Steven Szalaj and his family have lived in Crystal Lake since 1978. He and his wife, Monica, have two married sons, Aaron (Becky) and Christopher (Jennifer), and four granddaughters. He is currently an adjunct instructor in music at McHenry County College, where he directs the MCC Chorus, teaches voice and other classes. Upon his retirement in 2007 Mr. Szalaj completed a 34-year career teaching vocal music in the public schools, with the last 27 years at Richard F. Bernotas School (formerly North Middle School) in Crystal Lake.
Mr. Szalaj has served as an adjunct instructor in music education at Judson University in Elgin. For fourteen years he was the choir director at Bethany Lutheran Church (Crystal Lake) and for seven years at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church (Johnsburg). He holds a B.M.E. from Millikin University, a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Roosevelt University and has completed extensive graduate work with the VoiceCare Network. Mr. Szalaj was a select member of the Festival Chorus of the Robert Shaw Choral Institute at Carnegie Hall in January 1995. He has been an active member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and The Music Educator’s National Conference.
Mr. Szalaj was awarded The Dr. Marie Ann Vos Music Leadership Award by the Board of Trustees of The McHenry County Music Center, for his long time commitment to choral music in the community. He is the founding Artistic Director of Voices in Harmony, which began in 1987 as the Crystal Lake Community Choir.