Burley Music Instructors
Francy Acosta - K-2 General Music - Francy Acosta is a singer and Music Educator based in the Chicago area. She initiated her activities as a performer and teacher in her native Bogotá (Colombia) and later went on to pursue graduate studies in the United States. She has taught voice (solo & ensembles), general music, World & Latin American Music, and music history in Colombia and the US. With EnsAmble Ad-Hoc, a musical group of which she is co-founder and co-director, she performs European pre-classical repertoires as well as music from Colombia and other Latin American countries. Ad-Hoc’s latest collaborations include “A Mexican Christmas” with the Newberry Consort and a program of Spanish Renaissance with the Mignarda Ensemble. Ms. Acosta has been a faculty member of Merit School of Music for the past ten years. Credentials: Case Western Reserve University, DMA, Early Music Performance; University of New Hampshire, MM, Voice; National Pedagogical University of Colombia, BM, Music Education; Professional Education License, State of Illinois, Music K-12; Graduate Research Grant, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, CWRU; Colombia’s Ministry of Culture Scholarship, Graduate Studies, CWRU
Frances Kennedy - 3rd Grade Recorder - Frances Kennedy, a native of Chicago, graduated with honors from the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) earning a degree in music with an emphasis in early childhood education and special education. She has completed Orff Level 1 training, is certified in Music Together, and teaches in partnership with the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Resources (FHSR), offering group classes and private lessons for children with hearing loss. As a trained classical pianist, Frances has worked with Rick Ferguson, Michael Langer, Tiantian Liang and is currently studying with Jeff Panko and Mary Sauer, former principal pianist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With experience in teaching private lessons for all ages and elementary music group classes, Frances believes music is a means of universal teaching and can bring beauty and joy to a young student’s mind and heart. Credentials: University of Mary, Bachelor of Arts in Music Minor in Special Education
Stephen Gooden - 4th - 8th Grade Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Band - Stephen Gooden is the Conductor of the Symphonic Band in Merit School of Music and the Assistant Conductor to the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Gooden’s students have been featured at numerous performance venues and competitions including Carnegie Hall, and have been scholarship winners at many major universities. His vast performance experience serves to enhance the innovative ways in which he trains his students. Credentials: Northwestern University, MM, Clarinet Performance and Literature, Georgia State University, BA, Music Education
Kaitlin Foley - Choir (3rd Grade 002 and 107, 4th Grade, 5th Grade Advanced - Kaitlin Foley is a freelance performer and educator in the Chicagoland area. She feels at home teaching and conducting singers of many levels and age groups, working with collegiate choirs, adult singers, retiree choruses, and advanced high school, middle school, and elementary school singers. With joy, she conducts and directs at North Park University, Merit School of Music, People’s Music School, Niles West High School, and with the service-oriented retiree choir Women of Note. She completed her undergraduate work in music education at the University of Missouri, after which she moved to Chicago to achieve her M.M. in Voice Performance from DePaul University. She worked as an Artist in Residence at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago, where she founded the Rockefeller Children’s Choir. Through various cultural exchange programs including Village Harmony and SongRoots, she has studied non-Western vocal traditions in Corsica, Republic of Georgia, Cuba, and Appalachia. She has served as a clinician across the US and in British Columbia. Ms. Foley is a founding member of the genre-bending vocal theater ensemble Artemisia, for which she also composes and arranges. She is also a regular soloist and performer with Haymarket Opera, Grant Park Chorus, and Third Coast Baroque.
Margie Johnston - Choir (3rd Grade 108, 6th Grade) - Maggie Johnston is very happy to be back teaching choir in schools after taking a 2.5 year hiatus during COVID. Prior to that hiatus, Maggie worked as an adjunct professor at DePaul University teaching Middle School Vocal Methods and serving as a mentor to student teachers all over Chicago. She also worked for Chicago Children’s choir as one of their in-school conductors in more than six different Chicago Public Schools. Maggie was the general music teacher, choir conductor, and musical director at Washburne Middle School in Winnetka, IL for four years. Maggie attended the Juilliard School in their Pre-College division double majoring in piano and vocal performance. Maggie holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, a minor in Piano Performance, and a Musical Theater Certificate from Northwestern University. She also has her Master of Science in Music Education from Queens College and is certified to teach grades K-12.
Evan Bruno - Choir (3rd Grade 002 and 107 During M. Foley's Leave) - Evan Bruno is an accomplished music and choral conductor who has spent the last decade working with youth from across Chicago to bring them together through music. From 2011 to 2022, Evan was with Uniting Voices (formerly Chicago Children's Choir), most recently serving as Faculty Director for the organization. Evan is currently serving as the Artistic Director of Anima - Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus. As a teacher, Evan’s focus has been creating a space where each individual singer can express exactly who they are without concern or worry and he strives to create an inclusive rehearsal environment. Evan has been invited to present on his research and techniques to improve social emotional learning in the arts at the Kennedy Center for the Arts and to Grantmakers for Education. Evan was also a contributing author for the book “Winding It Back: Teaching to Individual Differences in Music Classroom and Ensemble Settings.” From 2011 to 2021, he served as Director of Music Ministry at First United Methodist Church of Glen Ellyn. He holds a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in choral music education from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. He also holds Level III Kodály Certification from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX where he has also served as an instructor of ensemble and conducting.
Katelyn Curtin - Choir (4th, 5th and Advanced Choir during Ms. Foley's leave) -Katelyn Curtin is a voice teacher and music director who just moved to the Chicago area. Katelyn Graduated with her BFA in Acting in 2021 from Oklahoma City University. While in school she studied acting, dance, voice, musical theater, and opera. She performed Vocal Jazz and Opera across Madrid while attending her study abroad program. She has performed with many theaters around the country as well including Children’s Theater of Madison, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Children’s Theater. During college she found a love for teaching music and voice. She has music directed for Children’s Theater of Madison, Stoughton Center for the Arts, The Florentine Opera and Aligning Stars Productions. She was also the choir director alongside her husband, Brett, at Glenwood Moravian Church prior to her move. Katelyn is super excited to start making music in her new home, Chicago!