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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 has excitedly accepted a position teaching elementary, middle, and high school orchestra in Blue Valley School District, located in Overland Park, Kansas, to begin this fall.


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.



J. Cameron Law is an award winning educator, cellist, conductor, and composer. He recently retired after a 29 year career as Director of Orchestras at Grand Junction High School and West Middle School.


Mr. Law is in his 30th season as the Co-Principal Cellist of the Grand Junction Symphony. He was the cellist with Trio de las Americas, formerly the Mesa State College Faculty Piano Trio, performed for six seasons with the Crested Butte Summer Music Festival, and was cello instructor at Colorado Mesa University. His private cello students have completed music degrees at such prestigious institutions as the Hart School of Music, Indiana University, and the Berklee College of Music. 

Mr. Law has conducted the Grand Junction Symphony, the Colorado All-State Orchestra, the New Mexico All-State Orchestra, the University of Wyoming’s Festival of Strings, the Fort Lewis College Honors Orchestra, the Mesa State College Orchestra, the High Desert Light Opera Orchestra, the Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Summer Music Camp Orchestra, and the University of Colorado Summer Musicworks Orchestra.  His orchestras at Grand Junction High School performed six times at the Colorado Music Educators’ Association Annual Clinic and Conference, and they performed in 2009 at Alice Tully Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center. 


Additionally, Mr. Law served for 20 years as the Camp Director for the CASTA Middle School String Camp and is a Past President of the Colorado Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. In 1999 he was presented with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator Award, and in 2002 he was named the ASTA Colorado String Teacher of the Year and received the Sylvan Excellence in Education Award. He has worked as a clinician and adjudicator throughout Colorado, as well as in Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, New York, Hawaii, and North Dakota. Mr. Law has served on the Colorado All-State Orchestra Advisory Board and the Colorado High School Activities Association State Music Advisory Board, and he was the founding advisor for the Grand Junction High School Tri-M Chapter. 


Mr. Law is currently the String Editor for Grand Mesa Music Company. His compositions and arrangements appear on several state lists, as Editor’s Choices in the Pepper Music Catalog, and have been performed at the Midwest Conference in Chicago. His work Sinapu was premiered by the Grandview High School Orchestra at the 2015 National ASTA Conference in Salt Lake City. 


Mr. Law spends his summers as the Program Director for the Road Scholar Program at the Aspen Music Festival. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance with University Honors and Academic Distinction from Colorado State University, and a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance and Teacher Certification from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Jeffrey Solow and Robert Culver. He has two grown children (Lindsye and Eric), and a grandchild ( Marky D the Mini Maestro). He and his wife Kathy and their dogs Cooper and Patsy Cline enjoy all of the outdoor activities Western Colorado has to offer.

Ellen Ravnan has been privileged to enjoy a career that combines her love of performing and her joy in teaching. She retired from the Cherry Creek School District (Englewood, CO) where she taught orchestra and guitar at Thunder Ridge Middle School.


In the year 2000, she created STRINGATHON, a group solo festival for the Cherry Creek District Middle School Orchestras. Beginning originally with 150 students and 3 middle schools, in 2010 it had grown to nearly 725 students from all nine Cherry Creek middle schools necessitating two Stringathon sites in 2011.


 Her orchestras have been selected three times to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Association Clinic-Convention. She has presented clinics at National ASTA, CMEA, Colorado ASTA, and WMEA numerous times, speaking about Stringathon, alternative approaches to performances, and mostly recently on “It’s All About the Bow” with Margaret Miller, viola professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.


After receiving her high school diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts, Ms. Ravnan studied with Lillian Fuchs at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance in 1975. She was awarded a Master of Music degree in 1977 from the University of Illinois, studying viola with Guillermo Perich, chamber music with Gabriel Magyar, and string pedagogy with Paul Rolland. Additional advanced work was done in viola performance with Richard Blum and string pedagogy with Marvin Rabin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned her teacher’s certificate in 1984.


She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska as the eldest of three daughters of two professional musicians.  She studied piano and violin until attending Rocky Ridge Music Camp in Estes Park after her sophomore year of high school where she discovered the viola. A little-known event in her life in Nebraska was at age six, her selection as Little Miss Rodeo Attendant at the University of Nebraska Rodeo. Go Huskers!



Katherine Garramone has played cello for 18 years. She is a teacher of general music at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Denver, where she is excited to be starting her very own string program! Katie discovered her love for music through her own public school orchestra experience in Mapleton Public Schools, having Kelly Benson as her Orchestra Director. While Katie played the cello in her school program, and participated in the Front Range Youth Symphony; it soon became not enough for her. She found Camp Con Brio as an Intern during her high school, and has never left. Katie has now been with the camp for 10 years, working as a counselor.

During her time in college, Katherine had to leave the music school and have surgery on her left arm due to nerve damage. The nerves become too tight in her elbow from long hours of practicing and overworking the nerves. The damage made it impossible to be a Music Major or a cello player. This would have been the end of her dream of teaching, but she knew her love of music and her love of teaching could not be stifled. 


Katherine earned a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, with an emphasis in the Performing Arts, from the University of Northern Colorado. She also minored in Special Education and Music Education. Katie teaches approximately 500 students ranging from pre-K through the eighth grade. She plans to continue to share her passion for music with her students.




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.

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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.


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.



A Colorado Native, Courtney Dowling grew up in the North Denver suburbs.  She began playing cello in the public school systems in Adams 12 School District. While in high school Courtney performed with Front Range Youth Symphony, Colorado Youth Symphony, Colorado Young Sinfonia, and Denver Young Artists Orchestra. During her summers, Courtney went to Rocky Ridge Music Center to combine her love of the mountains with her love of music. In addition to a busy performance schedule, Courtney began teaching cello lessons at the age of 15 and continued to do so until she became a full time school orchestra teacher.


Courtney earned a Bachelors of Music in Cello Performance at Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music in New York City and her Suzuki Certification at the University of Denver. As a cellist, she studied with DU’s Richard Slavich, UNC’s Gal Faganel, Colorado Symphony’s Fred Hoeppner, Jacksonville University’s Shannon Lockwood, and Aaron Copland School of Music’s Marcy Rosen. While living in New York City, Courtney performed as principal cello in the Spectrum Symphony. She also performed with the Nova Philharmonic and the Manhattan Symphonie in both Carnegie Hall and the Barge Music Festival.  


In addition to orchestral performing, Courtney played in an eclectic folk-rock band, several chamber music groups, and sat in with various artists around the city.  She continued to develop her teaching style at Cadenza Music School in Flushing, Queens and at the Harbor School for Boys and Girls Conservatory Program in New York City.  It was at this time that Courtney decided her love for teaching music outweighed her love for performing. She decided to return home to her beloved state of Colorado to pursue a teaching degree.


After completing her Masters in Music Education at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Courtney was Orchestra Director at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado and will now enter her second year as Director at Silver Creek High School in Longmont. Her groups consistently receive superior ratings at festivals.  Courtney is currently Chair of the Colorado All-State Orchestra Governing Board.



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!”