Adam Instefjord Regional Director
Adam Instefjord is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 12, immediately started his first band in the eighth grade and has been performing both locally and nationally ever since. Over the years he has decided to expand his musical prowess and learned how to sing, play bass guitar and drums. Another concentration that Adam has pursued is audio recording and production. He chose to continue his education at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, OH, where he received certification in Audio Recording and Production.
Adam currently plays in multiple bands, including playing bass and singing in Chicago-based cover-band The Student Body. Adam started his career at School of Rock Oak Park in 2013. He started his tenure as an instructor, was promoted to Music Director and is now the Regional Director of both School of Rock Oak Park and School of Rock Glenbrook. During his years with us, he has taught guitar, bass guitar and production, directed countless shows, taught Rock 101 and Rock 201, and taught Project Studio and Oak Park’s House Band.
Amy Renzulli Owner
Amy Renzulli, former corporate marketer, is the owner of School of Rock Oak Park and School of Rock Glenbrook. Starting at an early age, Amy recognized a tension between art and business. It began when her doctor dad left his medical practice to pursue a career in art and her stay-at-home mom went off to law school and started her own successful career. As a result, Amy has spent most of her work life blending the two sides, building her career in sales and marketing at Blue Cross and Blue Shield and, at the same time, pursuing artistic interests. While she developed her business skills in web marketing, sales strategy and technology adoption, she also hosted art shows, crafted and sold jewelry in local boutiques and galleries, and generally sought opportunities that would enable her to marry her business skills with her love of art. When her daughter, at the time only 12 years old, attended summer camp at School of Rock Chicago, Amy suggested that they should consider opening a school in Oak Park. Amy learned that School of Rock was a franchise opportunity and a light bulb went off. She knew that she would be the person to make it happen. In early December 2012, Amy and her ever-supportive husband, Bob Miller, converted a 50-year-old combination warehouse and office building into the vibrant home of School of Rock Oak Park. After having built the largest School of Rock in the world in Oak Park, she is setting her sights on bringing the same magic, energy and passion to the communities of Northbrook and Glenview with School of Rock Glenbrook.
Ben Kremer Drum Teacher
Ben Kremer is a drummer, producer, audio engineer, and former School of Rock Oak Park student. During his tenure at the School of Rock Oak Park, Ben was in the house band and was a three time School of Rock AllStar. The School of Rock AllStars Tour takes the very best students from around the world and sends them on a country-wide summer tour across the United States. Less than 1% of School of Rock students are selected each year to represent School of Rock as an AllStar.
Ben operates and engineers at Picture-Minded Studio in Oak Park, and is currently working with multiple groups as a drummer, songwriter, and producer. These include indie rock groups Idioglossia and Mock Nine, as well as R&B fusion group Space Cake. When he isn’t teaching, Ben spends his time honing his craft as an audio engineer and producer. Having mixed and engineered for over 10 bands and artists before the age of 20, Ben isn’t stopping making music any time soon.
Colin Rambert Drum Teacher
Colin Rambert is a Chicago-based percussionist and drummer who actively performs in a multitude of contemporary and classical music settings. He began his musical journey at age 10 by joining the band program at school. As he got older, he played in various punk, rock, and indie bands throughout high school and eventually decided to pursue music as a career. Colin went on to receive a Bachelor of Music degree in Commercial Music from Millikin University (2012) and a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2015). He can most regularly be seen playing with The Phantom Broadcast, an experimental rock outfit that pushes the boundaries of indie, post-rock, classical, and jazz, and can be heard on their latest full-length album Antiquities. He can also be found playing drums for the Chicago pop-rock band King Mixer.
Colin also enjoys teaching young musicians of all ages throughout the Chicagoland area. Aside from his work with School of Rock, he serves as a percussion teaching artist with the Chicago Arts and Music Project and with Sistema Ravinia in Waukegan. He also teaches privately and instructs marching percussion at a handful of public schools, most notably John Hersey High School, Buffalo Grove High School, Elk Grove High School, Glenbrook North High School, and Homer Jr. High. Colin believes that learning music can be fun, inspiring, and lead to growth in all aspects of life and hopes to share his passion with all of his students.
Dave Vazzano Music Director
Dave Vazzano’s passion for music and performing developed at a very early age. His musical journey began in grade school when he joined both concert and marching band. He continued in both performance groups throughout grade school and college at Western Illinois University. Dave bought his first drum kit at age 12 and his passion for rock music grew. This journey then grew as Dave and his best friend and School of Rock coworker Adam Instefjord started a band that specialized in 90s punk rock covers. Dave and Adam also write, produce and record their own original music and continue to release albums. Currently Dave is playing with multiple Chicago-land area bands. He is a founding member of the Chicago punk rock trio The Mizzerables, who have released their third album "Whatever... This Sucks." One of the projects that takes up most of Dave’s time is The Student Body, a high-energy rock cover band that specializes in party rock anthems. You can catch The Student Body at festivals, casinos, weddings, corporate events and more. Dave currently teaches drum lessons at School of Rock Oak Park and is the Music Director for School of Rock Glenbrook.
Emily Blue Guitar, Keyboard and Singing Teacher
Emily Blue is a pop artist based in Chicago, IL. She has over 10 years of experience performing and is passionate about vocals, keys, guitar, and band-leading.
She also plays in Tara Terra with one other SoR instructor, Evan Opitz.
Emma Lyn Smoler Keyboard Teacher, Singing Teacher
Growing up in the rural midwest, in a family of musicians, Emma Lyn Smoler has been singing, playing piano and violin, and writing songs since she was old enough to speak. Emma was a multiple scholarship student at Central Michigan University School of Music, where she was winner of the Midland Symphony Orchestra fellowship, and concertmaster of the University Symphony. Emma taught orchestra at West Intermediate School, and maintained a studio of private students at Central Michigan Community Music School. Post graduate, Emma traveled for two years in Europe, performing with musical ensembles that expanded her knowledge of folk and world music. Emma’s travels eventually led her to Chicago, where she has resided and played music since 2002. Emma has performed with internationally touring artists such as Kygo, Josh Groban, Edgar Meyer, Michael Cleveland, and Anne-Akiko Meyers. Emma has also performed on Ravinia main stage, opening for Jimmy Webb and Johnny Rivers. Emma performs with several local bands and orchestras, encompassing a variety of styles that speak to her ability to improvise and absorb any style of music. Emma is thrilled to share her passion for performing, with a new generation of music lovers!
Erica Lemish General Manager
Erica grew up in Michigan and her passion for music began at a young age when her mom and two older sisters were constantly playing classic and 80’s rock records in their home. This eventually led to an obsession with MTV and music videos as a kid and then attending tons of rock shows and festivals as a teen and adult. After graduating from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree, she started her career in Project Management and Technology Sales, working her way up through several global IT organizations. Then in 2014, Erica was introduced to School of Rock when her now fiancé, Dave Vazzano, who is also the Music Director in Glenbrook, invited her to attend a School of Rock performance that he directed in Oak Park.
Ever since then, she has been inspired by the extraordinary talent and continued growth of the kids, and has wanted to be part of the sense of belonging and community that School of Rock brings to everyone involved. Erica was lucky enough to have the opportunity to make a career change and recently joined the School of Rock family as the General Manager of Glenbrook. She is so excited to be surrounded by music everyday and to potentially make a difference in the lives of young musicians! Outside of work, Erica enjoys traveling the globe, hiking, gardening, hanging out with her French Bulldog Silvio Dante, true crime books and podcasts, and of course, going to as many rock shows as possible!
Isabella Andries Keyboard Teacher
Isabella Andries is a pianist and a former student at School of Rock in Oak Park. During her time there, she was a keyboardist in the house band and performed at venues including the Rave in Milwaukee and Summerfest. Her fondest memories include playing in the Frank Zappa tribute show and writing her own piano parts for music by the Big 4 of Thrash Metal.
Isabella is a current senior at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin earning a B.Mus. in Piano Performance. She has a great interest in contemporary classical music and studies under Michael Mizrahi, founding member of the NOW Ensemble. At school, she has followed her interests in music composition, songwriting and electronic production. She has received training in piano pedagogy for students of a wide range of ages and skill levels. An active collaborative performer, she has a wide breadth of experience in solo, duo and chamber music. She has performed as a pit musician for musical theatre productions at Lawrence and in the greater Chicago area. Her studies have brought her to the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Italy and the Yarn/Wire Institute at Stony Brook University in New York.
Jeannie Fehr Little Wing Teacher, Rookies Teacher
Born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, Jeannie began piano lessons in 2004 after buying Green Day’s “American Idiot” album. That first CD purchase began her journey as a professional musician. Her inspiration varies from Led Zeppelin, Queen, Janis Joplin and Evanescence to Bob Marley, Widespread Panic, The Head & The Heart, and Fruition just to name a few.
At 14 she started playing in her first rock band and teaching piano lessons while adding voice, guitar, clarinet, and alto saxophone along the way. Jeannie involved herself in the music industry outside of music lessons. She tutored music theory at a community college, earned a piano scholarship at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, sold and fixed instruments, took on disc jockey gigs, recorded two albums, volunteered as a board member for Queen City Rock Camp, and played shows for organizations like Boys & Girls Club and Girl Scouts of America.
Jeannie graduated with her Bachelors in Geology and Music Minor at Missouri State University in 2017. When she was not studying rocks, she worked at School of Rock Springfield as a Studio Coordinator, Lesson Instructor, String Technician, and Junior Performance Program Director. Jeannie recently moved to Chicago, IL and is excited to be in the School of Rock Community.
Kathleen Lane Singing Teacher
Kathleen Lane is a vocalist and composer in Chicago, Illinois. Kathleen is currently pursuing her second bachelor's degree in Music with a focus in Vocal Performance at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). At UIC, she studies with vocalist Cheryl Wilson and performs with UIC’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
Kathleen was a selected vocalist in her first year to perform UIC's Jazz in the Grass. Kathleen blends folk and indie influences to create an earthy and heartfelt sound within her original music. She has performed as part of her previous duo, The Jades, and on her own at various venues including Foundation Room, Wire, Pierogi Festival, Rockopelli Music Festival, Elbo Room, Beat Kitchen, Underground Lounge, and more.
Max DiFrisco Studio Coordinator
Max DiFrisco is a vocalist, guitarist, and former School of Rock student. During his tenure at the School of Rock Oak Park, Max was in the house band and was a two time School of Rock AllStar. The School of Rock AllStars Tour takes the very best students from around the world and sends them on a country-wide summer tour across the United States. Less than 1% of School of Rock students are selected each year to represent School of Rock as an AllStar.
Max is currently working as a songwriter and producer under the name Westhead collaborating with multiple artists. He has performed with several other groups over his tenure as a multi-instrumentalist at venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado and Lollapalooza in Chicago. Not only is Max involved in songwriting but he is a founding member of indie rock groups Jonnycatland and Idioglossia. Max's dedication and passion for music has also led him to be the touring guitarist for Computer Science, a North Carolina dream pop outfit. Max is currently pursuing an electrical engineering degree with a focus in audio, writing music, working at the School of Rock Glenbrook and continuing to pursue his musical passions.
Michael Hilgendorf Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher
Michael Hilgendorf began his musical journey when he picked up the guitar at age 11. Coming from a family of 70s and 80s rock and metal purists, his early interests included Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix, among others. He played his first bar gig fronting a power trio at age 12. While in high school, Michael began to develop an interest in jazz, which led to a series of educational ventures, including camps at Wayne State University and the Berklee College of Music.
Michael’s developments as a musician led him to Chicago in 2016 when he began attending Columbia College Chicago. In the four years he spent there, he grew immensely as a musician, building up his skills as a guitarist, improviser, arranger, and composer. While at Columbia, Michael had the opportunity to study and perform with many world-renowned musicians, including Bernard Purdie, Cassandra O’Neal, Donny McCaslin, Kendrick Scott, Isaiah Sharkey, and many more. When not in school, Michael spent his time playing in the city as a solo guitarist, an accompanist, and in many different small and large ensemble settings for a wide variety of clientele.
Teaching has always been a part of Michael’s life: His first job was teaching guitar lessons at a local studio in his hometown at the age of 16. He also worked as a guitar tutor for Columbia College Chicago during his time there, as well as teaching several students in his free time out of his apartment. Michael believes that being an inspiring, supportive, and fun music instructor is one of the greatest things about being a musician, so he is beyond happy to be a part of the School of Rock team!
Morgen Hare Marketing and Social Media Specialist
Morgen Hare was brought up in music since she was six and hasn't stopped since. She started off dancing at age four, then added piano at six and voice at seven to continue her musical education. Originally from Minnesota, she developed a love for music the moment she was introduced to The Jackson 5 and Earth, Wind and Fire. After high school, she moved to Chicago, graduated from Columbia College and is currently a full-time professional vocalist. As she grew so did her skills as they developed and blossomed into a thriving career.
Having performed at Carnegie Hall in NY, Summerfest in Milwaukee and the Vic and Aragon Theaters in Chicago, Morgen is just as comfortable in front of large crowds as small ones. Whether it's working as a studio singer, recording for TV and radio commercials or live shows, her love for music never ceases. She has a passion for all types of music, ranging from classical, hip-hop, rock and soul to musical theater, R&B and everything in between. Morgen also has an avid passion for health, fitness and nutrition. In college, she got her yoga certification and studies nutrition on the side. In other words, her affinity for life, love. and music emanates in all she does. She is a Marketing and Communications Specialist at School of Rock Glenbrook.
Nick Fane Guitar and Bass Guitar Teacher
Nick grew up in the west suburbs of Chicago, and started his life in music by picking up a bass guitar at age 15. Influenced by bands like Rush, The Who, Tool and Soundgarden, he became immersed in every element of the musical process, from songwriting to music production and beyond.
After earning his Bachelor's of Music from Columbia College Chicago in 2013, he spent four years with the Nick Moss Band, an internationally known blues/rock band. Pulling on experience gained from years of touring the continental United States, northern Europe and beyond, he works with his students to fully enrich their musical lives, as well as make them better players.
Pete Falknor Bass Guitar Teacher, Guitar Teacher, Drum Teacher
Pete Falknor has been hooked on electric guitar since he first plugged one in at age 7 (thanks Dad!). He grew up in the northwest suburbs obsessed with Green Day, picking up drums and bass guitar along the way to starting his own junior high, high school, and college rock bands playing both covers and original music.
After receiving his degree in Music Business from Columbia College in 2009, he went on to manage legendary Chicago music venue The Empty Bottle before founding and managing the world-renowned Thalia Hall in 2014. These days you can hear him singing and playing guitar in his original band Planet Exploder, drumming for singer-songwriter Derek Nelson (Martin Van Ruin), and singing and playing bass in his classic rock/punk cover band PUNK is DAD. When he's not spending time with his wife, two kids, and dog (Huey Lewis) he is working on his online guitar cafe, Black Bobbin.
Rob Herman Guitar Teacher, Bass Guitar Teacher, Keyboard Teacher
Rob Herman is a guitar, bass, and keys teacher at School of Rock Glenbrook. Rob started playing bass with his punk band in the late 70’s and moved on to the industrial landscape music of the Men. Rob now plays bass in Hedgehog and the Fox, a progressive rock band with deep ties to Mountain, Jeff Beck and power pop. Rob’s greatest influences include Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, XTC, and Gentle Giant. Rob loves to share his passion for music with his students and is very excited to work with his new students at School of Rock Glenbrook.