Michael has been a judge since 2016
Bitter Jester Music Festival Judge & Performance Advisor
Michael is an accomplished classical and jazz guitarist who received his degree in Music Education with a double major in Education and a minor in Music from Lake Forest College.
Michael is a four-time participant in the Bitter Jester Music Festival with The Ska-Lers, a fun and energetic ska band that has performed numerous times on WGN Radio, at House of Blues, and more.
The Ska-lers made the Bitter Jester Semi-Finals on the 4th of July every single year they competed but never won. Their repeated "near misses" resulted in the creation of an Honorable Mention (3rd Place) award, which was later named "The Ska-lers Honorable Mention Award."
Beginning in 2019, Michael took on the role of Performance Advisor for participants in the Bitter Jester Music Fest. During Friday night preliminary competitions, Michael records real-time commentary and constructive feedback for each of the bands which is then made available as an audio file after the concerts. This non-scoring form of feedback enables the bands and solo performers to gain an additional layer of mentoring and constructive commentary on their performances.
Michael also compiles all of the judges’ scores into a bar graph showing participants how the judges scored them relative to each the other judges and a chart showing them where their band ranked in each category relative to the other groups that performed on their night.
As of the summer of 2019, Michael is the new Band Director at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL.