Stephanie Jones is Director of Orchestras at Mason High School, where she founded the string program in 2002. Under her leadership, the program has grown to over 1,100 students in grades 6-12. Mrs. Jones directs approximately 390 students in six different ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra, Concert Orchestras, and Freshmen Orchestras and serves as 7-12 Performing Arts Department Chair for the Mason City Schools.
Orchestras under Mrs. Jones’ direction have been invited to perform at the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) Professional Conference, the National Orchestra Cup, the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Orchestra Festival, and the Capital Orchestra Festival and have consistently received superior ratings, honors, and high accolades at state and national events. They have also collaborated with numerous ensembles and artists including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Barrage, Christian Howes, Section Quartet, and Time for Three.
Mrs. Jones has served professionally in various roles with the Ohio Music Education Association, including Southwest Region Chair, Orchestra Affairs Chair for the State Professional Development Conference, chairperson of numerous OMEA district and region honor orchestras, guest conductor of honor orchestras, and is an active clinician. Mrs. Jones was the recipient of the School Teacher of the Year in 2016 by the Ohio String Teachers Association, was designated a Master Teacher by the Ohio Department of Education in 2011, and was a finalist for Ohio Teacher of the Year in 2004.
Mrs. Jones received Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance degrees from Miami University, and the Master of Music in Conducting from Messiah College. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the Miami University College of Creative Arts, and is a member of American String Teachers Association, National Association for Music Education, and Ohio Music Education Association. She is married to Dr. Brandon Jones, associate professor of music at Wittenberg University. They reside in Mason, Ohio with their daughters Cecilia and Alaina.
Brian Frey has taught 6-12 grade orchestra at Mason City Schools since 2006 and currently is co-director of orchestras at Mason High School. Mr. Frey serves professionally on the state board of the Ohio Music Education Association as treasurer of the Southwest Region and the board of TI:ME Ohio (Technology in Music Education). He maintains an active performing schedule as a violist in the Cincinnati area. Mr. Frey received a bachelor degree in music education from Miami University and earned a master of music education from The Ohio State University. He is a member of American String Teachers Association, National Association for Music Education, TI:ME, and Ohio Music Education Association.
Kristen Thiel received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University. She currently teaches the 7th and 8th grade orchestras at Mason Middle School. She spent 4 summers working on the counseling staff at Blue Lake Fine Arts camp.
Kristen is a violinist; she currently plays for the Cincinnati Community Orchestra and Lebanon Symphony Orchestra. She has also played with the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra, Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra, Bowling Green State University Philharmonic, University of Toledo Orchestra, and in many pit orchestras. In her free time, Kristen is a Zumba instructor; she also enjoys reading and downhill skiing.
Erin Brasse received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University and her Master’s degree in Music Education from The Ohio State University. Currently, her teaching responsibilities include the 7th and 8th grade orchestras at Mason Middle School.
She serves as an OMEA Jr. High Solo & Ensemble adjudicator and recently received her Master Teacher Certification.
Mrs. Brasse’s professional affiliations include the Music Educators National Conference, Ohio Music Education Association, and American String Teachers Association. In addition to playing and teaching music, she also enjoys running races and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Caitlyn Lana received her Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Miami University in 2015. After graduating, Caitlyn spent two years teaching 5th-8th grade orchestra in Texas. Throughout college, Caitlyn assisted with the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and is currently on staff with the program. As an alumna of Mason City Schools and a cellist in the Mason Orchestra program, she is very excited to be teaching 6th grade orchestra at Mason Intermediate. In her free time, Caitlyn enjoys playing in pit orchestras, spending time with family (including her two cats), and binge-watching Netflix.
Rachel Bakhit received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Miami University in 2004. She received a Master’s of Education from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2008. She taught beginning orchestra for 6 years in a neighboring school district, then took a break to be at home with her 3 children. While at home she taught private violin, viola, and piano lessons. Rachel is a violinist with the Queen City Quartet performing for weddings, parties and other events throughout the tri-state area. She is currently teaching 6th grade Orchestra at Mason Intermediate.