Music Academy Bios

The Music Academy at College of DuPage offers private, non-credit music instruction and vocal performance for community members. Instructors have the experience, the knowledge and the passion to take your skills to the next level. See below for biographies of our Music Academy faculty. To register for lessons, contact Continuing Education at (630) 942-2208 or

Mr. Richard Armandi, Tuba, Double Bass, Jazz Bass

As a jazz bassist, Richard Armandi has performed with such luminaries as Marion McPartland, Barry Harris, Bobby Shew, David Baker, Jamey Aebersold, Dick Hyman, Scott Hamilton, Carl Fontana and many others, and has performed with such stars as Rosemary Clooney, Bob Newhart, Martin Short, Phyllis Diller and Rich Little. As a tubist, he has performed with the Lyric Opera, American Ballet Theater, Grant Park Orchestra, Chicago Brass Quintet, and as a featured soloist with the New Philharmonic, Ethos Chamber Orchestra, Concordia University Wind Ensemble and at the 1992 International Tuba-Euphonium Conference.

Dr. Jennifer Barnickel-Fitch, Voice

Jennifer Barnickel-Fitch completed her doctorate degree in vocal performance at the University of Michigan. Since moving to Chicago, she has performed with Lyric Opera Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, da Corneto Opera and Fox Valley Orchestra, and has also been broadcast on WMFT radio. Dr. Barnickel-Fitch has been providing vocal instruction at the College of DuPage since 2002.

Mr. Alexander Djordjevic, Piano

Pianist Alexander Djordjevic has taught at the College of DuPage since 1995. Active nationally and internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, he received the 2010 Franz Liszt International Grand Prix du Disque by the Hungarian Liszt Society for his recording, Gray Clouds. Alexander earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance and literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and completed the performance diploma with distinction from the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, while studying with Vitaly Margulis as a Fulbright Scholar. Djordjevic is a co-founder of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the American Liszt Society and is also on the piano faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago. 

Ms. Daniela Folker, Violin, Viola

Daniela Folker is the principal second violinist for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she is violinist with the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, Ravinia Festival Orchestra and Chicago Opera Theater. Daniela has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as performed for numerous televised programs including Oprah, Late Night with David Letterman, Soundstage and with Celine Dion for an NBC Special. She has performed with such artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Seal, Natalie Cole and many others. 

Ms. Marsha Foxgrover, Organ

Marsha Foxgrover is a concert organist who has performed at numerous colleges, churches and American Guild of Organists chapters throughout the country, including the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. In addition to being a church musician throughout her career, she has taught at Azusa-Pacific University and Rockford College, and was artist-in-residence at Aurora University. 

Mr. David Govertsen, Voice

Chicago native David Govertsen has been active as a professional singer for fifteen years, portraying a wide variety of opera's low-voiced heroes, villains, and buffoons. He has performed as a soloist with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Santa Fe Opera, Tulsa Opera and Central City Opera.  As a concert soloist, Mr. Govertsen has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival among many others.  He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti.  He is an alumnus of both the Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera apprentice programs and holds degrees from Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and the College of DuPage.

Dr. Steven Havens, Piano

Dr. Steven Havens is currently a member of the piano faculty at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he was named one of the outstanding faculty members in 2005. He has served on the piano faculty of the University of Iowa All-State Music Camp and has been affiliated with Wheaton College Conservatory of Music as well as the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. 

Ms. Catherine J. Kuna, Cello

A versatile cellist, Catherine Kuna incorporates improvisation, composition and arranging in her teaching, along with traditional cello repertoire. Ms. Kuna is a dynamic teacher and performer who strives to instill in students a deep understanding and love of music.

Mrs. Carolyn May, Flute

Carolyn May has been the principal flutist in New Philharmonic, a professional orchestra that performs at the McAninch Art Center, since its inception in 1977. Also an accomplished pianist and accompanist, Carolyn is a band director in School District 102 (LaGrange). Mrs. May has taught flute at the College of DuPage since 1980 to students from age 7 to 70.

Ms. Marlene Meyer, Voice

Marlene Meyer earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is a past winner of the Rose Fae Thomas Competition, the American Opera Society of Chicago Competition, the Union League Emma Roe Competition, and both district and regional Metropolitan Opera auditions. She has been a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, and the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival. Marlene enjoys working with students of all ages and abilities believing there should be no barriers to studying voice.

Mr. Wesley Morgan, Jazz/Electric Bass

Wesley Morgan is a professional bassist and music educator in the Chicago area. Equally adept on both the string bass and the electric bass, Mr. Morgan is an in-demand performer in a variety of musical styles ranging from jazz and classical to pop, rock, and other modern genres. His educational background includes a B.M. in recording technology from the University of Memphis and a M.M. in jazz studies from Northern Illinois University. In addition to his work at the College of DuPage, he also instructs courses related to music technology and music appreciation at Lewis University. Mr. Morgan has taught and performed at various music camps around the country as well, including Encore/Coda, Birch Creek, and the summer jazz camp at Northern Illinois University. For more information and examples of recorded works, please visit

Ms. Emi Murata, Piano

Emi Murata, Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM), has over 30 years' experience teaching piano, theory, sight singing and ear training to all ages from beginner through college level, and has taught at College of DuPage since 1991. Ms. Murata is an experienced clinician, has published articles, and enjoys presenting master classes throughout Illinois. In addition to performing as a soloist, Emi co-organizes the Glorious Grands: A Piano Extravaganza!!!, an 8 Steinway grand piano concert held here at COD.

Ms. Elizabeth Murphy, Voice

Elizabeth Murphy holds a master's degree in music from Northwestern University. She joined the College of DuPage music faculty in 1995 and was recently named as an Outstanding Faculty Award winner. Her performance experience includes The Britten Pears Festival, Aldeburgh, England; Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York; and the Blossom Festival, Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to solo work with local orchestras and ensembles, Elizabeth's Chicago-area performing includes work with Chicago Opera Theater, DuPage Opera, Illinois Opera for the Young and Light Opera Works.

Mr. Timothy Omerod, Bassoon, Clarinet, Saxophone, Oboe

Timothy Omerod earned a Master of Music in bassoon performance from Northwestern University in 1979. He is a freelance woodwind musician, having performed in shows, jazz, top-40 bands, classical ensembles and various jobbing dates throughout Chicago and the Midwest. He has studied the bassoon, sax, flute, clarinet and oboe with professional players from the Chicago area. He enjoys teaching all age levels, regardless of abilities, and continues as a teacher, composer and performer throughout the Chicago area.

Mr. Stephen D. Ramsdell, Guitar

Stephen Ramsdell performs guitar professionally in a myriad of styles, from solo classical to original, jazz and pop music. He has taught a wide range of ages and levels at Wheaton College, Benedictine University, Merit Music Program, Northwestern University Summer Institute, and at the College of DuPage since 1994.

Dr. Karol Sue Reddington, Piano

Karol Sue Reddington has performed and held faculty and administrative positions in Hong Kong, Bermuda, the Midwest and area colleges and universities and also performed in Paris, Fontainebleau, Zurich, Moscow, Prague, Reykjavik and Tokyo. Dr. Reddington's 2002 Carnegie Hall debut (NYC), was shared with colleague, Mathias Boegner. As COD piano faculty member of seven years, Karol Sue was awarded the most recent Liberal Arts Faculty Lecture/Performance Grant, which was subsequently invited for presentation at the 2010 Bangkok Fine Arts International Conference, Srinakharinwirot University—the only American submission accepted. Always sincerely committed to the musical development of young pianists, Dr. Reddington loves teaching all levels of interested students, is the director of Chicago's west suburban Berkley-Pendell Piano Competition, and is an international examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music of Canada.

Mr. David Rice, Jazz Piano

David Rice has played professionally since age 16. He began studying piano at age 6. After playing in bands and singing in choir and music productions through school, he received a BA in music education from SIU Carbondale and a master's in Music Education at VanderCook College of Music. He has toured Europe, Asia, North America and South America with Otis Rush. He has warmed up for artists such as George Benson, Buddy Guy, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. He also has played with Donna Lori, the Cryan Shames, Gloria Newlun, Bobbi Wilsyn, Carlos Johnson, Pistol Pete, Dan Hayes Orchestra, Buddy Rich Band and many others. Dave has written a book Improvisation on the ii-V-I and Blues progressions. Dave teaches in the Valley View School District in Bolingbrook/ Romeoville and at College of DuPage and is a full-time musician.

Mr. Thomas Sergey, Guitar and other fretted stringed instruments

Dr. Sergey teaches students of all ages and skill levels, and in all guitar styles. He is as passionate teaching beginners as he is working with advanced musicians. Using traditional, Suzuki, and other teaching methods, Dr. Sergey adapts his teaching style to the individual goals, skill level, and temperament of each student. His passion for teaching is inspired by seeing his students succeed, whether it is an individual lesson or on the concert stage

Dr. Michael P. Stewart, Trumpet
Dr. Steward holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Dr. Stewart maintains a busy schedule as a private teacher, performer, recording artist, director, author, composer and arranger. He has taught trumpet in numerous Chicago-area high schools for over twenty years. Over 30 of his trumpet books are available in Kindle or iBook formats, and over 100 of his compositions or arrangements have been published in the United States and Europe. He has led or performed with the Chicago Grandstand Big Band, the Shout Section Big Band, the Gold Coast Orchestra, the Dana Legg Jazz Band, the Deep Blue Big Band, and the Chicago Brass Choir. He has released three recordings of trumpet solos. More information about Dr. Stewart is available online at

Ms. Cynthia Trowbridge, Piano

Cynthia Trowbridge enjoys teaching piano to students of all ages and abilities. She earned a Master of Music from Indiana University, where she was a student of Menahem Pressler, and a Bachelor of Music from DePauw University. Cynthia is a staff accompanist at College of DuPage, and performs as a collaborative pianist in recitals and competitions throughout the Chicago area.

Ms. Paulette Velazquez, French Horn

Paulette Velazquez holds a master's degree in horn performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a bachelor's degree in horn performance from the University of Illinois. Paulette is an active freelance musician playing regularly with Elgin Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffery Ballet, the New Philharmonic and at various theaters in Chicago. Paulette was principal horn of La Filarmonica de Jalisco for two years, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Paulette's principal teachers include A. David Krehbiel, former principal horn San Francisco Symphony, and Dan Gingrich, principal Chicago Symphony.

Mr. Ben Wahlund, Percussion

Ben Wahlund is a Grammy nominated, award-winning music educator, composer, and performer who lives in the Chicago area. Wahlund serves as the director of percussion at the College of DuPage and is a full-time instructor at the Northern Illinois University School of Music. He performs in ¡The Screaming Norwegians! Percussion Duo, the Naper Chamber Players, is a member of the Yamaha Performing Artist roster, the Zildjian Artist Program and endorses Innovative Percussion Sticks and Mallets. Mr. Wahlund's musical compositions have won numerous awards and are performed around the world.

Ms. Ann Field Williams, Voice

An accomplished performer and passionate advocate of art song, Ann Field Williams is active in recital, chamber and church music. She earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been a featured soloist with regional choruses and opera companies, as well as performances with Opera North, Dallas Lyric Opera, Blossom School of Music at Kent State and Applehill Center for Chamber Players. She integrates her vocal pedagogy knowledge and singing experience while encouraging and challenging her students, whether beginning vocal studies or building upon an established vocal foundation. Ann believes in rooting her students in a healthy, classical vocal technique that can be applied to almost every genre of music.

Ms. Dorothy Williames, Piano, Voice

Dottie Williames earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Florida State University with vocal performance and piano as minors. Ms. Williames has been an adjunct faculty member at COD since 2003, teaching Class Piano, Class Voice and Voice. Mrs. Williames has been active in chamber, church and professional choirs and has been a featured soloist with Robert Shaw Conductors Choir, DuPage Chorale, New Classic Singers and Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale. From 1992 to 2006, Ms. Williames worked with Young Naperville Singers and Anima (formerly known as Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus) in various teaching capacities. She has a passion for understanding the student's needs both vocally and in repertoire choices. Her years of performing have enabled her to aid her students in their confidence, self-esteem and professionalism.

Contact Continuing Education

To register or for detailed program information, call Continuing Education at (630) 942-2208 or email You may also register online. To view our complete program listing, see the Spring 2019 Continuing Education Schedule of Classes or the Fall 2018 Continuing Education Schedule of Classes.

Contact Information

Continuing Education
Student Resource Center (SRC), Room 1110, (630) 942-2208
Fax: (630) 942-3785

Office Hours
Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

  2018 College of DuPage