Our Musicians

Mary Kay Robinson
Principal Flute

Hometown: Camillus, New York

Favorite Pops Concert:  Tribute to the Armed Forces, my Dad was a WWII Veteran.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Enjoy all the cultural offerings, running around Shaker Lakes and biking in the MetroParks.

I have climbed all 48 high peaks of New Hampshire and am a lover of nature, animals, ethnic cuisine and culture.
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Kyra Kester
Flute

Sponsor: Laura & Vincent Panichi

Hometown:Spring Creek, PA

Favorite Pops Concert:  New Year’s Eve because the audience is always extra enthusiastic!

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Hiking in the MetroParks.

I share my home with four tuxedo cats, two house rabbits and a parrot (he’s very musically inclined, by the way)!
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Thomas Moore
Principal Oboe

Sponsor: Ann Marie Hawkins & David Hodgson

Hometown: Vernon, CT

Favorite Pops Concert:  That’s a hard one because there are so many. I think my favorite Pops concert was the first time I played the New Year’s Eve concert. It was magical.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Explore. I love finding myself in new places where I can learn about the culture and history of a neighborhood. Finding new local eats is also loads of fun.

I am a Record Producer and have won 4 Grammy Awards.
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Martin Neubert
Oboe

Sponsor: Barry & Lynn Chesler

Louis Gangale
Principal Clarinet

Hometown: Born and raised in Cleveland

Favorite Pops Concert:  Any concert I can play Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue!

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Visit the Metroparks.

My lifelong hobby is antique cars. I have a 1958 Corvette which I restored and enjoy driving during the warm summer months!
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Ben Chen
Clarinet

Sponsor: Norma Lerner

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

Favorite Pops Concert:  New Year's Eve! It's so much fun to ring in the new year playing in Severance Hall.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Spending time in the main library downtown, wandering around the Museum of Art, and watching sunsets over Lake Erie in different parts of town.

My favorite authors are Alan Hollinghurst and Toni Morrison.
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Roberto Iriarte
Principal Bassoon
Renee Anthony Dee
Bassoon

Sponsor: Alexandra Vago, in memory of Dr. Richard J. Vago

Hometown: Parma Heights, OH

Favorite Pops Concert:  The one I'm playing, because each one is an opportunity to connect with friends onstage and in the audience. Also, closest to my heart is NYE 2020. It was one of my last live performances, and a special treat as my husband got to celebrate his retirement by conducting my wonderful colleagues in The March of the Toreadors from Bizet's Carmen - an unforgettable occasion for us both!

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Attend concerts and enjoy great food.

My handmade bassoon reeds have been used by studio musicians on film scores such as Forrest Gump, Water World, Mouse Hunt, March of the Penguins, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
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Kent Larmee
Principal Horn

Sponsor: Gordon Leigh Petitt

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Ken Wadenpfuhl
Horn
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Heather Johnson
Horn
Dave Brocket
Horn
Gary Davis
Principal Trumpet

Sponsor: Sandy & Jeff Brausch

Hometown: Twinsburg, Ohio

Favorite Pops Concert:  John Williams concerts and the Salute to our Veterans concerts.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Eating out with family and friends in Little Italy.

My teachers have included James Thompson, Michael Sachs, Eugene Blee, Phil Collins and Robert Dolwick.
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Larry Herman
Trumpet

Sponsor: Penelope & Michael Shemo
Hometown: Parma, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: My favorite Pops concerts are those that feature the music of John Williams. For brass players, they are the most challenging and the most fun to play.

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Jack Schantz
Trumpet

Sponsor: Shirley Morgenstern
Hometown: Orville, OH 
Favorite Pops Concert: All are fun and challenging in different ways
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Play at Severance Hall with the Pops

Hobbies include: gardening, billiards, driving vintage Porsche, military history
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Paul Ferguson
Principal Trombone

Hometown: Massilon, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: Joint concerts with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Sunset on the Solstice steps in Lakewood

I've completed the New Hampshire portion of the Appalachian trail.
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Scott Garlock
Trombone

Sponsor: Audrey & Kenny Koblitz
Hometown: Born in Howell, MI, raised in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: There have been many! But, “To reach the unreachable stars”. It was really an ambitious program, and it had so many additional moving parts. Everyone rose to the occasion.
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  I love Cleveland. Walking around the neighborhoods, and especially checking out some of the many incredible restaurants and haunts.

Would rather see a bad movie than a good one. Love to exercise.
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Paul Hungerford
Trombone

Sponsor: Linda Melsher, in memory of Gary Melsher

Gary Adams
Tuba
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Andrew Pongracz
Timpani

Hometown: Elyria, OH

Favorite Pops Concert:  The Armed Forces Concert in May. My father and many of my uncles served in World War II and I am always grateful for a chance to honor their service to their country.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  I like to explore the many different kinds of restaurants in Cleveland, as well as shopping at the West Side Market. I also enjoy spending time in the Metroparks with my wife and sons.

My oldest son and I are in a short film made for the Cleveland Clinic about empathy. The video went viral and has been viewed over 5 million times. I also have a percussion duo named duo Anime that has a Facebook account.
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Bruce Golden
Percussion

Sponsor: Judy & Russ Grindon

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Jim Rupp
Principal Drum Set

Sponsor: Thompson Hine, LLP
Hometown: Canton, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: Sinatra because of the great combination of a big band with the orchestra and the John Williams shows because of the all the great snare parts
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Play in the Pops and the CJO!

I am a WWII history buff!
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Carol Ruzicka
Concertmaster, First Violin
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Mary Beth Ions
Violin

Sponsor: Carolyn & Dr. Edward Gabelman
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: I love each one! Every time I think, "wow, I DO believe that was my favorite Pops concert"  the next one comes along and I say the SAME thing again!
Favorite Thing To Do in Cleveland: I love to walk in our beautiful MetroParks, enjoy the huge variety of wonderful restaurants, and visit the Museum of Art. Of course I love playing my violin in diverse venues from MetroHealth Hospital to weddings on the Lake Erie shore! It's a special joy to play on-stage at Severance Hall with our beloved Pops.

I've traveled to almost every country in the EU. Malta is next and will complete the list!
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Donna Bartlett Jelen
Violin

Sponsor: Alice Lang in memory of Bruce Lang

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Liesl Hook-Langmack
Violin

Sponsor: Blair Mooney

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Lisa Goldman
Violin

Sponsor: Sally & Don Messinger

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Favorite Pops Concert:  The New Years Eve Concert.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Go to Edgewater Beach (when it's warm!).

I met my husband in eighth grade orchestra!
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Elizabeth Rothenbusch
Violin

Sponsor: Nancey & Roger Wallace

Nancy Patterson
Violin

Hometown: Vienna, WV
Favorite Pops Concert: Daniel Rodriguez Memorial Day concert. My husband is a firefighter so we've appreciated Rodriguez since 9/11.
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Walk and enjoy the Metroparks, from Edgewater to the Emerald Necklace

I met Charlton Heston at Colorado Philharmonic concert at Kennedy Center in Washington, DC!
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Emily Cornelius
Violin

Hometown: Severna Park, MD

I got my B.M from Oberlin Conservatory, and M.M. from New England Conservatory
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Susan Brenneis-Fisher
Violin
Rachel Huch
Violin

Hometown: Okemos, MI
Favorite Pops Concert: Capathia Jenkins concert last year when the entire audience stood up and sang/danced to "I will survive"
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Visiting the many amazing museums we have with my kids

In my spare time I love cooking, hiking in the metroparks and watching basketball.
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Priscilla Eva
Violin

Hometown: Shaker Heights, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: A Comedy Tonight, followed by all the John Williams concerts
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Sunsets at Clifton Beach

I spent a year studying violin in Paris, France at age 21. I also learned to drink wine and espresso.
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Sara Schaft
Violin

Hometown: Poland, Ohio (near Youngstown, Ohio)

Favorite Pops Concert:  Most memorable (maybe not my favorite!!)Cleveland Pops Concert:
There was a Halloween/Harvest concert about five years ago in October at the 9th street pier and park. It rained so hard we had to huddle in our cars. Somehow, the show still happened and Carl appeared in his Superman costume. I still have to laugh when I think of that day.  

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Visit the Museum of Art

I like to be outdoors. I enjoy backyard gardening, watching the birds at our feeders and walking in the Poland Woods (a local area for hiking).
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Cory Smith
Violin
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Marcia Ferritto
Principal Viola

Sponsor: Justin & Keili Mistovich

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Daniel Heim
Viola

Hometown: Centennial, Colorado
Favorite Pops Concert: Tribute to John Williams
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Ride the Rails with my son Ben in Cuyahoga Valley National Park!

My youth orchestra in Denver -- the Denver Young Artists Orchestra -- was founded by Carl Topilow!
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Lara Roberts Dudack
Viola

Sponsor: Pearl Josephs

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Alexandra Vago
Viola

Sponsors: David and Julie Borsani in memory of Marissa Borsani
Hometown: Parma, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: All John Williams concerts
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Going to the Metroparks

I play exclusively on Luis & Clark Carbon Fiber Instruments.
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Mark Heinzen
Viola
Ann Smith
Viola
Kent Collier
Principal Cello

Sponsor: Philip Lloyd 
Hometown: East Cleveland
Favorite Pops Concert: Military salute concerts
Favorite Thing to do: Ski, bike, canoe, eat out with friends

I started playing because my parents watched the Lawrence Welk Show and their cellist always seemed to be smiling. At a six year old that was my main concern so I asked for a cello for my seventh birthday.
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Gayle Klaber
Cello

Sponsor: Audrey & Albert Ratner

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Susan Bestul
Cello
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Linda Atherton
Cello
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Ida Mercer
Cello

Hometown: Belleville, Illinois

Favorite Pops Concert:  The concert featuring guest artist Joan Hess.  I'm a huge fan of the TV show Flight of the Conchords and Joan had appeared as a fleeting love interest in one of the first episodes.   

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Hiking in any of in the Cleveland Metroparks.

I grew up on a farm and was the Illinois Junior Grange Princess in 1966.
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Julie Myers King
Cello
Ann Gilbert
Principal Bass

Sponsor: Kim & Ed Moore
Hometown: Lakewood, OH
Favorite Pops Concert: When we played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and I had to act as though I'd been hit by a baseball thrown by Carl. I screamed and fell off my stool.
Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Skiing at Boston Mills in the winter and walking by Lake Erie in the summer. 

I am a DAR, Daughter of the American Revolution. My ancestor, Sampson Matthews, rode with Washington at the Battle of Yorktown
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Tim Powell
String and Electric Bass

Hometown: Newton Falls, Ohio (Braceville Township to be specific)

Favorite Pops Concert:  I like all the Pops concerts. It’s a privilege performing with such a great group.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Go to an Indians game.

I am an avid fisherman, particularly for smallmouth bass.
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Nicole Castleberry Clouser
String Bass

Hometown: Paradise Valley, AZ

Favorite Pops Concert: All of them. I love how the Pops provides a wide range of musical genres and they are always engaging. The most moving moment ever was after 9/11, at the end of the concert, every audience member stood and sang “God Bless America” as we played. That was probably my most memorable moment ever as a musician because of the connection between the audience and the musicians as well as current events and it’s relevancy in the concert hall.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Walk the metroparks!  They are incredible. 

I am an archer.
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