MEGAN GONZALEZ (Piano/Horn) is the owner of Minooka Music Studio, where she teaches French Horn and Piano lessons. Megan attended DePaul University, Northern Illinois University and Columbia College Chicago where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree with emphasis on Entrepreneurship. Megan attended high school at Joliet Central where she performed in their award-winning Symphonic Band. While in high school Megan also performed in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Youth Concert Orchestra and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Megan in a member of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra (JSO), where she has been principal horn for over 10 years. She is a member of the JSO Brass Quartet and the JSO Woodwind Quintet. She was also Secretary of the Joliet Township High School Band Alumni Association from 2007-2015.
Megan has been teaching music for over 18 years and it was always her dream to open a music lessons studio. She and her family moved to Minooka in 2011 and opened Minooka Music Studio in 2015. Megan really enjoys living and working in such a supportive and musical community with her 3 boys.
NICHOLAS (Trumpet) is currently an Adjunct Professor of Trumpet at The University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. He has received degrees, focused on Trumpet Performance, from The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (M.M. ’11), DePaul University (B.M. ’09), and Joliet Junior College (A.A. ’06).
Nicholas is currently the Principal Trumpet of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra. Michielsen is a member of the JSO Brass Quartet and has performed with groups such as The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Millar Brass Ensemble.
XAY (Clarinet/Sax/Flute) is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, class of 2014. During her undergraduate years she studied with Dr. Gregory Barrett, and also participated in master classes with Burt Hara (Associate Principal Clarinet of The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra) & Steven Cohen (Associate Clarinet Professor at Northwestern Illinois University). During the academic year 2013-2014, Xay earned the title of Principal Clarinet of both, the Northern Illinois University Wind Ensemble (the highest wind group within the school) & the Northern Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon graduation she received a Bachelors Degree in Clarinet Performance. Currently, Xay is a member of Chicago's Classical Symphony Orchestra, which is directed by Maestro Joseph Glymph.
MICHELLE (Flute) has played flute for over 35 years. In high school, Michelle performed Mozart's Flute Concerto in G Major at Chicago Symphony center as a soloist with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. She studied flute performance at De Paul University with Victoria Jicha and Mary Stolper, and performed in masterclasses for Donald Peck, former principal flute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Michelle is Principal Flute of the Joliet Symphony Orchestra, a member of the JSO Woodwind Quintet, a JSO Advisory Committee member, and manages their social media publicity. She plays with a professional marching band, La Banda Siciliana di Chicago, and has performed with various community organizations. She has recorded for Phantom Soundtracks. She is a member of the National Flute Association and Chicago Flute Club.
ESTHER (Piano) has played piano for 30 years – starting as a three-year-old at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa, learning the Suzuki method-based piano playing technique. Music is a huge part of Esther’s life and she enjoys playing with and teaching her husband and two young sons piano. She has been playing piano and organ with her four string playing siblings (violin, guitar, and mandolin) for the majority of her life and always looks forward to the annual Christmas concert that her family puts on each holiday season for relatives and friends. Esther has degrees in Biomedical Engineering and studied at The University of Iowa and The University of California, Davis. She hope to share her love of piano playing with your children and give them a life-long passion and enjoyment for music.
SHARYSSA (Voice/Theater) grew up singing and with a love for theater. She has studied vocal performance under Dr. Desiree Hassler, Soprano at Chicago's Lyric Opera House in addition to her acting studies with European actress Vanda Varnai. Sharyssa has performed in numerous musical theater productions. She has also taught 7 musical theater camps for Spotlight Youth Theater. Sharyssa gives vocal lessons in addition to audition preparation lessons. She is passionate about sharing with others what she loves and is excited to add more students at Minooka Music Studio.
KALEIGH (Piano/Voice/Theater) holds a degree in piano performance from the University of St.
Francis. She is also an alumi of the Chicago Academy for the Arts and
has has studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Kaleigh has performed at music festivals nationally as well as at various venues throughout the Chicago
BRIAN (Trombone/Euphonium/Tuba) is a freelance musician and music teacher in Chicago. Mr. Johnston holds a Bachelors degree in Trombone performance from the Hartt School, and a Masters degree from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. As a performer, Brian has performed with The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Rockford Symphony, and Northbrook Symphony. He currently is the Principal trombonist of the Fox Valley Orchestra, Principal trombonist of the Logos Symphony, and associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. His teaching duties include teaching low brass at the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, coachings at ChiArts, private lessons, at the Logos School of Music, and the band director of the elementary, and Jr. high bands and the Logos school. Mr. Johnston studied privately with John Faieta, Reed Capshaw, John Rojak, & Jay Friedman. Brian is happy to be on board the team here at Minooka Music Studio!
TERRY (Percussion/Piano) has a masters, bachelors and associates degree in percussion performance with a minor in music education from Western Illinois Univeristy, Illinois State University and Joliet Jr. College. Most of his teaching over the last 22 years was at Lewis University where he taught percussion and music history. He has also taught classes at other local colleges as well as Minooka High School where he was the marching percussion director from 2001-2010. Mr. Peeps was the winner of The Chicagoland's Best Drummer contest sponsored by 103.5 (The Blaze) in 1991 and also the Drumset 2001 individual Champion at the Senior Drum Corps Finals in Syracuse, NY. He moved to Arizona last year where he was a freelance musician in the Phoenix area. He now lives back in Channahon with his wife Holly and dog Zildjian and is currently a freelance musician in the Chicagoland area where he plays a variety of styles including his professional percussion group www.callaloochicago.com
Noah began playing percussion instruments at age 10 and continued throughout high school with Concert Band, Marching Band, and Indoor Drumline performing for 8 seasons. He attended Joliet Junior College and studied with Adam Cowger and David Nuccio, and received an Associate's of Arts in Music, and will be pursuing his BA in Music at Northern Illinois University.Noah held the drumline instructor position for Thornton Fractional South High School during the 2017 season, and had taught previously for Minooka Community High School under Jacob Coon. He currently plays with his jazz trio as bassist, and on percussion for the Joliet Community Band and Percussion Ensembles. Noah’s primary instruments are drums and other percussive instruments, as well as bass guitar, but teaches beginner piano and guitar, too.
KYLE (Percussion/Piano/Bass/Guitar) - Kyle received his Bachelor’s of Music Performance/Jazz Studies degree from Northern Illinois University in May 2018 and plays regularly in the Chicago area. He has studied percussion, pedagogy, improvisation, and composition with Rodrigo Villanueva, Juan Pastor, Quin Kirchner, Greg Beyer, Mike Mixtacki, Ben Wahlund, Robert Chappell, Reggie Thomas, Geof Bradfield, Fareed Haque, Art Davis, and David Maki. An affinity for many styles of music and a willingness to experiment musically has made Kyle an in-demand sideman in the Chicago scene. Kyle has instructed young musicians in situations varying from private lessons to jazz combos to big bands to percussion ensembles; his teaching emphasizes developing an individual approach to music that is based on a firm understanding of musical traditions and technique.
DEAN (Guitar/Bass/Ukulele/Mandolin) - Dean has played the guitar for over 20 years. He graduated magna cum laude from NIU in 2013 with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance. Dean has studied contemporary guitar with Zack Mishur, and classical guitar with Steve Jacobson (JJC), Adam Roth (JJC) and Fareed Haque (NIU). Dean has performed on guitar and bass in various bands and is currently playing bass with Robb Young and the Elms, an alternative rock band.
JEN (Clarinet/Saxophone/Oboe) - Jennifer has been playing the clarinet for more than 30 years and her love of music was there well before that. Her passion for teaching and music blossomed in High School when her band
teacher showed her how much fun learning and playing really could be! She attended the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York and received her Bachelors Degree in Music
Education in 1997. Jen taught 7th and 8th graders (as well as private lessons for all ages) there for several years before moving out of state with her husband who was in the Navy. Jennifer, her husband, Michael, their son Matthew, and their menagerie of pets have settled in Minooka now and she wants to share her love and passion for music with your children.