sys alumni

To be included in on this page, please submit the SYS Alumni Questionnaire. To include a photo or update information that is already posted, your can re-submit the form and your updated information will be posted.

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

Bill Drury, clarinet 1970's Favorite memory: Many

James Marshall, viola Conductors: Julián Gómez Giraldo, Philip Baldwin Favorite Memory: Playing full symphonic works in the Fox Theater for the first time! Current: Currently a member of the Spokane Symphony viola section, and earning my Master of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music. 12/1/20

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

Ann (Brueggemeier) Benson, cello 1980's Conductors: James Schoepflin, Kevin Schaeffer Favorite memory: When I was in Junior Orchestra, our conductor, Mike Price, would take all of us to McDonald's and buy us lunch on dress rehearsal/concert day at the Masonic Temple. As a grade school kid I thought that was AWESOME. Current: Singing opera, teaching voice students, raising 2 daughters and hanging out with my husband. 7/25/18

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

Paul Plowman, bassoon 1970's Conductors: Wendel Jones, Ren Taylor, Sister Xavier Mary, Dr. Meyer Favorite memory: Camp at Lutherhaven Current: Retired teacher, full time musician 7/22/18

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

Janet Rose Rea, flute/piccolo 1960's Conductor: Robert M. Cook Favorite memory: A tie: Playing "The Incredible Flutist" with the ballet; and playing a woodwind quintet during a regular concert. Current: Developing drugs to prevent and prevent breast cancer recurrence 2/14/17

Caytlin (Driggars) Reese, violin 2000's Conductor: Verne Windham Favorite memory: Performing Beethovens 5th Symphony Current: Community music teacher; Piano and Violin Instructor 6/29/16

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. My husband and I have nine children and our family now includes nine spouses and 24 grandchildren. Updated: 3/22/21

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