The notes we play and the emotion they evoke are at the core of our practice. We are a group of self-driven musicians whose passion speaks to the soul. We feel humbled to share our experiences and dedication through the magic of live performance.
Paul Sonner is Concertmaster of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra as well as Traverse Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his performance with the GLCO, he is Instructor of Violin at the Interlochen Arts Academy.
Formerly Principal Second Violin and Associate Concertmaster of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, he has held positions of first violin in the Birmingham String Quartet, solo violin for Capriccio Concerts, violin in the Amabile Trio, and concertmaster for many other venues. He continues to be a featured soloist and has participated in a number of festivals including the Ojai (CA) Festival Orchestra and Des Moines Metro Opera. Mr. Sonner has served as Concertmaster and Soloist for the Bermuda (UK) Bach Festival as well as the Manitou (MI) Music Festival. He has recorded, as a “session” violinist and with the ASO, for a number of studios and labels in Los Angeles, Chicago, Birmingham and Muscle Shoals as well as for PBS and NPR.
His principal teachers were soloist Alice Shoenfeld and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Samuel Magad. Mr. Sonner studied in the preparatory department of the University of Southern California and has a degree in violin performance from Northwestern University (IL).
Violinist, violist, conductor and professor Dr. Eric Lawson has had a varied career in performance and education. Past performances as a conductor, soloist and lecturer have taken him to Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Romania and Scandinavia. Before returning to his home state of Michigan, he was based in North Dakota where, in addition to serving as a violin instructor at Bismarck State College, Jamestown College, and the University of Mary, he was also concertmaster of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and established the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony. Other former academic appointments have included Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Central College in Pella, Iowa and the University of North Dakota where he founded the string program and the UND Chamber Orchestra.
Here in Michigan, Dr. Lawson as been very active with the Alpena Symphony Orchestra as its concertmaster, conductor and president of the board. He also performs with many other orchestras in Northern Michigan and participates in the Traverse Symphony as a first violinist, in the Gaylord Symphony as concertmaster and as assistant concertmaster in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.
And finally, in what has been one of the most important experiences of his life outside of music, he also served almost four years as an Alpena County Commissioner, representing Ossineke and Sanborn Townships. In addition to serving as chair of the Salary and Personnel Committee, he also served on the Airport, Ambulance, District Court, Circuit Court Management and Jail Committees. He also represented Alpena County in Gaylord with the Northern Michigan Regional Entity Substance Use Disorder Board and continues to serve on the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Board. Dr. Lawson resides in Ossineke with his wife and two children.
Kaylee is a first violinist with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra as well as a core member of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. As a Traverse City native, she studied with Beth Weston and played with the Traverse Youth Symphony Orchestra before attending high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy, studying with Paul Sonner. She continued violin studies with Dmitri Berlinsky at Michigan State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy. Other teachers include Blair Milton and I-Fu Wang.
She has been playing at weddings and other events throughout Michigan as a soloist and chamber musician for more than 12 years. She is active as a violinist for musicals, churches, and other events around Michigan. She has also played as a member of the MSU Symphony Orchestra and as a substitute violinist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. Kaylee maintains a violin studio from her home in Traverse City.
While at MSU, Kaylee discovered that in studying and practicing music therapy she could combine her love of music with her desire to assist those with special needs. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Music therapy at MSU in 2011, graduating with honors. She traveled to Atlanta, GA to do her music therapy internship in the Fulton County School System working with self-contained special education classes. A resident of Traverse City, MI, Kaylee was the music therapist at Children’s Therapy Corner in Traverse City before the birth of her first daughter in 2014.
In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys spending time with her husband Joe and their four children. She loves to sail on Elk Lake during the summer and to curl up with a good book on the porch swing.
Kaylee’s website is: www.erlewein.com
Cheryl received her bachelors degree in violin performance from Michigan State University and masters degree from New England Conservatory of Music. Influential teachers include Dr. Morris Hochberg, Dr. Walter Verdehr and Masuko Ushioda. She also studied with the Juilliard String Quartet.
While at MSU, she was concertmaster, won a special scholarship to play with the Lansing Symphony and subbed with the Grand Rapids Symphony. During grad school, Cheryl won a position in the Rhode Island Philharmonic, played in the Worcester, Marlboro and Boston Academy of Music orchestras.
Upon graduation, Cheryl won a full time position in the Florida Symphony Orchestra. and was a contracted member of the orchestra for 9 years.
After returning to MI, Cheryl became a freelance musician with some favorite gigs being long runs of Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She’s a member of the Fox Theater Orchestra and have performed often at the Fisher Theater, Michigan Opera Theater, DTE, Music Hall and The Palace.
Cheryl has been concertmaster of the Grosse Pointe Symphony, the Macomb Symphony, the Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra, and Livonia Symphony. She’s currently an assistant concertmaster of the Oakland Symphony and play with the Rochester Symphony, Motor City Symphony, the Traverse Symphony and Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.
Cheryl has maintained a private teaching studio since 1973 teaching both violin and viola.
Beth Weston’s musical journey began at age 7 with private instruction on the violin and piano. By age 14, she began playing in the TSO, and later on studied with Paul Statsky at Interlochen Arts Academy. Desiring to become a professional musician, she obtained a performance degree from Western Michigan University. While there, she was a full-time member of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Concertmaster of WMU Orchestra, and also excelled in music composition and conducting. After college, Ms. Weston returned to her native Traverse City, rejoined the TSO and established a private studio.
Currently Principal Violinist with the TSO, Assistant Concertmaster of Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, Concertmaster of the Gaylord Chamber Orchestra, she also performs regularly as an ensemble member of the Weston String Ensemble for whom she also arranges music. She and her husband Steve have two children, Stephanie and Ben and live in Traverse City.
Linda Puroff Tolias received her BM in Viola and Music Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her MM in Viola Performance from Wayne State University. Her post graduate work was with Professor Paul Doktor of the Juilliard School. Linda has performed within the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions, and was Principal viola in the Michigan Opera Theatre orchestra. She performs on both viola and violin and has accompanied such acclaimed talents as Tony Bennett, Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr. and Pavarotti. For her musical talents as an educator, she earned the prestigious Music Educator of the Year for the City of Dearborn in 1998. Currently Linda performs on Viola in the Traverse Symphony Orchestra , and as Assistant Principal 2nd Violin in GLCO.
Maggie is one of the original and founding members of GLCO. She was 9 when she started playing the violin, and 13 when she joined the Plymouth Symphony. Through the years, she has studied with several teachers including Won-Bin Yim from Julliard and Rosemary Malocsay from Interlochen Arts Academy.
Lorna has been a GLCO member since the second concert, first season, 19 years ago. She currently lives in Cheboygan but her home town is Plymouth MI.
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and in 2010 received a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Central Michigan University. In 2005, I took a position as Orchestra Director for the Fort Dodge Area School’s in Iowa and in 2007 moved to northern Michigan to teach strings at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, MI with the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program. Currently own and manage Boyne Co-op True Value Hardware in Boyne City, MI.
Ann Marie is a violinist and have been playing with GLCO on and off for several years. My first concert was with Matt Hazelwood shortly before his untimely passing. I had the pleasure of joining the orchestra and sponsors last August on the European tour. I currently hail from Farmington, Michigan. In addition to playing and teaching music, I am a certified Integral coach.
Anne Schoelles has been a GLCO member for 10 years and is a retired music educator, and is a dog trainer as well as a musician.
A native of Wauseon, Ohio, Elizabeth Bert was born into a musical family. Her father, John Merrill, sister, Mary Nieuwenhuis, brother in law Bruce Nieuwenhuis, and daughter, Deanna Erwin, are all professional musicians. She began piano studies at age 7, and cello studies at age 10 under the tutelage of famed string educator Elizabeth Green. She has also studied cello with Louis Potter, Peter Howard and Paul Katz. She attended Michigan State University as a cello performance major, and subsequently transferred to the University of Toledo to finish her Bachelors of Education in Instrumental Music Education, and her Masters degree in Guidance and Counseling. She retired after 25 years as a guidance counselor with the Interlochen Arts Academy, but continued in education for the next 8 years with the Traverse City Public Schools as an elementary and middle school string teacher.
Currently Ms. Bert is Principal Cello with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, serving in that position for 40 years. She also serves as Principal Cello with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, and is a member of the cello section with the Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra. She also performs regularly with the Marquette and the Sault Saint Marie Symphony Orchestras.
She is also the cellist with the Cummings Quartet and is a cello instructor for the Gerber String program.
She has also performed with the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. In addition she has played with the Northwood and Midland Symphony Orchestras, as well as 15 years with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra as well as currently performing regularly in the Northern Michigan area.
Marga Eickholt joined the GLCO in the Fall of 2002 after moving to the area from Saginaw, Michigan where she played in the Saginaw Symphony, later renamed to the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, from 1976 – 2002.
In her free time she’s found riding her Indian Motorcycle with sister, Sue McRae (Bass).
Kathleen received both her Bachelor and Masters’ degrees from Michigan State University. She is a retired orchestra teacher, having taught for 33 years in the state of Michigan, 32 years in the Bloomfield Hills Schools. She performed for 15+ years with the Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra, maintained an active private cello studio, currently performs with local churches and is a member of the Lakes String Quartet. She was thrilled to travel with the GLCO to Europe in 2017, and has been a member of the cello section since 2012. During the winter months, she is a member of the Villages Pops Orchestra. She has also worked as a clinician and adjudicator for string programs in the metro Detroit area, and received the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Emeritus award in 2010. She resides in West Bloomfield with husband Ralph, loves to travel, and is an avid golfer!
Gary Gatzke has held the principal double bass position with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra since 2006. In addition to his artistic work, Gary serves as the Interim Executive Director, while also continuing as Director of Development working with concert patrons, financial supporters, volunteers as well as the internal creative team at the Symphony.
A native of northern Michigan, Gary studied double bass in the Traverse City Area Public School system, Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy. Gary then continued his studies at The Juilliard School in New York City, completing his Bachelor of Music degree in 2002 and his Master of Music degree in 2004.
In 2004, Gary joined Juilliard’s development team in the office of national advancement and alumni relations, where he worked until returning to northwest Michigan in 2006 to assume the role of Director of Alumni Engagement at Interlochen Center for the Arts (2006-2013).
Gary is a private instructor of cello and double bass and collaborates with various performing ensembles across northwest lower Michigan.
Bonnietta Benn is a founding member and principal flutist of the GLCO. She has soloed with the orchestra several times and has also been very active behind the scenes, including serving two terms as an orchestra representative board member. As a result of her many years of volunteering in several capacities, she received the Pattengale Volunteer Award.
Bonnietta graduated from Western Michigan University as a music education major, was in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the KSO Woodwind Quintet, and was the flute instructor on the music faculty at Kalamazoo College. She was a long time member of both the Baroquen Consort and the Straits Area Concert Band. She co-founded the Northern Michigan Flute Choir. Presently Bonnietta plays in the Fillmore Wind Band and the Florence Community Band and is a private flute instructor.
Grace attended Western Michigan University where she studied flute with Dr. Charles Osborne, and earned a degree in Music Therapy. Grace performs as second chair flute with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Principal flute with the Gaylord Community Orchestra. She also enjoys performing with the Northern Michigan Flute Choir, Gaylord Community Band, Pit Orchestra for Gaylord Community Productions, and providing special music for church services. Grace teaches private flute and piano lessons at the Gaylord Community Music School. In addition to sharing her love of music, Grace is employed by North Country Community Mental Health, where she assesses the support needs of adults with developmental disabilities in six northern Michigan counties.
Lynn Hansen received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Music Education from the University of Michigan. After two years with the Albion (MI) High School Bands she moved to Traverse City where she served as band conductor at West Junior High School for twenty-two years. With a Master degree in Education Administration from Central Michigan University Lynn continued to share her commitment and passion for all things kid-related as one of WJH’s principals for the next eleven years, retiring in 2012.
Because making music feeds her soul, so Lynn has continued to perform on oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn throughout her career. The 2018-2019 season marks her 38th year with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra and her sixth year with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra. Lynn also enjoys playing great music with good friends in the Baroque on Beaver Island Festival Orchestra. She is especially proud to have shared both the classroom and the stage with many of her former students.
Tim Topolewski, a native of Michigan is a Professor Emeritus from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. He is a published author, arranger and conductor who has lectured and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and Mexico. After retiring is 2007 he returned to Michigan where he spends his free time working on his wood lathe. “Turning wood gives new life to everyday items that may otherwise end up in a land fill.”
Evie Cunningham, bassoonist, is a graduate from Charles Stewart Mott Nursing Program
Following retirement as an OR Nursing in 1996, she and her husband tend a small hobby farm in Ellsworth where they raise show rabbits, Kinder goats and many breeds of chickens. They also maintain a large garden and have started raising honey bees. Tom and Evie play in the East Jordan Community Band, Charlevoix Summer Band and sing in their church choir. They were also long time members of the National Cherry Festival 2nd Time Around marching Band.
Bev is a founding member of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and has performed with them every season. She has also been a member of the Muncie Symphony, the Kalamazoo Symphony, the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and the Encore Winds. She currently also performs with the Northern Michigan Brass Band and the Northern Symphonic Wind Ensemble. She lives in Bellaire, Michigan, where she is an avid gardener.
Brian Carter has been a participant and soloist in the Vianden International Chamber Music Festival in Vianden Luxembourg, the Ischia Chamber Music Festival in Italy, the White Lake Music Festival in Montague and Baroque on Beaver Music Festival on Beaver Island. Currently principal Horn of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, and Gaylord Community Orchestra, he also is a member of the Sault Symphony Orchestra and Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra. A very active chamber musician he also performs with the Marquette S.O. Brass Quintet and CANUSA wind quintet . In addition to his busy performing schedule he is also Music Director of the Tawas Community Concert Band in Tawas Michigan.
Vern is a practicing Ophthalmologist and has been an orchestra member since 2012. He also enjoys skiing, bicycling, and visits to Shanghai.
Ed Bahr, Professor Emeritus from Delta State University and currently GLCO principal trombone, principal euphonium with Northern Michigan Brass Band and Encore Band (Traverse City. Ed is also a member of the International Trombone Association and an author, lecturer, and clinician.
Having lived in the Detroit area prior to moving to Traverse City, Ward Lamphere played trombone for 35 years with the highly acclaimed Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra (and the BBSO Brass Quintet) and the popular Motor City Brass Band. He also performed with many leading pop artists, including the Moody Blues (on three occasions), Henry Mancini, Mitch Miller, Yanni, Art Garfunkle, Neil Sedaka, and Smokey Robinson.
Ward taught trombone and euphonium privately for several years, serving students primarily in the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills school systems. He is currently a member of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Traverse City’s Encore Winds Concert Band.
An experienced choral singer, Ward was a member of several top professional choral groups, including the Detroit Choral Artists and the Dertroit Symphony Chorus, where he was priviledged to have performed with some of the world’s great conductors and soloists. Currently he sings with the Canticum Novum choir at Northwest Michigan College. He is founder and former Director of the Michigan District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is currently Board President of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. He is a retired marketing executive at General Motors and holds BA and an MBA degrees from Michigan State University.
Andre has performed with the GLCO since 2006, grew up in Traverse City, MI, and currently lives in Boston, MA. He is a Percussionist with the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, FL, Percussion Instructor for the Boston College Bands Department, and is the Treasurer of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, and Central Michigan University. In his spare time Andre can be found hiking extensively in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and cooking with his wife, Angela Kim. zildjian.com/artists/andre-sonner
Tim Mocny is a performer, educator, and arranger based in mid-Michigan. He is the principal percussionist for the Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra, the co-principal percussionist for the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, and the section percussionist with the Saginaw Bay Symphony. He has performed as a substitute with the Traverse Symphony, the Midland Symphony, the Michigan Sinfonietta, the Flint Symphony, and the Lansing Symphony. In the educational sphere, Tim coaches the drumline of the Chippewa Marching Band at Central Michigan University, and maintains a studio of over 40 private students at B’s Music Shop in Mt. Pleasant, where he also serves as the coordinator of the lesson and recital program. He also enjoys working with area schools, most recently Gladwin and Breckenridge. Finally, he creates all of the percussion arrangements for the Chippewa Marching Band. His hobbies include long-distance running, gardening, fixing his vehicles and home, and spending time with his wife and four children.
Cynda Coleman began playing piano at a young age. She started accompanying school choirs and moved onto musicals during junior high and high school. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Augustana University in biology and German. For 30+ years she has participated in church worship services and is currently serving as pianist at the First Presbyterian Church in Harbor Springs. Cynda has performed over the past several years with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and currently serves as the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra Chorus pianist. She is also the pianist for the Northern Michigan Chorale and plays in the pit orchestra for the Charlevoix Middle/High School musical productions. With her two children, Christopher and Caleigh, Cynda is involved in the Harbor Springs performing arts program and recently started as the pianist for the Great Lakes Treble Choir.
Maureen received her bachelor of music degree from Western Michigan University and taught for five years before becoming an academic librarian. In 2014 after retiring from Lake Superior State University, Maureen and her husband John moved to Petoskey where she is active in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, the Little Traverse Choral Society, and as a substitute organist in the area. Maureen has sung leads in numerous Gilbert and Sullivan productions in Sault Ste. Marie, as well as roles in productions of the Solo Opera, including The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, and The Marriage of Figaro.
Dr. Robert Pattengale, music professor emeritus, retired from Minnesota State University, Moorhead in 1997. Dr. Pattengale taught at MSUM for 29 years, during which he chaired the Music Department for 17 years. A musicologist by discipline, (Master of Music and Ph.D., Musicology, University of Michigan) Pattengale directed graduate courses in music history, performed as harpsichordist with the faculty baroque members. He provided the program notes and performed as harpsichordist with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years. Pattengale was awarded the distinction of being named the Burlington Northern Professor of the Year in 1992 at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.
In 2001 Pattengale worked with colleagues to create the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, now in its 17thseason bringing orchestral music to northern Michigna. He served at different times as the Executive Director, Orchestra Manager, Administrative Director (volunteer Executive Director), Co-Artistic Direcor, and Board Member. He is presently serving as an advisor to the Board of Trustees. He continues to provide program notes, sing in the GLCO Chorus, and perform on harpsichord with the GLCO.
In 2005 the Crooked Tree Art Center, Petoskey, Michigan, Presented Pattengale with an individual “eddi” award for his contributions to the arts community. The Board of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra created the “Pattengale Award” in 2006 in recognition of this volunteer efforts on the orchestra’s behalf.
Joan Raeburn Holland is Instructor of Harp for the Interlochen Arts Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp. She is principal harp for the Midland Symphony Orchestra and co-principal of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to her position at IAA, she was principal harp for the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Ballet Orchestra. She acted as substitute harpist for the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras and the Ohio Chamber Orchestra.
An active chamber musician, Ms. Holland frequently performs with her IAA colleagues and has participated in recital programs for the regional and national conventions of the American Harp Society. She performed as guest recitalist for the Philadelphia and Toledo AHS chapters, and as a chamber musician for the World Harp Congress and the International Viola Congress.Concerto performances include collaboration with the Midland Symphony Chamber Orchestra; the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra; the Traverse Symphony Orchestra; the Sault Symphony; the Bach Festival in Lexington, MI and the Interlochen Arts Academy String orchestra.
Ms. Raeburn Holland and her husband, David Holland, have a family of two children, Jennifer and John.