Learn about our talented voice private instructors:
Susan Dennis (Voice), soprano, is an active soloist where she is equally at home with Classical as well as the Broadway repertoire. She is on the Vocal Faculty at Harper College where she teaches private voice, Class Voice, and Musical Theatre Workshop. Susan enjoyed singing the role of the Soprano Liebeslieder, Mrs. Nordstrom in the Sondheim Musical “A Little Night Music” at Harper College in March, 2009. Susan has been a featured soprano soloist with Symphonic Pops Orchestra of Chicago, Navy Pier Pops Orchestra, New Millennium Orchestra and Opening Night Broadway Review Troupe. Her operatic roles include Despina in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, Monica in Menotti’s The Medium, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and understudy for Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore in February, 2008. Susan actively directs the Elgin Opera Training Ensemble (EOTE) in the Elgin Opera Summer Music Festival and Annual Elgin Opera Benefit Event. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University. She has performed with O.P.E.R.A., Elgin OPERA, Bowen Park Opera Company, Basically Bach, WTTW Sunday Evening Club to name a few. She has completed roles at Appletree Theatre, Illinois Theatre Center, and The Organic Theatre. Her oratorio/solo work includes Handel’s Messiah and Joshua; Hadyn’s Lord Nelson Mass; Bach’s Magnificat and St. Matthews Passion; Vivaldi’s Magnificat and Dixit dominus RV.595; Faure’s Requiem; Gliere’s Concerto for Coloratura Voice; Mozart’s Missa Brevis in F, Concert Arias and Requiem; Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen and Magnificat in C; Spohr’s Six German songs OP.103; and Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No.5.
Tim Filliman (Voice), bass, has maintained dual careers as a professional singer and a voice teacher in the Chicago area since earning his Master’s Degree at Northwestern University. He performed in hundreds of performances in 12 seasons with Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Chorus including a national television appearance for PBS’s “Great Performances” series and two Grammy nominated recordings. Mr. Filliman’s solo engagements include regional opera companies and symphony orchestras such as Chamber Opera Chicago, Peoria Civic Opera, Northwest Chicago Symphony, Dallas Public Opera, and the Metropolitan Chamber Ensemble of Chicago.
Jeff Hedberg (Voice, Trumpet) is a Chicago area jazz vocalist, trumpet player and educator. His musical training includes a Master of Music in Jazz Pedagogy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Elmhurst College. During his time at both institutions Jeff had the opportunity to perform with both the EC Jazz Band and the NU Jazz Ensemble, both well-known big bands. During which he played both lead trumpet and jazz chair. Through his schooling, as well as his own pursuits, Jeff has studied with Doug Beach, Mark Colby, Jackie Allen, Brenda Lualdi, Bob Rummage, Mark Streder, Libby York, Jeff Deustch, Phoebe Fuller, Rob Parton, Don Owens, Joel Spencer, Mike Kocour and Judy Roberts. Jeff is a Blujazz Recording Artist and his debut CD The Summer Knows, released in 2004, received critical acclaim. Jeff is also the founder/leader and vocalist for the group C11, a 12-piece jazz ensemble dedicated to honoring and preserving the work of legendary West coast arranger, Marty Paich. The band features many of the legendary “Dek-tette” arrangements that Paich wrote for notable jazz vocalist, Mel Torme. C11 released its debut recording Too Darn Hot in October 2011. Of Jeff, critics have written: “Jeff combines the best of past and present, vocal and instrumental, improvisation and lyricism, playfullness and coolness.” (Scott Gotschall, jazzreview.com, jazzwriter.com); “Jeff is to Mel Torme, as Mendelssohn was to Bach.” (John Bany, noted Chicago bassist); and “Jeff is obviously one of those rarities who probably scatted before he walked…” (Carla Gordon, Cabaret Hotline).
Christopher Jackson (Voice), tenor, has a voice that lends itself to genres ranging from Gospel to Opera. He has recently been seen with Sinfonietta Bel Canto in productions of Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi. Other lead roles to his credit are from Mozarts’ Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Così fan tutte, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe, Princess Ida, The Mikado and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. He maintains a voice studio in Glen Ellyn and is also on the voice faculty of Elgin Community College.
Susan Lageson Lundholm (Voice) is an active opera, concert and oratorio singer throughout the United States. She has performed major operatic roles such as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, and Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte with such groups as the Chicago Opera Theater, the Fox River Valley Symphony, the Maine Opera Association, and Florida’s Brevard Opera-in-Concert. She has been a winner and finalist in numerous competitions including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Rose Ray Thomas Competition, the Illinois Opera Guild Auditions, the NATSAA Competition, and the Emma Roe Competition. In 1986, she performed a nationally broadcast solo recital on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago. Her solo/orchestral repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s The Seasons, Creation, and Lord Nelson Mass, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. Luke Passion, and St. Mark Passion performed with such groups as: the Rockefeller Chapel Concert Series, the Lake Chelan Bach Festival in Chelan, WA, the Bach Aria Group Festival in Long Island, NY, the Woodstock Mozart Festival, the Harper Symphony Orchestra and the Harper Festival Chorus. She is the principal soprano soloist at Chicago’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke in their Bach Cantata Series. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and a master’s degree in vocal performance from Northwestern University. She has been an apprentice artist to the Maine Opera Association and the DesMoines Metro Opera and was awarded fellowships to the Bach Aria Festival and Institute and to the Blossom Music Festival. She is currently on the voice faculty at Harper College, College of Lake County, and Palatine High School.
Carolyn Niehoff (Voice) is an adjunct member of the applied voice faculty at Harper College. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University and a Master of Music degree from Ohio State University. She is active professionally as a teacher and singer in the Chicago area and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing at both the national and local level. She has performed leading roles with the Columbus Light Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre Outreach Program and Bowen Park Opera, and traveled to Germany to sing with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Carolyn’s operatic roles include the title role in Victor Herbert’s Naughty Marietta, Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Gianetta in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and Gretel in Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel, among others. Her oratorio experience includes Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, the Brahms Requiem and Schubert’s Mass in G. Her extensive teaching experience includes several summers on the faculty at Belvoir Terrace in Lenox, Massachusetts where she had the opportunity to teach voice lessons and basic music theory to high-functioning children and adults with Williams Syndrome. Carolyn maintains a successful teaching studio where her students have gone on to major in and/or graduate with degrees in Voice Performance from such prestigious music schools as the University of Michigan, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, New York University and St. Olaf College.
Zarui Vardanean is an Honor Artist of the Republic of Moldova. The first prize winner of the National and International Opera Singers Competitions.
In 1991 Zarui Vardanean acclaimed herself as a leading artist at the National Opera and Ballet Theater Republic of Moldova and as an adjunct faculty of Opera and Voice at the Academy of Music, Theatre and Fine Arts Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.
Zarui is well-known to audiences in Europe and was a welcome guest artist at the National Opera Bucharest, Manchester Opera House, Dublin National Concert Hall, The Romanian Athenaeum, Edinburgh Playhouse, Coliseum de Lisbon, and the famous Royal Albert Hall.
She participated in the National and International Festivals. She was a welcome guest artist at the National Radio and TV, where she recorded hundreds of videos and audio materials with the National Orchestra Radio and TV Moldova. Still, TV Moldova is broadcasting her recordings, although she immigrated to the US in 2013. However, immigration didn’t stop her from continuing her artistic career in Europe. She actively performed in the UK and Ireland as a part of the International Opera and Ballet Company, UK, until the company closed its doors in 2018.
From that time, Zarui Vardanean became an active music educator in the Northwestern Chicago Suburbs.
She believes that performing arts can enrich our life with happiness and success.
That is why her motto is: “Success on Stage! Success in Life!”