OrchKids Staff

Raquel Whiting Gilmer • OrchKids Executive Director

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Raquel Whiting Gilmer has been passionate about transforming the lives of underserved students through education since she was in high school. Her mother taught her, from an early age, the importance of having a great education and the value of diverse educational opportunities. As a result of these lessons and her experience, Raquel developed a personal mission to positively impact students’ lives to ensure that they have brighter futures.

And she’s been working on this mission throughout her professional career. Most recently, she served as the Executive Vice President/COO for Learn It Systems, a national education company that provides academic support, afterschool enrichment programs, and special education services. In this role, she managed the operation of Learn It’s out-of-school time programs including oversight over multi-state program operations with over 500 full and part-time employees. Additionally, Raquel managed all Learn It’s legal and government-relations activities including advocating for Title I programs before state, local, and federal elected officials and serving as the founding chair of the board for Tutor Our Children, a campaign to preserve student supports for economically and academically disadvantaged students.

Prior to joining Learn It, Raquel served as Senior Director of Community and Business Development for Educate Online where she developed community marketing and outreach strategies which enhanced the company’s positive image and led to the recruitment of more than 15,000 students nationwide. She also developed national partnerships with sports and entertainment figures to build the company’s brand and market share throughout the U.S. and educated elected officials on the importance of tutoring services and advocated for expanded programming. Before Educate Online, Raquel managed several Democratic, statewide campaigns in pivotal, swing states and served as a senior fundraiser on Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign in 2000. Raquel also practiced law for several years at Arent Fox in their regulatory and public policy department where she provided regulatory counseling to several Fortune 500 companies and represented them in matters before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), and U.S. Customs.

Raquel grew up playing the piano and the clarinet and speaks often of the invaluable lessons she learned from having music in her life during her formative years. She is very active in the community and currently serves on the board of the Lillie May Carroll Jackson Charter School.

Raquel holds a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University (cum laude) and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.

In 2015, Raquel was a SmartCEO Magazine Executive Management Awards winner and was named one of The Daily Record’s 2016 Maryland’s Top 100 Women.

She lives in Bellona Gittings with her husband Michael and their son Joshua Michael.

DAN TRAHEY • ORCHKIDS ARTISTIC LIAISON

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Dan Trahey is a musician, educator, and innovator. He was instrumental in the creation of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “OrchKids” where he is Artistic Director. Dan also founded the El Sistema inspired program “Tuned In” at the Peabody Conservatory where he teaches creative composition and community engagement. Dan plays Tuba for the Archipelago Project and the Austria based RET Brass Band and has performed world wide for hundreds of thousands of children, specifically targeting impoverished areas with little access to live performance. He has held orchestral positions in Mexico and the U.S. Dan’s work is documented by media outlets such as 60 Minutes, PBS, NPR, The N.Y. Times, and The Washington Post. He recently gave a TED talk at TEDX Baltimore and was named the Most Valuable Player in the Arts by Baltimore Magazine. Dan has taught at Baltimore School for the Arts, Idyllwild Arts, and UMBC where he teaches Music Entrepreneurship. Dan is a consultant for programs desiring to use music as a vehicle for social change. In addition to founding two El Sistema programs in Baltimore, Dan has helped start El Sistema inspired programs in Charlotte, Chicago, Ft.Worth, Innsbruck, Allentown, Waterbury, Alexandria, Kalamazoo, and others. He received a M.M. from Yale and a B.M.E from Peabody.

Nick Skinner • OrchKids Director of Operations
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Over the past several years, Nick Skinner has become a prominent music educator and arts administrator in Baltimore. Nick is currently working with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s major social initiative, OrchKids, where he serves as the Director of Operations. Nick began his teaching in the Howard County Public School System in Maryland as an elementary instrumental instructor. He then moved on to teach in the Baltimore County Public School System in Maryland at Catonsville High School where he was the music director. Nick has served as an arts administrator at the Waldorf School in Baltimore and for the Archipelago Project, a non-profit organization devoted to arts advocacy. Nick has lead lectures, workshops, and seminars in Baltimore City; Traverse City, Michigan; Waterbury, Hartford, and Stamford, Connecticut; Boston, at the New England Conservatory; and Venezuela, with El Sistema. Nick has also become a distinguished consultant and arts advocate within the El Sistema movement. He is also an adjunct professor at UMBC where he teaches “Management and Organizational Leadership in El Sistema” as apart of a one year post bachelorette certification program. Nick graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance and music education.
April Dodge • OrchKids Director of Development
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April Dodge is a Baltimore City native who began her non-profit career while working in the film industry in Los Angeles, CA more than 18 years ago. She began volunteering at a local Boys and Girls Club as a reading tutor and eventually changed careers and accepted a position as the Club’s Education Director; later becoming Program Director at the West San Gabriel Valley Boys and Girls Club. In 2007, April moved back to her hometown and took a position with the Baltimore Museum of Art as their Corporate and Foundations Relations Manager. For the past five and half years, she has worked as the Director of Development for PACT: Helping Children with Special needs which is an independent affiliate of Kennedy Krieger Institute. She has an 11 year old son and an 8 year old daughter. April began working with OrchKids this December.
Hana Morford • OrchKids Manager of Teaching and Learning
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Hana Morford is a violist and educator passionate about empowering youth through the creative arts. A native of Maryland, she currently serves Manager of Teaching and Learning for OrchKids. Hana is also a faculty member at the Peabody Preparatory, where she teaches privately and directs the Preparatory String Ensemble. In demand as a creative workshop leader and teacher trainer, she has led workshops for the Ravinia Festival, Alexandria Symphony, Waterbury Symphony, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s YOSL program. Recent accolades for her work on inclusion and diversity include being selected as a committee member of American String Teacher Association’s Increasing Access Task Force as well as being named the 2015 recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Foundation viola award. Hana holds performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University, and the Peabody Conservatory, as well as a certificate from the New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows program.

Camille Delaney-McNeil • Senior Site Manager
Lockerman Bundy Elementary

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Camille is an Arts Administrative professional who has been dedicated to the non- profit circuit for over three years. She is a native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland but completed her studies in Baltimore City. Camille is also a classically-trained musician and has performed all over the country. She has been actively involved with OrchKids and other El-Sistema inspired programs promoting democratic access to the arts. Her favorite OrchKids memory: “The first time I experienced creating music with my students. In that moment I was no longer ‘Ms. Camille the Administrator’, I was Ms. Camille, a person I could be completely myself with and share my musical ideas.”

Mairin Srygley • Senior Site Manager
Highlandtown Elementary #215

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Mairin Srygley is a mezzo-soprano, educator, and arts for social change activist from Baltimore City. After graduating from Baltimore School for the Arts, Mairin finished her degrees magna cum laude at the University of Maryland, College Park in Music: Voice and “Education and Social Change in Latin America”. Over the past six years, Mairin has balanced her music performance career with frequent travels to Central America for service work, research projects, and pure exploration. She has worked with kids from infancy to high school in settings ranging from home care, public schools, playgrounds, and international service trips. In addition to her current post at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School #215, Mairin serves as the Mezzo-Soprano Soloist and Section Leader at Grace United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, yoga, hiking, and baking.

Mollie Westbrook • Site Manager
Mary Ann Winterling Elementary

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Mollie Westbrook is an arts administrator, educator, and musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. Mollie joined the OrchKids team in 2015 as a Site Manager at Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School #150, leading the during and after school programming for enthusiastic groups of students in grades Pre-K through 2. Mollie is also an active teaching artist on clarinet and tenor saxophone with OrchKids and multiple creative composition projects, including Creative Connections and the Archipelago Project. Mollie is an in-demand team building facilitator and has led workshops with a variety of recreational and nonprofit organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras.
Mollie received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Nonprofit Management from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2014. During her time at Indiana Mollie was an active participant and leader in various Jacobs School of Music ensembles, including the award-winning “Marching Hundred”. She is an alumnus of the National Honorary Band Fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi.

Khandeya Sheppard • Site Manager
Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts

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Khandeya currently works for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as the OrchKids Site Manager at Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts. She is a member of Pan Masters, Washington National Steel Orchestra and a music instructor/arranger for PanLara Steelband. To date, she has recorded with Moana Avvenenti and Victor Provost & Latin Grammy award-winning Afro-Bop Alliance.

Kerrigan Dougherty

OrchKids Artistic and Program Operations Coordinator

Colin Sorgi

OrchKids Graphic Design and Marketing Coordinator

OrchKids Department Chairs

Jane Cromwell OrchKids String Department Chair
Robert Johnson OrchKids Brass Department Chair
Sandra Ragusa OrchKids Woodwind Department Chair

Site-based Staff and Teaching Artists

Camille Delaney-McNeil
Senior Site Manager

Camille is an Arts Administrative professional who has been dedicated to the non- profit circuit for over three years. She is a native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland but completed her studies in Baltimore City. Camille is also a classically-trained musician and has performed all over the country. She has been actively involved with OrchKids and other El-Sistema inspired programs promoting democratic access to the arts. Her favorite OrchKids memory: “The first time I experienced creating music with my students. In that moment I was no longer ‘Ms. Camille the Administrator’, I was Ms. Camille, a person I could be completely myself with and share my musical ideas.”

LBES Staff

Sharniece Adams | OrchKids Lead Site Coordinator
Michelle Coleman | OrchKids Site Coordinator
Shirley Dessesow | OrchKids Program Assistant

Teaching Artists

Eric Rasmussen | General Music
Rebecca Smithorn | Musicianship
Dion Cunningham | Choir
Brian Prechtl | Bucket Band
Ethan Lucas | Bucket Band
Janet Melnicoff-Brown | Violin
Judson Dietrich | Violin
Kris Miller | Violin
Wade Davis | Cello
Melinda Wade-English | Flute
Rachel Choe | Flute
David Le | Flute TA
Craig Alston | Clarinet & Saxophone
Eugene Garner | Clarinet & Saxophone
Tyrone Page | Clarinet & Saxophone TA
Robert Lane Johnston | Brass
Eli Wirth | Orchestra Director
Russell Kirk | Jazz Band, Assistant Director
Sarah Lewandowski | Brass
Taylor Brooks | Clarinet & Saxophone
CJay Philip | Dance & Bmore
Laurene Erazo | Dance & Bmore
Ruoheng Zen | Violin Volunteer
Leah Mitchell | Violin Volunteer
Mary Ward | Experience Corps Coordinator
Brandi Ward | Experience Corps Partner

Mairin Srygley
Senior Site Manager

Mairin Srygley is a mezzo-soprano, educator, and arts for social change activist from Baltimore City. After graduating from Baltimore School for the Arts, Mairin finished her degrees magna cum laude at the University of Maryland, College Park in Music: Voice and “Education and Social Change in Latin America”. Over the past six years, Mairin has balanced her music performance career with frequent travels to Central America for service work, research projects, and pure exploration. She has worked with kids from infancy to high school in settings ranging from home care, public schools, playgrounds, and international service trips. In addition to her current post at Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School #215, Mairin serves as the Mezzo-Soprano Soloist and Section Leader at Grace United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, yoga, hiking, and baking.

HEMS Staff

Rachel Burbank | OrchKids Site Coordinator
Andy Ruiz Sanchez | OrchKids Program Assistant
Merhawit Tesfay | OrchKids Program Assistant

Teaching Artists

Tatevik “Vikki” Khoja-Eynatyan | Choir TA
Adam Rosenblatt | Bucket Band
Brian Prechtl | Bucket Band
Rebecca Smithorn | Musicianship
Dee Lavender | Choir
Alicia Friedrichs | Violin
Jane Cromwell | Violin & Strings Department Chair
Alicia Barker | Violin
Carolyn Rosinsky | Cello
Yoshi Horiguchi | Cello
Jasmine Hogan | Harp
Megan Natoli | Flute
Sandra Ragusa | Clarinet, Saxophone & Flute
Sean Campbell | Clarinet, Saxophone & Flute
Eliza Minster | Brass
Tae Ho Hwang | Clarinet & Saxophone
CJay Philip | Dance & BMore
Laurene Erazo | Dance & BMore
Asia Palmer | Flute (High School Intern)
Bronwyn Kure | violin
Tiffany Biles | Brass Volunteer
Mina Park | Cello Volunteer
Michelle Pucak | Woodwinds Volunteer
Ruby Stubbs-Sample | Tutor
Marvin Murphy | Tutor
Jodi Hauffman | Mindful Me (Yoga)
Marilyn Alston | Computer Lab

Mollie Westbrook
Site Manager

Mollie Westbrook is passionate about making positive impacts on communities and advocating for the people and causes she cares deeply about about: music education/educators, women’s rights, and assorted social welfare causes. Mollie is a 2017 YOA Orchestra of the Americas Global Leaders Fellow.

MAWES Staff

Lynette Fields | OrchKids Site Coordinator

Teaching Artists

Jane Cromwell | General Music
Dee Lavender | Choir
Michelle Purdy | Bucket Band
Yen Jung Chen | Violin
Alicia Barker | Violin
Russell Kirk | Clarinet & Saxophone

Khandeya Sheppard
Site Manager
Khandeya currently works for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as the OrchKids Site Manager at Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts. She is a member of Pan Masters, Washington National Steel Orchestra and a music instructor/arranger for PanLara Steelband. To date, she has recorded with Moana Avvenenti and Victor Provost & Latin Grammy award-winning Afro-Bop Alliance.

Site Staff

Belinda Caesar | OrchKids Site Coordinator

Teaching Artists

Vincent Henningfield | Choir TA
Eric Kennedy | Percussion
Craig Alston | Clarinet & Saxophone
Jared Perry | Band Director
Ethan Lucas | Percussion

Camille Delaney-McNeil
Senior Site Manager