Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prairie State College has moved to a virtual campus. Click for the latest updates.


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.



Lisa Kristina has been on the Prairie State College faculty since the fall of 2002. She has music degrees from DePaul University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.

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. She has worked on major professional productions, including Phantom of the Opera, 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.



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.



Kevin McNultyhas been teaching music, judging ensembles, and writing music for more than 40 years. He was a high school band and orchestra director for 20 years before joining the adjunct faculty at Prairie State. Mr. McNulty is an active marching band, jazz band and orchestra judge and has served as an adjudicator in twenty-five states. He is an author of seven books, including a textbook for teaching music directors how to assess music students. He has served in various leadership positions, including executive director of the Central States Judges Association and the associate executive director for Bands of America in the 1990’s.

Mr. McNulty is an active jazz drummer and has played with the same 18-piece big band since 1988. He holds a B.A. in music education from Illinois State University, an M.S. in music education from the University 0f Illinois, and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management.

At Prairie State College, Mr. McNulty teaches Music Appreciation, History of American Music, and individual percussion students. He also performs with the Prairie State Wind Ensemble. He has been an instructor at Prairie State College since 2017



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.