Coming to Vero Beach most recently from Memphis, TN, Jacob Craig is the Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach. Jacob received his Bachelor of Music Education and Performance degree from Shorter University in Rome, GA before moving on to Tallahassee, FL to receive his M.M. in Choral Conducting and Literature under Dr. Andre Thomas at Florida State University. As Director of Choral Activities at Ridgeway High School in Memphis, TN, Jacob’s choral groups won numerous awards and competitions both at the local and state levels. Jacob first soloed with the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra in Season Six on Harpsichord for Bach Orchestral Suite #3. In Season Seven, Jacob performed the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor.
Joe Loehnis started playing cello at age eight. He attended Lawrence University in Appleton where he studied cello, graduating in 2006 with a degree in Music. Joe played with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2006. Joe was principal cellist of the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra from 2010-2011. During Season Five, Joe performed the Haydn Cello Concerto in D major. Joe is also a professional Golfer and is currently the Executive Director of "The First Tee" in Madison, Wisconsin.
Linda Spiwak has a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the State University College at Fredonia, NY. She has been teaching private violin lessons for more than 30 years and presently teaches violin in Vero Beach, Florida. She was the assistant concertmaster of the Utica Symphony in Utica NY and also a member of the Catskill (NY) Symphony, Schenectady (NY) Symphony, and the Spiwak Family Quartet. In addition to her symphony work, Linda has also played in backup bands for world class entertainers including Wayne Newton, John Denver, Frank Sinatra Jr., Bobby Vinton, Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Connie Francis and Patti Paige. Linda is one of the founding members of the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, and sat as concertmaster for the first five seasons. She is principal violinist in the Vero Beach Concertante, and plays for Holy Cross Church Quartet and other private functions.
Michele Witt grew up in Wilton, Connecticut and began her piano studies at the age of seven. She attended Washington University in St. Louis, studying with William Schatzkammer and then transferred to Mannes College of Music in Manhattan to study with Olga Stroumillo. After receiving a degree in languages from New York University, she and her husband Michael moved to England, where she ran the US Equities Sales Office for Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette in London for 20 years. At the same time, she resumed her musical studies with Peter Bithell and gained a Perfomance Diploma from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Michele and Michael spend four months a year in Vero Beach
Maestro Dr. Marcos Daniel Flores
Marcos Daniel Flores was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He began his piano studies at the age of 16 with Rubén Malán and immediately entered the Bachelors Degree program in Music at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. There he studied piano performance with Luz N. Hutchinson (1990). Flores earned his Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Barry Snyder (1994), and later earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Arizona State University where he studied piano solo performance with Caio Pagano (2004).
Dr. Flores has participated at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina as well as in many master classes by renowned artists such as Nikolai Petrov, Harold F. Lewin, Mattias Fletzberger, and Samuel Pérez. His private instruction includes piano lessons with Nina Svetlanova, Natalya Antonova, Carmen Or, Robert Weirich and Randall Hodgkinson.
Dr. Flores was the recipient of the Conservatory Piano Medal and the Arturo Somohano Leadership Medal among other awards, and he has performed recitals and concerts in both Puerto Rico and the United States.
Dr. Flores is currently the Organist/Pianist and Director of Worship Arts at Christ By The Sea United Methodist Church since October 2004. His ecumenical experience in church music includes conducting choirs, orchestras, and Christian-bands in several traditional and contemporary church denominations. Last year, Vero Beach Opera expanded its Scholarship Program to include piano scholarships for talented and committed young students with financial need to study under Dr. Marcos Daniel Flores.
Judi played flute and piccolo with the Illinois Symphony for 20 years. She has her BA in Music from Bradley University and her Masters in Music Performance from Illinois State University. She has been a soloist with several orchestras in Illinois and North Carolina and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and at National Flute Conventions in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New Orleans. She has played with several orchestras including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Asheville Symphony, the Greenville Symphony, and the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. She was a founding member of the Apollo Winds woodwind quintet and continues to be a featured soloist at the Biltmore Estate. Judi was the assistant professor of flute at University of North Carolina at Asheville for 20 years. She has performed internationally with the Metropolitan Flute Orchestra and the International Flute Orchestra. She currently teaches privately and at Primo School of the Performing Arts plus plays with the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, the Treasure Coast Flute Choir, and the Space Coast Flute Orchestra.
Matthew V. Stott, Concertmaster
Matthew Stott began studying the violin at the age of 5. He continued his studies at Baylor University, School of Music, in Waco, Texas under Dr. Bruce Berg and Mr. Stephen Heyde. Mr. Stott accepted the position of Director of Orchestras in the Indian River County School System in the fall of 2001. He currently conducts orchestras at Gifford Middle School and Vero Beach High School. In 2010 Baylor University awarded him the 'Outstanding Music Educator Alumni.' In 2011 he was provided the opportunity to study conducting at the Juilliard School summer term. He was named the FLASTA school teacher of the year in 2014. Matt has guest conducted several orchestras throughout Florida and has performed extensively as well. Under his leadership he has taken the VBHS Orchestra to become the American String Teachers Association No. 1 High School Symphonic Orchestra in the United States. Their excellence earned them an invitation to perform at the J. F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Lincoln Center in New York, City, and most recently to perform an Ambassadorial Concert tour in Salzburg, Gatz, Innsbruck and Vienna Austria.
Eric Willett graduated from Saint Edward’s School in Vero Beach, Florida in 2010. Eric first began performing on the flute at the age of 11. Since his introduction to the flute, Eric has studied with Vera Guimaraes of Vero Beach, Florida. Eric has participated in a number of musical programs including the Florida State University Summer Music Program and the New York Summer Music Festival. In addition, he has performed in master classes with renowned flutists such as Gary Schocker, Brad Garner of the Julliard School, and Walter Auer of the Vienna Philharmonic. In 2006 and 2008, he was recognized as an All-State musician. Eric has been a member of the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra since its inception. Eric is currently a student at Yale University