Avo Randruut has a love for song writing and music production. He draws from his experience in African, Brazilian, Latin, Reggae, Funk, American Roots, New Orleans Second-line and Jazz to create innovative music. He has been teaching in Chicago for a number of years and has a strong rapport with his students and schools. Career highlights include: several appearances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, performing with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble at Millennium Park in Chicago, composing complete musical scores for several musical productions at major theater/performance spaces in Chicago, an MA in Ethnomusicology, artist in residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Musical Director for the DePaul University African Music Ensemble, and having been recognized for a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Cassandra Fox is a Board-Certified Music Therapist and Music Educator throughout greater Chicago and holds a masters degree in music therapy from The University of Kansas. She plays piano, guitar and sings and currently teaches within the childrens' group piano program and in the the youth & adult piano program at the Old Town School of Folk Music. She has worked in special education, social services and healthcare settings throughout her career as a music therapist. Much of her music therapy work has included children, adolescents and teens with behavioral, developmental, socio-emotional, and cognitive needs as well as those on the autism spectrum. She also works with adults of various ages with both mental illness and older adults with various stages of dementia & Alzheimer’s disease. She maintains a private piano studio with children, adolescents and teenagers and hosts piano recitals bi-annually for her students to have performance opportunities. She holds an undergraduate degree in music/communications with an emphasis in voice, and sang in The Apollo Chorus of Chicago for 7 years.
Charlotte Rivard-Hoster is a music director, pianist, and educator with a deep love of stories. As a teaching artist and accompanist,Charlotte has been on staff with the Chicago Academy for the Arts, Lake Forest College, Roosevelt University’s CCPA, Merit School of Music’s Bridges program, and this fall of 2018 will begin her seventh year with the little musicians at Kellman Elementary, teaching general music through Foundations of Music. She’s a believer in our innate ability to create, and in giving little hands some lasting tools. Outside of the classroom, Charlotte is an active music director, conductor, keyboard programmer, and pianist, working in Chicago’s busy theatre community. Favorite Music Direction and performance credits include Legally Blonde (Paramount), Fun Home (Victory Gardens), Marry Me a Little (Porchlight), Urinetown (BoHo), Bat Boy (Griffin), Heathers (Kokandy), Methtacular! (About Face), The Light in The Piazza (Berklee).
Jesse Livingston is a Teaching Artist with over ten years experience providing music and cultural education. With an emphasis on Hiphop, music production and songwriting are joined in a cultural context, encouraging a critical lense on social issues and self awareness. With Foundations Of Music, he continues his work on the front lines with at-risk youth in underfunded schools with little to no arts/music programs.
Loretta is an audio engineer specializing in sound for the healing arts. A Boston native, she has nurtured her music career for 15 years, earning a Bachelors of Music from the University of Massachusetts, Masters of Music Technology from New York University, Masters of Business Administration, and currently working toward becoming a Board Certified Music Therapist. In the classroom, Loretta has a passion for interactive project-based learning. She has had the privilege of teaching music at the world-renown program, Sistema Ravinia; run audio production workshops for children at Foundations of Music; provided DJ services for private and corporate events on the east coast; directed an all girls choir for the nonprofit outreach program, Super 7 Girls; and run private classes as a featured teaching artist both in-studio and online. She began as an Adjunct Professor in Audio Production in 2012, and uses that opportunity to transform the face of audio production to merge with other industries. Outside of the studio, you can find Loretta performing as a Jazz Vocalist, working as a Master Cosmetologist, and helping others as a Reiki Practitioner.
Melissa Grant is a pianist and educator, originally from the Chicago suburbs. Her undergraduate degree in music (piano emphasis) was completed in 2001 at North Park University, Chicago. At VanderCook College of Music, Melissa completed her Master's Degree of Music Education and Certification, with a choral emphasis, in 2017. Ms. Grant has performed as a soloist and accompanist in the US, Asia, and in Europe. She directs her own women's choir (Nordic Voices of Chicago), teaches private piano students, and teaches piano and choir at Guerin College Prep High School in River Grove. In addition, Ms. Grant works in the non-profit sector, bringing music programs to underserved communities in Chicago.
Mike "Hero" Herrero, a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has been the Director of Production and Songwriting for Foundations of Music since 2008. In addition to teaching production and liberal arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. Hero is a very accomplished music producer in his own right. In his 17 years in the music industry he has worked for Harpo Productions, VH1, MTV, Telepictures, Universal Sweden, Sony Sweden and many more. Mike is a captivating presence in the classroom with a true passion for arts education. To view his TEDx talk on Student Directed Learning, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT9HlQmGABI
Mykele Deville - Poet In Residence
Mykele Deville is a rapper, poet, actor, teaching artist, and author from the west side of Chicago. His solo hip-hop and poetic recordings include Peace, Fam (2017), Each One Teach One (2016), and Super Predator (2016). He has performed on stages across Chicago and led workshops on hip-hop and identity. His work has been profiled in the Chicago Tribune, The Reader, Consequence of Sound, Vocalo radio, and NPR radio. He received a BFA in Performance From the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Mentor and company member for The Yard Theater Company, working with youth. He is also a founding collective member of Growing Concerns Poetry Collective. They released their inaugural album WE HERE: Thank You For Noticing (2017) and a joint book of poetry entitled Five Fifths, published by Candor Arts. Mykele's acting work is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.