I studied music theory and composition for three years as an undergraduate at Webster University. After composing for James Newton, Oliver Lake, David Murray and others, I joined the 81st Army Band in Illinois where I composed for marching band, concert wind ensemble, and jazz/rock combo. After 2 years of graduate composition studies with Robert Lombardo and Don Malone at Roosevelt University, I began writing songs for Chicago-based singers, bands, and string ensembles. I have composed musicals, a mass, and many gospel and jazz/pop songs, and have performed my compositions for solo piano at festivals and recitals in Europe and the United States. As a CPS school teacher, I have written and conducted music for ensembles and soloists, as well as for steel drum orchestra.
I began playing hand drums under the direction of Moise Tiam, the master drummer from Senegal in 1972 in St. Louis, MO. Tiam was one of the first, along with Olatunji and Hugh Masekela, to visit America and tour. From 1972 - 1975 I played piano alongside drummers Ben Thigpen (son of Ed Thigpen), Charles 'BoBo' Shaw, and Famadou Don Moye. Moye showed me how learning drums would make me a better piano player. During that time I played drums for the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. In the military band piano players are in the percussion section, so I became a percussionist, learning and performing glockenspiel, xylophone, snare, and other instruments, as well is piano. I have taught percussion for over 20 years in Chicago Public Schools, and have instrument making workshops for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in which participants built drums, mbira, and shekere.
As part of my B.A. in Music Education, I studied and did classroom practicum in teaching sight singing, music theory and ear training. Kent Kennan, Zoltan Kodaly and Walter Piston were the texts used.
My graduate studies include work in composition with Robert Lombardo and Pawel Chencinski. I have also done advanced work with R.A. Straughn, a student of Felix Salzer.
I am a member of the Kodaly Institute and the Composers' Forum.
I began playing flute at the age of 14 as a member of the Soldan High School Marching Band under the Direction of Vernon Nashville. Further studies included lessons with Roscoe Mitchell and James Newton. I was flute soloist with the South Shore Community Choir in Chicago, and with the St. Phillip Neri Mass Choir under the direction of Walt Whitman. I have taught flute for over 20 years as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools.
I began playing guitar at age 12. My Uncle was a guitarist with Red Callender in L.A. He taught me chord progressions and scales, and we listened to recordings by Wes Montgomery, Andre Segovia, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel and Kenny Burrell. I have conducted guitar workshops for after-school programs at Bowen High School.
B.A. in Music - Kennon, Shenker
Graduate Studies with Robert Lombardo, John Hicks, Pawel Chencinski.
Advanced Studies with R.A. Straughn, student of Felix Salzer.
I began playing piano at age 6 and began taking lessons from Mrs. Evelyn Lawson at age 7. I began performing immediately on recitals, and continued piano studies until completing graduate studies with Pawel Chencinski and Ed Baker at Roosevelt University. I have written a book of exercises for piano which shows how to play twelve-tone scales and chord patterns while retaining a tonal center. My performance credits include Joseph Jarman, James Newton, Oliver Lake, David Murray, Douglas Ewart, Charles 'Bobo" Shaw, Webster College Choir, South Shore Community Choir, and many churches throughout Chicago. Venues include the Blue Gargoyle, Theater of the Open Eye (New York), Groenigen Jazz Festival, Moers Jazz Festival, Links Hall, the Hot House, Chicago Jazz Festival, the Underground Fest, the Emerald Palace, the Chicago Cultural Center. Grants and Awards include the Arts Midwest Meet the Composer Grant, Chicago Office of Fine Arts Neighborhood Arts Projects Grants, the Illinois Arts Council 1995 Artists Fellowship Award.
While studying piano and composition with John Hicks (pianist for Betty Carter), I was writing jazz and pop songs for several artists in the St. Louis area. My graduate studies include work with Robert Lombardo, Don Malone, Pawel Chencinski, and R.A. Straughn (a student of Felix Salzer). My songs and band arrangements have been performed by Columbia College Theater, U of I Theater, Keithen Carter, Walter Jackson, Ed Wilkerson, Harrison Bankhead, the 81st U.S. Army Band, The South Shore Community Choir, Shannon Harris, and many others.
I have taught violin for many years as a music teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. I began using the Suzuki String Method in 2005. In 2006 I began a string program at the K.I.P.T. summer program for children 5-12. I have presented many recitals, mostly of beginning students.
I have taught voice for over 20 years in Chicago Public Schools, and directed choirs in many churches in the Chicago Area. My students have been finalists and winners (solo and ensemble) in the All City Choral and Vocal Festivals and the N.A.A.C.P. ACT-SO Awards Competition. I have written music for pop, jazz and classical singers, as well as choirs. My vocal undergraduate studies were with Joseph B., director of Webster University Concert Choir, and Madam Maria D.