Clare Mansell – Director & Founder
Ms. Mansell is a violist and violinist who is a product of the Fulton County School System. Her first orchestra teacher was the legendary Christine Dunn, and the coordinator the legendary Joseph Kirshner. Ms. Mansell is a middle school director in Cobb County at McClure Middle School, and prior to that was a string specialist in Fulton County for 17 years.
Ms. Mansell holds a BM and MM in viola performance from the University of Georgia, and an EdS in administration from Lincoln Memorial University. She has also studied at SUNY in Fredonia, NY. Ms. Mansell’s teachers include Lillian Fuchs and Eduard Melkus. She has performed in many symphony orchestras – those of Charleston, SC, Jackson, MS, Baton Rouge, LA, Greenville, SC, Asheville, NC, Savannah, GA, and Atlanta Ballet, among others. She also lived in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, where she was a member of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa. Her last full-time symphonic position (before beginning her teaching career) was as Chattanooga Symphony’s assistant principal violist and a member of the Chattanooga Symphony String Quartet. Ms. Mansell still free-lances in the Atlanta area on viola and violin. Ms. Mansell was a finalist for the 2005 Disney Teacher Award, and was listed in the 2006-07 Who’s Who Among American Teachers. She founded Upbeat! String Camp in 2001.
Ms. Mansell has a son, Zachary – of whom she is very proud – who recently graduated from Indiana University with a major in cello performance. He graduated from Cleveland Institute of Music with a graduate degree in cello performance in 2013. Her hobbies, besides playing and attending concerts (especially chamber music) are hiking, reading history, traveling, gardening and photography. Her cats are Dixie, Comet, Shortie and Zora.
Susie Hines – Violin
Susie Hines is a violinist from the Atlanta area. After completing high school she attended Furman University in Greenville, SC and earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. After graduating she taught orchestra in Cobb County at Garrett Middle and at Mabry Middle School. During that time she earned her Master’s degree in Violin Performance from Georgia State University. She currently teaches part time at Lost Mountain Middle School and plays in the Georgia Symphony and Rome Symphony Orchestras. She is married and has two daughters, Morgan and Kylie.
David Metrio – Double Bass
David Metrio is a senior at Kennesaw State University, pursuing a degree in Music Education. While in high school, David was a member of the GMEA Allstate orchestra for five years, and was principal bass for his junior and senior year. David was also Principal Bass for the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra for three seasons and also perform with the Emory Symphony Orchestra and the Gwinnett Philharmonic. Before moving to Kennesaw, David was a teaching assistant at Crescendo Strings Academy of Music, an after school elementary school orchestra program that encompassed over 120 students in 6 different elementary schools across Gwinnett County.
Currently, David holds the title of head intern and principal librarian for the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, the largest youth orchestra network in the southeast. David serves as a bass clinician for the Lost Mountain and Dodgen Middle School orchestras as well as Harrison High School Orchestra, where he runs weekly sectionals with various grade levels at those schools. He also does bass clinics at various other middle schools and high schools in the Gwinnett, Cobb, and Fulton County School Districts as well as the Atlanta Public School District. David is an active member of Collegiate division of the National Association For Music Education (CNAfME) as well as the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and is President-Elect of the KSU ASTA for the 2014 school year, serving as president starting fall 2015.
Joel Schroter – Percussion
Mr. Schroter grew up in Pennsylvania and began his musical path as a percussionist. The positive musical experiences in his public school music programs influenced his decision to become a music educator. Although percussion is his primary instrument, Joel did his Master’s Degree in string pedagogy under the guidance of Dr. Michael Allen. Mr. Schroter’s greatest joys come from his 3 daughters: Stella, Rosie, and Betty. He also loves hanging out with his dog Wolfgang “Wolfie” Amadeus Schroter.
Sarah Paul – Cello/Cello Choir
Sarah Paul began her cello studies in Athens, Georgia, in the fifth grade at Barnett Shoals Elementary School under the direction of Edie Neislar (Benson). Though her sister, to this day, is still convinced that she chose to play the cello so that she wouldn’t have to ride the bus to and from school, the truth is that she didn’t like the shrill, high sounds that came from her violin-playing friends’ instruments, and she wanted to play an instrument that did not routinely play in that pitch range(!). Ms. Paul earned a Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, and she also holds a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Maryland. After freelancing in the Washington, DC, area and teaching orchestra and cello at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia, for six years, Ms. Paul returned to the Atlanta area in 1996. Since that time, she has been active as a cello teacher in her home studio, currently in Kennesaw. Ms. Paul has taught at Westminster Schools (Atlanta) as well as at the Waldorf School of Atlanta, and she conducted the Atlanta Suzuki String Orchestra from 1997-2002. She has performed with the symphonies in Augusta, Savannah, and Macon, Georgia, as well as those in Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria, and Richmond, Virginia. She has also played with the Alabama Symphony, the Baltimore Opera, and the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra. She founded Amati Chamber Music in 1996. Amati musicians perform in small ensembles for weddings, church services, and other special events in the metro Atlanta area. When she’s not playing or teaching cello, Ms. Paul enjoys reading, watching movies, talking on the phone with her friends, and taking walks with her Havanese/Maltese dog, Petey.
Jennifer Aikey – Violin
Jennifer Aikey is the Orchestra Director at Durham Middle School in Acworth, GA. Prior to this position, Jennifer was the Assistant Orchestra Director at Durham from 2013-2015, and was the founding teacher of the Strings program at East Aiken School of the Arts in Aiken, SC from 2010-2013. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Music Education at Augusta State University in 2013, followed by a Master of Music Education at Florida State University in 2016. An Augusta, GA native, Jennifer started playing violin through the Richmond County Orchestra program in 4th grade, and picked up the guitar, mandolin, and other instruments along the way. An avid lover of all things music, she has sung and played with many types of ensembles and bands with a variety of music, including jazz, old-time, bluegrass, country, and rock. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys arranging and writing music, fiddling, traveling, and most of all, spending time with her family. She resides in Acworth with her husband, Ben, and their daughter, Claire.
Zach Mansell – Cello
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Zachary Mansell began playing the cello at age seven. He holds his Master of Music degree in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, with Mark Kosower and Melissa Kraut respectively. Previously, he studied with Emilio Colon at Indiana University where he received a Bachelor of Music degree, as well as Martha Gerschefski from Atlanta. Mansell recently performed Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra of Georgia. Additionally he was awarded winner of the 2012 Cleveland Cello Society Scholarship Competition.
Mansell has performed concerts in Europe, North America, and Asia. In past summers, Mansell has been a participant of the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in Germany, National Orchestral Institute, Round Top International Festival Institute, and the Indiana University Summer Music Festival, where he had the privilege to work with esteemed conductors including Michael Stern, Leonard Slatkin, and Christoph Eschenbach. As an orchestral musician, Mansell has performed with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Evansville Philharmonic, and Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. As a chamber musician, he performed Dohnanyi’s Second Piano Quintet with Peter Salaff, Carolyn Warner, and Mark Jackobs, all faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has also performed in master classes with Chris Adkins, Zuill Bailey, Stefan Popov, and Lynn Harrell. In his spare time, Mansell enjoys eating, staying in shape, and watching good movies.