The music faculty at Lewis University is composed of very talented musicians and dedicated teachers. In addition to collaborative classes, music students benefit from close interaction with faculty members outside of class. The music faculty are very active in their profession through performance, presentations, and scholarly research which also greatly benefits students.
Mike McFerron is a professor of music and composer-in-residence at Lewis University in the Chicago area. He has been on the faculty of Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and the Kansas City Kansas Community College, and he has served as resident composer at the Chamber Music Conference of the East/Composers’ Forum in Bennington, Vt. McFerron is founder and co-director of Electronic Music Midwest and serves on the board of the directors for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra and is a past Chair of the Executive Committee for the Society of Composers, Inc.
McFerron’s music has received critical acclaim and recognition. His music has been performed by the Remarkable Theater Brigade (Carnegie Hall), the Louisville Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Cantus among many others. His music has been featured on numerous SCI National Conferences, SEAMUS National Conferences, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Brooklyn College Conservatory’s Electroacoustic Music Festival, the MANTIS (UK) festival, ÉuCue “Plugged Festival” (Montreal), University of Richmond’s 3rd Practice Festival, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Denison University TUTTI Festival, Ball State University New Music Festival, Florida State University New Music Festival, Spark Conference, Annual Florida International Electroacoustic Music Festival, Spring in Havanna, the MAVerick Festival, several SCI regional conferences, and concerts and radio broadcasts across the U.S. and throughout Europe. He has written music specifically for Cantus, SUNY-Oswego, GéNIA, Andrew Spencer, Julia Bentley, the Chamber Music Conference of the East/Composers’ Forum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Lewis University, Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Lawrence Sisk is professor of music, and from 1988 to 2017 he served as Chair of the Department of Music. Sisk studied voice and bassoon at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and holds a Bachelor's degree in music history from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He went on to earn MM and PhD in historical musicology at Northwestern University. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Italy. Since 1991 he has conducted the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. He also conducts the Lewis University Choir and has held posts as choirmaster in churches of every denomination. His wide-ranging scholarly interests comprise the Homeric epics and Dante's Divine Comedy as well as other literature that has inspired composers.
Tenor/soprano saxophonist and Chicago native Joel Moore specializes in both jazz and rhythm & blues. He received an M.M. in Jazz Pedagogy from the Berklee College of Music and The Boston Conservatory in 2000. While living in Boston, he studied with Bob Berg, Bill Pierce and Jeff Harrington. Joel also performed at the House of Blues and Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA and toured throughout New England with a variety of ensembles.
Prior to Berklee, Joel lived in Louisiana and began graduate studies at the University of New Orleans. During this time, he studied and performed with Ed Petersen, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Mark Whitfield and Victor Goines. He also performed regularly in the legendary French Quarter with a variety of jazz and R&B bands including a year-long stint as saxophonist during the weekly Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues.
From 1992-1996, Joel studied at Western Illinois University and earned a B.S. in Media Communications. During this time, he juggled academics and music as a member of the Jazz Studio Orchestra directed by the late Dale Hopper. With JSO, Joel performed alongside guest artists Arturo Sandoval, Maynard Ferguson, Tim Hagans and Jim Snidero. He also toured throughout the United States and Europe and recorded The Third Degree (Sea breeze Records) in Nashville with acclaimed jazz trombonist John Fedchock. The compact disc The Third Degree received four stars in Downbeat Magazine.
Since relocating to the Chicago area in 2000, Joel has performed extensively at many of Chicagos live-music venues including The Jazz Showcase, Andys Jazz Club, Pete Millers, Buddy Guys Legends, Green Dolphin Street, Green Mill, Underground Wonder Bar, The Note and Elbo Room. He has recorded and performed with Orbert Davis, Paul Wertico and opened for the Yellowjackets. As a music educator, his students are regularly selected for ILMEA, IMEC All-State Jazz and have gone on to receive music scholarships at Northwestern University and Berklee College of Music. He is also on the faculties of Benedictine University, Aurora University and Lewis University since 2003.
Jeremy Landig received his Bachelors degree in Music Education from Millikin University in Decatur, IL and his M.M. in Choral Conducting from Western Michigan University. He has been fortunate to sing in acclaimed choirs and vocal jazz ensembles under the direction of Brad Holmes, Steve Widenhofer, Joe Miller, and Steve Zegree. He taught high school choir for ten years and frequently serves as Music Director for regional musical theater productions.
In the area of vocal jazz, Mr. Landig has directed five IMEA district ensembles since 2006, accompanied at the state level, and recently completed two terms as chair of Vocal Jazz for the Illinois Choral Directors Association. He stays busy as a frequently commissioned arranger and composer for high school and collegiate jazz, concert, and show choirs throughout the country.
Mary L. Payne holds a master's degree in clarinet performance from Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington and a bachelor's degree in clarinet performance from Baldwin-Wallace University Conservatory of Music, 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.
Laurel Tempas is the flute instructor at Lewis University and at several area junior high and senior high schools. She is principal flute of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, and also performs with the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra and the Wheaton Symphony. She is a former principal flute of the Wheaton Municipal Band.
Laurel has been an adjudicator for several area music contests, competitions and festivals. A graduate of Northwestern University, she studied flute and piccolo with Walfrid Kujala and received degrees in Music Education and Flute Performance.
Laurel and her husband are fervently involved in competitive amateur ballroom dancing. They recently have made finals in their dance categories at the USA Dance National Championships.
Steve Jacobson, jazz guitarist, composer and educator, lives and works in the Chicago area. Currently, he is adjunct faculty at Joliet Junior College and Lewis University. The heart of Steve's work is in jazz although he has also performed professionally in rock, blues, R&B, country, and musical theatre. He is a founding member of the Southland Jazz Ensemble, a professional jazz big band based in the south suburbs. Steve also performs with the Joliet Junior College Jazz Faculty Quintet, the Prairie State College Faculty Jazz Ensemble, in the duo FourOnSix with bassist Phil Brown, and leads various other ensembles under his own name.
Parts Unknown, Steve's debut album, was recorded with the assistance of a grant received from the City of Chicago and the Illinois Arts Access Program. Other recordings include Darkness Into Light (a caldera productions), with Phil Brown; Big Band Basie and Clark Terry's Express (Reference Recordings) with the DePaul Jazz Ensemble I; and Olympia Live (Cadence Jazz Records), with trumpeter Barbara Donald.
A native of Tacoma, Washington, Steve earned a Bachelor of Music from Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle), studying with Gary Peacock, Julian Priester and Dave Peterson; and completed a Master of Music in Jazz Composition at DePaul University (Chicago) under the guidance of Paul McKee, Bob Palmieri, and Bob Lark.
With over 40 years of experience on acoustic and electric bass, Bob Ferraris consistently demonstrates uncommon versatility and musical energy. A native of Joliet, IL., Bob began his musical journey initially on alto saxophone before switching to bass. Since then he has studied with Ted Sparks (Stan Kenton Orchestra), Harold Siegal (Chicago Symphony Orchestra and NBC radio and television), Warren Benfield (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Brad Opland (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and Joe Guastafeste, Principle of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Beginning in 1985, Bob was selected to co-principle the bass section in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and held the position for four years. Previously, he worked as a staff musician for Disneyland and performed with Clark Terry and other notable jazz artists.
Bob studied music at Northern University, University of Illinois, and Lewis University, and is presently on staff at Lewis University as an instructor for string and electric bass, directing their Bass Ensemble and working with pep band, jazz combo, and as lower string coach. Bob is also a busy freelance musician and performs and records frequently with a vast array of ensembles including the Rockford Symphony, Northwest Indiana Symphony and the New Philharmonic, ensemble in residence at McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage.
Chicago native David Govertsen has been active as a professional singer for fifteen years, portraying a wide variety of opera’s low-voiced heroes, villains, and buffoons. An alumnus of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, he has performed ten roles with the company, most recently appearing as Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and King Priam in Les Troyens. This past season he also appeared at Santa Fe Opera as Frank in Die Fledermaus, and he created the role of Stoever in Stewart Copeland’s The Invention of Morel for Chicago Opera Theater.
As a concert soloist Mr. Govertsen has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival among many others. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera apprentice programs and holds degrees from Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and the College of DuPage. In addition to teaching private lessons at Lewis University, Mr. Govertsen is also on faculty at Valparaiso University and the College of DuPage.
Elaine Swearingen is a Chicago native and a classically trained soprano. In August of 1999, Elaine joined the Lewis University Music Department teaching applied voice to both music majors and non-music majors.
Elaine holds a M.A. degree in Vocal Pedagogy (1998) and a B.A. degree in Music Education with High Honors (1987) from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
As a concert soloist, Mrs. Swearingen's performances have included: Ludvig van Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 (Mater Glorioso), Modest Mussorgsy's Boris Godunov, and Richard Strauss' Electra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Elaine's performances have included opera, oratorio and classical concerts with several Midwest orchestras. Some of her solo performances include: Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Cantata, Johann Sebastian Bach's Magnificat in D Major, Johannes Brahms Requiem, Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Gabriel Faure's Requiem, George Frideric Handel's Messiah, Joseph Haydn's Creation, Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah, Gioachino Rossini's Petit Missa Solemnis, Franz Schubert's Mass in G, and Antonio Vivaldi's Gloria.
In addition to her work as a soloist, Mrs. Swearingen has appeared in several opera scenes including the following roles: 'Monica' in Menotti's Medium, as 'Annina' in Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street, as 'Dido' in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and as the 'Mother' in Barab's Little Red Riding Hood.
In 2010 and 2014 Mrs. Swearingen was the "Sounds of Christmas' soloist at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet with the Joliet American Legion Band. Since 2007 to the present she is the Veteran's Day soloist with the Joliet American Legion Band.
Her recital appearances with the Downers Grove Choral Society Artist Recital Series include "Songs About Children," and "Love and Life: Great Operatic Arias and Duets" with tenor John Joyner.
One of her most memorable solo recitals was an evening of sacred songs that she personally produced at Lewis University entitled "Sacred Portraits - An Evening of Inspirational Music" with accompanist Dr. Robert Holst, oboist Dean Sayles and violinists Diane Dungca and Caitlin Ondreacek.
Since 2007 Christine Lim has been teaching Applied Piano for both music majors and non majors at Lewis University. Christine is a pianist and collaborative artist who frequently performs in the Chicago area. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Ewha Women's University in Seoul, South Korea. She received her Master's Degree and Certificate of Piano Performance at Northwestern University where she studied with David Kaiserman, Alan Chow, and Sylvia Wang. Christine is also a founding member of the Aionios Piano Trio and has participated in the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition. In 2010, she founded and began directing the choir at Church of Bethlehem, located in Mount Prospect, IL. From 2003-present, Christine has been a part of the Red Rose Children's Choir of Lake County, serving as the accompanist. She has had the opportunity to perform in numerous Choir Festivals such as China, Austria, Czech Republic, Canada, Hawaii, Spain, Ireland, and Italy.
Timothy J. Bowlby holds music degrees from Acadia University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His composition teachers included Gordon Callon and Owen Stephens at Acadia, and William Brooks, Morgan Powell, and Paul Martin Zonn at UIUC.
Tim teaches courses in music theory, ear training, composition, music appreciation, and music for film and television at Lewis. He taught theory and appreciation at Columbia College (Chicago) and ear training, composition, and contrapuntal techniques at St. Xavier University. He was a teaching assistant at UIUC, and worked as a private tutor/on-line mentor for composition and composition pedagogy programs throughout the USA.
His compositions and arrangements have been performed in North America, Britain, and Japan. Bowlby is also a singer and conductor. He studied voice with Marie McCarthy, Ingemar Korjus, Ronald Hedlund, N. Delré Smith, and Angela Presutti. His conducting teacher was Peter H. Riddle at Acadia.
Tim has published research on various aspects of modern music. His scores are available from Pelican Music Publishing and Rose & Tyger Music.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Leandro Lopez Varaday graduated from the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) in 1992 as Licentiate in Music, major Composition with a Gold Medal and Awards.
As a pianist, Leandro traveled Asia (Singapore-South Korea-China) from 1997 to 2000 with the Elde Young Quartet (former bassist of the Ramsey Lewis trio). Since 2000, he has lived in Chicago where is active in the Chicago music scene. He has performed in the Green Mill, Jazz Showcase, Andy's Jazz Club among others as well as in several theaters including the Harris Theater at the Millennium Park, Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, and many others. From 2001 to 2011, Leandro worked in Saint Martin's Episcopal Church as the Music Director. He has also performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, Taste of Chicago, South Shore Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival and the Jazz Bistro in St Louis, MO.
Currently Leandro is the pianist for the Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and teaches Piano and Latin Jazz Ensemble at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL.
Don Smith has taught Music Business and coordinated music internships at Lewis University since 2006. In addition to his teaching career, he is a Regional Sales Manager for the Pro Music Division of Yamaha (musical instrument manufacturer). He has a degree in Business Administration from North Central College where he also minored in music and studied saxophone. Prior to working for Yamaha, he was the General Manager at Brookdale Music in Naperville, IL for several years. His expertise in the music industry comes from many years as a sales manager, audio engineer, music director, saxophonist, clinician and teacher. During his career at Yamaha, Don has worked with many of the largest music industry retailers in the country and has been recognized with numerous awards including a two-time recipient of the prestigious "President’s Club" honor.
Joshua Manchester is originally from Morrison, IL. He earned a bachelors degree from Luther College and went on to receive a Masters Degree in percussion performance from the University of Illinois-Urbana on assistantship. After a couple years teaching in Alaska, he moved to Chicago and began performing with orchestras and many modern music groups while teaching at St. Xavier University and Sherwood Conservatory. As a composer and improviser, Joshua says, "The physical world creates many rhythms that would be regular if the system they existed in were not so complex. As humans, we lack the competency to make creations that will adapt to complex systems, only simple ones. Our only recourse has been to attempt to define the parameters of the system to suit. I seek to make music that explores this issue."
Wesley Morgan is a professional bassist, educator and audio engineer in the greater Chicago area. Throughout his performance career, he has collaborated with many great performers from varied musical styles, including Gregory Beyer, Liam Teague, Dan Moore, and Gerald Stephens, and Victor Bastidas.
During his formative years in Kansas, Morgan took an interest in music at an early age. After trying several instruments, he eventually settled on the double bass and electric bass as his primary forms of musical outlet. In 2004 he moved to Memphis, TN in order to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in recording technology from the University of Memphis. After free-lancing throughout the Mid-South with a variety of musical ensembles, he relocated to Illinois to attended Northern Illinois University as a graduate teaching assistant in the jazz studies department. Prior to receiving his M.M. in 2015, he instructed students in the areas of music history, music technology, and jazz performance.
Violinist Jennifer Leckie is a member of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Grant Street String Quartet, and she is a frequent substitute with the Promusica Chamber Orchestra in Columbus, Ohio, and with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She formerly served as concertmaster of the Danville Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the Maverick Ensemble. Dr. Leckie has performed as soloist with the Elgin Symphony, the Danville Symphony and the College of DuPage Symphony. She was Third Prize winner of the Crane New Music Festival Solo Competition, and winner of the Rutgers University Award for Excellence in Performance and Scholarly Writing.
As a founding member of the Grant Street String Quartet, Dr. Leckie has performed throughout the Chicago area. The quartet has collaborated with Chicago area composers to perform and record new works for string quartet, and has worked with Chicago area high school music students through chamber music workshops and summer clinics. In 2018, Dr. Leckie helped to found a new chamber music program for all advanced music students in the Downers Grove High School orchestras, and works as a coach with the student ensembles there. Dr. Leckie is an active proponent and performer of contemporary music, and has performed many world and U.S. premieres. She has worked closely with composers Charles Wuorinen, Lukas Foss, George Crumb, and Ornette Coleman and many others. She has been hailed by the Chicago and New York media for her excellent interpretations of twentieth century compositions.
Dr. Leckie holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers University where she studied privately with Arnold Steinhardt, of the Guarneri String Quartet. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Mannes College of Music and has also studied with Todd Phillips, Ani Kavafian, David Taylor and Sally Thomas.
"Violinist Jennifer Leckie's concentrated, acutely colored performance … provided impressive advocacy of this challenging music, surmounting the daunting technical hurdles…to make a commanding whole… Leckie brought an array of nuanced dynamics and bravura…" - Chicago Classical Review
"A superb and mature musician with lots of technical mastery" – New Music Connoiseur
Amanda Karwoske has been teaching and performing French Horn in greater Chicagoland area for over 15 years. Amanda is a teacher at Lewis University and Hinsdale Central High School, in addition to private students.
Amanda received a bachelor’s from Indiana University, and her Masters in Horn Performance from De Paul University.
Amanda can be found often performing at Christ Church of Oakbrook and is a member of Monarch Winds Woodwind Quintet and Windy City Quintet. Amanda has performed with several local orchestras including Elgin Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Orchestra, New Philharmonic Orchestra, and South Bend Symphony.
In addition to teaching and playing French horn, Amanda has a beautiful daughter, and several pets. When not working Amanda and her husband enjoy taking on home projects to fix up their house.
Nichole Luchs holds a master's degree in harp performance from Northwestern University. She is currently an active free-lance musician, performing throughout Illinois and Iowa. She is the principal harpist for the Peoria Symphony, DuPage Symphony and Illinois Valley Symphony. She has performed with many orchestras in the area including the Rockford Symphony, Quad City Symphony, and the Dubuque Symphony. Luchs has also performed in chamber concerts with the Naperville Chamber Players and was recently a soloist with the DuPage Symphony Chamber Orchestra. She is the harp instructor at Lewis University, North Central College, and at Fox River Academy of Music and Art.