Alison Mayes discovered her passion for string teaching through an internship program that she co-founded with her high school orchestra director and mentor in Grand Junction, Colorado. She has taught in Colorado schools since 2007, having held positions in Boulder Valley, Cherry Creek, and Douglas County. Alison currently teaches elementary, middle, and high school orchestra in Blue Valley School District, located in Overland Park, Kansas.


Alison has been on the staff of Camp Con Brio, String Camp of the Rockies, since 2001; and became Camp Director in 2015. She has also been part of the teaching faculty at summer programs in New Mexico (Hummingbird Music Camp) and Michigan (Interlochen Arts Camp). Alison served as Chair for the Colorado High School All State Orchestra, String Ensemble Director for the Longmont Youth Symphony, and Co-Music Director of the Northern Colorado Youth Symphony. She earned the degree Master of Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is currently the Immediate Past-President of the Colorado ASTA Chapter.


Alison is known for growing and nurturing string programs, having as much as tripled the enrollment during her tenure. She prides herself on building positive relationships with students and fostering a classroom culture of mutual respect and inclusivity. Under her baton in 2015, the Grandview High School Orchestra auditioned and was invited to perform at the American String Teachers Association’s National Orchestra Festival. Alison received the 2015 Outstanding String Teacher of the Year award from Colorado ASTA, and was named the 2020 recipient of the Elizabeth A.H. Green School Educator Award from National ASTA.


As a performer, Alison’s most memorable opportunities include being a member of the Ghost Orchestra in 2016 (alongside violinist Tom Hagerman of Devotchka) at Red Rocks Amphitheater for the Grammy-nominated South African-American singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov. Additionally, she performed in New York City under the direction of Marin Alsop at Times Square, during the 2017 Carnegie Hall Music Educators Summer Workshop.


Alison is a frequent guest clinician, adjudicator, and conductor for honor ensembles and performance festivals. Aside from school teaching and performing, Alison enjoys teaching private lessons, cooking, crafting, going to concerts, traveling with her husband Jason, and playing with their beloved dogs.

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Soon Hee Newbold began studying piano at age five and violin at age seven. She has won many prestigious competitions and has performed throughout the world in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Aspen, and Tanglewood.


Ms. Newbold received her Bachelor of Music degree from James Madison University, where she studied film scoring, orchestration, and audio production. Upon graduation, she began working as a professional musician, contractor, and stage manager. She has written and arranged works for albums, recording projects, and various performing ensembles.


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Pattie Nelson is recently retired from Jefferson County Schools in Colorado. During her 30 plus year teaching career she taught all levels of orchestra spending most of her tenure as an elementary string specialist. Her most influential time was in the Arvada West and Ralston Valley area of Jefferson County where her beginning groups were 150 kids, and the retention rate was 85 percent. Her sixth-grade orchestras were highly praised and performed for many audiences including twice at the Colorado Music Educators Conference.  She successfully ran a summer music camp for 5th thru 12th grade students in the Arvada West Area for over 20 years and has guest conducted the University of Colorado Middle School Summer Music Academy. She has adjudicated, consulted, and given several clinics statewide and loves listening to and enhancing string students’ experiences and music making.

She began her own music studies on violin and added trombone skills when she started high school. She attended the University of Colorado for her bachelor and master’s degree in Music Education. She has returned to the CU this last Fall as a guest professor for undergraduate music educators, teaching the string methods class. Her expertise in orchestra and her experience with band formed the broad base for her successful teaching career. She continues to follow her music teaching passion by directing the Jeffco Community Band since 1984 and establishing an adult orchestra, the Jeffco Summer Orchestra in 2012. During the pandemic she has learned how to engage the adult members virtually and socially distanced so her groups could continue to enjoy playing their instruments. She is an active member of the American string Teachers Association and believes in the strength of learning a string instrument as a lifelong skill that contributes to the beauty in the individual and the world. She is honored to be the guest conductor and engage young people in an in-person camp experience at Camp Con Brio 2022!

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Sandy grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado in a family of musicians. She was involved in orchestras, choirs, and bands all throughout her public school education there. After high school, she moved to Arizona, where she attended ASU and earned her Bachelor of Music in Education with an Instrumental Major and Choral Minor. Sandy has taught Band, Choir, and Orchestra in all levels of Education, Elementary through College. Her last position was in a school district that was growing their programs. While under her direction, the program enrollment went from 10 to 180 during her eight years there. In Arizona, she was active in AMEA, ASTA, and ABODA.

The highlight of her teaching career was bringing Mark Wood and his Electrify Your Strings program to her students. They were involved in a two-day clinic and a performance. The students all memorized the music; ten tunes and were ready to Rock n Roll when Mark arrived. It was the most energetic, exciting, and extensive concert that Sandy had ever had the privilege to perform in.

In the summer of 2010, she and her family moved to Grand Junction, after her husband retired from a municipality. Sandy is a violinist and performs with the Grand Junction Symphony, High Desert Opera, and Rockestra. Occasionally she is asked to play in local and surrounding community gigs and performs regularly in Aspen for weddings in the summers. She is also one of the recurring violin coaches for Camp Con Brio (formerly known as CASTA Camp). Sandy often adjudicates for the local GJMTA Festivals, District 51 Solo/Ensemble, and judged the Colorado West Invitational Music Festival in 2013. She is a member of NAfME, and of ASTA, previously serving as Western Slope Representative for the Colorado Chapter.


In the fall of 2013, she started as a Paraprofessional in Mesa County School District. Sandy assists the orchestras at two middle schools, and is a certified substitute for District 51. In the fall of 2014, she was a long-term sub for choirs at a local high school. She is an active member on the GJ Symphony Board, having served on the Music Director Search committee.

Sandy and her husband have three children; two daughters and a son. They have also fallen in love again, this time with their granddaughter, Aurora. They absolutely Grand Junction - the people, the surrounding scenery, and the opportunities that have come their way since their move. Colorful Colorado sure lives up to its name! 

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Michael Schaefer is a Colorado native and a 1969 graduate of Poudre High School in Fort Collins. He studied undergraduate and graduate conducting with Wilfred Schwartz and earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education in 1974 and a Master’s in Instruction in 1984 from Colorado State University. Michael retired after teaching for thirty-five years, twenty years as director of orchestras and assistant director of bands at Webber Junior High. During this time he has supervised six student teachers five having stellar careers. Three of Michael’s orchestras have appeared at the Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA) clinic/conference in Colorado Springs. He is currently team teaching orchestra at Blevins and Walt Clark middle schools. In 2009, Michael received the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Michael has been an adjudicator at state and local festivals in Colorado and Wyoming. He has presented his music education sessions, “Large Group Tuning Procedure” and “Teaching Technique Through Performing Literature” (Life after method books), at Clinic/Conferences for Colorado Summer ASTA, CMEA, WMEA, NMMEA, the 2014 National ASTA in Louisville Kentucky and various colleges and universities in Colorado and Wyoming.


His arrangement of the Rossini String Sonata No. 3 was performed by the string orchestra at the 1992 Colorado All State Orchestra concert conducted by James McNeal. Concluding the 2011 performance series at the “Rocky Ridge Music Center” in Estes Park, Michael conducted the premier performance of his arrangement of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen for “String Orchestra and Tenor”. He is currently Board President of “Chamberre of the Rockies” (a summer music camp for adults) at RRMC. Michael’s conducting responsibilities includes the classroom challenge as a substitute, guest conductor at junior and senior high honor groups, all state high school clinics, student and adult music camps, and an occasional university rehearsal. Last summer was his eleventh year as a member of the Colorado-ASTA String Camp faculty.

He spent 13 seasons as music director and conductor of the Loveland Chamber Orchestra (1981-1994). He was the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra (FCSO) assistant conductor for 13 years and conducted the summer series for several seasons as well as many special events such as the “Mozart on the Roof” and “Opera Galleria” concerts.

As a violinist, Michael played with the FCSO for thirty-five consecutive seasons, eight years as assistant concertmaster. He is the founder and co-principal violin with the Quartet Con Brio performing since 1980 and has just recently retired from that position. He also performs with many of the orchestras and chamber music groups along the Front Range including the “Health and Wellness Orchestra” conducted by Leslie Stuart of the CSU music faculty.

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Kyle Rupley is a Colorado-based musician and educator. He has taught in the Cherry Creek Schools at Cherokee Trail High School for nine years and managed his own private teaching studio since age 17. Under his direction, CTHS ensembles regularly earn excellent and superior ratings, and he works to enable all his students to continue and develop life-long engagement and success with music. 

Kyle holds undergraduate degrees in viola performance and music education (BM, BME) from Metropolitan State University of Denver and a graduate degree in performance (MM) from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. He also completed post-graduate work in conducting and performance at the University of Maryland Baltimore County as a fellowship recipient in the Baltimore Symphony Academy Program. 

He performs regularly all along the Front Range with orchestras including the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Stratus Chamber Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of the Springs.


Jonathan West is a Colorado-based music educator. While growing up in Colorado Springs, Jonathan began playing the cello with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association, and the horn in his public school band program. While at Pine Creek High School, Jonathan participated in Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, pit orchestra, chamber music ensembles, and was Drum Major for the Pine Creek Eagle Marching Band during his senior year. 


While studying for a Bachelor of Music Education degree at The University of Northern Colorado, Jonathan studied cello with Gal Faganel. As a member of the University Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Russel Guyver, the ensemble collaborated with internationally renown soloists such as Rachel Barton Pine, Peter Stumpf, and Robert deMaine. Jonathan also regularly performed in chamber recitals and joined the Campus String Orchestra on viola. 


At the outset of his teaching career, Jonathan served as a teaching assistant during the inaugural years of the UNC String Project, a weekly after-school program for beginning string students in the fourth and fifth grades. This program helped solidify Jonathan’s love for teaching. He ran a small private lesson studio with cellists and violists. As a young conductor, Jonathan was one of five students selected for the Colorado Music Educator Association's 2019 Conducting Clinic and participated in a master class with Larry Livingston. Jonathan has also served as a guest teacher and conductor for the Parker Performing Arts School Orchestra Program and for the Youth Orchestra with Avanti Music Academy. 


Jonathan is currently teaching 5th through 8th grade orchestra at Creighton Middle School in the Jeffco School District, along with beginning string classes in five Lakewood area elementary schools.



Jay McGuffin is currently the Director of Orchestras at Castle View High School and Castle Rock Middle School. He has taught instrumental music in DCSD since 2002. His primary instrument is String Bass. Mr. McGuffin grew up in Colorado Springs and played his first Castle Rock Middle School. He has taught instrumental music in DCSD since 2002. His primary instrument is String Bass. Mr. McGuffin grew up in Colorado Springs and played his first professional gig at age 13. Performing with the Colorado All-State Jazz Band and becoming the principal bassist of the Colorado All-State Symphony in 1995 officially boosted him as a career bassist. Mr. McGuffin was a member of the Boulder Philharmonic from 1995-1997. He also competed and won first place in the Rocky Mountain International Double Bass Solo Competition in 1999.


Having studied for five years with Paul Erhard and Edward Krolick, he graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000 with Bachelors degrees in both Music Education (B.M.E) and Music Performance (B.M.). Mr. McGuffin has performed with such musicians as William “Bug” Barbie, Frank Fanelli, Itzhak Perlman, and Dave Grusin. His musical influences are primarily Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro and Victor Wooten. He has been a member of the Double McGuffin Jazz Quartet on Bass and Vocals since 2002, performing regularly with his father since 2005 and has been the leader of the group since 2008. Mr. McGuffin has always believed: “Those who can, perform. Those who can do more, teach!”


Lauren Martens is an elementary and middle school strings teacher with Blue Valley School District in eastern Kansas. Born and raised in Overland Park, she is incredibly proud of her Kansas Citian heritage. Lauren is in her fifth year as a public school educator. She is incredibly passionate about teaching her students a balance of good technique on their instruments, and how to enjoy life without taking it too seriously.


Lauren graduated from the University of Kansas in 2017 earning a degrees in Orchestral and Vocal Music Education. She studied under Dr. Jacob Dakon and Dr. Julia Broxholm. She began playing the violin in 2003, and singing publicly since she first heard the Cranberries on the radio, circa 1996. Lauren has also started arranging and writing music of her own, including her most recent string orchestra arrangement of Tom Sawyer by the Canadian band Rush. Lauren also plays viola, cello, piano, electric bass, and has most recently picked up the Otamatone.


Aside from her career, Lauren loves to experience live music, try new restaurants, travel to Europe, sing karaoke, cook her mom's best recipes, watch Chiefs games with friends, celebrate Taco Mondays, and spend time at Lake Stockton; her second home.



Hailing from Kansas, Eleanor Dunlap received undergraduate degrees in string music education and double bass performance from the University of Colorado Boulder.


Dunlap's teaching style reflects student experiences and encourages laughter. Outside of teaching, Eleanor spends their time playing in orchestras along the Front Range, rocking out with their band, and camping in the mountains.