Founder/Director/Co-Owner

Founder/Director/Co-Owner

JULIE BARGER PETRANDO

IT ALL BEGAN WHEN…

In 1996 Julie Petrando and Lori Palmisano, were teaching and directing the show choirs at Hubble Middle School in Wheaton. As two young moms with summers off, these ladies realized there was a need in the Wheaton area for a music performance experience for their students and their siblings. Thus, Rising Stars began its inaugural summer with 2 performance groups and approximately 60 students. Since then, Rising Stars has evolved into a booming program with camps throughout the Chicagoland area!

Julie, holds a degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois as well as post-graduate work in Educational Leadership from the same institution. In 2016, Mrs. Petrando celebrated her 25th year of teaching and has worked with performers in grades Preschool-12th. One of the highlights of Julie Petrando’s teaching career have included directing her children’s choir to be selected to perform in two 4-month runs of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat alongside Donny Osmond at the Chicago Theater, and directing a themed concert featuring veteran Broadway performer Timothy Shew.

As the founder and director of Rising Stars Camps, Inc. & SHINE!, LLC, Julie believes her most important life-experience has been to be the mother of three children, each of whom is unique in personality, talent, and interests.  Mrs. Petrando feels strongly that this has helped to familiarize her with the busyness of a household and the natural anxieties that tend to come with adolescence.  These experiences remind her daily that her interaction with children should always be handled with care, high expectations, and empathy.

Director/Co-Owner

Director/Co-Owner

Erin Paul

Rising Stars co-owner, Erin Paul, joined Julie Petrando in business partnership in 2018, but she is far from new to the program. Erin began performing in Julie’s Hubble Middle School Show Choir at age 11. Thanks to Julie Petrando, Erin was bitten by the “show choir bug” and never turned back! Erin was a Rising Stars camper, student staff member, and later directed the very first Wee Rising Stars group in 2004.

In 2008 Erin’s oldest daughter, Lily, was Julie’s first ever Rising Stars “Grandstudent!” Today the camp is delighted to have many children of Rising Stars alumni as campers. 

Erin is a proud mother of two daughters who love Rising Stars just as much as she did as a camper! She holds a degree in Vocal Music Performance from Loras College in Dubuque, IA. Additionally, she holds a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago and, throughout the year, works as a Mental Health Therapist at The Therapy Tree, LLC. in Lake Villa, IL. Rising Stars made a profound impact on Erin growing up, and she is thrilled to be a part of its future!