Betsy Ko
Music Department Head

Betsy Ko is a founding faculty member of ChiArts, Chicago’s first public arts high school.  Ms. Ko has served as Music Department Head since the school opened its doors in the fall of 2009. She also 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.

Alicia Poot Kelly
Department Assistant + Flute Technique + Music Theory Fundamentals + Concert Band

Alicia Poot Kelly (“Poot” rhymes with “boat”) is an orchestral and chamber flutist in and around Chicago. From 2009-2014 she was a core member of “Palomar,” the performing arm of Chicago composer resource Access Contemporary Music (ACM). Other performance credits include work with the Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Southwest Michigan, and Northwest Indiana Symphonies, Whiting Park Festival Orchestra, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Lira Ensemble, New Millennium Orchestra, Highland Park Strings, Chicago Composers’ Orchestra, The Irish Tenors, Bach and Beyond, Anaphora, International Chamber Artists, and Crossing Borders Music Collective. Mrs. Kelly has also been a faculty member at Merit School of Music, and has worked with student composers through the Young Composers Program at Cleveland Institute of Music and ACM’s High School Composers Workshop. She has been a winner or finalist in several competitions hosted by organizations such as The National Flute Association, Tuesday Musical Society, Madison Area Flute Association, and has performed in festivals in Canada and Italy: Orford Arts Centre, Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific, Rome Festival, and the Julius Baker Masterclasses. She has studied at DePaul University, The University of Akron (MM), Western Michigan University (BM), and The Catholic University of America.

Rubén P. Alvarez
Afro-Cuban Percussion

Rubén P. Alvarez is a Chicago based Latin percussionist, drum set artist, composer, and music educator. His performance credits include musical theatre as a Latin percussionist for the Goodman Theatre production of Crowns, the Broadway Chicago productions of The Lion King, and On Your Feet.  He has performed and/or recorded with blues artists John Mayall and Junior Wells, rock artists Dave Mason and Dennis De Young, Latin jazz artists Arturo Sandoval, Dave Valentín, jazz icons Ramsey Lewis, and Roy Hargrove, and R&B divas Jennifer Hudson, and the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, and performed on drum set, and timbales on the 2012 Latin Grammy nominated CD “Made in Chicago” by Chuchito Valdes. 

Rubén teaches drum set and Latin percussion and has directed the Latin jazz ensemble of Roosevelt University for over 12 years and has served as a residency artist/mentor for Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Links Master Artists Residency program since 2007.  Ruben has endorsed and served as a clinician for industry leaders in music education which include DW/Latin Percussion, Remo drumheads, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Zildjian cymbals for over 30 years

Rubén is a founding member and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of The Jazz Education Network, has served on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Chapter of the Recording Academy, and as Vice President of the Illinois chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He currently serves on the World Percussion committee of the Percussive Arts Society and was a recipient of  the 2007 Percussive Arts Society Service Award, and the 2018 Jazz Educator of the Year by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. 

Melissa Arning
Voice for the Stage

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.

Anthony Bruno
Jazz Coordinator + Saxophone Technique + Jazz Foundations and Repertoire + Jazz Combo + Professional Development

Saxophonist, vocalist, bassist, writer, arranger, producer, Anthony Bruno has spent his life dedicated to all things music. Bringing over 20 years of professional experience performing with the likes of The Temptations, The Four Tops, Larry Carlton, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Wynton Marsalis, Gerald Clayton, Doc Severinsen, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,  Bobby Watson, Sean Jones, and Phil Woods.  He has also performed in two Universal Pictures Movies, “Public Enemies” with Johny Depp and Diana Krall, and “The Express”. Mr. Bruno is a Selmer Artist endorsing Selmer Paris Saxophones. Anthony is also a member of JEN the Jazz Education Network and National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Mr. Bruno graduated from DePaul University in 2007 with a BM in Music Education.


Justin Callis
Keyboard Skills for Vocalists I + Keyboard Skills for Vocalists II + Songwriting and Composition

Justin Callis is a teaching artist, music director, and composer here in Chicago. In addition to his work at ChiArts, he has worked extensively with youth of all ages and backgrounds. With COT for Teens, he has served as composer, music director, orchestrator, and arranger on Memories of Yesterday, an original musical based on materials from the StoryCorp archives, as well as leading a student orchestra with original orchestrations for Once on This Island. With Improv Playhouse, he has worked with students on Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, The Addams Family, High School Musical, and Newsies. With Storycatchers Theatre, he worked for many years with incarcerated youth, transforming stories from their lives into original musicals, and music directing and accompanying their performances. He helped over 100 elementary school students put on a production of Madagascar, Jr. this past spring, and served as the music director for a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Glencoe Central Middle School. He teaches private voice and piano lessons through Piano Power. He is the Music Director at Community Christian Church in Lincolnshire, where he prepares a choir of one dozen adults for weekly services of spiritual music. He is also the Music Director at Shir Tikvah Synagogue in Homewood, where he works with the adult choir as well. As a performer, he toured the country with Child’s Play Touring Theatre, performing original plays and musicals based on the work of children, and has performed extensively around the Chicagoland area with Chicago Opera Playhouse. Additionally, Ravenswood Community Orchestra recently premiered his Symphony No. 1 this past spring. He graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre and English and a Certificate in Music Theatre.

Oliver Camacho
Music Theory Fundamentals + Music History

Oliver Camacho is the co‐host and creative consultant of Opera Box Score, is the founder and editor of Vocal Arts Chicago, and works as announcer at Classical WFMT. A proud graduate of Chicago’s Lane Technical High School, where he first learned to sing under George Rico, Oliver went on to study vocal performance at Northwestern University, and historically informed performance practice at the Amherst Early Music Festival and Early Music Vancouver. He sings regularly with Bella Voce and is co‐director of Liederstube, an oasis for art song in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building founded by pianist and author Dr. Eugenia Cheng.

Chris Cashman
Spanish + Spanish for Native Speakers + Choral Experience

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.

Natalie Chami

Natalie Chami is a composer, performer, and music educator. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music with an emphasis in Music Education from Northwestern University and concentrations in classical voice, opera performance, and choral conducting. She has acted as director of volunteer music outreach groups including the Music Learning Community (MLC) and UpBeat!, which organized free music lessons in the Evanston and Chicago area. In addition to her degree, Ms. Chami is also Illinois Teacher Certified for grades K-12 (Music). She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and was a finalist for the National Artist Teacher Fellowship in 2014.

Ms. Chami is an active member of Chicago’s experimental music scene. She records and performs solo music under the name TALsounds, in the trio Good Willsmith, and as half of the duo l’éternèbre. Each of these projects presents a variation or complication of an overarching performative process: her vocal loops and analog synth tones drift and accumulate across long sessions of improvised music – generating an atmosphere of her own, or colluding with the processed electronics and textural sound collages of her collaborators. After a series of tape releases on labels like Hausu Mountain, Tabs Out, and Moog’s own physical imprint, Chami released her first TALsounds LP, Love Sick, with New York’s Ba Da Bing Records. In addition to her regular local performances, Ms. Chami has performed across the US on four national tours with Good Willsmith and two solo tours to date. Good Willsmith was chosen with the trio as an artist in residence at Chicago’s High Concept Laboratories for the Fall/Winter 2012-13 season. The band’s LPs The Honeymoon Workbook and Things Our Bodies Used To Have, released on Mexico-city based label Umor Rex, earned positive reviews from publications including Pitchfork, FACT, and Vice/THUMP, while TALsounds’s 2015 LP Love Sick saw praise from NPR, FACT, Bandcamp, and BBC6 Radio.

Bill Chin
Chamber Singers

Mr. Chin is the founder and artistic director of The Oriana Singers, a six-voice a cappella group that has presented concerts nationally and internationally since 1979. He is Music Director of the Pro Musica Youth Chorus, directs the chorus for the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, is founder and director of the community chorus City Voices, and is the conductor of the Anshe Emet Synagogue Choir in Chicago. Mr. Chin has served on the adjunct faculty for both DePaul and Roosevelt Universities and is the winner of a Joseph Jefferson Award. Like many ChiArts students, Mr. Chin entered a Chicago public high school without any musical training; by his senior year, he became a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Many years later, he became its Assistant Director, a post he held for nearly twenty years. He is proud to share his knowledge and love of choral music with our scholar-artists.

Julian Chin
Vocal Technique & Repertoire IV + Music Theory Fundamentals + Keyboard Skills

Julian Chin joined the ChiArts faculty in 2012. He has served as an instructor and accompanist for many organizations in the Chicago area, including After School Matters, Merit School of Music, and the Pro Musica Youth Chorus. He has worked as a a music director and pit musician for Light Opera Works, Porchlight Theater, and the Journeyman, among others, and is proud to have been the music director for all of ChiArts’ main stage musical productions. In addition to his work in theater and education, Julian can be seen performing around the city with bands in a wide variety of genres, from jazz to rock to hip hop and everything in between. In 2011, he toured the US and Europe with the avant-garde rock group Capillary Action, including performances at Willisau Jazz Festival and the Rumor Festival in Utrecht. Currently, he can be seen performing with rock/soul singer Elle Casazza, and as a guest artist with a wide variety of local acts. Julian is a native Chicagoan, and graduated in 2008 from Oberlin Conservatory with a B.M. in Piano Performance, with a focus in Jazz Studies.

Thomas Clippert
Guitar Technique I + Guitar Technique III + Guitar Technique IV + Guitar Ensemble II

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.

Dr. Elliot Eernisse
Oboe Technique

Dr. Elliot Eernisse earned his D.M.A. at the University of Iowa. While living in Iowa he formally held teaching positions at Cornell College and Mt. Mercy University. Dr. Eernisse is also a professional orchestral musician and performs with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. This is Dr. Eernisse’s second year teaching the talented oboists at ChiArts.

Jason Ellis
Acoustic Bass Technique + String Repertoire

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.

Dr. John Elmquist
Bass for the Guitarist + Chorale Accompaniment + Composition

John Elmquist received his DMA in composition from the University of Memphis, and his MM in piano performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. He serves on the faculties the Chicago High School of the Arts, the Merit School of Music and the People’s Music School. He is also the Music Director at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago and works in and around Chicago as a bass player. In 1999, Mr. Elmquist formed HardArt group as a vehicle for performing his music. This ad hoc ensemble, ranging in size from 3-20 players, has produced 14 recordings and currently performs at various venues in Chicago. The group has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the Green Mill and Northeastern Illinois University. In January 2011, Mr. Elmquist won first prize in the Rapido! composition competition held by the Atlanta Chamber players, receiving a commission to be performed in the 2011-12 seasons of the Atlanta Chamber Players, Boston Musica Viva and Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble. Also in 2011 he will hold a fellowship at Georgia’s Hambidge Creative Residency Program. hardartgroop.comhttp://hardartgroop.com/

Rebecca Faber
Upper Strings Technique + Intro to String Quartet + String Ensemble

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.

Terrance Gray

Terrance Malone Gray’s career as a violinist and conductor has garnered him national and international recognition. Born in Wisconsin, he began studying the violin with Elizabeth Grabow Mueller at the age of eight. Mr. Gray went on to study with Marc Zinger and Victor Aitay at DePaul University and later studied with Ruben Gonzalez. He served as concertmaster of the DePaul University Orchestra and as concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Mr. Gray later became a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Chicago Sinfonietta as well as embarking on the study of conducting.

In his post college years Mr. Gray became Music Director of the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra, and principal conductor of CYSO’s Concert Orchestra, which led to engagements at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago as well as the Rocky Ridge Music Festival in Colorado. In 1999 Mr. Gray became the principal conductor of the Illinois Chamber Symphony, and during 2002 season was Music Director/Conductor and Professor of Violin at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

In 2010 Mr. Gray had his premiere performance conducting Chicago Sinfonietta at Orchestra Hall and spent the year as cover conductor for the Joffrey Ballet under Scott Speck. Later that same year Mr. Gray was awarded a Conductor of the Year award from the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

As a chamber musician, he has performed as a member of the American Arts Trio, the Tower Ensemble and the EDU String Quartet. He also has performed with such jazz greats as Edward Wilkerson, Mwata Bowden, Ari Brown and Orbert Davis. Mr. Gray has performed at the Musikverein and Kozerthaus in Vienna, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Tonnehalle in Geneva and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His touring has also taken him to Switzerland, Germany, Spain, China and Japan.

Mr. Gray is currently a member of Chicago Sinfonietta and concertmaster of the New Black Repertory Ensemble; Associate Conductor of CYSO, and Music Director of the South Side Family Chamber Orchestra.

Jeannette Hoyt

Jeannette Hoyt has over two decades of large and small ensemble teaching experience and music lesson teaching expertise. Previously General Manager and Intermediate Orchestra Director of Hyde Park Youth Symphony and String Ensemble Director at Guerin Prep High School, River Grove, Illinois, Jeannette serves as an adjudicator for Illinois High School Music Association District Contest, Illinois Music Educators Association Contest, and the Granquist Music Competition. As guest clinician, Jeannette has worked with the Schaumburg Youth Symphony and Chicago’s All-Star Orchestra. One of Jeannette’s favorite arts education experiences was her junior year at Interlochen Arts Academy, a fine arts high school. Prior to teaching at ChiArts, Jeannette taught piano lab to 11th and 12th graders through the Noble Network School system.

Jeff Kelly
Drumset I + Drumset II + Music Technology

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.

Adam LaSalle

Adam LaSalle is an actor, pianist, music director, and teacher. He has worked with Memphis’ Playhouse on the Square Musical Theatre Education Program, the Chicago Children’s Choir, SummerSing’s International Choral Festival in Cork City, Ireland, and an number of revues and cabarets at the Promontory and as a regular at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret in Wicker Park. Prior to ChiArts, he was the founding Choral teacher and Art Department Chair at Butler College Prep. He has also music directed a number of musicals throughout the city and is humbled to have been a part of the Chicago premiere of Forbidden Broadway’s Spamilton. 

Erica Lessie
Cello Technique + Keyboard Skills I + Theory Fundamentals + Piano Practice Hall

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
Professional Development for Vocalists

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
Movement for Vocalists + Senior Project for Vocalists

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!

Dr. Greta Pope
Professional Development for Vocalists

Greta Pope is an award winning, internationally acclaimed entertainer. She has delighted audiences throughout Europe, the Far East, South America and the Caribbean, as well as the United States and Canada. Ms. Pope has been touted one of the great voices of our time, as she performs with ease all styles from Jazz to Opera, and from Rhythm and Blues to Broadway. Greta’s performance credentials include singing in several languages. She has shared the stage with such well-known performers as Wynonna Judd, Dick Van Dyke, Stanley Clarke, Ramsey Lewis, Rich Little, Penn & Teller and many others. Greta’s voice is featured on commercials and voice-overs, including those for McDonald’s, Whirlpool, Allstate, Lexus, Este Lauder and others. Greta Pope is the daughter-in-law of legendary Duke Ellington vocalist Kay Davis. Through this relationship, Greta has developed a one-woman show entitled Duke Ellington…The Man…The Music…The Legend! This historic show features the music of the legendary American Composer. In this engaging performance, Greta shares funny and heartwarming anecdotes from Kay’s years with “The Duke.” Greta Pope holds a Bachelor of Music Degree, a Master of Music Degree and has studied at Indiana University with the brilliant Metropolitan Opera soprano Eileen Farrell. Greta Pope is a Ph.D. in Business Administration and is the author of self-help book Music, Money & You; Managing the Business, now available at leading booksellers nationwide. Music, Money & You has been chosen as the selected text for several school programs. Dr. Pope is a consultant to the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools where she has served as musical director and vocal coach. Dr. Pope is The Music Business Expert. She is a Motivational Speaker and travels the country with her Music, Money & You Motivational Tour, presenting Master Classes to groups on the topics of “Breaking into the Music Industry” and “It’s Your Life; Being All You Can Be!” Dr. Pope has been a featured speaker at the Annual Self Employment in the Arts Conference (SEA) and the Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference (CEO). Greta Pope is a current/past member of several not-for-profit Boards around the Chicago area, including the Ronald McDonald House, WorldChicago, Illinois Children’s Home and Aid Society, Chicago Cabaret Professionals, Morgan Park Academy and Advocate Trinity Hospital. Greta Pope is also a member of Jack and Jill of America, The Girl Friends, Inc. and The Links, Incorporated, for which she serves as the Windy City Links Arts Chairman. Dr. Pope is involved with performing arts organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Chicago local, where she is the Chairman of the Singers Committee. Greta is also a member of the Manhattan Association of Cabaret Artists, Cabaret West and the Chicago Cabaret Professionals. Greta Pope is married to Chicago businessman Edward L. Wimp. They have one son, Edward W. Wimp.

Patrick Rehker
Clarinet Techniques + Wind Repertoire

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
Piano Ensemble I + Piano Repertoire + Piano Technique I & III + Piano Accompaniment

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.

Kelsey Tortorice

Kelsey Tortorice is a music educator and vocalist. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education in 2011 at VanderCook College of Music and has been teaching music in Chicago ever since. She’s taught choir, private voice, guitar, theory, piano, and directed musicals in both neighborhood and charter schools. Kelsey’s students have earned “excellent” and “superior” ratings at competitions both in Chicago and out of state. Her students have also been recognized in various media stories including mentions in a WBEZ story on how music changes the teenage brain and a feature on WGN when Kelsey was awarded “Teacher of the Month,” in January 2017. Kelsey has been honored by her Alma Mater as the recipient of the 2015 “Roseanne Rosenthal Excellence in Teaching Award.”

In addition to the work that she does with students, Kelsey sings as a member of the Wicker Park Choral Singers and in the local band Budway Ferris and the Mutual Magic. Aside from teaching and performing music, she spends most of her time working with Inner Sense Healing Arts Collective, a community space for yoga, wellness, and the arts that she is a proud co-founder of. Kelsey looks forward to continuing to share her passion for music with young people and supporting the invaluable mission of creating equitable educational experiences for students in this city.

Dr. Brooks Truly
Percussion Coordinator + Percussion Ensemble + Percussion Fundamentals + Orchestral Percussion Technique + Advanced Percussion Technique + Audition Prep and Repertoire for Percussion

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.