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 a Masters in Public Policy from DePaul University. She has spent years mentoring students of all ages and continues to bring a positive environment to School of Rock Plainfield.
Bunny Sobieski Studio Coordinator
Bunny is the new Studio Coordinator at School of Rock Plainfield. Her pronouns are she/her. Outside of school, Bunny is a multi-media artist, using acrylics, embroidery, and fabrics to create dreamy pop art, as well as a professional face painter. She grew up in Park Ridge before moving to Plainfield three years ago and is looking forward to meeting more members of her community through School of Rock.
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.
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.
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.
Kyle McMahan 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.
Amanda Szulc Keyboard Teacher
Amanda Szulc has over 20 years of piano experience. She was trained in classical music at the age of 6 and ever since then, she has played all genres of music. She considers herself a music omnivore and loves and appreciates all styles of music. She also has over 10 years of child care experience and her passion for music knows no limits. She also teaches the Little Wings and Rookies. Besides playing piano, She writes her own poetry and writes album reviews for local artists. She is so thankful for this opportunity here at School of Rock Plainfield!