Our Staff

Steven Vonderohe

Steven Vonderohe

Percussion & Drums

Steven Vonderohe is a musician, educator, and composer in the southwest suburbs of Chicago who is devoted to sharing and advancing the art of percussion and music. Since receiving his Bachelor’s degree

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Julia Clearman

Julia Clearman

Piano

Julia Clearman began studying Suzuki piano at the age of five under the direction of Nancy Daley through the Suzuki program at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, MN. Upon graduation from

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Gretel Mink Hansen

Gretel Mink Hansen

Voice

Gretel Mink Hansen, a Miami native, holds both her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal performance from The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and her Master’s in Vocal Pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois

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Janet Kuester

Janet Kuester

Piano & Violin

Janet Kuester is the founder (2004) of The Music Connection. She is a private piano and violin teacher.  She believes all students have musical ability that can be nurtured and developed and

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Nick B.

Nick B.

Drum Set & Percussion

Nick is an active drummer, percussionist, and educator from Charleston, South Carolina. He was a teaching assistant at and received his Masters in Performance from the University of North Texas, and his

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Catalin Lari

Catalin Lari

Violin & Viola

Catalin Lari was born in Romania, and started to study music at the age of 6 playing accordion in his town of birth, Nasaud. When he was 10 years old, Catalin moved

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Carolina C.

Carolina C.

Violin & Viola

Carolina is a dedicated and versatile music teacher, with wide ranging experience and a passion for helping people grow and fill their potential. She received her Bachelor’s degree in her hometown in

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Melinda S.

Melinda S.

Piano

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Mindy S. has found her home in the Chicago area. Mindy has studied piano from age 5, and received her Bachelor’s in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State

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Carl Johnston

Carl Johnston

Violin & Viola

Carl Johnston is a veteran Chicago performer and educator. He has taught violin and viola privately for the past 45 years at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, DePaul University, American Conservatory

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Dustin V.

Dustin V.

Violin

Dustin V. attended Olivet Nazarene University in his hometown of Bourbonnais, Illinois and received his liberal arts degree in 2016. He began Suzuki violin at age 10, beginning in Bourbonnais and later

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Mathias J. A.

Mathias J. A.

Percussion

Mr. Mathais A., from the south suburbs of Chicago, is an established professional music producer, music director, and drummer. Bringing over 25 years of knowledgeable music experience and application, he’s been able

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Brenda Kenyon

Brenda Kenyon

Piano

Brenda Kenyon is a native Pennsylvanian from Waterford, near Erie.  She received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Pennsylvania at Mansfield and a Master’s in music education from Wright

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Elena K.

Elena K.

Voice

Elena K. studied vocal performance at the College and Conservatory in her native city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She completed her training in two prestigious artist development opera programs – the Houston Grand

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Christina E.

Christina E.

Piano & Voice

Mrs. Christina E. is a professional pianist/vocalist/accompanist with a wealth of experiences. She has an extensive background in piano pedagogy and has been teaching children and adults for over 30 years. She

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Sheila Ashworth

Sheila Ashworth

Piano & Ukulele

Sheila Ashworth graduated from Western Illinois University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music – with her principal instrument being voice – and has been a music therapist for the

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Steve L.

Steve L.

Guitar

Steve Lawler graduated from Valparaiso University. He has been playing guitar on and off for about forty years. Steve has been teaching guitar at The Music Connection since it was founded over

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Fred K.

Bass & Cello

A native of Kankakee, Illinois, Fred graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Music Education. He began bass studies with Nancy McCain of Chicago Heights, and continued later studies with Harold

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Farobag Homi C.

Farobag Homi C.

Piano

Music Director of the Chicago Philharmonia Orchestra since 1985, Farobag Homi C. has also served as the Artistic Director of the University of Chicago’s Performing Artists Series from 1990 through 2002 and

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Mirela L.

Mirela L.

Piano

Albanian-born and raised pianist Mirela L. has performed as recitalist, chamber musician, collaborative pianist, and taught piano professionally for over 20 years throughout Europe and the United States. Mrs. L. holds her

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Ana S.

Ana S.

Violin & Viola

Ana S. hails from Skopje, Macedonia, where she began playing the violin at the age of five. She attended Skopje’s performing arts high school, where she studied violin and viola with Prof.

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Heather Carlasare

Heather Carlasare

Violin & Viola

Heather J. Carlasare, a native of New York City, was born into a very musical family. Both of her parents are professional musicians and she was brought up in the classical tradition

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Elena Kolganova

Elena Kolganova

Voice

A current voice instructor at The Music Connection, Elena Kolganova got her start in her native city of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. There, she studied vocal performance at the Tashkent College of Music, and

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David Forsman

David Forsman

Cello

Born when Eisenhower was president, David Forsman has been a freelancer in the Chicago area for more than 35 years. His teachers include Karl Fruh of Roosevelt, Richard Kapuscinski of Oberlin, Leonard

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Kim L.

Kim L.

Visual Arts Teacher

Mrs. Kim joined the staff in 2018. She received associate degree in business and fine art from Morton College and continued her studios in fine art and marketing at Northern Illinois University

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