Ms. Black, Accompanist for Aria and Cantabile Choirs of the Encore Youth Choir, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. Ms. Black is the staff accompanist for the Harand Camp of the Theater Arts at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI each summer, and is a frequent accompanist for instrumentalists, vocalists, churches and school musicals in the Chicagoland area. When not accompanying, Ms. Black works as Research and Development Coordinator at Universal Oil Products in Des Plaines.
Mrs. Inion, Early Childhood Music Instructor, graduated from the Moody Bible Institute and North Park University where she studied music and teaching and toured internationally with the Moody Chorale. Mrs. Inion has had four years experience teaching Kindergarten and second grade before having her own children, Charlie and Liza. She and her husband Byron live in Crystal Lake.
Mrs. Pierzina, Founder and Executive Director of Encore Music Academy and Private Flute Instructor, earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Augustana College and her Master’s Degree from DePaul University, both in Flute Performance. She is a frequent freelance flutist and teaches private flute instruction. She has a background in arts administration, including Assistant Director of DePaul University’s Community Music School and Director of Admission and Programs / Interim Executive Director at Sherwood Conservatory of Music.
Robin Snodgrass Restrepo
Mrs. Restrepo, Early Childhood Music Instructor, started her music training at the age of 3 with Suzuki Violin. Her love of music and children combined when she started teaching Kindermusik 15 years ago in Norfolk, Virginia. She then added Music Together as a registered Music Together instructor and center director. For the past nine years, she has taught music to the children at Children’s Gate Montessori and maintained a large private Suzuki violin studio. Currently she teaches music at Children’s Gate Montessori as well as is the Primary Choirs Director for First Congregational Church. She enjoys playing bells at First Congregational Church as well as directing two youth bell choirs, two singing choirs and two early childhood music classes. In her free time, she focuses on her family. Her son Will and daughter Ellie are her greatest joy and blessings! She is excited to be invited into this amazing program and looking forward to a journey filled with love of music for life!
Mrs. Scherrer, Director of Di Canto Choir, earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in Music Education and her Master’s Degree from VanderCook College of Music in Choral Music Education. Mrs. Scherrer is a native of Crystal Lake. After teaching elementary music for a year in Indian Prairie District 204, she accepted the choral music position at Crystal Lake Central High School. She enjoyed five years of Choir, Madrigals, Musicals and Swing Choir, where she built the choral program to 325 students. Ms. Scherrer managed and taught a private voice and piano studio for three years while raising her family. She currently serves as Director of Music at Resurrection Catholic Church in Woodstock, where she accompanies two of the services and conducts both the children and adult choirs.
Mr. Schmidt is a graduate of Milton College and Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University, holding both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music Education. He also has extensive additional graduate coursework, including studies in guitar and guitar curriculum from VanderCook School of Music in Chicago. He was a music teacher for 32 years in Cary District 26 before they eliminated all music in June 2010. While on staff there, he wrote and implemented a highly successful classroom guitar curriculum in the junior high. He is also the holder of numerous copyrights for songs he has composed. Lon is an active member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Crystal Lake, where he currently directs the adult choir, accompanies the children’s choir and plays guitar in the Praise Team.
Ms. Snodgrass, Director of Bella Voce Choir, has had a long career as a music educator. She attended Northwestern University as a voice major and graduated from Carthage College with a BA in music education. She studied voice with Hermanus Baer, Norman Gulbrandsen, and Eleanor Gardner and has sung under Margaret Hillis with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Thomas Wikman with the Elgin Choral Union. Her love of children and teaching has taken her down many paths including studying and teaching Suzuki violin, Kindermusik, and handbell ringing. She developed a graded bell choir program at First Congregational Church and was elected Midwest (Area VIII) Chairperson for the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers serving on the national board for six years. Karen has directed children’s choirs in churches and public school settings for over 25 years. She most recently retired from Crystal Lake School District #47 and is currently teaching part-time at Indian Prairie School.
Mr. Szalaj, Private Voice Instructor, recently retired as vocal music instructor at Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, IL, where he had been teaching since 1980. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Millikin University in Decatur, IL and a Master’s Degree in Music/Choral Conducting from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Mr. Szalaj has completed extensive course work beyond the master’s degree, particularly in vocal pedagogy/physiology and educational methods. Mr. Szalaj has taught voice from beginning through advanced levels, and is an adjunct instructor of voice and electronic music processing at McHenry County College. He directs the MCC chorus and is founder and conductor of Voices in Harmony.
Ms. Taliaferro, Private Piano Instructor, began studying piano at age 8. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from The University of Iowa, graduating magnum cum laude. Ms. Taliaferro has 25 years teaching experience and has accompanied for various soloists, college choirs, churches, and music festivals in Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois. Currently she accompanies for schools in District 47 and District 155.
Mrs. Taylor is a teacher and collaborative pianist with over 30 years of experience in working with young musicians and adults. She owns and teaches at Inscribe Piano Studio in Crystal Lake, and serves as accompanist for EMA’s Bella Voce and Di Canto choirs, as well as for the Prairie Ridge High School choirs. Mrs. Taylor also provides consulting expertise and workshops for independent music teachers through Inscribe Music Solutions. She earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees, both in Piano Performance, from West Virginia University. She is a nationally certified teacher of music (NCTM) and active member of Music Teachers National Association, Illinois State Music Teachers Association, Fox Hills Music Teachers Association, and Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association.
Mrs. Tucker, Founder and Artistic Director of Encore Music Academy, has taught in the area for over eighteen years, and grew up in Crystal Lake. She directs the Aria and Cantabile Choirs of the Encore Youth Choir as well as the Encore Touring Choir. Mrs. Tucker earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. In addition to her work with EMA, Mrs. Tucker is the Director of Music at First Congregational Church in Crystal Lake, where she directs four choirs including youth and adults.