Cynara Pierzina- Flute

Mrs. Pierzina, Founder and Executive Director of Encore Music Academy and Private Flute Instructor, earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Augustana College and her Master’s Degree from DePaul University, both in Flute Performance. She is a frequent freelance flutist and teaches private flute instruction. A recipient of first place awards in the Lakeview Musical Society Woodwind Competition and the Society of American Musicians Young Artist Composition, she has performed with Lake Forest Symphony, Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, University of Chicago Orchestra and Minstrel’s Chamber Ensemble. With over twenty years in arts administration, she has served as Assistant Director of DePaul University’s Community Music School, Director of Admission and Programs / Interim Executive Director at Sherwood Conservatory of Music and as Assistant Director of McHenry County Music Center.

Marissa Lefevre- Oboe

Marissa Lefevre is a professional Oboist (English Horn) whose passion is teaching students of all ages and levels to love and master the oboe. As a graduate of Michigan State University in oboe performance, she has performed in orchestras/ensembles throughout Michigan, Illinois, Europe (France and Germany), and Chicago-Land. She established MRL Oboe Studios in 2008 and teaches at many area high schools in the Northwest suburban area.

Her students have demonstrated impressive accomplishments, from ILMEA All-State Orchestra and Band and concerto competitions, to touring International orchestras and entrance into prestigious college schools of music. Ms. LeFevre’s passion for teaching is demonstrated by providing a nurturing, supportive atmosphere while helping her students navigate the complexities and challenges of the Oboe.

Matthew Beck- Clarinet & Saxophone

Matthew Beck is a Chicago based multi-instrumentalist and educator. He received his Masters of Music degree in Saxophone Performance from Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. He was also the first student to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from Elmhurst College where he was a five-time winner of the Elmhurst Philharmonic Concerto Competition. He has performed in Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Serbia, and throughout the United States. Specializing in classical saxophone, Beck has played with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Lakeview Orchestra, and many other orchestras. As a studio musician he can be heard on TMZ and Cartoon Network.


Mark Hoffman- Trumpet

Mark Hoffman is a graduate of Northern Illinois University where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Trumpet Performance with an emphasis in Jazz Studies.

After graduation, Mark toured nationally and internationally as a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra before returning to the Chicago area, where he continues to play as a freelance trumpeter.  He is also active as a trumpet instructor and has been teaching trumpet lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years.

Elliott Hile- French Horn

Mr. Hile received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied horn with Prof. Bernhard Scully and was a member of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Opera Pit Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Wind Orchestra, Marching Illini, Basketball Band, Horn Choir, and various chamber ensembles. Hile has assisted with several high school band programs, including Niles West High School, Niles North High School, Streator Township High School, and  Highland Park High School. He is an active private horn teacher.

Serena Voltz- Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

Serena Voltz is an active freelance tuba player and low brass teacher in the Chicago area. Besides freelance work, she holds an associate position with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the premier training orchestra in the city, and is a substitute with the Kenosha Symphony. She also is a core member of 5th Wave Collective, an ensemble on WFMT’s list of 11 new local ensembles to know. Serena is a graduate of Northwestern University and is completing her Master’s at DePaul University. 

Sherri Dees- Percussion

Sherri Dees has more than 40 years of professional experience as a performer, conductor, and educator. Since 2000, she has been Music Director of Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, where she
leads adult and youth choirs and a rock band, and serves as organist. Dees also maintains a private percussion studio and is the percussion coach for the McHenry County Youth Orchestras. She holds a Master of Music in percussion performance from Northwestern University. Before moving to Crystal Lake in 1998, she was Director of Percussion Studies at Arkansas State University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education, and performed with the Arkansas Symphony
Orchestra for 17 years.

Tim Barclay- Improv

Tim Barclay has been playing and teaching jazz for more than 15 years. While working toward his Bachelors Degree, he played in several jazz combos and held the lead alto position in the Jazz Studio Orchestra at Western Illinois University. Tim then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas. While at UNT, he played lead alto in the 2:00 Lab Band and performed professionally in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area.

Currently, Tim directs music at Carmel Catholic High school. Lastly, Tim performs professionally with numerous groups in the Chicago area.

Tim feels truly fortunate to be able to share his love for music through both instruction and performance.