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Liz Burgess
Executive Director
As a native Chicagoan, Liz has earned her twenty years of nonprofit management experience right here in the city she loves. She has been executive director of SitStayRead, Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, and the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. These organizations made a direct, often immediate, impact in her community.  Liz volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control, and Safe Humane Chicago as well as her daughter's elementary school.  Liz's passion for volunteer-driven and mission-focused organizations that meet a need in her city makes her a perfect fit for Sharing Notes. Liz lives in Lakeview with her husband, Angus, thirteen-year-old daughter, Matilda, and their dog, Hilde. 
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Patty Sokolow
Director, Volunteer Engagement & Program Management


Patty Sokolow is Sharing Notes Director, Volunteer Engagement & Program Management. In her previous position as Associate Director with the Chicago Lights Social Service Center, Patty has experience in recruiting, training and supervising volunteers; developing relationships with volunteers and partners; and, managing a variety of programs. She is communicative, friendly, and welcoming. We are very excited to have Patty part of the Sharing Notes team. 

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Lauren Hayes
Event Leader
Harpist Lauren Hayes distinguishes herself in the areas of contemporary music, chamber music, ensemble performance, and harp instruction. As an active musician throughout the Midwest, Hayes was appointed as Associate Harpist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in 2020 and is set to perform as an artist at the Lakes Area Music Festival in 2020. Hayes was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2018, an artist in residence at the Caroga Lake Music Festival in 2019, performs as an extra musician with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and was a guest harpist with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in the 2019/20 season.  Hayes performs with the Chicago Composer’s Orchestra and the Atlanta-based ensemble, Chamber Cartel. Ms. Hayes served as a Teaching Artist with the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble in Atlanta, GA, and is currently on faculty at the American Music Institute, a teacher for the Chicago Harp Ensemble, as well as maintains her own private harp and piano teaching studio.  Hayes is also an active musician with the organization Sharing Notes, where she serves as an Event Leader. She gave her Carnegie Hall solo debut in 2012 and was awarded third prize in the 2013 American Harp Society National Competition. She holds a Professional Diploma in Orchestral Studies from Roosevelt University (2019), a Master of Arts in Harp with Distinction from the London Royal Academy of Music (2016), and a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from the University of Arizona (2014).  Ms. Hayes’ primary teachers have included Marguerite Lynn Williams, Karen Vaughan, Skaila Kanga, and Carrol McLaughlin.


Margaret Izard
Event Leader


Margaret Izard, mezzo-soprano, performs regionally on the operatic stage and as a soloist with her art song company, Artful Song. As a teacher, Margaret believes that voice lessons should be a safe space to experiment with what our voices are capable of doing. Ms. Izard’s 2016-2017 season included the title role in Miss Manners on Music, the world premier of Naomi from Joseph’s Gift, and Maman and Un Pâtre from L’enfant et les Sortilèges. Past roles include Hänsel/Hänsel und Gretel and Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni. During her time as a resident artist at Dicapo Opera Theate, Ms. Izard performed the roles of Tisbe/La Cenerentola, and Zita/Gianni Schicchi. Ms. Izard has also performed the role of Zita alongside director and performer Alfonso Antoniozzi. Other work includes covering the role of Spring Beauty/Snegurochka.

Ms. Izard’s premieres include the role of Magic Mirror/The Magic Mirror by Polina Nazaykinskaya and covering the roll of Roma/The Fiddler and the Old Woman of Rumelia by Ketty Nez, both with Juventas New Music Ensemble. Although Ms. Izard loves the world of opera, she is also very interested in symphonic works and song. Ms. Izard has been the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Bach’s Cantata 79 and Bach’s Cantata 126. Ms. Izard also has a strong interest in art song and co-founded the salon concert company, Artful Song. The mission of Artful Song is to recreate the salon experience of the 19th century for modern audiences while providing context for audience members through the historical significance of this underperformed repertoire. Ms. Izard received her BA from Emory University and her MM in Voice at the Chicago College of Performing Arts where she is continuing her studies with Judith Haddon.

Magdalena Sustere
Event Leader


Originally from Latvia, Magdalena Sustere is a cellist who is passionate about music in a wide variety of forms. From playing classical to World music, she finds joy in taking part in various projects. Her passion is reflected in her versatile career, encompassing the baroque, classical, and modern genres, as well as opera, gospel, musicals, world music, jazz, and improvisation. Ms. Sustere serves as freelance studio recording artist, educator, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. Magdalena is principal cellist for Chicago Composers’ Orchestra, sectional cellist with Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra and Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, and cellist with Chicago based Sonder Trio. Additionally, she runes private cello studio and teaches at El Sistema in Cathalist Circle Rock in Chicago and Science Academy of Chicago, and plays with several Chicago based theater companies. Ms. Sustere loves collaborations, is a strong supporter of new music, and loves sharing music with anyone!