Barry Bowers (Viola/Violin)
Barry Bowers grew up in the Reno, Nevada area and began playing the viola at age 11. While in Reno, he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music performance from the University of Nevada. He has played in numerous professional orchestras including the Reno Philharmonic, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Opera Orchestra, Las Vegas Symphony, and Nevada Chamber Symphony. He has also played in orchestras accompanying many famous artists such as Elton John, Billy Joel, Wynonna, Kenny Rodgers, and others. Since 2009, Barry has been a touring Christian recording artist playing a 7-string electric violin, appearing as a soloist at churches both nationally and internationally, and has recorded 4 albums. Barry and his wife Sonja have resided in Mesquite for the last 3 years. When not on tour or playing music, Barry enjoys playing softball, and is the manager of a local men’s league softball team.
Lila Williams (Cello)
Lila Williams spent 25 years in the new home sales / real estate industry as a broker/agent, manager, and trainer. She started playing the cello at age 10 and played through high school and continued playing just for the sheer pleasure through-out the rest of her career. Lila majored in business at
Michigan State University and the focus then for the next several decades was mainly her career and family. In the past couple of years, she started playing with local Mesquite groups, including the Mesquite Community Band, and played for the highly successful musical production of "Anything Goes"! Lila currently works for Desert Gold Realty, and is a volunteer member of the
non-profit group "The Mesquite Showgirls".
Brent Pettit (Bass/Harp)
Brent Pettit is a retired music educator. He taught String Orchestra, grades 6-12 and General Music with the St. Joseph, Missouri School District. Brent concurrently worked as an adjunct professor at Missouri Western State University where he taught Applied Cello, String Pedagogy, and directed the Suzuki Cello School. Mr. Pettit was a Kansas City Fed. of Musicians cellist in the St. Joseph Symphony for 20 years under the direction of Dr. Deborah Freedman. Mr. Pettit was also the cellist for River, a traveling string quartet based in St. Joe. Brent studied cello and viola with Lloyd Beckstead, and later studied with David Shand at the University of Utah. He studied string quartet performance with David Dalton, Brigham Young University.
Brent has a Masters in Music Ed and Administration at Northwest Missouri State University, where he was a founding member and cellist in the NMSU String Quartet-In-Residence. Brent started on harp and went to nursing school after retirement; he currently serves locally as a hospice RN. If you’re out in the early morning you might see Brent riding his Penny-Farthing bicycle, c.1890, on Mesquite Boulevard. Just wave, and he’ll honk and tip his hat.
Debra Vradenburg (Cello)
I began playing piano at age 8 in Detroit, Mich.; then Violin and Cello as an older adult. To gain experience, I volunteered in the schools as an orchestra assistant. I have played for 5 years with the Orchestra of Southern Utah, Cedar City (Conductor Dr. Xun Sun). I have also performed with The Bach Festival, Dusty Strings (older adults), SUPAF, and Tuacahn Summer Arts Program. Last year, I finally attended 'CelloSpeak' in Bryn Mar, PA.
I am currently a cellist with Southwest Symphony, St. George, and SNSO. I study cello with Robin Keith, and piano with Lori Arnold. I Love Every Minute of Everything I'm Doing! I enjoy SNSO very much. Everyone is fun, caring, and supportive, even if you make 'the perfect wrong note'.
My goal is to improve performance skills, and not be 'my worst critic’.
Thank you Dr. Selmer and Mrs. Spitzer for this valuable opportunity to play more music. You are a gift.
Josephina Romero (Violin)
Josephina Romero is a senior at Moapa Valley High school, where she has been concert mistress for 2 years in the orchestra. She has been playing violin for 8 years, 6 years in the public school orchestras. She has been a member for 5 years in the Las Vegas Youth orchestra, this year in the Philharmonic, of that organization. She has participated in the C.C.S.D. Honors orchestra program for 4 years. And was principle second violin in the C.S.N. Orchestra 2013-2014 school year. She is enrolled again this school year at C.S.N. Josephina has played with the Zephyr strings in Moapa Valley, in numerous nights of music, Messiah performances and solos. She is a student of Tianna Heppner Harjo, (Las Vegas) and has benefited from the mentoring of Mr. Walter White. Josephina loves to perform in all musical situations and is looking forward to being involved with the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.
Jean Hardman (Violin)
I studied piano for four years of elementary school under Margaret Gardner (Roger Williams’ first piano teacher). I began violin training in junior high. I was taught harmony and playing music by ear from my father, who was a national winner in the National Music Federation contest in 1932. He let me practice with his band. My violin training was under Dr Harold Mealy, head of the Idaho State University music department.
I was principal second violin in the Idaho State Civic Symphony (the Idaho State University orchestra) for 3 or 4 years during high school and college. I was also concertmistress of the high school orchestra for one year. I played in the orchestra pit for many stage shows during high school and college. I played one season in the Utah State University orchestra in Logan, Utah and two or three years with the Idaho Falls Civic Symphony while I lived there.
I “defected” from classical violin to fiddle at age 28—fiddlers didn’t have to practice, they had more fun, and once they learned a tune, they could perform it over and over. I have won fiddle contests in Idaho and New Mexico. In Utah I came in second in the Senior Division, entering the contest on a whim to get acquainted with fiddlers there. I was chairman of the Idaho Falls Idaho Old Time Fiddlers organization for a year. I was co-chairman of the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers for a year in Bend, Oregon a few years ago.
In New Mexico, I helped form a popular Celtic band, Bonnie Bedlam. We were together for 14 years and created two CD’s.
In Bend, Oregon, I was a member of the Old Time Fiddlers organization. I played as a volunteer at the High Desert Museum in the Thorn Hollow String Band for five years. We created a CD of authentic 1880 and older music at their request.
I played with the Memory Makers for Thursday weekly dances at the Bend Senior Center and we also played for events around town for 10 years.
I played in worship teams for church services in Bend, Oregon, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Pocatello, Idaho.
I recently formed a band, Strings and Things, in Mesquite, Nevada to play Old Time music at the annual Cowboy Poetry events and to perform once a week for audiences of 50-100. We have been active for five years.
In Pocatello, I am active again in the Old Time Fiddlers, and also play in a Celtic jam session that performs weekly at a local brewery pub.
Jean Hardman, age 70.
Marya Hoffman (Viola)
Marya Hoffman has been playing the viola for ten years and is under the tutelage of Tianna Heppner Harjo. She has been a two year Las Vegas Youth Orchestra violist, three year Honor Orchestra member, and a two year Nevada All-state Orchestra participant. She is, and has been an active member of the College of Southern Nevada, Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra for 3 years, and in her community Orchestra, the Zephyr Stings, in Moapa Valley. She is also a member of the newly formed Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, and has participated in the Messiah concert every year. She has performed at many festivals and talent nights as a soloist, in small ensembles, and also in full Orchestras. She is also an Art student at CSN. She has shown her work at art shows in Moapa Valley, the Lost City Museum, the Mesquite Fine Arts Invitational, and the CSN Art Gallery. She has won numerous awards for her art and has received scholarships for her work. She participated in the 2013 Student Juried Show where two of her works were accepted and one received an honorable mention. She plans on continuing her schooling, and her long term plans are to eventually become a full-fledged Artist, teach Art, and give music lessons.
Gaye Nelson (Cello)
Gaye Nelson, a lifetime resident of Logandale, NV, grew up in a musical family and started piano lessons at a very early age. Over the years she has learned a variety of musical instruments, including, piano, organ, recorder, mandolin, guitar & cello. She also loves choral music, and has been actively involved in choral groups both as a singer and a conductor.
She has taken advantage of every opportunity to improve her abilities and has studied music at BYU, SUU & UNLV.
She is married to Jack Nelson and they are the parents of 3 children and grandparents to 16 grandchildren. Together as a family they make up a bluegrass band. Gaye and her two daughters also perform string & piano music, including classical, sacred and easy listening music. These two family groups perform frequently at conventions, weddings, reunions, church meetings and gatherings. Gaye is also involved in her church and gives service in the community.
Gaye is currently the musical director of Zephyr Singers and Zephyr Strings, a community choral group and orchestra in Moapa Valley, NV; she also plays in a recorder consort. As an experienced piano teacher, she continues to teach piano to many children and youth.
Liliana Briceno (Violin)
Liliana has been playing violin in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra since the fall of 2014. She started her musical journey with learning to play piano at the young age of seven. She then started playing violin at Mack Lyon Middle School. Shortly after, she joined the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra. She continued playing violin in orchestra at Moapa Valley High School for all four years as the first violinist. Each year she participated in the Clark County School District’s Solo and Ensemble Festivals from 2009-2015 winning superior ratings.
“I am honored to play alongside very talented musicians in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra,” expressed Briceno. “Through SNSO I am able to perfect my skills as a musician, thanks to Dr. Spitzer and fellow members. During my time with SNSO, I have become more familiar with numerous classics that have contributed to my passion for music.”
Tyson Wilson (Cello)
Tyson has been playing the cello for seven years and joined the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 2016. He also plays percussion at Virgin Valley High School and is the drum major in the marching band. He has played cello in other orchestra ensembles such as; the middle and high school orchestras, Harmonic Strings Chamber, and Cello Society of Southern Utah.
“The orchestra is amazing,” mentioned Wilson. “The music is not too challenging, and the people are great. The first time I went to practice, I got the chills for how amazing we sounded. Dr. Spitzer has conducted some amazing pieces.”
Alex Snow (Cello)
S. Alex Snow started playing cello in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra in April 2016. He began playing cello in 5th grade and currently plays in various other ensembles including the Zephyr Strings, Harmonic Strings Chamber, and the Cello Society of Southern Utah. He likes to perform in special events around the community whenever possible, as well as perform in annual performances such as "The Messiah," and festivals such as the Dixie State University Cello Festival. Other music interests include the bassoon, as well as some not so common instruments such as the ocarina.
Music has been Alex's passion and he dedicates much time and devotion to it. He says that music has given him direction and wants to pursue a career in it. He aims to be proficient in a few other instruments, as well as become advanced enough to experience performances around the world.
"I think that SNSO is a great place to be around talented musicians and learn how to all come together to play beautiful music," said Snow. "It helps those like us that are of the younger generation to experience a bigger and more challenging music setting that isn't normally in the schools. The other musicians make me feel welcome even though I have not played as long as them, and I learn a lot from them. I am very happy Dr. Spitzer has put together an orchestra here so that many people that live in these areas don't have to travel far to be a part of a bigger ensemble."
Kitana Lopez (Viola)
Kitana Lopez began playing viola for Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra the Spring of 2016. She started playing viola in 7th grade and has been playing ever since. She currently attends Virgin Valley High where she plays in both band and orchestra. She is a mallet player, as well as the section leader of pit in her high school’s marching band. She is also currently playing the French horn for concert band at VVHS, and has been enthusiastic about learning other instruments since her friend introduced her to band. Kitana recently performed at “Music in the Parks” in California with both her band and orchestra groups receiving 1st place overall in their division, as well as receiving a rating of superior and excellence.
Music has changed Kitana’s perspective on how she approaches life and musical hardships. Also, having experience with various great music directors has motivated her to become a better instrumentalist and pursue music education.
“I enjoy coming to symphony because there is always something new to experience and learn,” said Lopez. “It's great to see my friends as well as getting to know everyone else in the symphony. I look up to the adults in the symphony because they've known music so much longer than I have. It is amazing that they have been musicians for such a great amount of time. I just look at them in awe because they are all wonderful, hilarious people that I enjoy being around and performing with. I’m always excited of what songs Dr. Spitzer has chosen, because I know it’s going to sound wonderful when we perform them."
Andy Tan (Violin)
Andy Tan has been playing violin in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra since the Fall of 2015 when he was in 8th grade. He started learning violin in 6th grade at Charles Hughes Middle School, and played in the Hughes Middle Orchestra as well as the advanced CHMS Chamber Orchestra. He now plays in the Virgin Valley High School Chamber Orchestra. Last year he participated in an orchestra festival with VVHS and received a ranking of 1 (which is the highest ranking they can receive). He also has been playing piano for six years. In addition to his music abilities, he holds a first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do (Korean Martial Arts). He also enjoys reading and spending time with friends. He plans on pursuing an engineering degree in college.
"I love playing in the Symphony! My friends are always there with me, and we have fun at every practice. I have met so many amazing people in the Orchestra, whom I can hear and learn from. The other musicians have tons of knowledge that I hope I can also achieve later in life. Symphony is a great experience to be a part of. The challenge every concert makes me play better and better every year. Practicing different pieces of music every season has exposed me to many different types and styles of music; from sci-fi to classical, every concert is a blast."
Cora Doland (Violin)
Cora Doland is a junior at Virgin Valley High School and first started playing Violin in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra in 8th grade She first started learning to learn the violin in 6th grade and advanced each year including Charles Hughes Middle School’s Orchestra chamber group. She also started learning how to play the guitar in 8th grade. Once she started high school in 9th grade, she has participated in the VVHS advanced guitar ensemble for two years. She also learned percussion and added mallets to her list of instruments in 10th grade in which she performed in marching band at VVHS. Doland said that since she started playing musical instruments, it has helped her become more confident at performing on stage or presenting assignments in class at school.
“My favorite thing about playing in the Symphony is the challenging music,” said Doland. “The music level is a lot harder than what I usually play, so playing in this group is a great way to push myself.”
Lizzbeth Martinez (Viola)
Lizzbeth Martinez is a sophomore at Virgin Valley High School. She began playing viola starting in 6th grade while attending Charles Hughes Middle School. When she was in 7th grade, she advanced in her music skills and joined the CHMS advanced and chamber orchestras. Chamber is the highest orchestra program at CHMS. Also during 7th grade, she had joined a community group called Harmonic Strings Chamber to expand her skills and perform at more events. Toward the end of 7th grade she was accepted into the local Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra in which she still currently performs. In 9th grade she performed in the VVHS orchestra and is planning to play in the VVHS Chamber Orchestra for her upcoming sophomore year.
“What I like most about playing my instrument is that it relieves stress,” said Martinez. “It's fun to play, and I get into the music that I am playing. I also love making friends with other musicians and helping others out and working together.What I like most about playing in the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra is that the music pieces are harder and more challenging than the ones given from school. I also greatly enjoy how multiple instruments join together in one group to create such beautiful music for others to enjoy.”
Ann Hogan (Violin)
Garth McBride (Violin)
Jan Mecham (Violin)
Trent Robison (Violin)
Mark Deramo (Violin)
Alex Hill (Violin)
Teri Holt Horne (Violin)
Jill Laub (Violin)
Braydon Pikyavit (Violin)
Jason Stout (Violin)
Pat DiBenedict (Violin)
Gregory Maldonado (Violin)
Donna Martinez (Violin)
Milena Amhof (Violin)
Angelina Langston (Violin)
Teri Holt Horne (Violin)
Chelle Reed (Violin)
Nona Marie Miller (Violin)
Brayden Pikyavit (Violin)
Belinda Martinez (Violin)
John Gurzynski (Viola)
Kimberly Johnson (Viola)
Dinah Hamilton (Viola)
Mary Hoberg (Viola)
Ruth Mangan (Viola)
Riley Fulmer (Cello)
Christian Martinez (Cello)
Jessica Peterson (Cello)
Francesca Wahl (Cello)
Ana Caban (Cello)
Tyson Wilson (Cello)
Terry Marquart (Bass)
Elise Eden (Bass)
Willie Harrington (Bass)
Timothy Thomas (Bass)