The Music Director & Organist, the Choir Director and four professional singers provide inspiring leadership for music at Lake Street Church. 

 

All have music-related career beyond their church roles.  Their extensive connections in the music community enrich special concerts at the church.

Diana Schmück, Music Director & Organist

Head shots of the staff of Lake Street Church.Photo by Chris Walker.

Diana plans and coordinates the music that takes place at Lake Street Church. She says that she is a musician because “learning and sharing music requires that I use all parts of myself simultaneously to connect with others.  Because my mind, my body, my emotions, and my spirit must unite and focus to bring a piece of music to life, the connections made with fellow musicians, listeners, and composers are on a level that is as deep as any I have ever known.  I believe that this connection is a connection with the Divine in others.  I am honored to serve as the Music Director at Lake Street Church, to enable and participate in music of celebration, of contemplation, of rejoicing and mourning with one another, and of greater awareness of the Divine within and among us all.”

 

Heralded by the Chicago Sun-Times as “one of the finest chamber pianists on the scene…playing with her ears as much as her gifted hands,” Diana has appeared in concert throughout the United States and Canada, in Europe and as far as the Philippines, as well as Chicago’s major venues: Symphony Center, Ravinia, radio station WFMT, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

 

Diana is a founding member of the Orion Ensemble, described in the Sun-Times as “one of Chicago’s most adventuresome, polished chamber groups” and praised by critics and listeners alike for its Cedille recording, Twilight of the Romantics: Chamber Music of Walter Rabl and Josef Labor. Dr. Schmück has also performed across the U.S. and in Europe with Bonnie Campbell (as the Daedalus Duo). In addition, she founded the Debriana Duo piano team (with Debra Sutter), which received special recognition at the first Murray Dranoff Duo-Piano Competition. She has collaborated with Richard Stolzman, David Shifrin, and instrumental musicians from many of the foremost American orchestras, and for fourteen years she served on the faculty at Ravinia’s Steans Institute for young professional singers.

 

Diana is a doctoral graduate of Northwestern University and also holds degrees from DePaul University and Wheaton College. She has taught, coached, and directed in several university, college, outreach, and summer festival settings. Currently, in addition to her work at Lake Street Church, she maintains a private studio in Evanston.

Bonnie Campbell, Choir Director

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Bonnie directs the Chancel and Concert choirs at Lake Street Church.  When attempting to describe her relationship with music she recalls the following C.S. Lewis quotation from his book Surprised by Joy:

As I stood beside a flowering currant bush on a summer day there suddenly arose in me without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries, the memory of that earlier morning at the Old house when my brother had brought his toy garden into the nursery. It is difficult to find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton’s ‘enormous bliss’ of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to ‘enormous’) comes somewhere near it. . . . It had taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant by comparison.”

 

Bonnie writes: Music was this for me.  When I was three and four, I can vividly recall my parents taking me to choral, orchestra, and band concerts.  It was the gestures of the conductor that caught my attention.  I hadn’t been exposed to dancing, and it was the first time I had seen a person moving in such a way to express something.  It is no exaggeration to say that these early concerts have been among the most influential experiences of my life.  It was as if the whole wash of those concert-going experiences opened the spiritual realm of existence to me.”

 

Bonnie received a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University and holds degrees from Yale University and Roberts Wesleyan College. She also studied at The Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada. In addition to her work at Lake Street Church, she currently serves on the faculties of the VanderCook College of Music and the Merit School of Music. She believes that music is invaluable because of its powerful potential to raise consciousness, foster understanding among peoples, communicate that which is beyond words, and celebrate life and the Divine spirit. To her, a choir is among the best metaphors for the celebration of our life together…individual, unique, God-breathed voices joining together.

 

Coming from a long line of church musicians including her mother and grandmother, Bonnie has been involved in music of the church all her life. In college she studied clarinet and voice and toured with her college chorale. She studied conducting at Yale with Otto-Werner Mueller and Alasdair Neale and served as the choir director at Wakarusa United Methodist Church. She has also guest conducted at other churches and often directs instrumental groups. In addition, she is active as a composer and arranger.

 

As a clarinetist, Bonnie has made solo, chamber and orchestral appearances across the U. S., Canada, Europe, and South Africa, where she was a visiting scholar. She has performed at Lincoln Center and Merkin Hall in New York, at the Evian Festival in France, and at the opening ceremonies of the Bastille Opera in Paris. She has also been a member of the South Bend Symphony and the Camerata Chamber Orchestra of Bloomington. She performs regularly at the Chicago Cultural Center and has also been heard on WFMT’s Live from Studio One. Dr. Campbell is part of several chamber ensembles including the Daedalus Duo (with pianist Diana Schmück), Vermillion, and Zephyr.

Kenneth Donovan, Tenor

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Kenneth Donovan has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus since 1993, where he appeared as a featured soloist in Fedora, Peter Grimes, Billy Budd, and Thais. He has also performed with the Chicago Opera Theatre and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He has sung the role of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme with the Greensboro Opera. Solo concert work includes appearances with the West Suburban Symphony and the Illinois Valley Symphony. He is a frequent recitalist for such concert series as Batavia Classics and The Bech Institute. He has performed in several Opera Classics Concerts at the Valparaiso Memorial Opera House and performs annually at the Lyric Opera of Chicago Opera Preview concerts, sponsored by the Kennedy Foundation and the Thomas Ford Memorial Library of Western Springs.

 

Ken is also a founding member of Opera Faves, an ensemble of vocalists from the Lyric Opera of Chicago who perform concerts throughout the Chicagoland area, and has been listed as a member of the Illnois Artstour Roster. Ken has studied with various teachers across the USA, including Leslie Bennett, Kathryn LaBouff, Deborah Montgomery, Charles Lynam, and Diane Forlano, and is currently studying with Karen Brunssen. Ken has served on the voice faculty of the Greensboro Music Academy and Greensboro College. He has a private voice studio in Northbrook, Illinois.

Dominique Frigo, Alto

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Dominique Frigo, contralto, has made numerous concert and opera appearances.  She most recently appeared as Zita from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Opera Illinois.  Some of her other roles include Zia Principessa from Suor Angelica, Dalila from Saint Saens’ Samson and Dalila, Azucena from Verdi’s II Trovatore, and Maddalena from Verdi’s Rigoletto.  Her concert and oratorio experience is varied, and includes solo appearances in Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, the Bach Magnificat, the Vivaldi Magnificat, Brahms 2 songs for Alto with Viola and Piano Op. 91 and Bach Cantata No. 6.

 

Ms. Frigo made her debut at Chicago Symphony Center as a soloist in 2002 as part of the Center’s lecture series on Verdi.  She was a finalist in the 2002 and 2006 Bel Canto Chorus Competitions, a semi-finalist in the 2002 Lotte Lehman Foundation’s art song competition, and a semi-finalist in the 2001 Center for Contemporary Opera’s International Opera Singer’s competition.

Carol Watkins, Soprano

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Carol Watkins joined Lake Street Church as soprano soloist and section leader in 1993. She brings many years of professional experience as a musical theater performer and training as a classical artist. Favorite musical theater roles have included Maria in West Side Story, Maggie in A Chorus Line, and Salome in The Robber Bridegroom. Opera stage performances have included Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte, and Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel.

 

Carol made her directorial debut here at Lake Street Church with productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors in 2000, 2002 and 2007, and continues her musical training as a director of the Lake Street Church tone chime choir, The Crystal Ringers.

Ronald Watkins, Baritone

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“The music we make is enhanced by the faces we see in the congregation.  On a fair morning, the sun pours in through the Rose window above the balcony and creates a truly special place to create music.  We can hope that the congregation enjoys it as much as we do, for some mornings vocal technique is the only thing between the singer and tears.”  

 

Ron Watkins has been a regular member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus and the Grant Park Symphony Chorus since 1992.  He has also performed with area ensembles and opera companies such as Chicago Opera Theater, Bowen Park Opera, Light Opera Works, Sheboygan Opera, Chicago Folks Operetta, Chamber Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Chorus, South West Symphony and the Metropolitan Orchestra.  Featured roles at Lyric include the Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Antonio in Fedora and Morales in Carmen.  Regional credits include Marcello in La Boheme, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Count Alamaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Figaro in The Barber of Seville.  Mr. Watkins has appeared as a concert soloist in The Brahms Requiem, Elijah, The Faure Requiem, The Durufle Requiem and Haydn’s The Four Seasons.  Discography includes A Song for All Season’s (songs by composer John Giles), and the premier recording of William Bolcolm’s A View from the Bridge.

 

Future engagements feature his twenty first season at Lyric as well as soloist and section leader for The Lake Street Church of Evanston.  Mr. Watkins will appear in his twentieth season with The Grant Park Symphony Chorus.  Also, this fall, Mr. Watkins began his eleventh year as a member of the North Park University Voice Faculty.