Staff

Sammie Arizmendi

Sammie Arizmendi

Unflappably friendly and efficient, Sammie has an ideal skill set for the somewhat dry (but nevertheless essential!) world of scheduling and logistics. She’s also a Piano Power teacher in piano, violin, vocals, and guitar.

Hailing from Waukegan and born into a family of musicians, Sammie started studying piano and violin at age five and grew up singing at family parties. She later received pre-collegiate classical training in piano and voice from the Zion Conservatory of Music, where she learned the value of hard work and regular practice. Sammie obtained her bachelor of science in nursing, with a minor in music, from Marquette University.

Sammie is the music director of St. Anastasia Parish in Waukegan, where she has continued the development of the choral program for the last five years and started the parish’s first Teen Choir. Sammie is also the accompanist for the Swedish Glee Club of Lake County and the Filipino Choir of Lake County.

Marla Egert

Marla Egert

Marla Egert

Marla has a business administration degree from the University of Illinois. Upon graduation, she worked for Automatic Data Processing for 17 years. While working, she completed her MBA in finance at DePaul University in Chicago. A mother of three, Marla joined Piano Power in 2009 after taking time off to raise her family.

As the only non-musical member of Piano Power, Marla’s instrument of choice is the calculator. She is the mystery woman behind the many emails for invoices, scheduling, and general reminders.

Abraham Levitan

Abraham Levitan

Abraham Levitan

Abraham is the founder and director of Piano Power. He began offering at-home piano lessons in 2001, continuously refining an engaging teaching style. He was proud to see students thriving through his curriculum, which mixed fundamentals, collaborative original compositions, classical repertoire, and the latest hits from top-40 radio. In 2007 he founded Piano Power, building a talented and enthusiastic team of instructors with this curriculum at its core.

A graduate of Yale University, Abraham has studied piano — jazz, classical, and rock — since 1984. While at Yale, he received the Selden Memorial Award for undergraduate contributions to the arts, and he toured the world as a member of the Whiffenpoofs, an a cappella singing group. For ten years Abraham fronted the Chicago pop-rock band Baby Teeth, which recorded four full-length albums.

In 2010 Abraham created the live music comedy game show Shame That Tune with co-host Brian Costello, garnering an enthusiastic cult following during a five-year run at Chicago’s beloved Hideout nightclub. On his podcast Nerds On Tour, Abraham interviewed music people about money, motivation, and the rest of life, and in October of 2016 Abraham released Spontaneity, a collection of pop rock songs uniquely devised with musician Devin Davis under the moniker Teletype.

Lara Levitan

Lara Levitan

Lara Levitan

As Marketing Director for Piano Power, Lara manages all of Piano Power’s marketing initiatives including advertising, promotion, and digital communications, but her favorite part of the job is creating programs for the bi-annual Piano Power recital!

Lara has an eclectic background, with experience as a marketing coordinator, a muralist, a greeting card artist, and a copyright permissions specialist. When she’s not editing her first novel or caring for her baby daughter, Lara works as a freelance writer and as a StoryBooth facilitator at StoryCorps’ newest branch at the Chicago Cultural Center. View LaraLevitan.com for more.