THO: Youth String Orchestra Celebrating the 43rd Season!
THO: Youth String Orchestra Celebrating the 43rd Season!THO: Youth String Orchestra Celebrating the 43rd Season!
Tulsa Honors Orchestra Staff
Karen Naifeh Harmon is a Concert & Film Composer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Karen is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, with a degree in Music Composition for Film, TV and Video Games. Karen will graduate from the Film Scoring Academy of Europe with a Graduate Diploma in Film Composition in October of 2022. Karen is now composing for film. Karen has founded the Tulsa Honors Orchestra Composer Institute. Course offerings include Film Composition, Music Theory, Rock Improvisation, New Age music and Arranging and Transcriptions. Karen is the Executive Director of the Tulsa Honors Orchestra. THO was founded by her Mom, Jody Naifeh, over 42 years ago. Karen is proud to continue the beautiful legacy of her Mother's orchestra and to continue supporting arts education for youth in the Greater Tulsa area.
Jocelyn Rowland Khalaf started playing violin at the age of 3 in Joplin Missouri. The daughter of a piano tuner/ composer/theater organist William Rowland, she was always surrounded by music as a child. Her parents always nurtured her and encouraged her to pursue her talents. Jocelyn graduated with a music degree from the University of Tulsa in 2004. She has extensive Suzuki pedagogy training. Jocelyn is not only an accomplished composer and arranger for strings, she was also in a critically acclaimed band We The Ghost. She has played with many others including Billy Joe Shaver, los Lobos, and performs and records with several other local groups. Jocelyn currently plays violin for Tulsa Opera. Jocelyn currently teaches orchestra for Tulsa Public Schools. She has been with Harmony Project Tulsa for 4 years leading the “Edison Rock Orchestra” and has been a violin coach for Tulsa Honors Orchestra for 3 years.
Terry Pollak has performed professionally on violin and viola with several orchestras since 1981 when he accepted a position in the first violin section of the Fort Worth Symphony through his current positions in the viola sections of the Tulsa Symphony and the Signature Symphony at TCC. He received his bachelors and masters degrees in violin performance from North Texas State and Southern Methodist Universities, respectively. Mr. Pollak attended both on full scholarship, and received a graduate assistantship to perform with the Meadows Graduate String Quartet at SMU, which included a performance for former President Gerald Ford. The assistantship was awarded at the recommendation of his conductor at both institutions, Maestro Anshel Brusilow. Mr. Pollak has taught violin, viola, and chamber music at The bART Center for Music since near its' inception in 2001, and was honored to join Karen Naifeh Harmon in forming the Tulsa Honors Baroque Orchestra in 2019.
Austin Pendergrass is a cellist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who enjoys carpentry, crafting, cooking, baking, transcribing and arranging music. He has been cello coach of Tulsa Honors Orchestra since 2009 and is a certified Suzuki cello teacher. Austin also runs his own small business, Grasshoppers Salves. Austin believes education is never complete and that when someone is ready to learn there will be a teacher ready to help. Being a teacher is an opportunity to observe others learn and grow, and certainly is an educational experience in itself.
Missy Townsend is a native Tulsan, a graduate of Will Rogers High School and Th University of Tulsa. She has degrees in Music Education and French. She taught for five years in Rogers, AR and for 15 years in Tulsa Public Schools. She has performed with Northwest Arkansas Symphony, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra, and she is currently performing with Tulsa Symphony and Signature Symphony. She has participated in many summer festivals, including five years at Opera in the Ozarks where she was principal viola for two seasons, International Workshop in Graz, Austria, where she was assistant principal viola, and International Music Acadamy in the Czech Republic, where she was assigned to two chamber groups. She is currently very busy teaching maintaining a private studio and she loves being the Viola coach for Tulsa Honors Orchestra!
Kyle Wagner is a Bassist and Piano Accompanist in the Tulsa Honors Orchestra and the advanced Tulsa Honors Baroque Orchestra and has been for almost a decade. Kyle was involved in many music ensembles growing up and became inspired by a dedicated army of teachers to continue pursuing music. Mr. Wagner attended the BART Conservatory during his youth, where he honed in on a variety of music skills, from bass performance to piano trio performance. In words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Music is the universal language of mankind.” Currently, Mr. Wagner is on an apprenticeship with the Bartlesville Symphony and studies under renowned Principal Bassist of the Tulsa Signature Symphony and Bartlesville Symphony Robin Smith. In Tulsa, Kyle is a busy freelance musician, teacher, and aspiring composer and has performed with the Bartlesville Symphony, Roberta Guaspari, Ballet Magnificat in Saviour, and Harmony Project Tulsa, and much more. Because of his love for music and mentoring,
Lexy Harmon is a fabulous violinist with Edison HS Orchestra. Lexy teaches the Debutante Orchestra at THO and teaches beginning and intermediate Music Theory through the THO Composer Institute. Lexy began studying violin at the age of 3 and performs regularly with area musicians. She recently recorded with the Tulsa Youth Opera and is co-concert master of the THB. Lexy also plays piano and teaches private lessons to Tulsa area students in violin, viola and piano. Lexy is our new THO Music Librarian.
Holly Wray has been studying violin for 8years.She has been a member of the Tulsa Honors Orchestra for 5 years. Holly is currently a co-director of the Tulsa Honors Debutante Orchestra, Ms. Jody Naifeh taught Holly how to conduct when she was 13 years old. Holly has conducted select works for the Tulsa Honors Orchestra concerts for the past several years. Holly has also volunteered with the ORU chamber ensemble for three years. Holly will be beginning her Bachelor of Music studies this coming fall in hopes of becoming a conductor.
Sara Allen is a double bassist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Outside of Tulsa Honors Orchestra, she also plays with Tulsa Youth Symphony and Sistema Tulsa. Her passion for music has led her across the country to festivals such as Oklahoma’s All-State Orchestra, The Chloé Trevor Music Academy, The University of North Texas’ Summer String Institute, and to place as an alternate for The Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. Sara is a student at Booker T. Washington High School and is an anticipated International Baccalaureate candidate set to graduate in 2022.
Mercy Rose is an advanced violinist studying Violin Performance and Music Theory at TCC. She has taught the Debutante Orchestra for one year with THO. She plans to return the 2021-2022 Season to teach the Debutante Orchestra again. Mercy is a talented violinist and a born leader. She led the THO students at the Brady Theatre during their performance with the Piano Guys. Mercy also plays piano and teachers private violin and piano lessons in the Greater Tulsa area.
Tulsa Honors Orchestra at the Tulsa PAC Williams Theatre, Spring 2021.
Pajama Day with Tulsa Honors Baroque, Tulsa PAC, Norman Theatre, Spring 2021.