Administrative Staff

Jodie White, Executive Director

Donna Janecka, Music Librarian

Artistic Staff

Dr. Susan Harvey, Music Director/YSO Conductor

Dr. Susan Harvey earned a Bachelor of Music from James Madison University, a Master of Arts in Education from Virginia Tech, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from Shenandoah University. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Music at Midwestern State University (MSU) in Wichita Falls, Texas. At MSU Dr. Harvey teaches music education courses to both general education students and music majors. She instructs beginning piano classes, maintains a high brass studio, and has directed the Oratorio Chorus. She is Director of the MSU Summer Kodály Institute, which offers graduate music education courses.

Dr. Harvey collectively taught twenty years of public school music in Buena Vista, Rockbridge County, and Covington, Virginia. She taught elementary music and instrumental and choral music at the secondary level. Her ensembles consistently earned superior ratings at festivals. While at Parry McCluer Middle School in Buena Vista, her students performed at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference in Norfolk, Virginia and at the Organization of American Kodály Educators National Conference in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Harvey has presented workshops on the topics of assessment in music education, intonation in band, practice strategies for instrumentalists, and implementation of Kodály in the instrumental and elementary classroom. She is an active clinician, guest conductor, judge, and freelance trumpet performer. As a performer, Dr. Harvey was a member of the 2007 National Champion Massanutten Brass Band from Harrisonburg, Virginia and has performed as a member of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra in North Manchester, Indiana.

Gina Menden, Philharmonic Conductor

Gina Menden, originally from Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Arizona with a Master of Music degree in Viola Performance and Drake University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance. Ms. Menden is currently a violist with the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and an avid freelancer; having performed in various orchestral, opera and chamber ensembles around town. She serves as concertmaster of the Opera Breve Vocal Intensive Orchestra, violist for First Presbyterian’s productions of “The Messiah”, and violist/violinist in various Wichita Falls Community Orchestra and Wichita Falls First Baptist Church special events. With a drive to assist collaborative efforts among artistic associations in the city, Ms. Menden was concertmaster of the combined Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra and Wichita Falls Youth Ballet production of “Peter and the Wolf” – bringing live music to a local ballet production for the first time in many years.

Having a passion for both performing and teaching, Ms. Menden began working for the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) in February 2010, where she helped to establish a developmental string orchestra (the “Philharmonic”) and a very robust public-outreaching string ensemble program. She maintains positions as conductor of the YSO Philharmonic and lead ensemble coach, while contributing artistic input at YSO sub-committees.
Ms. Menden has been teaching private violin and viola since 2000 and continues to teach today. Her studio has yielded winners of concerto competitions, symphony apprenticeships, and state UIL contestants with gold/silver placements, as well as students who’ve chosen to continue on in college as either music majors or very skilled orchestral players. Most importantly, she enjoys guiding her students to be good citizens and to love what they do. Ms. Menden is a newly contracted string teacher at Christ Academy, as of October 2014.

Ms. Menden’s major teachers included: Hong-Mei Xiao, Virginia Blakeman-Lenz, Misha Rosenker, Sherida Josephson, Leisel Soley, Nancy Nosal and Stanley Nosal.

Ms. Menden lives in Wichita Falls with her husband Jim and two children, Arianna and Andrew.

Andrew Checki, Brass Coach

Anita Marquardt, Cello/Bass Coach

Ethan Rouse, Viola Coach

Max Salazar, Percussion Coach

Tammy Sparks, Violin Coach