Diana McKinney (Clarinet)
Diana McKinney is a lifelong musician. She performed in band, orchestra and choral groups throughout her high school and college years, and then in community groups in Montana, Alaska and Nevada. After receiving her M A Degree in Music Education and Administration she was fortunate enough to have a professional career that paralleled her personal interests, working as an Elementary Music and Band teacher and having her own piano studio for many years. Her non-musical interests include working as a hospice volunteer, teaching adult exercise classes, mentoring high school students and participating in community theater groups.
Margo M. Parsons (Clarinet)
Margo M. Parsons was raised in Kansas; received a B.M.E. from Emporia State University and taught music in Colorado. She married her high school sweetheart, who also graduated from E.S.U.
Margo’s major was in voice, so she taught choral music. The clarinet was however, her first instrument. She also plays the piano and organ. Margo has directed choirs and accompanied for many, as well she also was an Adjunct Faculty member in music at Western State College University.
Since retiring from the ‘snow’ to the ‘sun’ in 2006, Margo is singing with the Methodist Church Choir and playing clarinet in the Mesquite Community Band. Margo also enjoys traveling, reading and a variety of hobbies.
David Vogel (Bassoon)
David Vogel is a senior at Virgin Valley High School and has been playing bassoon in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra for several years. He first began learning the bassoon in 7th grade and participated in school concert band programs. He continued to play bassoon as his primary instrument and currently performs with it in VVHS Advanced Band, as well as SNSO. He added percussion to his music skills in 9th grade to participate in VVHS pep and marching bands. In 10th grade he learned the baritone saxophone and performed with it in pep and marching band. He then learned the trombone in 11th grade where he performed in the VVHS marching band, pep band, and jazz band, and plans to continue this during his senior year.
“Performing in high school groups like pep and marching band force you to not worry about what other people think and focus on your music,” said Vogel. “ You have to concentrate on so many other things that you can’t let anyone who is the audience distract you. Also, I really like performing in the symphony orchestra because I am able to play more challenging music and it encourages me to practice more and push myself.”
Jeanne Bushnell (Flute)
Jeanne Bushnell - Music has always been a part of my life. I’ve sung in all kinds of choirs, took piano lessons for six years and started playing the flute in the 5th grade and continued to play in the band throughout all of my school years.
I took flute lessons from Marjorie Elkjer who was our band director’s wife; she was one terrific flutist! When I was a junior in high school, I auditioned for the All Northwest Band and I was chosen to play in that special group of about 250 young people. In my senior year I was awarded a music scholarship to CWSU and I received free flute lessons while I attended that university. I was lucky enough to be chosen the 1st chair flute in the band and we had the privilege of touring throughout Canada as part of our music performance experience. During the past years I have played flute for weddings, funerals and church choirs.
When we moved to Mesquite, I joined the newly formed band and was involved with the musical “Anything Goes” this past spring. I ended up playing flute and keyboard which included filling in for the oboe and sax parts when needed.
I so look forward to being a part of the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.
Becky DeCourten (flute)
Growing up in Iowa and in the tradition of Meredith Wilson, at a young age Becky DeCourten was introduced to the importance of music in her life. She started playing the flute in 2nd grade & continued playing in school bands, orchestras, jazz bands & marching bands through high school. Private lessons, honor bands, such as the Iowa All-State Band, and a summer at Interlochen National Music Camp supplemented her school flute experiences.
After high school, Becky obtained degrees in Computer Engineering, Mathematics & Electrical Engineering, culminating in a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. She worked as a Computer Engineer in Silicon Valley and was a professor of Computer Science & Mathematics at Sierra College in California. As she navigated her education, career & raised 4 children, Becky continued to play flute in pit orchestras, for weddings, in church & with community groups.
Becky and her husband are enjoying retirement in Mesquite with their dog, Blue. She is thrilled to be able to continue her lifetime love of music by playing in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.
Elizabeth Ray (Clarinet)
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ray is a sophomore at Enterprise High School in Southern Utah. She has been playing clarinet since sixth grade. Lizzie also plays piano. She currently is the pianist for Enterprise H.S. Jazz Band, a clarinetist in the band, and sings in the choir. Lizzie helps teach the clarinets in beginning band at Enterprise, Elementary School. In December of 2021, she played in the district honor band at Dixie State University. Lizzie is currently auditioning for honor bands across the State of Utah. She has earned first chair in the district honor band at Utah Tech University for 2022. Lizzie loves music and is honored to play in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.
Deborah Stephenson (Oboe)
I was given a metal clarinet in 9th grade. My band teacher, Larry Wilson taped it together so I could play it. A month later, when I had completed book 1 he convinced me to take up the oboe. I finished book 1 in 2 weeks and he convinced Dr. W. Jones (world premier oboe reed maker), U of Arizona Professor of Oboe to give me lessons – free. He also moved me into the orchestra. A month later I was in the Varsity Band. I also made the Tucson all city summer band. In 10th grade I was placed into the Riverside, California All City Youth Orchestra and provided a music scholarship. In 12th grade I played in the Varsity Band (Southern California Half-time Band of the year), orchestra, Citrus College Band, and the Aerojet Orchestra. My junior year at UCLA I played in the Symphony under the batons of Roger Wagner and Mehli Mehta. I also played in Mitchell Lurie’s (LA Phil. Principle Clarinet) Nonette while receiving lessons from Bert Gassman (LA Phil. Principle Oboe and world’s most recorded oboist.) More recently, I’ve played in the Medina Community Band - a John Phillip Sousa Band, and the Akron Pops Orchestra, the Quintessential Woodwind Quintet, and Suite Trio+.
Stephanie Vogel (Piccolo/Flute)
Barbara Dailey-Smith (Flute/Oboe)
Jenny Bennett (Flute, Oboe)
Tami Sillitoe (Flute, Oboe)
Koni Ritch (Flute)
Linda Lerman (Flute)
Shanan Arslanian (Bassoon)
Steven Saline (Bassoon)
Carolyn Johnston (Bassoon)
Steve Saline (Bassoon)
David Vogel (Bassoon)
Garry Gentry (Clarinet)
Cat White (Bass Clarinet)