Group-Based String Orchestras
MYSO’s regional string training program rehearses in small groups at four satellite locations in greater Milwaukee: central, north, south, and west.
These groups periodically come together in various combinations for joint rehearsals and performances. For concerts, the satellite groupings combine to perform as two large string orchestras.
At a Glance
- Rehearsals generally on Monday evenings
- Most students are in grades 4-7
- String Orchestra North Music Director: Ms. Lyda Osinga
- String Orchestra South Music Director: Mrs. Lynn Trinkl
- String Orchestra West Music Director: Mrs. Mary Pat Michels
- String Orchestra Central Music Director: Mr. Ijoister Harris
The String Orchestra Staff
Mary Pat Michels is MYSO’s String Orchestra West Music Director.
Since 1997, she has taught in the School District of West Allis-West Milwaukee (WAWM) and is currently the Orchestra Director at Frank Lloyd Wright and Lane Intermediate Schools, Director of the WAWM Shining Strings and is the Music Coordinator for the district where she oversees the music programs of 24 teachers in 17 schools. She maintains a private violin and viola studio and was previously an instructor in the Waukesha Symphony’s “Success Through Music” Program.
Mrs. Michels is also an active free-lance musician and teacher in Southeastern Wisconsin. She earned degrees in Violin and Viola Performance and her Music Education Certification at UW-Milwaukee (UWM). While at UWM, Mrs. Michels was the Orchestra Music Librarian/Project Assistant, the Assistant to the Director of Bands, managed the UWM Brass Choir, and was the UWM Youth Wind Ensemble Program Coordinator. She recently completed the Masters of Educational Leadership Program at Cardinal Stritch University.
Mrs. Michels was Principal Violist (2010-2018), music librarian and personnel manager of the Wisconsin Philharmonic, of which she has been a member since 2000. She also served as Principal Viola of the Racine Symphony Orchestra (RSO) from 2000-2007, and has soloed twice with the RSO. An active free-lancer, she plays viola and violin for the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Bel Canto, Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, Bach Chamber Choir and Orchestra, the Festival City Symphony, Gabriel’s Horns, and Les Artistes. Mrs. Michels is also the manager and founder of the Lakeside Strings, which performs chamber music at special events throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.
Mary Pat Michels (née Subjak) is an MYSO/MFY alumna—and played violin and viola in all of the orchestras from 1982-1991. A highlight was the MYSO tour to Scotland and the Aberdeen, Scotland Festival orchestra, as principal viola of MYSO’s Senior Symphony.
From 1991-2000, Mrs. Michels coached various MYSO orchestras and chamber ensembles and served as an administrative assistant. In 2008, she returned to the MYSO staff as the Orchestra Director for the Progressions Program. After twelve years with Progressions, she is thrilled to be the music director for String Orchestra West, which is the first orchestra she played in at MYSO/MFY!
Lynn Trinkl is a cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BM degree in Applied Viola. She also holds an MM in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music.
She received her music education certification from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and has also studied at the Aspen Music Festival. She has been a string sectional coach for the Wisconsin State High School Honors Music Project and has taught for the Waukesha, West Allis, and South Milwaukee School Districts, as well as maintaining a private studio.
During summers, Lynn served as Assistant Director and Counselor Coordinator for the Wisconsin String Teachers Elementary Orchestra Camp. Lynn has also performed with several local groups, including the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, the Wisconsin Philharmonic and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.
A Madison resident, Lynn enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
MYSO alumna Sonora Brusubardis has been a coach for MYSO’s String Orchestra North for the last five years. In addition to her role as a MYSO coach, she is a violin instructor for MYSO’s Progressions Program. In 2018, Miss Sonora became certified to teach Suzuki violin and viola, and in 2020, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in violin and viola performance. She currently has a studio in the Summit area teaching violin, viola, and beginner piano to students of all ages.
String Orchestra West Coach Alexa Zakutansky is an orchestra director in the Mukwonago Area School District, teaching at three elementary schools and Mukwonago High School. In addition to her teaching in the Mukwonago schools, Ms. Zakutansky teaches cello lessons to a variety of students ranging in age and ability and currently serves as treasurer for the Wisconsin chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA).
Ms. Zakutansky has served as a clinician for several string festivals including the Wisconsin Young Artists Honors Orchestra and the UW-Whitewater Symphony Orchestra High School Honors concert and taught lessons for the Lake Geneva Symphony and the UW-Whitewater String Academy.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with an instrumental emphasis. While at UW-Whitewater, she served as the president of the collegiate chapter of ASTA for three years. In 2018, Ms. Zakutansky was awarded the Student Exemplary Service Award, the highest award given to a student, at the National ASTA convention.
In her teaching, Ms. Zakutansky focuses on building strong relationships with her students. She believes that by being empathetic and compassionate, she can not only build strong, well-rounded musicians, but kind humans too.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a registered Suzuki cello teacher and has worked internationally with students, schools, and ensembles as a clinician. As an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, he has completed training with Pam Devenport, Carey Beth Hockett, Barbara Wampner, Dr. Tanya Carey, Dr. Beth Cantrell, Dr. Shu-Yi Scott, Laura Shaw, and Avi Friedlander. He currently maintains an active Suzuki cello studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Prior to living in Milwaukee, Mr. Fitzpatrick was an Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he taught cello and Music Education courses preparing students for careers in Music Education. He also taught at the Fairbanks Suzuki School of Talent Education, the Anchorage Suzuki Institute, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Alaska Cello Intensive, and founded the Fairbanks Cello Festival. He has served as President of the Alaska chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and was a conductor for Fairbanks Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has been an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), served on the board for the Alaska Music Educators Association (AMEA), and been a regular presenter at various state Music Education conferences.
In addition to his teaching, Mr. Fitzpatrick has an active musical career across the United States as a soloist and chamber musician. He has given several regular solo recitals and performed in numerous orchestras, including serving as the assistant principal in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and participating in the Aspen Music Festival. Most recently, he was the principal cellist of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Alaska Trio, which performed with pianists at the 2017 Yamaha International E-Piano Competition.
Mr. Fitzpatrick earned his degrees from Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His primary cello teachers have included Dr. Carol Semmes, Dr. Emilio Colón, and Daniel McDonough of the Jupiter String Quartet, with additional long-term studies with Richard Aaron, Dr. Helga Winold, and Marc Coppey.
Mr. Fitzpatrick currently performs on a 2017 William Whedbee cello.
Ann Wood is a violinist and registered Suzuki teacher who enjoys working with students of all ages. She recently moved to Milwaukee from Anchorage, Alaska, where she taught violin for over 20 years. While in Alaska, Ms. Wood was a member of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, with whom she traveled internationally, as well as the Anchorage Civic Orchestra and other local ensembles. She also served as a violin and viola coach for Super Strings, a Suzuki-based preparatory string orchestra. Ms. Wood is an active board member for the Suzuki Association of South Central Alaska, and is a current member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin.
Ijoister Harris is MYSO’s String Orchestra Central Music Director. He is a multi-disciplined artist with an emphasis in string orchestra. He has been active with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (Band Buddies), the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Arts in Community Education (ACE) Program, Summerfest Band Camps, Wisconsin School Music Association as a Solo & Ensemble Festival adjudicator, and the Rochester Symphony and Cardinal Stritch Orchestra as a violinist. In addition Ijoister has served as a string clinician and private violin instructor. He is an alumnus of MYSO/MFY (Music For Youth) and Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Ijoister is proudly in his fourth year as a Music Teacher Leader for Milwaukee Public schools. Prior to his current position, he spent 28 years in MPS as an orchestra director leading students in grades 3-12 to excellence in string performance. Ijoister received a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a string emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, is IB MYP music certified, and has a bronze level ballroom dance certification. Ijoister was a co-pilot teacher that helped develop the World Drumming Curriculum being used around the world in conjunction with Dr. Will Schmidt, Remo, and UW-Milwaukee.
He received teacher of the year in 2013 from Milwaukee Public Schools, MMABSE, Civic Music Association, and the Milwaukee Symphony. In 2022, Golda Meir School began an annual Harris Music Legacy Award in his honor. Ijoister currently performs with the Ricky Price Ensemble and the West Allis Players. When he’s not mentoring music teachers, he enjoys ballroom dancing and learning to play the accordion.
Lyda received National Board Certification as a Teacher in Early Adolescent/Young Adults with an orchestra emphasis in 2010. She currently teaches orchestra to grades 3-8 for the Oshkosh School District and maintains a private studio as a registered Suzuki teacher. Previously, Lyda was the director of the community music schools for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at the University of Memphis (TN) where she provided teacher training, lessons for students of all ages, and other music classes in theory, appreciation, and history. She has also taught in several public and private schools districts in the Greater Milwaukee area.
Lyda began playing the violin at the age of four, learning the Suzuki method which had just arrived in the United States. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from West Virginia University and received a Master of Music with honors from the University of Colorado in performance and pedagogy. Lyda had the privilege of studying in Japan with Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the international Suzuki method of music education. As a performer, she has been a member of the Kettle Moraine Symphony, Wisconsin Philharmonic, Concord Chamber Orchestra, Madison Symphony, and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She plays violin and viola and enjoys experimenting on her electric violin and string bass in various impromptu groups.