Meet the Founder
Executive Director, Marge Nykaza
Marge Nykaza remembers her first time on stage, at the age of four, “My beautiful little sister Mary and I were singing Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet with the Blue Ribbons on It at a family wedding. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to sing the rest of my life!”
She joyfully recalls singing with her father, Tom O’Connell, on many occasions. Among other accomplishments, her father was a leader in the lay Franciscan movement entitled the Secular Franciscans, which led him to become a founding member of The Greater Chicago Food Depository. Her parents’ model taught Marge to have a caring spirit and to use her gifts to make the world a better place.
As a professional singer, choir director and educator, Marge shares her gifts and love of music with communities throughout the Chicago area and abroad. She holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Eastern Illinois University, a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University and is certified as a Cross-Cultural Music Healing Practitioner from The Open Ear Center in Santa Fe, NM.
In May, 2014, Marge was awarded a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Graduate Theological Foundation. Her doctoral project was a multimedia manual explaining Harmony, Hope & Healing’s history, philosophy, curriculum, structure and the scientific research regarding music as a healing modality. She has been a recipient of several prestigious awards including the Health Award from Health and Medicine Policy Research Groups, and Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award. Marge and HHH have been featured on 30 GOOD MINUTES, RELIGION AND ETHICS and ARTS ACROSS ILLINOIS. Under her leadership, HHH was honored to participate in the Lyric Opera’s Chicago Voices Program and performed an original short musical entitled “A Circle of Hope” at the Harris Theater in 2016. Marge and her husband Ed have three sons, three daughter-in-laws and five beautiful grandchildren.