Jason Fein Owner, House Band Director, Show Director & Singing Teacher
Jason's musical journey started very early. He started piano lessons at the age of seven and it wasn't long after that he decided he wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Still not feeling like he had found his true musical calling he decided to give his school chorus a try when he entered high school. Things started moving fast from there. He formed his first band as the lead singer and by the time he graduated high school he went away to college on a vocal performance scholarship. While in college he formed his first touring band called Next Best Thing. They had some success including two albums and a song placed in a very popular motorcycle DVD that pressed over 500,000 copies. After college NBT broke up and Jason was left searching for a new musical outlet. Little did he know he would soon find it in multiple forms. He co-founded The Run Around. In the ten years The Run Around has been together they have played shows all across this country, sold thousands of albums, have a successful music video and shared the stage with such national acts as Tom Petty, Bowling For Soup, Local H, Blues Traveler, Alien Ant Farm, Mest, Head Automatica, Lucky Boys Confusion, Nine Days, Gavin Degraw and many, many more.
In the midst of all this, Jason was hired on as a vocal instructor at another School of Rock in the area. It wasn't long before he was recognized for his ability to direct and put on an impressive live show and was asked to direct the performance program. From there he went on to be the General Manager. He learned that he loved the School of Rock mission and everything it represented and decided he wanted to make School of Rock his life. Plainfield has always been a favorite town of his and just minutes away from where he grew up so he thought it was a great place to set up shop and start the next great chapter of his life. He can't wait to help mold the next generation of rock n' roll royalty.
Nicolas Kemp-Bystrzycki General Manager
Nicolas’s love of music came at an early age. Watching his father play the guitar in his basement eventually inspired him to pick up the instrument, and he hasn’t looked back since. Nicolas has had a long education in music, leaving Joliet Junior College with an Associate's of Music Education, and a minor in Guitar Performance. Nicolas has played in several local bands in his time. He currently performs in a local cover group known as The Class Act. Nicolas sings and plays guitar for that group, leading to total sonic devastation and roaring applause.
Nicolas has been a part of School of Rock Plainfield for the past 5 years. In that time he taught over 30 lessons per week and directed several shows, including Steely Dan, Prince, and Led Zeppelin to name a few. Nicolas has now taken a step forward as the General Manager at the school. Nicolas prides himself in assisting the local community, as well as sharing the School of Rock method with the area!
Tori Houseman Studio Coordinator
Tori is the new Studio Coordinator at School of Rock. Outside of school, Tori enjoys spending time with her fur baby, Maeby, and her fiancé, who she’s been best friends with since high school. A Southern to the bone, Tori believes kindness and courtesy are the keys to success! Tori is an avid gamer and can finish a 2000 piece puzzle in 4 hours! A frequent gig attender, Tori loves going to concerts of all music genres and has an eclectic taste in music. Ask her about any band or artist! She just may know a song or two.
Colin Edmunds Music Director, Adult Band and Show Director, Bass Guitar and Guitar Teacher
Colin Edmunds has been teaching guitar and bass at SOR Plainfield for over 5 years, working as a band director, resident audio tech/repair guy, and camp counselor. Drawing from a history of playing in punk and rock bands throughout high school and college years, as well as high school jazz combo, he covers a wide and diverse range of playing styles and genres. Having a passion for mad science, Colin can frequently be found tinkering with students’ guitars and teaching them how to maintain their equipment themselves. Colin also plays guitar in the sci-fi surf band Zerox.
Martin Farrell Rock 101 and Show Director, Bass Guitar and Guitar Teacher
Martin is a multi-instrumentalist who plays lead guitar, bass, sax, piano, vocals and percussion. A high-energy rocker with infectious enthusiasm, he is passionate about music and devotes his heart and soul to teaching kids to rock! Martin has 24 years of professional stage, recording and teaching experience.
Martin started his musical journey as a jazz saxophone player at 10 years old. An all-state saxophonist, Martin worked with elite directors gaining a solid foundation. Picking up the guitar at 16, he acted as lead guitarist in cover bands throughout High School.
After High School, Martin switched to bass and began his 24 year professional career as the primary songwriter and booking manager in the band Marble (https://youtu.be/TdVwoPxVld0). Marble recorded with Ministry producer Fluffy at Chicago Trax and became a staple at Cabaret Metro in the 90s. Marble was a heavy, grunge act notably headlining FreeFest in front of 10,000+ on Cricket Hill.
Martin then joined up with The Bennett Brothers Band, recording the timeless album Spy Boogie (https://youtu.be/VoMfRlSgHBE). BBB played many sold out shows, ultimately treating a huge crowd at Taste of Chicago. The Bennett Brothers Band was southern style rock and West Coast traditional blues.
Playing with the underground band Creepy D (https://youtu.be/fqKpFok6O5E), Martin entertained Mancow several times on national radio, appeared on the nationally syndicated Dave Attel show, and opened for Zwan at a sold out show at Cabaret Metro.
Martin also played lead guitar in the jam band Planet Gello as well as recording with various artists as a studio musician. Martin currently plays in the Chicago blues band: King Cake (bass and keys), Psychedelic Music Revue: Pearl - Janis Joplin Tribute (lead guitar and vocals), and Big Weekend - Classic Rock (lead guitar and vocals).
Tim Daniels Show Director and Drum Teacher
Tim plays drums, bass, guitar, and piano. He learned how to play the drums at 8 years old, and has been performing live for over 20 years. His influences include Travis Barker, Joey Jordison, Dan Carle, Mike Portnoy, Ben Harclerode, and Justin Foley. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy from Illinois State University, and has performed in ensembles such as the ISU Wind Symphony, Symphonic Orchestra, Big Red Marching Machine (drumline captain), and Pep Band (head drumset player).
He currently plays drums in the Chicagoland metal band Fools’ Brew and has opened for national acts such as Powerman 5000, (HED) pe, Adema, Korn, Butcher Babies, Soulfly, Kill Devil Hill (ex-Pantera’s Rex Brown and ex-Type O Negative’s Johnny Kelly), Kyng, December In Red, Bridge to Grace, Crobot, Upon A Burning Body, and Green Jelly. Tim has 9+ years of experience in working with children and adults with Special Needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and Emotional/Behavior Disorders.
Aaron Opon Show Director and Drum Teacher
Aaron has been playing drums and percussion for 20 years. He started out playing concert percussion in school, later moving into jazz bands. During this time, he performed in the IMEA All-District Jazz Ensemble, which consisted of top students from across Chicagoland. From there he changed direction and participated in Allegro Music’s Rock School program, which allowed him to play Taste of Chicago twice. He has also performed with Moraine Valley Community College’s percussion ensemble. This diverse education has instilled in Aaron the importance of exposure to many different types of music and playstyles. From jazz to rock to Latin to funk and beyond, he believes it is important not just to learn different styles, but to blend them together, taking pieces from each one to compliment another. He also believes in being a truly well-rounded musician, learning a little about each instrument to help understand its role in the band and how each one interacts with one another. Never limit yourself to just your own instrument! Lastly, Aaron’s drumming influences include Art Blakey, Stewart Copeland, John Densmore, Joe Morello, Topper Headon, Matt Cameron, Chad Smith, and of course Ringo Starr.
Ruth Foltz Show Director, Singing Teacher
Ruth has always had a deep-rooted passion for music. She has been singing as long as she can remember, and has played piano since the age of 8. In school, she was involved in choir in multiple types of ensembles, from traditional to jazz to pop. Outside of school, she was the keyboardist and backup singer in her dad’s rock band, from the ages of 12 to 18. In college she studied music education at North Central College, and was the music director of competitive a cappella group Sonata Problem at NCC.
Currently, in addition to SoR, she works as a barista at Starbucks with her awesome River Square fam, and as an associate producer for the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes Festival.
Kyle McMahan Show Director, Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Piano Teacher
Kyle is an energetic multi-instrumental musician that plays guitar, bass, and piano. Specializing in guitar, he has 8 years of playing experience that started as a student at School of Rock Naperville! Since graduating high school Kyle has worked in a variety positions in the music industry, both on-stage and behind the scenes. With experience playing live in his band, The Righteous & Few, as the lead guitarist, and producing artists as a songwriter and professional studio engineer, he has a wide range of skills to help develop his students! With a love for many genres like Rock, Metal, Punk, and Jazz, a student of Kyle's will have the option to pursue whatever genre they're interested in!
Rielly Sanders Singing Teacher
Rielly was born in a small town about an hour south of Chicago. Growing up in the heartland helped shaped her into the person that she is today. Rielly started performing at a young age. She loved entertaining all of her family members through song. One day her grandmother insisted that her parents would take her out of dance classes and enroll her in voice lessons. Little did they know that these lessons would shape the rest of their daughter's life.
She began taking vocal lessons from a local studio at age 7. This led to local performances at malls, talents shows, and county fairs. She even sang in an all-girls group called Sugar and Spice.
As she got older her passion for performing only grew stronger. Her parents knew they had to take the next steps. They started driving her up to Chicago once a week. Also, the talent competitions grew for locals across the state and the country. She also joined the Illinois Country music association where she performed with the regular all throughout her middle school years.
Once she entered high school she began exploring musical theater and quickly fell in love. You could always catch her singing the national anthem at high school football games. Then by the time she was seventeen she starting singing with any band she could.
After high school, there was not a doubt in her mind what she would study in college. She was excepted into Joliet Junior Colleges Music Program, then Illinois State University’s School of music. During her time in college, she had a variety of studies such as music technology, acting, classical music, Musicals, Opera, choir, and stage directing. Throughout college, she regularly perform with her Band Ryle’d Up throughout the Chicago land Area.
During her time in college, she began to pursue another passion of hers. This is teaching/coaching Vocal Students. She had about twenty students during this time and realized how much knowledge she had gained over the years could impact others.
After graduating from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in music her heart called her to Music City. She lived in Nashville Tennessee for five years. She worked as a freelance vocalist who performed from downtown Nashville to local favorite venues. In addition to that, she taught Voice, Vocal Ensemble, and Piano lessons at three different schools of music in the Nashville Area.
She currently resides in Morris Illinois. When she is not teaching at the School of Rock in Plainfield you can find her at the family farm. There she enjoys spending time with her ponies. Some of her other hobbies include cooking, pageant coaching, and spending time with her family.
Otto Gomora Drum Teacher
Otto has been playing drums since he was 8 years old. Once in middle school, he joined the school band and remained in the program throughout high school. During his high school years, he started a band with his friends which really ignited his interest in music. Playing with people, like in the band programs here, was what secured his love for music. His high school band evolved into one of his more successful projects called Love in the Dark. After high school, he gained much of his performance experience playing Jazz and R&B gigs with students from UIC. Currently, he has a residency in a Jazz band at Hotel Lincoln on the Northside of Chicago.
Mike Cerqua Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Playing guitar and singing since 5, Mike is skilled in many instruments including bass, drums, audio, and sound engineering. Not just playing solo, Mike is a part of many projects not only as a member but also as a musician for hire. When he's not performing, he is teaching music/private lessons, working in many different settings including schools, theaters, summer camps ,and his family-owned music shop where he started teaching at 16. Working hard to keep his calendar full, Mike brings a very professional, technical, but fun and sarcastic atmosphere. For the last 4 years, Mike has been a music director at a summer camp out in Pennsylvania, and briefly worked at the Gibson guitar factory in Nashville where he was a repair technician fixing and painting guitars.
Kit Tupas Keyboard Teacher
Kit Tupas is a multi-instrumentalist from Tinley Park, Illinois who has been surrounded by music for as long as he can remember. He has always had a passion for learning new instruments, starting with the piano at age 8 and continuing to learn other instruments such as the guitar, bass, and various brass. Throughout his childhood, he has been involved with many scholastic musical programs, including the marching band, jazz ensembles, choir program, and musical theater. In 2014, Kit was selected to sing in the ILMEA Honors Choir.
Outside of school, Kit performed in many different bands, covering and writing music of all genres including pop-punk, indie rock, funk rock, rhythm and blues, and singer/songwriter. He has enjoyed performing in venues all around the Chicagoland area since he was 12 years old and still enjoys it to this day.
Kit has a quite eclectic taste in music inspired by musicians such as Chance the Rapper, Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Paramore, Snarky Puppy, Tori Kelly, and Vulfpeck. Kit truly enjoys being an teacher at School of Rock Plainfield, and aspires to spread his passion for learning and performing music to kids and students of all ages.
Erik Olson Keyboard Teacher
Erik Olson is a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist from the Chicagoland area. A 5th generation pianist, he began studying with Linda Poquette while garnering a relationship with Lewis University. With performances from Indiana to Colorado, he continued his tutelage under the direction of instructors including Marylin Taggart and Dr. James Breckinridge of Southwestern State University in Weatherford, OK.
Following a run of sold-out shows with Monica Raymund, including Space (Evanston, IL), Andy's (Chicago, IL), and Joe's Pub (Manhattan, NY), he began his foray into the magical world of Tango. Most recently, his new bebop lesson book was featured on WNIJ, accompanied by a live performance. In his spare time, Erik enjoys practicing, reading, and building and patching analog synthesizers as an IPC certified synthesist. Erik resides in Morris, IL with his wife, four children, and three dogs.
Jude Mendoza Guitar Teacher, Bass Teacher
Jude Mendoza is a guitarist and bassist and has been playing for 12 years. He was part of a project called “Chicagoland Musicians,”which consisted of various musicians coming together to cover a variety of rock songs. He is currently part of “Around the Fur,” a Deftones tribute band.
Jesse Silva Guitar Teacher, Bass Teacher
Jesse has been fascinated with music since he was a child and began playing guitar at age 12. After several lessons and honing his skills, he had his first concert at Two Brothers Roundhouse. In college he joined a small club of musicians who would perform songs in nursing homes. He decided to expand his musical skills and began to take vocal lessons to improve his vocal ability and be able to perform on his own, being something of a "one man band." He enjoys performing for his family, in small concerts with his former college roommates, and posting his performances on social media. He has now begun recording covers as well as original songs and is eager to see where his love of music will take him. He is enthusiastic to teach at the School of Rock and as the old adage says the student has become the teacher. He looks forward to continuing his musical dream of becoming a career performer, and he can be found playing open mics wherever they're available.