Our Staff

Begin Your Journey as a Musician


Mark Payton is a seasoned percussionist and educator with a lifelong passion for drumming. After expressing a keen interest in rhythm as a young child, he started private instruction as a percussionist in junior high and continued throughout high school. Inspired by a cassette tape featuring the powerful sounds of Drum & Bugle Corps, Mark […]

Michael Ross brings a fun and nurturing environment to piano instruction. Having over 20 years of experience with all ages, he enjoys bringing the joy of music into students’ lives. “I want my students to learn how to play piano and be proud of their accomplishments.” Michael studied with Richard Wilson and Todd Crow at […]

Daniel Cruz is a recent graduate of Elmhurst University. He received a Bachelor’s in Music with a focus in Conducting. Daniel is a Classical Tenor. During his time at Elmhurst University, he was involved in many vocal ensembles where he served as President of Concert Choir, Assistant Director of Elmhurst Choral Union, and was Assistant […]

Mandy Duran is a recent Choral Music Education graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her studies, she was highly involved in the UI Women’s Glee Club and Girls Next Door a cappella group. Mandy’s love for singing was able to grow and flourish through her participation in musical theatre and choir throughout […]

Emily Liu grew up in a musical family. She was influenced by her father’s flute playing and her mother’s singing when she was a child. A pleasant music environment has cultivated her passion for music, and her enthusiastic and optimistic personality. Emily earned a master’s degree in music education from Illinois State University and a […]

Nick Ortiz

Saxophone & Clarinet

Nick Ortiz is a saxophonist, educator, and improvisor from the Chicagoland area. Nick holds degrees in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Saxophone Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he studied with Debra Richtmeyer and Dr. Nicki Roman. Nick has been a member of several groups such as Illinois […]

Cassandra is violist and violinist from Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the principal violist with the Fox Valley symphony orchestra. She completed her master’s degree in music at Butler University studying viola performance with Richard Auldon Clark, while performing her duties as the Graduate Assistant to the BSO and principal viola. She also composed a string […]

Josh Ruebeck

Voice & Guitar

Josh is a songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist with a love for music in many styles. They hold a BA in Music from Carleton College, where they studied vocal performance and composition. “They currently perform original folk music under the moniker Measuring Marigolds and indie rock with their band Better Odds. In the past, they’ve performed […]

Chris Gu has recently earned a Master of Music in Piano at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He is a current student of Gregory Sioles, a graduate of the Jacobs School and a student of the late György Sebők. In addition, Chris has also studied with Evelyne Brancart and Manami Kawamura. In 2016 Chris […]

Carl Hix

Guitar, Bass & Ukulele

Carl Hix has been teaching and training musicians since 1969. He attended Roosevelt University and Northern Illinois University as a double bass major, and was born into an incredibly musical family as 1 of 10 children. Carl’s father John Hix started his own music retail business in 1949 in which he sold instruments and taught […]