Board & Staff

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

Board of Directors


  • J. C. Beckstrand, Willis Towers Watson
  • Tami Dokken, MoneyGram International*
    Past President
  • David Zoll, Lockridge Grindal Nauen
    Vice President
  • Douglas Parish, Community Volunteer
  • Julia Jenson, Catholic Charities*


  • Jeff Benjamin, The Schwan Food Company
  • Carolyn Egeberg, The Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations
  • Andrew Eklund, Ciceron*
  • Camille Chang Gilmore, Boston Scientific
  • Hyun Mee Graves, General Mills
  • Maurice Holloman, IMRIS
  • Carl Crosby Lehmann, St. Olaf College
  • Rich May, Jr., May Advertising and Design, Inc*
  • Laura Newinski, KPMG
  • Cathy Schmidt, Surfacequest*
  • Ernest van Panhuys, Cargill Inc.

*GTCYS alumni

Artistic Staff

Mark Russell Smith

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

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 »

Kent Musser

Kent Musser, Sinfonia Conductor

Mr. Musser has taught orchestra at Stillwater Junior High School since 2001 and 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 »

sm-_0001_Dan Mollick1

Dan Mollick, Concertino Conductor

Mr. Mollick has taught a wide range of ages from elementary to high school including Minneapolis Schools, Bloomington Schools, Manhattan Beach Schools, and Minnetonka Schools. He currently teaches orchestra at Valley View Middle School in Edina and frequently performs in the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra cello section. Read More »

Barb Flooding

Barbara Flooding, Camerata Conductor

Ms. Flooding recently retired as orchestra teacher at Valley View Middle School in Edina. Her teaching career began at St. Cloud Apollo High School and North Junior High School, where she directed the Apollo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia, as well as two junior high orchestras. 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 »

Gary Wolfman

Gary Wolfman, Philharmonic Conductor

Before joining GTCYS in 2012, Mr. Wolfman was the Music Director for the youth symphony program of the Fox Valley Symphony located in Appleton, WI. For many years, Mr. Wolfman taught hundreds of students in the orchestra programs at Appleton North and West High Schools, where he was the recipient of the High School Educator of the Year for the school district. Read More »

Ernesto Estigarrabia, Harmony Violin Teaching Artist

Ernesto Estigarribia serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Community Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO). He is working towards a doctoral degree in Orchestral Conducting, studying with Mark Russell Smith at the University of Minnesota where he is a recipient of the James Sample fellowship. Read More »

Yumhali García, Harmony Violin Teaching Artist

Yumhali García earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance in the Conservatorio de Las Rosas (Morelia, Mexico). His Master’s Degree was received at Western Michigan University where he was a student of Renata Knific. During his musical career, Yumhali has been awarded with several distinctions. 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 »

Brittany Beckmann, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Brittany manages GTCYS’ digital media, electronic communications, advertising outlets, and public relations. Prior to her time at GTCYS, she worked as an inbound marketing specialist for a manufacturer in Wisconsin. Read More »

Miranda Bryan

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 »

Alexander Hake, Operations Manager

Alex manages the logistical details of GTCYS’ orchestral activities, including rehearsals, concerts, retreats, auditions, and other student activities. He also oversees GTCYS’ instrument inventory and manages the transportation of all equipment for orchestral engagements. 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 »

Danielle Kincs, Development Manager

Danielle is responsible for grant writing and the hands-on coordination of annual fund activities and special events to support GTCYS’ ongoing growth and strategic initiatives so that more young people have access to music instruction. Read More »

gracie-millerGracie Miller, Community Engagement Coordinator

Gracie coordinates GTCYS’ newest initiative, a violin instruction program for 3rd graders at Riverview Elementary School in St. Paul. She handles community engagement for GTCYS on the West Side such as concert promotion and family events. Read More »

Paul Schimming, 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 »


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