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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

VanderCook College of Music

Board of Trustees

George Quinlan Jr., Chairman

George Quinlan Jr

George Quinlan Jr. serves as the President of Quinlan & Fabish Music Company. In addition to serving on the VanderCook board, he also is Treasurer for The Midwest Clinic, a board member of the Music Achievement Council, and ArtSpeaks 204-Music Advocacy Organization.  He has served as President of NASMD-National Association of School Music Dealers and as a board member of NAMM-National Association of Music Merchants and the South Shore Brass Band. Quinlan has Bachelor of Music Cum Laude from the University of Miami in Florida.

Herald “Chip” Johnson, Vice Chairman (MMEd '07)

Herald “Chip” Johnson
A Chicago-based native of Chicago’s South Side, Herald “Chip” Johnson (MMEd ’07) began his undergraduate studies in music performance at Fisk University in Nashville. While attending Fisk, he toured for three years with the internationally acclaimed Fisk Jubilee Singers, under the direction of Professor Matthew Kennedy. His Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance was completed at Roosevelt University in Chicago; he later received a Master of Education degree from DePaul University in 1999, and an MMEd degree (with an emphasis in choral conducting) in 2007 from VanderCook. He also holds a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Curriculum and Administration from National Louis University received in June 2008. In June 2021, he completed and defended his dissertation entitled, “UNDERSTANDING A FAMILIAL MENTORSHIP MODEL IN CULTIVATION OF LEADERS WHO SERVE”.
 
Johnson’s value of education afforded him opportunities to begin teaching at Crane Tech High School in 1994, later moving to John Hope College Prep High School in 1996, where he remained for 14 years. In 2009, his love for teaching, learning and educational administration has afforded him other leadership opportunities, serving as an assistant principal of the Matteson Elementary School (SD162), and the founding director of the Southland College Prep Charter High School (Richton Park, IL). In 2012, Johnson returned to the Chicago Public Schools to serve as Deputy Chief of Schools for the North/Northwest High School Network, the Garfield Humboldt Elementary School Network, and Chief of Schools for Network 6, managing seven high schools and 31 elementary schools in the central part of the city’s school district. 
 
In July 2021, Dr. Johnson retired from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) after serving as the Chief Officer for the Office of Family and Community Engagement in Education (FACE2) where he managed the Office of Local School Council Relations, the FACE management team, the Office of Faith Based Initiatives, and the thirteen Parent University programs across the District, and the Volunteer Program department.

 

Currently, he serves as the Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of District 162 and the CEO of Southland College Prep Charter High School in the south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.

John Huston, Immediate Past Chairman

John Huston
John Huston is a partner at Tressler, LLP, in downtown Chicago.  Huston has established himself as an expert in all areas of tort litigation with an emphasis on complex products and professional liability in the fields of architecture and engineering. Huston has a bachelor’s degree in industrial administration and a BE in electrical engineering, both from Yale University, and a JD with a concentration in litigation and administrative law from Loyola University of the Chicago School of Law.
 
Huston served as a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserves, where he was the Electrical Officer on the flagships of the NATO (2nd) and Mediterranean (6th) fleets, and an engineering instructor at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center as part of the Nuclear Power Program. Huston is also a percussionist and has been a VanderCook board member since 1998.

SohYoon Atac, Secretary

SohYoon Atac

SohYoon Atac received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Chicago, graduating with honors in three years. During her time there, she translated classical Korean poetry into English for the university’s literary publication. She received her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law and later founded Atom Law Group, specializing in immigration services.

Steve Beck

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Steven Beck has been in the architecture | engineer | construction (AEC) industry since graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology-Architecture in ‘89. He has excelled at a variety of roles including founding an award-winning design | build collaborative and establishing a buyer change department that managed 500-semi-custom residential units annually. Steve is currently developing a quality assurance program aimed at reducing the risk of construction rework for a Chicago-based nation-wide general contractor.

Steve brings a background in providing guidance, direction, and assistance for the resolution of difficult project design, budget, and constructability challenges on a wide variety of project types. Projects have included the adaptive reuse of two separate churches to condominiums and an 80,000 SF warehouse to contemporary church as well as new construction senior housing communities and multi-family residential developments. Work has taken him nation-wide providing a wealth of construction knowledge in techniques and geographical influences.

Steve volunteered his services to a Chicago Lawndale church undertaking an extensive and desperately needed re-roofing project by establishing realistic budgets, negotiating contracts along with reasonable unit pricing, and ultimately overseeing construction. He has also volunteered design services for a proto-typical school for Angola that was used to build 106 schools that ultimately serviced +30,000 students.

In ’04 Steve returned to the Illinois Institute of Technology as an adjunct professor of architecture until transitioning to coaching/mentoring multi-disciplinary student teams in IIT’s Interprofessional Studies & IPRO Program in ’09. This mentoring role took him to Uganda with a student team collaborating with coffee farmers to develop resources that would provide them with greater control of their products and therefore future. He also mentored two Chicago-area high-school students in a summer-long science and technology education and internship experience through the Academy for Future Leaders in Science and Technology.

He was an active supporter of his 4-childrens’ involvement in bands, orchestras, choirs, musicals and marching bands and he continues to support his wife in her music education career and active choral work.

Scott Casagrande

Casagrande

Scott Casagrande was Director of Bands at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL for 22 years and retired in June, 2021 after completing 33 years of teaching in Illinois Public Schools.  He taught high school, middle school and elementary students in suburban, urban and rural settings over the course of his teaching career.

Mr. Casagrande currently serves Music for All as a Music Education Consultant coordinating the National Festival, Affiliate Regional Music Festivals and Affiliate Marching Band events.  He is also a consultant with MusicFirst software, as well as an administrator for the Dr. William P. Foster Project involving CBDNA, NBA and Music for All serving bands in historically under-served and under-resourced communities.   He is a Past-President of the National Band Association.

Under Mr. Casagrande’s direction, the John Hersey Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble performed as a featured ensemble in the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.  Ensembles under Mr. Casagrande’s direction were selected to perform in  24 Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festivals, two Illinois Music Educators Association Conventions and four Music for All National Concert Band Festivals. The Hersey Symphonic Band was named the Illinois Superstate Concert Band Festival Honor Band four times and the band program was awarded the Sudler Flag of Honor by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.  Jazz Ensembles under Mr. Casagrande’s direction were named Honor Band many times at both the Purdue Jazz Festival and Jazz in the Meadows, the two largest jazz festivals in the Midwest.  The Hersey Marching Huskies were consistent state finalists and named Class 4A Champions four times during Mr. Casagrande’s tenure.  Mr. Casagrande was inducted into the State of Illinois Marching Championship Hall of Fame in 2022.  

Loren Chernoff

Loren Chernoff

Loren Chernoff is a Speech/Language and Learning Disabilities Therapist who has worked in public, private, and alternative schools, working with children with special needs, gifted children, socio-economically disadvantaged children, and socio-economically privileged children from preschool to age 21—She is currently working with music therapists when related to speech/language issues at Lawrence Hall, a social service agency on Chicago’s north side—She received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and her master’s degree from DePaul University.

Andrew Collins (BMEd '06)

Andrew Collins 2022
Andrew Collins was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. A 2002 graduate of Pike High School, Andrew knew early on that he wanted to share his passion for music by pursuing a career in music education. After high school, he enrolled at the VanderCook College of Music, where he graduated as Valedictorian/Summa cum laude in the spring of 2006.
 
Andrew served as Director of Choirs and Music Theory/AP Music Theory at H.D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin, IL from 2006 – 2011. Choral ensembles under his direction received many honors – including two invitations to perform at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference (2008, 2011) and an invitation to perform at the National School Board Association’s National Conference, held in San Diego, CA (2009).
In the fall of 2011, he began serving as one of two choral directors at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, IL, where he also taught Music Theory, AP Music Theory, and string technique courses. A tireless servant to the profession of music education, Andrew served as the ILMEA District IX Chorus Representative from 2011 until 2014.
 
Andrew made the challenging decision to leave the field of music education in the fall of 2014 to pursue a Masters of Arts in Arts Administration at Indiana University. Driven by a relentless pursuit to make a global difference through the arts, Andrew’s primary research focus was on cultural policy, creative placemaking, and the implications of different arts funding models.
 
After graduation, Andrew began working at Conner Prairie Museum in February of 2016. During his tenure at Conner Prairie, Andrew has been an integral part of the Development, later Advancement, team in securing new, and sustainable, funding to help increase access to the museum’s renowned programming, create innovative new exhibits and experiences, and grow the museum’s physical footprint through capital expansion projects.
Andrew currently resides in McCordsville, IN with his wife Courtney, their son Theodore, and their cat, Luna.
He is honored and humbled to be a Trustee for the VanderCook College of Music, and is excited to give back to an institution that has given him so much.

Robert Conrad

headshot of Robert Conrad

Rob Conrad never really envisioned how far his advertising career might take him, despite the fact that less than three months into his very first job he found himself in Hollywood shooting commercials for one of the world’s foremost advertisers.

Working for the Mad Men

Since then, Rob went on to work as a copywriter and creative executive at the nation’s leading advertising agencies, where he helped develop hundreds of original selling ideas for a wide range of brands. His résumé includes DDB, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and JWT, where he built a portfolio that includes award-winning work for United Airlines, McDonald’s, Allstate and the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, plus packaged goods work for Kellogg’s, P & G and Unilever that helped his assigned products achieve number one status in their respective categories.

From Beauty Care to Healthcare

In 2002, Rob was recruited to bring his conceptual skills to the field of healthcare marketing, where he navigated the regulatory landscape of the industry to create wide-ranging campaigns that successfully launched what have become showcase pharma brands.

The Rewards of Academia

From 2009-2018, Rob served on the faculty of Northwestern University as an adjunct lecturer, where he enjoyed teaching a class on Message Strategy at the Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing.

An Entrepreneurial Adventure

In 2010, he teamed up with former Burnett colleague Clay Purdy to found Canteen Creative Communications. Their original client roster included Lowe’s, Sports Illustrated, CareerBuilder and several Chicago-based startups. After successfully completing a strategic communications plan to support a capital campaign for NorthShore University Healthcare System, Rob and Clay  shifted their focus to helping not-for-profits achieve their fundraising goals. Clients included the McCormick and Medill Schools at Northwestern University, the Cancer Research Foundation at the University of Chicago, and Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. In 2018, Rob and Clay published a book sharing their experiences, entitled Inspiring Generosity: Marketing Techniques for Visionary Fundraisers.

Giving Back

In 2019, Rob left Canteen to pursue some long-held personal passion projects, which include writing, painting, music and philanthropy. He has served as a board-level advisor for a London-based media company, a Silicon-Valley based private equity fund and several local social organizations and charities, including the Art Institute of Chicago. A skilled public speaker, he has been interviewed by numerous local news outlets, as well as Prime Time Live, 20/20, and all the major trade publications.

Lauren Erickson-Vega Alumni Association Representative

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Lauren Erickson-Vega resides in Valparaiso, Indiana. She works for River Forest Community Schools in New Chicago, Indiana teaching at both the Middle and High Schools. For the Ingots she wears many hats in the school district teaching Choir and Theater and acting as the head varsity Track and Field as well as Cross Country coach for the High School. 

Lauren received her undergraduate in Choral and Instrumental Music Education from Indiana State University in 2005. She later went on to receive her Masters in Choral Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in 2011. 

Outside of the classroom Lauren keeps very active, still performing on tuba and singing in a wide variety of groups. She also coaches and participates in adult and youth running teams in NW Indiana. Sigma Alpha Iota is also a big part of her life having served in almost every office of her local alumnae chapter in Lake County Indiana. She is married to Michael Vega and has a house full of fur babies. 

Stanley Dietzel

Stanley Dietzel

Stanley Dietzel has served as the Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors for 34 years and as a consultant at Northern Trust. Dietzel has a B.A. in Philosophy from Carleton College and an MBA from University of Chicago in Finance.

Stan is actively engaged with his community. He has offered his knowledge in finances at the Chicago Center for Economic Progress as a tax prep volunteer, and mentors at College Bound Opportunities in Highland Park. Furthermore, he supports the local environment as a River Steward for the Lake County Forest Preserves and as a Gardener at Heller Nature Center in Highland Park and the Chicago Botanical Garden. His astute knowledge and experience in finance provides valuable insight to the Board of Trustees, but his love of music and personal connection to VanderCook are what truly brought him to the College. 

 

Liz Dunne

Liz Dunne

Liz Dunne currently leads marketing and consumer research for Uber in Chicago. She previously worked at Benenson Strategy Group in Los Angeles, where she led all aspects of research to develop compelling communications, from proposal development and the execution of research and quantitative/qualitative data analysis. Prior to Benenson, Dunne worked at MSHC Partners where she executed direct mail and online persuasion, membership, and IE programs for federal, state-, and county-level candidates and organizations like Rock the Vote, AFL-CIO, National Education Association, and Sierra Club. She also spent several years at a small government affairs shop in Washington, DC, where she focused on intellectual property protection for the fashion design industry as well as funding opportunities for important health care IT and transportation projects. A Chicago native, Dunne holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Saul Friedgood

Saul Friedgood

Saul Friedgood is Executive Vice President of Eastman Music Company, a leading maker and supplier of fine stringed instruments. He earned his BA in political science at American University.

Jon Harris

Jon Harris

Jon Harris is President of Harris-Teller Inc., a full-line music products distributor based in Chicago. Harris served on the board of directors for the International Music Products Association from 2008 to 2010. He is past president and current historian of the Music Distributors Association and a member of the National Association of School Music Dealers. He also served on the Latin School of Chicago Alumni Board from 2008 to 2011. Harris received a BA from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1992.

Hermene Hartman

Hartman
Hermene Hartman is one of the most significant and influential black women in media and American publishing.  She is a rounded media personality addressing the soul, spirit and sensibility of America with insight, curiosity, historical context, wit, and reality.  Her behavioral scientist education is replicated in her writings and commentaries.  Hartman holds four college degrees (sociology, philosophy of education, psychology and business).  She was Vice Chancellor of External Affairs at City Colleges of Chicago, the nation’s third largest community college system and a professor of behavioral science disciplines.   
 
Hartman’s commentaries transform mindsets, literally. She broadens the black conversation to include dialogue and analysis offering deep thoughts and opinion from entertainment, the political scene, to taboo topics surrounding racial and social issues.  As an intense yet thoughtful interviewer, Harman’s style has been described as somewhere between Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, always asking the “right questions” and providing the most insightful comments.  Hartman is often called upon by media outlets such as The O’Reilly Factor, CNBC, FOX, WVON, ABC, NBC, and WGN Radio and TV to comment on politics and election night analysis.  
 
Hartmen is also founder and publisher of NDIGO, a weekly Chicago newspaper founded in 1989.  She is sought as a lecturer, guest speaker, moderator for media expertise, business, and comment on popular culture. Hartman is the author of three books: A Lasting Impression, A Collection of Photos of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; and Love Moods, a book of original poetry. She and David Smallwood are the co-authors of NDIGO LEGACY:  Black Luxe 110, a collection of profiles from Ndigo newspaper which provides a modern portrait of Black Chicago and those who have impacted it. 

Mark Heckler

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Mark Heckler bio coming soon.

Dr. Mead Killion

Dr. Mead Killion

Dr. Mead Killion has spent 21 years in the hearing aid industry, and founded Etymotic Research, Inc., in 1983. Dr. Killion helped develop the first subminiature ceramic microphone, subminiature electrets microphone, and subminiature directional microphones. He is probably best known for developing earmold coupling systems to improve both the useful bandwidth and the sound quality of hearing aids. Dr. Killion earned degrees in mathematics from Wabash College and the Illinois Institute of Technology, and completed his doctorate in audiology at Northwestern University. Dr. Killion has taught and given lectures on audiology around the world and is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the Audio Engineering Society. He has been presented with many awards in appreciation of his contributions to the field of hearing. Dr. Killion is also an accomplished choir director, violinist and jazz pianist.

Paul Lavender

Paul Lavender

Paul Lavender serves as Vice President of Instrumental Publications for Hal Leonard Corporation. He directs the product development and marketing of Hal Leonard’s extensive catalog of performance publications for orchestra, concert band, marching band, and jazz ensemble, as well as instrumental books, collections and methods. His longtime association with renowned film composer John Williams has produced the prestigious John Williams Signature Series, featuring Williams’ authentic film scores and concert music for professional orchestras. In addition, Paul has served as music supervisor and arranger for several of Williams’ concerts and special events. Also a prolific writer, Paul has contributed more than 1,200 arrangements and compositions to the educational and concert repertoire, and he continues to be one of the most widely played writers today.

David Mann

David Mann
David Mann is a retired lawyer, formerly a partner with the national law firm of Holland &Knight LLP. He was also active in the Chicago and American bar associations, special counsel to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law.
 
David was a director of The Cliff Dwellers and president of The Caxton Club.

Christopher Motogawa

Christopher Motogawa

Christopher Motogawa is a Director at Quest Turnaround Advisors LLC.  Quest provides business consulting, crisis management and turnaround advisory services to company stakeholders. He attended Northwestern University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1994, and DePaul University, where he earned his CPIM Certification in 1996. Previously, Motogawa was a managing director for The Brandenburg Group, Inc. He was also the chief financial officer of MotorCoach Industries, Inc., corporate controller at SourceLink, Inc., and principal for Harmonie Coffee and Beverage. Throughout his career, he has served in various financial and accounting positions. Motogawa also serves on the Board of Directors of Changing Worlds, a nonprofit educational arts organization that works with students to improve literacy through community-building writing and arts programs. He has been on the VanderCook Board since 2007.

Linda Crabtree Powell

Linda Crabtree Powell
Linda Crabtree Powell is an experienced and noted choral director.  She has taught levels from kindergarten through adult seniors.  Linda founded the highly regarded BRAVO! (Band, Repertoire, Art, Vocal, Orchestra) arts program at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Oak Park which has now been in the school district for over 25 years.  While later teaching at Trinity High School in River Forest her all girl’s choir performed in Canada, Ireland and Spain along with special invitations from the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently, Linda is conducting a large community choir in Oak Park & River Forest which has members from ages 55+ and has performances in December and May.  
 
Linda graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music with Distinction and a Master of Music in Piano from the American Conservatory of Music.   She has studied piano with Mark Wessel, Dimitri Pomperno and Mary Sauer and done extensive performing and accompanying.  She has had artist residencies in Rome at the American Academy and a teaching sabbatical in Cortona, (Tuscany) Italy.  Her book, Compelling Choral Concerts, is on the art of choral programming and  published by GIA Publications. It includes 13 creative choral programs with narration for high school and a guide in planning a themed choral program. 
 
She is pleased to be a member of the board of trustees at VanderCook College of Music.

Adrienne Thompson

Adrienne Thompson
Adrienne Thompson is the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services at Merit School of Music, a nationally accredited music school that seeks to remove barriers to high quality music education. She is also the advisor to Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a 3.5 million dollar program designed to ultimately change the face of professional orchestra in America so that more black and Latinx musicians are included. CMPI finds the most talented and motivated young musicians in Chicago and then removes all barriers (financial or other) that could prevent these young people from achieving the highest level of orchestral performance. 
 
Thompson is a veteran in the music education field. She has held a leadership role in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s acclaimed Talent Development Program, which also supports Latinx and black students seeking careers in classical music. Thompson was also a high school-level orchestra director in Georgia, and holds a degree in flute performance from Chicago’s Sherwood Conservatory of Music and has an MBA in finance from Indiana University.

Chris Vanderwall

Chris Vanderwall
Chris Vanderwall (BMEd ’06) is the Director of Bands at Plainfield Central High School in 2018. Prior to PCHS, Vanderwall was Director of Bands at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Plainfield. He earned BMEd degree at VanderCook in 2006 while studying percussion with Kevin Lepper, and earned a Master of Music Education degree at the University of Illinois in 2011, studying percussion with William Moersch, Ricardo Flores and Bolokada Conde. At Plainfield Central, Vanderwall’s responsibilities include teaching AP Music Theory, directing the Wildcat Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Musical Pit Orchestra, and Percussion Ensembles in addition to co-directing the Symphonic Bands.
 
Vanderwall continues to maintain an active role in the music community. He served as the District IX Junior Level Band Representative for the Illinois Music Education Association and plays timpani with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. Vanderwall also maintains professional memberships with the Percussive Arts Society, National Band Association, and the National Association for Music Education in addition to proudly endorsing Innovative Percussion and Etymotic Research ear protection.

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

© 2023 VanderCook College of Music. All Rights Reserved.
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