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RICK THACKER


Owner & Luthier


The violin has been a part of Rick’s life since he started private lessons at age three. He later added the viola, and taught both for over a decade.

Rick played in many ensembles, most notably as Concertmaster for the Advanced Ensemble at Chicago School of Violin Making. In addition, he currently conducts multiple string ensembles of various abilities. He has received teacher training in the Suzuki Method and other pedagogy courses.

Rick's love for stringed instruments eventually consummated with his graduation from the Chicago School of Violin Making. He has built several fine instruments, including the violin he gifted to his wife, Elizabeth, on their wedding day. He has had the opportunity to do apprenticeships with AFVBM members, and VSA medal-winning luthiers.

Rick & Elizabeth’s passion is to “Share Joy through Music” by providing the best in instruments and music education to their community. Plum Grove is based around the belief that anyone and everyone can enjoy the gift of music.

AMBER GRIFFIN


Director of Operations


Starting formal piano training at age three, Amber is truly a life-long musician.

During her college years, she toured the nation for two summers as the pianist for a vocal group.

Amber holds a Master's Degree from Crown College, and did some of her Pedagogy studies abroad in England.

ANTHONY WONAITIS


Director of Marketing & Sales


Anthony graduated from Lewis University with his Bachelor's degree in Music Business & Marketing. While attending, he was placed on the Dean's list.

Anthony is a signed recording artist in the music industry. His band has done national touring, gained national publicity, as well as worked with renowned Platinum Record Producers.

He has been a part of LWC Classical guitar ensemble and awarded the Andres Segovia Award. Anthony has also been a part of numerous ensembles throughout college such as Lewis University's Percussion Ensemble and Recording Ensemble.

He has worked in the past doing marketing for record label Thrill Jockey Records as well as for his own recording, photography, and musical endeavors.


PAM SWETS


Office Manager


Pam has worked in managing ranging from finances, homeschooling, and volunteer programs in the Church.

She volunteered at Awana for their ministry services, small groups, and funerals. Pam was also a travel agent before giving her a vast repertoire of organizational skills.

Aside from office managing at Plum Grove Music, Pam her and husband are owners of Team Combat Live Laser Tag.

KEELIE GILBERT


Lesson Coordinator


Keelie studied music at Boyce College, and is now pursuing an International Business degree with a minor in Chinese & Japanese Studies at Valparaiso University.

During highschool she started playing cello as well as working in the repair shop at Plum Grove Music.

She has also performed in several orchestras, currently she is playing cello for the Valparaiso University Orchestra.

STEPHEN PAYNTER


Shop Manager


Stephen Paynter grew up in a large family of music lovers. At a young age, he fell in love with playing trombone and tuba. This newfound love led him to the art of band instrument repair.

He graduated from Badger State Repair School in 2017 being first in his class. Shortly after, he began working with Plum Grove Music.

Now as the Shop Manager, he is passionate about his work and strives to achieve his goals. These goals include: exemplifying quality repairs & making it possible for musicians to play on the instrument they love.