Meet the Orchestra

First Violin

Paul Li

acting concertmaster

madeline brumback

Alison Candela

naomi chang-zajic

keith colon

rachel rose farber

hannah potts

shari rolnick

tim topoleski

Second Violin

jon louthian


meg glenn

jessica Hansen

christian johnson

tee mitchell

chris nibali


jessica shaner

David Zajic Headshot - David Zajic

david zajic


chris gosper

dottie wayne

kara woolcock


jennifer burleson

sarah cotterill

carolyn ginnever

jeremy keaton


kevin taylor



doug dean


teddy hersey


Nancy Schoenfeld


Frederick talcott


karen hopkinson


Lori Fowser

Lori Fowser

bass clarinet

WHT Headshot LR - William Thayer

william thayer

acting second bassoon


Carl Reynolds


1 Anne Ward

Anne Ward



jeffrey girdler


cally messick

Tom Holtz

Tom Holtz



Jeff Soulen



zachary shanks



chris boxall


nathan dufresne

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Paul Li

I have a background in mathematics and work in the IT industry.  I have been a member of the orchestra since 2001 and I am proud to serve as concertmaster this year.  When I am not busy with the orchestra, I enjoy playing chamber music, getting better at chess, and spending time with my two calico cats, Olivia and Kylie.

Mairead Alexander

HI! I’m Mairead Alexander, a passionate Elementary/Middle School Instrumental Music Teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools. I am also a Freelance Violinist, and I thrive on playing fiddle in an Irish rock band, thrifting, making alterations to vintage clothing, and teaching yoga. My favorite piece of music is Dvořák’s American String Quartet. So far, my greatest accomplishment is successfully completing my first year as an orchestra and band director amid a global pandemic!

robin atkins

Hi everyone! I am a Organizational Psychology and Executive Coach, and I balance my love for music with hobbies like golf and martial arts. I love how all three activities use the same mental strength, patience, and mastery. I am married to my wonderful husband, Harold, and am a proud mother of three amazing adult children. I also enjoy exploring Korean food–I am half Korean and grew up loving it! 

Mike Catelinet

Hi! I am Mike, a first violinist in the orchestra and mechanical engineer. Alongside my wife, Shira, who shares my love for music, I perform in the Greenspring Valley Orchestra and the Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra. My greatest accompllishment so far is learning all six of J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. Inspired by Captain Picard, my favorite quote is “The only person you’re truly competing against is yourself.”

Matt DeBeal

Hi, I’m Matt! I am an orchestra teacher in Howard County, and when I’m not teaching, I am  an avid enthusiast of pop culture. I love “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” video games, Dungeons and Dragons, and playing ultimate frisbee. My favorite food is homemade mac and cheese (none of that store bought stuff!). I am not a morning person so the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is my alarm clock (after hitting snooze several times)!

Morgan dice

Hi! I am Morgan Dice and I work as an orchestra teacher for Howard County Public Schools. I have a variety of hobbies including running, hiking, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. I have a lovable black lab mix named Rebel and my favorite foods are tacos, pizza, and pasta (Who doesn’t love those three?)

Elizabeth Haight

Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I am a a violinist and middle school orchestra teacher in the Howard County Public School System. In addition to music, I love houseplants, mystery books, escape rooms, and trying new restaurants. I have two tabby cats, fern and rumble that keep me entertained. My favorite place to visit if Cape May, New Jersey. I would love to be there at any time of year!

Amanda Huchla

Hi! I am Amanda in the first violin section, and I work as the hiring director of an instrumental music organization. Besides playing my violin, my hobbies are reading, baking, and rewatching episodes of “The Office.” I try to remember to “enjoy the little things in life” as i go about my days. My favorite food is any type of pasta dish! (who doesn’t love that?!)

valerie lawrence

After a prolific 32-year career as an Orchestra Director for Howard County Public Schools, I now spend my time reading, strolling around Columbia’s lakes, and teaching in my private violin studio.My hisband Tom and I share a passion for travel (especially Aruba) and the performing arts. We have even performed together as a guitar and violin duo!

amity monroe

My name is Amity, and I am a Licensed Behavior Analyst/BCBA. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, traveling, and my two pets – Daisy, the Dog-Toy Miniature Schnauzer, and Mittens, the Tabby/Calico cat. My two (or three depending on how you look at it!) greatest accomplishments are being a loving mom to my two children Spencer and Hallie and advancing in my career to become the Clinical Director and Director of Assessments at her ABA company. This orchestra is very special in my family–my husband, Art Monroe, is the former principal cellist of the Columbia Orchestra!

natalia Vladimirova

Hello! I am Natalia Vladimirova and I work as a private violin teacher. I have many pets including two dogs, two cats, quails, and goldfish. My favorite food is dark chocolate and in my spare time I like to work in my garden.

Paige Barbour

I am Paige, second violinist in the orchestra and marketing & communications manager for The YEARS Project. At the YEARS project, I am involved in the creation of documentaries about climate change. I love music, nature, gardening, jigsaw puzzles, and I have over 60 houseplants! I live in a charming Victorian-style house in Baltimore City with my husband Brody and our very sassy and curvy calico cat, Piper. I truly enjoy going on a walk through my neighborhood park every morning. It’s a great way to wake you up, get your body moving, and gain energy for the day. 

Ashley Behringer

Hi, I am Ashley and I am an archivist at the National Archives. When I’m not working or playing my violin, I enjoy reading, walking my Schnauzer mix, Schmidt, kayaking, and crocheting. I love Reese’s Cups, but only the varieties with a correct peanut butter/chocolate ratio!

Didi Cross

I am a Data Analytics Supervisor (Chief,  Reports and Analysis Branch, Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications) at the National Institute of Mental Health. I love to make things–mostly drawing, painting, and sewing in addition to playing violin. I am married and we have a daughter and son. Every morning I am motivated by my to-do list, the light shining through my window, and the desire for coffee!

jackie debella

I am an Elementary Orchestra Teacher at Deep Run Elementary. When I’m not doing something music-related, I enjoy family time with my husband, who is also a violinist, and our two children, one in middle school and the other in elementary. One of my greatest accomplishments is raising over $12,000 for breast cancer in memory of my younger sister and my mother. My favorite place to be is Disney World! 

christine doney

Hi, my name is Christine, and I am a Freelance Violinist/Violist and Retired Executive Assistant. I met her husband, Christopher, a music teacher (who played trumpet) during an orchestra rehearsal. Our first date was after a concert and we were married the following year spending 42 years together before he passed away. We did not have children of our own,but we adored many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. I lived in Connecticut all my life until moving to Maryland in 2021. I played in many chamber ensembles and orchestra while living in Connecticut.  I enjoy travel, tennis, gardening, and the simple pleasure of reading a good book.

Kate Mankowski

I am a violinist (and sometimes violist) and have been with the orchestra since 2013. Professionally, I work in libraries and archives including past positions with NASA, NOAA, and The Great Courses. To me, the best parts of playing in Columbia Orchestra include the variety of challenging music we get to play, learning something new with each concert and the community of amazing musicians I feel lucky to call friends. When I get the opportunity to do so, I also love playing in community theatre pit orchestras with memorable past shows including West Side Story, Les Miserables and Ragtime. Outside of music and work I enjoy a good cup of tea, reading (you can usually find me as one of the first people to rehearsals or concerts with a book in hand), and trying new foods.  

Brynne McCann

My name is Brynne, and I am an Account Services Manager at Blanchard. I have two golden retrievers, Murphy and Sierra, who keep me busy! One thing I am very proud of is my decision to teach English in a village in the Dominican Republic, following a challenging job search after college. The experience proved to be humbling, rewarding, and life-changing. Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I almost quit violin in 5th grade because I disliked practicing. My violin teacher (bless her soul) gave me a nickel for each day I practiced to motivate me. It worked and I’m so glad I didn’t quit! If only I got paid for each hour I practice now… :) 

barbara memory

Hi! My name is Barbara Memory and I joined the orchestra in 2023! I am a retired professor of music therapy who now spends time volunteering in my community through League of Women Voters & church outreach projects, I play chamber music, and teach Suzuki violin. My greatest accomplishment is establishing good relationships with my family, and my favorite place to enjoy those close bonds is at my family cottage in northern Wisconsin! 

esther wagner-yuan

Hi! I am Esther Wagner Yuan, a violinist in the orchestra. I work as a reading teacher and also as a violinist. In my spare time, I enjoy Crocheting, sewing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I share my home with my husband and two daughters, as well as Willow, our black lab. My ideal spot to be is a comfortable cabin in the mountains with plenty of chocolate

Amanda Huchla

I am David Zajic, and I am the principal viola of the Columbia Orchestra. When I’m not playing Viola, I am a computer science researcher for for BBN Technologies. I have my Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland–my dissertation was in the field of Computational Linguistics. All kinds of music making is my hobby. I love playing in and conducting pit orchestras for musical theater, playing chamber music, and singing in synagogue choirs.

IMG_2693 - Martin Chandler

martin chandler

Hello! I am Martin Chandler and I am currently savoring the joys of retirement, which allow me ample time to indulge in my two favorite things: music and reading. My favorite piece is R. V. Williams’ Tallis Fantasia. I have a wife of 39 years, Mary Rampolla, two sons, and two daughters-in-law. I had a career that spanned 21 years in the public drinking water supply sector, and my part in ensuring access to clean water for communities is something I am very proud of!

lydia gruber

I’m Lydia, and I work as a Strings Teacher in Howard County. I’m also a Music Therapist for an assisted living facility. In my spare time, I enjoy playing video games and listening to K-Pop music, especially SHINee. One of my favorite pieces is Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – 18th Variation. I chose to walk down the aisle to this beautiful, sweeping melody that really moves me. As a music therapist, I get to create individualized musical experiences to help others become their best selves. It’s incredibly rewarding to use music to empower people. I feel fortunate to share my passion for music through teaching strings and therapeutic work. I find joy in helping my students progress and watching music enrich the lives of my therapy clients. While I’m proud of becoming a certified therapist, my greatest sense of accomplishment comes from small daily moments where music makes a difference.

Nicole Horstman

I am an archivist at the National Park Service. When I’m not safeguarding historical documents, enjoy reading, hiking, and knitting. My favorite classical music to listen to is anything from a movie soundtrack. When I’m at work I’m usually playing the LotR soundtrack by Howard Shore on repeat. My favorite pieces to play include Holst’s The Planets (specifically Jupiter), Smetana’s The Moldau, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, movement 2. I have two cats, Loki and Totoro who wake me up in the morning standing on the headboard while meowing and scratching the walls so we’ll get out of bed and feed them.

Becca Knoll

Hi! I am Becca, and I am a high school math teacher. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and baking, reading, playing viola and piano, drawing and painting. I also enjoy spending time with my family anywhere–as long as we are together, It’s the people not the place that matters most. 

Lynn Moorhead

I’m Lynn Moorhead, a retiree who loves playing the viola and has always felt connected to horses. Now that my career is over, I spend my days working with these beautiful animals. It continues to bring me joy and peace. At home, my cat Duncan adds some fun to my day–he’s very affectionate. My greatest happiness comes from my loving family – two daughters and four wonderful grandkids who make me smile and laugh.

bruce newhall

I am excited to be starting my 44th season in the viola section of the Columbia Orchestra! I live with my wife, Elaine (principal flute in the orchestra), and our dog, Daisy, in a 250 year old farm house in Columbia. After retiring from my career in Navy sonar research at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, I now have more time to spend on my other hobbies: hiking, canoeing, wood carving, homebrewing, and collecting fossils.

stephanie oeur

My name is Stephanie Ouer! I am an elementary band and orchestra teacher in Montgomery County and a total potterhead! I LOVE all things Harry Potter and my favorite place to be is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I went to Towson University (where I taught spin classes while a student!) and am married to my middle school sweetheart. My favorite saying is “If it is important to you, you will make it happen!”

margaret pooler

Hi! I’m Margaret! I am a scientist with USDA. I have two kids in their 20s who are launched and independent. They grew up coming to all the CO concerts. I love seeing my friends in CO every week at rehearsal, but I especially like the way it feels to play a concert and everyone brings their A-game and we are in sync, and I am focused on my own playing, but can’t help but hear and be awestruck by the incredible music and musicians that surround me on stage. 

20220424_082220 - Elizabeth Robbins

elizabeth robbins

I am a music teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools. I am a thrill seeker so my favorite things to do are ride roller coasters and visit haunted houses. I have two feline companions named Chidi and Tahani, (Elizabeth is clearly a fan of the tv show The Good Place.) My greatest accomplishment is getting my PHD in music education.

sara richman sanders

Hello! I am Sara Richman Sanders, and I work as a Membership Director at a nonprofit association, where I focus on recruiting and retaining members to support the organization’s mission. In my free time, I am an avid sports fan who roots for the Houston Astros and New York Giants. I also enjoy frequent visits to museums and art galleries to take in the culture and history on display. Civic engagement is important to me – I volunteer as an election judge to support the democratic process. I love to travel and have already been to 40 of the 50 states and someday I hope to visit them all! I also have a bit of a nerdy side, building legos and playing Dungeons and Dragons! During the pandemic, I picked up my viola again after nearly twenty years without playing. Reconnecting with music has been a rewarding creative outlet. Most of all, I love spending time with my family, including husband Brandon and daughter Keira. I also enjoy spending time with my extended family and friends!

annemarie scimonelli

Hi! I am Annemarie Scimonelli, and I am a viola player in the orchestra and full-time I work as a human resources consultant. My favorite piece of music is Dvořák’s 8th Symphony and I am very excited to have it programmed this season! My husband Mark and I are the parents to one son and two dogs, Zeus and Winter. 

Penny Zahn

Hi! I am Penny, a retired Family Counselor. I enjoy spending time on my Bermuda 40 Sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay (though I have retired from racing) and birdwatching, reading and hanging out by or on the water with family and friends. I’ve enjoyed running several Yacht Clubs in Flag officer positions, including Commodore, and volunteering for numerous Nonprofits in leadership roles.

Elizabeth Skola Davis

My mother was a singer, and encouraged me in my musical endeavors. In school I was always in the choir just above my grade level and also sang in my church choir where I would sometimes get solos and duets with Mom. Around third grade I started formal piano lessons, which led to opportunities such as playing piano and organ for our church and being the keyboard accompanist for my middle school string orchestra.

In eighth grade, that group had no cellist. I also had a crush on a cellist who had graduated and was hoping to be able to sit next to him when I moved up high school the next year, so I started playing cello at the ripe old age of thirteen. As a high school sophomore, I auditioned for the youth symphony in the neighboring county, teaching myself such tricks as thumb position and tenor clef for the audition piece. I’ve been enthusiastically playing in large ensembles ever since, performing professionally since 1983, but have cut back in recent years to what I call “semi-retired” due to a series of unfortunate hand accidents and injuries as well as following my techie husband around in his computer contract jobs. These days find me teaching at Pritchard Music Academy in Gaithersburg or playing with my tuxedo kitty, Shi no Hana (her name is a compromise with my spouse who wanted to name our rescue “Death Blossom” so I finally accepted this – in Japanese).

Debbie Chen

I am a recently retired IT professional from a prominent Howard County-based University Affiliated Research Center where my experience focused on web/cloud/data security and enterprise software integrations. I also have a background in healthcare and practiced pharmacy in Maryland for a number of years.

Music and the performing arts have always been my passion. I have served on the boards of various arts organizations in Howard County over the past 25 years and love having the opportunity to support the arts in the community and to serve the Columbia Orchestra both as a musician and member of the Board of Directors.

I am a family-oriented person in a multicultural, multi-generational household. When not making music, you can probably find me in my vegetable garden or cooking something healthy and organic.

Judy Gill

Hello! I’m Judy, a retired orchestra teacher who taught for over 40 years! My favorite piece of music is Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major – a true classic! I live with my husband and our beloved pets: two dogs named Harmon and Lizzie, and a cat named Pippin. I’ve been fortunate to teach for 45 years in 5 American states and in England, as my husband served in the Air Force. Together we raised three wonderful children. I feel blessed to have dedicated my life to sharing my passion for music with students. Even in retirement, music continues to be a part of my life as I play cello in the local orchestra section! I find that music still fills me with joy and purpose even after all these years.

christina hernandez

Hi! I am Christina, a devoted mother to two wonderful kids, and a loving wife. My husband and I are proud Texans from El Paso, TX! Our two kids keep us very busy and I am so proud that they share my love of music! My favorite saying is “When words fail, music speaks.” My favorite food is mexican cuisine of any kind but especially chiles rellenos!

Sophia Jang

I am Sophia Jang, a statistical programmer with a passion for the cello. I began playing as an adult and enjoy continuing to learn! I stay active skiing and making flower bouquets and baskets. I also like to paint. I love to travel and explore new destinations with my husband and two sons when time allows. My family traditions are important to me, including enjoying Korean food together as a family.

Jennifer Jaromin

Hi! I am Jennifer! I am a music teacher and a mom! I like to cook, go hiking, camping, running, and watching my kids soccer and baseball games! I always enjoy playing Shostakovich Symphony No 5. I first performed it during my freshman year of college, and it was my first introduction to music like that. Everytime I have played it since, I get to relive the excitement I felt the first time I heard it! My favorite place to be is in Tuscany, surrounded by wine, cheese, and bread! 


Susan Mathis

Susan Mathis, a retired elementary instrumental music teacher from Montgomery County Public Schools, finds fulfillment in various activities. Bicycling, playing the cello, reading, and traveling allow her to explore her diverse interests. Susan takes pride in her two accomplished daughters, one being a data scientist and the other a software engineer. Although she may not fully grasp the technicalities of their careers, their happiness brings her immense joy. Susan’s greatest accomplishment lies in raising her daughters, providing them with the love and support they need to thrive.

jen retterer

I am Jen, a Middle School Orchestra Teacher for HCPSS.  Making pottery is a hobby of mine, and I enjoy making various things! My favorite piece of music is Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Elgar. It touches my soul deeply. If I had to choose somewhere to be stranded, I’d love to be stranded in Prague. What an amazing city! 

Dami Soh Schlobohm

]I am Dami Soh Schlobohm, a cellist and private instructor. Alongside musical pursuits, I collect and play instruments and noise makers, do escape rooms, and play tennis. My husband and I have two dogs,  Stumpy and Tatertot,  and Suzy Laser Eyes, a cat, and they fill my home with laughter. 

Susan Wagner

I am Susan Wagner, a retired strings teacher. I dedicated my career to nurturing young musicians. My love for music extends beyond the classroom to my hobbies: reading books, knitting designs, and line dancing. My favorite piece is Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. I don’t have any pets at the moment, but I fondly remember the animals I’ve had. I am married to my husband, Harold, and I cherish my role as a mother of three and grandmother of seven.

Elaine Newhall

Elaine has a background in music education and has worked as a private flute teacher for many years. She has always possessed a deep passion for music and community engagement. In 1990, Elaine recognized the incredible potential within the Columbia Orchestra and joined its board of directors. Over the years, she has not only been a member of the orchestra but has played an active role in the board’s activities and is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the cultural and educational enrichment the orchestra provides to the community. When not busy with orchestra activities she enjoys cooking, reading, and being in the great outdoors.

Laura Benning

Hei! I’m Laura, second flutist of the orchestra among many other things! By day I am the Chief Financial Officer of All-Stage and Sound, my husband’s special events production company, and by night I am a flutist. Married since 1994, I have a blended family of four children and four grandchildren. I have spent many years planning flute conventions–I served as the Convention Director for the Mid-Atlantic Flute Convention for 14 years and was the Assistant Program Chair for the National Flute Association’s 50th Anniversary Convention in Chicago in 2022. My favorite quote is “Character is what you do when no one is looking.” Playing the flute brings me joy and fulfillment, whether performing chamber music, in orchestras, or in flute choirs.

Devona lee schiller

I am a native of Baltimore County, Maryland and I joined the Columbia Orchestra as piccoloist in 2006. I also currently serve as Principal Flutist of the U.S. Naval Academy Band. I was formerly Principal Flutist of the U.S. ATLANTIC Fleet Band and have held positions with the Virginia Beach and Annapolis Wind Symphonies.

I received Bachelor of Music degrees in education and performance in 1998 from James Madison University, where I studied with Carol Kniebusch Noe. Under the tutelage of Anthony Maiello, I received a Master of Music in conducting from George Mason University in 2003.

An experienced soloist, I have been the first prize winner of the James Madison University Concerto Competition, Virginia Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition, and the Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship Competition. I can be heard on the James Madison University Flute Choir’s CD Sounds and Colors.

I frequently teach and serve as a clinician and adjudicator in Baltimore and Anne Arundel County schools. I currently reside in Annapolis, MD and enjoy spending time with my husband, John and family. Other interests include serving in church ministries, women’s lacrosse, weight training, cooking, biking, and interior design.

Elizabeth Berman

Elizabeth, a dedicated nonprofit administrator and fundraiser, gracefully balances her professional endeavors with her hobbies and family life. Gardening, video games, and immersing herself in her children’s interests bring her joy and connection. As a lover of music, she finds solace in the soul-stirring melodies of Josh Groban, as well as classical compositions like Scheherazade, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Brahms, Ravel, and Debussy. While she doesn’t currently have any pets, her children are slowly persuading her to consider the idea of a turtle companion. Elizabeth’s greatest accomplishment lies in the joy of motherhood and witnessing her children’s unique personalities blossom. Each day, the prospect of learning something new and witnessing her children navigate the world motivates her to embrace the day with enthusiasm. Her personal motto is to embrace the possibility of change and make a positive impact on the world. As for her best-kept secret, Elizabeth playfully hints that it wouldn’t be much of a secret if she were to reveal it now.

stacia pratt

Stacia Pratt, an Instrumental Music Teacher, loves road trips with her husband, exploring Maryland trails, and bonding over strong coffee. Her dream place to be stranded is on Harstine Island off the coast of Washington state. As a native Idahoan, her favorite food is true to form – potatoes! (Any type of potato, cooked any way) Stacia lives by the saying “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

mary haaser

I am a Nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital Intrastaff, and I also perform in local pit orchestras. My favorite food is grapefruit and my favorite saying is “it doesn’t happen by magic”!

Ann Quinn

I am a poet and teacher! When I’m not teaching, writing poetry, or playing my clarinet, I enjoy rowing, hiking, and reading.I am married to Steve, a retired woodwind repairman whose expertise comes in handy with all of my various clarinets! Our children, Paul and Rose, are both embarking on their own academic journeys, with Paul pursuing his education in Japan and Rose studying at Drexel University.

Lori Fowser

I am a freelance clarinetist and teacher. I work with Gallery Winds, PGCC, MCYO, and St. Vincent Pallotti High School, in addition to gigging all over. My greatest accomplishment is hosting 10 years of Gallery Winds Chamber Music Camp with great colleagues! My favorite piece of music is any tonal large orchestra work where I get to play several clarinets!

Stacy Hultzman

Hi! I am Stacy, principal bassoon in the orchestra! I my day-to-day, I play multiple roles as a mom, teacher, and bookkeeper. I have pride in my children, who are a perfect blend of my and my husband’s best qualities. My favorite place to be is somewhere up North on a lake, immersed in nature and away from all the chaos of my life. As a Wisconsin native, I cherish memories of snowmobiling and participating in the time-honored tradition of making maple syrup with my family– I have hauled many a sap bucket!

bill thayer

Hi! I am William (Bill) Thayer, a retired Anne Arundel County Schools music teacher. In addition to playing bassoon and contrabassoon, I enjoy photography and family history/genealogy. I have a very musical family, my spouse, Melinda is also a retired music teacher (flute & violin.);  my son, William plays french horn in the Marine Corps; my other son, Michael, is a captain in the Army stationed in Korea (also an oboe player); and my Daughter, Marianne,is a first year music teacher in Howard County (also a french horn player)! 

paul lindenmann

Paul Lindenmann, a devoted Police Officer with the U.S. Capitol Police, says he lives for the thrill of big, classic 90-piece orchestra finales like Pines of Rome, Firebird Suite, 1812 Overture, and Mahler’s Symphonies and says that is why he joined the orchestra. With his three daughters and loving wife of 31 years, he finds solace in playing taps for ceremonial events for the Capitol Police Ceremonial Unit.

Richard Pasciuto

Richard, a retired police officer and polygraph examiner with the United States Capitol Police, has found solace and inspiration in the world of music. One of his most cherished pieces is Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, which holds a special place in his heart as one of the first orchestral works he ever played. Richard’s love for music is paralleled by his affection for his Golden Retriever, Charlie, who has brought immeasurable joy and companionship to his life. As a proud husband, father, & grandfather, Richard’s greatest accomplishment lies in the love and support he provides for his family. If stranded, Richard would like to be in the enchanting landscapes of Ireland, where he envisions a peaceful and serenading escape. Driven by the alarm and the desire to seize the day, Richard cherishes the opportunity to make each morning count. Guided by the motto “The only person you’re truly competing against is yourself,” he embraces growth and personal development.
1 Anne Ward

Anne Ward

Anne Ward, a retired instrumental music teacher, keeps an active lifestyle through various endeavors. Yoga, walking, fitness, and even golf contribute to her well-being. As a French horn player, she enjoys any repertoire currently being rehearsed by the orchestra. Anne shares her life with her husband Duke, and their dog Isabella, a loyal and beloved 13-year-old black lab mix. If stranded somewhere, Anne would hope to be in a place with modern amenities like indoor plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. Each morning, it is the piercing sound of the alarm clock that prompts her to start the day. Her favorite saying, “It is what it is,” reflects a pragmatic outlook on life, embracing the concept of acceptance. Smucker’s creamy natural peanut butter is her favorite culinary delight, and Anne’s best kept secret is still a secret to us!

sarah dorrance

I am a pastor, and have been a member of the orchestra for 34 years! Each of the churches I have served has been able to allow me to come rehearse on Monday nights, for which I am grateful. I love playing music with the Columbia Orchestra. I have been playing second horn with the orchestra since the day we became a full orchestra, over 34 years ago. Playing music together is something different than my profession, and being a part of an excellent orchestra is something I cherish. My eldest daughter was born right after our first season as a full orchestra. She and her sister always came to the children’s concerts as they were growing up. Recently my adult girls were able to bring some of their own children, and the grandkids were able to see “Gigi” play Peter and the Wolf. Honestly, that was a thrill. 

Don Patterson

Don Patterson, a retired arranger and trombonist with the U.S. Marine Band, continues to freelance on trombone, remaining active and passionate about his craft. With a career that has spanned decades, Don’s trombone and arrangements have been shared with captive audiences all over the world. Beyond the stage, Don’s heart belongs to his beloved beagle, Susie, who brings endless joy and companionship to his family. For forty years, Don has been married to Iris, and together they have raised four remarkable adults: Erin (28), & Sean, Emma, and Bryan, triplets who are now 26. Don’s greatest accomplishment lies in the role of a dedicated husband and father, cherishing the bonds of family. Dreaming of the emerald landscapes of Ireland, Don would most like to be stranded in a place of enchantment and rich musical traditions. When it comes to food, nothing satisfies Don’s taste buds quite like the tastes of barbeque his home state, Texas. Guided by the timeless wisdom of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Don embraces the beauty of simplicity and the value of preserving what already thrives.

john crotty

I’m a lifelong Maryland resident and enjoy playing trombone whenever I can, whether it’s in big band jazz groups, musical pits, or full-size orchestras. I studied music at the University of Maryland, College Park, where I got to play in a variety of bands and ensembles. Honestly, my favorite piece of music is whatever I’m currently playing!

Outside of music, I love to travel with my wife Josie, seeking food, art, and memories. We have an orange tabby named KitKat who has too many brain cells for his own good. I work as a design engineer and love to solve sudoku variants. I like to think solving puzzles stimulates the mind, while playing music calms it.

Nicholas Bulgarino

Nicholas Bulgarino, a trombonist with the renowned Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, is a true musical virtuoso. When he’s not thrilling audiences with his trombone skills, Nicholas finds delight in the intricate world of O Scale 2-Rail Model Railroading. The soul-stirring melodies of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 resonate deeply within him. One of Nicholas’s proudest moments was receiving a well-deserved on-stage bow at Lincoln Center while performing in the banda of Maometto Secondo. While he may be a man of few words, Nicholas’s dedication to his craft speaks volumes.
Tom Holtz

Tom Holtz

I’m Tom, an Executive Assistant at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But before that, I had an illustrious career as a tuba player in “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. My time in the Marine Band fills me with pride and fond memories of friendship, camaraderie, and countless incredible musical performances. Although now in a different career, music remains my true passion in life. My favorite place to be is enjoying a long gig at a bar with a killer drummer behind the kit, me blasting away on tuba! With an optimistic spirit and lighthearted outlook on life, my favorite saying is “What could POSSIBLY go wrong?”

Meredith Mancini

Meredith, a talented harpist and music teacher, weaves enchanting melodies through the strings of her instrument. With a love for literature and a knack for music arranging, she finds solace in the beauty of artistic expression. Meredith cherishes her roles as a wife, mother, and grandmother. She remains dedicated to her craft, constantly improving her skills. A lover of nature and tranquility, Meredith yearns to be stranded in a serene countryside near the mountains, where she can immerse herself in the peaceful symphony of nature. Despite the incessant sound of the alarm clock, she finds motivation in her favorite saying, “If it’s too hard, subdivide,” reminding herself to break down challenges into manageable steps. Meredith’s secret indulgence lies in savoring the delectable flavors of a Maine lobster roll, a true culinary delight.

Jacqueline Smedley

Jacqueline Smedley is a talented Computer Engineer who effortlessly balances her passion for technology with her love for music. As a skilled pianist and vocalist, she enjoys playing piano, practicing opera, and attending concerts. Jacqueline finds inspiration in the works of Liszt, Chopin, and the entire opera La Boheme. Making music and seeing the smiles it brings to people’s faces fills her heart with joy. Bears, both as a concept and as creatures, hold a special place in Jacqueline’s heart. She loves experiencing new things and cherishes the love and support of her amazing husband. With an insatiable thirst for new experiences and a deep appreciation for the power of music, Jacqueline embraces life’s adventures with enthusiasm.

Jeff Soulen

Jeff Soulen, timpanist, discovered his passion for percussion during his sophomore year of high school. Despite his initial lack of experience, his band director recognized his potential and enlisted him to play cymbals in the marching band. The enchantment of creating music with friends ignited Jeff’s dedication, leading him to pursue private lessons and perform with community groups in Philadelphia. College opened doors for him to study under esteemed mentors such as Michael Bookspan from the Philadelphia Orchestra and Fred Hinger from the Metropolitan Opera. Jeff’s musical journey has been a constant thread throughout his life, alongside his “first career” as a pediatrician and subsequent practice as a psychiatrist since 1994. In his leisure time, Jeff can be found in the great outdoors, savoring moments with his loved ones and hosting sessions at the Howard County Dharma Group.