Jesus Lopez began his woodwind studies in 2006 on the Clarinet and Saxophone and soon after Oboe, Flute, and Bassoon. In his younger scholastic years, Jesus participated in numerous Solo and Ensemble festivals, All-County, All-State ensembles. He has also participated in the Music for All concert festival in 2011, Tri-State Festival in 2013, and The International Clarinet Association “ClarinetFest” appearing with the “Licorice Sticks Clarinet Orchestra”. Jesus has extensive experience playing in musical productions, appearing in shows including Les Miserable, Guys and Dolls, Miss Saigon, and Chicago - which he premiered with on the China Tour. Jesus studied Clarinet Performance at Valencia College and now studies at Rollins College, becoming very proficient in multiple genres of music. Lopez has studied under Eric Cole, Vanessa Vache, and Tom Dietz for woodwind studies and conducting with Dr. John Sinclair. He now regularly performs in various ensembles, ranging from orchestras to contemporary flamenco. Jesus also actively works with a multitude of youth, middle, and high school music programs in the Central Florida area, whether it be working with the ensembles or adjudicating.
Antonio Figueroa is the current Vice President of Orlando Youth Chamber Ensembles and the Director of Bands at Edgewater High School - the "Pride of College Park". Figueroa received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Bethune-Cookman University, completing his internship at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, FL under the direction of Dr. Jack Eaddy. Prior to arriving at Edgewater High School, Figueroa spent 5 years at Meadow Woods Middle School, growing a thriving performing arts program, along with receiving numerous awards and Superiors at the District Level. Antonio is also a member of various professional organizations, including the Florida Music Education Association, the National Association for Music Educators, and Edgewater’s Faculty Advisory Committee.
Chris King is a professional trumpet player in Central Florida. He is a musician for Epcot with Disney's Candlelight Processional, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Live!; and Universal Studios with the Studio Brass Band, and has played with artists such as Hank Williams Jr, Alan Parsons Project, Béla Fleck, Rocktopia (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and Little River Band on stage and national/international television performances on ABC, NBC, ESPN, PBS, TBN, CW, Telemundo & Univision. Chris' students have been accepted for state and national honor bands and competitions such as Florida All State Bands/Orchestras, The Macy's Great
American Marching Band, The US Army All-American Marching Band, National Association of Music Educators (NAfME) Orchestra, The National Trumpet Competition, and so on. In the past, Chris has done composing and arranging for groups ranging from soloists to full orchestras with choir; having some of his writing featured on the Today Show. He is formerly principal trumpet of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in Lakeland, FL. He has recorded with numerous popular musical acts for jazz, reggae, and death metal albums. Chris is also the owner and head repair technician for CK Brassworks, a musical instrument repair business located in Winter Garden, FL. Chris attended Rollins College for his B.A in music
Alyssa Walker serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Orlando Youth Chamber Ensemble. She has been a pillar in building up the organization since 2018. Alyssa is dedicated to our faculty and interns, as well as our community members, to ensure that O.Y.C.E. creates positive and impactful music opportunities for our students. She is a senior music performance major at Rollins College in the flute studio of Dr. Katie Mess, and holds an Associate of Arts degree from Valencia College where she studied with flutist Michelle Territo. In addition to her academic and performance studies, Alyssa currently serves as Sergeant at Arms for the Lambda Iota chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and skill set and has taught in a variety of settings, including as a private lesson instructor, a woodwind marching band technician, and clinician for Orange County Public Schools band programs. Through these experiences, she has developed a passion for studying and performing works by women and composers of color. Alyssa plans to continue pursuing her passion for music with a career as a professional flutist and middle school band director.
Leo Lamos is a product of Orange County Public Schools and went on to get his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Central Florida. He has a teaching career that spans seventeen years teaching both middle school and high school and is currently the director of bands at Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. Under his direction, the band has consistently received superior ratings at district and state performance assessments. The Florida Bandmasters Association awarded the band the Otto J. Kraushaar Award for Excellence in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017 as well as the Lewis Jones award in 2018. In 2018 the band had the honor to perform at the UCF Wind Band Invitational and in 2019 was selected to perform at the Orlando Regional Music for All Festival held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The marching band has made appearances at State Championship finals in 2017 and 2018 and as a finalist at the 2018 Bands of America Regional in Orlando, Florida. As conductor of the musical theatre orchestra, the pit was awarded best orchestra by the Florida Cappies in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016 and received the Dr. Phillips Center School of the Arts Applause Awards for outstanding orchestra in 2017 and 2019.
In 2013, House of Representatives Congressman Alan Grayson entered Mr. Lamos into the congressional record for the Library of Congress and awarded him a certificate of special congressional recognition for outstanding service to the community of Florida’s Ninth Congressional District for his dedication and service to his students.
Mr. Lamos holds affiliations with several professional organizations including Phi MU Alpha, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Education Association, National Association for Music Education, and most recently serves as a consultant of educational outreach for the Orlando Youth Chamber Ensemble.
Katie Mess is active as a performer in the Central Florida area in orchestral, chamber, and solo settings. A Florida native, she is Second Flute of the Bach Festival Orchestra of Winter Park and has also been heard with Disney's EPCOT Candlelight Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Orlando Sings, Opera Orlando, and the Ocala Symphony, among others. An avid proponent of new music, Katie has presented premiere performances for groups such as the Central Florida Composers Forum, the Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, The Vienna Summer Music Festival, and the Colorado New Music Ensemble at CU Boulder- of which she was a founding member. She has also composed several works for solo flute and arranged works for flute ensemble. As a soloist, Katie has been featured on the Bach Festival recital series "Bach @ the Alfond", performed and presented at the National Flute Association and Florida Flute Association annual conventions, and regularly appears on Rollins College faculty concerts. She holds degrees in flute performance and music theory from Rollins College (BA), the University of Colorado at Boulder (MM), the University of Central Florida (MA), and the University of Florida (DMA) where she also completed a cognate in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology with a focus on injury prevention for musicians. Her primary instructors in flute are Kristen Stoner, Robin Etter, and Nora Lee Garcia. In addition to performance engagements, Katie serves as adjunct instructor of flute at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fl, and Seminole State College in Sanford, Fl, as well as maintaining a private studio.
Christian Ricketts is a clarinetist, teacher, conductor, ensemble director, and a product of Broward County, FL. He received BA in Music Education from Stetson University, where he studied under Dr. Lynn Musco and Dr. Jessica Hall Speak. During his time at Stetson, Christian has worked with many students across the Central Florida area as a clinician and chamber music coach. He has served as staff for the Stetson University Clarinet Clinic for the past few years. He has also been a selected to play in masterclasses over the past several years, including the 2017 Clarinetfest that was held in Orlando. He is currently the Director of Bands at Millennium Middle School in Sanford, FL. He is very excited to bring his love of music and clarinet to this organization!
Charles Hafner is currently the band and orchestra director at College Park Middle School in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Hafner received his B.A. degree in Music from Rollins College and studied clarinet under Patrick Graham and Erik Cole. Mr. Hafner has led the instrumental music program at his school to 250 students, which is close to a third of the total student population. He also teaches marching band at Edgewater High School. He has had many experiences playing clarinet with various ensembles, orchestras, and musical productions, including the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park Orchestra. A product of OCPS schools, he is proud to serve the community and provide musical opportunities for all students in the community.
Born and raised in Cape Coral, Florida, Terra Childs began playing saxophone at the age of 14. She attended North Fort Myers High School Center for Arts and Media where she performed in concert, jazz, marching, quartet, and pit orchestra ensembles. Ms.Childs then went on to attend the University of Central Florida pursuing her Bachelors in Music Education which she will complete in the Spring of 2023. She has performed with the UCF Symphonic Band, Jazz 2, Wind Ensemble, Marching Knights, and Saxophone Choir. Ms.Childs has been teaching music privately in the form of lessons as well as publicly since 2019 with schools including Rockledge High School, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, and Olympia High School where she held positions of Woodwind and Visual instructors for their marching band programs.
Vanegas is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator residing in Orlando, Florida. Vanegas has been teaching and performing as a bassist/percussionist for over 10 years in Florida and has spent several years touring the nation with an original funk/rock band. Over his career, he has performed and recorded for The Learning Channel (TLC) and with several musical artists including Nicholas Marks, Kaleigh Baker, and singer-songwriter Laney Jones. In 2014, his original act, The Groove Orient, won the Orlando Weekly's Readers' Choice award for Best Experimental Act, and then in 2015 and 2017, voted Best Jazz Act. In 2022, his jazz quartet, focusing on music for bass and mallet percussion, was nominated for Best Jazz Act. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Music at Seminole State College of Florida, and will be leading the OYCE Jazz Workshop in the fall of 2022. Vanegas’ professional experiences include teaching elementary science and music; art and music for senior citizens with cognitive impairments; and instruction for guitar, ukulele, bass, piano and music theory. He loves the music of George Benson, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Marc Anthony.
Robert Herrera has spent most of his life in Orlando, where he first began playing euphonium in the 6th grade at Freedom Middle School. He continued his involvement with music at Freedom High School, where he then went on to get his A.A. in Music Performance from Valencia College. After graduating from Valencia, he went on to pursue a degree in Music Education
from the University of Central Florida. During his time there, he performed with the Concert Band, University Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and the Tuba Euphonium Ensemble. During his time as a student, he actively taught private lessons, and was a performing member with the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. Robert has been working as a music and visual instructor for numerous high school programs in the Orlando area since 2014, teaching at programs such as University High School, Oviedo High School, and Olympia High School. He also has been an active instructor for Drum Corps International, most recently with The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps for the 2022 season. He is excited to begin his time with OYCE and is looking
forward to sharing his love and passion for music!
Daniel Cortes is the founder, executive director, and conductor of Symphonic Underground (2018-Present), an organization dedicated to providing audiences with an accessible gateway to the classical world by programming music from video games and movies. He has been playing the viola for almost 25 years (B.M. Stetson University 2008 in the studio of Jesus Alfonzo, M.M. Western Michigan University 2012 as Igor Fedotov’s graduate assistant) and is trained in a variety of styles both inside and outside of the traditional classical curriculum. He served as principal violist throughout the entirety of his collegiate studies and continues to be actively involved with orchestras and chamber ensembles in the surprisingly robust Floridian arts scene.
Since beginning his freelancing career in 2004, he has performed with dozens of organizations around the nation such as Florida Orchestra, Orlando Opera, Orlando Contemporary Chamber Orchestra, Opera del Sol, Alterity Chamber Orchestra, Brevard Symphony, Florida Lakes Symphony, Villages Philharmonic, Space Coast Symphony, Punta Gorda Symphony, Florida Rock Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony, Arcus Chamber Orchestra,Southwest Michigan Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, Dearborn Symphony, Traverse City Symphony, and several others. Noteworthy engagements include (but are not limited to) appearances with Mannheim Steamroller, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Weird Al, The Eagles, The Who, The Beach Boys, Electric Light Orchestra, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Kristin Chenoweth, Arnie Roth, Paquito d’Rivera, Johnny Mathis, Nelly, Journey’s Jonathan Cain, Video Games Live, George Benson, Little River Band, Cirque Musica, BT, Bernadette Peters, Styx, Game of Thrones Live, Pokémon Symphonic Evolution, Michael Bolton, Alan Parsons Project, Frankie Valli, Irish Tenors, Clay Aiken, Jackie Evancho, Rocktopia, and Roy Orbison’s 3D hologram.
He was privileged to study chamber music with members from Cuarteto Rios Reyna, Juilliard Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Harlem Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, Amadeus Quartet, Enzo Quartet, Pacifica Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Cavani String Quartet, Harlem Quartet, Beaux Arts Trio, and the Takacs Quartet, among others. In the summer of 2008, he was invited to play a series of chamber concerts at the William Walton Estate “La Mortella” in Italy, where he had the honor of receiving a signed participation certificate signed by Lady Walton.
It is his life’s mission to honor his mentors by sharing their knowledge with the next generation.
Brandon Bangle is a violinist, teacher, conductor, and composer from Richmond, Virginia. He received both his Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education and Master of Arts in Teaching from
Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He first taught orchestra, guitar, and piano for Spotsylvania County Schools where he was also a member of the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra and a conductor with the Rappahannock Youth Symphony. Brandon then was appointed Director of Instrumental Music at Montverde Academy here in Florida, directing both band an orchestra programs and facilitating the opening of the Fine Arts Conservatory.
Brandon currently resides in Orlando, Florida where he is Orchestra Director at Olympia High School and Assistant Director of Bands at Florida Polytechnic University. His orchestras have consistently received superior ratings at both district and state assessments and have performed for both the Orlando Magic and on the local news. He is a member of the Central Florida Community Arts Symphony Orchestra which he has also conducted and was a conductor with the Central Florida Community Arts Young Artist Orchestra. Brandon has had his compositions published with Grand Mesa Music and Wingert Jones. Brandon is excited to be working with the Orlando Youth Chamber Ensembles and looks forwards to meeting students and families who love orchestra as much as him!
Mike Tabone received his Bachelors of Music Education from Florida Atlantic University. While at FAU he was section leader of the Florida Atlantic Drumline (FAD) and served as principal percussionist of the FAU Orchestra. Upon graduation Mike accepted a position at Cypress Creek High School as the Associate Director of Bands. Where he serves as the Director of Athletic Bands.
Mike is currently the Director of Infinity Percussion 3 and the former Percussion Caption Head of Heat Wave Drum and Bugle Corps. He is currently a member of The National Association for Music Educators, The Florida Bandmasters Association, The Florida Music Educators Association and the D’Addario Music Educators Collective. He proudly endorses Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets and Zildjian Cymbals.