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Our Musicians PRINCIPALS

Ron Brooker - Concertmaster

Karen and Laurence Bettcher Chair 

Ron Brooker

Ron Brooker, Concertmaster of the Firelands Symphony and member for nineteen years, has a Bachelors and Masters of Music in Music Education from BGSU.  An orchestra director for 11 years in the Findlay and Sandusky school systems, he is currently employed by Thorworks Industries in Sandusky.  A former Assistant Concertmaster of the Lima Symphony, he has performed with the Springfield Symphony and Mansfield Symphony orchestras.  He is the music director of the Huron United Methodist Church in Huron, Ohio.  He resides in Sandusky and has three daughters, Elizabeth, Rachel, and Carolyn.

 

 


 

SHERYL CAWRSE- Principal Clarinet

Ann and Dave Voight Chair

Sheryl CawrseSheryl Cawrse is a 1978 graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in music education. She has retired from teaching music in our public schools and has recently opened a winery, PAPER MOON VINEYARDS, with her husband, Richard. In addition to performing with FSO, Sheryl also plays with PATRIOTS COMMUNITY BAND, HURON PLAYHOUSE and is a church musician. Besides music, Sheryl enjoys boating, skiing (water and snow), reading, biking (pedal and motor), hiking, travel, family, friends and life in general. John 10:10

 

 


 

Jody Chaffee - Principal Piccolo

The Thorson Family Chair

Jody Chaffee

Jody Chaffee has played Flute II and Piccolo for the FSO as well as served as librarian for the orchestra since 2002. She also performs with Terra Community College's Chamber Arts Orchestra, High Frequency Flute Quartet and performs on a variety of instruments for high school musical pit orchestras. With a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University, Jody has served 6 years as a high school/middle school band director. She currently teaches preschool and Sunday school, is co-advisor for South Central High School's Academic Challenge Team, is active in PTO and recently co-founded and performed with The Firelands Community Band. She and her husband Ben enjoy raising their three children, Benji, Lydia and Bryan.


Dylan Moffitt - Principal Percussion

Semans Family Chair

 


Tom Flowers - Principal Bass

Dr. and Mrs. Larry McCormack Chair

Tom FlowersIn addition to being principal bass of the Firelands Symphony, Tom is also a current member of the Akron and Ashland Orchestra and has had recent engagements with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra. After finding a passion for music, he began his bass career while still in high school with the Wheeling Symphony. He received his B.A. in music from West Virginia University and as an undergraduate he became a member of the All-American College Band at Disney World playing tuba. Upon moving to Ohio he played with the Dayton Philharmonic and Springfield Symphony Orchestras while completing his M.M. degree at Kent State University. After studying bass with Anthony Knight of the Cleveland Orchestra, Tom played in the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy and later with the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. It was after taking a 15 year hiatus from performing to focus on his long term teaching position with the Elyria Schools, that he studied privately with Paul Robinson of The Ohio State University. He began his current relationship with the FSO in 2001. Tom also serves on the faculty as string teacher at Lake Ridge Academy. A complete listing of the orchestral repertoire Tom has performed is listed in a database at facebook.com/tom.flowers .


Kirk Georgia - Principal Timpani

The Stouffer Family Chair

Kirk GeorgiaKirk Georgia is an accomplished timpanist and percussionist, holding a Bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, where he received the Director's Scholarship and the Creative and Performing Arts Award. In the spring of 2009, Mr. Georgia was given the opportunity to peform Gordon Jacob's Concerto for Timpani and Band with the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble. Kirk has led a varied career thus far, having played under the likes of Jorge Mester, Michael Stern, Dr. Francis McBeth, and Robert Boudreau, as well as former and current President's Own Marine Band directors Col. Timothy Foley and Maj. Jason Fettig. He is currently pursuing his Professional Studies Diploma in Timpani performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has studied with some of the most sought-after percussion and timpani teachers, including Keith Aleo, Tony Ames, Ben Ramirez, John Tafoya, Richard Weiner and Paul Yancich.


Monica Reineck - Principal Viola

Jamie and George Steinemann Chair

Monica is a native of Sandusky and has been playing viola with the FSO for over a decade. She has also been a featured soloist with the symphony. She also currently holds positions as principal violist of the Lima Symphony, Ashland Symphony, and the Terra Community Chorus String Ensemble. She regularly plays with Ann Arbor Symphony as well as Adrian Symphony. Her most recent endeavors include becoming a member of the Ryan Humbert Band string quartet, based out of Akron where she has played with the rock group at the Kent Stage. She holds a Bachelors Degree from the Juilliard School and attended Interlochen Arts Academy, in Interlochen Michigan.


Wendy Hayberger - Principal Second Violin

Ruth Parker Chair

Wendy HaybergerWendy Hayberger, principal second violinist, started her career with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra in 1993, when she was a senior at Sandusky High School. Wendy attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio earning her Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance, and graduating Cum Laude. She then continued her education by obtaining a Master's Degree in Violin Performance as well as a Master's Degree in Music education both from The University of Toledo. Wendy is currently a string teacher and Orchestra Director for Sandusky City Schools. She resides in Sandusky with her husband Trevor and their three children Hunter, Mason, and  Olivia.


Greg Hillis - Principal Horn

Cynthia and Jerry Kasper Chair

Greg Hillis holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Music degree in Music Education and Horn Performance from Kent State University.  Since 1995, he has been teaching music in some capacity at levels ranging from elementary school to college, currently maintaining a large studio of brass students.  His students can be found in many select groups in Northeast Ohio including the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, Contemporary Youth Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.  As a performer, Greg has performed as a soloist with the Mansfield University Wind Ensemble, the Kent State University Wind Ensemble and the Lakeland Civic Band.  Mr. Hillis is a member of the Heritage Brass Quintet and serves as principal horn for the Firelands Symphony.  He has also performed with Opera Per Tutti, Cleveland POPS Orchestra, Lima Symphony, Ashtabula Orchestra, Elmira Symphony, Williamsport Symphony and Rabbit Run Theater Orchestra.  In addition to his free-lance performing throughout northeast Ohio, he is a published composer and serves as the Director of the Great Geauga County Fair Band and Junior Fair Band.  He and his wife also raise chickens and vegetables using organic practices on their mini-farm.


Tamara Kagy - Principal Flute

Bill and Judy Monaghan Chair

Tamara Kagy

A founding member of The Firelands Symphony, flutist Tamara Kagy has held the position of Principal Flute for 26 years. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo and her Master’s in Music from Bowling Green State University. Tamara is the Instructor of Flute and Humanities at Terra State Community College. She has taught flute students for nearly 28 years from her own Norwalk Flute Studio. Her most influential teachers have been Nina Assimakopolous, Judith Bentley, Michel Debost, and Gary Schocker.

A popular, freelance musician, Tamara enjoys collaborations with musicians In the Firelands region. She plays regularly for Firelands area high school musicals. Kagy performs for the esteemed pit orchestra of the Huron Playhouse during summer stock season. She can be heard on recordings of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra (Santos Perez, conductor); playing improvisation on CD’s of harpist, Karen Westgate; and is the flutist for a T’ai Chi Instructional video from the studio of Tom Lesniewski, The Jasmine Dragon. Ms. Kagy is also the founder and manager of the Phoenix Project Wind Quintet. Performances of note have been the Phoenix Project Wind Quintet’s engagement at the Hayes Memorial in Fremont, Ohio, performing for the descendants of Rutherford B. Hayes at a private gala. Ms. Kagy was also chosen to be the wedding music flute soloist for the wedding of Richard Thomas II, son of Richard Thomas, (John Boy) of the “Walton’s” fame. Kagy is a frequent guest in area elementary schools presenting the “flute family” and its music to young students. She is a frequent coach and clinician for high school band/orchestra flute sections.


Shelly Du - Principal Harp

Mike and Donna Allen Chair

 

Jesse Martin - Principal Oboe

Robert J. Bredbeck Chair

Jesse MartinJesse Martin is currently in his 7th season as principal oboe with the Firelands Symphony.  His is also in his 12th year as the director of orchestras for the Avon Local School District.  His responsibilities include string orchestras grades 5-8, high school symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, sinfonia orchestra, and pit orchestra. Jesse graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College in 2000 with a Bachelor of Music Education with emphasis on oboe, having studied with Cleveland Orchestra oboist Elizabeth Camus.  He is an active oboist and woodwind specialist throughout Northern Ohio, and is a member of the Phoenix Project Wind Quintet, the Cleveland Winds, the High Frequency flute quartet, the Huron Playhouse,  and is a regular soloist at the Community of  St. Peter. 


Adam Reardon - Principal Trombone

Jacquie and Dave Clark Chair

Adam_Reardon.jpg


Kathy Stockmaster - Principal Bassoon

Karen Young Chair

Kathy StockmasterKathy Stockmaster joined the Firelands Symphony in 2006.  A native of Ohio, she holds a bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree in music performance from Kent State University.  Teachers have included Dave DeBolt, Jonathan Sherwin, Mark DeMio and Ron Phillips.  Since 2004 Kathy has been active as an educator and teaches bassoon privately in Medina, Wadsworth, and Kent, Ohio.  She is also currently a faculty member of the Aurora School of Music.  Her students can be found in groups such as the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony and Contemporary Youth Orchestra. As a performer, Kathy performs with the Cleveland Winds and for several theater and opera productions in the Cleveland area.  She also substitutes for the Springfield Symphony.


Kenji Sasaki - Principal Cello

Lynne and Barry Kroeger Chair

 


J.c. Sherman - Principal Tuba

Anonymous Chair

Jc ShermanJ.c. Sherman, Principal Tubist with Opera Cleveland and the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, holds a Bachelors of Music in Tuba Performance and Music Education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studied tuba and bass trombone with Ronald Bishop and Raymond Premru. He has performed with the Blossom Festival Band, Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland POPS, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Cleveland Opera, Youngstown Symphony, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, The Heritage Brass Quintet, Olympic Brass, NEOTUBA, Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians and many other ensembles. J.c. is also an avid performer on 19th century brass instruments. A veteran performer from Sea World of Ohio, J.c. also enjoys performing early jazz and Dixieland with The Night Owls and the River City Jazz Band. In addition to performing, J.c. is a brass instrument maker and technician.


Loren Toplitz - Principal Trumpet

The Frankel Family Chair

Loren ToplitzLoren Toplitz, trumpet. M.M., The Cleveland Institute of Music. B.M., The Juilliard School. Loren is a member of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and is the Principal Trumpeter of the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. He also performs regularly with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. Loren has played with numerous orchestras throughout the region including The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Opera Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Canton Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Red {an orchestra}, Chautauqua Symphony, and the New World Symphony. He also performed in Carnegie Hall as Principal Trumpet of the New York String Orchestra. In 2004, Loren went on tour to Carnegie Hall with the Buffalo Philharmonic. Loren was a soloist with the Canton Symphony Chamber Orchestra and Chorus in a Cameo concert. He has been a featured performer with Concertante, a chamber ensemble based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has performed with numerous music festivals including the National Repertory Orchestra, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival. Loren has appeared on NBC performing with the Cleveland Pops and Peter Cetera and Public Television’s “Reading Rainbow” and was heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” He can also be heard on recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cleveland Pops, the Akron Symphony, the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, and the Summit Choral Society. In the summer of 2006, Loren was appointed 2nd trumpet of the Lancaster Festival Orchestra. He has performed with Kenny Loggins, Wynonna Judd, The Pointer Sisters, The Temptations, Lee Ann Womack, Kenny Rogers, and The Beach Boys. In addition to his performance credits, Loren has been on the faculty of the International Music Festival held at Baldwin-Wallace College. He has also held a position as faculty trumpet teacher for the Preparatory and Continuing Education division of the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2002.


 
 
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