Zephyr String Ensemble

Rebecca Darnall, violin

A native of Washington State, Vanessa is establishing herself in the Pacific Northwest as a versatile orchestral musician, chamber player, soloist, and educator.  She collaborates with orchestras across states, serving as Assistant Concertmaster of the Salem Symphony, first violinist with the Yakima Symphony, and regularly performing with groups including the Spokane Symphony, Auburn Symphony, Newport Symphony, and Vancouver Symphony.  In 2014, Vanessa was invited to tour with the Fairbanks Symphony to South Korea for the Gumi International Music Festival.  As a soloist and chamber musician, Vanessa has been seen performing with Cascadia Music’s Pipestone Orchestra and is a frequent guest artist to Twisp Work’s Spartan Project (Twisp, WA) and the Washington Allegro Vivaci Ensemble (Bellingham, WA). She was featured soloist with Central Chamber Orchestra, as well as the recipient of the 2013 Achievement in Live Performance award for her performance of Vaughn William’s Lark Ascending. As violinist of the Mundana Trio, Vanessa toured to New York City, placing second at the National level of the Music Teachers National Association Competition. As an educator, Vanessa is committed to sharing her passion and the discipline of musical practice through both her private studio and  El Sistema inspired programs, working with both Portland’s BRAVO Orchestras and Yakima’s Yakima Music En Accion (YAMA).  She is thrilled to be joining YAMA’s incredible team next year as a teaching artist.  Vanessa is a graduate of Central Washington University, her primary teachers have included Carrie Rehkopf-Michel and Denise Dillenbeck.  

Kara Hunnicutt, 'cello

Vanessa Moss, violin

Rebecca Darnall began her musical training at age four in traditional piano, and began violin lessons with Linda Peterson, an instructor at the Seattle Suzuki Institute, at age eight. She continued her studies at Central Washington University under the instruction of Carrie Rehkopf, and Heather Netz, earning her Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance. Rebecca continued on to obtain her Masters of Arts degree at Washington State University under the tutelage of Meredith Arksey. Rebecca is also certified through the state of Washington to be a substitute teacher in the Pullman School District, and is a frequent substitute for the music teachers in the district.  Rebecca began teaching in her teens, eager to learn pedagogy and begin her career under the guidance of Linda Peterson. Teaching is a primary passion for Rebecca, and she continues to pursue projects for the betterment of her studio. She strongly believes that while her students are learning, she should always be learning herself both as a teacher and as a performer. She spends a great deal of time researching various teaching methods, music for teaching, music history, and is currently working on a string theory project. Her students have participated in various festivals around the state and has had students accepted into various honors orchestras at both the secondary and collegiate level.  Orchestrally, Rebecca performs throughout the Northwest. She frequently performs as a substitute with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and Washington-Idaho Symphony, and in the past has been a substitute with the Walla Walla Symphony. She has been a member of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra since 2004, and has occasionally performed as Assistant Principal Second as well as Principal Second. Rebecca has also served as Principal Second Violin and Assistant Concertmaster for the Oregon East Symphony. She continues to participate in summer festivals around the state, and has served as concertmaster for all orchestras at Central Washington University and Washington State University. She also sat concertmaster for five years during her involvement with the Yakima Youth Symphony Orchestra, and participated in state-wide competitions during high school. As a soloist, she has played with all collegiate orchestras numerous times and in faculty recitals as a guest at both colleges she attended. In 2010, Rebecca won the Young Artist’s Competition for Oregon East Symphony and was chosen to solo the following season, performing Rimsky-Korsakov’s not often heard Concert Fantasy for Solo Violin and Orchestra. She has also been invited to solo as a guest with the Yakima Youth Symphony as well as the Sunnyside High School Orchestra, in Sunnyside Washington.  Rebecca also enjoys a varied music career, having trained vocally in opera for a number of years and has soloed with the Sunnyside High School Orchestra, singing “O Mio Babbino Caro”. She also participated in the opera Dido and Aeneas at Central Washington University under the instruction of Diane Theuson Reich. She has continued her piano skills since the age of four, and throughout her life has served as an accompanist in high school for various groups and festivals as well as an accompanist at both colleges. Rebecca continued her piano training at both colleges through private instruction. She also has had a minimal amount of training in jazz piano.  When she is not involved in her music career, Rebecca enjoys cooking, traveling, drawing/coloring, making clay figurines, and teaching Zumba.

Valerie Doerrfeld, 'cello

Photo and bio coming soon.     


Kara Hunnicutt, M.M., M.Ed., is the founder and director of Ellensburg School Orchestra program since 2007.  Beginning with only 25 students, the program has grown to over 100 students in the district’s five schools in the past ten years, providing string education for students from second grade through twelfth grade. Conductor of the Icicle Creek Youth Symphony since 2011, Hunnicutt was the founder of the Icicle Creek Academy Orchestra in 2005, and founded the music camp in 1988 that is now Icicle Creek Summer Symphony.  She conducts five Ellensburg school orchestras during the year, and conducts summer camp orchestras at Icicle and Central Washington University’s Prep Strings. She has been the principal cellist of the Yakima Symphony since 1990.  Solo appearances with Mid-Columbia, Wenatchee, Yakima and Lake Chelan Bach Fest orchestras have featured concertos by Dvorak, Schumann, Lalo, Bloch, Respighi, Walker and Haydn.  She taught orchestra classes in the Wenatchee school district 1999-2007, was on the faculty at Woods House Conservatory of Music in Wenatchee, and Icicle Creek Music Center in Leavenworth.  She was awarded the Outstanding Performing Artist Award by NCW Allied Arts and has performed with the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and the Spokane Symphony, and as principal cellist with the Wenatchee, Federal Way, Tacoma, Everett, Mid-Columbia and Orchestra Seattle symphonies. She attended Seattle Pacific University, Oberlin Conservatory, Music Academy of the West and the Aspen Music Festival.  Ms. Hunnicutt earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California with legendary cellists Gabor Rejto and Ronald Leonard, and a Master of Education from Central Washington University.  In March 2007 Kara premiered a new cello concerto, In A Time Of Peace, Three Songs for Cello and Orchestra by Dr. Gwyneth Walker in Richland with the Mid-Columbia Symphony.

Bret Smith, 'Cello

Barbara Riley, Violin/Viola

Jennifer Moultine, 'Cello

Jessica Jasper, viola

Stephanie Hsu, Violin/Viola

Denise Dillenbeck, violin

Lisa Rushton Smith, Violin/Viola

Dr. Bret Smith is Associate Professor in the Central Washington University Music Department.  A graduate of the University of Washington and the University of Michigan, he is a member of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra and faculty advisor of the CWU Preparatory Program. With wide experience in chamber music, orchestral and studio playing, he is also an avid multi-instrumentalist and may be seen in a variety of places with his electric bass, guitar, and banjo.  As conductor and arranger, he has collaborated on the Synergia Northwest benefit concert series, collaborating with some of the Northwest's most acclaimed contemporary rock and popular artists.



Jennifer Moultine is a teacher and performer living in Ellensburg, WA. Taking a rather winding path away from and back to Central Washington, Jen has studied music, performed throughout the Pacific Northwest, been a baker, lived in the jungles of Ecuador, managed a crisis hotline in Olympia, WA, studied public health and writing at The Evergreen State College, worked as a music librarian, and been a stay-at-home mom, among other things. Jen has been a member of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra since 1999, teaches privately in Ellensburg and Yakima, and joined Yakima Music en Accion, an El Sistema inspired music and social change program in Yakima, WA, as a Teaching Artist in January of 2014. Jen also plays baroque cello, performing regularly with the faculty of Central Washington University and other early music performers in CWU’s Musica Antiqua series.

Stephanie Lin Hsu is the Founding Director of Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA), a tuition-free social program based in Yakima, WA that is modeled after Venezuela's El Sistema. Based at Yakima’s Garfield Elementary School, YAMA uses daily, intensive orchestral training for at-risk children as a vehicle for healthy community-building and positive social development. Stephanie was trained through the New England Conservatory of Music's Sistema Fellows Program, an executive training program in non-profit strategy and in El Sistema pedagogy and philosophy. She trained at Sistema sites across Venezuela and throughout the U.S. before launching the YAMA program in January 2013. Prior to this, Stephanie worked as an educator and organizer in New York, serving as a member of the faculty at CITYterm at The Masters School, a lab school in Dobbs Ferry, New York and as a community organizer with Chinatown Youth Initiatives in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in Educational Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology from Swarthmore College. Her formal music education includes violin studies with William DePasquale, late Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Peggy Klinger of Hoff-Barthelson Music School, as well as chamber music studies with cellist David Geber and pianist Gerald Robbins of the Manhattan School of Music. Stephanie served as Concertmaster of the New York Youth Symphony in its 41st Carnegie Hall Season, and has received awards for her work as an artist and activist, including the Rosengarten String Scholarship through the New York Youth Symphony, Garrigues Music Scholarship at Swarthmore College, and the Edward Said / Audre Lorde Scholar-Activism Award. Stephanie currently performs as a violist of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra; as a member of La Cantina, an eclectic Latin music group; with Yakima’s Son Jarocho group Cazador; and, of course, with Garfield Elementary’s very own YAMA Orchestra.

Lisa Rushton Smith founded Zephyr String Ensemble and Violin Studio in 2011. She has served in many music administrative roles, including Yakima Symphony Orchestra (YSO) Personnel Manager, Aardvark String Quartet Manager, CWU Orchestra Manager/Librarian, and CWU Orchestra Festival Coordinator.  She was a player representative on the YSO Music Director Search Committee in 2010 and recently completed her term on the Ellensburg Arts Commission.  She is in her 2nd term as a player representative on the YSO orchestra committee and was delighted to be the 2014 CWU Prep Strings Summer Camp Director. Lisa also recently became President for the Kittitas Valley Music Education Parents (KVMEP).

     

Lisa received her Bachelor of Music from Central Washington University in 2002, where she was a Farrell Merit Scholar. While there, she studied with Carrie Rehkopf, then continued violin studies after graduation with Ronald Patterson and Denise Dillenbeck.  As a member of the Aardvark String Quartet, she started playing viola as well, and is heard on the 2007 CD "Tranquillo: A Northwest Celebration." Currently, Lisa teaches private violin and viola lessons in Ellensburg and continues to complete Suzuki teaching certification. A violinist with the YSO, she joined in 1998 as a scholarship student. Lisa has freelanced for several Pacific Northwest orchestras, including Wenatchee, Mid-Columbia, Everett Philharmonic, Oregon East, Walla Walla and Synergia Northwest symphonies.  

Barb Riley lives in Ellensburg, Washington and plays violin and viola in the Yakima Symphony Orchestra and the Zephyr String Ensemble as well as with her Celtic trio, Prairie Spring. She free-lanced for many years in Seattle, playing regularly at the Fifth Avenue and Paramount Theatres in musical productions and in pick-up orchestras for touring artists. Barbara also maintains a private studio of violin and viola students and directs the Early Beginners classes through the Preparatory Strings Department at Central Washington University in Ellensburg​.

    

Jessica Jasper has been a member of Spokane Symphony since the 2012-2013 season.  She has also played with Northwest Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra based in the Seattle area, since 2013.  She is proud to have recently earned her Master’s degree in viola performance from the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Korey Konkol.  During her time there, she performed Benjamin Britten's Lachrymae with the University of Minnesota orchestra and studied chamber music with the Parker Quartet and Käthe Jarke – the former cellist of the Shanghai String Quartet.  She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance from Central Washington University.  During her time there she won the College of Arts and Humanities Award for Live Music Performance, the Tom Gause Award for Music Performance and first place in the Helen Crowe Snelling music scholarship competition. In the summer of 2010 she studied abroad in Vienna, Austria and performed solo recitals as part of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars program.  A native of the Seattle area, Jessica recently bought a home in Cle Elum, WA, and has a private violin and viola studio there.  She is enjoying newlywed life with her husband, violist Tim Betts, and their dog, Marty.

Denise Dillenbeck has played for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Pennsylvania Ballet Theater, the Philly Pops, and many other orchestras across the U.S. She is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Tacoma Symphony. As a member of the Oregon Symphony, she was a featured soloist for several concerts, and has served as concertmaster for orchestras across the country and in England. As a member of new music group Third Angle, she gave world premiere performances of works by many of today's leading composers. She was also the Lead Teaching Artist in the Philadelphia Orchestra's Community Partnership Program, where she led urban elementary school students in experiential music learning, and directed workshops on aesthetic education for classroom teachers and music educators.


 Denise formed the Areté Trio with Oregon Symphony principal cello Nancy Ives and pianist John Pickett. She has performed and coached chamber music on concert series and at festivals around the country and abroad, such as the American Church of Paris, Westminster Choir College, Bravo Summer String Institute, Max Aronoff Viola Institute, the Quartet Program at Bucknell University, and Central Washington University. She has recorded solo and chamber works for the Albion and KOCH International labels. She holds a Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory where she studied with James Buswell, and a Master of Music from the University of Minnesota where she was Sally O'Reilly's teaching assistant and worked with Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis. She was a fellow at Aspen, dean of Charles Castleman's Quartet Program, program coordinator at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Strings International Music Festival, and has played for the Oregon Bach Festival, Ernest Bloch Festival, Chautauqua Music Institute, Musicorda, and the International Congress of Strings. The San Francisco Chronicle hails her playing as "simply first-rate".
Meet Our Musicians