Meet our Teachers and Staff

Sheila Fortson

Founder/CEO/Board Member

With a bachelors degree in piano performance and a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Art, over 20 years of experience teaching plus a 15 year background in choral conducting, Sheila brings a wide range of experience to her studio.  She has been playing and performing music since childhood.  Her extensive background in choirs, orchestras and piano performance gives her a broad look at the world around her and a fresh perspective on teaching music. With a passion for music education, she began FAME Center as a way to broaden her ability to educate the young and young at heart. Sheila is a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association).  Sheila is the founder and executive director of FAME Center and she is excited to share her love of music education with the South Loop and surrounding Chicago residents. 

Heather Williamson

Director of Operations and Business Development

Heather Williamson is a music educator, performer, and leader in arts administration, with a strong passion for working with youth and nurturing important life skills through the study of music and art. Heather served as the Program Director for the David Adler Cultural Center where she led the organization’s efforts to expand programming and its reach in the community. 
Previous experience includes the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, ChiME, The Hartt School Community Division, Sherwood Community Music School, Grant Park Music Festival and Ravinia Festival. Heather is an active performer on both violin and viola and has been a member of the Northbrook Symphony, Lake County Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, New Britain Symphony, and Wallingford Symphony. Heather is an alumnus of Valparaiso University and The Hartt School of Music , serves on the Associate Board of The People’s Music School, and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Bethany Kamaleson
Teacher/Program Coordinator

Graduated from Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) with a Bachelors of Science in Music Therapy. She has been a Board-Certified Music Therapist since 2013, and has experience working in in- and out-patient mental health facilities, school settings, and with individuals and groups of persons with developmental disabilities. Here at FAME Center you can find her teaching piano, voice, and ukulele. Bethany is also our Program Development Coordinator!

In her time away from teaching, Bethany enjoys riding bike, being outdoors, and spending time cooking and working on fermentation projects with her husband, Clay.

Graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in voice.  She began pursuing music at age 12, when she started taking private voice lessons, and has since gained performance experience throughout the Chicagoland area, around the U.S. and abroad. She has professional training in a variety of music genres, styles and vocal techniques, including classical, musical theatre, sacred, contemporary and choral music. She has been teaching private voice and piano lessons since 2015, and desires to mentor and equip students of all age groups and skill levels with practical tools to become better musicians. Here at FAME you can find Lili teaching lessons in voice and piano, as well as being our Office Administrator!

In her spare time, Lili enjoys cooking, running, traveling, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her friends and family. 

Lili Tinaglia Uhe
Teacher/Office Administrator

She holds an Associates Degree in piano performance from Harold Washington College, as well as a Masters Degree in Music Composition from Roosevelt University. In addition to her music degrees, She graduated Cum Laude from University of Colorado with a B.S. in Business Administration. She has 5 years of teaching experience with students of all ages. She is available for lessons in piano, music theory, and composition. In her teaching, she values encouraging experimentation, continuous learning, and artistic freedom.

Outside of teaching, Mariana enjoys spending time making music with friends, and is a member of the Handbell and Choir ensembles at The Chicago Temple! She also enjoys talking long walks with her husband and their dog.

Ms. Mariana
Music Teacher

Having been classically trained in piano for 12 years, violin and guitar for 7 years, Josh is currently completing his Bachelors of Music at Moody Bible Institute. Josh worked as a church pianist since 2009, as well as performing in a variety of concerts- including internationally in Spain with the Moody Symphonic Band, Candelight Carols Concert of Chicago, and a range of solo performances here in Chicago. In December of 2018 he also completed two recitals in Dali, Yunan, China, and Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. [Paragraph] Josh is experienced in teaching people of all ages, from early childhood to adult in group and private lesson settings, and highly values focusing not only on music skills but also character growth and relationship building. He loves to creative ways to keep his lessons balanced in technique and supporting his students in truly enjoying their instruments - using daily life and fun demonstrations to help them understand theory and technique.

Mr. Josh
Music Teacher

Graduated from Moody Bible Institute. He was proudly born, raised and still resides on Chicago's west side. He plays all styles of guitar, but is not limited to guitar. He also plays bass, drums and low brass.

Moises in his past life was in 2 Hip Hop bands. 

Mr. Moises
Music Teacher

Ms. Hannah
Digital Arts Teacher

Graduated from a small university in Virginia with a BA in Digital Media and Peacebuilding. She has been playing with cameras and computers since she was 11 years old, and has several years of experience working as a camera technician. She spent a portion of her childhood outside of the USA, and photos were one of the best ways to share those experiences with others. It is the ability to use technology to create and give expression to what you see and feel that gets Hannah excited about teaching. You can find Hannah teaching at our community partnership school, tutoring in Math and Science, and teaching private lessons or group classes in Coding, Photography, Graphic Design, Film Making, and Claymation.

Outside of teaching, Hannah enjoys watching movies, working on puzzles, and playing games with friends.

Ms. Caitlin
Fine Arts Teacher

Graduated with a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, has been working as a mental health counselor specializing in working with children and adolescents in play, experiential, cognitive behavioral therapy and equine-assisted psychotherapy. Growing up the daughter of an art teacher in Ohio, she spent much of her childhood doing a variety of art projects under her mother's tutelage and loves to draw, write and dapple in painting. Through teaching art and drawing classes, she seeks to assist developing artists in expressing themselves through art and building healthy community within a safe and dynamic environment. She teaches drawing, painting, story-making and intro to art classes, and tutoring writing, English, art, and history.

When she's not teaching or working as a therapist, Caitlin enjoys biking, horseback riding, and spending time with friends.

Ms. Rachael
Music Teacher

Graduated from Western Michigan University in April of 2012 in viola performance, studying under Kalamazoo Symphony Principal Violist Igor Fedotov. She got her Masters degree at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, studying under internationally known soloist and chamber musician Roger Chase in 2014. She is Suzuki trained and believes in the power of music to aid in a child's emotional, physical, behavioral and spiritual development. She strongly encourages students to learn how to play by ear to develop intuition, expression and improvisation skills. She loves teaching students fiddle music or other genres that are of interest to the child in addition to the traditional repertoire. She teaches violin, viola, mandolin, baritone ukulele, and songwriting!

In her time, Rachael enjoys songwriting, as well as performing in a fun, silly kid’s folk band with her husband, Justin, as The Lavender Cloud. She also enjoys singing around the house, knitting and swimming!

Ms. AJ
Music Teacher

Graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelors in Music, and completed her Masters in Vocal Performance from North Park University. The majority of her training is in Western classical music, but she enjoys working with pop and musical theater styles as well. AJ has several years of teaching experience with students aged 3 to 40. Previously she volunteered for and then directed a choir for children ages 5 to 7, and also worked with an adult choir. Additionally, AJ is currently an adjunct professor in Moody's music department. You can find AJ teaching at our community partnership schools,  instructing private voice and piano lessons, as well as group singing and music classes.

When she's not teaching, AJ enjoys reading, making music with friends, writing, and biking when the weather is warm.

Ms. Justine
Music Teacher

Currently studying for her Master of Music in Violin Performance and Pedagogy under Almita Vamos at Roosevelt University, as well as working to complete her Suzuki certification. Prior to her Masters program, she completed a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, studying under MingHuan Xu. She has been teaching internationally since 2014, and has experience conducting violin sectionals for string ensembles, as well as teaching both private lessons and group classes for students aged 4 to adults. She is also certified in piano instruction through ABRSM. She values a holistic education for all of her students, seeks to help her students find the best way to express themselves through music, and believes that music and the arts should be accessible to everyone. She teaches private lessons and group classes in violin, piano, music theory, Mandarin language, and more!

In her time outside of teaching, studying, and performing, Justine enjoys doing pilates, eating, and flexing her creative muscles doing floral design and jewelry making.

Mr. Devvyn
Music Teacher

He is a young man of faith from Philadelphia, PA, who has been involved in music since he was a young child, and has about 15 years of professional experience in the music industry, which has led him around the world singing and composing. He currently attends Moody Bible Institute, double majoring in Music Ministry Worship and Arts, and Theology. He cares deeply about using his skills in music ministry to be a spiritual encouragement, and currently resides as the Worship Leader at Salem Baptist Church of Chicago. When he’s not teaching and playing music, he enjoys keeping up with his athletic hobbies, playing basketball and other sports. Musically he has experience in a wide range of genres including R&B, Pop, Jazz, Gospel, Classical, Opera, and more. He is passionate about supporting his students in becoming well-rounded, multifaceted musicians. Here at FAME Center you can find Devvyn teaching private lessons and group classes in voice, drums, songwriting, and professional & practical classes to help students cultivate the gifts and skills in their development as musicians.

Ms. Lillian 
Art Teacher

She is a graduate of Wheaton College, where she majored in Community Art, and Peace & Conflict Studies. During her time studying art, Lillian worked as a mentor bringing arts to youth in the juvenile justice system, and also taught classes at Jacaranda Academic Center in Nairobi, Kenya. She enjoys working with a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, and sculpture. Through her studies and experiences she has come to believe in the significant role art can play in communities to create space for healing, lament, justice, peace, and celebration. 

Lillian has experienced the impact of caring and quality educators, and strives to bring that same level of compassion to her own students. When she’s not teaching or making art, she enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, reading, and enjoying nature. Here at FAME Center you can find Lillian working with our community partnership schools and organizations, as well as offering group classes and private art lessons. 

Ms. Karolina
Music Teacher

She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Instrumental Performance. She started teaching in 2014, and has a wide range of experience teaching different genres of music including Classical, Jazz, Latin, and Rock/Pop/Contemporary both in private lessons and ensemble settings. She is active in performing and gigging with a variety of ensembles, but especially loves playing Latin music. When she's not teaching, practicing, or gigging you can find her spending time outside hiking, camping, running, and going on long backpacking trips to spend time alone in nature. As a musician, Karolina has played a lot of different genres in her musical "coming of age" and has found value in every single one of them. She believes that every genre and style of music, and every culture and community around that genre has something different to teach us. As a teacher she is happy to work on whatever the student is interested in, and will also push them to explore other sounds. She believes that in order to grow as a creative person you have to learn to follow your gut and follow the things that interest you while still being open to other influences.​ Here at FAME you can find Karolina teaching Saxophone, Piano, Flute, and Clarinet, as well as a variety of ensemble and music exploration group classes!

1550 S. State Street, #116 Chicago, IL 60605

312-469-0667

© 2020 FAME Center

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