Staff

Joelle Graves, Executive Director

Joining us in July of 2017, Joelle is well known throughout the Rogue Valley as a professional actress and singer as well as arts administrator.  Joelle served as Director of Education for Britt Festivals for 7 seasons, Arts Coordinator for the Oregon Youth Authority for five years, and was General Manager for Rogue Music Theatre in Grants Pass for several years.  Her education work has been awarded model program status by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and she was named to receive a special award of distinction by Gov. Kitzhaber for her work with at-risk youth.  Joelle served as VP on the Board of the Oregon Alliance for Arts Education for five years and is deeply committed to the ongoing education programs the Rogue Valley Symphony provides.


Tarah Dougherty, Development Associate

Tarah is excited to be joining the Rogue Valley Symphony in the role of Development Associate. She was Education Assistant, then Education & Education Coordinator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 8 seasons, known for introducing Festival Noon speakers, hosting post-matinee discussions and producing community events. She is an Oregon native, having grown up in Brookings, Oregon, and deeply cares about art in our community. She has a degree in Literature-Theatre from Reed College and is passionate about reading, learning and education. She lives in Ashland with her Shiba Inu, Saki, loves camping, painting and nature. Tarah looks forward to meeting the many donors and patrons that make the art of music possible in the Rogue Valley and is grateful to be part of the Rogue Valley Symphony.


Will Scharen, Operations Manager

Will brings several years of experience in orchestra operations to his position with the Rogue Valley Symphony. He has held positions as librarian and personnel manager for the Wyoming Symphony and as librarian for the Boulder (CO) Philharmonic. Will has degrees in trombone performance from New England Conservatory as well as the Universities of Colorado and Montana. An avid mountain biker, Will can often be found on the trails around our valley. In his spare time, he builds bicycle frames by hand in his home shop.

Will plays trombone with the orchestra (since 2014).


Kristin Kessler, Patron and Marketing Services Administrator

Kristin has worked in her position as a part of the Rogue Valley Symphony office staff since 2010. She holds two degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and maintains a private oboe studio. She regularly performs with numerous other musical organizations in the Rogue Valley. In her free time she makes her own reeds, likes to create delicious gluten free desserts, reads, runs, and kayaks.

Kristin plays oboe and English horn with the orchestra (since 2001).


Bari Frimkess, Personnel Manager and Link Up Coordinator

Born into a family where music was highly loved and valued, Bari began violin lessons at the age of 7. A native of  Santa Barbara, California, Bari has lived in the Rogue Valley since 1992. In 2014 Bari joined the teaching staff of the Symphony’s Link Up program and since 2015 has been the Link Up Coordinator. In 2018 Bari expanded her Symphony involvement when she took on the position of Personnel Manager. In addition to these commitments, Bari teaches Hebrew to grades 1-6 at Temple Emek Shalom, serves on the Boards of the Klamath Bird Observatory and Chamber Music Concerts and, along with her husband Steven Frimkess, volunteers as a CASA. Bari loves to spend time with family, attend live theatre and play tennis.

Bari plays violin with the orchestra (since 1992).


Ben Gardner, Orchestra Librarian

Ben Gardner initially wanted to play the cello, but instead chose the violin for an easier walk to school. He quickly fell in love with the instrument, and 16 years later he holds two degrees in Violin Performance: a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon. He has appeared as a soloist and ensemble member across the Western United States in Classical ensembles and Baroque Orchestras, playing on historically authentic instruments.

Ben holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon. Recently, he has performed in groups such as Pacific Artist’s Collective, Sinfonia Spirituosa, Orchestra NEXT, and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado.

Ben plays violin with the orchestra (since 2019).