Millikin University - Decatur, IL

Where Are They Now?

Matthew West
B.M. Commercial Music 1999

Matthew catapulted onto the Christian music scene in 2003 with his debut single, "More,” which was the most played Christian AC song of 2004.  He is a multi-Dove Award nominee and has released two critically-acclaimed Universal South recordings including Happy in 2003 and History in 2005. Matthew has toured with such artists as tobyMac and BarlowGirl. In addition, West has penned songs for Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Natalie Grant and Mandisa, among others. His third studio recording, Something To Say, released in January 2008 made Matthew the best-selling Christian artist on iTunes the week of its release. More recent CDs Story of Your Life and Into the Light continue to receive critical acclaim.  His single, "Hello My Name Is," has been the #1 song in Christian radio for 9 weeks straight this summer.

Kitty Campbell
B.M. Commercial Music 1986

A native of Illinois, Kitty moved to West Lafayette, Indiana in 1987 to join Purdue Musical Organizations (PMO). In addition to acting as a musical director and arranger at PMO, she directed development, marketing, public relations and special events during her ten years with the organization. While pursuing graduate studies, Kitty earned a Master's Degree in Arts Administration from Indiana University in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University in 2006.  Kitty is currently the Executive Director of the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra (LSO). Celebrating it's 60th Anniversary Season in 2010, the LSO is a vibrant and creative community-centered professional regional orchestra serving North Central Indiana.  Remaining active in the Greater Lafayette community as a musician, arts administrator and educator, Kitty's most recent academic appointment was as a Visiting Professor at Purdue University where she has an ongoing relationship as a Visiting Scholar.

Andy Grobengieser
B.M. Commercial Music 1991

Andy received his Masters Degree in Music Theory from the University of Texas in 1993, and from there embarked on a musical career that took him to theatres all across the country as a musician on national tours such as Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, and The Lion King. Andy eventually landed on Broadway, where he currently works as a keyboardist and Assistant Conductor for Disney's The Little Mermaid and can be heard on the show's bestselling cast album along with Sierra Boggess, Millikin Alum 2004. Other major Broadway and tour credits include Music Director for Altar Boyz, Peter and the Starcatcher, Associate Conductor for Elton John's Lestat, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Andy is also active as a freelance arranger and orchestrator, and creates pop sheet music arrangements for the Hal Leonard Corporation. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of Music Theory at Pace University in Manhattan.

John Fremgen
B.M. Commercial Music, 1991

After graduating from Millikin, John moved to Los Angeles to pursue a MM at USC. After finishing his degree, he moved to Austin, TX, where he is currently Associate Professor of jazz studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has recorded three albums for the Viewpoint label--"Meanwhile", "Pieces of String" and "If Not Now" featuring Peter Erskine, Shelly Berg and Mitch Watkins among others. He has been the primary bassist for CBS recording artist PJ Olsson for over 15 years, and has appeared on four of his records, as well as music spots on TV shows such as "CSI", "The Ghost Whisperer", "NCIS", "Alien in America" , "Dawson's Creek"and "Late Night with David Letterman". John also plays bass regularly for legendary jazz drummer Butch Miles and internationally renown pianist Shelly Berg, among many other Texas jazz artists. Music has taken him across the USA, as well as to Germany, Switzerland, The Hague and St Petersberg, Russia. His big band arrangements are published through Walrus Music Publications and he endorses MTD basses and Acoustic Image amplifiers. 

Kerry Muzzey
B.M. Music Performance: Piano Emphasis; Dance Minor 1992

After graduating, Kerry moved to New York City to apprentice with the music director of ABC soap operas. He then spent eleven years working for MTV, while simultaneously scoring independent films and cable documentaries. In 2006, Kerry became a full-time composer; his music can be heard on many tv shows including, Oprah, The Martha Stewart Show, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, and Kathy Griffin’s Life on the D List. Kerry’s music can be heard in the films Amexicano, Hole in the Paper Sky, and The Unforeseen, a documentary produced by Robert Redford and Terrence Malick and premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival winning an Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. Kerry is currently developing a TV show and a movie with Jessica Biel’s production company, Iron Ocean Films, and scoring several series pilots for The History Channel, and the Discovery Channel’s Apocalypse How? He recently had a new album released on iTunes.

Lorraine Yaros Sullivan
B.M. Music Performance: Voice Emphasis 1996

After Lorraine graduated from Millikin, she went on to earn a double MM in voice performance and choral conducting from the University of Northern Colorado and a DMA in voice performance from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Freda Herseth and frequently coached with Martin Katz.  She now enjoys a career as an active performer and teacher.  She currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.  Previously, she taught at Bowling Green State University, where the Undergraduate Student Government elected her the College of Musical Arts faculty member of the year.  Also an active performer in opera, oratorio, chamber music, and art song, Lorraine’s selected performance credits include: Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte; mezzo/alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Falla’s El amor brujo, and Libby Larsen’s Eleanor Roosevelt; multiple performances of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and Das Buch der hängenden Gärten; and a performance of Dan Welcher’s Abeja blanca at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre.


Jennifer Malenke
B.M. Music Performance: Vocal Emphasis 1998

Jennifer was recently a Faculty Member (series regular) on ABC’s “High School Musical: Get in the Picture.”  She has been seen in the Tony-winning revival of Into the Woods on Broadway and most recently originated the role of Barbara in the world premiere of Twice Upon a Time at the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities in Redondo Beach, FL. She also originated the role of the Bride in Hotel C’est L’amour at Noah Wyle’s Blank Theatre Company in Los Angeles, CA. Jen has been seen in many regional productions including The Pirates of Penzance and Sondheim’s Saturday Night at Musical Theatre West Long Beach in Los Angeles, Into the Woods at Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, Cats and Kiss Me, Kate at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY, big, the musical and Carousel at Drury Lane Oakbrook in Chicago, IL, among others. Jennifer has also performed at World AIDS Day concerts in NYC and sings at the Upright Cabaret in Los Angeles. In addition to her performance credits, Jennifer has also taught voice and piano at the Studio New Canaan in Connecticut, at the M:Gray Music Academy in Hollywood, and at the Burbank Music Academy in California.

Stacy Williams-Jackson
B.M. Music Education: Instrumental Emphasis 1998

Stacy is now in her seventh year as Music Department Chair at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, IL. A suburban school of over three thousand students from five communities, she oversees four bands, four choirs, an orchestra (which she directs), two percussion ensembles, a guitar studio class (created and directed by her husband, 1997 Millikin Alum Nate Jackson), and fourteen other piano, music technology, guitar and music seminar classes.  Stacy’s program teams with extracurricular opportunities that include Lincoln-Way Central Marching Knights, the Lincoln-Way Madrigals, winter drum line and color guard, and an active jazz program, which she directs. Stacy taught and coordinated Lincoln-Way Youth Strings and was the District I jazz representative for the Illinois Music Educators Association until 2006. Feeling adamantly that musical opportunities should be offered to everyone, Stacy developed Individualized Music in 2001 for students with developmental disabilities. When not at Lincoln-Way, Stacy enjoys life with her husband Nate and their sons Perry (named after MU music professor Perry Rask) and Béla—and can sometimes still be seen sitting in with the Decatur Big Band from time to time. Jackson loves being an advocate for her department and an inspiring force for her students. One of the biggest compliments she receives comes from students who decide to become music educators and attend Millikin for their degree.  “So much of education is simply giving back to the world all that you received from those who inspired you.  It will be my life’s work to give back all I received at Millikin, and I know I will enjoy the journey that goal will insure.”

Patrick Dill
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis 1998

Patrick began his teaching career as the Assistant Choir Director at Alief Hastings High School in Houston, Texas. Two years later, he joined the fine arts faculty at Anderson High School in Austin, TX as Director of Choirs and Coordinator of AP Music Theory & International Baccalaureate Music. During his tenure at Anderson, choirs under his direction performed at the 2004 & 2008 Southwest Divisional Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the 2007 Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Southwest Symposium. As a clinician, Patrick has conducted several honor choirs and presented interest sessions at both the Texas Music Educators Association and Southwest MENC Conventions. Additionally, he maintains an active schedule as a church musician, adjudicator, and novice carilloneur. In 2005, Patrick was awarded the Silver Apple Award for excellence in teaching by the CBS affiliate in Austin, KEYE News.

Jaime (Farrey) Hall
B.M. Music Education: Instrumental Emphasis 1998

Hall completed her Masters Degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, IL in May of 2000.  While completing her studies there, she performed in a graduate woodwind quintet and the University Orchestra and served as a Graduate Assistant for the Woodwind Division. She has performed as a guest artist with the Nequa Valley, IL High School Bands, the Rockford Concert Band and the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. She has participated in the Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, KS and the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, ME. From 2000-2004 Jaime ran a private studio of over 30 young aspiring clarinetists in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and performed with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Jaime currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI with her husband and two children and works as a full-time mother. Jaime also teaches 15 private clarinet and piano students, as well as performs as a sub musician in a local orchestra.

Angela Duncan
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis 1998

Following her graduation from Millikin, Angela Duncan worked for six years at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Interlochen Arts camp in residence life administration and as a tutor for the political science department. She moved from Northern Michigan in 2002 to Washington DC to do her Master’s Degree studies in Education Policy at the American University while continuing her boarding school work at the experimental SEED Public Charter School of Washington DC. While there she taught Jazz History, English and Geography and served as the Assistant Director of Campus Operations. In 2005, Duncan won the highly selective University Fellowship to do her PhD studies at Penn State University under the late William Lowe Boyd. While at Penn State, Angela ran two major policy conferences for the university, served as managing editor of the Values and Ethics in Educational Administration journal and as the book reviewer editor of the highly respected American Journal of Education. Upon completion of her PhD, Duncan took a job with Penn State University where she serves as the Program Coordinator for Penn State’s newest College of Education degree, Education and Public Policy. She is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Education Policy Studies. She is also a research associate for the Willower Center for the Study of Leadership and Ethics, for whom she just completed coordinating its 14th Annual Values in Leadership Conference. Her areas of teaching and research are education law, ethics and decision-making, and the intersection of public and private school governance. She continues to live in State College, Pennsylvania and can be found most weekends backing the Nittany Lions. 

Aaron Humble
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis, Theatre Minor 2000

Aaron completed a Doctorate of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from Indiana University shortly after leaving Millikin. He currently sings with Cantus, a nine-member professional, male, vocal ensemble based in Minneapolis, MN.  During his tenure with Cantus, Aaron has enjoyed solo appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Performing with Cantus has taken Aaron from the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center to Cameroon in West Africa.  In addition to singing, Aaron is also the Artistic Co-Director of Cantus. Recitals, Concerts and Oratorio have taken Aaron to a variety of venues in the United States, and across the globe.  Oratorio credits include: Seven Last Words of Christ (Dubois and MacMillan), Schumann's Die Rose Pilgerfahrt, Bender's St. Mark's Passion, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah, as well as numerous Bach Cantatas. Operatic credits include Tamino in Die Zauberflote, Jenik in Bartered Bride, Pedrillo in Die Einfuhrung Aus Dem Serail, and Harlequin in Der Kaiser von Atlantis.

John Stafford II
B.M. Music Business, Business Administration Minor 2000

John went on to receive a Masters in Music from Bowling Green State University before returning to Millikin as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music. He teaches music theory, composition, and directs vocal jazz ensembles. His choral and chamber music has been performed throughout North America and Europe. The University of Oregon’s Waging Peace Through Singing, an international competition for choral music on the theme of peace, has recognized his work. He has also received recognition from other organizations such as American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Society of Composers Inc. (both national and regional conferences), the National Federation of Music Clubs, and Primavera En La Habana 2004 (Spring in Havana) International Electroacoustic Music Festival in Havana, Cuba. He was recently selected as a finalist for the IV Edition Pierre Schaeffer International Competition of Computer Music in Italy. In addition, members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York New Music Ensemble, the Hradec Kralove Men's Chorus, the Gregg Smith Singers, Chicago A cappella, the New York Treble Singers, and the Anti-Social New Music Ensemble have performed his music. John is currently teaching at Kansas City Community College.

John Schleppenbach
B.M. Music Business, Business Administration Minor 2000

John "Jay" Schleppenbach is an attorney at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago, IL. His practice focuses on the litigation of complex civil matters, including class action securities litigation and international arbitrations. He recently published an article on the enforcement of international arbitral awards in Dispute Resolution Journal. He also has a thriving pro bono practice which has included two criminal appeals to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and a successful asylum application for a Cameroonian man who had been jailed and beaten for his political views. Prior to Jenner & Block, John served as a staff law clerk for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. John is also a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program in both comedy writing and improvisation and frequently performs shows at various venues in Chicago with his group, The Success Method.

Peter J. Engle
B.M. Music Business 2000

After graduating from Millikin, Pete moved to Los Angeles, CA to begin working with the respected talent agency, Kazarian Spencer & Associates before moving to his current position as Director of Dance and West Coast Theatre for Clear Talent Group (CTG). CTG is a full service talent agency with offices in Los Angeles and New York. The agency has emerged as the go-to agency for professional dancers and singers. From The Academy Awards and the casts of Wicked and A Chorus Line, or on stage with artists like Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and Beyoncé, Pete’s clients can be seen in every facet of the entertainment industry. He is continually grateful that he gets to work with some of the most talented dancers and singers in the world every day.

Darice Bailey
B.M. Commercial Music; B.S. Accounting 2001

Following graduation, Darice worked as a cost accountant for Caterpillar, Inc. in Decatur, IL before moving to Santa Monica, CA where she became senior accountant for a nonprofit affordable housing firm called the Community Corporation of Santa Monica. After joining the Pasadena Symphony in 2005, she quickly was named General Manager/CFO of The Orchestras of Pasadena, a unification of the Pasadena Symphony and Pasadena POPS. Darice currently performs, tours and records regularly as a keyboard player and backing vocalist with Los Angeles-based bands including The Broken West, Silverface Champs, the U.S. Mail Band, Jason Rossi, the Eugene Edwards Band and Actionslacks.

Linda Ellerman
B.M. Music Education- Instrumental 2001

Shortly after graduation, Linda went to graduate school at Illinois State University to study college student personnel administration. After graduating with her masters in 2004, Linda worked for four years at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois. As coordinator for the Project RISE/TRiO program, she worked for a federally funded program through the Student Support Services/TRiO grant helping students who are first generation, limited income, and/or disabled, graduate from Heartland Community College and transfer to four-year universities to get bachelor degrees. Currently, Linda is at Illinois State University as an academic advisor in the College of Business.

Karrie Hardwick
B.M. Commercial Music 2002

In 2003, Karrie moved to Nashville where she began an internship at WAYfm radio station where she worked on production for the morning show. Her relationships at WAYfm helped her receive the job of radio promotions at Provident Music Group, a division of SonyBMG. With-in three years she became Associate Director of promotions before taking a position with Word Entertainment. She is currently the Creative Director of Publishing at Word Music Publishing, a division of Warner Music Group. Writers include Millikin alum Matthew West (B.M. Commercial Music 1999), Bernie Herms, Michael Weaver, and Michael W. Smith along with many others.

Andrew Ryker
B.A. Music 2003

Stage director Andrew Ryker is the Artistic Director of Boston Opera Collaborative and teaching fellow at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA.  He has served on the directing staff at Opera North and New Jersey Opera Theater and has directed productions for New England Conservatory, Boston Opera Collaborative, and the Intermezzo Chamber Opera Series. Andrew previously served on the faculty at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA as well as Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL. A versatile vocalist, Andrew has been heard with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, College Light Opera Company, Overture Productions, New England Conservatory Opera Theatre, Trinity Church, and La Musica Lirica of Italy in addition to recital appearances in the United States and Europe.  He received his master's degree from New England Conservatory and was the recipient of the Goldovsky Directing Internship at the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.

Amy Middleton Miles
B.M. Music Business 2003

Amy is currently the Manager of Licensing and Royalty Administration for Naxos of America and Ariadne Music Resources. Amy went on to Graduate School at the University of Miami in Miami, FL. While there, Amy interned with BMG Music Publishing, US Latin division for a year. After completing her Master's in 2004, Amy moved to Nashville, TN.  She was hired at Naxos of America as their Music Licensing Administrator. During her first year with Naxos, she developed an administration company that is now its own division within the company, with Amy at the helm. Amy was also sent to the Naxos Manila office where she worked with the International CEO to develop international royalty accounting procedures for the Naxos digital service provider, Classics Online. Ariadne Music Resources currently administers royalties and licensing for many acclaimed international label such as Delos, BIS-Records, PentaTone, and Naxos.

Joel Styzens
B.M. Music Business 2003

Joel became an in demand freelance drummer in Chicago's jazz and rock scenes shortly following graduation.  He was soon recognized as a highly sought-after percussion instructor, and became a faculty member of the Old Town School of Folk Music, one of Chicago's most respected and diverse music schools. However, Joel's life drastically changed when he was diagnosed with tinnitus and hyperacusis, conditions which prevented him from performing in high-volume situations. Determined to keep music as the central focus of his life, Joel began composing for the guitar, both as a singer-songwriter and for film and television. Currently working on his forthcoming album, Joel continues to perform in a vast array of projects throughout Chicago and the U.S., collaborating with musicians ranging from Grammy nominated saxophonist, Frank Catalano to Katinka Kleijn from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—all the while raising awareness about hearing loss prevention. Joel's music can be heard at Relax Your Ears dot com, Joel Styzens dot com and on the Check, Please! segment of the Chicago NBC-5 News.

Ken Potts
B.M. Music Performance- Instrumental 2003

Ken Potts currently serves on the faculty of College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL and Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL where he teaches courses in the Humanities and Music departments. Ken is currently engaged in projects to develop materials for online and alternative delivery of music and humanities courses. Ken’s education also includes a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Concordia University Chicago and post-graduate work at the Pierre Monteux School for Orchestra Conductors in Hancock, ME.  Ken's current research interests include instructional technology and humanities pedagogy.

Eric Kohn
B.M. Music Business 2004

Eric is currently a public relations/media consultant with Urquhart Media, LLC, a Chicago-based public affairs firm that specializes in crisis communications, issue advocacy and e-communications. At present, Eric manages a roster of over a half-dozen public and private sector clients. Since graduating in 2004, he has served over fifteen political campaigns and organizations in various capacities. Some of Eric’s political and issues-based commentaries were featured in the 2004 anthology What We Think: Young Voters Speak Out, a national publication from Book Publishers Network.  In 2006, he served as campaign manager for the Cook County Commissioner. Currently, Eric covers politics and the 2008 elections for WLS 890-AM, Chicago’s Talk Station. A fervent music fan, Eric still plays percussion and piano for his personal enjoyment.

T.J. Johnson
B.M. Music Business 2004

T.J. began his professional career working at the Ravinia Music Festival in Highland Park, IL as a Production Assistant for the Steans Institute for Young Artists and the Main-stage Production Office.  T.J. had the fortune of securing a second job with Midwest Young Artists (MYA), a leading youth music program. when Ravinia's season completed at the end of the summer of 2004. T.J. was excited to pursue a career in arts administration and this was the perfect opportunity to explore all aspects of the business.  While at MYA, T.J. was exposed to the world of philanthropy and took on a large array of responsibilities including proposal writing for corporate, foundation, and government grants, the pursuit of concert sponsorships, and the implementation of MYA's Annual and Endowment Campaigns. Additionally, T.J. coordinated the design and advertisements for the annual concert program and participated in ensemble coaching and music theory instruction. The most remarkable opportunities for T.J. came through participation in international concert tours where he accompanied student musicians on tours to Spain and Portugal in 2005 and China and South Korea in 2007. In the fall of 2007, T.J. was hired by Children's Memorial Foundation in Chicago, IL as a Development Officer for Corporate and Foundation Gifts. At Children's Memorial he manages charitable contributions to the hospital through a large portfolio of private foundations.  T.J. was a violinist in the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and still plays today in the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra and for weddings and other church services in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

Andy Bayles
B.M. Music Performance: Vocal Emphasis 2004

Andy completed a Masters in Vocal Performance from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA post graduation. While at Georgia State he worked as an accompanist for the men's glee club, student lessons, choral concerts and festivals and accompanied various undergraduate and graduate voice and instrumental recitals. Professionally, Andy has played recitals for internationally renowned Russian baritone Anton Belov and the Pro-Mozart Society of Atlanta. He has also worked as a faculty accompanist and singer with the La Musica Lirica program in Novafeltria, Italy, accompanied for the Georgia National Association of Teachers of Singing competition and musically directed and accompanied a production of Godspell. Andy has worked on staff with Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA as vocalist and accompanist for the last three years and had the opportunity to perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He recently accepted the position of Minister of Music at Norcross First United Methodist Church in Norcross, GA where he directs the chancel and youth choirs and oversees music for Sunday services as well as guest performances by orchestras and soloists.

John Cardoni
B.M. Commercial Music 2004

Following graduation, John moved to Springfield, IL to teach private guitar lessons. He is also a part-time faculty member in the guitar department at Millikin University. In addition to teaching, John tours with The Micah Walk Band.  The group has recorded two full-length albums: Bright Side Fantasy in 2008 and Change in 2006. While in college, John was privileged to travel to the Dominican Republic with the Jazz Band and One Voice and sit first chair in the primary Guitar Ensemble. John also composed, arranged, and managed booking for an independent 9-piece fusion group called Public Display of Funk until they disbanded in 2005. John currently resides in Nashville where he is completing his MM degree and playing professionally.

Garrett Taylor
B.M. Music Performance: Vocal Emphasis 2005

Since graduating in 2005, Garrett has had the honor of appearing as guest soloist at the National D.A.R. Convention in Washington, D.C., with the New York City Master’s Chorale, in recital work, and in numerous Cabaret performances at Don’t Tell Mama in New York City. In 2006 he accepted a job as musical director, pianist, and vocal coach at the New York City campus of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. When not at AMDA, he can be found working as an arranger and pianist at NYU for the Cap 21 program or in the summers at the Professional Musical Theatre Workshop at Manhattan School of Music as a pianist. In the past few years Garrett has worked on the Broadway National Tours of Sweet Charity and Little Women.  He spent the past fall with Norwegian Cruise Lines as a pianist, musical director, and performer. Garrett was recently accepted into the voice studio of Tony Award Winner Victoria Clark (Light in the Piazza) and landed a job as a substitute pianist on the Broadway show Wicked. Garrett is a proud member of AFM Local 802.

Chris Nolte
B.M. Commercial Music 2005

Since leaving Millikin, Chris has been busy as a freelance bassist and educator in the Central Illinois area. He recently finished his Master's degree in Jazz at the University of Illinois in Champaign and is currently working on his Doctorate at the same University. While studying at Illinois, Chris has become a staple of the Champaign-Urbana music scene. He also regularly performs throughout Illinois and the Midwest, including Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville and Cincinnati, as well as New York and Toronto. This past summer, Chris and his wife Catherine (BS '06) performed in Bali, Indonesia. Chris performs regularly with the esteemed faculty members at the University of Illinois and has had the privilege to work with Willie Akins, the Woody Herman Band, Slide Hampton, Stefon Harris, David "Fathead" Newman, Chuchito Valdez, Joel Spencer, Ron Perrillo, Eijiro Nakagawa, Marvin Hamlish, Monica Mancini, and The Maynard Furguson Birdland Dream Band and Big Bop Noveau Band. 

Nate Towne
B.M. Music Business, Management Minor 2006

Nate is an Agent Trainee at The William Morris Agency (WMA) in Nashville, TN.  WMA is one of the largest talent and literary agencies in the world dealing with all aspects of the entertainment industry including music, film, television, theatre, literature, and consulting. Nate currently assists a Senior Agent in booking concerts for clients in venues across the Northeast United States. He routes client's tours, negotiates contracts, secures appropriate concert venues, and acts as liaison to Artist Managers. Nate has worked with such clients as Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, and Taylor Swift, among others. He currently works directly with a number of clients including Sara Evans, Josh Turner, and Trisha Yearwood.

Jessica Rzeszutko
B.M. Music Education: Vocal Emphasis 2006

Following graduation, Jessica assumed a long-term substitute position for the spring of 2006 at Waukegan High School in Illinois. In the fall of 2006, she began teaching full time at Friendship Jr. High School in Des Plaines, IL.  At Friendship Jr. High School she teaches general music and drama in addition to directing the school’s three curricular choirs, and their new extra-curricular ensemble, The Firebird Singers, which has received First Place or Division I ratings at all of their competitions. Jessica is also responsible for the schools two musicals. She is currently attending VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL for a Masters of Music in Education. In addition to her work at Friendship Jr. High School, Jessica remains active with the direction of her church’s children’s choir, musicals with the Children’s Theatre of Elgin, teaching private voice and piano lessons, as well as regular competition in running races and triathlons.

Han-Yuan Wang
B.M. Music Performance: Instrumental and Piano Emphasis 2007

Since her piano debut with the Alton Symphony Orchestra, Han-Yuan has performed with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Sangamon Valley Youth Orchestra, String Arts Ensemble, and Alton Symphony Orchestra. Han-Yuan has also attended many music festivals including her most recent trip to the European American Music Alliance program in Paris, France at the Ecole Normale de Musique, where she studied with Dr. Philip Lasser (Juilliard School) and Dr. Benjamin Boyle. Han-Yuan worked as Starter Strings instructor at Glenwood Intermediate School in Chatham, IL and Adjunct Instructor in the Millikin University Preparatory Department shortly following graduation. She was also an active accompanist at Millikin University, accompanying Class Voice, juries, lessons, opera workshop, and opera rehearsals. Active in music education, Han-Yuan is a frequent adjudicator for IMEA district auditions and IHSA solo and ensemble and is a member of Music Teacher National Association and American String Teacher's Association. In addition, she is a full time member of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Eastern Illinois University Orchestra and has been a substitute for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Danville Symphony Orchestra. Han-Yuan has recently accepted a full time teaching position in Utah at Wasatch Academy, an international boarding school. Before heading to Utah, Han-Yuan will be attending the International Chamber Music Festival in Bulgaria as an accompanist and second violinist in the Shostakovich quintet.

Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL