Our Core 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.
Fun Fact
Kyra Kester

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)!
Fun Fact
Martin Neubert
Principal Oboe

Sponsor: Barry & Lynn Chesler

Hometown: Palm Beach, Florida

Favorite Pops Concert:  The annual holiday concert at the Palace Theater. I love it  because so many families attend as a tradition to kick off the holiday season.

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Happy hour at one of our amazing restaurants.

I am a Realtor with Howard Hanna Chagrin Falls. My therapy dog Porter and I volunteer with "Tail Waggin' Tudors", assisting young children with reading and building self esteem.
Fun Fact
Jesse Martin

Hometown: Avon, Ohio

Favorite Pops Concert:  New Years Eve at Severance Hall

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland:  Biking in the Metroparks

I love to collect Woodwind Instruments.
Fun Fact
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!
Fun Fact
Ben Chen

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.
Fun Fact
Roberto Iriarte
Principal Bassoon

Hometown: Hudson, OH

Favorite Pops Concert:  John Williams Tribute

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Explore the vast variety of restaurants.

Arleigh Savage

Hometown: East Lansing, MI

Favorite Pops Concert:  In our 22-23 season vocalist & Judy Garland scholar, Joan Ellison, joined us for a concert of Garland's music.  I learned so much about Judy Garland's life and the music was sublime!

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Enjoying Cleveland's lakefront in the summer.

I love to sail and worked at the Michigan State University Sailing Center the summers during my undergraduate years.
Fun Fact
Kent Larmee
Principal Horn

Sponsor: Gordon Leigh Petitt

Ken Wadenpfuhl
Heather Johnson
Dave Brocket
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.
Fun Fact
Larry Herman

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.

Jack Schantz

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
Fun Fact
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.
Fun Fact
Scott Garlock

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.
Fun Fact
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Paul Hungerford

Sponsor: Linda Melsher, in memory of Gary Melsher

Gary Adams
Andrew Pongracz

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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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!
Fun Fact
Carol Ruzicka
Concertmaster, First Violin
Mary Beth Ions

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!
Fun Fact
Donna Bartlett Jelen

Sponsor: Alice Lang in memory of Bruce Lang

Liesl Hook-Langmack

Sponsor: Blair Mooney

Lisa Goldman

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!
Fun Fact
Nancy Patterson

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!
Fun Fact
Emily Cornelius

Hometown: Severna Park, MD

I got my B.M from Oberlin Conservatory, and M.M. from New England Conservatory
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Priscilla Eva

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.
Fun Fact
Sara Schaft

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).
Fun Fact
Cory Smith
Daniel Heim

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!
Fun Fact
Lara Roberts Dudack

Sponsor: Pearl Josephs

Alexandra Vago

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.
Fun Fact
Mark Heinzen
Ann Smith
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.
Fun Fact
Gayle Klaber

Sponsor: Audrey & Albert Ratner

Linda Atherton
Julie Myers King

Hometown: W. Lafayette, IN

Favorite Pops Concert:  I always love the New Year's Eve concerts!

Favorite Thing to do in Cleveland: Visit the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes as well as the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve.

I wrote a letter to Jimmy Carter when I was in 4th grade and was subsequently invited to his inauguration! I went!
Fun Fact
Nataliya Pshenychna

Hometown: Kyiv, Ukraine

Favorite Pops Concert:  Playing New Year's with Cleveland Pops is my favorite and it has been my new tradition of celebrating New Year's since away from home.

I once performed for King Charles during his visit in Kyiv, Ukraine - it was very exciting!
Fun Fact
Nicole Castleberry Clouser
Principal 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.
Fun Fact
Ann Gilbert

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
Fun Fact
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.
Fun Fact