Jennifer Petkus attended the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, receiving her BM and MM degrees in clarinet performance. While attending school, she held positions with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic (2nd clarinet), the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra (principal clarinet), and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra (bass clarinet). Jennifer was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2008-2009 and has also performed with the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble, the West Suburban Symphony, and the Light Opera Works orchestra. She is a founding member of the Kaia Wind Quintet and currently teaches private clarinet lessons throughout the Chicago area. In addition to her work as a clarinetist, Jennifer is the Director of Children’s Music at St. Peter’s UCC in Elmhurst, IL.
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Dennis Smith began his musical studies at the age of 4 on the accordion and switched to the Clarinet at the age of 8. He has studied clarinet with Robert Marcellus, Larry Combs, Clark Brody and John Bruce Yeh and is a graduate of the DePaul University School of Music. Mr. Smith has been a featured soloist with the Salt Creek Sinfonietta and Wheaton Symphony Orchestra and frequently has been found playing his bass clarinet in a variety of orchestras in the Chicago area.
Mr. Smith is coordinator of a recital series featuring the music of women composers, in which he also performs. As a clarinetist, his great love is presenting 20th century chamber works unknown to the public in recital and has given a number of Chicago area premieres.
Mr. Smith’s career as a choral conductor began in 1985 with a 13 year stint as the director of the adult choir of Bethel Reformed Church in Chicago. In 1994, he took over conducting responsibilities as the “unofficial” assistant conductor of the Downers Grove Choral Society and had conducted their chamber choir in several programs. He also sang with the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Choir at the University of Chicago and can be found on their CD featuring songs of exultation and lamentations. From 2002 until 2005, Mr. Smith was the Music Director of the First Congregational Church of Lockport leading the Chancel Choir and the Pilgrim Handbell Choir and, since August 2006, has been serving as choir director of Community Congregational Church of Villa Park. He founded Acappellago with his wife Patricia in 2002, and is celebrating their 15th season this year as Music Director. Dennis has also been Music Director at Community Congregational Church since 2006 and is involved with the Downers Grove and Hinsdale Music Clubs.
Rose Sperazza, clarinetist, received her DMA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Clarinet performance, a M.M. at University of Akron and a B.M from DePaul University. She is a tenured Associate Professor of Music at Northeastern Illinois where she regularly appears as soloist and chamber musician. Rose recently received an Excellence award from Northeastern for her creative activities, primarily as a performing artist. She has been on the faculties of Harper College and Sherwood Conservatory of Music. She has appeared at Merit School of Music’s LIVE FROM GOTTLEIB and on several WFMT live broadcasts. As a soloist, Rose has been featured at International Clarinet Conventions in Tokyo, Japan, College Park, Maryland, and in Salt Lake City, Utah.