Musician Behind the Mask: Matthew Timman, percussion

PC: Mindi Acosta 

Dr. Matthew Timman is a percussionist currently based out of Tucson, Arizona. Matthew received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance with a minor in Ethnomusicology from the The University of Arizona. Previous to relocation to Arizona, Matt received Masters and Bachelors degrees in percussion performance from Bowling Green State University and The University of Toledo, respectively. 

In addition to performing as section percussionist with the Rogue Valley Symphony (since 2019), he currently serves as Principal Percussionist with the North State Symphony (Chico, CA) and Section Percussionist with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra (Flagstaff, AZ) and Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra (Sierra Vista, AZ). During the 2019-2020 season, Matthew appeared as marimba soloist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as a member of the TSO Percussion Quartet performing Emmanuel Séjourné’s GOTAN Concerto for Four Marimbas.

As an educator, he has taught students from kindergarten through college. He usually spends his summers living in a cabin while serving as percussion faculty for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in beautiful Twin Lakes, Michigan.

How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?

In the most immediate sense it put a sudden stop to all work which I was doing. When the restriction on public gatherings came down for Tucson I was going at a dress rehearsal for a weekend of concerts with the Tucson Symphony playing Shostakovich Symphony No. 12 and was engaged to be playing with the Tucson Symphony for the following four weeks. However, before the tuning pitch we were told that the order was just put into place and we needed to vacate the music hall immediately. It was surreal. Since then I’ve had all of my work for the rest of the season and for much of the next season disappear. I’m just thankful that the CARES Act expanded unemployment for music freelancers, otherwise things would have been much more difficult.

On a less serious note, I spend a lot of time in my Prius when I’m busy working. Since I’m not driving all over the place I realized how much I enjoy driving long distances and how much I miss it. My car has sometimes sat for a week or more at a time without being driven which feels really wrong. Sometimes I feel like I should just get in my car and drive back and forth from Tucson to Phoenix a few times just for the fun of it.

Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?

Though I’m not one hundred percent sure when I’ll be back on stage I’m still practicing at least a little bit everyday. When I’m preparing for something difficult like a recital or an audition I would usually put in six to eight hours per day, but right now it’s definitely significantly less. It’s a fine line between staying engaged and practicing and not burning yourself out. It’s about making sure that my hands are still in shape to do what I want and need them to do when the time comes. 

My drive to want to perform has actually been strengthened by this experience. I’m friends with a fellow music freelancer who often would say, “You never know when it’s going to be your last time.” You really should appreciate how lucky you are to play music for a living when you’re doing it. I think that in the future I definitely will try to be more present and engaged in trying to appreciate every musical experience I’m given the opportunity to take part in.

What do you think is the role of musicians now? 

I’ve always thought that the role of musicians as very important, but as a musician I’m pretty biased. I think that culturally more people are realizing how important something like live music is to them until it is something that can’t be experienced. There really is nothing like live performance of music and I hope that once it can regularly resume that the awareness of the importance of live music continues. 

Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine? 

About a two years ago I started being interested in building drums and I’ve started going back towards that. I’ve completed one snare drum since work halted and I have plans to do another one. It’s definitely not of the level which I would consider selling them, but I think it’s not bad. Every time I do it I learn something and figure out something that I would like to do better the next time.

Snare drums I’ve built:

I also have started playing some video games again which I haven’t really had time to do in years. I’ve never been much into racing games but I’m finding myself wanting to play realistic racing simulators more than other genres right now. Maybe it’s because I’m not doing so much real driving right now or because being a good racer is a lot like playing music, you’ve got to have good technique. Either way, it’s been something to do instead of obsessing about other things.

Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share? 

I’ve just started reading “Peak: Secrets From The New Science Of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson with Robert Pool which is about deliberate practice and learning skills at a high level. It’s been good to make myself reflect on my own practicing to try to make sure that I am getting the most out of the work I’m putting in. 

I really enjoy movies and started going through some movies which are things I really probably should have seen long ago like the works of Akira Kurosawa. I recently watched “One Wonderful Sunday” which is a very moving look at a couple in post-World War II Japan. I highly recommend it.

I also watch bad movies with my wife fairly often. We kind of seek out the worst possible romance movies we kind find, but also some non-romance bad movies. We’ve been thinking about for some time starting a podcast where we review the bad romance movies that we’ve seen, which is a lot at this point. If you’re interested in seeing some of the crème de la crème I’d suggest “Baker’s Man” as a romance movie or “Suburban Sasquatch” as a monster movie. I think they’re both available for streaming.

What’s something you’re grateful for today? 

I’m thankful for my wife! We got married in a legal ceremony on June 20th after our real wedding got postponed by COVID. We’re still trying to have a ceremony with our families but it will probably not be until the first anniversary of our legal ceremony at this point. I am also grateful for our pets, Charlie the cat and Ace the dog.

PC: Meredith Amadee Photography

What’s something you’re looking forward to? 

I’m looking forward to getting to play music for people in person again. I’ve been working on video projects and more are to come but it’s not the same as playing music for people in person. There’s something very special about the connection between audience and musician during live music performances which I don’t think can really be replicated. There’s something about being there and laying everything on the line to try to deliver the best performance possible for the people who are there to listen and for your colleagues.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy and I hope to see you again sometime soon!

Visit to catch up with more of our musicians!

Fall Detours

Your Fall Concerts have been rerouted!
Digital Journeys with the Rogue Valley Symphony:
A Concert Detour

Dear RVS subscribers,

Every challenge is an opportunity. We dream about being with you in the concert hall again – nothing beats that feeling. However, the world still needs beauty – it needs it more than ever. Fortunately, we humans are inherently creative beings. Therefore, we put our heads together and came up with Digital Journeys with the Rogue Valley Symphony. They are our big and very sincere thanks to you for sticking with us. They are also a reminder that we will be here for you when life returns to normal!

We put together a well-coordinated team of professionals. As it turns out, the RVS is filled with talent that begs to be tapped! With their help, we are producing three digital “experiences” for you. The music is at the center of these endeavors but they are more than streamed concerts. The September one gives you an intimate, behind-the-scenes look into the lives of some of your favorite musicians. It also features the beautiful natural scenery of the place that we are fortunate to call home. 

-Martin Majkut 
Music Director

These digital concerts will follow the basic schedule of our cancelled fall masterworks concerts, but will be available to view for two weeks following each release. Check your email for details and viewing instructions.

Musician Behind the Mask: Lisa Truelove, Principal Cello

Lisa at work in the RVS cello section – PC: Christopher Briscoe Photography

Lisa Truelove has lived in Ashland, Oregon since the fall of 1988, when she moved here to perform with the Rogue Valley Symphony and the Rogue Valley Symphony Chamber Players, a group that was active from 1988-2017. A member of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, she has also performed with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Northwest Bach Ensemble in Newport and Ashland, the SyZyGy new music ensemble in Ashland, and often with the North State Symphony in Chico & Redding, California. Lisa maintains a private cello studio in her home, and performs cello/piano recitals with her husband Stephen, including many over the years in Gold Beach, her favorite Oregon vacation spot.

Below are Lisa’s thoughts on being a musician during the pandemic.

I’m reaching out to share a bit of how I am feeling, doing, and living during these past few months.

Lisa and Lia
Lisa in her studio

I practice my cello daily, revisiting the Bach cello Suites, continuing to woodshed the likes of Beethoven 7th,  Dvorak 7th, and Schumann 2nd Symphonies.  Keeping my “chops” up with The Planets and In der Tatra as well, so that when RVS reopens I will be well prepared! Also daily sight reading, and am learning The 1st part to the Bachianas Brasileiras for cello orchestra to play with my wonderful cello section when we can all meet up again in person.

I teach many of my students online and some on the phone. More than ever I realize that I am a musician because I love music, and love to share my skills and music with others.

I’ve been making my own greeting cards out of old programs, calendars etc., to stay in touch with family and friends. People seem to appreciate the hand-made gesture. I’m taking lots of walks with my husband and dog, Lia.

I also write haiku; on a day this past May after a walk I wrote this:

Misty light rain falls
Rainbow painted mountain peak
Late afternoon walk
Stephen and Lisa, ready for a walk

Visit to catch up with more of our musicians!

Musician Behind the Mask: Bruce Dresser, trumpet

PC: Christopher Briscoe Photography

How has the COVID-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on my life as a musician. During this period I have come to realize more than ever how important it is to be able to share music live and in person with fellow musicians. Not being able to play with the Rogue Valley Symphony has been particularly painful. This is a situation where you don’t realize how important it is until it’s no longer there. On the flip side, I now have a new appreciation for what RVS means to me. I don’t think I’ll ever take our orchestra for granted again! In lieu of playing in an orchestra, since April I’ve been participating with a number of horn players in Sunday afternoon readings of horn ensemble music in Lithia Park near the bandshell. Also recently played a small outdoor concert with one of my trumpet students and some of the horn group members. These have been lifesavers, giving me the chance to play with my friends and colleagues and feed my soul with music.

Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?

As a middle school band teacher and private teacher, I’ve been dealing with the difficulties of remote teaching, using Zoom and FaceTime and other online technologies. The part of teaching where we interact with students in whatever way is possible doesn’t change. I’ve recently resumed in-person lessons with my students outside in my backyard, appropriately distanced. Simple on the face of it, having the chance to see and talk to my students live and in person again has been a wonderful gift.

Bruce and student Jake at an informal house concert

What do you think is the role of musicians now?

We have a unique opportunity to contribute to people’s well-being with music. We have seen powerful virtual performances on the internet (I have participated in some of those events), and RVS will be making its own contributions to that medium toward the end of the year. I think audiences are appreciating the value of live music since it’s been shut down in large part. Any chance I get to participate in performing music live allows me to connect both with fellow musicians and people listening. One anecdote is that a man had let his friends and family know that he would be asking his girlfriend to marry him on a Sunday afternoon in Lithia Park. This happened to be during one of our horn sessions. The man’s friends and family hid themselves near the fountain above the bandshell, and he proposed to her. Someone who had been listening to us became aware of the forthcoming proposal, and let us know. We couldn’t see what was going on, but upon hearing whoops and cheers from the friends and family when she said yes, I started playing the Wagner Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin. The gathering responded with cheers after I finished. It felt good to be able to contribute to the couple’s special moment in a purely musical and universally recognizable way.

Have you rediscovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine?

Bruce with wife Marcia on Upper Table Rock

My wife Marcia and I have been doing a lot more hiking during this time. It’s one of the most enjoyable and satisfying activities that are available while we’re quarantined. We started hiking as a family back in April when our daughter Alison was here with her dog, and have continued since she went back to Indianapolis. The other day we were on Mount Ashland and it turned out to be a popular day to hike. Either we or people we encountered on the trail often stepped off the path to allow everyone the space to safely pass. More recently we went to Table Rock with our friend and RVS colleague, Cindy Hutton.

Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share?

I’m currently reading The Silkworm, one of a series of mysteries by Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym. The story is of course completely different from Harry Potter, but I enjoy her narrative and descriptions of the characters and settings.

What’s something you’re grateful for today?

I remain grateful for my wife and daughter and for the chance to be with them this year. Alison will be returning to stay with us for some time later this year, and it’s a joy for us to be together again. As I mentioned before, the Sunday horn group has kept me sane and allowed me a wonderful musical outlet and in-person time with my friends and colleagues. I’m also very grateful to everyone who has been taking the pandemic seriously and interacting responsibly and safely with one another. Having more time in general, I’m grateful to be able to practice and continue to improve my playing.

What’s something you’re looking forward to?

Like I’m sure everyone in RVS is, I’m looking forward to playing with my fellow orchestra musicians again. I’ve missed the playing and comradery greatly, and can’t wait to play orchestra music again. I am very much looking forward to seeing and interacting with the students again at Ashland Middle School. It’s still an unknown what our situation will look like in the upcoming school year, but I’ve so missed the personal contact with these young people and look forward to being with them again.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I appreciate the communication we’ve had from Joelle and Martin. It’s reassuring to know that going forward there’s a plan to get us back to playing again and that our orchestra as an organization, cares about us.

Next up: Lisa Truelove, Principal Cello

Curious about our other musicians? Visit to read more. New posts are added weekly or so.

Musician Behind the Mask: Theresa McCoy, Principal Timpani

PC: Christopher Briscoe Photography

Theresa was born in Ashland, but left for college and ended up spending a decade living in Los Angeles – finishing her music degree and working as a studio and freelance musician. Since she and her husband returned to the Rogue Valley, she’s been working as an IT professional and doing as much music as she can in her off hours. Not just a timpanist, Theresa can be heard (in non-covid times) around the valley in a wide variety of ensembles, including Opus 3, Salsa Brava, Sonido Alegre, and Timberline Express Big Band, to name a few. Theresa has been playing with RVS since about 2005.

How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?

This crisis has brought my music life to a screeching halt! I think 20+ performances were canceled, in addition to a big recording project I had planned in our studio. I have continued teaching lessons via Zoom, but that is definitely not ideal. I feel cut off from my people!! Making music with and for people is such a huge joy in my life. I don’t mind a small break from music-making. I have taken breaks before and come back refreshed, with new ideas. I just hope this doesn’t go on too long.

Enjoying an outdoor gig

Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?

I think nearly every aspect of my professional life is affected in some way. Even though much of my work takes place in solitude in normal times, even that work feels different.

What do you think is the role of musicians now? 

I think we have a few roles. One, is to do what we can to keep the flame burning—whether that is by posting music from days gone by, experimental music-making in isolation, or making music in the great outdoors for any within hearing to enjoy. Also, we can absorb this moment. Musicians are interpreters of life. The effects of this time will come out in our music.

Playing games with Husband Sean and daughters via video conference

Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine? 

I’ve been reading like a maniac! I’m reading three books concurrently right now. And I’ve been spending a lot of time working in my yard. The up side of all this for me has been enjoying time at home without suffering any FOMO. My life often feels a little frantic. This enforced slowdown has its benefits. Also, we recently dusted off our Dungeons & Dragons characters!  Sean and I used to play D&D from time to time in the ‘80s. Now, my oldest daughter has discovered the game and brought it into the 21st century.  We recently played via video-conference with our daughters, each in their own homes: Portland, Eugene, and Sacramento. Such fun!  We’ve adventured twice so far, and are planning another one for sometime this summer.

The McCoy yard, looking tip top!

Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share? 

I recently finished Jan Swafford’s biography “Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph.”  Wow! What a great book! He really brought Beethoven to life as a flesh and blood man, rather than the mythic figure.  And Swafford throws in just enough music analysis to really appeal to the musician in me.  I think any admirer of Beethoven would enjoy this book, but particularly a musician.

What’s something you’re grateful for today? 

I’m grateful that I have not lost anyone close to me to this virus. I’m grateful for this caring community.  There have been so many acts of kindness and a drawing together even though we have to keep our physical distance.

What’s something you’re looking forward to? 

I’m looking forward to hugging every person in my life!!! The few times I’ve been in the company of friends, it’s been all I can do to resist jumping over and trapping them in the biggest bear hug I have in me!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I just want to send my love out to all our patrons.  I miss sharing our common bond.  I hope we will be united in beautiful music again soon!

behind the timpani at an RVS concert

Curious about our other musicians? Visit to read more. New posts are added weekly or so.

Musician Behind the Mask: Alexis Evers, flute/piccolo

PC: Christopher Briscoe Photography

Portland-based flutist Alexis Evers has been the third flutist and piccoloist of the Rogue Valley Symphony since 2016. She is also the principal flutist of the Eugene Concert Orchestra and second flutist/piccoloist of the Oregon Mozart Players. She has performed with Orchestra NEXT (Eugene Ballet Company), Festival Napa Valley’s Blackburn Music Academy, and the Eugene Symphony Orchestra. An avid performer of new music, she was a 2018 Guest Artist for the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, and was a featured performer at the 2018 SEAMUS (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) national conference. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Oregon. 

How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?

I don’t think there is much about my musical life that hasn’t changed under these circumstances, but there are certainly aspects of those changes I’ve found more difficult than others. The first is how much I truly miss performing. I’ve wanted to be a professional musician since I was 13, and so much of my life since that point has been structured around upcoming rehearsals and performances, whether that was with youth orchestra in high school, college ensembles and recitals in undergrad and graduate school, and now as a professional. I really miss being able to share music with an audience in a shared space – the energy of an audience is such a crucial part of the experience of live music. I’ve been working on a solo flute new music project, and I’m really happy to be playing music by some of my composer friends and colleagues, but sharing something on the Internet as a project’s culmination instead of a live performance feels very different, to say the least. I also truly miss the camaraderie on stage. There’s really nothing like being a small part of a huge piece of music going on around you when everyone is putting all of their focus, energy, heart, and soul into it; beyond this, I’m fortunate to have so many colleagues in the orchestra who I also call my friends, and I’ve missed them tremendously.

Alexis and partner Robert with a fresh set of masks

Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?

Scales, so many scales! I’ve been trying to really focus on a lot of fundamental aspects of my playing so that I’m in good shape for when I get to play with other people again, and have been revisiting some old favorite exercise books.

What do you think is the role of musicians now? 

That’s a big question! I think one of the best things about music is how much it helps us communicate and nourishes something deep within each of us, whether we’re the ones making the music or listening to it. I’ve been amazed at the creativity going on in using the technology we have available to us now to keep bringing new and “live” music experiences to people, even if we’re all experiencing that separately. I also think we’re at a really important moment to talk about better inclusion of underrepresented voices, especially in classical music, as we start looking ahead to what the performing arts may look like in the future. 

Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine? 

After finishing a half marathon in Eugene

I’ve been running a lot, which isn’t exactly a re-discovered hobby (I’ve run several full and half-marathon races in the last few years), but it’s helped keep me sane and given me a good reason to get outside during this time (socially-distanced, of course!). I’m not sure doing interpretive dances to the on-hold music of the Oregon Employment Department really counts as a hobby… I’ve also really enjoyed having more time than usual to be in touch with my friends and loved ones, even if we’re spending that time together digitally instead of in-person. 

Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share? 

I’m a voracious reader in normal circumstances, so with a lot of extra time on my hands, I’ve been reading even more than usual! Right now, I’m reading Frederik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. I’ve also watched a fair amount of Netflix, and just finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time – somehow I missed watching it when I was growing up, but I absolutely loved it!

What’s something you’re grateful for today? 

I am profoundly grateful, today and always, for my partner, Robert. This situation has, of course, had many stressful moments, but I am beyond fortunate to share my life with someone who is unfailingly kind, patient, and amazingly good at making me laugh – plus he’s very good at baking bread! 

I’m also very grateful to have recently started a new day job, and thankful that my family members (my dad and brother are essential workers) have been able to stay healthy. 

Also coffee. Always coffee. 

What’s something you’re looking forward to? 

There are so many things I’m looking forward to but the top of the list is definitely being able to see my friends again in-person and share food – I’ve really missed having friends over for dinner and cooking together. Traveling again is also near the top of the list, as is the simple pleasure of hanging out in a coffee shop. 

Robert Wakeley, Alexis, Debra Harris, and Katie McElrath at an RVS concert

Next up: Theresa McCoy, Principal Timpani

Musician Behind the Mask: Mark Jacobs, Principal Trombone

To say that Mark Jacobs leads a musical life of many facets would be an understatement! A member of the RVS trombone section for about 25 years, Mark is at home on many other instruments – ancient, modern, and even instruments of his own invention. He performs in several ensembles including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (trombone, ophicleide, lute, hurdy-gurdy, recorder), the Jefferson Baroque Orchestra (sackbut, serpent), the Queen’s Noyse (sackbut), and the Ashland City Band (trombone). Mark is on the music faculty at Southern Oregon University where he teaches low brass, composition, and music theory. His recent composition activities include a score for the short film The Bullet of Time. Originally from Illinois, he holds a Doctorate in Music Composition from Northwestern University. He is married to the RVS second horn player and OB/GYN Doctor Linda Harris.

Mark loitering (!) with RVS colleagues Will Scharen and Dave Wolf

How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?  
In a way the health crisis has put me into “woodshed” mode more than usual. Teaching music is my job at SOU and privately. My assignments include applied low brass, composition, and music theory. I have had to adapt those activities with distant communication software like Zoom to connect to my students. Zoom’s audio quality leaves much to be desired, so with my low brass students I have my low brass students record themselves in addition to meeting on Zoom. We watch and listen to the recordings together in the lesson and learn from them. My composition students all use music composing software like Sibelius and Musescore, so the lessons are largely the same as before the emergency. We look at the student’s work together in the music software (through Zoom screen sharing) and discuss their progress in real time. The main difference is that while we are looking at the same computer screen as before, we are not in the same room.  

Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?  
As stated above, composition instruction is largely the same as before. My practicing and composition work is essentially the same. One major difference is that I have less connection with colleagues.  

What do you think is the role of musicians now?  
I recently wrote an article for the SOU Music Department newsletter “Magnificent Music” that touches on this topic. Keeping the promise and dream of music alive requires the same dedication and hard work that it always has. Finding ways to share performances is more challenging now.  

Auditioning on ophicleide for the OSF production of Pirates of Penzance, 2011

Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine?  
I have maintained my low brass practice of trombone, euphonium, and ophicleide. I have widened my orbit to include tuba and serpent. I also have been working on classical guitar and lute, instruments that I have genuinely missed. I have begun getting reacquainted with the craft of computer programming. I made a living as a relational database programmer for about 10 years starting in the mid-1990’s. My new programming work is related to the practice of algorithmic music composition and computer-assisted composition in general. I am learning the language “Python.” I am finding it to be similar to the “C” language which I used previously in addition to “BASIC.”  

Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share?  
There are many good things to watch now, both inspiring programs and “guilty pleasures”. In the first category I would include anything on the CuriosityStream service. On Amazon Prime I would recommend “Tales from the Loop.” It is a series placed in an alternate reality based on the otherworldly paintings of Simon Stålenhag. Hulu’s “Devs” is also worthy of inclusion here. The HBO series “The Plot Against America” is based on Philip Roth’s novel of the same name. It is a riveting alternate history of America in the 1940’s. Back on Amazon Prime, “The Man in the High Castle” is a hair-raising treatment of the eponymous Philip K. Dick novel. Guilty pleasures are so numerous, but I would like to highlight the weekly Chicago horror movie series “Svengoolie” available in the Rogue Valley over the air on MeTV, channel 26.2. And I must not forget the huge body of material available from Mystery Science Theater 3000.  

What’s something you’re grateful for today?  
I am grateful for friends, family, and community. The fact that I am able to continue my musical work is truly a blessing.  

What’s something you’re looking forward to?  
I am looking forward to playing in the RVS again. I am looking forward to human interaction in person.  

Anything else you’d like to share?  
I recently completed a project for the Oregon Fringe Festival that is noteworthy. Starting about 2 years ago, I designed and built a pair of large musical instruments which I call “Fringestruments.” They each consist of 8 aluminum rods of the lengths 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 feet. The rods are caused to vibrate longitudinally by “bowing” them with a rosined leather glove. They vibrate along the length of the rod like a spring. The resulting pitches are approximately E-F#- G#-Bb-c#-e-g#-c#. The small-case note names are an octave higher than the large-case ones. The premiere of the Fringestruments took place on the Oregon Fringe Festival’s video presentation “Fringette Volume II”.

To learn even more about Mark, check out his website:

Next up: Alexis Evers, flute/piccolo

Musician Behind the Mask: Lori Calhoun, Principal Clarinet

Continuing our series of RVS musician profiles in the time of COVID, we caught up with Lori Calhoun, who has served as Principal Clarinet for the last 30+ years. Lori also enjoys musical theatre, having performed with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Camelot Theatre, and Oregon Cabaret Theatre, doubling on clarinets, flutes, recorders, saxophones, duduks, and wind synthesizer. In addition to teaching for our Link Up program, Lori is also an active private instructor, coach, and adjudicator.

Lori (front row, third from left) with RVS colleagues
PC: Christopher Briscoe Photography

How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?
The crisis has been bigger than I can really wrap my brain around.  So many dead and suffering.  So many out of work.  I lost all of my work, whether playing in RVS or the pickup orchestras in the area, and I lost my last months of teaching children through the Link Up program once the public schools closed for the calendar year.  I had one private student whose parents could afford to keep her in private lessons – now via Zoom; our goodbyes each week seem to take an even more tender turn.  The saddest thing for me was not getting to hear the Link Up kids play their finale concert, and the thought of all of their books and recorders sitting quietly breaks my heart.
Unfortunately, at around the same time as the lockdown began, I was having back trouble.  I had managed to get in and get x-rays just before, and fortunately nothing showed up… well, except for the pain.  Pain has been my constant companion throughout all of the news reports of the sick and dying, of the social distancing, of the political insanity, of the bravery of medical staff, and essential workers.  In a way, I hold that pain in a prayerful way to keep it closer as a memorial for those brave hearted, and lost.

What do you think is the role of musicians now? 
Rest, learn, stoke any passions, think outside the box, keep in touch with colleagues, keep hope.  Sometimes cry.

Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine? 
With all this time on my hands, between trying to get through to the Oregon Department of Employment, some 200 phone attempts a day, I took my paintbrush back up and have gotten into a rhythm.  I have already sold 3 of the 4 paintings I did, and wish my pain would allow me longer days at the easel.  Who knew people would buy my art? I did finally get UI on track.  I am pretty happy about that.

My garden has exploded with the riot of an English village.  I had to have the Kesslers come mow for me a couple of times, when pain wouldn’t allow, and have taken many photos of the place nature has taken over.  Now birds are nesting in my secret garden, and I never want summer to come. Is being homebound oh that very different from my life before?

What’s something you’re grateful for today? 
Today, I am very grateful for friends and family who have donated to my recovery with funds, who have shared their generosity with gifts and gift cards for food, and with homemade masks.  I cry daily at their love, which has buoyed me out of the depths.

I have become closer to people via Facebook.  It’s a nice island.  My neighbors have waved a little bit more.  My family has been very supportive.  Life is full of good.  I want to focus on that.

What’s something you’re looking forward to? 
I am looking forward to a healed body, hugs with friends, and hearing strings on stage in front of me.  Oh yeah… and climbing on all fours in the dirt.  

Next up: Mark Jacobs, Principal Trombone

Covid-19 Update – Concert Cancellations

Dear Patrons,

We sincerely hope this finds you well. We miss you and know you feel the same way. We would like to thank you especially for your patience and grace, phone calls and emails, and unexpected gifts during this unprecedented time as we assessed our options. If you hold tickets for the April 2020 concerts and/or a subscription for next season, a letter was mailed to you today. Please check your mail. This letter details specifics for each patron about their ticket options.  We are sending this notification to all patrons: those who hold tickets and those who do not.

After careful consideration, we will not be able to present our rescheduled Masterworks 6 concert in August as we had hoped. With an abundance of caution and due to the unavailability of rehearsal and performance space during the fall, we are also canceling performances for September, October, and November of 2020. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced that large gatherings, including concerts will need to be cancelled at least through September. She has also stated that restarting events of this size most likely will require a reliable treatment or prevention, such as a vaccine, which is many months off.  We realize that any time we may move to Phase 2 of reopening, but that still doesn’t allow for the assembly of large numbers of people.  During this challenging time, the actions we are taking represent our hope, faith, and unwavering commitment to the future of our orchestra.

RVS concerts will resume once we are confident that it is safe for our staff, musicians, and you, our patrons, to gather in person for concerts. As you might imagine, we partner with many entities to produce our concerts. There are decisions yet to be made about the availability of rehearsal and concert spaces, social distancing requirements, and sanitation protocols. We are following updates and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with our local government to make the most informed decisions possible. When the time is right, we will all come back together to heal our hearts and minds. We will be able to make decisions about the January, February, March and April, 2021 performances in December.

Meanwhile, we want you to enjoy our Symphony from the safety of your home. We are working on exciting new ways to bring music to you. SUBSCRIBERS ONLY will have access to livestreaming experiences we are hoping to present in the fall. Subscribers will have access to these exclusive events as well as preconcert lectures and postconcert virtual receptions. Please hold the Sundays of September 20, October 25, and November 22 at 3pm for these special livestreamed musical performances presented by Martin Majkut and members of the RVS.  Subscribers – consider holding on to your entire subscription so that you can enjoy these musical offerings!

After receiving the letter detailing your ticketing options, you may return the accompanying postcard or click here to email us with your choices. You may also call us with any questions at 541-708-6400. 


The Rogue Valley Symphony greatly appreciates those who consider a donation in lieu of a refund. The cancellation of performances creates significant financial challenges for non-profit arts organizations in our community and across the country. 


Martin Majkut, Music Director 
Joelle Graves, Executive Director

Musician Behind the Mask: Carla Ecker, Concertmaster

PC: Christopher Briscoe Photography

We decided to hold a series of interviews to learn more about how the RVS musicians are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and to share their stories with you. This first installment features Carla Ecker, who has served as Concertmaster of the Rogue Valley Symphony since 2017.  She resides in Phoenix, AZ with her husband, Alan, where she performs with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, and otherwise freelances playing chamber music, shows, and whatever other interesting things come her way. Carla spends her summers in Santa Fe, NM where she performs with the Santa Fe Opera, eats copious amounts of green chile, and hikes the abundant NM trails.

How has the Covid-19 health crisis affected you as a musician?
These definitely have been some of the strangest times I’ve ever seen and I might even say that COVID-19 has turned my musical life upside down! The most obvious thing is that the entirety of my professional performing life has been canceled for the foreseeable future. In fact, the last concert I played was in the Rogue Valley on March 1st. A key part of being a musician is self-discipline, and I am definitely a creature that craves structure.  Without a schedule of rehearsals and concerts to keep me in line, I’ve definitely needed to dig a little deeper to keep myself motivated to practice.  On the positive side, I have rediscovered the freedom to play for the fun of it, and to take on playing projects for my own gratification as opposed to trying to always just keep up with the things on my performing schedule.  In normal life, those things are mainly orchestral works with a smattering of chamber music when I’m so lucky.  Not to say that those things aren’t wonderful, but right now there is a new freedom of choice…things I’ve always wanted to learn, things that I don’t normally have time for.  AND, a very important and wonderful aspect of this is having the time to really slow down and to learn things at a pace without pressure.  I find that I really discover wonderfully useful things when I allow myself a little more leash.

Carla’s COVID stylings

Are there any aspects of your professional life that are unchanged?
I can say that my cravings for music and for performing are unchanged. In fact, they are definitely heightened. (I suppose that means that they ARE changed!) But so much is different.  In almost every conversation I have with my colleague friends we explore ideas of what will remain changed, and what will snap back. We are now in a cycle of constantly exploring new options and new ways to keep being who we are.  Performing music is not just what we do, but it is what we are.  We’ve never really had to face the reality of that changing until now.

What do you think is the role of musicians now?
I believe that we need to keep reminding the world of this sensation that we feel only when we are in a room where there is live music being played.  We may not be able to feel it for now, at least in large group form, but we must not forget the power of it. We need to let people know that this power is still here for them, maybe just in slightly altered forms for now. We will all have our concert hall experiences back again. I know that we will be together again in that way, because it is a huge part of our humanity.  For now, we can still reach each other in unique ways. Something that will always remain in my memory is driving down to my friend Steven’s house for a social-distancing lawn concert in early March.  During the drive, I listened to our governor here in AZ announce stay-at-home orders which would begin the very next day. Myself and three other violin colleagues and friends spaced ourselves around a tree in Steven’s front lawn and played Telemann Quartets for his responsibly-spaced neighbors.  It was a very special afternoon. 

Playing Telemann in the front yard with friends
Look at those hedges! Go Carla!

Have you re-discovered an old hobby/passion while in quarantine?
YES! My tennis racket had probably gathered nearly 10 years of dust when I dug it out and ventured to my neighborhood park.  I had forgotten how much I truly love the game and the feel of it, and it’s been great therapy to go and hit some balls against that wall and rediscover my swing.  I’ve always loved cooking, so like everyone else on the planet I’ve been cooking more than I have in years!  I’ve dug out the Duolingo and am LOVING pretending that I’m actually learning Italian. AND, not to brag, but I’m pretty sure I could give Edward Scissorhands a run for his money.  That’s Carla Scissorhands to you, and my hedges have never looked better! 

Have you read or watched anything interesting that you’d want to share?
My newest project is the American Film Institute’s top 100 films of the century.  My husband, Alan, and I just watched The African Queen the other night. In this day and age of all things digitized, it’s really fun to rediscover some old greats made in a time when things were much simpler.
For inspiration (and to check myself if I ever start to feel sorry for myself), The Book of Gutsy Women, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, is a great collection of stories about resilient, sassy women throughout history who really made a difference.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a beautiful novel of historical fiction that I was loaned by a great friend, and it’s written in a way that you can take little bites out of.
A summer project I’m looking forward to is studying Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, which I was to perform this summer with the Santa Fe Opera.  Due to the season being cancelled, this will be the first summer in over 25 years that I will not be in Santa Fe playing the operas that I adore, so I’ll try and get to know Tristan the best I can without being in the pit.

What’s something you’re grateful for today?
Being forced to quarantine with my cherished husband, Alan. We really like each other!
And being one of the luckiest ones in this day and age to not have lost a loved one or seen one close to me suffer with this illness.

What’s something you’re looking forward to?
Being on the stage with my orchestra, your orchestra, the RVS, as well as here in Phoenix and Santa Fe, and anywhere else that’ll have me!
And finally being able to celebrate everything, or nothing, in person with all of the people that I love.  And HUGS!!!!!!! And last but not least, waking up tomorrow with a better solution, a better resolution, and a new lease on our present COVID-19 life.

Next up: Lori Calhoun, Principal Clarinet