smiling woman sitting at piano with a guitar in her lap

Music Academy Biographies

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


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.
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.
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.
Ms. Griffin is a founding member of the Chicago Sinfonietta and in 1992 was appointed to the position of principal cello by Maestro Paul Freeman. She completed her Masters of Music in Cello Performance at Roosevelt University as a student of Karl Fruh. As principal of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Ms. Griffin has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, recorded for its Collective Creativity CD and is featured on the Emmy-Award winning soundtrack and DVD for DuSable to Obama: Chicago's Black Metropolis. Ms. Griffin has served as principal cello for the Joffrey Ballet Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and Ballet West.
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.
Mr. LeMahieu currently serves as Organist and Co-Music Director at St. John Lutheran Church in Wheaton, Illinois. Nathan holds the Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the Master of Sacred Music degree from Notre Dame. He is also a graduate of Northwestern University with degrees in both organ performance and political science. He has studied with American organists Craig Cramer, Margaret Kemper, and Douglas Cleveland and also with Michael Radulescu and Ullrich Böhme at the Hochschule für Musik und Theatre Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig, Germany.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Rozsa has performed as a substitute with the Des Moines Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Montreal Symphony, Thunder Bay (Ontario) Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Illinois Symphony, New Philharmonic Orchestra, Rockford Symphony, Elmhurst Symphony, Kenosha Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, and the Lira Ensemble. He has also been a member of the Ohio Light Opera orchestra and the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. As a composer, his works have been premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Albuquerque City Schools string program, among others. Dr. Rozsa also holds performance degrees from McGill University, DePaul University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music; he also holds a composition/theory degree from Baldwin-Wallace College-Conservatory of Music.
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. Dr. Sergey has years of professional music experience. As a performer, he has concertized nationally and worldwide, both as a classical and jazz guitarist, and his experience as a music educator includes teaching at McHenry College, Roosevelt University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as the College of DuPage. Dr. Sergey has also served as a clinician and music competition adjudicator, and as a composer his music is regularly performed at guitar and contemporary music conferences and festivals.Dr. Sergey holds music degrees from Northern Illinois University, the University of Miami, and Boston University, where he earned his doctorate. He is also trained in the Suzuki method of music teaching and curriculum. Dr. Sergey is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) by the Music Teachers National Association and a nationally recognized guitar teacher by the Guitar Foundation of America.
Julie Spring has performed internationally as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral harpist. As the newest member of the Chicago Harp Quartet, she is busy performing and teaching throughout Chicagoland. She is also Principal Harp of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and has held the same position with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as substitute principal with the Chicago Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Lyric Opera Orchestras. . Julie received her Bachelor of Music degree in both Harp Performance and Instrumental Music Education, in addition to a Performer's Certificate from Eastman School of Music. She received her Masters degree in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University. Her solo and chamber music appearances have taken her to stages throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to her performing schedule, she is a passionate teacher and maintains a studio of private students.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Information

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

Front Desk Hours
  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Office hours may vary due to holidays and staff coverage.