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Colorado native Alison Mayes discovered her passion for string teaching through a high school internship program that she co-founded with her high school orchestra director and mentor, Amber Campbell, in Grand Junction. She has been teaching in Colorado schools for 13 years, most recently as Founding Orchestra Director at Parker Performing Arts (PPA, a K-8 school) in Douglas County School District. Since its opening, she has built the PPA string program to include 179 students (grades 3-8) from 49 students in its first year. Alison was chosen as the 2017-2018 DCSD Apple Award nominee from all of the staff at PPA.


Alison has been on the staff of Camp Con Brio, String Camp of the Rockies since 2001. She has also been on the teaching staff at summer music programs in New Mexico and Michigan. Alison has previously served as Chair for the Colorado High School All State Orchestra and as Music Director for the Longmont Youth Symphony String Ensemble. She earned the degree Master of Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Alison is the Immediate Past-President of the Colorado Chapter of the American String Teachers Association and was recently named Youth Orchestra Director at Avanti Music Academy in Highlands Ranch.


Previously, Alison was Orchestra Director at Grandview High School in Cherry Creek School District, where the enrollment of string students more than tripled during her six-year tenure. Under her baton, the Grandview High School String Orchestra performed at the American String Teachers Association’s National Orchestra Festival in 2015. In December of that year, the Grandview Chamber Orchestra had the honor of performing at the Colorado Association of School Boards Conference. 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.


Alison considers herself fortunate to have been a part of some very special and memorable performance opportunities. Among these, she was a member of the “Ghost Orchestra” in 2016 (playing alongside violinist Tom Hagerman of Devotchka) at Red Rocks Amphitheater for the Grammy-nominated South African-American singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov. Additionally, she has performed in New York City under the baton 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 festivals throughout the state of Colorado. Aside from school teaching and performing, Alison enjoys teaching private lessons, cooking, Colorado Symphony concerts, traveling with her husband Jason, and playing with their beloved dogs.



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 working as a guest teacher for Jeffco Public Schools. 



While not a Colorado native, Joy likes to think that she arrived here as soon as she could! Growing up in Northern California, Joy was an active member of her middle school orchestra, and high school band, jazz band, and orchestra. She also played cello in the San Joaquin Junior Symphony. 

Joy received her undergraduate education at University of Colorado in Boulder, then made the move southeast to attend Duke University. At Duke, she completed her education and training in the Physician Assistant Program. Returning to Colorado, she began her career as a Physician Assistant, specializing in Trauma Care, Minor Surgery and Orthopedics.

Currently, Joy is self- employed as a Senior Care Specialist, providing in-home care in the Denver Metro area. She and her husband Ralph are proud parents of two public school educators: a K-8 music teacher, and a middle school special education teacher.

When not relaxing at the “family farm” (1 horse, 3 dogs and 2 cats), they enjoy traveling, especially on their motorcycles.




After completing his Master of Music in Violin Performance at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Shawn Murphy is now in his fourth year directing orchestras at Thompson Valley High School and Walt Clark Middle School in Loveland, Colorado, where he was awarded an Inspiring Students Award in his first year. His teaching career began with high school and middle school orchestra in Wyoming where his groups consistently received superior ratings, then moved to Ft. Collins where his middle school orchestra program increased from 85 players to 230 in three years.

Mr. Murphy serves as guest clinician and adjudicator for numerous Colorado and Wyoming schools and districts, is a member of the Colorado All-State Orchestra board of governors, and is on the faculty for Camp Con Brio – String Camp of the Rockies. Along with his TVHS music colleagues, he will present a clinic at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference on January 27th, 2018.

As a violinist, he studied with UNC's Richard Fuchs, Jubal Fulks & Margaret Gutierrez, and Kansas City's Gregory Sandomirsky & Ruth Sadasivan. Mr. Murphy recently appeared as a soloist with Wartburg College's chamber orchestra in Waverly, Iowa. Orchestral engagements include the Greeley Philharmonic, the Ft. Collins Symphony, and the Haller Sinfonie in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. He was first violin in the Graduate String Quartet at UNC. Currently, Mr. Murphy is the concertmaster of The Loveland Orchestra, with whom he will perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216 on January 26th, 2018.

Mr. Murphy spent 2010 in Germany with his wife, Amy, where they studied German at the Goethe Institute and the Universität Leipzig, and music at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig. In August, 2017, they began their parental journey with the birth of Baby Ben, whose supernatural cuteness makes the sleeplessness more tolerable!



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! 

L Griffey with violin Vail 9.2018.jpg


Leanne Griffey is the Orchestra Director at Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins, CO. This is her ninth year at Kinard and her 22nd year as a Music Educator. Before coming to Kinard, Leanne taught Orchestra and Choir for six years in various public schools in Greeley, Fort Collins, and Williamsburg, VA. She has also taught private violin, viola, and voice lessons throughout her career. Leanne received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has completed graduate coursework in Conducting and Performance. She currently serves as the Northern Representative on the Board for the Colorado chapter of American String Teachers' Association.


When Leanne is not teaching, she is often performing on violin, viola, or voice. She has performed with many Orchestras including the Fort Collins Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, Richmond (VA) Symphony, and the Williamsburg (VA) Symphonia. Currently, she is Concertmaster for the Greeley Chamber Orchestra and the Health & Wellness Orchestra of Fort Collins, and is a member of the string quartets, Bellacordia and Quartet Con Brio.


Leanne is married to Kevin and together they have a daughter who is a bassist and almost a high-schooler. It’s not unusual to find Leanne out running, and later, baking. The Griffey family also loves to ski! They find adventure in many places far across the oceans, but one of their favorite places is Breckenridge for its beauty, snow, and because their crazy calico cat, Penelope, can tag along there. Leanne and her family are also avid concert-goers and enjoy listening to a wide variety of musical styles.



Kyle Rupley is a Colorado based musician and educator. He has maintained a private studio teaching violin and viola for almost twenty years and taught in public education for eight years at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora’s Cherry Creek School District where his course load has included: orchestras, piano, history of rock and roll, intro music theory, IB music, and AP music theory. Under his leadership, Cherokee Trail orchestras regularly earn excellent and superior ratings at CHSAA and ASTA large group festivals; they were the 2017 5A Outstanding Full Orchestra at the Colorado West Invitational Music Festival and competed at the 2017 ASTA National Orchestra Festival. 


Kyle holds undergraduate degrees in viola and music education (BM, BME) from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and a graduate degree in viola (MM) from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music—where he was graduate teaching assistant to Basil Vendryes and Richard Slavich. His other primary viola teachers are Margaret Miller and Barbara Hamilton-Primus. Kyle was a winner of the 2001 Rocky Mountain Viola Society Masterclass Competition, and he has performed in masterclass for artists including Jesse Levine, Kenji Bunch, Roger Tapping, Paul Coletti, and Carol Rodland.


Kyle began his orchestral training in the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony and Denver Young Artists Orchestra. After continuing his training in college, Kyle was a two-year recipient (2015, 2016) of an Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship to study orchestral conducting and performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop and Nicholas Hersch. Still an avid performer, he regularly plays with ensembles all along the Front Range. This season, he can be heard with the Stratus Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, among others. Kyle lives Aurora, CO and, in his free time, enjoys spending time outdoors or at the gym, reading philosophy, and enjoying life with his family and friends.  



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 Dowling is now in her third year directing orchestras at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her groups consistently receive superior ratings at festivals.  Courtney is a member of the Colorado All-State Orchestra Governing Board and is a member of the Fort Collins String Teacher Association.​



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!”

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