Sarah Johnson - Co-Concertmaster
For the past thirteen years Sarah Johnson has served as the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s Concertmaster and as Associate Professor of Violin at the Petrie School of Music at Converse College. Prior to her appointment to the Converse faculty, Ms. Johnson served on the Artist Faculty of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for more than twenty-five years. While in Winston-Salem she established the foundation of the summer chamber music camp that later became Chamber Music on the Hill (aka CMOTH.) After decades of successful summer seasons held at Wake Forest University and the UNCSA in Winston-Salem, 2016 will mark the first year of CMOTH on the campus of Converse College.
From 2004-2008 Ms. Johnson and colleagues from the Petrie School of Music took groups of Converse students to the U.K. to perform and founded the Harlaxton International Chamber Music Festival in Grantham. In 2012 she was invited to perform at the Festwoche klassichermusik in Oppenau, Germany and from that point on she and Converse colleague, Dr. Susan Lyle have continued to build the relationship, taking students to perform throughout the Schwarzwald region. In April of 2016 she and four other professors from the Petrie School will travel to Shanghai, China to teach and perform in Converse’s inaugural efforts to bring Chinese students to study music in the Graduate program at Converse.
A highlight for Sarah Johnson during her tenure as Concertmaster has been creating the Apprentice Program with Maestra Sarah Ioannides. This partnership began between the Petrie School of Music and SPO with the goal of giving pre-professional experiences to accomplished college students. The scope of the program has grown to include any deserving area student.
She has taught on the visiting faculties of the Eastman School of Music, Duke University, and the College of Charleston and has performed in and given masterclasses in numerous festivals - the Grand Teton Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Spoleto, Cabrillo Festival, Bear Lake Festival, the Austin Chamber Music Festival, Gateways, An Appalachian Summer - to cite a few.
Ms. Johnson is an active proponent of music by women as well as a performer who regularly premieres new works, having given premieres of concerti in Atlanta, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Iowa, California and Minnesota. She was actively involved in commissioning and premiering the Violin Concerto (1993) by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Robert Ward and gave the World Premiere of Zelman Bokser’s Violin Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony, Louis Lane, conducting.
Her first compact disc on the Albany Label, entitled “Scarlet and Blue” featured the Robert Ward Violin Concerto. Her second CD “American Romantics” features the music of Arthur Foote and Amy Beach and in 1996 under the auspices of the State Department she made a five-city tour of Brazil, playing the music featured on that CD.
In 1997 she was awarded a Regional Artist grant by the Winston-Salem Arts Council to promote the American romantic repertoire in Europe. After an initial trip to Brussels, an accident interrupted her performing career for a year. Then, in March of 2000, fully recovered, she and pianist Jane Hawkins toured to South Africa. As guest artists at the Franschoek Chamber Music Festival they performed and taught under the auspices of the University of Cape Town and promoted the summer release of Fiddler's Galaxy. This CD features the music of young North Carolinian composers Kenneth Frazelle, who wrote the eponymous work, and Aaron Bachelder as well as pre-eminent American composers, Robert Ward and Lukas Foss.
She made her European debut at the Spoleto Festival in Italy at the personal invitation of Gian-Carlo Menotti following her performance of his violin concerto, a performance which was featured on the CBS Morning News.
She was the first recipient of the South Carolina Performing Artist Fellowship and has toured the region extensively on the Southern Arts Federation, North Carolina and South Carolina Touring programs. She served as a NC Visiting Artist and as the Artist-In-Residence in Camden, South Carolina in a pilot program funded by the SC State Arts Commission and that local community.
A former member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Converse Trio, New Baroque Chamber Ensemble, and a founding member of the South Carolina Chamber Orchestra, Ms. Johnson is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where she studied with Ivan Galamian, Jaime Laredo and members of the Guarneri Quartet. Her earliest studies were with Ilza Niemack who was herself a protege of the legendary pedagogue, Leopold Auer. Further studies were made in New York City with Erica Morini and the Beethoven scholar, Karl Ulrich Schnabel. While in New York she freelanced and played with the Orpheus Ensemble.
Sarah Johnson made her debut with the Minneapolis Symphony at the age of ten. Hailed as “quintessentially romantic and uncommonly witty” she has received accolades throughout the US, South America and Europe for her “first rate fiddling” (New York Times). In addition to her international and regional touring, Ms. Johnson also served for nearly a decade as founder and director of the critically-acclaimed and very popular “Sarah Johnson & Friends” chamber music series at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, SC.
She and her husband, artist Jeremiah Miller, live in their hand-made home on 13 acres in North Carolina.
Joanna Lebo - Co-Concertmaster
Joanna Mulfinger Lebo was born in Greenville, SC, the youngest of eleven children. She received her undergraduate degree from Bob Jones University and continued her education at the Peabody Conservatory, completing a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance and Literature under the tutelage of renowned Russian pedagogue Victor Danchenko. While at Peabody, she was awarded the J.C. Van Huylsteyn award for Academic and Musical Excellence. Joanna has pursued additional violin studies across America, including the Juilliard School in New York, and abroad in Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, including the Berlin Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. Since 2003 Joanna has been the Principal Second Violin of the Greenville Symphony, and since 2007 the Assistant Concertmaster of the Spartanburg Philharmonic. In November 2013, Joanna was the featured soloist, along with Principal Violist Katie Dey, in Mozart's "Symphonie Concertante" in the Greenville Symphony's Chamber Orchestra series.
Apart from her symphony activities, Joanna is a member of several local chamber music groups including a string quartet, a horn trio, and a guitar trio. She is active as a teacher and is currently adjunct Violin and Viola Faculty Member at Anderson University, where she also conducts the String Ensemble. Joanna plays a violin made in 1653 by Nicolo Amati, a violin she inherited from her mother.
Tracy Ensley - Principal Second Violin
Tracy Ensley is a teacher and performer of violin, viola, and piano. She has been adjunct faculty at Bob Jones University and String Instructor at Spartanburg Day School and Pinner Studios. Mrs. Ensley is currently a violinist with both the Charleston Symphony and is Principal Second Violin at the Spartanburg symphony orchestra.
She has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions including the Samuel and Elinor Thaviu String Scholarship Competition, Union League Civic and Arts Competition, the James Glacking Memorial Music Competition, the Evanston Music Club Scholarship, the Farwell Award of the Musicians Club of Women, the Nancy Fuqua Memorial Musical Arts Competition and the Chicago/North Shore chapter of the American Guild of Organists competition. She has many years of professional experience as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral member, and accompanist. In 2011 Tracy soloed with three different orchestras, playing the entire Elgar Violin Concerto, the Max Bruch violin and viola Concerto, and Alexander Tchaikovsky's “Distant Dreams of Childhood.” She has performed as soloist with the Peninsula Music Festival Symphony Orchestra, the Northwestern Symphony Summer Orchestra, the North Suburban Symphony, the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra, the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Forest Symphony. She also made a CD with her husband that was released in May of 2013 entitled "Echoes of Mercy" and includes sacred selections for violin, viola, piano, and guitar.
Tracy graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance and Historic Keyboard and a Master’s degree in Viola Performance. During her time at Northwestern Tracy held positions as concertmaster in both the Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra and the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. She studied violin and viola with Roland and Almita Vamos, and organ with Margaret Kemper. She currently resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, Joseph, a classical guitarist, with whom she loves to collaborate! She teaches a small, private studio from her home and performs regularly as a freelance musician with several groups, including FretsandBows, Trillium (a string trio) and the Mulfinger String Quartet.
Michele Tate 2nd Violin
Michele Tate is a graduate of The Petrie School of Music at Converse College from which she earned a Bachelor of Music Degree with honors in Violin Performance and a Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance, studying under Sarah Johnson. Since moving to Greenville, Michele performs regularly with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. Michele currently teaches at Musical Innovations.
Brenda Leonard - Principal Cello
Brenda Leonard is principal cellist of the Spartanburg Philharmonic and the GAMAC Chamber Orchestra in Anderson. She performs regularly as a chamber musician with “Cello Times Two,” a duo with cellist Benjamin Smith of Montreat College, and as a member of the North Greenville Chamber Players. She teaches cello at North Greenville University and maintains an busy private studio. Dr. Leonard received her DMA in cello performance from the University of South Carolina and her BA and MM from Northern Illinois University.
Kathy Foster - Assistant Principal Cello
Kathleen Foster, cellist, received her BS in music from Indiana University in 1969 where she studied with Janos Starker and Fritz Magg. She received her MM from Bowling Green State University working with Peter Howard. More recently she spent four years studying with master teacher and performer, George Neikrug. She lived in Maine for almost 20 years where she was on the faculty as cello teacher at Bates and Bowdoin Colleges. She also taught at the Merriconeag Waldorf School. As a free-lance musician, she was principal cellist of the Maine State Ballet Orchestra, the Maine Chamber Ensemble and PORT Opera Company. She has been a member of the Portland Symphony since 1990.
In 2007 Kathleen relocated to Rutherfordton, NC. She now teaches for the Petrire School of Music and the Lawson Academy at Converse College. She is a member of the Lawson Trio and performs regularly on the Lawson Series at Converse College. She is a member of the Asheville Symphony and the Spartanburg Philharmonic. Kathleen maintains her position in the Portland Symphony and commutes to play at least four classical concerts a season.
Kathleen is a dedicated teacher for students of all ages and at all levels. She has studied both the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais. She incorporates this knowledge in her teaching where she helps the student find ease in playing. She has hosted several Feldenkrais workshops since moving to NC to help her students gain greater insight into good body use and awareness.
Ian Bracchitta - Principal Bass
A native of Westchester County in New York, Ian Bracchitta performs as a bassist in the classical, jazz and popular idioms. He is the assistant principal bassist of the Greenville Symphony and principal bassist of the Spartanburg Philharmonic. Ian performs frequently in the bass section of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and performs as a jazz bassist in many of their Pop's programs. He has performed with the Charleston (SC) Symphony and participated in Jazz performances with Dianne Schuur, Kevin Mahogany, Hod O'Brien, Chris Vadalla, John Stowell, The Nelson Riddle and Cab Calloway Orchestras.
Ian's jazz trio has performed in the southeast featuring his arrangements. Ian performs with the New York based chamber ensemble Synchronicity whose debut recording was released in 2000. The ensemble made its New York City debut at the Merkin Concert Hall in November 2001. He has performed with the national Broadway tours of A Chorus Line, Annie get Your Gun, West Side Story, Grease, Victor Victoria, Chicago, the Sound Of Music, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ragtime, Fiddler on the Roof, The Producers, The Boyfriend, Annie, Camelot and Sweet Charity, Burt Bacharach, The Fifth Dimension, Martin Short, Shirley Jones and Carol Channing among others.
Ian has performed on numerous regional commercials and industrial soundtracks. Recording credits include Synchronicity Like Minds, Joe Burke Simply Romantic on Revere records, Oracle Evasive Actions and Peggy Haden I'm Glad There Is You. Ian was Visiting Lecturer of Double Bass at the University of South Carolina's School of Music from 2002-2005. He is on the adjunct faculties of the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, Furman University, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Clemson University and Converse College. He received a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and attended the Westchester Conservatory during High School. Ian has studied with Salvatore Macchia, Donald Palma, Jack Budrow, Orin O'Brien, Michael Moore and William Blossom.
Tim Easter - Assistant Principal Bass
Tim Easter received a Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance from Furman University in 1985 as a student of Peter Rickett, Conductor Emeritus of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his role as Principal Double Bass of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, he also serves as Principal Double Bass of the SC Philharmonic in Columbia, Principal Double Bass of the Augusta Opera and as Assistant Principal Double Bass of the Spartanburg Philharmonic. He also served for many years as Principal and Assistant Principal Double Bass of the Augusta Symphony and currently freelances for many bass sections in the tri-state area, including Charleston and Charlotte.
Easter has appeared as soloist with the LA Piano Quartet, and his involvement in double bass has allowed him to work with bassists Edgar Meyer, Hal Robinson and Jack Budrow.
He teaches double bass at Furman University and taught for eight years at the University of South Carolina.
Easter plays a full sized master copy of a Domenico Montagnana, circa 1750's, made by master luthier Barrie Kolstein. When not on stage with the GSO, Easter has a long tenure in sales at Northhampton Wines in Downtown Greenville. Northampton Wines in downtown Greenville. This multi-talented man also partakes in golf, cycling and cooking.
Patrick Lowery - Principal Timpani
Patrick Lowery has served as the principal timpanist of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra for nine years. He is originally from Savannah, Ga. and graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Music Education. After graduation, he was awarded an assistantship at the University of Tennessee where he earned a Masters of Music Performance. During post graduate study at the University of Georgia, Patrick was offered and accepted the Percussion Director position at Spartanburg District Five Schools where he worked as an instructor of percussion at Converse College and as an assistant percussion director for Furman University. He later earned a Masters in Educational Leadership from Converse College and is currently the Director of Chorus and Music at Florence Chapel Middle School in Spartanburg District Five. Patrick lives in Moore, SC with his wife Heather and three daughters, Elena, Kate, and Wren.
“Thank you for your support of the SPO, your music, your orchestra!”
MATT & ADENA MCDANIEL - Co-Principal Percussion
“Matt and Adena McDaniel have been performing with SPO for over 10 years and have served as our Co-Principal Percussionists for the past 3 seasons. Aside from performing with the Orchestra, both are full time music teachers in Spartanburg District 7. Matt is the Elementary Band Coordinator in charge of starting beginning band students, he also teaches at McCracken Middle and Spartanburg High Schools. Adena is the K-5 music teacher at Houston Elementary School and is the adjunct instructor of percussion at Converse College. Between the two of them, they teach at all levels – from Kindergarten to College!
Aside from the fact that I won the ‘wife-lottery’,” said Matt, “it is wonderful to be married to another percussionist – there is always another percussion instrument to buy each other for birthdays and anniversaries.” Since SPO doesn’t personally own percussion instruments, it is imperative that the musicians provide their own. From the gong to the 1936 glockenspiel, many of the percussion instruments you see on stage come from their private collection. Their waterphone, an ornate eye-catching instrument with long spokes which produces an eerie sound effect, will be used by our guest soloist Evelyn Glennie herself on the upcoming Valentine’s concert.
They both are natives of Atlanta and first met at Georgia State University, where they performed in both the Wind and Percussion Ensembles. “Matt and I have been performing together for 20 years,” Adena commented, “We can communicate without speaking – most often just a look that says it all. It is nice to be able to perform with someone with shared experiences.”
In the small amount of shared downtime while not teaching or performing, Matt and Adena enjoy playing with their two boys, Killian (6) and Finnigan (3) who both want to be percussionists when they grow up.
Anneka Zuehlke-King - Principal Horn
Anneka Zuehlke-King currently serves as Principal Horn of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Principal of the Spartanburg Philharmonic, as well as Third Horn of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. On her free weeks, Anneka also performs with the Charlotte Symphony, the Hendersonville Symphony, the GAMAC Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra Augusta. She is also a member of several chamber ensembles, including the Reedy River Brass Trio, the Greenville Brass Quintet and the Converse Faculty Wind Quintet. In addition to her performance career, Anneka is the Adjunct Horn teacher at Converse College, Limestone College and Newberry College. During the summer, Anneka teaches and performs at the Performing Arts Institute at Wyoming Seminary in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Anneka is proud to have studied with Sylvia Alimena in high school, Myron Bloom and Jerome Ashby at the Curtis Institute of Music where she received her Bachelors of Music, and William Purvis when studying for her Master’s from the Yale School of Music.
Brian Roberts - Principal Trumpet
Brian Roberts is Principal Trumpet with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Opera on the James. He also plays Solo Cornet with the North Carolina Brass Band. Since moving to Winston-Salem 4 years ago, he has performed as a substitute with the Charlotte Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Western Piedmont Symphony, Carolina Philharmonic, Greenville (SC) Symphony, the SC Philharmonic, Salisbury Symphony, and Durham Symphony. He played Principal Trumpet with the Carolina International Orchestra. He has performed with Carolina Brass, Giannini Brass, Da Capo Brass, and is a member of the Ardmore Brass Quintet. Before moving to Winston-Salem, he performed with numerous orchestras in and around Atlanta and Memphis, including the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and Memphis Symphony Orchestra. He is formerly Second Trumpet with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 9 years. He is the former Principal Trumpet with both the Augusta Symphony and the Macon Symphony Orchestras.
Mr. Roberts received his Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from Arizona State University where he studied with David Hickman. He graduated from Calvin College with a double major in Music Performance and Music Theory/Composition. As a tour soloist, he performed a band arrangement of the Vivaldi Concerto for 2 Trumpets throughout the Northwest. He also performed Handel’s Suite in D Major in a Concerto concert with the Calvin College Orchestra. He was a semi-finalist in the National Trumpet Competition in both 1996 and 1997. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton and now makes his home in Winston-Salem with his wife and daughter.
Cody Beard Section Trumpet
Cody Beard graduated as a Music Major at Lander University where he studied with Dr. Reed Gallo and served as principal Trumpet in the Lander University Wind Ensemble and lead trumpet in the Lander Jazz Ensemble. Last year, he studied in Salzburg, Austria under Wolfgang Navratil, principle trumpet of the Mozarteum Orchestra. Outside of school Cody has participates in numerous semi-professional musical activities including playing in the pit orchestra of GCT productions, performing with local jazz quintet "Jazz42" and performing for various churches in and around Greenwood. Cody now plans to attend graduate school for his Masters of Music in trumpet performance and pursue a professional playing career as an orchestral and chamber musician in North Carolina.
Mark Britt Principal Trombone
Mark E. Britt is a highly respected and experienced trombonist and educator. He has served in numerous leadership positions, including president for the South Carolina Music Educators Association and chairman of the National Collegiate Advisory Board for NAfME (formerly MENC). At Furman, he is the chairman of the music department. He is an active clinician and has presented sessions in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, California, Michigan, and Virginia.
A celebrated chamber musician, Britt is the founder and music director of the Palmetto Posaunen, a professional trombone choir. Most recently the group performed at the 2011 International Trombone Festival. In addition, Britt has given recitals in Austria, Germany, Italy, and the United States. He is a former member of the Zephyr Brass Trio and his work with that group along with the Palmetto Posaunen includes the premier of nearly 20 compositions and arrangements. He has appeared at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the International Trombone Festival, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the International Horn Symposium, and Spoleto USA. A former band director for North Carolina public schools, Britt has taught at Valdosta State University, Columbus State University, Appalachian State University, North Greenville University, and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. His students have been national finalists in solo competitions sponsored by the International Trombone Association, International Tuba and Euphonium Association, and the Music Teachers National Association.
He is principal trombone of the Spartanburg Philharmonic, the Hendersonville Symphony, and performs frequently with the Greenville Symphony. He has served three times as the instrumental music director for the Montreat Music and Worship Conference, an event sponsored by the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and at Furman he is a member of the Presbyterian Student Association Campus Ministry Support Team.
Wes Lebo Assistant Principal Trombone
Wes Lebo is currently the Principal Trombone of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Principal Trombone of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Second Trombone of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and the Assistant Principal/Second Trombone of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and a member of the Reedy River Brass Trio.
Wes has also performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (SC), the Savannah Philharmonic (GA), the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (VA), the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (VA), the Greenville Symphony Orchestra (SC), the Macon Symphony Orchestra (GA), the Augusta Symphony Orchestra (GA), the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra (NC), the Western Piedmont Symphony (NC), the Brevard Philharmonic (NC), the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the GAMAC Symphony Orchestra in Anderson, South Carolina. He has also performed in the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to his orchestral work, Wes has been hired to perform with several national touring organizations, including Cathy Rigby’s Peter Pan, White Christmas, and the Irish Tenors. He is also the trombonist for the Flat Rock Playhouse (The State Theatre of NC), a professional theatre company performing Broadway shows and other theatre productions. Wes also toured with The King’s Brass, a professional touring brass ensemble. In 2011 Wes was invited as a Fellow in the 2011 Alessi Seminar , hosted by Mr. Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic.
In addition to his varied and busy performance work, Wes is in demand as a recitalist and clinician at high schools and colleges, including The University of Memphis, and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. If you are interested in contacting Mr. Lebo for any events at your school or organization, feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Holloway Principal Tuba
John Holloway recently retired after 34 years in the South Carolina public school system. During his career he taught at various times high school and junior high band, elementary music, world drumming, junior high strings, and chorus. He served Converse College as adjunct instructor of low brass and music education from 2006-2012.
As a performer, Mr. Holloway has played tuba for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra in its various incarnations since 1981. He also performs with the SPO Brass and the Emerald City Brass Quintet, and he regularly subs for many area ensembles. He is a founding member of the Spartanburg Community Band and served as its music director for its first two seasons. He has served regionally as a performer, soloist, conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.
Mr. Holloway is a member of NAfME, SCMEA, SCBDA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Phi Beta Mu. He graduated summa cum laude from Furman University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Kappa Lambda. At Florida State he studied conducting and wind ensemble literature with Carl Bjerregard and tuba with David Wilson. Mr. Holloway is a native of Bennettsville, South Carolina.
Rhea Jacobus - Principal Flute
Virginia Zeblisky Metzger - Principal Oboe
Virginia Zeblisky Metzger, a native of Long Island, holds an M.A. degree from the City University of New York, Hunter College, and a B.F.A. degree from the State University of New York, Purchase College. Her most influential teachers include Ronald Roseman, Joseph Robinson, Joel Timm, and John Mack.
Ginny has held the position of Principal Oboe with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra since 1985. In addition to her position with the GSO, she currently holds principal oboe positions with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Hendersonville Symphony and the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium. She previously held principal oboe positions with the Asheville Symphony and Brevard Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with many other regional orchestras, including the North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, and Charleston Symphony. She has been featured as a soloist with various orchestras, including the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Hendersonville Symphony, and Brevard Chamber Orchestra.
Kelly McElrath Vaneman Associate Principal Oboe
Kelly McElrath Vaneman is Associate Professor of oboe and musicology and chair of the Department of Musicology and Composition at the Carroll McDaniel Petrie School of Music of Converse College. She holds DMA, MMA and MM degrees from the Yale University School of Music, where she was teaching assistant to Ronald Roseman. A native Texan, she received her BMus summa cum laude from Baylor University, where she studied with Doris DeLoach. In addition, she studied modern and Baroque oboe with Paul Dombrecht at the Koninklijk Konservatorium Brussel under a grant from the Belgian American Educational Foundation.
Dr. Vaneman is, above all, committed to chamber music and the expansion of its repertoire. As oboist of the oboe/flute/piano trio Ensemble Radieuse she has performed on three continents, premiered countless new works and arrangements, and recorded the CD Inbox. Ensemble Radieuse were prize-winners in the 2006 National Flute Society Chamber Music Competition and have been invited to perform at the conferences of the College Music Society (National), the International Double Reed Society, the Southeastern Composers Forum, and the South Carolina chapter of the Music Teachers National Association. They have also been featured performers on Nashville Public Radio’s Live in Studio C. In addition to her work with Ensemble Radieuse, Dr. Vaneman has pursued her love of chamber music as an Artist-Fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and the Bach Aria Festival, as oboist of the chamber ensembles BYNA and Conversant, and was founder and director of Chamber Music in the Chapel in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
As a soloist, Dr. Vaneman has been active in the new music scene and has over thirty premieres to her credit. She has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in Guatemala, Texas, and South Carolina and has played as a member of the Central Texas, Waco, Asheville, Spartanburg and New Haven Symphony Orchestras, the National Orchestral Institute, the American Wind Symphony and the Reigate Festival Orchestra of Surrey, England.
A musician of wide-ranging interests, Dr. Vaneman has performed Baroque music on period instruments and directs and performs with the Converse Early Music Ensemble. She has also performed and recorded as a member of the New York-based rock bands Rome 56 and the Ashley Wilkes Band. She is a past president of the Rho chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda and a member of Alpha Chi and has written for The Double Reed, the journal of the International Double Reed Society. She spends her summers in residence at the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania, where she performs with the PAI Symphony and teaches oboe and chamber music.
Karen Hill - Principal Clarinet
An active performer, Karen Hill is currently the Principal Clarinetist of the Spartanburg Philharmonic, Principal Second Clarinetist of the Asheville Symphony and a member of the Arbor Wind Trio. She has appeared as a soloist with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, Brevard Chamber Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra, and the Converse Symphony Orchestra. In the past she also served as Principal Clarinetist with the Hendersonville Symphony, the Brevard Chamber Orchestra, and the French Broad River Woodwind Quintet. A freelance musician in the area for over 20 years, she also has performed with the Asheville Lyric Opera Company, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Opera Company, Charleston Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Greenville Symphony, North Carolina Symphony and the South Carolina Philharmonic. Read more…
Frank Watson - Principal Bassoon
Frank Watson has long been a fixture in the music scene of Upstate South Carolina. A graduate of Furman University, Frank remained in the upstate, and built a career as a Middle school Band Director (retiring in 2007 with 34 years’ experience) and a performing musician that included 47 seasons with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, over 20 seasons with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, and additional performances with a wide range of local and touring acts ranging from Ringling Brothers Circus to Aretha Franklin and just about anything or anybody in between. An avid golfer, Frank was the 2002 Spartanburg County Senior Amateur Champion, and still aims to shoot his age for 18 holes in the near future
Kuo-Pei Cheng-Lin - Principal Piano/Keyboard
Mrs. Kuo-Pei Cheng-Lin was born in Taiwan; she started playing the piano at the age of six and entered classical music school in her seventh grade. She holds a BM in Piano Performance from the National Institute of Arts in Taiwan and two Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano from The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), where she studied with Anne Epperson, Sandra Shapiro, Thomas Hecht and Olga Radosavljevich and performed in master classes given by Jerome Lowenthal, Warren Jones, Jean Barr. She received a full scholarship from the Santa Barbara Summer Music Festival and after graduation was appointed staff accompanist at CIM. In 1995 she moved to Cincinnati where she served as principal pianist for the Middletown Symphony Orchestra and as the music director and pianist for the Cincinnati Chinese Church at Mason. A Greenville resident since 2004, Mrs. Cheng-Lin is a piano faculty at North Greenville University and currently serving as principal pianist for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist for the Greenville Chinese Christian Church. Through the years she has continued to perform recitals as a soloist and with musicians from Cincinnati Symphony, Greenville Symphony, as well as faculty members of North Greenville University, Indiana University, Clemson University, and Furman University, among others. She performed Liszt’s Concerto No. 1 with the Foothills Philharmonic at the Peace Center. She is a proud member of the Greenville MTA and of the Crescent Music Club.
Brennan Szafron - Assistant Principal Piano/ Keyboard
Brennan Szafron, a native of Saskatchewan, Canada, is the organist and choirmaster of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Spartanburg, SC, a position he has held since August 2003. In Spartanburg, he is also in demand as an organist and pianist for large and small ensembles, namely the Spartanburg Festival Chorus and the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 2010, Dr. Szafron has also been the adjunct instructor of organ at Converse College. Prior to his arrival in Spartanburg, he was the assistant organist and choirmaster of Christ Episcopal Church, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, with whom he toured France and Switzerland in the summer of 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree, with distinction, from the University of Alberta, a Master of Music degree from Yale University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. Former teachers include Jacobus Kloppers, Marnie Giesbrecht, Thomas Murray, Martin Jean, and Robert Glasgow.
Emily Waggoner - Principal Harp
Emily Waggoner has performed with Spartanburg Philharmonic for more than 12 years. Native to San Diego County, she has lived in Greenville for 20 years. She is the Director of Harp Studies at Bob Jones University, which has the 7th largest harp department in the country, teaches privately from her private studio, and performs professionally. Founder of the SC chapter of the American Harp Society, she also serves as president of the state chapter. Emily volunteers weekly as a women's client advocate counselor at the Piedmont Women's Center in Greenville and plays every Sunday in her church orchestra. Emily and her husband Jason, an artist and screenwriter, have four children who are 7, 6, 3, and 2.
John and March Moody
John and March have lived in Spartanburg for 20 years. During this time they have enjoyed the prominent place the arts have in this community.
John is the Choral Coordinator for Spartanburg School District 7. He is also a published composer, jazz pianist and the Choir Director at Second Presbyterian Church.
March teaches orchestra in Spartanburg School District 7 and is a violinist with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. She enjoys playing chamber music and sings in the choir at Second Presbyterian Church.
In their free time, they enjoy being with family and friends, hiking, cooking and traveling.
They have two wonderful children, David and Taylor.
KEN AND SALLY FRICK
Ken and Sally Frick are long-time musicians in the Spartanburg community. Ken has performed on trumpet with the Orchestra since before its transition from a volunteer organization. Ken also performs with local brass groups and other area ensembles. Sally performed regularly with the SPO as a flutist/ piccolist for nine years and continues to play with area ensembles, most notably, The Philharmonic Flutes. In addition, Sally is the music director for the Spartanburg Day School Children's Chorus and the Spartanburg Day School Chamber Choir. Both of these choirs will sing for the December 6th Holiday performance.
When Sally is not working at the Day School she is hard at work at her business, the Motlow Creek Equestrian Center, in northern Spartanburg County. Motlow Creek is a high level boarding and training facility for hunters, jumpers and dressage horses, training from beginners to the highest levels of the sport.
Ken’s “day job” is in the finance department at an Upstate-based consumer finance company. Ken finds that performing music at a high level while maintaining a professional business career is a challenging undertaking. In the evenings and on weekends he spends part of his down time practicing and preparing for upcoming performances when many of his business colleagues would be found on the golf course. In addition to music, Ken has several other interests including biking, cooking and even home brewing.
Ken and Sally moved to the area in the early 1990s from Ken’s home town, Waukegan, Illinois. They met in music school at DePauw University and have been married for nearly 30 years. They have two grown children, Andrew (Denver, CO) and Thomas (Greer, SC). For both Ken and Sally, the MusicFoundation and SPO have been a significant part of their lives in Spartanburg, and are grateful for the many musical opportunities that have come their way.
Dr. Joella Utley
Dr. Joella Utley is the writer of the Program Notes for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
A native of Oklahoma, Joella received her undergraduate degree in piano performance and education from Oklahoma City University. She later received her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis followed by a residency in Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco. Both she and her late husband Dr. Joe Utley then practiced and taught at university hospitals including the University of California in San Diego and the University Medical Center in Lexington, KY before moving to Spartanburg in 1983. They retired from medicine in 1995. After retirement Joella obtained her masters degree in musicology from Converse College.
Other activities she now enjoys include serving on the Board of Trustees for Brevard Music Center, the National Music Museum and the boards of the Spartanburg Music Foundation and Tryon Concert Association. She also enjoys needlepoint, gardening, playing the piano and being the grandmother of three active grandsons.
Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Chapman Cultural Center
200 E. St.John St., Spartanburg, SC 29306
Twichell Auditorium (Converse College)
580 E. Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302
Chapman Cultural Center
200 E. St.John St., Spartanburg, SC 29306