Prelude Wind Ensemble Bassoon Instructor Rosalie Avery is a freelance bassoonist and music educator located in the greater Milwaukee area. Recently, she received her Masters of Music degree in bassoon performance from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) under the tutelage of Rudi Heinrich. Additionally, Rosalie holds a
Bachelor of Arts degree from UWM where she studied with Beth Giacobassi.
Rosalie is currently an instructor in multiple woodwind instruments at White House of Music and Milwaukee Public Schools where she teaches bassoon, clarinet, alto saxophone, and flute to students aged 10-60. Additionally, she was a graduate teaching assistant at UWM, where she taught bassoon methods and undergraduate lessons. Previously, Rosalie served as an Americorps Artistyear Teaching Fellow in the Roaring Fork Valley. There she worked at Carbondale Middle School and Roaring Fork High School with their band programs. Rosalie also has volunteered in her community by coaching small groups at local high schools and youth programs including Nathan Hale High School, Girls Rock MKE, and UWM Youth Wind Ensemble.
In addition to her teaching background, Rosalie has a diverse performance background. She is a member of the Milwaukee Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cosmo Reed Quintet. Rosalie has performed with groups such as the Racine Symphony Orchestra, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, and Cardinal Stritch Orchestra. In the past, she has performed with the Waukesha Area Chamber Orchestra and Symphony in the Valley. During her
summers she has participated in summer music festivals Madeline Island Chamber Music Clinic and the Lousiana State University Collaborative Piano Institute’s Bassoon Intensive.
Rosalie has performed in masterclasses with prominent bassoonists Nanci Belmont, Darrel Hale, Timothy McGovern, Frank Morelli, Leonard Hindell, Catherine Chen, Ted Soluri, and Barrick Stees.
Mr. Babbitt graduated in 1985 from the UWM with an MM degree in double bass performance. He has worked extensively throughout the Midwest as a professional bassist and educator.
As a performer he has worked with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Festival City Symphony, Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Philharmonic, Bel Canto Chorus and Orchestra, Skylight Opera, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Florentine Opera and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He is also active as a jazz performer, having worked with Chuck Hedges, David Hazeltine and Manty Ellis.
Mr. Babbitt served as Wisconsin Conservatory of Music faculty chair of the String Department from 1996 to 1999 and has also served as adjunct faculty at UWM, UW-Stevens Point, Concordia University, Cardinal Stitch University, Carroll College, Alverno College Community Arts Department, the String Academy of Wisconsin and the Oshkosh Summer String Program.
Mr. Babbitt has been an instructor with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music since 1994 in bass, theory and music history.
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.
Prelude Wind Ensemble Clarinet and Saxophone Instructor Mary Burczyk is recently retired after teaching music for 38 years in Wisconsin public schools. Mrs. Burczyk earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from UW-Madison, a Master of Music Education degree from UW-Milwaukee, a Masters in Computers in Education degree from Lesley College, and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She serves as the adjunct clarinet teacher for Concordia University and is an adjudicator for Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA). She worked with the WSMA State Honors Music Project at both middle and high school levels as clarinet coach, low woodwinds coach, band coordinator, and high school honors chair. She performs with the Lakeshore Symphonic Band and teaches private lessons.
Progressions Director Tiffany Chang was most recently an orchestra teacher in the Wauwatosa School District, and prior to that, taught orchestra in the school district of Beloit, Wisconsin. Ms. Chang received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree at the UW-Madison and is certified to teach instrumental music. She has played in a variety of groups, including the Beloit-Janesville Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, the Wisconsin Intergenerational Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra and has served as coordinator and violin coach for WSMA Honors Orchestra.
Prelude Wind Ensemble Director Connie Fellows has been sharing the joy and excitement of music education and performance with beginner and intermediate band students for more than 35 years. Most recently, she has developed a strong and enthusiastic instrumental music program in four area Catholic Schools, including Holy Apostles in New Berlin, St. Anthony on the Lake in Pewaukee, St. Charles in Hartland, and St. Jerome School in Oconomowoc.
Connie and her husband, Mike Krofta, met in MYSO when it was MFY, and her children, Ryan and Erin, played their string and brass instruments in many of the MYSO performing groups. Connie and Mike are excited to be back at MYSO, team teaching the Prelude Wind Ensemble. A highlight of Connie’s MFY/MYSO career was the tour to Aberdeen, Scotland, for the Aberdeen International Orchestra Festival. She was honored to be chosen to perform in the International Orchestra with students from all over the world. She was the only one in her trumpet section that spoke English, but it didn’t matter; the conductor didn’t speak English either. Music truly is the universal language!
Mrs. Fellows received her Bachelor of Music Performance and Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master of Music degree from the University of Akron. While at Akron, Connie performed with the University of Akron Faculty Brass Quintet and area professional orchestras. She was the adjunct trumpet teacher and faculty brass quintet member at Youngstown State University in Ohio. She has performed with the Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony, Manchester Symphony, Cleveland Ballet Orchestra, and Cleveland Women’s Orchestra. As a member of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra (GBSO) for 20+ years, she even played Star Spangled Banner at a Green Bay Packers Game with the GBSO Brass Section. Connie was honored to receive the 2019 Civic Music Association of Milwaukee’s Instrumental Music Education Award for teaching excellence. In addition to her work as a music educator and performer, Connie is very active in her small Presbyterian church as the choir director and mission council chair.
Mrs. Fellows is excited to have the opportunity, through MYSO and its many benefactors, to bring the joy and excitement of music education and performance to students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to learn to play a band instrument. Learning and understanding music is a life long skill that can bring joy and beauty to one’s life. What an honor it is to have this moment to work with each of these young, creative, and eager students.
Prior to moving to Milwaukee, Equipment Manager/Community Artists Coordinator Ben Haimann recently completed his Master’s degree in music performance at the University of South Carolina. He received degrees in music education and music performance from The Ohio State University in 2016 and 2017, respectively. A native of Lombard, Illinois, Ben began his musical studies at age nine playing drum set and taking private percussion lessons. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, he served as the teaching assistant and counselor for the instrumental music program at The North Carolina Governor’s School East where he coached the percussion ensemble and spent time conducting the wind ensemble. In 2016 and 2017, Ben was the front ensemble instructor with the Grove City High School Marching Band, which included a trip to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. While studying at Ohio State, he was awarded the prestigious Presser Foundation Scholarship. Ben served as a graduate assistant for the University of South Carolina percussion studio and was the percussionist for the Spark Collective, a graduate quintet focusing on community engagement through music. Ben was fortunate enough to win the concerto competition at the University of South Carolina in 2018 and performed Kevin Puts’ Marimba Concerto No. 1 with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2019. In his free time, Ben enjoys practicing marimba, making coffee, and hanging out with his dog, Lila.
Ravenna Helson is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Yale University where she received an MM degree and the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Award for Excellence in Chamber Music.
She has performed with the Detroit Symphony, Michigan Opera Theater, New Jersey Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Chicago Baroque Ensemble, Her Majesty’s Clerks, and Comic Intermezzo.
In Milwaukee she has played with the Milwaukee Symphony, Skylight Opera Orchestra, Ensemble Musical Offering, Bel Canto Chorus and Orchestra and is currently principal cello of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra. Theater work includes the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Twelfth Night and Anna Karenina.
As a faculty member of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Alverno College and Carroll University, she has taught cello and chamber music and performed concerts and educational workshops with the Carroll String Trio. As a student she was invited to participate in the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico with Alexander Schneider’s NY String Orchestra and additionally has been a fellow at the Oberlin Baroque Institute, the International Baroque Institute at Longy and the Bach Aria Festival in New York.
Studies in Baroque cello/viola da gamba have been with Anner Bylsma, Phoebe Carrai, Catharina Meints and Enid Sutherland.
Prelude Wind Ensemble French horn instructor Kelly Hofman has been teaching professionally since 2001. Her students have ranged from beginning to advanced college levels, ages 7 through adult. Kelly earned a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory and an Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, and is an alum of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Her primary teachers were Ted Thayer, Dick Mackey, and Gail Williams. She hopes to carry down the legacy of these great teachers to her own students.
In addition to working with the MYSO students, Kelly currently teaches private lessons at her home studio in Whitefish Bay, WI, and at Falls Baptist Academy and College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, WI. During the summers, she performs and teaches at Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC.
Kelly also maintains an active performing career. She is currently Principal horn of the Wisconsin Philharmonic, and a member of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Festival City Symphony, and Lake County Symphony Orchestra. She is also a substitute musician with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, Ms. Hofman has performed Mozart’s First Horn Concerto, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds, Strauss’ First Horn Concerto, and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings.
MYSO Scholars Cello Instructor Aidan Hogan is currently studying cello performance in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Having graduated from high school in 2019, Aidan quickly went on to pursue the avenues available to him pertaining to his passion for the cello. Today he performs as assistant principal cellist of the Kettle Moraine Symphony and frequently performs with other regional ensembles such as the Wisconsin Philharmonic and Milwaukee Philharmonic. In addition, Aidan organizes and performs recitals, often playing at events within his community. He has a small and growing studio of bright young cellists he instructs.
Carmen Kitts attended UW-Oshkosh as a Music Education/Performance Major. In Oshkosh, she had a private studio of 45 students; and performed in the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, Fox Valley Symphony, Fond du Lac Philharmonic and in professional chamber ensembles.
After teaching for eight years in Oshkosh, Carmen relocated to Florida where she played in the Treasure Coast Symphony and taught in Vero Beach. Later, she moved to Minnesota where she was Associate ConcertMaster of the Dakota Valley Symphony (DVS), played in the Rochester Orchestra and Choral (ROC), Kenwood Symphony, performed regularly with DVS chamber groups and was Principal Second Violinist in the Arious Chamber Music Society.
Carmen taught at Minnesota Valley Academy of Music (MVA), developing a Mentor Program between MVA and DVS, which allowed students to play side by side with Symphony members.
While in Germany she played in the Friedrichshafen Symphony Orchestra and took private lessons from Concertmaster Pawel Zalejski of the Symohoieorchester Vorarlberg in Austria.
Since August 2011, she has lived with her two children in Waukesha. In addition to continuing her private teaching studio, she is head teacher for the Greater Milwaukee El Sistema Chapter.
Prelude Wind Ensemble Director Michael R. Krofta recently retired as director of instrumental music at Oconomowoc High School. His 37 years teaching public and private schools included teaching in Wisconsin and Ohio. His past duties include conductor of the nationally-acclaimed Oconomowoc High School Wind Symphony, as well as director of the Concert Band, Jazz Ensembles, and Jazz Combo. Mr. Krofta is past Jazz Chairperson for the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and Director of Jazz Studies at Marquette University (2003 – 2006). He is currently the band director at St. Anthony in Pewaukee, St. Charles in Hartland, and Holy Apostles in New Berlin.
Prior to his work in Oconomowoc, Mr. Krofta was the Marching Band Director at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Director of Bands at River Valley High School in Spring Green. Under his direction, Mr. Krofta’s ensembles have consistently earned superior ratings in many music festivals throughout the United States.
Under Mr. Krofta’s direction, the Oconomowoc Wind Symphony has performed numerous times at the Bands of America/Music For All National Concert Band Festival. The Wind Symphony was also selected to perform numerous times at the Wisconsin State Music Convention and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Administrators. Mr. Krofta was selected for the 2016 Symphonic Bands & Orchestras (SBO) National Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference,” the 2017 Phi Beta Mu- Wisconsin Band Master of the Year Award, and received the “Citation of Excellence” from the National Band Association three times for his teaching excellence, and achievements and contributions to concert bands.
Michael R. Krofta completed his Masters Degree in Music Education at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio with a conducting emphasis, studying with Craig Kirchhoff. Mr. Krofta’s undergraduate work was completed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and also studied at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He was a trumpet soloist with both the Indiana Hoosier Marching Band (Ray Cramer, director) and the Wisconsin Marching Band (Michael Leckrone, director).
As a professional trumpeter since high school, Mike has had many amazing musical trumpet performance experiences–in orchestras, big bands, backing up rock bands, in parades, and at Brewers and Packers Games. He has performed professionally with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Temptations, the Manhattan Transfer, Ice Capades Show, the Rodeo Circus Show, and toured with the Lawrence Welk All Stars and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.
Mr. Krofta is a member of The National Band Association (NBA), The American School Band Directors National Association (ASBDNA), The National Association for Music Education (NAfME), The Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA), and the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity.
Mike and his wife Connie first met in MFY/MYSO in the Senior Symphony trumpet section. Returning to MYSO as co-directors of the Prelude Wind Ensemble is coming full circle. They couldn’t be more excited to join the MYSO staff to direct the Prelude Wind Ensemble program to share the gift of music with the students of today. Mike’s goal is to give every child the opportunity to excel in music–and experience the joy of music as a form of expression as he has.
Manuel Landin Lopez was born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying under Dr. Bernard Zinck. At the age of 6, Manuel began his musical studies at the Latino Arts Strings Program based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he received private instruction with the program’s director, Dinorah Marquez, learning both mariachi and classical music. Manuel continued his education at Marquette University High School studying violin with Jerome Franke, former Concertmaster Emeritus of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
A MYSO alum, he performed in Vienna and Budapest with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2015; and toured California with the Latino Arts Strings Program in 2016. As a high school musician, he participated in Sphinx Performance Academy in the summers of 2012 to 2015, and in the WSMA High School Honors Orchestra from 2013-2016.
As a soloist, Manuel was awarded First Place in the Menomonee Falls 2017 Young Artist Competition, performing the final movement of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto in A minor.
An active performer, Manuel is a member of a student-led mariachi group called Mariachi Monarcas de Milwaukee. He was featured on “Buenaventura,” a Grammy-nominated album by La Santa Cecilia. Manuel’s musical tastes are diverse, and he is passionate about continuing to explore various genres of Latin music, including Mariachi, Latin Jazz, Tango, and classical music written by Latin American composers as part of his future professional career. He takes pride in having developed over the years a distinctive and personal identity shaped by his musical and artistic exploration.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Progressions Viola Instructor Evan Lane began viola in the fourth grade. His introduction to music was singing with his school choir at age six at a Starbucks for the holidays and learning about folk and bluegrass music from his family. He attended Milwaukee High School of the Arts, where he was a music major and had his first paid gig playing in a string quartet for the Milwaukee County Zoo. He reports he “couldn’t get enough of music, so I also joined MYSO in high school, and it changed everything.” He attended both Lawrence and Roosevelt University as a music major and learned what it took to be a true chamber musician. He is Music Director of Milwaukee Montessori School, and has sung for dozens of private and public organizations. He now has his first EP produced and streaming everywhere. “I’m excited about the opportunity to teach and work with MYSO. It truly was the best experience, and I can’t wait to impart the gift of music to others.”
Progressions Cello Instructor Rayden Vaughan Montes is currently studying cello performance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with Dr. Stefan Kartman. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where he began studying cello at age 10. He had a patent love for performing at a young age; it was not uncommon to find him playing for the class when the curriculum allowed it during his primary and secondary education years.
After moving to Milwaukee in 2015, Rayden attended Milwaukee High School of the Arts as a music major. Soon after, he began arranging, composing, recording, and producing his own music. His first composition was performed at a statewide conference in front of hundreds of students and teachers, receiving high praise by vote and standing ovation. He then was asked to write original music for theatrical productions and films and has plans to continue arranging and composing after completing his cello studies.
Rayden graduated from Milwaukee High School of the Arts and The Cello Institute of Milwaukee in 2018. After graduation, he has enjoyed studying and performing at UW-Milwaukee with peers and colleagues in various chamber and large ensembles. He has also played in symphony and pit orchestras across the state and has been hired for private events throughout Wisconsin as a soloist and as a member of various groups.
Rayden is very excited to begin his first year of teaching as Progressions Cello Instructor. He hopes to share the gift of music with his students as the teachers in his life have so generously shared with him.
Community Program Manager and Chamber Flute Ensemble and Flute Chorale Music Director Sabrina Raber is a performer, educator, and entrepreneur based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In 2019, Sabrina was a fellow for the Global Leaders Program, where she earned an executive graduate certificate in social entrepreneurship, teaching artistry, and organizational management. Sabrina was the first to receive the Masters in Music and Community Partnership degree at the University of South Carolina. She did her undergraduate work at the Ohio State University. Her teachers include Jennifer Parker-Harley and Katherine Borst-Jones.
As a student at the University of South Carolina, Sabrina developed a program entitled, Find Your Beat, a recycled instrumental music education program for underserved children. She has performed with the Long Bay Symphony, Aiken Symphony, Columbia Choral Society, the Spark Chamber Ensemble, and the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra where she performed as soloist. Additionally, Sabrina was a top finalist for the National Flute Association’s C.R.E.A.T.E. Entrepreneurship competition, a two-time Masterclass winner of the South Carolina Flute Society Competition, and a winner of the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition. Sabrina has led masterclasses in both the United States and in Chile, where she was a guest artist for the international Peñalolén Flute Festival. She has also presented research on the impact of music education on under-resourced children through the use of alternative music education techniques.
Outside of the music world, Sabrina is an avid photographer, a self-identified foodie, sports fan, and lover of all things wonderful.
While in high school, Sabrina was a flute player in the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. She was part of a Senior Symphony Tour to Vienna and Prague, composed for several ensembles as part of the John Downey Creation Project, played in an interdisciplinary performance of Peter and the Wolf with First Stage and the Milwaukee Ballet, and performed with the Chamber Orchestra for the National Governors Association Annual Convention. She is thrilled to have returned to MYSO!
Progressions Bass Instructor Lillian Rutowski is a second year student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She loves playing upright bass, and sharing her love of music with other students. In her free time Lillian loves reading, Sci-Fi movies, hiking, and walking her dog, Oscar.
Prelude Wind Ensemble Trumpet Instructor Michael Zens has served the young people of Wisconsin as a music educator since 2004, and has had the chance to teach students at every level from elementary school through university. Ensembles under his direction have been invited to perform at the Wisconsin State Music Conference four times, and have presented world or Wisconsin premieres of new music by composers including Steve Danyew, James Mobberley, Mark J. Connor, and John Mackey.
In addition to his work teaching music in public schools, Mr. Zens has previously served as the Music Director and Conductor of the Lakeshore Symphonic Band in Cedarburg, WI, and the Associate Conductor of the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band. He has also served on the faculty of the Wind and Percussion Institute at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. He studied music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with additional work at Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Zens resides in Hales Corners, WI with his wife, a four-year-old kindergarten teacher, his daughter, who plays violin in MYSO’s String Orchestra South, and his son, who loves trucks.