The Orchestra

Founded in 1931, The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest is one of the nation’s oldest community orchestras. The Illinois Council of Orchestras recognized its continued excellence in 2011 with the Community Orchestra of the Year Award in addition to naming Music Director Jay Friedman its Conductor of the Year.
Read the History of the Orchestra [pdf].




The mission of the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest is three-fold:

  • To provide the opportunity for orchestral and vocal musicians to perform symphonic works together at the highest possible level of artistry;
  • To provide the opportunity for all of the members of our diverse local community to experience symphonic music in live performances of high quality; and
  • To foster the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of symphonic music by present and future generations.



First Violins

John Gerson +++ 10
Minoru Ueda ++ 2
Elizabeth Alvarez 12
Denise Boneau 14
Donna Byrne 24
Fernando Carrillo 3
Nina Chen 2
Fritz Gross 7
Jenny Hale 3
Catherine Hennessey 2
Matt Hoover ^2
Paula Johannesen 4
Suzanne McBride 27
Lisa Minish 4
Elizabeth Rexford `47
Caitlin Schorsch 2
Cheryl Toncray-Smerz 2
Melody Turner 20
Marylou Witz 13
Michelle Wynton 6


Second Violins

Carol Janossy **41
Yi-Chen Huang *11
Irina Calin-Jageman 5
Pamela Compasio 3
Gina Fiore 3
Cheryl Flinn 26
Joey Frost 7
Ashley Kerner ^3
Brian Lee 2
Staci Mahaffey 4
Judy Meredith 20
Olivia Mullins 3
Luke Shalla 7
Heather Stokes ^2
Ed Torgerson 5
Julie Tumma 17
Wailin Wong 2
Kira Zielinski ^2



Uli Widmeier **2
Keith Jones *10
Jerry Brown 7
Ellen Callahan 5
Charity Anne Caldwell 4
Mitchell Cooper 35
Sandy Korelc 14
Jackie Sabuda 3
Nicole Victoria 6
Janet Widmeier 2



Chris Springthorpe **3
Petr Husták *10
Alex Groesch 2
Christian Hernandez ^2
Jeanne Johannesen 8
Mara Leonard 15
Lenore Mass 24
Valerie Meineke 52
Mara Peterson ^2
Joshua Sachs 1
Colin Schorsch 2
Allison Strickland 4
Evan White 8



Kristina Lee **17
Patrick Aubyrn 2
Thea Grendahl Christou 12
James Janossy, Jr. 13
Ilya Karpasov 12
David Malatesta 6
Michael Sinclair 3
Jolie Quick 4



Jennifer Ruggieri
Janelle Lake
Michael Maganuco



Laurel Tempas **26
Carrie Torgerson 11
Julie Siarny 17, Piccolo
Marcia Hustad



Debbie Barford **40
Linda Johnson 47
Beth Hoover 41, English Horn
Jaren Hillard 6



Diane Doll **45
Kumiko Nowlan 8
Scott Thomas 3, Bass



Katie Broyles **2
Lisa Rathje 8
Carol Hopwood 12
Nyketa DiCesare 2, Contra


French Horns

David Barford **39
Michael Papierniak *29
Melinda Z. Robinson 18
Jennifer Murtoff 14
Becky Leff 3
Margaret Anderson 2



Dale Kerner **39
Chris Jackson 3
Charles Roberts
Edward Kerner 4



Christopher Wood **17
Daniel Johnson *2
Patrick Zielinski 34
Lance Malina 36



Luke Hollis 14



Mike Charbonneau **10, timpani
Matthew Hart *6, timpani
Michael Daniel 49
Suzy Beck 16



David Leehey **15, Piano, Celesta,
Harpsichord, Chorus Rehearsal Accompanist

Steven Wente, Organ


+++ Concertmaster
++ Assistant Concertmaster
** Principal
* Assistant Principal
` Section Organizer
^ String Intern
Number after name indicates how many years in the S/OP&RF


Personnel Manager

Beth Hoover

Music Librarian

Jaren Hillard


Jay Friedman, Music Director
Maurice Boyer, Associate Conductor
William Chin, Chorus Director
John Gerson, Concertmaster
Beth Hoover, General Manager
Rosina Mostardini, Music Librarian

Board of Directors

David Leehey, President
Cheryl Flinn, Treasurer
Julie Tumma, Secretary
Carole Benson
Jerry Brown
Diane Doll
Dan Harrison
Kristina Lee
Judy Meredith
Sil Pesavento
Sue Sentowski
Chris Springthorpe

Advisory Board

Anan Abu-Taleb
Catherine Adduci
Anthony Calderone
Donna Carroll
Susan Cartland-Bode
Henry Fogel
Carl Grapentine
Terry McIlroy
Melbourne A. Noel, Jr.
Chatka Ruggiero
Eugene Wedoff
Peggy Wedoff
Jack Zimmerman


This award-winning community orchestra, which includes both amateur and professional members, is always looking for more passionate musicians. Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings from 7:30 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. and are held at Concordia University in River Forest. If you are interested in joining the symphony, please email Beth Hoover. You will be contacted with further information.