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Kim Jones, soprano
Matt Daniel, tenor
Bill McMurray, baritone
Chuck Steck, trumpet
Lisa Kristina, piano

Sunday, February 14, at 3PM EST

A Valentine Serenade to Kick-off School of American Music 2021 Family Concert Series

Featured soloists include Kim Jones, Matthew Daniel and Bill McMurray

Join the School of American Music for its first Family Concert of the year, “A Valentine Serenade,” on Sunday, February 14, at 3PM EST. The event, which organizer Phil Bauman promises to be “one splendid afternoon of singing,” will be held at Converge Community Church, 601 W. Buffalo St., in New Buffalo, Mich. Tickets are free but must be reserved online. Donations are welcome.

The program for “A Valentine Serenade” will feature vocalists Kim Jones, Matt Daniel and Bill McMurray accompanied by Lisa Kristina on piano and Charles Steck on trumpet.

“Our versatile singers are fantastic musicians who connect deeply with their audiences,” said Bauman, Program Director for the School of American Music. “This family friendly program presents many different genres and styles and will encompass a wide range of emotions.”

The line-up of Romantic serenades will include beloved favorites from La Boehme, Magic Flute, Porgy and Bess, West Side Story, South Pacific, and Les Misérables, as well as selections from composers ranging from Handel to Bizet to Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Leonard Bernstein.

“I have worked with these artists on many different music programs, most recently as soloists with the Michigan City “Messiah,” Bauman said. “There is nothing more communicative than the human voice, and these artists are first-class communicators!”

Out of respect for the performers and all those in attendance, social distancing will be observed and masks will be required throughout the concert.

The SAM Family Concert Series is made possible by a grant from the Pokagon Fund, and donations to the School of American Music. The next concert in the 2021 series, “With A Youthful Spirit,” is scheduled for March 14, at 3PM EST at Converge Church. It will feature the Northwest Indiana Youth Symphony Musical Ensembles.

Valentine Serenade
Kim Jones, soprano

Kimberly Eileen Jones is a native Chicagoan, born on the lower South Side around Sox Park.  At a young age, she began piano lessons.  It was during this time she also became fascinated with singing, listening and trying to imitate the sounds of Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Dionne Warwick among others.

From her piano performances, she entered competitions that showcased her in front of audiences periodically, and she eventually received piano scholarships while taking lessons at Roosevelt University. Her shyness lessened when her music teacher in high school prompted to her to audition for the Christmas vocal solo in their annual concerts, and she became thrilled at the response she received.

From then on, she had a solo in every concert and entered beauty pageants, such as Miss Chicago (where of course singing was her talent) and Ms. Illinois USA. At Westminster Choir college she was excited to perform in places such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Philadelphia Academy of Music and the Spoleto Festival (in Charleston, SC and Spoleto, Italy).

To work with conductors such as Riccardo Muti and Leonard Bernstein was a dream come true.  She was amazed watching the soloists and it was there she began to wonder if she could perhaps be at the front of the stage instead of part of the group!  After finishing college, she waited a year before auditioning for the Lyric Opera Chorus, and did not make the cut. Six months later her mom told her about the Ryan Opera Center auditions (the young artist program at Lyric Opera of Chicago) and rejoiced when she was accepted into a prestigious program that singers all over the country auditioned for.

Learn more about Kim – visit

Matt Daniel, tenor

Matthew Daniel, tenor, is in his twelfth season with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s chorus. As a soloist, he has performed many opera roles, some of which include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Hoffmann in Tales of Hoffmann, Nemorino in L’Elisir d’amore, The Duke in Rigoletto, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Canio in I Pagliacci, King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors with David Aiken tours.  Opera companies Matthew has worked with include Opera Grand Rapids, Harrisburg Opera, Indiana Opera North, Opera!Lenawee, Aspen Opera Theater, and most recently Harbor Country Opera.

Matthew has performed as a concert soloist as well. Some of the orchestras he has sung with are Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Elkhart Symphony, La Porte Symphony, Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Philharmonic, South Bend Symphony, and the Indianapolis Symphony.

Matthew is well known in the Michiana area as a soloist, voice teacher, and with his work with the Tenors Three. He is a frequent performer in many Michiana venues. 

Bill McMurray, baritone

With more than forty operatic roles to his credit, baritone Bill McMurray has been described as “a baritone with warm, rich tones and superb stage presence” by the Durham Herald Sun. Such roles include “Figaro” in Il baribiere di Sivigila, “Count Almaviva” in Le nozze di Figaro and “Escamillo” in Carmen. Walter Marini of the New Buffalo Times is quoted as saying his portrayal of “Marcello” in Puccini’s La Boheme is “a powerful actor who brings great elegance to the role. His singing is as fine as anything being heard in major opera houses today.”  Recent engagements include his first major Russian role as “Ibn Hakia” in Tchaikovsky’s opera Iolanta with Chicago Opera Theater. He debuted with the Illinois Philharmonic as the bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah, then returned to Chicago Opera Theater this past winter for the Midwest premiere of Stefan Weisman’s opera The Scarlet Ibis. He concluded his 2018-19 solo season with the symphony orchestra at the University of Chicago as the baritone soloist in Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, conducted by Barbara Schubert.

Highlights of his 2019-20 season has Bill singing his first baritone solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Northwest Indiana Symphony, as well as the role of “Riff” in a concert version of West Side Story with the same orchestra later this season. He will make his debut with Opera San Antonio in the role of “Marullo” in the opera Rigoletto in the Spring of 2020.  

Previous engagements include his first “Germont” in Verdi’s La Traviata with Harbor County Opera in Three Oaks, Michigan. Additionally, in 2018 he sang the role of “Mr Greatorex” with Chicago Opera Theater in the world premiere opera Elizabeth Cree, then returned to Summer Garden Opera in Virginia to reprise his signature role of “Figaro” in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Bill sang the lead role of “Prospero” in Lee Hoiby’s The Tempest with Longleaf Opera in NC, while the composer himself was in attendance and received outstanding reviews for his performance. He has sung with noted companies like Florida Grand Opera, Opera North, Knoxville Opera, The Opera Company of NC, Mobile Opera, Opera Carolina, Central City Opera and Opera on the James. Mr. McMurray has also performed several times with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Opera in the Neighborhoods” and “Meet the Artist” outreach programs. In 2013 Bill sang the lead role in the Chicago premiere of Der Kaisser von Atlantis at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with the New Millennium Orchestra under the baton of Francesco Milioto.

Equally successful on the concert stage, Bill has sung solos in such oratorios as Handel’s Messiah, which he recorded on CD, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, as well as works such as Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and the Faure Requiem. Concert appearances include the New Philharmonic Orchestra in Glen Ellyn, the Elmhurst Orchestra and Choral Society, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Skokie Valley Symphony, Chicago Arts Orchestra, New Millennium Orchestra and the Waukegan Symphony. He performed a set of Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs with The Chicago Civic Orchestra and was the baritone soloist in a concert version of Porgy and Bess with Northwest Indiana Symphony.  Mr McMurray was also a featured soloist in Florence and Rome, Italy with the combined choirs of St John Cantius Church and St Joseph College. In the summer of 2017, at the Ravinia Festival, he was the bass soloist in the final movement of Haydn’s The Creation, conducted by former Metropolitan Opera Music Director, James Levine. He is a previous first place winner of the National Association Teachers of Singing competition and was one of eight singers selected to the Winners Circle of The Classical Music Vocal Competition, which was held in Chicago.

Learn more about Bill – visit

Chuck Steck, trumpet

Charles Steck, trumpet, teaches at Valparaiso and Andrews universities, Lakeshore High school, Portage High School, and Culver Academy. He has been Principal Trumpet with the La Porte County and Elkhart County symphony orchestras, and a featured trumpet and vocal soloist with the St. Joseph (Michigan) Municipal Band, the Tom Milo Big Band, and the North American Brass Company. In 2006, Charles was named the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra’s Most Outstanding Musician.

Lisa Kristina, piano

Her career in music has taken her around the world, performing and coaching in German Theaters, playing jazz in china, giving chamber music concerts in Lithuania, and appearing as a featured classical artist on trans-Atlantic cruise ships. Lisa Kristina has worked on major professional productions, including Phantom of the Opera, on Broadway, on tour in the U.S., and in Germany;, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Les Miserables, and Beauty and the Beast, and has been musical director for many more productions in the Chicago area.

Ms. Kristina has been heard live on WFMT Radio, both as a singer and pianist, and has appeared as an accompanist on Chicago Tonight. Dr. Kristina has been rehearsal Pianist/coach, chorusmaster, and/or solo artist for many of the New Philharmonic’s opera productions, including Othello, Cosi fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, The Mikado, and The Beggar’s Opera. She also has been a keyboardist for Chicago Opera Theater, including playing celesta for A Flowering Tree by John Adams, with the composer himself conducting. She keeps busy working, even after recently winning some money as a two-time Jeopardy! champion.

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