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.
Liana Chirkina General Manager
Liana is our friendly General Manager! Liana has been interested in music since she before she could remember and has experience with vocals and keys. She was apart of the Oswego High School choir and has been apart of many musical productions. In her undergrad, she was apart of Proclamation Gospel Choir, who toured across the Midwest. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Olivet Nazarene University and she will be graduating with her Masters in Public Policy in June 2020 from DePaul University. She has spent years mentoring students of all ages and continues to bring a positive environment to School of Rock Plainfield.
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).
Colin Edmunds 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.
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.
Mike Curran Adult Band Director and Drum Teacher
Mike Curran is a Chicago area drummer that has 10 years of experience teaching private lessons and 5 years of experience directing a class. Mike works with a variety of artists and groups in the recording studio and has toured the United States. He plays drums for The Run Around. Mike also plays keyboard in a band called Evil Empire. Throughout high school and college, Mike developed expertise in jazz, orchestra, and percussion band performance.
Mike's love for all music has made him an open-minded, versatile, patient, and fun teacher. He is able to work with all music tastes, with a particular passion for rockin'! A student of Mike’s can expect to learn the styles of such drummers as Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Travis Barker (Blink 182), Joey Jordinson (Slipknot), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Cindy Blackman-Santana (Lenny Kravitz, Santana), Neil Peart (Rush), and many more!
Nicolas Kemp-Bystrzycki Show Director, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Piano and Singing Teacher
Nicolas is a multi-instrumentalist from South Chicago Suburbs. His love of music came from a young age with singing. However, in his early teen years, his love of the guitar overtook all priorities. Nicolas started formal education in high school music programs and continued into college studies where he graduated with an Associates in Music Education from Joliet Junior College. Throughout his education, he performed in the school jazz band, guitar ensemble, along with several musicals including Tommy, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Hair.
His primary band, Johnny Personne, gigs regularly in the Chicago-land Area. Nick also finds work as a session guitarist for PB Recording Studios, a Stand-in member of Cadillac Groove, Maxwell Mojo, and several other projects. Nick’s ultimate goal as a music educator is to allow his students to find their own musical voice and for them to be able to express it freely!
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.
Kit Tupas Rookies Teacher, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Piano and Singing 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. He is currently the keyboard player in the band Johnny Personne and occasionally performs as a solo artist.
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 instructor at School of Rock Plainfield, and aspires to spread his passion for learning and performing music to kids and students of all ages.
Ruth Foltz 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.
Tracy Leggett Studio Coordinator
One of our more recent additions to The School of Rock Plainfield is Tracy Leggett. She attributes her love and vast appreciation for music in part to her family. Her great-grandfather played the trombone for such notable artist of the big band era as Tommy Dorsey and Doris Day and her father was a principal coronet soloist while marching with The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corp in the late 1970’s.
Having studied opera at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Tracy was a noted member of Mu Phi Epsilon Co-Ed Honorary music fraternity. Among her life’s passions, performing on stage was something she immensely enjoyed. Her most beloved roles include The Witch (Rosina Daintymouth) in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, and Peep –Bo (One of the Three Little Maids from School) in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado.