Dr. Emanuele Andrizzi

MCYO Music Director and Symphony Orchestra Conductor

Educated in the rich musical tradition of the Rome's Conservatory as a conductor, composer, and pianist, Dr. Andrizzi has become a versatile musician with a vast experience in the symphonic and operatic repertoires and a passion for the many areas of the musical arts. As a conductor, he has worked with various symphonic and operatic companies. In the past several years, he has conducted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Orchestra della Città di Ravenna, and Chicago Philharmonic, among others. He has also collaborated with important music festivals, including the Millennium Park and the Ravinia Festivals. Many international artists, including Ferruccio Furlanetto, Frederica Von Stade, Frank Almond, James Pellerite, Almita Vamos, and Joyce Castle have performed as soloists with Dr. Andrizzi in concertos, operas, recitals, and recordings. An active teacher and performer, Dr. Andrizzi has worked since 2013 as the Conductor and Head of the Orchestral Program at the prestigious Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He is very passionate about his work with young musicians and has often collaborated with international artist programs, including the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, La Musica Lirica, and the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program. Dr. Andrizzi has performed clinics and worked with music programs both in the US and in Europe, and has conducted the Illinois All-State Orchestra.

Jean Bishop 
Ms. Bishop has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University. Ms. Bishop has taught flute privately for over 25 years from beginner children and adults to college-level flute minors. She has studied with Ralph Johnson of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Jean Berkenstock from the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Mardele Combs Marcellus of the Montreal Symphony. She is principal flute with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and principal piccolo with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

Joanna Bryk-Roberts
Began playing violin at the age of seven. She studied at Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland, and received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from DePaul University, where she studied with violin professors Joseph Genualdi and Ilya Kaler. Joanna performed with chamber orchestras in Poland, Switzerland, Germany and even Spanish Court. She has played in the Chicago area with the Lira Ensemble, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Advent Chamber Orchestra, New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago and a variety of other chamber groups.

Jillian Forbes

MCYO Prelude Conductor, Violin

Jillian began her study of music at the age of 4 with Suzuki violin lessons through the Western Springs School of Talent Education. Since her early teens, Jillian has been in frequent demand as a collaborative musician. She has performed at several national and international venues, including performances in Symphony Center at Orchestra Hall and by invitation at the Suzuki Association of the Americas biennial conference in Minneapolis.  Jillian is a recipient of the National School Orchestra Award in addition to both academic and performance-based scholarships from Illinois State University where she graduated with a degree in Music Education. Jillian served as both secretary and vice president for the Illinois State University Chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and is currently an active member in this organization. She is also a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) and has completed Suzuki training for Every Child Can and Suzuki books 1 through 7 at Chicago Suzuki Institute. Jillian currently teaches over 200 4th and 5th grade orchestra students in Woodstock District 200 schools in addition to maintaining a studio of private string students.

Terry Foster


Terry Foster is the Orchestra Director at H.D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin, Ill., a position he has held since 2011.  He has also served as the Music Director and Symphony Conductor of the McHenry County Youth Orchestras as well as the Intermediate Conductor of the Hyde Park Youth Orchestra. Terry holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Northwestern University where his focus was string pedagogy. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Music Performance on Viola from Northwestern University where he primarily studied chamber and orchestral music. His Bachelor’s Degree is in Music Performance on Viola from Florida Southern College. Terry's primary Viola teachers were Roland Vamos and Laura Brenner and he studied orchestral conducting with Victor Yampolsky and string pedagogy with James Kjelland.

Eric Friel 
Cello & Double Bass
Mr. Friel has been playing the cello for thirteen years. He is a graduate of Illinois State University majoring in Music Education and Cello Performance. Mr. Friel has served as principal cellist with several orchestras, including Blue Lake International Youth Orchestra. He was the winner of Lakeview Orchestra’s first annual Young Artists Competition and was a finalist in ISU’s Concerto-Aria Competition. He is very passionate about teaching and has taught privately for seven years. His mission is to use his talents to be a positive force for the whole community and serve as a role model to young students.

Michelle Hackman
Ms. Hackman has been teaching voice and performing professionally in the Chicagoland area since 2001. Graduates of her studio have gone on to study, and to major in musical theatre, vocal performance, music education, music business, composition, and vocal jazz performance at many of the top-ranked colleges for those majors. Many of her students are also award-winning singers receiving acknowledgement from The Schmidt Competition, Classical Singer Vocal Competition, Woodstock Fine Arts Scholarship Winners, as well as many college talent scholarships. She has also had students audition for and participate in some of the most prestigious summer programs in the world including: The High School Music Theater and Classical Vocalist Programs at Interlochen, ISYM, Broadway Break-Thru, Oberlin Vocal Performance Program, and Tanglewood Young Artist's Program through Boston University.  Ms. Hackman is also an award-winning performer herself and enjoys performing opera, concert-work, and musical theatre. She currently studies with some of top-ranked master teachers and coaches in the field of opera and musical theatre.

Spencer Hile
Encore Wind Symphony Conductor
Spencer Hile currently is in his fourth year as the band director at McHenry High School in McHenry, Illinois. Mr. Hile teaches two jazz bands, two concert bands, percussion ensemble, and music theory. Mr. Hile’s interest in music began when he joined band in his freshman year playing euphonium at Highland Park High School. While at Highland Park, he had the privilege of touring to China, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovenia. He was also a member of a tuba euphonium quartet that performed at the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. 
In 2016, Mr. Hile graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Instrumental Music Education.  In addition to studying euphonium privately with Mark Moore, he studied conducting and band pedagogy with Dr. Linda Moorhouse and Dr. Stephen Peterson. His professional affiliations are with ILMEA and the National Band Association.

Keith Hulen
MCYO Intermezzo Conductor, Clarinet & Guitar
Keith Hulen taught instrumental music to students from fifth grade through twelfth grade in the McHenry County public schools for eight years before auditioning for the United States Air Force Band. As an Air Force musician he performed with the concert band, ceremonial band, clarinet quartet, woodwind quintet, and chamber winds. He performed for Presidents Clinton, G. W. Bush, G. H. Bush, and Carter. With the band he also recorded 5 compact discs; 3 of them as Principal Clarinetist. Following his Air Force career, he returned to teaching where he was the instrumental music and general music teacher for Shiloh Village Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance and Music Education as well as a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance and Music Composition from Western Illinois University. He is currently an instrumental music teacher for Crystal Lake School District 47, Crystal Lake, IL.

Anita Hwang 
Cello & Piano
Ms. Hwang has a Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance from the Tainan University of Technology in Taiwan, a Bachelor's Degree in Cello Performance, a Master's Degree in Cello Performance and a Master's Degree in Orchestra Study in Cello from Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL. Ms. Hwang has played in orchestras in Taiwan and the United States since 1984, including the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra. She was the principal cellist of the Kaohsiung City Symphony Orchestra. She was the cellist of Omaha Conservatory of Music Piano Trio and performed at Omaha Chamber Music Society and The Organ Vesper Series. Ms. Hwang maintains a private cello studio and was the cello instructor at Northwest Indiana Suzuki School, Valparaiso High School, and adjunct faculty at McHenry County College. She is a soloist and actively performs in recitals and chamber music. She also coaches chamber music and is an orchestra cello section coach for public schools and youth orchestras. Her principal teachers include John Sharp, Stephen Balderston, Richard Hirschl from CSO, Natalia Khoma, and Kim Scholes. Ms. Hwang has actively taught cello and piano since 1985 and is a registered and certified Suzuki teacher through book 10 and is an accomplished piano teacher and accompanist.

Kristen Inion
Early Childhood Music
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 taught Kindergarten and second grade before having her own children, Charlie and Liza. She and her husband Byron live in Crystal Lake.

Breda Barry King
Voice & Piano
Breda Barry King earned both a BA and BMu in Music from the National University of Ireland as well as a diploma in Sacred Liturgy from Pontifical University of Maynooth, Ireland. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Liturgy and Music from St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, IN. She has taught both private voice and piano for over 20 years and is a frequent soloist and musician for local churches the Rockford and Chicagoland areas. Ms. King has recorded and performed with G.I.A Publications, OCP Publications, Rory Cooney, Gary Daigle, St. Louis Jesuits, David Haas, Michael Joncas, Jeanne Cotter, Liam Lawton and Feargal King.

Carol Munn
Encore Youth Choir
Mrs. Munn, Co-Director of Di Canto Choir, received her bachelors degree in music education from North Park University and her masters degree in teaching from Aurora University and became a Nationally Board Certified Music Educator in 2009. Ms. Munn was recently appointed the position of ILMEA District 7 Junior Chorus Representative-Elect. She is the choir director at McHenry Middle School, where she built a strong choir program over the last 11 years. Ms. Munn was raised in a musical family and enjoys sharing her love of music with her students.

Emily Munn-Wood


Emily Munn-Wood is a cellist and teacher in Chicagoland area. She graduated summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and summa cum laude, with a master’s degree in cello performance from DePaul University. Her principal teachers are Astrid Schween and Stephen Balderston. Emily will begin her first season with the Peoria Symphony in the fall. Emily is a committed teacher of cello. She completed Suzuki Book 1 training with Dr. Carey Cheney in summer 2014 and took courses in studio teaching as a profession and in cello pedagogy during her time at DePaul. In addition to playing the cello, Emily is passionate about public service and volunteerism. She is a proud AmeriCorps alum and taught English as a New Language preschool during her service year. She has also mentored with the Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School eighth grade orchestra and served as an English as a Second Language tutor through the Jones Public Library in Amherst.

Bill Olsen 
Clarinet & Saxophone
Mr. Olsen has been active in the Chicago area as a private teacher and professional musician for over fifteen years. Mr. Olsen received his B.A. from the University of Missouri - St. Louis and his M.M. in performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. He is a member of the South Bend Symphony and Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Olsen has performed with the St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and Erich Leinsdorf, toured Switzerland with the Chicago Sinfonietta, and been featured as a soloist in concerts sponsored by the Chicago Park District. He has also performed with such artists as Jerry Lewis and Manhattan Transfer. Mr. Olsen studied clarinet with George Silfies and Tina Ward, bass clarinet with James Meyer and William Helmers, and saxophone with Fred Baranyai. He currently teaches clarinet, bass clarinet, contra clarinet, and saxophone at Willowbrook High School, Niles North High School, and Maine East High School.

Cynara Pierzina

Flute & Flute Ensemble
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. A recipient of first place awards in the Lakeview Musical Society Woodwind Competition and the Society of American Musicians Young Artist Composition, she has performed with Lake Forest Symphony, Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, University of Chicago Orchestra and Minstrel’s Chamber Ensemble. With over twenty years in arts administration, she has served as Assistant Director of DePaul University’s Community Music School, Director of Admission and Programs / Interim Executive Director at Sherwood Conservatory of Music and as Assistant Director of McHenry County Music Center.

Ashley Puenner

Mezzo-soprano Ashley Puenner holds degrees in Voice Performance from Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Kansas. Previously with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, she was a Studio Artist in residence with the Florentine Opera for 2016-2018, where she performed roles in main-stage operas, education opera outreach and concert work, and will be a 2018 Summer Resident Artist with Opera North. Ashley has performed for President Obama and as a back-up singer for Josh Groban, and made her New York City debut in 2016 in recital at the National Opera Center. As a recording artist, Ashley can be heard on the world premiere recording of the opera Sister Carrie. More information can be found at ashleypuenner.com.

Roger Reupert

Roger Reupert’s credits as a performer are diverse. Winner of the University of Chicago Concerto Competition in 1982, former Principal trumpet and soloist with the Northwest Indiana Symphony, and performer with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He played for the National tour of “Into the Woods” and the World tour of “West Side Story”. Most recently, Roger has played for the Broadway in Chicago version of “Aladdin”,“Wicked”, “Miss Saigon”, “Chorus Line” “Young Frankenstein” “Phantom of the Opera”, “Dreamgirls”, “Chicago” “9 to 5 the Musical”. Roger attended the American Conservatory of Music where he studied trumpet performance with William Scarlett, Associate Principal trumpet with the Chicago Symphony, Richard Henly, lead trumpet on Broadway, Louis Davidson Principal trumpet, Luther Didrickson, of Northwestern University. Roger is on the adjunct Faculty of the McHenry County College and has also been a consistent substitute conductor, brass coach, and trumpet instructor for the McHenry County Youth Orchestra where he has had a connection for the last 20 years. Roger’s passion is to mentor young musicians and as a teacher, has inspired dozens of students to excel as musicians whether their goal is for personal enrichment or a professional career. Roger is very excited to teach all ages of players and at all levels. Many of his students have achieved state recognition, ILMEA awards, with some going on to become well respected professional musicians.

Lon Schmidt
Mr. Schmidt has a Master of Music Degree from Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University. He spent 32 years at Cary Junior High where he was director of choirs and taught classroom guitar. Lon is an active member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Crystal Lake, where he directs the adult choir, accompanies the children’s choir and plays with the Praise Team. His post graduate studies at Vandercook College of Music include classes on Beginning Guitar, Guitar for the Non-Guitarist, Guitar Skills and Curriculum and Guitar Literature and Pedagogy.

Karen Snodgrass
Ms. Snodgrass, 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 conducted EYC's Bella Voce Choir from 2008-2014.

Casey Sukel
Flute & Flute Ensemble
Ms. Sukel is a graduate of Illinois State University and earned Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Flute Performance.  Ms. Sukel completed her student teaching at Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake and was a band director in Wauconda School District 118 at Matthews and Wauconda Middle Schools.  Currently, Ms. Sukel is the band director at Marlowe Middle School in Huntley. With a depth of teaching and training experience, Ms. Casey’s strength is getting to know her students and their learning styles to best suit their needs.

Steve Szalaj
Voices in Harmony Artistic Director & Joyful Noise Director
Mr. Szalaj, Conductor, served 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.

Sherry Taliaferro

Piano, Accompanist Encore Youth Choir
Ms. Taliaferro, Private Piano Instructor and Accompanist, 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 over thirty years teaching experience and has accompanied for numerous soloists, college choirs, churches, and music festivals in Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois. Currently she accompanies for schools in District 47 and District 155.

Desislava Tantcheva
Violin & Viola
Ms. Tantcheva holds both Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the State Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. Prior to moving to the U.S. in 1996, she was the principal violist for the Sophia Chamber Orchestra, playing more than 200 concerts on five European tours. She also played section viola in the National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria and the Academy Symphony Orchestra sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. “Desi” was a member of the highly regarded European Youth Symphony Orchestra which performed in 1995 in Luxembourg, the cultural capital of Europe for that year. Currently, Desi performs with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra and is the principal violist for the newly founded Lake County Symphony Orchestra. Teaching both traditional and Suzuki methods, Desi is also on the faculty of the People’s School of Music in Chicago and Lake County Music Center in Lindenhurst, IL where  she teaches both violin and viola. She is also a member of the Chicago based string quartet, Foglia.

Beverly Taylor
Group Piano Instructor
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. 

Ann Tucker

Encore Youth Choir
Mrs. Tucker, Founder and Artistic Director of Encore Music Academy, has taught in the area for over twenty 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 and oversees a staff of six and a program which includes an early childhood music class, four bell choirs for grades 4-adult and five choirs for grades K-adult. 

Tom Vos
Private Instruction: Violin, Piano, Composition + more

Tom Vos is a graduate of the music school at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and has worked as a freelance professional musician for more than 20 years. Tom began his musical journey at the age of three, studying the Suzuki violin method with Betty Haag-Kuhnke. Tom then studied violin with Dr. Eugene Gratovich and in 1984, he was introduced to the viola by his third violin teacher, Dr. Milton Goldberg. While a student at DePaul University, Tom studied violin with Mark Zinger and also successfully completed Suzuki violin teaching training for books 1-3 with Judy Yamada and Margery Aber at the Chicago Suzuki Institute. After receiving his Bachelor of Music with a double major of violin performance and jazz studies, Tom attended the University of Southern California from 1993 to 1994, enrolling in the prestigious "Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television" program. While participating in the program, he was awarded the Harry Warren Memorial Scholarship (first prize) for film music composition. Over the course of his professional career, Tom has recorded on every major scoring stage in Hollywood and has participated in both Grammy and Academy Award winning projects. He has extensive experience both performing and recording, including commercial music, film and television scores, live concerts, appearances in films and television shows, and several national and international tours. He is also a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers) and has received the ASCAP Popular Music Award (or “ASCAPlus”) numerous times since first receiving the award 1998. As a composer, several of Tom’s original pieces have been published by The Pilgrim Press (United Church of Christ).


Executive Director
Cynara Pierzina


Artistic Director
Ann Tucker


Financial Administrator
​& Office Manager

Jeanette Gehrmann

Program Coordinator
Maggie Tucker