Valerie Taylor

Music Director & Conductor

Valerie Taylor joined the LPO as Music Director in 2000. Under her leadership, the orchestra has continued to increase in size, musicianship, and number of collaborative performances.

Coming to music through the violin, Valerie Taylor has been pursuing the conductor's road since high school. She earned her master's and doctorate in conducting at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where she was a student of Frederik Prausnitz and served as his graduate assistant for three years. Summer conducting studies have taken her to the Pierre Monteux School in Maine, the seminar for conductors at Tanglewood, and the Conductors' Institute in West Virginia and South Carolina, where she worked with Harold Farberman. She has also been an active participant in several conducting workshops, under the tutelage of Gunther Schuller, Sergiu Comissiona, and other master conductors.

Ms. Taylor did her undergraduate work at Harvard, earning a degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures, in the meantime getting deeply involved in extracurricular music-making, putting together and conducting several ensembles for concerto performances-accompanying Lydia Artymiw, Yo-Yo Ma, and other soloists-and for opera and music theater. She was invited back to serve for two years as artist-in-residence at the House (South, now Cabot House), which had been hers as an undergraduate, to coordinate intramural music programs. The Slavic major, incidentally, proved very useful in Taylor's conducting study and performance in St. Petersburg in 1997 and 1998.

In addition to her violin background, Ms. Taylor brings to the podium experience in voice (private study, solo and chamber performance, and a year in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus) and music commentary, with a dozen bylines to her credit as a contributing writer for the Baltimore City Paper.

Previous conducting posts include a year leading the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, and four seasons with the Winona Symphony Orchestra in Minnesota. Ms. Taylor also directed the choir at Grace Presbyterian Church in Winona for seven years. She currently teaches conducting as an Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music.
First Violin
Michelle Kaczowka, Concertmaster
Cathy Kaczowka
Jack Kick
Rachel Patton McCord
Jennifer Winiarski

Second Violin
Kathy (Jenkins) Weal
Nia Manjunath
Danica Kwan
Luis Raudales
Ward Rosenbury

Viola
Claire Arakaki
Richard Giadone
Barbara Klain
Sarah Piccard

Cello
Carl Whithoft
Eric Abis
Charlene Ledoux
Kimball Murray
Charles Needles
Eleanor Smith

Bass
Gregory Tarbox
Reed Velleau

Flute/Piccolo
Paula Bingham
Jen Kramer

Oboe/English Horn
J.C.
Diane Fallier

Clarinet
Jerry Vabulas
Patricia (Milner) Gilmore

Bassoon
Peter C

Trumpet
Matt Bengston
Alan Stern

French Horn
Annalisa Peterson
Shawn Foti
Dennis Geary
John Saxelby
Leslie Zobel

Trombone
Charlie Tidd
Steve McCaron

Tuba
Vince Mabus

Percussion
Tony Waller
Tom Bissett
Alan Trebat

Jen Kramer

Jen Kramer joined the LPO in 2014 playing flute and piccolo. By day, she is an adjunct instructor in web design for Harvard Extension School, and she is working on her third book on web design. She plays with the Metropolitan Flute Orchestra, Willow Flute Ensemble, and she is the web manager and secretary for the Nashua Flute Choir. Photo courtesy of Lucas Deming of lynda.com

John Saxelby

John rows on the Charles by morning, works by day, and french horns by night. A resident of Lowell, John first became a member of our brass section in 2003. Growing up, he played trumpet until taking up french horn in the 11th grade.

J.C., Board Member

J.C. has played in the LPO since 2006 and has studied oboe with Margaret Herlehy since 2007. She and her husband, a bassoonist, live in Southern NH with four Standard Poodles.

Cathy Ward

Cathy Ward joined the LPO in 2011. She is an elementary and preschool music teacher at the Community Day Charter Public School in Lawrence, MA. Before joining the LPO, Cathy performed with the Queen's University Symphony Orchestra (in Canada) and numerous opera and musical theatre companies.

Kathy Jenkins, Board Member

Kathy, a resident of Dracut, has been a proud member of the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra for nearly 30 years. In addition to playing principal second violin with the LPO, she founded and directed her church's handbell choir. Before moving to the area, she was a member of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra.

Annalisa Peterson

A Lowell resident, Annalisa has been playing french horn with the LPO for since 2000. For her profession, she teaches high school Math. She performs with several other groups in the area.

Jennifer Winiarski

A resident of Dracut, Jennifer has been a member of the LPO since 2010. She earned her Bachelor of Music at UMass Lowell in 2007. Since starting violin at the age of seven, Jennifer has received musical training from Robin Mallory, Heidi Braun-Hill, and Eliott Markow. Currently, Jennifer is working at an independent pharmacy. She studied music while studying to earn her pharmacy license.

Jack Kick

Jack has been playing violin with the LPO since 1991. Outside of the orchestra, he conducts geophysical and geological investigations at the business he founded, Kick Geoexploration. In some of his spare time Jack is a runner - he runs races but especially likes to run trails. He is so dedicated to trail running that he'll go despite rain, snow or sleet and the occasional black bear.

Shawn Foti, Co-President

Shawn joined the LPO in 2012. A native of Rhode Island, Shawn has played horn in various ensembles since the age of twelve. During high school he performed in the RI All-State Orchestra, the MENC All-Eastern Band and the RI Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. In college he performed with the University of Vermont Orchestra where he studied horn with Alan Parshley, and the Northeastern University Orchestra. He has performed with the Brown University Orchestra, the Harvard University Summer Orchestra, and the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. Shawn works as a research scientist at a biotechnology company in Cambridge and enjoys skiing, motorcycles, his pets, and attending concerts in his spare time.

Patricia (Milner) Gilmore, Co-President

Patty has been in the LPO since 2005, playing clarinet and currently serving as co-President. In 2008, she helped initiate the orchestra's annual summertime concert at Shedd Park Pavilion. During the day, she works in Finance at a global shoe company. Prior to the LPO, she was active in the College of the Holy Cross Chamber Orchestra and the Warwick Symphony Orchestra.

Charles Needles, Vice President

Charles is a retired Air Force pilot and is an Engineering Program Mgr for a defense contractor, but his passion has always been music. He has been playing the cello for 5 yrs. under the direction of Pr. Arkady Beletsky. Prior to joining the LPO, he performed with the Westford Chorus for 10 yrs as a base/baritone in numerous classical, jazz and pops concerts and stage performances. He sang “Old Man River” in Showboat and starred as “Lt. Zuniga” in the opera Carmen. Charles has had a love of music his entire life. His mother, an accomplished classical soprano, introduced him to piano and voice at an early age. In school, he played the French horn for 6 yrs., where he was the student conductor, and was selected for the city-wide Youth Symphony. For many years he also sang church choral music, eventually serving as choral director for two youth choirs.

Alan Trebat, Treasurer

Alan began his musical career as a child at home banging on the pots and pans. He soon convinced his parents that drum lessons would be a good idea, and progressed as a teen to performing on drums, percussion and timpani in school orchestral and marching bands, theater productions, rock groups and jazz ensembles. In recent years, Alan has performed at club gigs, events and fundraisers in the Boston area and throughout New England. He appears regularly with local jazz, blues and rock acts, and plays as an accompanist for theatrical, choral and dance ensembles. Alan joined the LPO in 2012 and serves as its Treasurer

Vince Mabus, Board Member

Vince has been playing tuba with the group for four years and served as our past President. A US Navy veteran, Vince picked up playing again by joining us in 2007. He is a mechanical engineer by trade and also earned a brown belt at Wah Lum Tam Tui school of Kung Fu. In his spare time, Vince enjoys photography and reading.

Paula Bingham

Paula has been playing flute with the LPO since 1999 and is a software engineer by day. A resident of Westford, she is also a member of Symphony Pro Musica and performs with other area groups.

Simon Allie

Simon has been playing the double bass since the age of 10, and began playing with the LPO in 2012. Originally from Massachusetts, his family recently moved back to the area from Chicagoland, where he played with the Midwest Young Artists Philharmonia Orchestra, as well as the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra. A homeschooled student, Simon also enjoys finance and economics, computers, photography, and statistics

Kimball Murray

A Lowell resident who hails from a very musical family, Kimball Murray joined the LPO in 2011 after first picking up the cello in 2010. Originally a clarinetist, Kimball was inspired to get back into performance after attending an orchestral concert a couple years ago. With parents who are professional musicians themselves, he is happy to have the opportunity to play in the LPO. During the day, Kimball is a software engineer. He also is a licensed pilot.

Charlie Tidd

Charlie Tidd, a resident of North Reading, MA, has played trombone with the LPO since 2010, with a short hiatus in 2012 - 2013 to get married. When not playing trombone, he is a Master Scheduler at GE. Charlie has an MBA from Rice University ('09) and a Bachelor of Music from Western Connecticut State University ('97). He has previously played with the Fort Bend (TX) Symphony Orchestra, the Danbury (CT) Symphony Orchestra, the Danbury Brass Band, and the Danbury Concert Orchestra.

Alan Stern

Alan, a computational scientist at Harvard's Rowland Institute, has been with the orchestra since 2004. His membership started when he and Valerie Taylor met again at a Harvard College reunion. He has been playing trumpet with the LPO ever since.

Matt Bengston

An accomplished trumpeter, Matt is a resident of Lowell. Before becoming a member of the LPO in 2009, he was active in performance at UMASS Lowell.

Steve McCaron, Board Member

Steve has been a trombonist and active Board member since 2000. In addition to his involvement here, he is also a frequent volunteer at Lowell Telecommunications Corporation (LTC).

Eric Abis

Eric holds degrees in Music Education and Computer Engineering, he currently works as a Software Engineer. A former Army Bandsman, Eric defended our country with a Tuba. Since then, he has performed with many community bands on, in order of frequency, Euphonium, Tuba, Bassoon, and Clarinet. Eric has also branched out into Musical Theater; singing, dancing and directing. In 2010, Eric was nominated by the New Hampshire Theater Awards for Best Musical Director in a Community Musical. Seeking even greater challenges, Eric is currently studying Cello with Gary Hodges, Principal Cellist of the NH Philharmonic.

Ward Rosenberry

Ward, a member of the violin section since 1995, served as LPO President from 2008-2010. During the day, Ward is a technical writer at his own information design company, Rosenberry Associates.