Tenors Lee and Martorana to entertain at Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame banquet April 19

Tenors Franco Martorana and Simon K. Lee will provide entertainment at the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame gala banquet and awards ceremony on Friday, April 19, at Villa Olivia in Bartlett.

The celebration honors talented and influential artists with a connection to the Fox Valley area. The festivities begin with a 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour featuring the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra Maud Powell String Quartet with violinists Vitaly Starkov and Ume Hashimoto-Jorgensen, violist April Zhang, and cellist Megan Kamysz.

The $75 tickets include dinner and entertainment. A cash bar is offered. Each Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame honoree will be introduced and receive an engraved plaque to be displayed at Hemmens Cultural Center. The event is open to the public. For reservations or more information, visit

The 2024 inductees are Elgin Symphony Orchestra concertmaster/violinist Isabella Lippi and broadcasters Jerry Rose and Tom Skilling. Dick Cavett bandleader and drummer Bobby Rosengarden is being awarded posthumously. Lippi, Rose and Skilling will all be present to speak and accept their award.

Tenor Simon K. Lee was born in South Korea and migrated to the United States to continue his musical education. He joined the chorus of Lyric Opera of Chicago where he shared the stage with many of opera’s leading talents. His solo debut came about during a 1994 production of “La Bohème.” Lee has sung many famous opera roles, including Radames in “Aïda,” Manrico in “Il Trovareto,” The Duke in “Rigoletto,” and what is fast becoming his signature role, Calaf in “Turandot.” Lee has sung with Utah Festival Opera, Chamber Opera of Chicago, Opera North Carolina, Opera New Hampshire, Kansas City Puccini Festival, Palmetto Opera, Sunstate Opera and others. For more information, visit

Tenor Franco Martorana was born in Geneva, Switzerland to Sicilian parents. He immigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago. His stage debut was as Camille in “The Merry Widow” for Chicago’s Lincoln Opera. Following studies with Pavarotti’s teacher, Arrigo Pola, the young tenor enrolled at University of Oklahoma. After graduating he joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago chorus. In recent seasons, Franco has appeared in Bellissima Opera’s productions of “La Traviata” and “Madama Butterfly” and as Michele in “The Saint of Bleecker Street” in Chamber Opera of Chicago’s Menotti Gala. This golden-voiced tenor has also gained a well-deserved reputation for his interpretations of Italian and Neapolitan songs.

The Maud Powell String Quartet is the premier string quartet of the EYSO Chamber Music Institute. Coached primarily by Chicago Symphony Orchestra violist Max Raimi, the quartet has a star-studded list of guest coaches including Rachel Barton Pine, Charlie Pikler, Isabella Lippi, Roland Vamos, Jaime Laredo and more. Quartet members are supported on full scholarship through the generosity of longtime EYSO patron Joyce Dlugopolski. For more information, visit

The Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization that gives public recognition to artists associated with the Fox Valley. A second objective is to ensure a strong cultural legacy for future generations. For more information, visit

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