Our Instructor’s Bios


Bill teaches harmonica lessons at the folk music center in claremont and serves La Verne, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and San Dimas.Bill Barrett‘s career spans 3 decades performing and recording with the likes of the L.A. Philharmonic, Natalie Merchant, The Kronos Quartet, Gangbe Brass Band, members of Black Flag and Nels Cline. He is currently in the acclaimed New York roots ensemble Hazmat Modine and guitarist Marc Ford’s Neptune Blues Club. Bill fronts the manouche quartet The Bastards of Belleville, Dick Deluxe Band and the local roots collective, Claremont Voodoo Society. His most recent CD release is Music for American Gypsy Souls, a collaboration with long time friend Eric Holden.

Bill has been teaching diatonic and chromatic harmonica classes and lessons for the Folk Music Center since 2007. He teaches at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels in any style: rock, country, blues, jazz and gypsy jazz.

Ellen teaches guitar lessons for folks in Claremont, Alta loma, Upland, La verne, and Rancho CucamongaEllen Chase has been around the folk music scene her whole life. Her mother, Dorothy performed and taught at Hecht House in the 1950s in Boston with Bess Lomax Hawes. Ellen began working at the Folk Music Center with her grandfather when she was in junior high school and has performed and taught guitar and banjo ever since. After graduating from Pitzer and acquiring a Ph.D at the Claremont Graduate University, she taught reading and language acquisition at Pacific Oaks and Cal State San Bernardino. In 2001 Ellen took over the Folk Music Center from her parents and currently runs the shop, concert series, folk festival and teaches music classes: 5 string banjo, Intro to Ukulele, Blues Ukulele, Country/Bluegrass Ukulele, autoharp, and guitar.


Jerry O’Sullivan has been playing in bands since he was 13 and has been a professional musician since the age of 21 when he wrote and performed the hit song Pomona Queen. He currently plays guitar and is the lead vocalist for the band CVS, (Claremont Voodoo Society.)

Jerry has been teaching ukulele since 2005 when he joined the Folk Music Center. He and Ellen Chase co-teach several ukulele workshops:

Introduction to the Ukulele: a workshop where beginners learn to hold, strum and tune their uke as well as basic chords and lots of easy songs.

Blues Ukulele: a lesson in basic 12 bar blues strums and rhythms, some intros, endings and riffs, and several songs. Knowledge of basic chords is helpful for this workshop.

Elizabeth Hangan has been working as a singer in Southern California for thirty years. Her experience includes live performance, recording and instruction. Her versatile style includes American Roots, Blues-Pop, Rock, Folk and Jazz. Elizabeth also worked for several years with Sapadilla a nation-wide touring band from the Caribbean.

She graduated from the Los Angeles Music Academy with a degree in Vocal Performance. In addition she studied at the Dick Grove School of Jazz and Pasadena City College.

Elizabeth was the Traveling Enrichment specialist with the Los Angeles Unified School District and currently teaches at Downey Music Center.

Elizabeth’s philosophy about singing is; “If you wanna sing, sing!” There is so much joy in throwing your head back and unleashing a melody. Vocal lessons entail learning proper breath control, exercises to strengthen pitch and delivery and tools to help keep your voice in shape, all while singing cool tunes.

There are a myriad of benefits to taking voice lessons:
*strengthening one’s singing voice, and speaking voice.
*building self-confidence,
*improving listening skills and focus
*improving posture
*and specific skills such as: singing through a PA, blending vocals, band communication, counting off a song and much more
*Most of all, it just feels good!