Sara Caligiuri is a recent graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with degrees in Music and English. During her time at IWU, Sara participated in the touring Collegiate Choir under the direction of Dr. Scott Ferguson, as well as main stage opera productions, most notably as Marchellia in Le Nozze di Figaro. She also had the pleasure of premiering three original roles in her time at IWU, including two with Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre. Sara has also directed an original opera entitled Madness Majestica by composer Richie Zola in collaboration with the IWU New Music Series. In addition to her time at IWU, Sara also spent a semester in Milan, Italy studying opera with the Assistant Director of La Scala, Stefano Simone Pintor. Sara specializes in teaching opera technique, as well as musical theatre.
Voice & Musical Theatre Instructor
Dawn Harkins is a professional singer/actress with a wide vocal range and colour. She’s been seen on stage for Theatre Building Chicago’s Monday Night Musicals, Northbrook Theatre, a 2-year run with American Girl Theatre as a principle adult actor playing multiple roles, including GrandMary. Dawn has sung internationally in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Japan, the Philippine Islands, China... and The Loire Valley, France. In May, 2009 she debuted her cabaret, “DAWN OF A NEW DAY!”, presented at Davenport’s Cabaret in Chicago and released her solo album of the same title January 2010. Her album, “DAWN OF A NEW DAY!” was recently featured along with an interview on KPOV FM radio’s “Curtain Call” with DJ Patty Davis. Other recording credits include featured solos on Heartland Voices’ Christmas CD, HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS. She is a graduate of the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University. Dawn released her second solo album, "THIS IS ROMANCE" in September 2011.
To listen to clips, purchase either album, or view her portfolio, please visit her website at www.dawnharkins.com
Justine Izewski attained a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) degree, as well as a Bachelor of Music Education (Choral) degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is Illinois state certified to teach Music K-12. She currently teaches grades P-8th at the Queen of the Rosary School in Elk Grove Village. In the fall of 2017, Ms. Izewski student taught at Urbana High School in USD #116, and at Mahomet Seymour Junior High and Mahomet Seymour High School in CUSD #3. Ms. Izewski also substituted as a music teacher for first through sixth grade at Wayne Elementary School in District U-46. When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Izewski gives voice and piano lessons at Roselle School of Music and sings professionally with Heartland Voices. Ms. Izewski studied for two summers at the Scuola Italia Opera program in Sant’ Angelo in Vado, Italy. In her free time, Ms. Izewski enjoys traveling and playing with her one-year old dachshund.
Alex is a native of St. Charles, IL and credits both the St Charles East High School Jazz Program and Birch Creek Jazz Academy for firing his initial passion in jazz. His Trio, The Alex Murphy Jazz Trio was already playing weekly in high school and had the opportunity to work with Chicago jazz vocalist, Tammy McCann and Des Moines based jazz and blues vocalist, Tina Haase Findlay.
Alex completed his Bachelor of Music in Jazz piano at DePaul University. He studied with Jim Trompeter and has had the privilege of working closely with world renowned drummer and educator Dana Hall. Under Dana Hall and the rest of the jazz faculty at Depaul University, He has also studied with Ron Perrillo, Jeremy Kahn, Larry Brown Jr. and Dr. Michael Stryker.
Alex Murphy is considered one of the "young lions" working his way into the Chicago Jazz Scene. He has performed at the Jazz Showcase, Andy's Jazz Club, The Drake Hotel, House of Blues and the Chicago Jazz Festival. In early 2018 he was featured in a "Jazz at Symphony Center" Masterclass with jazz great, Bill Charlap. He also freelances throughout the Chicagoland area, Northern Illinois and the Midwest. He can be heard playing keyboards on an EP from the band "Fade" that can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.
Alex has been featured at summer jazz festivals including the St. Charles, Des Moines, and Chicago jazz festivals. He has also performed with noted jazz artists including Dave Douglas, Pharezz Whitted, Nicholas Payton, Dezron Douglas, Isaiah Spencer, Matt Ulery, Charles Heath, Mark Colby, Dennis Carroll, Bobby Broom and Tammy McCann.
Not only does Alex specialize in jazz, but he has started to enter into the chicago hip-hop scene as a keyboardist and is influenced by much of the hip-hop music in his own compositions, especially the work of pianist Robert Glasper and the producer J. Dilla.
Robin has a masters in music education from Vandercook College of Music, along with several years experience in voice teaching and performing! She is classically trained but primarily sing in music theatre/cabaret styles. She is able and willing to teach multiple musical styles. Robin offers a safe, comfortable environment where students will work to improve their vocal skills but also have fun and enjoy their passion for singing!!
"Robin Rotela is an excellent voice teacher who knows how to balance the technical with the artistic. She not only has been successful at teaching my daughter the musical skills needed to be a better singer, she also has an excellent ear for the artistic nuances that make the most of my daughter's technical improvements. But perhaps best of all,she does an excellent job of working with my daughter to find music that notonly works as a teaching tool but also keeps my daughter excited to sing."
"After many years of singing professionally, in only a handful of lessons with Robin, my voice has opened up and I have reached a new level of confidence in my instrument. Working with Robin has allowed me to explore new vocal possibilities and has renewed my passion for singing."
"My 14 year old son had the good fortune to take private voice lessons from Robin Rotela for over two years. Robin prepared him for numerous auditions and plays where the vocal work has been quite complex. We saw tremendous growth vocally as a direct result of the work Robin did with him. She is dedicated to helping her students learn, improve and excel vocally in a relaxed and fun atmosphere."
Richard's love of music started at an early age and can be heard throughout every performance. Richard Trost was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and has performed both instrumentally and vocally throughout his high school
and collegiate career at North Park University in Chicago. A natural born singer and musician, Richard has accompanied musical theatre performers and instrumentalists since high school and has performed in a variety of venues in the Chicago and San Francisco Bay areas. When Richard isn't playing or singing, he likes to spend time teaching Spanish, piano, voice, ESL, volunteering and spending quality time with friends and family. Richard is plays for many events and specializes in weddings.