Performers:

Mark Rucker

From the time of his debut as Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera with Luciano Pavarotti for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the American baritone has been in demand in opera houses and on concert stages throughout the world. In addition to an active performing career, he has been the Administrative Director for the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s celebrated Young Artist Program, Prelude to Performance since 2005 and Artistic Director since 2015.

For more about Mark Rucker:  http://music.msu.edu/faculty/profile/mark

Robert Sims

Robert Sims, Gold Medal winner of the American Traditions Competition, has been hailed by critics for his rich tone, energetic performances, and convincing stage presence.  Mr. Sims has been highly praised for his moving interpretations of African American spirituals, and has given numerous recitals of them throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. 

For more about Robert Sims:   https://www.niu.edu/music/meet-us/bio/sims.shtml

Tammy McCann

Tammy McCann, began her career as a Classical musician.   But Jazz stole her heart.

Tammy McCann has been named “Best Jazz Vocal Performance” for several years by the Chicago Tribune!!!  Tammy is an internationally recognized Jazz Vocalist who’s powerful, sultry, and emotionally charged voice paints pictures and tells stories by merging Classical vocal technique and Gospel esthetic with Jazz to create a sound that is completely her own. Chicago Tribune’s Arts Critic, Howard Reich says McCann has, “A voice that soars in all registers, at all tempos, on all occasions… a voice that inspires wonder!”

For more about Tammy:  http://www.tammymccann.com/

Donna McAfee

Donna started in the industry in Chicago where she performed as a vocalist on many commercial and civic events including being the featured vocalist for both Mayor Jane Byrne and Mayor Harold Washington. It was also in Chicago that she produced the first of many CDs. While performing as a vocalist for the WGN special “American Giants – the history of Negroes in baseball”, Donna was given the opportunity to go to California to meet with execs from Black Tie/Capitol records. This meeting led to a record deal and also to Donna relocating to Los Angeles. From there Donna went on to record CDs with Polygram and Songbird Entertainment and to be a vocalist on many films and commercials including the song “The Prayer” featuring Celine Dion and Andrea Boccelli and produced by David Foster. She also sang with the Andrae' Crouch singers on Michael Jackson's HISTORY CD. 

For more about Donna:  https://www.facebook.com/donna.mcafee.56

William Kurk

Manufactured from the seed of musical ancestry, William Kurk is a Chicago-born artist that comes from a family of artistic lineage. Son to musicians Beverly and William, Sr, grandson to Dr. Lena Mclin, and great nephew to Thomas A. Dorsey, Kurk is a torch bearer of the most distinguished values of humanity and arts.   Formal vocal training for Kurk started with his grandmother, Dr. Lena McLin at age 13. Prior to that, Kurk studied the flute, trumpet, guitar, and bass guitar. His first experience with an instrument was as early as nine-months old on drums. Singing was the first musical stronghold on the early years of Kurk’s artistic identity. Along with performing at various talent showcases around Chicago, singing in the church choir was quintessential to the process, while also singing in all-city youth chorus and mass services weekly as a student at Hales Franciscan High School. 

For more about Kurk:  http://www.williamkurk.com/html/about.php

Susan Korhonen

The internationally recognized soprano Susan Korhonen has garnered high praise for her performances as a versatile soloist in opera, oratorio, recital and musical theatre throughout the United States, Europe and Israel. Critics in Germany have described her voice as “wonderfully radiant with electrifying high notes.” Her leading roles in opera have included Donna Elivra in “Don Giovanni,” Mimi in “La Boheme.” Violetta in “La Traviata,” and the Marschallin in “Der Rosenkavalier.”

She began her performing career at the age of 10 and by the age of 18 was a veteran of numerous musical theatre productions, international tours and television performances. Her most recent role in this genre was as Nene in an Austrian touring production of “Sisi.”

Miss Korhonen has specialized in music from the 20th century (and onward). She was mentored by the renowned composer Dr. Lena J. McLin whose protégés are performing at present on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway and Concert Halls as well as in Gospel and as Worship Leaders for leading ministries all over the world. They are represented in every musical genre and include R&B’s “R.Kelly.” Dr. McLin chose Susan to premiere her art songs and spirituals Chicago’s Orchestra Hall with the composer accompanying her at the piano.

Sharon Pass

Truly a diva for all musical seasons, vocalist Sharon Pass, is ascending towards merited prominence within the competitive entainment industry. Sharon’s multi-octave voice is a veritable of style invoking a special blend of stunning intonations comparable to veteran singers such as Aretha Franklin,Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Celine Dion and Roberta Flack. Being the daughter of musician parents, Sharon’s luminous skills were attained through musical enlightenment cultivated at home from her father Leon Pass, renowned percussionist, and her mother, Marie Pass, an accomplished R & B and Gospel Singer. Sharon got her first professional gig as a session singer recording demos and singing backgrounds for CeCe Peniston, RuPaul, and Chantay Savage. Sharon Pass has power, range, and depth. Like a fine wine this dynamo of voice has mellowed and is even more rich and sumptuous and the time is right for the musical public’s total consumption of Sharon’s talents.

Charlean Carmon

Chicago native Charlean Carmon is a singer/songwriter/vocal producer whose vast experience includes film, television and tours.  Her film credits include “Dreamgirls”, “Rio”, “Hidden Figures”, “Guardians Of The Galaxy 2” and “Deadpool 2”. Carmon is a true vocal chameleon, able to seamlessly transition from genre to genre.  The extensive list of artists she has worked with includes Christina Aguilera, Eric Clapton, Deborah Cox, Brian McKnight, Kashif, Emilie Sande, Alan Stone, Mandy Moore, Josh Groban, Chris Young, Chaka Khan, Leonard Cohen, Shania Twain and Stevie Wonder.  Carmon has made more than 700 national and international television appearances, some of which include The Four, The View, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, The American Music Awards, Wetten Das (Germany), Fame Academy (Spain), Top Of The Pops (UK), TV Land Awards, Everybody Hates Chris, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Emmys, The Grammys, The Oscars, & seven seasons of American Idol.  In addition to working as a background singer on American Idol, Carmon stepped into the role of vocal producer for the show's iTunes recording sessions.

 

For more information about Charlean:  https://www.charleancarmon.com

Robert “R.” Kelly

Kelly is an award-winning and prolific singer, songwriter, and music producer.  Lauded as the "King of R&B," Kelly had more Top 40 hits than any other male solo artist in the 1990s.  Born in Chicago on January 8, 1967, Kelly was raised by his mother Joanne, and began singing in his church's choir as a young child.  Kelly later attended Kenwood Academy. There he was persuaded by his music teacher---Lena McLin---to quit the basketball team, because he truly had a gift for performing music. "She's my second mother," Kelly later explained to Ebony magazine. "She took me under her wing in high school.  She told me I would be a big star."  Dr. McLin’s prophecy proved true.  


Kelly’s anthem "I Believe I Can Fly" which appeared on the soundtrack of Space Jam, earned him three Grammy Awards in 1997.  That same year Kelly contributed the song "Gotham City" to the Batman & Robin soundtrack.  In addition to creating his own music, Kelly has done the same for music icons Michael Jackson, for whom Kelly penned the 1995 platinum-selling, Grammy nominated chart-topper "You Are Not Alone", and Whitney Houston’s gold-selling “I Look To You” in 2009.  Working as her producer, Kelly helped singer Aaliyah with her 1994 platinum-selling album, Age Ain't Nothing But a Number.  His 1998 album, R., featuring a duet with Celine Dion entitled "I'm Your Angel," sold more than 7 million copies.  In 2001, Kelly joined with Jay-Z to create another Top 10 hit, "Fiesta."  In 2016, Kelly released an album of holiday standards: 12 Nights of Christmas.  


Throughout his career, Kelly has won numerous major awards including: American Music Award, BET, Billboard, Grammy, Guiness World Record, and Soul Train.  According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Kelly has sold more than 75 million albums and singles worldwide.