Program Coordinator


Valerie Nicholson is professor of music at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois. She earned degrees in music at Murray State University and Governors State University, and is currently a doctoral candidate in music theory at the University of Chicago. Her research looks at the sonic, visual and physical intersections of rhythm in dance and music.

Valerie has performed with many ensembles including the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and in Symphony Center and at the Chicago Jazz and Blues Festivals with Burgess Gardner’s Well-Oiled Jazz Machine. She is active with the Southland Arts Municipalities and Business Alliance (SAMBA) and serves as the director of music at Grace United Protestant Church in Park Forest, Illinois. In addition to her musical endeavors, she is a member of the League of Women Voters and is involved in several regional arts organizations. Valerie has been recognized for her contributions to the arts by the Village of Park Forest Historical Society, Tall Grass Arts Association and Star Newspapers.



Adjunct Faculty

Toni Bell
Justin Deangelo
Stephanie Lebens
Donald Tieri

Alexandra Green holds a B.A. in Music from Miami University, Oxford Ohio in African American Music and Oboe, and a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of California Riverside, Riverside. Her areas of concentration include Afro-Latinx music, African diaspora, Salvadoran identity through music, and oboe instruction. She currently is an adjunct professor of Music at Prairie State College. Ms. Green was the 2017 recipient of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member Award, a first for a part-time adjunct professor at Prairie State College.

Ms. Green has served as part of a cooperative between Prairie State and the One Million Degrees Partnership with Housing Authority for Student Success teaching introduction to college courses. She also serves as a student navigator for the IT Youth Pre-Apprentice Program at Prairie State College, working with at risk youth to develop necessary skill sets to enter the information technology industry prior to graduating high school.

When not teaching courses at the college, Ms. Green works as a medically certified Spanish interpreter as well as a Spanish instructor for the Flossmoor Montessori School.

She is an active musician performing on flute and oboe within the community at Infant of Jesus Prague Catholic Church in Flossmoor, St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Chicago Heights, and the Joliet Symphony Orchestra.



Richard Patterson, a Chicago native and current resident of Homewood, studied at the American Conservatory of Music and University of Illinois at Chicago and graduated from Vandercook College of Music with a degree in music education. His teaching career started as a band, orchestra, and general music teacher in the East Chicago Indiana School system. Mr. Patterson has taught music master classes at Roosevelt University, a “Bass Symposium” master class at Columbia College, and music master class in Nairobi, Kenya, with David Sanborn.

As a professional musician, Mr. Patterson has performed, recorded, and toured as bassist with such artists as Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Michael McDonald, Joe Sample, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Ramsey Lewis, and Natalie Cole, to name a few.

He recently toured as musical director for Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, and David Sanborn.

Mr. Patterson has written, produced, engineered, and recorded music for more than 20 years in both analog and digital studio domains. He currently is on staff as producer, writer, and arranger for Level Next Music at Dupee Productions Studio in downtown Chicago. Some of their musical works have been used and feature in commercials and movies, including McDonald’s, ESPN, “The Good Wife”, Denny’s, Chevy, Sears, Walmart, “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” and many more.

Mr. Patterson was recently added to the adjunct faculty at prairie State College, under the direction of Jonathan Pierre, associate professor of Music Production and Valerie Nicholson, professor of Music.



Eugene Vinyard is originally from Chicago and the south suburbs, and has taught music in Illinois public schools, Berklee College of Music, Boston College and Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.

Mr. Vinyard taught music harmony theory and performance ensembles, and adjudicated student concerts while at Berklee College from 1985 to 1992. As professor of music for Springfield College, he taught private lessons, established a performance ensemble, and performed with pianist Sammy Price.

Mr. Vinyard has recorded with Eddie Harris and Rocky Robbins, and performed music from various artists, including Lou Rawls. He currently performs with local musicians.

Mr. Vinyard graduated from Governors State University. As a musician, he performs on saxophone and piano.