Violinist Alison Tatum is an active freelance performer, educator, and arts entrepreneur in the Chicago area with a reputation for facility in both classical and folk genres and has performed at Symphony Center in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York. Alison is a founding member of Amazonland Chamber Players, with whom she presents an annual summer concert series, and has operated and performed with the string quartet Amethyst Ensemble since 2013. In addition, Alison is a member of Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago.
Alison loves live theatre and is often found in the pit at various musical theatre establishments around Chicago, including Theatre at the Center and Porchlight Music Theatre. Stage credits include the role of “musician” in the Goodman Theatre’s 2019 production of A Christmas Carol.
Alison began her musical studies at a young age in her native Kansas City, Missouri. She holds a Performance Certificate and a Master of Music degree from DePaul University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance and Music Theory from the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she graduated summa cum laude. Her teachers include Dr. Olga Dubossarskaya Kaler, Eva Szekely, Edward Dolbashian, Leslie Perna, Dr. Neil Minturn, Dr. Tony Brandolino, and Mary Garcia.
In addition to violin, Alison also plays viola, and has recently taken up electric bass. She also enjoys cooking and baking, playing board games with friends, DIY projects, and spending as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors.
In all her work, her mission is “To build community through music. To promote diversity, inclusion, and social impact through the arts.”
Violinist Cara Schlecker, alumna of The University of Michigan and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, is an avid performer and teacher in the Chicagoland area. She was the concertmaster and soloist of the Star Gate Orchestra and is a former Member of The Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Ms. Schlecker has performed internationally in the Rome Chamber Music Festival and the InterHarmony Festival of Hinterzarten, Germany. She made her Lincoln Center debut in 2012 and has had the pleasure of performing several times at both the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse and Le Poisson Rouge. She has been featured on Chicago’s classical station WFMT radio’s “Introductions.” Ms. Schlecker was featured on national television with the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in their PBS special, “A Grand Mercer Christmas.”
She has performed and toured with artists such as Rod Stewart, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Chuck Leavell, Jo Dee Messina, the “Ten Tenors” of Broadway, and Martin Short, to name a few. A frequent recitalist, Ms. Schlecker has performed chapter recitals on behalf of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Wagner Society of America. Her recording, of Igor Frolov’s Concert Fantasy on Themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, was released through The University of Michigan’s “Gershwin Initiative.” Ms. Schlecker is on faculty at Triton College, has served on faculty at Sherwood Conservatory of Music at Columbia College Chicago, and is currently the orchestra director at Batavia’s Immanuel Lutheran School.
Freshman at The Juilliard School
Isaiah Day, a native of Chicago, Illinois, is currently a Freshman at The Juilliard School pursuing a BFA in Dance. His early dance training includes Yielded Vessel Dance Ministry at New Life Covenant Southeast and Hubbard Street Youth Dance Center. Isaiah is an alum of The Chicago Academy for the Arts where he trained with Patrick Simoniello, Deborah Goodman, Natalie Rast, and Randy Duncan. Over the course of his high school career, Isaiah trained at Hubbard Street, Joffrey Academy of Dance, American Ballet Theatre, The Juilliard School, and Royal Ballet School for summer intensives. Isaiah was a guest performer for WE Charity’s 2019 tour in Illinois and a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist for Modern Dance in 2019. He also danced alongside cellist Yo-Yo Ma at TEDx Wrigleyville ‘Humanity: A View from Inside the Pandemic’ in 2020.
Master of Ceremonies
Marisa Buchheit is an operatic soprano who has performed in critically acclaimed productions around the world. She sings in twelve languages, including those of her own ethnic heritage: Thai, Chinese, and German. She studied vocal performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she graduated with Academic Honors and served as President of Mu Phi Epsilon Music Fraternity. She recently completed her Master’s Degree in opera at DePaul University with Academic Distinction.
Marisa recently performed the title role in the American Premiere of Paul Abraham’s operetta The Flower of Hawaii with Folks Operetta, where she was touted for her “bell-clear coloratura” being “ideally complemented by her stylish beauty in the role of Princess Laia/Suzanne” (PBS Chicago). Other recent performances include concerts and fully staged operas in the United States, Italy, France, Austria, and Thailand. Roles performed include Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Zerlina in Don Govanni, Ying-Ying in the National Premier Tour of Romance of the Western Chamber, Julie in Carousel, and Mary Sunshine in Chicago with companies such as Wichita Grand Opera, American Chamber Opera, Carnegie Arts Center in Indiana, Tuscia Opera Festival, and the Case Western Footlighters in Ohio. She has also been a featured soloist with the Elgin and Peoria Symphony Orchestras every season since 2015. Marisa has sung the national anthem for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Air & Water Show, and also for many charitable organizations.
In 2014 Marisa won the title of Miss Illinois and represented the state with a year of extensive travel, performances and presentations at major events in her native Chicago and around the state. In the Miss Illinois competition she won the Grand Talent Award and the top scholarship award before later competing in ABC’s nationally televised Miss America 2015 broadcast.
Marisa is a frequent recitalist and featured soloist in the Community Chapter Concerts of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. An award winning artist, she was the LiPuma Memorial Scholarship Award in the Casa Italia Annual Vocal Competition and a finalist in the Classical Singer Vocal Competition. She is also co-founder of the soprano trio Très Belle, which performs regularly with Ravinia Festival’s Educational Outreach program and at venues throughout Illinois.
In addition to her busy performance schedule, Marisa is a voice, piano and guitar teacher and serves as Music Director at Concordia Lutheran Church. She is Founder and President of The Virtual Virtuoso, a