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Classical Blast - Bios Page
 
Classical Blast

Formed in 2012, Classical Blast has continued their journey to explore and combine musical genre to create a new and exciting sound. With growing popularity throughout the Midwest region, the band has opened concerts for Joan Jett, ELO, Don Felder of The Eagles, Burton Cummings, Rik Emmet of Triumph, Stryper, and other national acts.

Greg HIrte

Greg Hirte is a violinist, actor and composer. He recently performed in Lookingglass Theater’s hit production of Hans Christian Anderson’s “Steadfast Tin Solder." Other theatre credits include: 19 seasons with Goodman Theatre’s "A Christmas Carol;” role of Luther in "Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash," and Leon in "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" (American Blues Theater). Greg has performed and composed music for Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater & Piven Theatre Workshop, as well as several international music festivals. He has also performed with bands, Mucca Pazza, The Flashbulb, Gin Palace Jesters, Can.Ky.Ree, and Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies.

Jimmy
David Kelly

Originally from the Chicagoland area, drummer-vocalist David Kelly has been playing drums for 25 yrs. He studied jazz performance at the University of North Texas and California Institute of the Arts. He played drums professionally in Los Angeles for 10 years. Dave toured for 5 yrs with The Drew Davis Band, a country band with a top 100 hit on the Billboard charts, opening for Hootie and the Blowfish on their final tour. The band also appeared on an episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels in 2009. Dave also has a background in sound engineering. He currently lives in Chicago’s western suburbs.

David Kelly
Stephanie

With focus on music from a young age, Stephanie Koklys grew up in South Florida and moved to the Chicago suburbs as a teen. She attended Chicago Academy for the Arts and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in composition and music arranging from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. In between classes she toured with a band from there performing at corporate events. She recorded her first original EP at the famed Oceanway Studio in Nashville, known for recordings by Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, George Strait, Keith Urban and so many others. Her a cappella vocal group performed with country singer Trisha Yearwood in a televised Christmas special. Throughout her music career Stephanie has worked as a songwriting coach, music theory teacher and vocal, guitar, & piano instructor in between performing. She regularly leads musical worship at local churches & nursing homes, weddings & funerals and has often performed with her songwriting partner and husband, John Arthur. She’s mother to two young boys and, when not working on music, enjoys her newfound hobby of running. She’s always in training for the next marathon. Stephanie performed live on WGN-TV with Classical Blast a few years ago and has performed as a guest vocalist for a number of our “Dark Side of the Yule” holiday shows, as well as on two of our albums. 

    Stephanie Koklys
Bill Syniar

Longtime bass player, Bill Syniar, is a familiar figure on the  Chicago music scene. In 1978 Bill co-founded the recording group Tantrum,  producing 3 LP's on the Ovation label. Bill later toured throughout Europe and  the states as bass player for CBS/Scotti Bros. recording artists Survivor. He  appears on Survivor's "Too Hot to Sleep" and "Greatest Hits" LPs. Bill later  founded the popular Chicago R&B band, R-Gang, which he still performs with. He has written music for the Doobie Bros., as well as for solo albums for Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh, members of the band Toto and countless other recording projects. He has performed live at major arenas across the U.S.



Bill
Kelsee Vandervall

Cellist Kelsee Vandervall has been playing cello for 20 years. She graduated from Columbia College and received a dual Masters degree in Cello Performance & Chamber Music from University of Michigan. She was awarded a Fellowship to perform with the New Haven Symphony, touring with them all over the U.S. Kelsee has performed with Grammy award winner Paula Cole, and at the Grammy Awards with Lizzo in early 2019. She has recorded with singer/songwriter Yoshi Breen on John Legend’s “Legendary Christmas” album, and on episodes of the FOX TV show “Empire." Kelsee spent part of 2018 touring with renowned hip-hop artist J Cole, and performed at the Electric Forest Music Fest in 2019 with Internationally know EDM artist, Kygo. In early 2020 Kelsee performed live at the Grammy Awards with Lizzo for the show's opening music numbers. She’s also the music director for River Raisin Ragtime Revue. She performs on both acoustic and 5-string electric cello.

  David Kelly  
Hannah K. Watson

A driven award-winning professional violinist & vocalist, Hannah K. Watson has been rocking the Chicago scene for over 10 years. She is a well-rounded violin & vocal performer having tons of experience both on stage and in the studio. She's fluent in a plethora of genres from country to classical to rock. Hannah has been rockin’ the violin since the age of ten and singing since 2004. She was classically trained on the violin throughout her youth, but always had a deep curiosity for a variety of styles. She was able to dip her fingers in musical worlds like bluegrass, metal, and jazz while training at Columbia College Chicago, where she earned her Bachelors in Music Composition in 2012. She still nurtures her classical roots through The Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, with whom she's been a member since 2008. She embraced her inner cowgirl as the fiddler and lead singer for local country cover band, Suburban Cowboys, as well as for Trippin Billies, a well known Dave Matthews cover band. She is also the co-founder of local string group Chicago Street Strings and performs with a myriad of other bands, which now includes Classical Blast! Hannah has earned a skillful reputation both in the studio and on the stage. In addition to her exemplary ear, she is fluent in a wide scope of genres and has an extensive repertoire of country and rock tunes under her belt. Not to mention her sight–reading proficiency and continual pursuit of learning to play, sing and perform to her highest capacity. Hannah has also written and arranged music for numerous independent theatre productions in Chicago. 




Hannah

 

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