Elizabeth Brownlee, a native of Beaumont, Texas, began her study of the harp during her early teens. She received a Bachelor of Music degree with a double major in harp and piano from the University of Houston, where she studied with the renowned harpist Beatrice Rose. During this time and through 1980, she served as second harpist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. She performed in this capacity with a great many of the world's leading orchestra conductors, including Sir John Barbirolli, Fritz Reiner, Charles Munch, Lawrence Foster, and Andre Previn. She performs extensively throughout the Houston area, playing with the Galveston Symphony Orchestra, and other community orchestras. She has performed as a soloist with the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, the Pasadena Philharmonic Orchestra, and she has played many productions of Houston's Theatre Under the Stars. For two consecutive years, 2006 and 2007, her students were the principal first-chair harpists in the Texas High School All-State Orchestra. She is married to pianist Robert Brownlee, and they have two daughters.
KATIE BETH FARRELL
Katie Beth Farrell is a active cellist and private teacher from the Clear Lake Area of Houston. A strong advocate of cello pedagogy, she enjoys teaching and has led group cello classes at Stringendo Summer Music Festival, the Central Texas String Academy, Vivaldi Music Academy and several public schools throughout Houston. Katie Beth has participated in several music festivals including Masterworks, Stringendo, Green Mountain, and National Music Festival. She has played in master classes taught by Timothy Eddy, Anne Martindale Williams, and Eighth Blackbird cellist Nicholas Photinos. She holds a B.M. from Baylor University and earned her M.M. in cello performance from Florida State University. Her primary teachers include Dr. Gary Hardie and Greg Sauer. Ms. Farrell currently teaches and performs in and around the Houston area. She is principal cellist of the Clear Lake Symphony and a member of Symphony of Southeast Texas. She is a founding member and cellist of the harp, flute, cello trio AURORA.
Nancy Hansen has been performing on keyboard since her college years. During her freshman year, she was Organist and Choir Director at the Shawnee Presbyterian Church, Shawnee-on-the Delaware, Pennsylvania. Having earned her Bachelor of Arts from East Stroudsburg State University, Pennsylvania, she later earned a Master of Arts in French from Temple University, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Monmouth University, New Jersey. She has been Director of Music and organist at several churches, including St. David's Episcopal Church, Salem, New Hampshire; First Church, Congregational, Methuen, Massachusetts. She is presently Organist, Chorale Director and Handbell Director at Friendswood Friends Church, Friendswood, Texas, and has performed with area ensembles.
DONNA LONG JERZ
Donna Long Jerz has been a flutist with the Clear Lake Symphony since her arrival to the area twenty-two seasons ago. Prior to this, she was a member of the New Sussex Symphony, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, and Conejo Symphony. In her youth, she toured throughout Europe with a youth symphony on piccolo. In addition to symphonic performance, Ms. Jerz has always enjoyed being a part of small chamber ensembles. Currently, she is often heard with the Baroque con Brio Trio, Arcadia Ensemble, and various other musical groups. Also, Ms. Jerz has been a vocalist with the Houston Symphony Chorus for the past five years, enjoying her voice part within the alto section. She has repeatedly met the challenges of singing in various styles, often in foreign languages, and for various demanding maestros. Ms. Jerz also sings and plays the flute at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Houston. Ms. Jerz is a graduate of Rowan University with a BA in both Music and Language Arts education. She also has earned an MS in educational management from UHCL. Throughout the majority of her professional employment years, Ms. Jerz has been a school teacher, spending many years with Clear Creek ISD in both areas of music and special education. She also has kept an active flute studio throughout that time. Other interests include gardening, history, book club(s), travel, hiking, and spending time with family and friends; still, the majority of the time you will find Ms. Jerz playing her flute, piccolo, or piano with and for various people.
Violinist, Violist, Percussionist
Born in Los Angeles, Andrew started playing piano at age five and by age thirteen, he was studying the viola as well. He played in Lindero Canyon Middle School’s string orchestra, the Conejo Youth Symphony, and was awarded the opportunity to perform at the California Music Teacher's Association convention in Sacramento. In high school, Andrew started playing drums as a hobby but soon found it to be yet another instrument he was passionate about. He played in many bands of varying styles including rock, jazz, heavy metal, country, contemporary Christian, and African. Andrew has recorded records for various bands and three independent film soundtracks in addition to playing for U.S. troops on a USO tour. At California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Andrew studied classical and world percussion. He was a member of the Wind Symphony, the Symphony Orchestra, and was appointed section leader of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Andrew received both his B.M. and a M.M. from CSUN and now he is studying to become a Doctor of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Texas. At Rice, Andrew has been a member of the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Opera Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble as well as collaborating on faculty concerts and student composers’ concerts. He has taught for three years at Rice including The Fundamentals of Music, Aural Skills I and II, and both Music Theory and Ear Training for the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program. In addition, Andrew is the president and founder of the Rice African Music Ensemble where he teaches traditional African music, builds his own instruments and performs on campus and in the Houston community with groups like the Houston Brass Band, Houston Concert Band, the Houston Medical Center Orchestra and Mercury Baroque Orchestra. Andrew has been teaching private lessons for fifteen years and has educated students ages five through seventy-five. He teaches drums, percussion, piano, violin and viola in all styles including classical, jazz, world and popular music. Andrew has a strong background in music theory, aural skills and improvisation, and tries to include all aspects of music into his lessons. Andrew is very familiar with many teaching methods and can adapt his teaching style to suit any student.
ALICE LEE STEELE
Alice graduated from University of New Mexico with a BA in Music Education. Violin was her major instrument. After moving to Houston in 1968 she was involved with forming the Clear Lake Symphony. Steele was concertmaster of this symphony for 25 years. She along with 3 other women and parents of students encouraged the Clear Creek ISD to form a strings program. So in 1972, Clear Lake Intermediate was new, and Steele began teaching string students there. Steele had several winning orchestras throughout her career of 22 years including Texas Music Teachers Association “Honor Orchestra” in 1983 and “Runner-Up” in 1989. Her orchestras performed two times for TMEA conventions. After Steele retired from public school teaching she formed a string quartet and trio to play for weddings and other events. She also continues to play in the CLS, church orchestra, and teaches private students.
THOMAS C. THOMPSON
Keyboardist, Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator, Transcriber
With over 37 years of teaching experience in piano, organ, vocal coaching, theory, composition and literature, Thomas C. Thompson has also served in various places of worship. He received two Bachelor of Music degrees (Piano Performance and Theory & Composition) from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, as well as a Master of Music degree (Music Performance & Pedagogy) from the University of Houston. As a performance artist, he concertizes extensively both solo and collaboratively throughout Texas and other venues across the United States, Europe, and Asia. As an adjudicator, Tom has worked in venues all across the United States (including Hawai'i), as well as in China and Taiwan. His choirs have been featured across the state, as well as in Europe and the United Kingdom. He has been featured on many recordings, both solo and collaborative. Currently, Tom is the Organist & Music Director for St. Mark's Episcopal Church, in Richmond, Texas. He also continues to maintain an active private studio and is a member of the Independent Music Teachers' Association, the Texas Music Teachers' Association, and the Music Teachers' National Association, as well as the American College of Musicians and the National Guild of Piano Teachers. In February of 2008, the Pasadena (Texas) Philharmonic Society bestowed upon him the honor of "Musician of the Year" at their annual fundraiser gala ball. Additionally, Tom is a freelance composer, arranger, orchestrator, and transcriber. He especially enjoys creating choral and instrumental works, and he frequently creates special music for weddings, memorial services, and other events which require customized music.
Lyndon Wang, violist, began studying violin and piano at the age of nine and switched to viola at ten. He primarily studied with Lawrence Wheeler at the Moore’s School of Music at the University of Houston. Lyndon taught in Pasadena ISD for 8 years, running Orchestra programs at South Houston Intermediate, San Jacinto Intermediate, and Sam Rayburn High School since 2017. He has successfully led his students to consistent superior ratings at University Interscholastic League contests in Symphony Orchestras, String Orchestras, small ensembles, and solos. Currently, Lyndon performs with the Galveston Symphony and Opera in the Heights.
NORMA T. WILLIAMS
Flutist, Artistic Director
Norma Terrazas Williams received her Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). While there, she was a three-time concerto winner and featured soloist with the UTEP Orchestra. During her time in the Southwest, she performed as piccoloist with the Ballet de las America and made recordings on flute and piccolo for El Adobe Studio. After graduation, she performed with the American Wind Symphony as principal flutist and was also a featured soloist. She received a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from the University of Houston, where she studied with Byron Hester and taught as the assistant flute instructor. During her time at UH she was invited to play principal flute for the Texas Music Festival. Upon graduating, she was selected to play principal flute for the Classical Music Seminar Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. The following summer she performed in Veracruz, Mexico, where she premiered David Ashley White’s piece for solo flute, “Flashbacks.” In 2011, she was invited to perform at the National Flute Association Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. In Houston, she has been a featured soloist with the Houston Civic Symphony (1995, 1998) and the Clear Lake Symphony (2005, 2018). Currently, she is owner of Celestial Harmonies (a chamber music business), plays piccolo with the Clear Lake Symphony, and maintains a thriving flute studio. Her students have achieved regional, state, and national accolades as well. Several have gone on to pursue careers in music throughout the USA.
Originally from North Carolina, Abigail Bracewell is an active violin teacher and performer currently centered in Houston, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro under Marjorie Bagley. She then went on to earn a Master of Music degree in Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Houston with Dr. Kirsten Yon.
Starting in her junior year of high school, Abigail has taught violin, viola, and piano lessons to students of all ages, including beginning adult students learning to play an instrument for their personal enjoyment. She uses her Suzuki training and the Suzuki method combined with elements of her eclectic background for a mixed style of teaching, combining the Suzuki Method with traditional étude and technique books to meet the student’s needs and interests. Abigail believes that students of all ages and backgrounds can learn to play music, and she strives to help and encourage her students as they learn to play the music they enjoy.
Abigail is an active performer in chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras. She has performed with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and Salisbury Symphony in North Carolina. Abigail has performed in chamber concerts with the Triad Early Music Society in North Carolina, and she has premiered works of local composers for chamber ensembles and for orchestra in her hometown and in Houston. She currently performs around Houston with small chamber ensembles. An active church musician, Abigail performs regularly in local churches, and she arranges string quartets and vocal works for special services. Besides performing and teaching, Abigail enjoys baking, running, and reading.
Julie Carlson teaches violin in her home studio. She has performed with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Clear Lake Symphony, and Clear Lake Chamber Ensemble. She holds music degrees from MidAmerica Nazarene University, Wichita State University, and the University of Houston. She has a wonderful husband and an exciting little boy. She loves to read and garden in her spare time.
Mark has performed and taught professionally in the Houston area for 25 years. His music degrees are from Mansfield University and University of Houston. In his spare time he enjoys fitness, cooking, and the outdoors. He also volunteers weekly with American Red Cross.
Renee Wang is the Orchestra Director at Space Center Intermediate School in Houston, Texas. She is a native of Clear Lake, Texas. Ms. Wang earned her Master’s degree in Music Education at The Ohio State University, where she studied with Dr. Robert Gillespie, taught undergraduate courses as a Graduate Teaching Associate, worked with the Columbus Symphony Chamber Strings as an assistant conductor and section coach, and administrated the Ohio State Morning String Student Workshop summer camp. Prior to graduate school, Ms. Wang was the Orchestra Director at Queens Intermediate in Pasadena, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Baylor University, where she studied with Dr. Michael Alexander and Dr. Bruce Berg. While at Baylor, Ms. Wang received the Bennett Award in Music Education and was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honor society. Ms. Wang has presented sessions at the annual conventions for the American String Teachers Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and Ohio Music Education Association and is an administrator and presenter for the Ohio State University String Teacher Workshop. She performs regularly around the Houston area and is also active as a clinician and judge. She enjoys squirrel-watching with her dog (who has no interest in squirrels).
Violinist Thien-Truc Nguyen is distinguished not only as a dynamic and sensitive performer, but also a caring and passionate teacher. Thien-Truc earned her Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Houston under the guidance of Kirsten Yon. In addition to the Violin Performance Degree from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music in her native land of Vietnam, Thien-Truc holds a Bachelor of Music and Certificate in Music Performance from the University of South Florida, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. While working on her BM and MM degrees, Thien-Truc received several scholarships, awards, and honors from a variety of organizations such as the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society (2015), the Presser Undergraduate Scholarship Award (2016), the Green Mountain Music Festival scholarships (2015 and 2016), the National Music Honor Society Pi Kappa Lambda (2017 and 2018), the scholarships from University of South Florida String Department (2017 and 2018), the fellowship from Texas Music Festival (2019), and the Melcher Violin Scholarship from the University of Houston (2019 and 2020). As a versatile musician, Thien-Truc has traveled internationally to Italy, Korea, Vietnam, and across the United States to perform solo recitals and chamber music concerts. Throughout these concerts, Thien-Truc has performed with a wide variety of musicians and composers in diverse settings. One of her notable appearances was as solo performer to represent Vietnam at the 14th International Youth Fellowship – World Culture Camp in Korea. In 2016, Thien-Truc was featured as the first violinist in the string quartet for the CD “Light of the Midnight Sun,” recorded and released by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Ms. Nguyen has also collaborated with several composers to record movie soundtracks for various films being produced in Vietnam and the US. As an avid chamber musician, Thien-Truc's various festival appearances include the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Brancaleoni International Music Festival, and Texas Music Festival. Thien-Truc is also an active orchestral musician. She has performed with several orchestras in Vietnam and the United States, including the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, South Shore Symphony Orchestra, and the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra. At the University of Houston, Thien-Truc led the Moores Opera Orchestra and the Moores Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster and principal second violin respectively.
Juan Manuel is a guitarist who enjoys playing classical, Jazz, pop music. He performs with orchestras, jazz bands, church groups, combos, Duos and solo around the Houston - Galveston area.
Juan Manuel enjoys cycling, yoga and connecting with people.