Music Academy Bios
The Music Academy at College of DuPage offers private, non-credit music instruction and vocal performance for community members. Instructors have the experience, the knowledge and the passion to take your skills to the next level. See below for biographies of our Music Academy faculty. To register for lessons, contact Continuing Education at (630) 942-2208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Richard Armandi, Tuba, Double Bass, Jazz Bass
As a jazz bassist, Richard Armandi has performed with such luminaries as Marion McPartland, Barry Harris, Bobby Shew, David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Dick Hyman, Scott Hamilton, Carl Fontana and many others, and has performed with such stars as Rosemary Clooney, Bob Newhart, Martin Short, Phyllis Diller and Rich Little. As a tubist, he has performed with the Lyric Opera, American Ballet Theater, Grant Park Orchestra, Chicago Brass Quintet, and as a featured soloist with the New Philharmonic, Ethos Chamber Orchestra, Concordia University Wind Ensemble and at the 1992 International Tuba-Euphonium Conference.
Dr. Jennifer Barnickel-Fitch, Voice
Jennifer Barnickel-Fitch completed her doctorate degree in vocal performance at the University of Michigan. Since moving to Chicago, she has performed with Lyric Opera Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, da Corneto Opera and Fox Valley Orchestra, and has also been broadcast on WMFT radio. Dr. Barnickel-Fitch has been providing vocal instruction at the College of DuPage since 2002.
Mr. Alexander Djordjevic, Piano
Pianist Alexander Djordjevic has taught at the College of DuPage since 1995. Active nationally and internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, he received the 2010 Franz Liszt International Grand Prix du Disque by the Hungarian Liszt Society for his recording, Gray Clouds. Alexander earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance and literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and completed the performance diploma with distinction from the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, while studying with Vitaly Margulis as a Fulbright Scholar. Djordjevic is a co-founder of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the American Liszt Society and is also on the piano faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago.
Ms. Daniela Folker, Violin, Viola
Daniela Folker is the principal second violinist for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she is violinist with the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, Ravinia Festival Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater. Daniela has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as performed for numerous televised programs including Oprah, Late Night with David Letterman, Soundstage and with Celine Dion for an NBC Special. She has performed with such artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Seal, Natalie Cole and many others.
Ms. Marsha Foxgrover, Organ
Marsha Foxgrover is a concert organist who has performed at numerous colleges, churches and American Guild of Organists chapters throughout the country, including the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. In addition to being a church musician throughout her career, she has taught at Azusa-Pacific University and Rockford College, and was artist-in-residence at Aurora University.
Dr. Steven Havens, Piano
Dr. Steven Havens is currently a member of the piano faculty at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he was named one of the outstanding faculty members in 2005. He has served on the piano faculty of the University of Iowa All-State Music Camp and has been affiliated with Wheaton College Conservatory of Music as well as the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan.
Ms. Catherine J. Kuna, Cello
A versatile cellist, Catherine Kuna incorporates improvisation, composition and arranging in her teaching, along with traditional cello repertoire. Ms. Kuna is a dynamic teacher and performer who strives to instill in students a deep understanding and love of music.
Mr. Ronald Lemm, Trombone
Ronald Lemm, a professional trombonist, has performed in various orchestras, brass ensembles, jazz and rock groups, as well as with members of the Chicago Symphony and Chicago Lyric. He has been the brass choir director at Christ Church of Oak Brook and a former middle school band director. Ronald has had numerous students who have been awarded college music scholarships as well as placed in IMEA auditions and top chair placements in their school band programs.
Mrs. Carolyn May, Flute
Carolyn May has been the principal flutist in New Philharmonic, a professional orchestra that performs at the McAninch Art Center, since its inception in 1977. Also an accomplished pianist and accompanist, Carolyn is a band director in School District 102 (LaGrange). Mrs. May has taught flute at the College of DuPage since 1980 to students from age 7 to 70.
Ms. Marlene Meyer, Voice
Marlene Meyer earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is a past winner of the Rose Fae Thomas Competition, the American Opera Society of Chicago Competition, the Union League Emma Roe Competition, and both district and regional Metropolitan Opera auditions. She has been a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, and the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival. Marlene enjoys working with students of all ages and abilities believing there should be no barriers to studying voice.
Ms. Emi Murata, Piano
Emi Murata, Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM), has over 30 years' experience teaching piano, theory, sight singing and ear training to all ages from beginner through college level, and has taught at College of DuPage since 1991. Ms. Murata is an experienced clinician, has published articles, and enjoys presenting master classes throughout Illinois. In addition to performing as a soloist, Emi co-organizes the Glorious Grands: A Piano Extravaganza!!!, an 8 Steinway grand piano concert held here at COD.
Ms. Elizabeth Murphy, Voice
Elizabeth Murphy holds a master's degree in music from Northwestern University. She joined the College of DuPage music faculty in 1995 and was recently named as an Outstanding Faculty Award winner. Her performance experience includes The Britten Pears Festival, Aldeburgh, England; Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York; and the Blossom Festival, Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to solo work with local orchestras and ensembles, Elizabeth's Chicago-area performing includes work with Chicago Opera Theater, DuPage Opera, Illinois Opera for the Young and Light Opera Works.
Mr. Timothy Omerod, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe
Timothy Omerod earned a Master of Music in bassoon performance from Northwestern University in 1979. He is a freelance woodwind musician, having performed in shows, jazz, top-40 bands, classical ensembles and various jobbing dates throughout Chicago and the Midwest. He has studied the bassoon, sax, flute, clarinet and oboe with professional players from the Chicago area. He enjoys teaching all age levels, regardless of abilities, and continues as a teacher, composer and performer throughout the Chicago area.
Mr. Stephen D. Ramsdell, Guitar
Stephen Ramsdell performs guitar professionally in a myriad of styles, from solo classical to original, jazz and pop music. He has taught a wide range of ages and levels at Wheaton College, Benedictine University, Merit Music Program, Northwestern University Summer Institute, and at the College of DuPage since 1994.
Dr. Karol Sue Reddington, Piano
Karol Sue Reddington has performed and held faculty and administrative positions in Hong Kong, Bermuda, the Midwest and area colleges and universities and also performed in Paris, Fontainebleau, Zurich, Moscow, Prague, Reykjavik and Tokyo. Dr. Reddington's 2002 Carnegie Hall debut (NYC), was shared with colleague, Mathias Boegner. As COD piano faculty member of seven years, Karol Sue was awarded the most recent Liberal Arts Faculty Lecture/Performance Grant, which was subsequently invited for presentation at the 2010 Bangkok Fine Arts International Conference, Srinakharinwirot University—the only American submission accepted. Always sincerely committed to the musical development of young pianists, Dr. Reddington loves teaching all levels of interested students, is the director of Chicago's west suburban Berkley-Pendell Piano Competition, and is an international examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music of Canada.
Mr. David Rice, Jazz Piano
David Rice has played professionally since age 16. He began studying piano at age 6. After playing in bands and singing in choir and music productions through school, he received a BA in music education from SIU Carbondale and a master's in Music Education at VanderCook College of Music. He has toured Europe, Asia, North America and South America with Otis Rush. He has warmed up for artists such as George Benson, Buddy Guy, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. He also has played with Donna Lori, the Cryan Shames, Gloria Newlun, Bobbi Wilsyn, Carlos Johnson, Pistol Pete, Dan Hayes Orchestra, Buddy Rich Band and many others. Dave has written a book Improvisation on the ii-V-I and Blues progressions. Dave teaches in the Valley View School District in Bolingbrook/ Romeoville and at College of DuPage and is a full-time musician.
Mr. Thomas Sergey, Guitar
Tomas teaches students of all ages and skill levels and in all guitar styles. He is as passionate teaching beginners as he is working with advanced musicians. Using traditional, Suzuki and other teaching methods, Tomas adapts his teaching style to the individual goals, skill level, and temperament of each student. His passion for teaching is inspired by seeing his students succeed, whether it is in an individual lesson or on the concert stage.
Ms. Cynthia Trowbridge, Piano
Cynthia Trowbridge enjoys teaching piano to students of all ages and abilities. She earned a Master of Music from Indiana University, where she was a student of Menahem Pressler, and a Bachelor of Music from DePauw University. Cynthia is a staff accompanist at College of DuPage, and performs as a collaborative pianist in recitals and competitions throughout the Chicago area.
Ms. Paulette Velazquez, French Horn
Paulette Velazquez holds a master's degree in horn performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a bachelor's degree in horn performance from the University of Illinois. Paulette is an active freelance musician playing regularly with Elgin Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffery Ballet, the New Philharmonic and at various theaters in Chicago. Paulette was principal horn of La Filarmonica de Jalisco for two years, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Paulette's principal teachers include A. David Krehbiel, former principal horn San Francisco Symphony, and Dan Gingrich, principal Chicago Symphony.
Mr. Ben Wahlund, Percussion
Ben Wahlund is a grammy-nominated, award-winning music educator, composer and performer. Wahlund serves as the director of percussion at the College of DuPage and as music education faculty at North Central College. He conducts the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble and is program director for the Birch Creek Summer Music Performance Center's Percussion and Steelband Session in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. Locally, Ben Wahlund is a percussion specialist for Naperville School District 203 where he directs the NCHS Drumshow, a high school percussion ensemble concert. He also serves as the director of publications for the Illinois Percussive Arts Society, performs as part of area orchestras and the Naper Chamber Players, and his compositions are performed around the world.
Ms. Ann Field Williams, Voice
An accomplished performer and passionate advocate of art song, Ann Field Williams is active in recital, chamber and church music. She earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been a featured soloist with regional choruses and opera companies, as well as performances with Opera North, Dallas Lyric Opera, Blossom School of Music at Kent State and Applehill Center for Chamber Players. She integrates her vocal pedagogy knowledge and singing experience while encouraging and challenging her students, whether beginning vocal studies or building upon an established vocal foundation. Ann believes in rooting her students in a healthy, classical vocal technique that can be applied to almost every genre of music.
Ms. Dorothy Williames, Piano, Voice
Dottie Williames earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Florida State University with vocal performance and piano as minors. Ms. Williames has been an adjunct faculty member at COD since 2003, teaching Class Piano, Class Voice and Voice. Mrs. Williames has been active in chamber, church and professional choirs and has been a featured soloist with Robert Shaw Conductors Choir, DuPage Chorale, New Classic Singers and Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale. From 1992 to 2006, Ms. Williames worked with Young Naperville Singers and Anima (formerly known as Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus) in various teaching capacities. She has a passion for understanding the student's needs both vocally and in repertoire choices. Her years of performing have enabled her to aid her students in their confidence, self-esteem and professionalism.
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