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guitar player
Fox River Academy’s guitar faculty has outstanding credentials and years of diverse performing and teaching experience to offer the best in musical education for classical, rock, folk, Latino, and jazz styles, among others. Our instructors can open your mind to the many and varied possibilities of music-making with the guitar.
Ron Stark


In August 2003, Mr. Stark co-founded/incorporated Fox River Academy of Music and Art, Inc. (a community music and art school) with musician Karen Kulzer, opening its doors with three employees and 40 students. Since then, Fox River Academy has grown to 400 enrolled students and 30+ full- and part-time employees, with members participating in student recitals, charitable fundraisers, art exhibits, and numerous other community art and music activities.

Ron received his music education at DePaul School of Music, where he focused on guitar performance and was DePaul Guitar Ensemble Concertmaster for three years. He studied under Brian Torosian (Northeastern University), Mark Maxwell (DePaul University) and Robert Guthrie (Southern Methodist University), and attended on scholarship two sessions of Southern Methodist University’s SMU-In-Taos Classical Guitar program. As an educator, Ron has adjudicated for the Chicago Classical Guitar Society, and been a staff member/teacher for OPUS Chamber Music Camp.


Ron has performed as a soloist/chamber musician for concerts hosted by Lewis University, Bradley University, the Chicago Botanic Gardens Concert Series, the Taste of Chicago, and The Art Institute of Chicago, as well as many other venues. Ron has been a private guitar instructor for over 20 years; he has prepared many of his students to be accepted and receive college scholarships at several universities and colleges across the United States. Ron has also contributed his talents to many charitable fundraisers and events, including the Kendall County Arts Guild and the Healing Arts program for Edward Hospital.

Ron is currently Executive Director of the Fox River Academy of Music and Art (in Oswego, IL), and, in addition to his involvement with the Caribbean-Fusion band Callaloo, performs regularly as a soloist and with the Fox River Academy Guitar Ensemble. He has also been a board member of the Chicago Classical Guitar Society since 2012.

Ryan Stark


Ryan Stark, a native of Oswego, started his guitar study at the age of 7. Ryan is an active freelance musician and performer in the Chicagoland area. A first-prize winner of the Grandquist Classical Competition in Geneva, Illinois, Ryan has performed in numerous master classes with some of the world’s leading classical guitarists.

His mentors include classical guitarists Dr. Brian Torosian, Bryan Albert, Ben McMunn, Ron Stark, and jazz guitar with Mark Fransiscovich.

Ryan trained with Suzuki educator Mary Lou Roberts at the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute, and is a certified Suzuki Guitar instructor. He has maintained an active Suzuki guitar program at Fox River Academy since 2011; his program is open to students ages 3 and up.

A faculty member of Fox River Academy of Music since 2003, Ryan brings his knowledge and expertise of classical, jazz, rock, folk, Latin, and flamenco elements into his lesson program and to our community. He is an active member of Chicago Classical Guitar Society.

Natalie Kassab


Natalie Kassab began studying classical guitar in 2010, in the studio of Ron Stark. She has performed extensively in the regional area as a singer-songwriter, often performing her own compositions. In 2018, Natalie was chosen to participate in the Fox River Academy Teacher Internship Program, and also coached the Academy's Guitar Ensemble for several years. Currently, Natalie is studying radiology at Roosevelt University, and continued to grow her passion for music as a guitar instructor on our faculty. 

Colin Edmunds


Colin Edmunds is a musician, guitar instructor , and recording engineer in the Chicago suburbs. Born in St. Louis, he grew up playing in a variety of bands, covering style as diverse as jazz, hip-hop, and punk. After studying Audio Engineering in college, Colin began recording his own music and conducting experiments in modifying his own guitars. Basic guitar maintenance is a crucial part of modern guitar playing, and tech work is one of Colin’s passions. With nearly 10 years of teaching experience covering all contemporary styles of music with clients of all age groups, Colin is ready to help you on your musical journey, where ever it takes you.

Julia Kwiat


Julia indulged her early music interests by taking piano lessons and playing bass clarinet. She began studying guitar on her own in 2014 before transitioning into lessons with Ric Larsen. She enjoys learning and performing a wide variety of styles, and is currently focusing on classical nylon-string and steel-string acoustic technique. Julia also is a composer, writing and performing original works. 

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