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sys alumni

We would love to hear from you! Please submit the form linked below to receive information regarding our

75th Anniversary Celebration Alumni Concert that is scheduled to take place on

Saturday, November 30, 2024 aat The Fox Theater.

SYS Alumni 75th Anniversary Questionnaire

"Like" the Spokane Youth Symphony Alumni Facebook page!

Luke Bakken, bassoon 1990's Conductors: Verne Windham, James Schoepflin, Wayne Smith, Faye Atwood Current: Luke Bakken currently serves as second bassoon and contrabassoon with the Spokane Symphony. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in music from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Rochester. 11/14/22

Ann (Brueggemeier) Benson, cello 1980's Conductors: Michael Price, Kevin Schaefer, James Schoepflin Favorite memory: Mr. Price buying us all cheeseburgers at the downtown McDonald's. It seemed very exciting when I was in 6th grade. :) Current: I am a professional singer/actor and teach voice lessons. I have an awesome husband and two teenage daughters. 11/14/22

Steven Munson, horn 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite Memory: Playing bassoon and alto trombone parts on the horn. Also getting to play great music, generally, and making new friends Current: I am a Christian, a husband, a dad, a music teacher and a freelance musician! Lots going on and I am grateful for the opportunities I had in youth orchestra. Youth Orchestra was a major part of what got me excited about music! 11/15/22

Caytlin (Driggars) Reese, violin 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Performing Beethoven’s fifth the “Glorious” year! Current: I have been married 8 years and we have three children. I homeschool my two girls and enjoy baby time with our new son. I co- own Bella Noté Music Studios, a thriving multi teacher music studio in Sandpoint, Idaho. BellaNoteSandpoint.com. I love to see the love of music spread through our students and community events. 11/15/22

Paul Plowman, bassoon 1970's Conductors: Wendel Jones, Ren Taylor, British guy, Sister Xavier Mary, Dr. Meyer Favorite memory: My first concert Current: SSO member. Full time musician 11/14/22

Sam Morozov, trumpet 2010's Conductor: Dr. Baldwin Favorite Memory: 2019 season finale concert (Shost 5 mvt. 4, Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, etc.) Current: Somehow juggling a mechanical engineering degree with more music than ever 11/15/22

James Marshall, viola 2000’s and 2010’s Conductors: Beth Good, Julian Gomez, Ruth Boden, Phil Baldwin Favorite Memory: Playing in the SYS a summer camp at a concert in Riverfront Park Current: Lots of music! Playing in the Spokane Symphony, attending the Eastman School of Music, and Interlochen Arts Camp during the summers. 11/14/22

Minor (Mick) Wetzel, viola 1970's Conductor: Sister Xavier Mary Courvoisier Favorite Memory: I loved every concert that I was able to play with SYS/JS Current: I am a violist! The SYS/SJS have a wonderful legacy and I am grateful to have GREATLY benefitted from my experiences and training there. 7/6/22

Karen Conlin, cello 1950's Conductor: Harold Paul Whelan ! (I'm OLD!) Current: Semi-retired after 37 years with the Spokane Symphony and 50+ years teaching cello. Favorite Memory: Loved everything about it. That's when I knew I wanted to do this for a profession. 11/15/22

Catherine Treis, violin 2010's - 2020's Conductors: John Marshall, Heather Montgomery, Roberta Bottelli, Philip Baldwin Favorite Memory: Probably concerto competitions and concerts every year Current: I'm majoring in Violin Performance at the University of Montana in Missoula. 11/14/22

Janet Rose Rea, flute, piccolo 1960's Conductor: Robert M. Cook Favorite memory: The Incredible Flutist Ballet/Camp Current: Winding down my career, working, and playing occasionally. loving life 11/14/22

Grace Chapin James, cello 2000's Conductors: Verne Windham, Phil Baldwin Favorite Memory: We ATTEMPTED (nobly) to play some pretty hefty Mahler with Verne that I later played again in graduate school; my stand partner in my graduate school orchestra could not believe a youth symphony would have tried it. Quite an experience! Current: I'm the dir. of admissions for undergrad students at WA U in St. Louis and keep up with cello through private lessons and playing in a community orch. 7/6/22

Elizabeth Lund, violin 1978-1981 Conductors: Sr. Xavier Mary Courvoisier, Vivian Adams, Hugh Hendrickson Favorite memory: Playing Dvorak New World Symphony on my 16th birthday, as CM! Current: I love that the organization is interested in its past members and their lives, along with the great work going on for the students currently in the program. 7/6/22

Mary Beth Cullitan, violin 1960's and 1970's Conductors: Sr. Xavier M. Courvoisier, R. Cook, Wendell Jones Favorite Memory: Summer camp at Lutherhaven---what a treat to play music in the woods! Current: I teach violin and viola students, from the beginning through concerti. 7/6/22

Jennifer Hicks, violin 1980's Conductors: George Hansen, Randy Von Ellefson Favorite memory: Great concerts in the Masonic Temple Current: I am mother of two sons, owner of Glenrose Philanthropy Advisors, former Director of Development for the Spokane Symphony. 3/22/21

Charles Lund, violin 1960's Conductor: Donald Thulean Favorite Memory: Played Solo; Scene de Ballet by de beriot 1963 Current: Trying to find out about my stand partner Robbie Holman, she was concertmaster 7/6/22

Bill Drury, clarinet 1970's Favorite memory: Many

Valerie Gehrett Unger, bassoon 1960's Conductors: Thulean, Cook Favorite Memory: The first time playing with the orchestra. It was at the summer camp and we played Carmen and I got goosebumps! The whole experience was life-altering for me and I remain friends with fellow Junior Symphony members today. Current: I’m retired and live with my husband of 44 years in Boise, ID. We just moved back to the West after 34 years in the Boston, MA area where I loved attending the NU fabulous concerts!

Logan Pintor, trumpet 2010's Conductors: Verne Windham, Ruth Boden, Philip Baldwin Favorite memory: Playing the planets by Gustav Holst Current: Currently pursuing a masters in instrumental performance and a certificate in Arts Leadership at the Eastman School of Music. UPDATED: 2/24/20

Elizabeth Lamb-Ferro, bass trombone 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Brass choir! Also performing at St. Johns Cathedral Current: I work in marketing for a gaming company called Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. I’m married and occasionally still pick up my horn but I do miss having an ensemble of the quality of SYS to perform with. It was a fantastic cross section of young musicians across Spokane. 7/25/18

Melanie Jones Delcid 1980's Conductor: Dennis Layendecker Favorite memory: Soloing with the Spokane Junior Symphony my senior year (1982), playing Chaminade's Concertino Current: After graduating from Oberlin College, with a major in Music Theory/History, I went on to get my teaching degree. For the past 30 years I have taught at the elementary school level in both the general classroom and gifted programs, first in Montgomery County, Maryland, and now in the Mead School District. 7/20/18

Mason Flemmer, violin 1990's Conductors: Dr. Schoepflin, Dr. Smith Favorite memory: Playing my first real work as a freshman, Dvorak #9 Current: Orchestra Teacher at Central Valley High School & Greenacres Middle School. Also still in the Army as an Engineer Officer 7/20/18

Alexandra NIchols, viola

Alexandra NIchols, viola

2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Summer camp Current: I’m in my last year of grad school for my PhD in clinical psychology. Just moved to Idaho for an internship at the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Center. 7/13/18

Cris Garza, clarinet 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: 1812 Overture in St. John's with SACC, a Russian choir, SYO, handbells, and the cathedral's carillon. Current: Flying back and forth between Washington and San Francisco to play clarinet. 6/24/16

David Taylor, bassoon 1950's Conductor: Harold Paul Whelan Favorite memory: Principal bassoon, 1958-59? Retired from the Seattle Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2002, (joined 1968) freelance in Portland, Vancouver, Principal bassoon, Southwest Washington Symphony I have a picture of the orchestra, probably taken in 1959. 1/11/17

Sean Barker, clarinet 1990's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Playing in the wind wood quintet Current: Living in Berlin, Germany, teaching piano, teaching at a theater performance school and accompanying opera singers and performing with the clarinet. 6/29/16

Natasha Black, violin/piano 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Kachaturian's Piano Concerto, 1st movement in 2011 and Gustav Holst's The Planets Current: I graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane WA with degrees in Accounting and Piano Pedagogy. Currently I study in Germany and at EWU for my MBA and M.A. in International Business and Economics. When I'm in Spokane I teach piano, work as an accountant, and play piano and violin at Christ Our Hope Bible Church 7/28/16

Zac Alden, viola 2000's Conductors: Verne Windham, Philip Baldwin Favorite memory: Too many to pick one: Pre-season summer camps, or the senior awards ceremony, after participating in SYS for seven years. Performing on ice for the national skating championships or the concerto competition also rank fairly high. Current: I am a professional funk and hip hop bass player and artist manager in Portland, Oregon. 7/17/16

Arianna Alegreto, violin 2010's Conductors: Heather Montgomery, Stephen Swanson, Julian Gomez Giraldo, Beth Good, Ruth Boden, Philip Baldwin Favorite memory: Combined orchestra concert directed by Verne Windham. 7/15/16

Johanna Brown, oboe/English horn 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: After our finale concert (which included Scheherazade) we had shirts made that said Glorious! Just for how Verne said it in rehearsal. Current: My life is about teaching! I teach chemistry, but still play my oboe frequently. I've also been known to play full symphonies when my students ask for music while they study. 6/25/16

Alex Choe, cello 2010's Conductors: Julián Gómez Giraldo, Ruth Boden, Philip Baldwin Favorite memory: Probably the performance of Wavin' Flag with the SYS in 2011, that was pretty fun. Current: I am currently a sophomore attending the University of Washington. While I am still undeclared, I plan to apply to the chemical engineering department later this coming winter. When I have the time, I love exploring the city of Seattle and participate in volunteer work through UW Circle K. 7/21/17

Emilie (Small) Grondin, cello 1970's Conductors: Mrs. Adams, Sr. Xavier Mary, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Klimko Favorite memory: Sitting with Angela Armstrong I started the string program at Stanley Clark School in South Bend, Indiana which I continue to teach along with the Preschool and Kindergarten music classes. Conduct the South Bend Youth Concert Orchestra, coach chamber music groups, teach cello and play professionally with the Gaska String Quartet. 6/26/16

Clara Mannino, flute 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Playing Dvorak 8! Current: SYS was my first orchestral experience. Since then, I earned my Master's Degree in flute performance, and am a freelance flutist, and flute teacher at Holy Names Music Center and Spokane Falls Community College 7/17/16

Chandler Johnson, percussion 2010's Conductors: Verne Windham, Julian Gomez Giraldo Favorite memory: Sandpoint Festival Current: Working towards a Graphic Design degree (and still playing music, of course!) 7/15/16

DG Kim, cello 2010's Conductors: Verne Windham, Julián Gómez Giraldo, Ruth Boden Favorite memory: Performance of Elgar Cello Concerto (4th Movement) with SYS in 2010. Current: I am currently studying Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, but also pursuing a minor in conducting. At school, I still actively play cello in our university orchestra and La Vie en Cello (a new cello ensemble), while also conducting an orchestra of my own. 7/24/16

Daniel Knaack (McManis), violin 1980's Conductors: Sister Xavier Mary Courvoisier, Vivian Adams, Hugh Hendrickson Favorite memory: It has been too long. It's a blur. Playing the Franck Symphonie, the Dvorak 9th Symphony perhaps? I also remember missing an audition & ending up last seat in the 2nd violins for one concert. Current: Raising my family, including my daughter who is in SYS. Still play the violin, mostly with my daughter. 6/25/16

Erin Lally, cello 1990's Conductors: Wayne Smith, Verne Windham Favorite memory: Playing The Swan in front of of a full house of grade schoolers at the Opera House Current: I'm work in fire business for the Forest Service and play outside with my husband and dogs. 7/20/16

Jennifer O'Bannan, viola 1970's Dr. Meyer Favorite memory: Moving from the violin section to principal viola. Current: I have been working as an SYS staff member since 2006 and was appointed Executive Director in 2016. I taught strings classes and private violin and viola students for two decades. I enjoy playing viola in chamber music and church music. 7/6/22

Peter O'Bannan, viola 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Current: Science teacher, married with three children 7/1/18

Rob Peterson, Double bass 1990's Conductor: Wayne Smith Favorite memory: Opening of the Arena Current: Family, work and playing bass 7/18/16

Catherine Schaefer, violin and piano 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: So many - Saint-Saens organ symphony, Shostakovich 5, summer camps, Sandpoint concerts, and so much more. Current: I'm a professional musician and work mostly in theatre (opera coaching/conducting/playing and some musical theatre). I am based in Houston but have worked a lot of different places. 7/17/16

Bethany Schoeff, oboe 1990's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Winning the Concerto Competitons my Sophomore and Senior years. Current: I'm the Personnel Manager of the Spokane Symohony and oboe faculty at EWU and SFCC. I was formerly Principal oboe of the Veracruz Philharmonic in Mexico and oboe professor at the Superior Institute of Music there as well. My husband is the General Manager and Clarinetist with the Spokane Symphony. 7/20/16

Theresa Sieverts, bassoon 2010's Conductors: Julián Gómez Giraldo, Ruth Boden Favorite memory: SYSO retreat Current: I am in college and working towards my undergraduate degree in bioengineering. I still play my bassoon and love it! 6/27/16

Jonathan Woodruff, cello 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Winning concerto competition and playing Lalo with the SYS in 2006. Thank you to the SYS for an amazing experience that lasted for many years! Playing in an orchestra like this is an incredible opportunity for a young person that allows them to grow both in their technical as well as social skills. Current: I am a real estate investor in Spokane, WA and enjoy numerous hobbies and activities on the side. 6/30/16

Michael Woodruff, violin 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: I remember playing the full Beethoven's 5th Symphony more times than I can count, and loving every one of them. Current: 3rd year of medical school 7/1/16

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