. He recently finished his bachelor’s degree in musical theatre at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He also had the opportunity to study playwriting and solo performance abroad in London. Daniel is a company member with the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival, where he has performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, and Much Ado About Nothing. Additional SoFlo credits include Spring Awakening, The Rocking Dead: A Zombie Musical, Frost/Nixon, The Man Who Came to Dinner and Sleepwalk. 


Nyssa Lowenstein

Nyssa Lowenstein is a graduate from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in Acting. She is originally from Denver, CO. She has studied for a semester at the prestigious Moscow Art Theatre School, where she performed in The Seagull. She also has performed in Adana, Turkey with a touring production of Marat/Sade. She has been previously seen at NIU in Romeo and Juliet, Ubu the King, The Lucky Chance, Comedy of Errors, and Marat/Sade.


Luaren Markey

Lauren Markey is a recent graduate from Northern Illinois University with her B.F.A. in acting. She is so excited to be on the staff for NIU’s theatre camp this summer. She has taught various workshops at The Illinois High School Theatre Festival and has the opportunity this summer to teach and direct theatre classes and camps at a local theatre in her home state of Wisconsin. Lauren also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia, where she got to work on The Seagull. Her previous NIU credits include Picnic, Desdemona: A Play about a Handkerchief, Blithe Spirit, Lover’s and Other Strangers and Antigone. She’s looking forward to moving to Chicago this fall and plans to pursue her M.F.A. in acting in a few years. 


John Morefield

More information on John coming soon!


Joel Moses

Joel is a professional actor currently based in Chicago, IL. His work has been featured in national commercials, short films, music videos, and professional stages in Chicago and Kansas City. Joel is a current Artistic Associate with the Organic Theater Company and has appeared in their productions of Tartuffe, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Diviners, Macbeth, King Ubu, and the Chicago premier of Emilie: the Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight. Elsewhere in Chicago he has worked with Theatre Y, 16th Street Theater, Along the Way Productions, Assassination Theatre and Stage 773. Joel teaches  an introduction to acting course at Governors State University, where he serves as adjunct acting faculty in the Theatre and Performance Studies program. He received his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from the University of Central Missouri, and M.F.A. in acting from NIU. 


Matthew Romriell

Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Matt received his MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University. He is currently on faculty at NIU, as an instructor of acting in the School of Theatre and Dance, and as Stage Director for Opera Theatre at the School of Music. Regional credits include Les Miserables, The Philadelphia Story, and Man of La Mancha. Other favorites include Charles in Blithe Spirit, Claudio in Measure for Measure, Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Flote in Red Noses, Jake in A Lie of the Mind and Berger in Hair. In Utah, he was also fortunate to perform his verbatim play, Schism, at Salt Lake Acting Company.

Visual Arts Camp

Lynn Stockton (Camp Director)

Lynn Stockton (camp director) has been a high school art teacher for 30 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher.

In 2008, she was recognized by the Illinois Art Education Association as the Secondary Art Teacher of the Year. Her students have won numerous awards and scholarships at the local, state, and national levels. She has helped to facilitate and restructure the visual art programs of two Illinois school districts and was instrumental in the addition of advanced placement studio art as an option for high school students in those districts.

In June 2011 she was appointed to the National Prismacolor Advisory Council. She is currently teaching at Rockford Jefferson High School where she heads the largest advanced placement studio art program in northern Illinois. Ms. Stockton has been the director of the Visual Arts Camp since 2001.

Portraits in Acrylic

Brandon Barber

Brandon Barber (instructor and counselor) received his bachelor of fine art degrees in both sculpture and painting from Northern Illinois University in spring 2013 and plans on pursuing graduate school in the near future. He was a camper at the Visual Arts Camp for four years as a high school student and began his career as a counselor with the camp in 2007. He began teaching at the camp in 2013.

Mixed Media

Lisa Doll

Lisa Doll (instructor) earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from NIU; her undergraduate major was in art education and her graduate specialization was in outdoor education. She has taught art at several Rockford public schools since 1993, and is currently teaching at Guilford High School. Her students have shown their artwork at a variety of shows, including the Rockford Art Museum Youth Show and Rock Valley College High School Art Show. She has taught at the Visual Arts Camp for several years.


Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson (instructor, printmaking) received his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa where he studied printmaking and drawing. He gained teaching experience teaching life drawing workshops. After receiving his bachelor's degree of fine arts, he was asked to become a course assistant at the University of Iowa under printmaking faculty member Virginia Myers. During the summer sessions, he co-taught a two-week intensive printmaking workshop with Professor Myers. As a graduate assistant at NIU, he has served as a foundations assistant, instructor of record for a foundations class, Drawing 100, and a teaching assistant for Professor Michael Barnes’s Introduction to Printmaking course.

Zeinab Saab

More information about Zeinab coming soon!

3-D Sculpture Experience

April Macantagay

April Macatangay (instructor, counselor) received her bachelor's degree in art education from NIU in 2005 and earned her bachelor's degree in fine arts from NIU in 2007. She has been an artist-in-residence in Poland, as well as in the Philippines, where she learned to make traditional clothing from pineapple fiber. Her work has been exhibited widely and she currently teaches in the Chicago area. April has worked with the Visual Arts Camp for a number of years.

Abigail La Franca

Abigail is originally from Rockford, IL but is currently living in DeKalb where she has attended both Kishwaukee College and NIU for art. She was a camper in 2011 and has been a counselor since 2014.

Timothy Roloff

Tim is currently student teaching in Rochelle and will be graduating in May with an art education degree. This will be my fourth year of camp and I'm looking forward to another great year.

Acrylic Painting

Courtney Haugdahl

Courtney Haugdahl (counselor) is an art education student at Northern Illinois University, an honors student, and a member of the honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. Courtney’s favorite art medium is painting and she enjoys reading and making art in her spare time. Art has been a way for Courtney to challenge herself inside and outside the classroom and she hopes to always continue to learn more about it beyond school. She has worked at the Visual Arts Camp for several years.

Janell Matas

Janell Reamer Matas (instructor) has a master's degree in sculpture as well a bachelor’s degree in Art Education with an emphasis in painting from NIU.  She  has been an art teacher since at Naperville North High School since 2002, where she teaches AP Art History, drawing and  painting.  She has been a counselor and teacher off and on with the Visual Arts Camp since 1997.

Experimental Drawing Studies

Bjana Lunde

Bjana Lunde (instructor, counselor) received her bachelor's degree from NIU in 2005, where she majored in art education. She taught ceramics and sculpture at Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin from 2005 - 2013 and is now teaching at Algonquin Middle School. She was on the dean's list during her undergraduate career at NIU and has been involved with the Visual Arts Camp for many years.

Life Drawing

Frank Matas

Frank Matas (life drawing instructor, counselor) has a master's degree in painting from NIU and has been an art teacher at Lake Park High School in Roselle since 1998, where he teaches drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and advanced placement studio art. He has been a counselor and teacher with the Visual Arts Camp since 1995.

Terrance Gray

We will have more information about Terrance coming soon!

Drawing Realism

Becki Miller 

Becki Miller (counselor, instructor) is currently a local and freelance artist. She will be attending NIU in 2015 to pursue her degree in art education. She has been involved in the camp since 1998 as a camper and became a counselor in 2002.

Dynamic Color and Composition

Elizabeth Woodyatt

Elizabeth Woodyatt (instructor) earned her bachelor's degree in fine arts and art education from the University of Illinois and her master's degree in art education from NIU. She has taught art to children in the elementary grades through high school in the Rockford area since 2001. She is currently teaching art, including fine and computer arts at Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford. She also creates, exhibits, and sells her own artwork. She has taught at the Visual Arts Camp for a number of years.

Special Projects

Sarah Greer

More information about Sarah coming soon.