2023 MIDDLE SCHOOL FACULTY
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.
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.
Kara Leonardi is the Orchestra Director at Bookcliff Middle School and Central High School in Grand Junction, Colorado. She and has been a public school music teacher in Western Colorado since 2014. Kara is an active musician with the Grand Junction Symphony, Rockestra, local string quartets, and other community groups in the Grand Junction area.
Kara holds a BA in Music Education, and a Certificate in Violin and Viola Pedagogy from Colorado State University. Her teachers include Amber Campbell, Cameron Law, and Margaret Miller. When not teaching or making music, Kara enjoys baking, reading, and enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors.
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.
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.
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!
Alison Mayes discovered her passion for string teaching through a high school internship program that she co-founded with her orchestra director and mentor, Amber Campbell, in Grand Junction, Colorado. She taught in Colorado schools for 15 years, having held positions in Boulder Valley, Cherry Creek, and Douglas County. Alison currently teaches 5th through 12th grade strings 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. Alison is Past-President of Colorado ASTA, and serves as Webmaster and Newsletter Editor for Kansas ASTA.
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 and watching horror movies with her husband Jason, and playing with their five beloved dogs.