Monarch Winds features Laurel Tempas (flute), Robert Gordon (oboe), Mary Payne (clarinet), Paulette Velaquez (horn) and Jie Chen (bassoon). As the in-resident woodwind quintet at Lewis University, Monarch Winds provides cultural enrichment opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and communitites in the Chicagoland area.
Laurel Tempas is flute instructor at Lewis University and performs in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. She is a graduate of Northwestern University where she received degrees in Music Education and Flute Performance. Her flute professors included Walfrid Kujala and Emil Eck, both former piccoloists with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Laurel currently performs with the Symphony of Oak Park River Forest, as well as Salt Creek Sinfonietta. She constitutes half of the flute and harp duo Heather Harmonies, which performs Celtic music in several local venues. Laurel and her husband are fervently involved in competitive ballroom dancing.
Robert Gordon studied music at Indiana University in Bloomington, earning a performance degree in oboe. He serves as a technique teacher for junior high and high school music students in Westmont’s District 201. He also maintains a studio for private oboe instruction. He has served for many years as principal oboist in the Downers Choral Society Orchestra and remains an active freelance player throughout the Chicago area. Mr. Gordon is a principal owner of Trend Machinery, Inc, which designs and builds custom automation machinery. The mixture of music, business, teaching and engineering, in addition to a busy family life, provides a diverse and rewarding set of challenges that he is grateful for.
Mary L. Payne holds a master’s degree in clarinet performance from Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IL and a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance from Baldwin-Wallace University Conservatory of Music in Cleveland. She is principal clarinet with New Philharmonic and the DuPage Opera Theatre Orchestra. Mary has been a featured soloist with New Philharmonic, the Fox Valley Symphony, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and the Wheaton Band. She is a clarinet instructor at Lewis University and maintains active private teaching studios, for woodwind instruction, in Wheaton and Romeoville. Mary is a member of the International Clarinet Association and the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors. She is listed in Who’s Who in America. Mary’s principal teachers include Dr. Alan P. Squire, Henry Gulick, Robert Marcellus, former principal clarinet of the Cleveland Orchestra and J. Laurie Bloom, bass clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Paulette Velazquez holds a master’s degree in horn performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a bachelor’s degree in horn performance from the University of Illinois. Paulette is an active freelance musician playing regularly with Chicago Sinfonietta, Joffrey Ballet, the New Philharmonic, and at various theaters in Chicago. She also is in her third year teaching the after-school music program at the Joliet Montessori School. Paulette maintains a very active private teaching schedule, teaching students from the Joliet and Plainfield area schools. Before returning to Chicago, Paulette was principal horn of La Filarmonica de Jalisco for two years in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Her principal teachers include A. David Krehbiel, former principal horn, San Francisco Symphony, and Dan Gingrich, associate principal, Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
After graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1982, Jie Chen became a bassoonist with both the Shanghai Conservatory Westlake Woodwind Quintet and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. In 1986, Jie Chen received a full scholarship from the Northern Illinois University and studied bassoon from Mr. James Birkenstock, the principal bassoonist at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Jie received the Master Degree in Music and the Performer’s Certificate in 1988 and 1990 respectively. During those years when Jie was a student at NIU, he was the principal bassoon at the Rockford Symphony Orchestra. In the early 90s, Jie was active in the Chicago area as a freelance bassoonist, He had played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Concertante di Chicago and Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Jie Chen is an IT Manager at the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Meanwhile Jie still keeps his music career active. In 2007, Jie was invited by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China to hold a woodwind quintet concert with his original quintet friends from various countries now for the Conservatory’s 80th Year anniversary celebration. In December 2009 and December 2013, Jie was invited by the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and DuPage Youth Symphony Orchestra respectively to play Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major, Op. 84 as a bassoon soloist.