CREATIVE RESIDENTS SHARE ON THEIR LOVE & PASSION FOR ART
Taking in a good play, musical, concert or comedy show is an experience that could elicit any number of emotions. Live performances touch parts of your soul and make you smile, cry, laugh and maybe even cheer. We caught up with a few of our residents that are a part of creating and presenting our local performing arts productions to explore what they do.
ST. CHARLES– At age 4 Jeff sang in the church choir, by 12 he played Oliver in the musical Oliver at Wheaton College, and then went on to sing at St. Charles High School. In 1977, while in college at Taylor University, he accepted the role of choir director at Zion Lutheran Church in Upland, Indiana. In 1984, Jeff founded the St. Charles Singers (then called the Mostly Madrigal Singers).
“I began the choir really as a result of being so inspired by choral singing from my student days,” Jeff shares.
Jeff is fortunate that his full-time job is doing what he loves most – music! He is the Choir Director for the St. Charles Singers, as well as the Director of Music at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles. In addition, he is an adjunct professor of music at Elgin Community College.
“I think the most rewarding part of my experience with the choir is creating beauty together as a family of voices and seeing and hearing the result of everyone feeling important in the process,” he says. “Our sometimes weary world, with all its challenges, lives for moments of beauty and happiness and it is a joy to be able to contribute something positive in even the smallest way.”
Jeff looks forward to the St. Charles Singers 35th annual concert season with a Mozart Festival Weekend in St. Charles the weekend of August 24-26th.
ELBURN– This 16-year-old trumpet player is not the type of person to share her emotions through words, but expresses herself through music. From birth to kindergarten, Bailey went to work with her mom at Hamilton Wings and spent a lot of time with the musicians, actors, and visual artists. She began piano at 5, classical guitar at 8, and trumpet at 11 years-old. Along the way, she performed a solo recital and raised $1,000 to donate to Kaneland Arts Initiative.
As a freshman now at Kaneland High School (KHS), Bailey auditioned for the Guitar Foundation of America’s Summit and became one of the top 30 internationally chosen 14-18 year old classical guitarists. She also auditioned into the District IX Band on Principal Trumpet 2 AND Lead and/or 2nd Trumpet for the Jazz Band and earned Lead Trumpet for the 2018 Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) All-State Jazz Band.
Additionally, Bailey shares her musical talents with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO) Honors Chamber Ensemble Sterling Brass Quintet. “I love EYSO for the quality of education that I receive,” Bailey says. “The most important part of a performance is the story, so we learn how to express emotion through music, not just how to read and play it.”
This summer has been filled with well-earned scholarships to band camps at Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana and Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Bailey’s resume is chalked full of awards, prestige, and dedication!
MONTGOMERY– Ashlie started dancing at Turning Point in Elmwood Park and continued at the Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park where she performed with the resident company, MOMENTA. She went on to get her Bachelor’s in Dance Performance and Management in the Arts from Northern Illinois University. She interned at Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in MA and then worked at State Street Dance Studio (formerly of Geneva), taking ownership till 2017. Unfortunately, State Street Dance Studio closed doors but didn’t close Ashlie’s dream to have dance in her life. She formed Fox Valley Ballet, a 501c3 non-profit organization which brings the joy and artistry of dance through pre-professional ballet training and performances, including the full-length ballet production of The Nutcracker alive in Batavia with over 100 members ranging in age from 5 to 70 years-old.
This married mother of two is committed and inspired by the true passion of her dancers. “It takes tough skin to do what we do, but we keep doing it because of the dedication we have to the art and our students,” she says. “I will also be starting a scholarship fund through Fox Valley Ballet for those dancers in the area that require financial need as well as merit for their talents.”
Beyond volunteering as the Artistic Director of Fox Valley Ballet, Ashlie serves as the Director of Ballet at A Step Above Dance Academy in Batavia and also teaches at Dancequest in Plainfield. She looks forward to starting a dance festival in Fox Valley in 2019.