Bryce Rytting’s education is unusually varied: his studies in Germany, the U.S. and England have earned degrees in conducting, history and music theory. Princeton University awarded him a Ph.D. and M.F.A. in musicology. Graduate work under Helmuth Rilling at the Frankfurt Conservatory yielded a Künstleriche Reifeprüfung (literally: artistic maturity ) in conducting. And his bachelor degree was magna cum laude from the University of Utah in music theory. He has also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 1986 Bryce joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. He went to BYU in 1989 where he was named BYU School of Music Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998 and BYU Professor of the Month in February 1997. Bryce has served as music director of Pro Musica (a choir based in Salt Lake), conductor of the Park City International Music Festival orchestra, guest conductor of the Salt Lake Symphony and Southwest Symphony and Chorus, conductor of orchestras and chamber music coach for several seasons at the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, and has conducted opera, choir and orchestras at BYU. In 1998 he was named music director of the Utah Valley Symphony and permanent conductor for the Utah Regional Ballet. For his work in the community, he was awarded the National Music Month Award by the Provo Arts Council in 2000. In 2001 Bryce joined the faculty at UVU. He served as music department chair from 2002 until 2010. His wife, Lysa, is a professional harpist. The Ryttings have three children: McKay, Mairin, and Christopher.
Suanne Bowcut (chorus) has been teaching and leading children’s choirs for over twenty-five years. She is currently the Administrative Director of the Utah Valley Children’s Choir and has been closely involved with this remarkable organization her entire career. Each summer the Children’s choir tours under the direction of Suanne and her husband Carl and has performed extensively across the United states as well as Mexico and Canada. She has taught music in public and private schools across Utah County and has been active in community art programs as well. She attended Brigham Young University and BYU Hawaii and is a licensed instructor for the “Let’s Play Music” music instruction system. Suanne is also a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and LOVES IT! She is a mother of six children and 11 grandchildren and is married to her best friend and biggest fan Carl Bowcut.
Hanna Cook (violin & viola) has loved “making music” since she was a toddler, although her formal musical training and violin studies didn’t begin until age 5. She currently studies violin & viola with Denise Willey. A weekly highlight for Hanna is playing as concert master in the Lyceum Philharmonic. Last year Hanna performed at Carnegie Hall with the American Fork High School Orchestra. She has soloed 3 times with the Utah Valley Symphony and with the American Fork Symphony. Hanna is the 5th of 6 children and she also enjoys playing duets, trios or quartets with her siblings for various occasions & events. When time permits, Hanna loves participating in recreational city sports and is a BYU sports enthusiast!
Ashley Braithwaite (viola) has been teaching privately since 2005, and is actively involved in the Suzuki Association of Utah’s annual ViolaFest! Her students prepare and perform at UFMC’s Federation every year as well. Ashley has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Utah in Viola Performance, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Utah State University. She has performed throughout Europe and enjoys playing chamber music. She is currently the festival manager for UMEA’s State Jr. High Orchestra. Ashley loves teaching her SEVEN middle school orchestras, and endeavors to instill the lifelong love of quality music in each of her 300+ students. She is always looking for innovative ways to engage students in music in her community as well. Ashley also loves action sports such as Supercross, and can be found outside on her dirtbike wherever the sun is shining.
Performing on the violin for over 25 years, violinist Kristi Geddes Jenkins, from Ogden, Utah, has toured throughout the United States and Europe as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and part of the rock band, Room 102. She was the first violinist in the Aquarelle String Quartet that was chosen as a resident string quartet at both the Deer Valley, and Yehudi Menuhin String Festivals, working extensively with the Muir and Alexander String Quartets, violist, Toby Appel, and cellist, Lynn Harrell. She was a founding member of the professional Kronberg Ensemble located in Omaha, Nebraska. She graduated with a B.A. in Violin Performance from Utah State University in 2008 where she studied with Will Fedkenheuer and the Fry Street Quartet. While there she won the 2007 Concerto Competition, where she then soloed with the USU symphony. She then went on to complete her Masters of Music degree at University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010, where she studied with Rebecca Fischer and Julie Yoon of the Chiara String Quartet. Kristi joined the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra in 2012, where she is currently the Concert Master. Kristi has been a mentor and coach throughout her various chamber experiences and has taught private students since age 16, teaching ages 3 to collegiate. She is currently teaching violin out of her home and raising her four beautiful children.
Kaitlin Rackham (violin) graduated with a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Brigham Young University in April of 2015, studying under Professor Alexander Woods. While in attendance Kaitlin placed 2nd in the 2014 Collegiate Level of the UMTA Concerto Competition, was a member of the Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, and BYU’s Baroque Ensemble. Kaitlin was formerly the Concertmaster of the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, and is currently a member of the Orchestra at Temple Square. Kaitlin has gained excellent experience in performance with high caliber ensembles and exceptional conductors. Beginning in her undergraduate career, Kaitlin has taught students of all ages with varying ranges of ability and skill. Additionally she has worked as a Chamber Coach for BYU’s SummerFest music program and as a sectional coach for several LYCEUM Orchestras and Summer LMFY. She teaches in Saratoga Springs and emphasizes the importance of sound quality and efficacy in practicing. As an advocate for the arts, Kaitlin was the committee chair of the 2013 Aspiring Musicians Competition for the TSO where she coordinated students, teachers and adjudicators to the great success of the competition’s first year. Through private lessons, Kaitlin is building a community of violinists in Saratoga Springs and surrounding areas that will propagate for years to come. Mother of three, Kaitlin loves to teach and perform, and help support Utah County with great pedagogical skill.
Alex Melecio has a voice that blends the strength and masculinity of the classic Mexican Charro with the soft sweetness of a pop balladeer, and he uses it to blend tradition with the unexpected. In 2012, he was a finalist on “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento”, one of the most popular television shows among Hispanics in the U.S., where his voice reached a national audience for the first time. On his debut EP, released by Rumor Records, Alex sings originals as well as fresh, inventive covers of some of Latin America’s greatest hits. With a voice that is deep and traditional as well as agile and modern, he performs songs like “Y llegaste tú”, made famous by Banda El Recodo, with an acoustic pop sound all his own and a disarming poignancy. “Como quien pierde una estrella”, Alejandro Fernandez’s new classic, also makes an appearance but transformed into a stirringly simple pop/R&B tune. But there’s more to Alex’s debut than covers. His originals are beautifully personal, and he delivers them with a sincerity that hits home. On “Si te tengo a ti”, a sticky retro-pop tune, he sings about hope and courage in hard times; parts of his life that he owes to the love and support of his wife and children; and on “La mitad de mí”, an intimate and bittersweet ballad, he talks about the longing that comes from having left his country to make his life elsewhere.