We are an ensemble that consist of the following instrumentation: flute, 2 clarinets, saxophone, trumpet, tenor trombone, bass trombone, piano, percussion, violin, viola, and cello. If you would like to write for that specific instrumentation or something similar please contact us.
Victoria Rose Bishop holds the position of Adjunct Instructor of Flute at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri and plays piccolo with the Oneota Valley Orchestra. An active freelance musician in the region, she also regularly performs with the Southeast Iowa Symphony, the Muscatine Symphony and the Ottumwa Symphony and will appear as a soloist with the Monmouth College Wind Ensemble. Ms. Bishop is a passionate educator and her students have won positions in prominent youth orchestras, attended prestigious summer programs and have placed well at state contests and competitions.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Victoria Rose Bishop received her Master of Arts Degree in Flute Performance from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Georgia State University. At both institutions Rose played principal flute and piccolo in the University Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Wind Ensembles. She has participated in master classes in the United States and abroad with several prominent flutists including Sarah Jackson, Walfrid Kujala, Angela Jones-Reus, Michel Bellavance, and Leone Buyse, among others. Her principal teachers include Nicole Esposito and Sarah Kruser Ambrose, with additional study with Jim Walker.
Dr. Cynthia Krenzel regularly appears throughout the US and abroad as a
soloist, recitalist, and clinician. Recent international appearances include performances at the ICA CarinetFest in Assisi, Italy; the European Clarinet Festival in Ghent and Kortrijk, Belgium; solo performances in Merida, Mexico with the Cuidad Orquesta de Cámara, serving as clarinet faculty for Jonathan Cohler’s International Woodwind Festival, and master classes at the National Conservatory of Music in Romania. Dr. Krenzel also regularly performs recitals and master classes throughout the Midwestern United States. A dedicated pedagogue, Cynthia helped found the annual event Iowa Clarinet Day to further the education of clarinetists statewide. She is active in the International Clarinet Association as the state chair for Iowa.
Cynthia is an advocate for new music and has commissioned a number of works for clarinet and saxophone. In 2010 Dr. Krenzel was awarded an Iowa Arts Council grant to fund the commission of Nikola Resanovic’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano.She regularly performs at conferences to support these and other modern works, including North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA), Society of Composers Inc. (SCI), Iowa Composer’s Forum, and Electronic Music Midwest.
Cynthia is Associate Professor of Music at Central College Pella, IA. Her primary teachers include Håkan Rosengren, Linda Bartley, and Andrea Splittberger-Rosen.
Marjorie Shearer is a clarinetist from Longwood, Florida with over twenty years of performance and teaching experience. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Florida in 2008 and her Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University in 2010. Marjorie was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship at the University of Iowa, where she is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Marjorie has performed in orchestras, masterclasses, and competitions across Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Iowa, and has been a member of the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band since 2011. Also in 2011, she was selected to participate in the Belgian Clarinet Academy in Oostende, Belgium. Marjorie has held teaching positions at the University of Iowa and Culver-Stockton College, in addition to maintaining a private studio.
Ryan Smith holds a Bachelor of Music from Western Oregon University, a Master of Music from the University of New Mexico, and a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies from the University of Iowa. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance from the University of Iowa while teaching saxophone at Cornell College and working as a regular pit musician for Theater Cedar Rapids. A frequent performer of classical, jazz, popular music, and musical theater, Smith has been involved in a wide variety of musical activities. Some noteworthy performances include concerts with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Symphony, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra, the Temptations, and the Four Tops. Smith regularly performs and records with his jazz-rock quartet, Laranja, which has released four albums and played at several jazz festivals throughout the Midwest. He has toured extensively in Brazil, Italy, and the United States and released two albums with the Américo Project – a samba-jazz quintet that came together in São Paulo for the first time in 2012. His most recent international performances took place in Honk Kong and Chéngdū, China, during the summer of 2016.
Aren Van Houzen works as an educator and freelance performer throughout eastern Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. He performs with Quincy Symphony Orchestra and 2nd Trumpet with Orchestra Iowa. Aren also teaches at Quincy University and Culver-Stockton College.
In addition to performing and teaching, Aren is a founding owner and operator of Van Houzen Brewing Company, LLC, a native Iowa brewery located in Tiffin, Iowa. He has been a featured soloist with several Midwest performing organizations and continues to pursue a modest soloing schedule. Further activity in the music industry has included such diversity as Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra to the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus and all things in between. He has also apprenticed with mouthpiece, mute manufacturers and offered custom trumpet alterations in the late 1990’s. Aren began soloing at age 17, having been selected to perform Haydn’s trumpet concerto with the Holland Youth Symphony, and playing trumpet continues to be as thrilling to this very day.
Dr. Matthew Driscoll is currently the adjunct, low brass professor at Central College in Pella, IA, Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA, trombone instructor at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA and the elementary band director for Bennett Elementary School. He also maintains a private studio with brass players ranging from beginning to advanced and maintains an active performing schedule in various ensembles including the musical theatre in Coralville and Cedar Rapids, Eastern Iowa Brass Band, and Cedar Rapids Municipal Band. Currently, Matt performs with BTA-Brass Transit Authority throughout eastern and northern Iowa. Additionally, he serves as a substitute musician with the Des Moines, Peoria, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphonies.
Commissioning new works has become a mission of Dr. Driscoll’s. In the spring of 2015 he premiered two new works for trombone and piano and one for unaccompanied trombone in conjunction with Salty Cricket Composer’s Collective out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Driscoll enjoys being a part of the creative process from the onset and allowing lesser known composers to be heard in various concert settings.
Matt completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in trombone performance and pedagogy at the University of Iowa, a Masters in Music from East Carolina University in trombone performance, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Jacksonville State University.
Mark Doerffel is the Director of Instrumental Activities at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa where he teaches Applied Brass, Music Theory, Music Appreciation, Freshman Seminar, and directs the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. Doerffel was on the faculty at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Florida. and taught in the secondary schools of Florida and North Carolina for 15 years.
He received his Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Florida, Master of Music Education from Appalachian State University, and Bachelor of Music Education from Louisiana State University.Doerffel has presented at conferences in several states, including: Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina on topics which range from classroom management, new teacher preparation, and trombone pedagogy.
He lives in Ankeny, Iowa with his wife Amanda, and their two sons Charlie and Brooks
Alan Kiser is a Percussion Instructor at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. At Cornell, he co-directs 3 Steel Pan Ensembles: Pandemonium, Toucan and Panic and also coaches the percussion sections for Cornell’s Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Jazz Band. Alan is the Drum-line instructor for Marion High School and Clear Creek Amana High School and his students have earned several best drum-line trophies over the last few years. Kiser is the principal percussionist with Eastern Iowa Brass Band and enjoys organizing many of the behind the scenes logistics of the group. He is currently the EIBB Booking Manager.
Alan has taught band in the public schools in Illinois and Iowa for 11 years. He is currently in his 10th year directing his hometown community band, “The Maple City Band” of Geneseo, IL. Alan earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Drake University, Des Moines, IA and his Bachelor of Music Education degree from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
Dr. Abbie Brewer is an active teacher, pianist, and travel enthusiast based in Cedar Rapids, IA. She began studying the piano at the age of 8 in Nebraska. After moving to Iowa in junior high, she began a love affair with collaborative performance after accompanying her junior high choir. She was an active member of the music department, participating in everything from show choir to concert band to the annual musical.Abbie teaches piano and performs as a collaborative pianist at Coe College. She has been praised for her thoughtful playing as well as for her confident, direct approach to teaching. Abbie is in demand as an accompanist in the Cedar Rapids area and maintains a private piano studio.
Jessica Altfillisch violist and violinist living and working in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to her position as Executive Director and Teacher at Harmony School, she teaches viola at Kirkwood Community College and performs regularly throughout the midwest.
Jessica is a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa. In addition to her studies there, she served as violist for the graduate piano quartet and Center for New Music Ensemble. She has appeared as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia and all across the United States. In addition to solo recitals, she has performed regularly with the Des Moines Symphony, and has most recently played with the Gershwin’s Broadway company.
In addition to her work as a performer, Jessica is a trained Suzuki educator, Iowa licensed teacher, and has 20 years of teaching experience with all ages. While a student of the Teacher Education Program at the University of Iowa, Jessica’s research focused on teaching music notation to students with dyslexia. During her tenure at the Cedar Rapids Symphony School she directed the Suzuki program, created the Ceolas Irish Ensemble for advanced students and adults, trained teachers in the use of Music Mind Games music theory curriculum, and taught students of all ages to play the violin and viola in classroom and studio settings. Jessica has also worked with educators in many public and private schools in east-central Iowa.
Andrew Steffen holds a Master of Music Education Degree from VanderCook College of Music (2014) and a Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa (2009). At McKinley he directs over 130 students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Orchestras and the McKinley Chamber Orchestra. In May 2014 the McKinley Chamber Orchestra was selected as the Iowa String Teacher’s Association’s Invitational Orchestra.
At McKinley, Mr. Steffen is also active as auditorium technical director, and has formerly served as the leader of the Cedar Rapids Community Schools’ Middle School Orchestra Professional Learning Community.
As a Violist, Andrew is an active performer with Orchestra Iowa and he has previously performed as a member of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, the Dubuque Symphony, the Mannheim Steamroller Orchestra, and the Ivalice Trio, in addition to many performances in small ensembles for social or seasonal events. Andrew is also an active performer and arranger on youtube with over 150,000 views of his own performances and arrangements. In summer 2015 he finished self-recording and self-producing an album entitled “the ETHEReal String Project” and has since collaborated on releases as part of the Materia Collective.
James Ellis is a cellist from St. Clair Shores, Michigan and has received three music degrees. A Bachelor from Western Michigan University, studying with Bruce Uchimura; a Masters from the University of Georgia, studying with David Starkweather; and a Doctorate from the University of Iowa, studying with Charles Wendt. James has played with 17 professional symphonies in Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina and Iowa. He currently maintains a private studio in Iowa City and teaches at Cornell College. He has served as principal cellist with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, the Southeast Iowa Symphony, the Waverly Community Orchestra, and the Quad-Cities Symphony. James also plays regularly with the Iowa City Community Orchestra and the Iowa City Chamber Singers.
Flutist, Jeiran Hasan, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa, studying under Nicole Esposito. She received her MM and BM at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Joshua Smith and Mary Kay Fink of the Cleveland Orchestra. Ms. Hasan enjoys working and performing with members of the Iowa City community and is the flute choir conductor of the New Horizons Band. An avid educator and musician, Jeiran has extensive background in contemporary music and folk music of Azerbaijan, the country of her heritage.
Dr. Jennifer Cunningham is active flute instructor, and performer throughout Eastern Iowa. She coordinates the Liberal Arts Program and teaches applied flute, performance seminar, and general music courses at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. Prior to coming to Iowa she served as the flute instructor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. Dr. Cunningham is also maintains a large private studio in the Cedar Rapids area.
She has served principal piccolo of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and the North Arkansas Symphony, and performed with the Quad Cities Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, and the Janesville (WI) Armory Dinner Theatre. In 2014 Dr. Cunningham and her husband, Blaine, were a featured Piccolo and Tuba Duo with Cedar Rapids Municipal Band, and is a regular substitute with the band.
In 2009, she was a winner of the National Flute Association Piccolo Masterclass Competition and performed at the National Convention in New York City that same year.
Dr. Cunningham received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Flute Performance from the University of Arkansas where she served at the flute studio graduate assistant and her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa, where she also held a graduate teaching assitantship. At the University of Iowa she was awarded both a Summer Dissertation Research Fellowship, and the T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowship to complete her research at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin, Germany.
Zo Manfredi has enjoyed much success as a performer and teacher in Austria, Canada, and across the United States. She is currently Adjunct Instructor of Violin at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and in August 2015 she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas under the direction of renowned pedagogue, Julia Bushkova, where she was awarded both a Teaching Fellowship and Teaching Assistantship. Ms. Manfredi is a passionate teacher and holds a private studio for violin and viola in Des Moines alongside her teaching position within Drake University. Dr. Manfredi is also violin instructor of the Private Lesson Program run by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra in Davenport, Iowa. Prior to her current position at Drake University, Ms. Manfredi served as the Adjunct Violin and Viola Instructor at Richland College in Dallas, Texas where she also taught music theory. Ms. Manfredi regularly performs with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony and Abilene Philharmonic. Ms. Manfredi is originally from Billings, Montana and currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, Matt.
Originally from Cedartown, Georgia, Dr. Casey Thomas is an adjunct instructor of low brass at Berry College. He is also an instructor at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama and at Georgia Highlands College in Rome. Dr. Thomas completed both his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trombone performance and pedagogy from The University of Iowa and his Bachelors degree in music education from JSU. He also owns Solid Brass Music Company, an online sheet music publishing and retail service and www.brassmusician.com, an online magazine for brass instrumentalists. Previous academic appointments were at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, and Cornell College and Saint Ambrose University.
Lisa Wissenberg is a clarinetist and currently performs with Orchestra Iowa and wcf symphony as the bass clarinetist and with the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band on clarinet. She received her MA in clarinet performance from the
University of Iowa and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the same institution. In 2012, she was awarded a fellowship to study chamber music with the European-American Musical Alliance in Paris, France. In addition to being a busy soloist and chamber musician, she is adjunct clarinet instructor at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and maintains a large private studio.