ANDREA (WITHERS) MCSTAY is an active performer and teacher in the Chicago area. She studied music at Lewis University, Joliet Junior College, and Grace College, leading to the completion of a Bachelor's Degree in Music Merchandising from Lewis University. Her principal violin teacher during her college years was Dr. Lee Joiner, professor of music at Wheaton College.
Andrea has extensive experience performing in chamber ensembles and is a founding member of the Sveltezza Ensemble and Volare Trio. Additionally, she has performed with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra, serving as concertmaster for three seasons, Symphony of the Lakes, and Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. She has performed as a soloist in recitals at Joliet Junior College, Lewis University, and VanderCook College of Music. She has attended several summer music programs including MasterWorks Festival, Southern Illinois Music Festival, Bob Jones University Music Camps, and Kankakee Valley Piano Camp.
Andrea maintains a private teaching studio in Channahon and at PM Music Center in Aurora. She has previously taught at Lewis University, Bristol Grove Music, Joliet Area Suzuki Strings, and Bellas Artes School of Music. She has received teacher training in the Suzuki Method through the Chicago Suzuki Institute and Western Springs School of Talent Education. Click HERE for more information about Andrea's private studio.
JESSICA ONDRACEK - BURDGE earned her Bachelors of Music at the Chicago College of Performing Arts while studying with Mr. Richard Hirschl, a cellist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has been the principal cellist of multiple orchestras and performs frequently in pit orchestras as well as orchestras for musicals, film festivals, bands, and religious services. On the piano, she accompanies student recitals, competitions, and festivals. Additionally, she is an active member of the Sveltezza Chamber Ensemble.
In July 2008, she traveled throughout Bulgaria as a member of the International Chamber Music Festival, directed by Kamen Petkov. During this festival, she had the opportunity to play in piano bars along the Black Sea as well as perform in courtyards and art galleries throughout the country. During the summer of July 2013, Jessica journeyed to Canada to study and perform on the shores of Lac Saint-Denis at the Laurentides Music Camp.
Jessica as an adjunct faculty member at Lewis University, as well as an instructor at The School of Performing Arts, and proprietor of the Ondracek Music Studio. One of Jessica's greatest passions besides performing is teaching music to her students. She has adopted the Suzuki Method for instructing her students which range in age from 3 to 37 years old. She enjoys teaching her students how to play their instruments to the best of their ability, as well as helping to develop a lifelong passion for music and the arts. To this end, she teaches students individually, coaches small ensembles, and instructs larger group classes. Her studios perform 4 to 8 times per year as well as engage in local competitions and festivals.
Notable performances include performing with The Buckinghams, as well as premier performances of The Great Cry and The Ripper. She has performed at some of the finest venues in the Chicagoland area such as Symphony Center, the Auditorium Theatre, the Palmer House, the Harris Theatre, Navy Pier, the Women's Athletic Club of Chicago, and Ganz Hall.
Throughout the years she has accrued many musical achievements and honors: Winner and soloist of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra concerto competition, winner and soloist of the Youth Symphony of DuPage Orchestra concerto competition, and soloist with the Youth Symphony of DuPage for the Illinois premier of Tan Dun's symphony "Mankind."
Jessica teaches both cello and piano and is a member of the Suzuki Association.
Click HERE to learn more about Jessica's music.