March 9, 2014 – Capital Orchestra Festival in Washington, D.C.

Music Celebrations International Presents:

Capital Orchestra Festival-banner

March 9, 2014
1:00 pm
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Concert Hall
2700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20566

Featuring three outstanding youth orchestras from throughout the United States performing works in succession by Brahms, Bloch, Bernstein, Holst, Mendelssohn, Hanson, Williams, Bartók, and Gould!

Featured Performers:

Vero Beach High School Philharmonic Orchestra
Vero Beach, Florida
Matthew Stott, Conductor

Traverse City Central High School Orchestra
Traverse City, Michigan
Ellen Boyer, Conductor

Mesquite High Symphonic Strings
Gilbert, Arizona
Amber Dudley, Conductor

Featured works include:

Morton Gould | American Salute
Samuel Barber | Adagio for Strings
John Williams | Theme from the J.F.K. Suite
Howard Hanson | Symphony No. 2 “Romantic” Adagio / Allegro Molto
Felix Mendelssohn | Sinfonia No. 5
Béla Bartók | Rumanian Dances
Ernset Bloch | Concerto Grosso No. 1
Felix Mendelssohn | Sinfonia No. 7
Sir Edward Elgar | Sospiri
James Horner | Music from Apollo 13

Free Concert
Tickets Required – Order Tickets

Download Concert Poster

About the Artists…


Vero Beach High School is located in Indian River County, on Florida’s Treasure Coast. The principal of Vero Beach High School is Mr. Shawn O’Keefe, and the superintendent of the School District of Indian River County is Dr. Fran Adams.

The Vero Beach High School Philharmonic Orchestra is composed of auditioned students in grades nine through twelve. The philharmonic orchestra presents more than a dozen performances each school year in Vero Beach and surrounding communities. In addition, all members of the philharmonic orchestra perform in the Vero Beach High School Symphony Orchestra, which combines with outstanding wind, brass and percussion players from the Vero Beach High School Band program. In 2011, the symphony orchestra received first place, full orchestra, at the National Orchestra Festival, in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Vero Beach High School orchestra program also consists of the concert orchestra, freshmen orchestra, and the sinfonia. VBHS orchestras have been consistently rated ‘superior’ by the Florida Orchestra Association at both the district and state level. Students in the orchestras also perform in chamber ensembles and as soloists, presenting hundreds of separate performances each year.

The performing arts department at Vero Beach High School also consists of the band program, directed by James Sammons and Page Howell, the chorus program, directed by Gregory Harris, and the drama department, directed by Dee Rose.

Under the leadership of Commander Tom Fritz, orchestra was added to the curriculum of Indian River County Public Schools in 1999, with a single class at Oslo Middle School. An orchestra class was added to the curriculum at Vero Beach High School in 2001. There are now over four hundred students at four secondary schools.

Matt Stott is an orchestra director for the School District of Indian River County, where he teaches at Vero Beach High School and Gifford Middle School. Matt previously taught at Oslo Middle School, where he was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2007. He also instructed several elementary violin classes. Dozens of young musicians from these programs have been named to the All-State orchestra, and many continue their orchestral studies at the collegiate and conservatory level.

A native of Yorkville, Illinois, Matt learned the violin from Patti Austin and Susan Starrett. He then attended Baylor University, where he earned his Bachelors of Music Education. He studied violin with Dr. Bruce Berg and conducting with Stephen Heyde and Michael Haithcock. In 2010, Matt was named Alumni Music Educator of the Year. As a violinist at Baylor, he performed in the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, Baylor Chamber Orchestra, and the Waco Symphony Orchestra. While at Baylor, he also taught violin lessons through the Central Texas String Academy. In 2011, Matt received the Laurel Award for Cultural Leadership by the Cultural Council of Indian River County. In the summer of 2012, Matt was a fellow at the Juilliard School where he studied conducting. Matt is a member of the American String Teacher’s Association, the Florida Orchestra Association, and the Florida Music Educators Association.

An avid athlete, Matt also spent eight years as an assistant basketball coach for Vero Beach High School. Matt and his wife, Katie, are proud parents of a four-year old daughter, Hannah, and a one-year old son, Luke.


Located at the southern end of West Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City is the hub of a variety of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. The Traverse City area is known for its spectacular natural beauty, the deep waters of Lake Michigan, and the rolling, wooded terrain interrupted by acres of orchards. Central High School is located at the base of the Old Mission Peninsula and has approximately 1200 students in grades 9-12. The school offers orchestra, band, and choir; each ensemble meets daily during the school day. The full orchestra you see today is a combination of five different classes. The groups meets on Monday nights throughout the year to make this group a possibility.

The Traverse City Central Orchestra regularly participates in the MSBOA (Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association) Festivals where they consistently receive superior ratings. They have done children’s programs in the community, performed at a memorial service for JFK, commissioned new compositions, accompanied silent movies and played at area churches and nursing homes.

Ellen Boyer grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and recieved her Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Michigan University. Her master’s degree is in Violin Performance from Southern Illinois University, where she studied with John Kendall; an educator whose influence continues today. Mrs. Boyer has taught at the St. Louis Conservatory and School for the Arts and in the Preparatory Division of the University of Southern California. Mrs. Boyer currently teaches at Traverse City Central High School and East Middle School, both located in Traverse City, Michigan. Her groups have played at numerous Michigan Music Conferences, at the 2010 ASTA Conference in San Francisco, and participated in trips to Europe and the Czech Republic. Currently she serves on an educator panel for the Yamaha Corporation. She and her husband Joe have 2 wonderful daughters, a great son-in-law, one soon to be son-in-law, and new to the scene, a grand daughter that is the delight of their lives.


The Mesquite Symphonic Strings from Gilbert, Arizona are one of four string orchestras in the Mesquite High School Orchestra program, which also consists of a harp ensemble and full symphony orchestra. The Symphonic Strings have participated in festivals receiving superior ratings since their inception in 1998, and many students in the group are members of the AMEA all-region and all-state orchestras. They have been selected twice to perform as honored guests at the Arizona Music Educators Association State Convention both in 2009 and 2012, and have been under the direction of Amber Dudley since 1999. Students in this group have performed in state and national festivals and competitions which include performances in California, Florida, Boston MA, New York City in Carnegie Hall, and are elated to now perform in the Capital Music Festival in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center.

Amber Dudley has been the Director of Orchestras at Mesquite High School since 1999. Groups under her direction include four string orchestras, a harp ensemble, and a full symphony orchestra. Mrs. Dudley holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance, and a Master of Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Mrs. Dudley has also completed the Suzuki training program on both viola and violin. She has performed in the Flagstaff, Chandler, and Mesa Symphony Orchestras, and currently performs on viola with the Ash String Quartet.

Mrs. Dudley enjoys serving as a guest conductor and clinician for various youth and honor orchestras in Arizona. In addition to classroom teaching, she has been a faculty member of the NAU Summer Music Camp, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Music Academy, and the Scottsdale Summer Music Camp, serving as both a teacher and conductor. She has taught Suzuki group classes through the Valley of the Sun Suzuki Association, and serves on the advisory board for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. She has been a faculty member with the University of Phoenix since 2009, and enjoys teaching in their college of Education and college of Humanities to bring awareness on the importance of arts education. She is a member of the American String Teacher’s Association, American Music Educator’s Association, Suzuki Association of America, and the National Education Association. Mrs. Dudley resides in Chandler, Arizona with her husband and three daughters.


Traverse Central (1)

vbhs philharmonic


WE THE PEOPLE: Memorial Day Festival Chorus & The U.S. Army Orchestra

For tickets: or (800) 395-2036

On May 27, 2012 join us in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall for the 5th Annual Memorial Day Choral Festival, featuring 250 singers and the remarkable U.S. Army Orchestra.  Returning for the second straight year as Artistic Director and Conductor is Craig Jessop.  The director of The U.S. Army Orchestra is MAJ Tod A. Addison.

This year’s concert commemorates the 225th anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution.  Each Memorial Day, America remembers the servicemen and women who, throughout the history of our great nation, have fallen in defense of our liberty, our freedom, and – as each one those heroes affirmed in their oath of enlistment – our Constitution.

“We the People” is a choral triptych arranged by long-time US Air Force Singing Sergeants arranger Michael Davis for the 1987 bicentennial celebration of the U.S. Constitution.  Craig Jessop premiered the piece, which is a stunning compilation of “America the Beuatiful,” “The House I Live In,” and “America, The Dream Goes On.”

Other highlights of the afternoon will include Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Three American Folk Songs and Hymns arranged by Mack Wilberg, John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and much more.

The concert begins at 3:00pm and free tickets are required to enter.  To obtain your free tickets (max. 4), please visit or call Music Celebrations at (800) 395-2036.  Act now, as the 2011 concert sold out quickly!

The Memorial Day Festival Chorus features singers from

Ames Childrens Choir from Ames, Iowa, directed by Gene LeVasseur
Arvada West High School Choir from Arvada, Colorado, directed by Chris Maunu
Common Ground Community Chorus from Boise, Idaho, directed by Randy Coryell
Jubilate Chorale of Southern New England from Brockton, Massachusetts, directed by Maxine Asselin
King of Glory Singers and Friends from Tempe, Arizona, directed by Cyndee Chaffee
Sounds Choir from Idaho Falls, Idaho, directed by Ronda Groberg
Terra Choral Society from Fremont, Ohio, directed by Michael Shirtz

Image Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

PRESIDENTS DAY Festival Chorus & Eastern Wind Symphony

For tickets: or (800) 395-2036

The Presidents Day Choral Festival returns to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall on Monday, February 20, 2012, with a 300-voice festival chorus under the direction of world-renowned conductor and composer André Thomas. Dr. Thomas will lead the festival chorus in a performance of Howard Hanson’s Song of Democracy and John Rutter’s Gloria, along with selections of his own compositions. Todd Nichols joins as guest conductor to perform Celebration Overture by Paul Creston and Elegy for a Young American by Ronald LoPresti with the highly acclaimed Eastern Wind Symphony of New Jersey.

The concert begins at 2:00pm and free tickets are required to enter.  To obtain your free tickets (max. 8), please visit or call Music Celebrations at (800) 395-2036.


André Thomas, festival artistic director
Todd Nichols, director
William H. Silvester, conductor emeritus

RUTTER:         “Gloria”
THOMAS:       “I Dream A World”
THOMAS:       “Beautiful City”
THOMAS:       “Do Lord Remember Me”
CRESTON:      “Celebration Overture”
HANSON:       “Song of Democracy”
LOPRESTI:      “Elegy for a Young American”
THOMAS:       “I Hear America Singing”

The Presidents Day Festival Chorus features singers from

Athens Drive High School Vocal Ensemble from Raleigh, NC, directed by Joy Clayton
Dothan High School Choir from Dothan, Alabama, directed by Haley Capan
Freeport High School Select Chorale from Freeport, New York, directed by Monique Retzlaff
Garner Magnet High School Die Meistersingers from Garner, NC, directed by Meredith Clayton
Leesville Road High School Capital Pride from Raleigh, NC, directed by Diane Covington
Robert Hendrickson High School Hawk Chorale from Pflugerville, Texas, directed by Kay Payton