Faculty

Faculty

A school is only as good as its faculty. The Zion Conservatory of Music maintains a well-qualified staff. New teachers are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in their field or significant professional experience, and are carefully screened before employment. They eagerly work together as a faculty, dedicated to nurturing each student and inspiring them with their own skills.

 

 

 

Constance Allen: pianoConnie Allen

Mrs. Allen is a Zion Conservatory of Music graduate. She majored in piano at Mundelein College and has continued studying music and teaching lifelong, attending workshops and master classes to keep up with new methods and stimulating repertoire. She holds a Robert Pace Piano Pedagogy Certificate and has wide teaching experience, in both private and group lessons. A number of her students have graduated from the Conservatory and pursued careers in music as teachers and church musicians. In other musical endeavors, Mrs. Allen was Assistant to the Artistic Director and Coordinator of Educational Programs for the Lake Forest Symphony. She enjoys accompanying and ensemble playing and occasionally performs for various programs and local organizations.

The Zion Conservatory of Music has been a wonderful influence in my life, first as a piano student opening up the world of music to me, and then as a member of the faculty. I enjoy working with students of all ages and trying to develop each student to their fullest potential, whatever the ability level. I emphasize technical skills and musical expression in my teaching, along with a solid background in theory. Through the study of piano, I hope to promote a lifelong love, understanding and appreciation of music in my students.

Angela Ashmore: pianoAngela Ashmore

Mrs. Ashmore is a Zion Conservatory of Music 1980 graduate. She was a piano performance major at Wheaton College, and also studied under Willard Wikowski at Oral Roberts University. She finished her education at Carthage College while teaching at the Conservatory. Along with her love for the piano, she has been involved most of her life in church music. Her involvements in church music range from choir member to choir director, from church pianist to worship leader, from soloist to director of music, etc. As a pianist in church music, she loves the challenges of sight-reading new music, creating arrangements of existing music, improvising, playing-by-ear, and most of all, worshipping the lord.

I believe God has created each of us with individual gifts, talents, personalities and callings. It is my desire to inspire and develop musical talent at the piano. I enjoy working with students, young and old, on an individual basis, using a variety of methods and approaches. At the core of my teaching is a focus on solid technique, a good understanding of music theory, lots of reading, and a tone quality that “sings”. Above all, I desire for my students to be inspired to play the piano the Glory of God.

 

Dennis Hankinson: pianoDennis Hankinson

Mr. Hankinson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Moody Bible Institute of Chicago in Bible and Theology and has studied at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside toward a certificate of Piano Pedagogy and Literature. He first studied piano with Mrs. Ethel Cliff Stried, herself a Zion Conservatory of Music graduate, from 1979 to 1989. He has accompanied the Bethel College Women’s Choir on tour, Moody voice students, and the Christian Youth Theater productions of “Annie”, “Narnia” and “The Little Princess”. As a past member of Frizane Music Ministries, he has entertained the public at Chicago’s Daley Plaza and in Independence Day parades in Elmwood Park, as well as several retirement communities. He has also performed as a soloist for the Von Maur department store in Glenview and the Marcus Cinema in Sturtevant.

Mr. Hankinson was employed at the historic Marshall Field’s store in Chicago as a piano and keyboard salesman. He attended the Kircher Technical Training Institute in Oak Park, where he acquired certificates in piano tuning and string repair. In 2003, he began operating a piano technician business, Northern Strings Piano Services, located in Racine. His ongoing projects include rebuilding and refinishing pianos for clients from Chicago to Milwaukee. Mr. Hankinson has been teaching piano since 2001, beginning in Grayslake, and expanding into Kenosha in 2004. In 2004, he was invited to join the Zion Conservatory of Music faculty. A number of his students have participated in the annual National Guild Piano Playing Auditions, receiving Superior ratings.

I want my students to realize that musical talent is a gift from God, meant for blessing their neighbors as well as themselves, and that its ultimate goal is to give glory to the Lord.

 

Andrew Johnson: piano, voice

Mr. Johnson studied piano at the Zion Conservatory of Music and went on to study voice and piano at Carthage College.  There he completed his degree in vocal performance, studying under Gregory Berg and Klaus Georg.  He is currently working to finish a degree in piano pedagogy, studying under Jane Mac Alla-Livingston.

As a vocalist, Mr. Johnson was a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus from 2009 through 2012, serving as part of their professional core for the 2012-2011 season.  He was appointed the tenor for the Milwaukee Symphony Quartet in 2010 and finished his work with them in 2012.  He is currently serving as a member and has been a soloist for the Master Singers of Milwaukee, under the direction of Eduardo Garcia-Novelli.  He is currently a member of the Musici Amici, directed by Gregory Berg.  In the fall of 2010, Mr. Johnson was a National Association of Teachers of Singing semifinalist in Wisconsin’s adult category.

“I enjoy working with child through adult learners.  Studying music carries over to all aspects of a person’s life.  This includes work ethic and enjoyment.  My goal for my students is for them to become well-rounded musicians.  I look forward to learning and growing as much as my students.” -Andrew Johnson

 

Rick Lowe: piano

Rick Lowe is a graduate of theUniversity of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana School of Music.  His music and piano professors at Illinois include Claire Richards, James Lyke and Tony Caramia.  He majored in piano (music education) and has continued performing music and teaching ever since.  While Rick is an experienced piano instructor who enjoys teaching classical piano, he is equally at ease teaching music theory, jazz piano and keyboard musicianship skills.  Rick is an active member of the Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association where he has served on the executive board as treasurer, co-chaired the Achievement in Music (AIM) performance examinations and serves each year as an adjudicator for the AIM piano exams and is the active chair for the association’s finance and vision committees.  Mr. Lowe is a church musician and is currently serving as pianist and accompanist for the Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Grayslake where he has served on the music staff for over 20 years.  Many of his piano students participate in the AIM program each year with some reaching and completing the highest levels in the AIM program, many also perform in piano recitals and compete in local piano competitions and solo contests in Lake County.  Rick’s philosophy of music and teaching piano is simple.  Every individual studying music and piano has the ability to learn.  Every individual learns musical concepts differently and at their own pace.  Successful music teachers help students learn to communicate through music in an enjoyable manner.  Learning to play the piano is a life-long enriching experience!

JoAnne Pekkarinen: pianoJoAnne Pekkarinen

Mrs. Pekkarinen has extensive experience teaching piano and thoroughly enjoys the challenge of keeping her students motivated. She is always looking for new material and innovative ways to inspire her students. JoAnne has had students go on to play at the college level and become music teachers themselves including Jennifer Warren, one of our new ZCM piano teachers. Mrs. Pekkarinen received her Bachelor of Music degree from Mundelein College and did additional graduate work at the University of Illinois before transferring to the American Conservatory of Music where she received her Master’s Degree.

Mrs. Pekkarinen is involved in performing, accompanying, and teaching, as well as attending workshops and masterclasses. In the last several years she has collaborated with former Conservatory violinist and director, Rebecca Engstrom. Together they have performed the violin/piano sonatas of Poulenc and Faure and transcriptions of Spanish dances by Manuel de Falla as well as arrangements of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”. She enjoys the challenge of fine chamber music, coordinating the musical styles of the performers as well as the notes. Mrs. Pekkarinen also has an affinity for 20th century piano repertoire, but enjoys a variety of music, including the Romantic era composer, Chopin. Mrs. Pekkarinen has been a faculty member at the Zion Conservatory of Music since 1968.

Learning to play any musical instrument requires discipline and dedication. There are so many aspects involved in learning to play the piano–rhythm, phrasing, hand position, etc. At the top of my list is good tone quality, because you don’t express music well without beautiful sound.

 

Donna Poucher, Director of the Zion Conservatory of Music: pianoDonna Poucher

Mrs. Poucher holds a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education with a piano major from Millikin University, a Master of Arts in Piano Performance from Eastern Illinois University, and a Bachelor of Arts Equivalency in Pre-med with a chemistry emphasis from Lake Forest College. Her diverse musical experience includes piano performance as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and extensive accompanying for vocal and instrumental soloists and ensembles. She has taught in public and private schools as well as in her own piano studio. In addition, she has been involved in directing several church choirs, church choir festivals and instrumental groups. Donna was the Director of the Zion Chamber Orchestra for 7 years, after having held the Assistant Director position for 7 years.

Donna was appointed Director of the Zion Conservatory of Music in January of 2008, where she also continues to serve as a piano instructor. She is the worship director and pianist for Grace Missionary Church, is a member of the Full Score Chamber Orchestra,  and does freelancing in the Lake County area.

I believe that God wonderfully blesses individuals with unique musical abilities and talents. My goal in teaching is to help each of my students discover and develop their unique talents and to help channel their musical growth in Christ-honoring and community service venues. I stress the importance of sharing their gifts whether it is playing for church, school, their families, their friends, whatever their “community” is, or simply to express their own thoughts, ideas and emotions. It is not only a gift to them, but for them to use and share with others. In this process, they learn to be disciplined, to hone fine motor skills and aural coordination, to think abstractly on multiple levels, to develop self confidence and composure in performance situations, to enjoy many styles of music, to gain the ability to express themselves musically, and to learn the value of sharing themselves.

 

Rebecca McCulloch: violin

Ms. McCulloch began studying violin at the Zion Conservatory of Music. Before completing the pre-collegiate musical studies program there, she performed as the winner of the Young Artist Concerto competition with the Zion Chamber Orchestra, and appeared as soloist with the Midwest Chamber Players throughout their concert tour of Europe. Ms. McCulloch continued her violin studies at Butler University with Laurence Shapiro. She performed on numerous honors recitals and chamber music concerts, including a collaboration with Van Cliburn silver medalist Panayis Lyras. She served as concertmaster of the Jordan Sinfonia and the Butler Symphony Orchestra, both at home and on tour in Taiwan.

Ms. McCulloch has held concertmaster positions with the Zion Chamber Orchestra, the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, and presently the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra. She studied at the Milwaukee Chamber Music Festival with Myron Kartman, at the Quartet Program with Charles Castleman, and at the Longy Institute of Baroque Music with baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock. An ardent admirer of early music, Ms. McCulloch was featured as soloist and ensemble member of the baroque performing ensemble Bach Babes from 2003 through 2006. During her period of study at the Leonard Sorkin Institute of Chamber Music, Ms. McCulloch completed a Performer’s Certificate in Chamber Music while serving as Myron Kartman’s teaching assistant, and was a semi-finalist in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. She holds degrees from Butler University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and has taught on the faculty of the Zion Conservatory of Music, the Jack Benny Center for the Performing Arts, and the Indiana Performing Arts Academy.

 

Sarah Miller: violin

Sarah Miller, a native of Waukegan, IL, has taught throughout Cook and Lake Counties for over nine years. She began her study of the violin at age five, at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts.  She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Violin with an outside field of Mathematics from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, as well as a Teacher’s Certificate from DePaul University.  Her past instructors include Alison Dalton of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Henryk Kowalski of Indiana University.  She has played in orchestras under the direction of Cliff Colnot, David Effron, Uriel Segal and Leonard Slatkin.  She has performed in master classes for Gerardo Ribeiro, John Sharp, and David Taylor.  Mrs. Miller was the orchestra director at Culver Elementary School in Niles, IL for four years.  She currently teaches privately as well as performs in local orchestras.  She lives in Waukegan with her husband and her two daughters.

Scharema Hannibal: voice, pianoScharema Hannibal

Mrs. Hannibal began singing at age three and playing the piano at age six. She studied at the Zion Conservatory of Music and went on to seek training at Parkland College, forming the Parkland Gospel Ensemble. She completed her Music Education degree at the University of Illinois – Champaign/Urbana and has begun her graduate studies at Vandercook College of Music. She has taught music at Novak-King Middle School in North Chicago, Illinois and the Kings Academy Christian School in Zion, Illinois. Ms. Daniels sang and toured with the University of Illinois Black Chorus, where she also served as assistant conductor and pianist. She has assisted in gospel music recordings and served as a guest vocal clinician. In July, 2004, Mrs. Hannibal starred in the leading role of Tracey in the musical production “T’Morrow Ain’t Promised.” She also wrote and produced original music for the production. Mrs. Hannibal currently sings with gospel music recording artists Glenn Johnson and the Voices of Innerpeace, Persuaded Ministries, Cynthia Turner and Heartspeak, and Ricky Dillard and New Generation. She is also the Minister of Music at Word of Life Ministries in Beach Park and began teaching at the Conservatory in 2004.

 

Josephine Huber: voice, Mini Maestros preschool programJosephine Huber

Ms. Huber first studied voice at the Zion Conservatory of Music. She received a diploma in Church Music with an emphasis in voice from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and graduated with a BA in Music with a concentration in voice from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and has been nominated twice by her students to be published in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She taught voice at the Zion Conservatory of Music from 1981 through 1999, taught music at Our Lady of Humility School in Beach Park, Illinois, and is a voice instructor at the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Waukegan, Illinois.

Ms. Huber has sung as a member and soloist with the Moody Chorale, toured with the Continental Singers, member and soloist with the Trinity College Choir, soloist with the Zion Community Singers, and soloist for the Zion Chamber Orchestra Do-It-Yourself Messiah. She has served as choir director in several area churches in Waukegan and Libertyville, Illinois. She enjoys coaching high school and college students for vocal competitions and scholarships. Currently she is very active with the music ministry at Christ Community Church, Zion, Illinois, participating and assisting in the choir, worship team, and various other groups.

My philosophy of teaching is to give my students a solid foundation so that they can apply those principles to any style of singing to the glory of God.

 

Andrew Johnson: voice, piano

Mr. Johnson studied piano at the Zion Conservatory of Music and went on to study voice and piano at Carthage College.  There he completed his degree in vocal performance, studying under Gregory Berg and Klaus Georg.  He is currently working to finish a degree in piano pedagogy, studying under Jane Mac Alla-Livingston.

As a vocalist, Mr. Johnson was a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus from 2009 through 2012, serving as part of their professional core for the 2012-2011 season.  He was appointed the tenor for the Milwaukee Symphony Quartet in 2010 and finished his work with them in 2012.  He is currently serving as a member and has been a soloist for the Master Singers of Milwaukee, under the direction of Eduardo Garcia-Novelli.  He is currently a member of the Musici Amici, directed by Gregory Berg.  In the fall of 2010, Mr. Johnson was a National Association of Teachers of Singing semifinalist in Wisconsin’s adult category.

 “I enjoy working with child through adult learners.  Studying music carries over to all aspects of a person’s life.  This includes work ethic and enjoyment.  My goal for my students is for them to become well-rounded musicians.  I look forward to learning and growing as much as my students.” -Andrew Johnson

 

Jon Kapity: guitar

Jon Kapity has long had a passion for the guitar. Jon received his very first guitar at the age of 13 years old and has been studying, playing, and improvising ever since with over 24 years of experience. Jon trained under some of the finest Guitarists of the Chicagoland area: Dave Uhrich, Eric Mantel, Toshi Iseda, and Tom Hess.

Jon Kapity has performed as lead guitarist on worship teams for over 12 years including the lead development of Christian coffee house “Extreme Caffeine”. He has recorded with industry pros such as Michael Charles of Moonlight Studios and Rex Carroll of Whitecross.

Jon believes in a geometric approach for developing guitarists. This approach alternates areas of focus; like a fitness program. By focusing on alternating areas, one gains skill much more quickly and effectively. A guitar is unique and abstract in that wide ranges of skills need to be developed at once. Jon believes “It is very important to set the proper foundational skills in a fun and exciting way.” With his position at the Zion Conservatory Jon has coined the phrase “Teaching Fingers to Dance, and Minds to Compose.”

“My Objective is to make music unto the Lord, and to share the gift He has given me. To teach, train, and mentor any person of any age to learn and enjoy the art of music through the instrument of guitar. Then, mentor them to use their talent to experience, worship, and glorify God whether alone, with others, or in a position of service/leadership.”    -Jon Kapity

                                                                                             

Paul Anthony: percussion, saxophone, guitar

Mr. Anthony started taking guitar lesson at the age of seven. In Junior High School he started taking tenor saxophone lessons and by high school was playing guitar, saxophone, and piano, composing songs, learning recording technology, as well as recording original pop songs.

Paul began studying at VanderCook college of music in 1992 where he earned his bachelor degree. While there he learned to teach 17 instruments with a band directing focus. He’s primary instrument was saxophone while studying under James Kasprzyk.  While in college Paul also continued his pop career playing bass and recording with local bands. During his spare time Paul taught private woodwind lessons at Full Staff School of Music in St. Charles, Il. He has also taught privately at Southwest Music in Oak Lawn. Paul graduated with his Master degree with a band focus from VanderCook College of Music in 2008.

Mr. Anthony was a judge for woodwinds and brass for the IMA (Illinois Music Association) contest for 2006-2007 competition years.   In 1999 – 2008, Paul formed and ran The Windy City Orchestra. Windy City played for wedding and corporate functions, and was a 10 piece corporate band.

Mr. Anthony has taught band and general music in a variety of school settings since 1997. Most currently he taught in the Chicago public schools from 2002-2010 and at St. Turibius School from 2010-2012.

Currently Paul is teaching privately, performing live, and booking recording sessions, as well as working as a worship leader at First Church of God, Oak Lawn, Il.

 

Paul Hefner: brass

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Trained in music education, along with 11 years of college teaching experience, Paul brings the highest level of quality instruction to his brass lessons.  His extensive knowledge of classical and jazz literature is incorporated into his instruction.  Paul’s music work often includes judging Junior High and High School solo and ensemble contests as well as band, orchestra, and jazz contests.  In addition, Paul taught music for 11 years as adjunct faculty at the College of Lake County.  There he instructed low brass, concert band, and jazz band.  Also, Paul been a featured soloist with national groups including Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, Windjammers Unlimited in Florida, as well as local groups including FullScore Chamber Orchestra, and the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra.  Paul’s students have successfully auditioned to become members of the CYSO (Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra) and have gained entry to well-regarded colleges studying music performance and education.

Paul regularly attends church at Christian Life Fellowship (CLF) in Antioch, Illinois, where he is a member of the worship team, playing bass guitar and trombone.

Being an active member at CLF has guided me to understand my Christian worldview and how it applies to teaching and performing music.  I truly feel I need to pass on something greater than a capitalistic or humanistic worldview to my students.  My aim in music education is to sustain and promote an understanding of Christian values while maintaining academic  integrity.  My hope is to pass on a legacy that brings Jesus to the center of my students life.

Paul Anthony: percussion, saxophone, guitar

Mr. Anthony started taking guitar lesson at the age of seven. In Junior High School he started taking tenor saxophone lessons and by high school was playing guitar, saxophone, and piano, composing songs, learning recording technology, as well as recording original pop songs.

Paul began studying at VanderCook college of music in 1992 where he earned his bachelor degree. While there he learned to teach 17 instruments with a band directing focus. He’s primary instrument was saxophone while studying under James Kasprzyk.  While in college Paul also continued his pop career playing bass and recording with local bands. During his spare time Paul taught private woodwind lessons at Full Staff School of Music in St. Charles, Il. He has also taught privately at Southwest Music in Oak Lawn. Paul graduated with his Master degree with a band focus from VanderCook College of Music in 2008.

Mr. Anthony was a judge for woodwinds and brass for the IMA (Illinois Music Association) contest for 2006-2007 competition years.   In 1999 – 2008, Paul formed and ran The Windy City Orchestra. Windy City played for wedding and corporate functions, and was a 10 piece corporate band.

Mr. Anthony has taught band and general music in a variety of school settings since 1997. Most currently he taught in the Chicago public schools from 2002-2010 and at St. Turibius School from 2010-2012.

Currently Paul is teaching privately, performing live, and booking recording sessions, as well as working as a worship leader at First Church of God, Oak Lawn, Il.

Paul Anthony: percussion, saxophone, guitar

Mr. Anthony started taking guitar lesson at the age of seven. In Junior High School he started taking tenor saxophone lessons and by high school was playing guitar, saxophone, and piano, composing songs, learning recording technology, as well as recording original pop songs.

Paul began studying at VanderCook college of music in 1992 where he earned his bachelor degree. While there he learned to teach 17 instruments with a band directing focus. He’s primary instrument was saxophone while studying under James Kasprzyk.  While in college Paul also continued his pop career playing bass and recording with local bands. During his spare time Paul taught private woodwind lessons at Full Staff School of Music in St. Charles, Il. He has also taught privately at Southwest Music in Oak Lawn. Paul graduated with his Master degree with a band focus from VanderCook College of Music in 2008.

Mr. Anthony was a judge for woodwinds and brass for the IMA (Illinois Music Association) contest for 2006-2007 competition years.   In 1999 – 2008, Paul formed and ran The Windy City Orchestra. Windy City played for wedding and corporate functions, and was a 10 piece corporate band.

Mr. Anthony has taught band and general music in a variety of school settings since 1997. Most currently he taught in the Chicago public schools from 2002-2010 and at St. Turibius School from 2010-2012.

Currently Paul is teaching privately, performing live, and booking recording sessions, as well as working as a worship leader at First Church of God, Oak Lawn, Il.