G. Thomas Allen joins the music department as the Jazz & Contemporary Voice Instructor, with emphasis in solo repertoire and ensemble work. Exploring the evolution of the genres from original jazz such as ragtime, swing, Dixieland, to modern jazz and present-day contemporary stylizing. Known for his innovative pedagogical approach to bridging the gap between genres, he has worked in the field for 15+ years as both a music educator and performer. Past affiliations in both the public school sector and collegiate setting, including the Baltimore Public School System, Danville Public School System, and currently on the voice faculty of Columbia College of Chicago; teaching Applied Lessons and Vocal Workshop.
He has worked with the late David Baker, jazz educator and conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, gospel icon and Chicago native Ricky Dillard to which he was a part of GRAMMY nominated album, “Choirmaster” (Motown Gospel 2020) and has been a part of top ensemble work with jazz icons such as Bobby McFerrin and Wynton Marsalis. Thomas has traveled and toured extensively in Europe; facilitating workshops, guest lecture, masterclasses, and conferences.
2021 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition winner, and recognized as the first male in the history to win this prestigious award (Downbeat Magazine).
An active member of NATS – Chicago chapter. 2x graduate of Morgan State University with degrees in Speech Communication and Vocal Performance – along with additional graduate work at University of California, Irvine.
Melissa Arning grew up in the Detroit suburbs, went to college in Cleveland, and now continues her tour of the Midwest at her home in Chicago. She credits her Midwestern roots with fostering her love of cars, Vernors, and Jello. A busy performer of both opera and oratorio, Ms. Arning’s roles include Ruth in Dark Sisters, Meg in Falstaff, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cendrillon in Cendrillon, Muse/Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Mercedes in Carmen. For her work with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Ms. Arning also has two Grammy awards. In her spare time, she is a beekeeper.
Trumpet player and composer Gerald Bailey currently leads several groups combining acoustic instruments and music technology. He has a Bachelors degree in trumpet from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters in jazz arranging from DePaul University. As a sideman he has worked with Belle and Sebastian, Ty Segall, Mono, Father John Misty and Syl Johnson. Gerald plays Adams Trumpets and Flugelhorns.
Anthony Bruno has dedicated his life to music as a performer, educator, and creator. Born into a musical family, playing music has been a hallmark of his existence. He believes creativity and connection is the essence of music performance.
An in-demand saxophonist in Chicago, he has performed with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Larry Carlton (Steely Dan), Bobby Watson, Jeff Hamilton, Gerald Clayton, Bobby Broom, and Mary Wilson of The Supremes to name a few. Bruno has also performed at various music festivals such as the New York City Winter Jazz Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival. He has released numerous recordings that can be found on all streaming platforms including multiple releases chosen for Spotify Editorial Playlists. Anthony is also an endorsing artist for Selmer Paris Saxophones and D’Addario Woodwind Products. Bruno’s main musical influences are Jazz, Afro-Cuban, and R&B and considers them the foundational language to his approach to music performance.
As an educator, Bruno has taught at ChiArts since 2010 and has served as the Jazz Coordinator since 2013. In this position, he has taken the Jazz Combo to perform at four Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences in Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, and New Orleans. They have performed with numerous guest artists such as Antonio Hart, Bobby Watson, and Sean Jones. Additionally, he brought the Jazz Combo on a Peer to Peer tour with the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz to San Antonio and Austin, Texas with guest artists Bobby Watson and Lisa Henry. Bruno also organized a tour for the Jazz Combo throughout Los Angeles in 2019 which included performances and clinics at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and the Thelonious Monk Institute at UCLA.
In addition to his teaching at ChiArts, he has served as adjunct faculty at DePaul University teaching the Saxophone Technique course from 2010 to 2015. An experienced guest artist, clinician and arranger, he has worked with such schools and organizations as Dartmouth College, Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage, and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Bruno also served as a guest director for the ILMEA District 1 Jazz Ensemble in 2018.
Anthony Bruno graduated Magna Cum Laude from DePaul University earning a BM in Music Education in 2007. He is a licensed Music Educator in the state of Illinois.
This is Chris Cashman’s fifth year at ChiArts. He received his B.A. in TESOL at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and spent a summer teaching English in Mexico while living with a pastoral family there. After teaching ESL at Harold Washington College for a year and a half, he decided to pursue a long-time goal of being a Spanish teacher and studied Spanish Linguistics at UIC (M.A. degree) and taught Spanish there. He completed education coursework at Northeastern and taught for two years at Oak Park & River Forest High School.
Mr.Cashman has been immersed in the Hispanic community in Chicago by being involved in a Spanish-speaking church. He serves as a youth ministry leader and a few years ago started a band in the church which he directs. He has served as the accompanist for Senior Chorale, and this year will be teaching Chorale Experience. Mr.Cashman has a wife and two children and lives in Humboldt Park.
Thomas Clippert savors the wide variety of music available for the guitar, from the early Renaissance to the present day. He frequently performs as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the Chicago area. He has appeared with a variety of ensembles including L’Opera Piccola, Heartland Voices, CUBE, Northwest Chicago String Quartet, Northwest Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble. Tom is a graduate of the Yale School of Music where he studied with Benjamin Verdery and was awarded the Eliot Fisk Guitar Prize. Additional studies include Phillip de Fremery at the Mount Holyoke Guitar Master Class and Patrick Roux at the Domaine Forget Music and Dance Academy in Quebec. In addition to being a founding faculty member at ChiArts, Tom teaches at Oakton Community College, The Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College, and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Tom has been a featured artist at the Interlochen Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop.
An emerging Chicago based countertenor and composer, Kyle Anthony Cortés happily joins ChiArts’ esteemed faculty as an Attendance Coordinator and teaching artist this 2021-2022 school year. His classes include fall elective “Acting the Song/Music Theory”, where students learn how to respond to music they analyze as an acting tool for the stage, and “Music Theory Fundamentals”, a course focusing students towards proficiency in music literacy. Upon request, he makes appearances as a supporting guest instructor for our “Vocal Performance Foundations 1” and “Treble Choir” students in the vocal department. In order to provide support to the ChiArt’s community during these times of interest, he is also assisting administration in the role of Attendance Coordinator.
Mr. Cortés’ most recent artistic endeavors include having his original opera “Droplet” workshopped and produced this winter, 2021, by the Vizin Virtual Ensemble — an international ensemble of emerging professional and pre-professional singers. Known primarily to the stage for his comedic charm, Cortés has sung in roles such as the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro, and Mayor Upfold in Britten’s Albert Herring. And so, it was with much anticipation that the dark and twisted role of Emperor Lucio Silla, of Handel’s Silla, marked his official summer 2021 debut as a budding countertenor, transitioning him from leggiero tenor to countertenor repertoire. Cortés completed his masters degree with honors in vocal performance at DePaul School of Music studying under Dr. Viktoria Vizin. He relocated to Chicago after having graduated cum laude with two Bachelor of Music degrees from the University of Florida in vocal performance and composition, respectively. His other formal training includes a summer of private research in composition and combination-tones in the live-coding environment MAX/MSP at the Mozarteum Conservatory in Salzburg, Austria under their director of electro-acoustic composition, Dr. Achim Bornhöft, along with six-months of study with Dr. Jourdan L. Howell’s Palm Beach Opera Apprentice Studio. His interest in classical voice and composition led him to join the artistic team at Vizin-Production and Starr-Editing, Media Group as their composer-in-residence and young artist for the 2020-21 season, focusing on digital media productions of art song and opera. Cortés’ instrict beliefs drive his passion as an educator. Beliefs stating that we are products, not only of our present circumstance, but of our past; that we stand on the shoulders of giants, our family and community, who have worked arduously to lift us up and present us with our present opportunity. An opportunity to enjoy studying the music and art that we all love. An opportunity for which we will not “throw away our shot” (Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton).
A graduate of Loyola New Orleans (BM Jazz, Minor in Philosophy), and Northwestern University (MM Jazz), Gustavo Cortiñas has developed a successful career in the US for over a decade leading and accompanying ensembles in renowned stages and festivals in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. “Cortiñas’ music is uplifting, robust, melodic, and gets your body moving; it’s an exciting blend of the artist’s musical influences from jazz and Latin America, including his native Mexico” (DOWNBEAT). This can be heard on his records as a leader, “Snapshot” (2013), “a Smörgåsbord of the moods and nuances that make up the human experience… an idiosyncratic album that intrinsically fuses the personal to the universal” (JAZZIZ); and “ESSE” (Origin Arts 2017): “With the cohesive and captivating Esse, Cortiñas has created superb work that balances refreshingly inventive ideas with high-caliber musicianship.” (Chicago Jazz). Out on Woolgathering Records (2021), “Gustavo Cortiñas’ third release as a leader, the magnificent Desafio Candente is an ambitious work both in depth and breadth. Cortiñas draws inspiration from Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano’s iconic “The Open Veins of Latin America” in crafting 14 sublime originals. Desafío Candente is innovative, elegant, and relevant. It is socially engaged music with themes that are simultaneously timely and timeless” (Chicago Jazz). During his time in Chicago, Gustavo has become one of the most sought out drummers, performing and recording with Kitt Lyles, Erik Skov, Imagery Converter, Emily Kuhn, Amos Gillespie, Roy McGrath, and the Carla Campopiano Trio, among other ensembles. Cortiñas is a member of the Chicago Jazz Composer’s Collective, performing regularly for their monthly residency at Chicago’s very own Green Mill. Currently, with a grant from the Mexican National Endowment of the Arts (FONCA), and Chicago DCASE, Gustavo is working on his fourth project as a leader: Kind Regards, which features original songs composed of both lyrics and music by Cortiñas, which attempt to bridge gaps and community in today’s polarized world. Gustavo Cortiñas is a proud endorser of Canopus Drums & Bosphorus Cymbals. Gustavo loves music and its power to uplift individuals and bring them together as a people; it has a unique ability to teach the importance of teamwork, discipline, and humility, and he is always excited about sharing these traits with his students. In over two decades of studying, performing and teaching music, Gustavo acquired a broad body of knowledge of music and teaching practices, which gives him the tools to address his students’ specific needs and goals.
Matthew Davis is a Chicago based trombone player and tubist specializing in music from the African American Diaspora. As a performer and recording artist, he has worked with names such as Jenifer Hudson, Chance the Rapper, Matt Jones, Ben Lamar Gay, and LowDown Brass Band. He has extensive experience touring the United States and Europe. He has a B.A. in Jazz studies from Oberlin College, and currently studies Hindustani Classical music.
Jason Ellis has played Broadway in Chicago productions including Million Dollar Quartet, Matilda, Beautiful, and School of Rock, as well as additional productions at Drury Lane, Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, and the Paramount Theatre Aurora. Orchestral performances include Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the Memphis Symphony, and Oistrakh Symphony Chicago. His teaching experience includes the Jacobs School at Indiana University, Interlochen Center for the Arts/ The University of Michigan, Deerfield High School, Highland Park High School, and Harvard-Westlake Los Angeles. Jason has performed with jazz luminaries such as Bobby Watson, James Williams, Aaron Parks, Ira Sullivan, Melvin Rhyne, Derrick Gardner, and Fareed Haque: additional performances highlights include SNL legend Joe Piscopo, The Voice winner Josh Kaufman, the Atlanta Olympic Games, and the Kennedy Center. His primary teachers are Lawrence Hurst, Bruce Bransby, John Clayton, and Rufus Reid, as well as electric bass instructors Victor Wooten and Oteil Burbridge. Jason endorses Lakland basses, Acoustic Image amplifiers, and Genz Benz amplifiers; his upright basses are a 1939 Kay and a 1996 Rumano Solano.
From playing classical music at Orchestra Hall to rock music on Warped Tour, Rebecca is a violinist, songwriter, producer, and educator who has used her classical music training to focus on innovating and blend genre lines. The genre-bending efforts began in undergrad at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, when she founded the rock band, The Lifeline. She used her training to give the band a unique performance quality, utilizing live looping techniques, as well as sequencing and sampling to enhance the presence of her violin. As a result she has graced the stages of many of the city’s finest venues such as Metro, House of Blues, Aragon Ballroom, Lincoln Hall, Beat Kitchen, Bottom Lounge, Double Door, Soldier Field, Subterranean, Cubby Bear and Goose Island Wrigleyville. In addition, she’s also been a part of many festivals and tours, such as SXSW, CMJ, Taste of Chicago, Taste of Chaos Tour, Warped Tour, Milwaukee Summerfest, and Q101 Block Party which further expand her influence. Rebecca Faber has worked with some of the best engineers and producers in the country. Names like Steve Albini (Nirvana), Chris Shepard (Chicago Recording Company), Sean O’Keefe (Plain White T’s), and Johnny Rioux (The Bruisers, Social Distortion, Street Dogs) are just a few of the diverse individuals that have helped Rebecca hone her craft and continue to innovate. As a result of work in the recording industry, she has become a voting member of The Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences, voting for the Grammys in both the musician categories and the Producers and Engineering Wing. She is also an ASCAP member and recipient of the ASCAP Plus Award in two consecutive years. In the spirit of giving back and inspiring others to use music as an outlet, Rebecca has taught in various settings, including privately, through the Ravinia Festival, at the Chicago High School for the Arts, and through online content on Reverb.com. Growing up in Chicago, Rebecca studied pre-college at the Merit School of Music, Midwest Young Artists’ Program, and studying privately under Laura Miller (Lyric Opera of Chicago). She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, studying violin performance under Peter Schaffer (Concertmaster, San Francisco Symphony). Continuing studies/additional training include playing master classes and lessons with David Kim (Concertmaster, Philadelphia Orchestra), Nathan Cole (Assistant Concertmaster, LA Philharmonic), Lisa-Beth Lambert (National Symphony), Cornelius Chiu (Chicago Symphony), Christopher Wu (Pittsburgh Symphony), and studied chamber music under the Avalon String Quartet.
Jeff Kelly has played and studied drum set and percussion for more than three decades. He was fortunate to have received a large part of his training from the late Alan Dawson, who mentored such drum set luminaries as Tony Williams and Vinnie Colaiuta. He studied Music at Boston University, and went on to earn his Masters Degree from The Berklee College of Music & Boston Conservatory. There he continued his drum set work under the tutelage of Ron Savage, and Jon Hazilla, who was a student of Max Roach’s. He studied Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music with Ed Uribe, Sa Davis, and Bobby Sanabria (Dizzy Gillespe) and West African drumming with Joe Galeota (maker of JAG drums). He traveled to Ghana for additional study with Emanuel, Rueben, and Victor Agbeli, sons of Master Drummer Godwin Agbeli. Jeff is an experienced, enthusiastic, and dedicated drum teacher who performs in genres including jazz, funk, folk, rock, r&b, pop, and “other.” In addition to his performance work, he is a producer, a recording engineer with major label credits, a songwriter whose works have gotten international airplay, and a composer for clients such as Twentieth Century Fox, MTV, Frito Lay, and Pepsi. Having worked on production teams with Grammy nominees and Oscar winners, he brings to his classroom an understanding of the type of professionalism it takes to succeed in the music industry. He also teaches at Dominican University, holds an MBA (Finance) degree, is married to Mrs. Kelly, and is a father of 2. Interests close to Jeff’s heart are science, economics, history, football, and he loves to fish, having twice caught ferocious Northern Pikes over 45 inches.
Betsy Ko is a founding faculty member of ChiArts, Chicago’s first public arts high school. Ms. Ko previously served as Music Department Head since the school opened its doors in the fall of 2009. She now serves as the ChiArts Band Director and has overseen growth in that program from 9 students in 2009 to a current enrollment of 46. In March 2018, the ChiArts Wind Ensemble under Ms. Ko’s direction was honored to receive the honor of “Best in Day” designation at the Illinois High School Association’s Organizational Contest. Ms. Ko is also a long time flute faculty member at Merit School of Music where she teaches individuals and groups of all levels. She has coached the Purple Hippopotami Flute Quartet for many years and saw that group earn 3rd place in the prestigious M-Prize Chamber Music competition (Junior Winds division) in May 2018. A native of New York, Ms. Ko has been an active performer in the Chicago area since arriving here in 1991. She currently performs with the Northshore Concert Band. Ms. Ko received her M.M. in flute performance from DePaul University where she studied with Mary Stolper. Her undergraduate degree was in pure mathematics from Brown University. She additionally holds Illinois Type 10 certification in music.
Guitarist Jim Konsbruck is a frequent performer in the Chicago area, appearing as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral soloist, including engagements with the South Shore Symphony Orchestra (soloist, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez), the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra, Vox3, Contempo, the BoHo Theater ensemble (Floyd Collins) and performed the United States premier of Roland Dyens’ Concertomaggio as a member of the Chicago Guitar Duo.
Earning his Master of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, Jim studied with Paul Henry, in addition to Denis Azabagic and Sergio Assad. Mr. Konsbruck completed his undergraduate studies at Columbia College under the instruction of Norman Ruiz. At the esteemed International Festival del la Guitarra (1998) in Cordoba, Spain, he studied with Pepe Romero and Manuel Barrueco.
Mr. Konsbruck has been on the music conservatory faculty at ChiArts since 2014, where he teaches Guitar Ensemble I, Guitar Technique II, Music History and Professional Development for the Instrumentalist.
Jim is also on the music faculty at Valparaiso University and South Suburban College.
Erica Lessie received her BM in cello performance from Indiana University, where she studied with Fritz Magg. At Florida State University she earned an MM in cello performance and completed coursework for a DMA. Currently, she is teaching at DePaul University Community Music Division, Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College and Chicago High School for the Arts. Ms. Lessie is a freelance cellist in the Chicago area. She is a founding member of the cross-style string quartet Red Riding Hood and co-founder of Cherchez la Femme, an ensemble dedicated to performing works by women. She is also an auxiliary member of the rock band Tributosaurus.
Taylor Mallory is a professional singer, songwriter, actor, and Level Next Music recording artist. As a music artist, he’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, JET, Windy City Live! and nominated for Best Male Vocalist for the Chicago Music Awards. His acting highlights include national print, radio, and commercial ads from Corona, Newport, McDonalds, Xfinity and many more. Recently, he made his film debut on NBC’s Chicago P.D. as Darius Brown. Above all, Mallory uses his artistry as an entertainer to uplift and encourage those who have experienced childhood trauma and sexual abuse; his message is simple “You are enough and your healing starts with you.” He is a member of the F.A.M.E. foundation and SAG-AFTRA. His Level Next Music team actively mentors and motivates youth in the inner cities, specifically the South, West, and South suburban areas of Chicago. He closes each class session with the following statement “My passion, will be my profession.”
Caryn Ott Hillman started dancing at the age of three. After falling in love with singing, she attended Roosevelt University for a Music Degree in Vocal Performance. Caryn then performed in musicals throughout Chicago at Equity and Non-Equity theaters. After starting a family, she dedicated her time to directing and choreographing shows for the youth at Light Opera Works, Chicago Opera Theater, After School Matters and Opera for All. Caryn continues all the above, as well as, teaching and directing Musical Theater at Lycee Francais of Chicago, and of Course – The great Chicago High School for the Arts!
Patrick currently free-lances in the Chicagoland area, teaching and gigging. He is a full time member of the Rockford Symphony and has performed with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Elgin, Kalamazoo, Illinois, Elmhurst, South Bend, Quad City Symphonies as well as the Illinois and Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Highland Park Strings. Other groups include OperaModa, Chicago Opera Vanguard, and the Downers Grove Choral Society. Patrick has also performed with the Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Paramount, Drury Lane, Timeline, Porchlight, Marriott, Writer’s, Royal George and Court Theatre Companies, as well as the American Girl Revue. Other performances include soloing at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Cultural Center’s Sunday Salon Series, and playing on WFMT. Aside from performing, He was a clarinet play-tester/technician at the Conn-Selmer factory in Kenosha, WI. Currently, Patrick is an Artist Clinician for D’Addario Woodwinds and provides free educational classes to schools in the Chicagoland area. As a teacher, he holds studios at Concordia University, Moraine Valley Community College, The Chicago High School for the Arts, and the First Conservatory of LaGrange. Patrick received his Masters from Northwestern University and Bachelors from Middle Tennessee State University.
Devvora Papatheodorou Schreier has an M.M. in Piano Performance from DePaul University, a B.M. in Piano Performance from Nikos Skalkotas Conservatory and a Degree in Harmony from Model Conservatory. During her Master’s degree, she studied piano with Mary Sauer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she studied piano technique and chamber music with Deborah Sobol of the Chicago Chamber Musicians for five years after the completion of her Master’s. She has had master classes with Mary Stolper, Yehuda Hanani, Jerry Grossman, William Cernota, and Christopher Costanza, among others. Ms. Papatheodorou has extensive experience in teaching piano, piano ensemble and theory. She has had training and certification in YAMAHA’s Clavinova lab and trained piano faculty in group class repertoire, class management and methodologies. Ms. Papatheodorou has coached one‐piano four‐hand and two‐piano ensembles, as well as mixed chamber groups for several years and currently teaches at Dominican University, where she also serves as Director of the Music Discipline. She has had several years of solo, chamber music and one-piano found-hands performing experience, as well as accompanying other instrumentalists and vocalists.
Sarah Smith Inendino is originally from Northern Michigan, where she graduated with high honors from Interlochen Arts Academy and studied voice. She attended Northwestern University where she earned a Bachelors of Music in Music Education with a specialization in choral education. Sarah completed her Masters of Arts degree at Columbia University in New York City. Her specializations include choral conducting and voice pedagogy.
Sarah began her career by conducting children’s choirs in Wilmette, Illinois and teaching private voice lessons. Afterwards, she taught 3rd-5th grade general music and chorus for eight years in Glenview, Illinois. Sarah left her position in Glenview to purse a PhD in Music Education, and is a fourth year Doctoral Candidate at the University of Michigan. While at the University of Michigan, she specialized in choral conducting, spending two years as the assistant choral conductor for the Michigan Youth Ensembles. Sarah also works with the Harper Festival Chorus as their assistant conductor, and is the director of Cantabile for the Schaumburg Youth Choir. Sarah also teaches in the School of Education for Lake Forest College.
Additionally, Sarah is also active in musical theatre, as a performer, vocal coach, and music director. As a performer she has had the opportunity to perform many lead roles in the Chicagoland area. Some of her favorite roles include Jillian in Fanatical (American Demigods), Sister Amenisa in Nuncrackers (Steel Beam Theatre), and Cinderella in Into the Woods (Edge of the Wood Theatre). In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, bird watching, and yoga.
Dr. Brooks Truly serves on the faculty of both ChiArts and Morton College. He also performs with the world fusion group Callaloo and is a freelance musician with various other groups in the Chicago area. He has taught percussion at several universities, secondary and primary schools, and has performed with dozens of orchestras and chamber groups as a section/principal percussionist and featured soloist, as well as hundreds of drum set and theater performances throughout the Gulf Coast, South Florida, and Midwest areas. During this time, he has shared the stage with such artists as Lil Greenwood, Bobby Shew, Louie Bellson, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Jim Walker, Yo-Yo Ma, Michel Camilo, Andrea Bocelli, Ramsey Lewis, Paul Potts, Faith Hill, Elvis Costello, Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, Hanson, Celtic Thunder, and Il Divo to name a few, and has worked with such conductors/composers as Scott Speck, Aaron Jay Kernis, Susie Seiter, James Judd, Helmuth Rilling, Sir Andrew Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, Philippe Entremont, Russell Peck, Placido Domingo, and Phillip Glass, among others, and was a percussionist in the world premiere of Mason Bates’ Music for Percussion and Orchestra. Recently he was invited to present his doctoral essay, The Afro-Cuban Abakuá as a performance/demonstration at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).
Dr. Truly holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, a Master of Music degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of South Alabama, all in the field of Percussion Performance. He is an endorsed performing artist with Remo Drumheads, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and is a member of the Black Swamp Percussion Educators Network. Former teachers include Ney Rosauro, Shannon Wood, Ted Atkatz, Richie Bravo, Ed Harrison, Vadim Karpinos, Paul Wertico, Ruben Alvarez, and John Papastefan.
Kelsey Williams is a freelance musician and horn teacher in the Chicago area. She completed her bachelor’s degree in music education from SUNY Fredonia and her master’s degree in horn performance from Northwestern University. Kelsey enjoys an active performing career. She has played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Grant Park Festival Orchestra, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, and the Richmond Symphony. Kelsey teaches horn at the Merit School of Music, Lincoln Park High School, Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, alongside her position at Chicago High School for the Arts. Williams is very passionate about mental health, particularly as it relates to a career in music. She is cofounder of the organization Sound Mind – striving to end the stigma surrounding health in the classical music world.