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2024 MIDDLE SCHOOL FACULTY

 

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JONATHAN WEST
MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP DIRECTOR

 

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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CAMERON LAW
ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR

 

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). Cameron and his dogs, Cooper and Patsy Cline, enjoy all of the outdoor activities Western Colorado has to offer.

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LEANNE GRIFFEY
VIOLIN I INSTRUCTOR

 

Leanne Griffey is the Orchestra Director at Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is her 13th year at Kinard and her 26th 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, Virginia. 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 Secretary 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 a bassist and almost a high school graduate. 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.

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SANDY SUNDSTROM
VIOLIN II INSTRUCTOR

 

Sandy grew up in Colorado Springs in a family of musicians. She was involved in orchestras, choirs, and bands throughout her youth, and earned her Bachelor's of Music Education (Instrumental Major and Choral Minor) from Arizona State University. Sandy has taught band, choir, and orchestra in all levels of education, elementary through college.

In 2010, she and her family moved to Grand Junction. Sandy is a violinist with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, High Desert Opera, and Rockestra. She has an active private studio teaching violin, viola, and cello. Her quartet performs in churches and for area events; she plays in regional gigs, performs regularly in Aspen for summer weddings, and is a recurring violin coach for Camp Con Brio. Sandy adjudicates for the District 51 Solo and Ensemble Festival, several local auditions, and has judged the Colorado West Invitational Music Festival. She was previously an active member of the GJSO Board for many years and served on their music director search committee.

In 2013, she started as a paraprofessional in Mesa County School District. Sandy assists orchestras at several middle schools, and in 2014, she was a long-term sub for choirs at a local high school.

Sandy and her husband have two daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. They absolutely love living in Grand Junction: the people, surrounding views, and connections they’ve made.

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CHAELI FISCHER
VIOLIN III INSTRUCTOR

 

Chaeli Fischer is a musician and educator in the Northern Colorado area. She received her Master of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 2017, where she studied viola with Dr. Christopher Luther. In 2015, she graduated from UNC with a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree where she studied violin with Margaret Soper Gutierrez, Shawn Murphy, and Richard Fuchs. Chaeli also explored other passions in her undergraduate degree, including Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Spanish. She served as an officer of the UNC chapter of the American String Teachers Association for five years, and assisted in recruiting for the UNC String Project. Chaeli enjoyed performing and studying with professors at UNC, including the University Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Russell Guyver.

 

Mrs. Fischer now plays violin in the Elevation String Quartet, and teaches elementary music, middle school orchestra, and recently started a Mariachi ensemble in Greeley-Evans School District 6.

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XARENY POLANCO
VIOLA INSTRUCTOR
 

Xareny Polanco, a professional violist, is the Orchestra Director at Timberline PK-8 in Longmont. At Timberline, she was also recently hired as the Choir Director in addition to Orchestra, and she co-teaches their Mariachi program.

Xareny performs with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra and as a freelance musician. She also maintains a studio of private violin and viola students. Xareny earned a Bachelors in Music Education with an Instrumental Focus from Colorado State University in 2021. Aside from teaching and music, Xareny enjoys art, nature, and cooking!

This is Xareny's second year on staff at Camp Con Brio.

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JOSHUA GREINER
CELLO INSTRUCTOR

Joshua Greiner is from Fort Collins, Colorado where he learned a love for the outdoors through mountain biking, hiking, camping, skiing, and disc golf. Joshua Started learning the Cello in seventh grade and has been in love with all things Orchestra ever since. 

 

Joshua received his Undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in Music Education, Cello Performance, and Cello Pedagogy in December 2019. He has experience teaching students across Northern Colorado from beginners to advanced, state recognized ensembles. In addition to teaching, Joshua has performed with the CSU Symphony and CSU Sinfonia during his time at CSU and has since performed with his quartet throughout Northern Colorado as well as with the Greeley Chamber Orchestra. 

 

This year is Joshua’s third year teaching Orchestra at Preston Middle School. His goal is to provide as many opportunities for students to grow as individual players, as leaders, and together as an Orchestra. In addition to directing Preston Middle School's Orchestras, Joshua has served as an Assistant Director of Colorado State University's Middle School Outreach Ensemble and has been a director of the Northern Colorado Youth Orchestra since its founding in 2020. 

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LINDA TASHMA
STRING BASS INSTRUCTOR

 

Linda has been educating and playing music for over 50 years....  and ALWAYS studying. Her father described her as the “perennial student.” Music and History comprised Linda's studies during her college days and have held her heart ever since.  Music intermingles every aspect of life!

 

Having lived for many decades, Linda has been involved in a lot of activities. Notable gigs include: mentoring string bass students, playing in pit orchestras and Littleton Symphony, stitching weighted blankets for the Autism Community Store, seeing her students in honor orchestras and summer music camps, wonderful husband, nifty daughter, countless hours of joy playing bass and piano (inspired by her mom).  

 

In addition to music and teaching… Linda's overall well-being requires that she bake cookies frequently, ride her bicycle often, walk, read, garden, play cards and board games, attend worship, and watch professional football!  

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​ALISON MAYES
HEAD CAMP DIRECTOR

 

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 earned her BME (2006) and MME (2016) from the University of Colorado (Boulder), and taught in Colorado schools from 2007-2021. After relocating to eastern Kansas, she now teaches Strings in Blue Valley School District at Timber Creek Elementary, Aubry Bend Middle School, and Blue Valley Southwest High School.

 

Priding herself on serving the music teaching profession, Alison has been a leader at local, state, and national levels. She was recently named Chair-Elect of the Kansas High School All State Full Orchestra, and she is also on the Board for the Kansas Chapter of the American String Teachers Association; having also served in both of these roles previously, in Colorado. Alison received the 2015 Outstanding String Teacher Award from Colorado ASTA, and was the 2020 recipient of the Elizabeth A.H. Green School Educator Award from National ASTA.

 

Alison has held Music Director positions with the Longmont Youth Symphony and the Northern Colorado Youth Symphony. She is a frequent guest clinician, adjudicator, and conductor for honor ensembles and performance festivals. Alison has been on the teaching faculty of summer programs in Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, and Kansas. In August 2023, she had the honor of serving on the faculty for the Heartland Chamber Music Junior Festival; and was appointed Junior Festival Director to start in 2024. She has been on staff with Camp Con Brio, String Camp of the Rockies, since 2001; having became Director in 2015.

 

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. Two of Alison’s ensembles have been selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association annual conference: the Aubry Bend Eighth Grade Orchestra (2023) and the Blue Valley Southwest Orchestra (2024). Additionally, the Blue Valley Southwest Orchestra was invited to perform as part of ASTA’s National Orchestra Festival in March 2024. This is Alison’s second ensemble to receive this honor.

 

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 the world-renowned 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.

 

Aside from school teaching, Alison enjoys instructing viola lessons, playing in the Lawrence Community Orchestra, throwing chamber music parties, trying new recipes, playing video games, going to concerts of all genres, listening to Led Zeppelin, spoiling her nephews, traveling with her husband Jason, and spending time with their beloved dogs.

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