Board & Staff

GTCYS’ skilled Board Members, conductors and administrative staff are dedicated to providing the best experience for young musicians.

Board of Directors


  • David Zoll, Lockridge Grindal Nauen
  • JC Beckstrand, Willis Towers Watson
    Past President
  • Maurice Holloman, Holloman Consulting Group, LLC.
    Vice President
  • Laura Newinski, KPMG
  • Matthew Harris, Xcel Energy*


  • Heidi Becken, Community Volunteer
  • Michele Belisle, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
  • Colin Dougherty, JCPenney
  • Andrew Eklund, Ciceron*
  • Camille Chang Gilmore, Boston Scientific
  • Patrick Hyatte, Violinist*
  • Julia Jenson, Western National Insurance*
  • Abha Karnick, MCAD*
  • Melissa Meinke Krueger, Ecolab
  • Rich May, Jr., May Advertising and Design, Inc*
  • Adele Suttle, Medtronic
  • Sara Kleinsasser Tan, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra
  • Jeff Tuttle, Bellisio Foods
  • Ernest van Panhuys, Cargill Inc.

*GTCYS alumni

Artistic Staff

Mark Russell Smith, Artistic Director & Symphony Conductor


Whether conducting contemporary masterpieces or bringing fresh insights to the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, Mr. Smith demonstrates consummate musicianship and enthusiastic commitment to the art of music-making – qualities that have endeared him to audiences and musicians alike. Read More »

Mary Sorlie, Philharmonia East & West Conductor


As a studio teacher, Ms. Sorlie enjoys teaching violin to students of all ages and abilities. A GTCYS alumna, Ms. Sorlie was awarded the 2011 MNSOTA Master Teacher: Studio Award. She received a Bachelor and Master of Music in violin performance from the University of Minnesota, with additional study at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and at the Oberlin and Brussels Conservatories. Read More »

Ernesto Estigarribia, Sinfonia East Conductor


Hailed for his “expert direction” by the Fanfare magazine, Paraguayan conductor Ernesto Estigarribia has led GTCYS Sinfonia East since its inception in the Fall of 2018. Ernesto also holds the position of Assistant Conductor and Youth Ensembles Music Director of the Quad City Symphony. Read More »

Laura Hebert, Sinfonia West Conductor


Laura Hebert brings excitement and energy to any arena of teaching. From conducting large groups of students to teaching private lessons, her desire is to bring a love of music to young musicians through a positive learning environment. She strives to equip all students with the tools they need to succeed no matter their age, background, or experience. Read More »

Tamara Gonzalez, Concertino East Conductor


Tamara fell in love with the orchestra experience at an early age. As an advanced violin student, she began playing in orchestras in first grade at the D.C Youth Orchestra Program, and has enjoyed the camaraderie and teamwork of ensemble playing ever since. Read More »

Dan Mollick, Concertino West Conductor


Mr. Mollick has brought an energetic, positive and student-centered teaching philosophy to students of all backgrounds, ages, and skill levels during his twenty-year career as a music educator. He has taught in a variety of school districts including Minneapolis, Bloomington, Manhattan Beach (Los Angeles), Minnetonka and currently teaches orchestra at Valley View Middle School in Edina. Read More »

Kent Musser, Camerata Conductor


Mr. Musser has taught orchestra at Stillwater Area Public Schools since 2001, currently directing four of the eight orchestras at Stillwater High School. He has been an active leader with the district’s renowned music program. His orchestras continue to win numerous awards for their quality and musicianship. Read More »

Mark Gitch, Concert Orchestra Conductor


The Director of Orchestras at Wayzata High School since 2005, Mark Gitch traces his love for orchestral music back to the Mounds View orchestra program and teachers Doug Overland and John Madura. Further encouraged through violin lessons with Mary Horozaniecki, and energized by his time in GTCYS’ Symphony Orchestra under Dr. William LaRue Jones, Mr. Gitch went on to earn degrees in music education from St. Olaf College and the University of St. Thomas. Read More »

Ernesto Estigarribia, Philharmonic Conductor


Hailed for his “expert direction” by the Fanfare magazine, Paraguayan conductor Ernesto Estigarribia will led GTCYS Philharmonic starting in the 2021-22 season. Ernesto also holds the position of Assistant Conductor and Youth Ensembles Music Director of the Quad City Symphony. Read More »


Administrative Staff

Megen Headshot

Megen Balda, Executive Director


As GTCYS’ Executive Director, Megen is responsible for the administrative leadership of the organization. Megen works closely with the artistic staff and Board of Directors to ensure that GTCYS’ programs remain vibrant for students, successful, and sustainable. Read More »

Miranda Bryan, Program Director


Miranda is responsible for the overall coordination of GTCYS’ orchestral activities, including rehearsals, concerts, auditions, retreats, and special events. She also manages student leadership and mentoring activities. Read More »

Katie Heilman, Program Assistant


Katie assists the Program Director through student registration, scheduling auditions, tracking enrollment details, and other administrative duties. She is a composer and oboist who graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Music Theory and Composition. Read More »

Adam Rappel, Operations Manager


Dr. Adam Rappel is the Operations Manager for GTCYS, and in addition to that, he enjoys a versatile free-lance career as a percussionist. As Operations Manager, Adam oversees the logistics of rehearsals, concerts, and the general operations of GTCYS. Read More »

Morgan May, Communications & Marketing Manager



Morgan shares the stories of GTCYS through a variety of communication channels and marketing initiatives. He also broadens the reach of GTCYS programs through impactful messaging. Read More »

Samuel Phillips, Community Liaison



Samuel is the EDI liaison for GTCYS, where he develops equitable teacher training and development programs, community programming, and builds student recruitment and access pipeline systems for BIPOC students.. Read More »

Paul Schimming, Orchestra Librarian


Paul assumed the role of the GTCYS librarian in the fall of 2017, bringing a wealth of experience and enthusiasm from a freelance career as a performer, educator, and pedagogue. Read More »

Naomi Schroeter, Harmony Manager


Naomi coordinates the Harmony program taking place out of Riverview Elementary School in the West Side neighborhood of St.Paul. Read More »


Get the Backstage Experience!

Be our guest! Treat the family to a special night out to learn more about what you can expect from GTCYS.

Learn More