Michelle LeBlanc is the founder of the Naperville Cultural Center, NFP and happy mom of three. She is an avid nature lover, enjoys world culture and is a strong believer in peaceful, holistic living.
Manpreet Bedi a disciple of Taal Yogi Pundit Suresh Talwalkar and Shri Ramdas Palsule started learning Tabla at the age of 6 years. His continuing journey of education under the guidance of his guru’s has blessed him to accompany many ace artists in today’s date. His first performance at age 10 earned him a bronze medal in an interschool competition.
Manpreet has accompanied many vocal and instrumental artists. Vocalists accompanied are Pt. L.K. Pandit, Pt. NagarajRao Havaldar, Dr. Vikas Kashalkar, Pt. Ganpati Bhatt, Shri Sunil Mungee, Kumar Mardur, Omkar Havaldar, Nirmalaya Roy and Kumud Diwan.
Instrumentalists accompanied are Pt. Brij Narayan (Sarod), Shri Milind Tulankar (Jaltarang), Dr. Vikas Gupta (Sitar), Shri Ken Zuckerman (Sarod), Indrajit Banerjee (Sitar), Steve Gorn (Bansuri), Anupama Bhagwat (Sitar), Sunil Avchat (Bansuri), and Vidya Dengle (Violin).
Omkar School of Music (OSOM)
Manpreet is the founder of Omkar School of Music (OSOM). He and his school, specializes in teaching Tabla to all age groups. He has been actively teaching and giving workshops for many years. He is a guest faculty with various universities conducting workshops on Hindustani Classical Rhythmic Arrangements. He takes a special interest in understanding, learning and sharing his experiences on Psychology of Improvisation in rhythm.
Manpreet has been collaborating with Bill Koehler (a professor of the Double Bass at Illinois State University), David Vayo (a professor of the Piano and Composition at Illinois Wesleyan University), John Hill (the director of percussion at Murray State) and a few other friends to produce an eclectic contemporary Jazz inspired by various musical influences, such as Western Classical, traditional Jazz Compositions, Hindustani Classical rhythmic arrangements, and musical work of groups like Shakti. His group is called Sonic Exploration Society (S.E.S.) and has released two CD’s (Vandana–A Journey Together in 2004 and Syzygy in 2011). Visit http://www.virtualtimerecords.com for more information on these projects.
Work & Education
Manpreet works at RLI in information technology, a specialty Insurance company based in Peoria, IL. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science International Relations and a Master’s in Computer Science.
Sarita Sharma is a resident of Naperville, mother of two boys (currently in Naperville North High school) and a devoted wife. She has been passionate about sharing her culture and learning about different cultures from a young age. With her desire to spread this lifestyle, she started a nonprofit organization with her husband Naveen Sharma in Naperville.
The organization Simply Vedic is well recognized in Naperville and in surrounding areas. The mission of the organization is “Simple Living and High Thinking”. This is the platform where she connects with the community and provides services to senior citizens and youth while sharing her Vedic culture and food.
To help promote culture, Simply Vedic organizes different festivals such as “The Festival of Colors, Naperville Vegetarian Food Festival, and the Indian Cultural Festival” in Naperville. These festivals are getting enormous attention and popularity.
Furthermore, Sarita was born in a vegetarian family and continues to uphold this ideal in her family. She is a big advocate of Ahimsa or Non-Violence. Her belief is in one Universal Creator and that He has provided enough food for everyone on this planet. It is mankind’s ignorance when they do not use those natural resources properly.
Those who know Sarita will say how much she enjoys cooking and feeding others. Though not a professional cook, she is still confident enough to cook in front of the open public and bring awareness towards Vegetarianism. This advocates a healthy lifestyle and the uplifts one’s consciousness. She has since founded “Veggie Club,” for those who are vegetarian or trying to be vegetarian. Everybody whose interests are the same are welcomed and no membership is required.
Sarita has recently joined Naperville Culture Center as Board member with Michelle LeBlanc. She is quite hopeful to bring some awareness towards different cultures and Vegetarianism. Today she continues to work with various groups and promotes this healthy lifestyle all over Naperville.