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 Director

Gina Menden 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. Formerly a violist of the Des Moines Symphony (IA), she also performed as principal violist of the Arizona Orchestra and Sierra Vista Symphony. An avid freelancer, Ms. Menden has managed and participated in various orchestral, opera and chamber ensembles – with featured performances on KCCI News Channel 8 (IA), as a commercial recording artist for “The Wine Cellar” (an exclusive restaurant in Tampa Bay area, FL) and as a violist in the string section for Mannheim Steamroller (during their visit to Wichita Falls in 2010).

Ms. Menden’s major teachers included: Hong-Mei Xiao, Virginia Blakeman-Lenz, Misha Rosenker, Sherida Josephson, Leisel Soley, Nancy Nosal and Stanley Nosal. She also performed in masterclasses with Laura McGinnis (of the NY Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Barry Green, author of The Inner Game of Music.

Having a passion for both performing and music education, Ms. Menden has been teaching privately for over 12 years. In 2002, she accepted a position as Suzuki violin, viola, and group class instructor at the Music Academy of Tucson – where she taught for 2 years. Also during her time in AZ, she spent extensive hours working with a neuromuscular therapist, reading and attending seminars on the Alexander Technique to identify the physical effects of violin and viola playing on a performer’s body. These physical considerations, coupled with training by exceptional music mentors and a deep passion for Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy on music and life serve as integral parts of her teaching style.

Presently a violist for the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra, Kindermusik instructor at the First Baptist Church’s Fine Arts Academy, private music instructor and civil service employee at Sheppard AFB, Ms. Menden keeps very busy. She continues to enjoy Wichita Falls and its warm-hearted residents, where she lives with her husband, Jim, and two children, Arianna and Andrew. She is honored to serve as director of the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra’s “Philharmonic” and is excited for the various musical opportunities provided by this new season.

Andrew Checki, Brass Coach

Julie Faulkner, Woodwinds Coach

Anita Marquardt, Cello/Bass Coach

Ethan Rouse, Viola Coach

Max Salazar, Percussion

Tammy Sparks, Violin Coach