Symphony Conductor and Music Director - Helen Martell
Helen Martell, Symphony Conductor and Music Director, joined the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia in 2001 and became the Music Director and Symphony Orchestra conductor in 2007. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1990 with a double Bachelors degree in Saxophone Performance and Music Education, she simultaneously performed in a professional saxophone quartet named Resounding Winds and established herself as a middle school and high school string orchestra director in Chesapeake Public Schools. As a saxophonist, she has performed with the Virginia Symphony and for the Virginia Arts Festival under the direction of JoAnn Falletta. She also performed with the Virginia Wind Symphony and served as the saxophone instructor for the Governor’s School for the Arts.
Mrs. Martell has conducted Regional and All-City events throughout Virginia and served as adjudicator for many District Orchestra Assessment Festivals in the Hampton Roads area. In the summer of 2003, Mrs. Martell participated as a Fellow in the Conductors Institute at Bard College in New York, under the direction of Harold Farberman. Mrs. Martell guest conducted the Virginia Symphony during the 2004/2005 season: with the Virginia Symphony Brass on the New Year’s Eve concert and with the full Symphony for a Young People’s Concert. In 2007, Mrs. Martell conducted the Virginia Symphony for the Beethoven Play-Along and a concert in Courtland, VA.
The Virginia Chapter of the American String Teachers Association named Mrs. Martell its 2010 Orchestra Director of the Year. Named as a Fellow in the Juilliard Conducting Workshop in 2013, she studied directly with JoAnn Falletta, Eugene Corporon and Virginia Allen. Currently, she teaches string orchestra at The Academy of International Studies at Rosemont for the Norfolk Public Schools in addition to working with the most talented music educators and student musicians of the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia.
Concert Orchestra Conductor – Steven Brindle
Steven studied at Christopher Newport University, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with Latin honors. During his graduate studies, he served as assistant conductor to the University Orchestra and OperaCNU. Since then, he has attended conducting workshops at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, studying with famed conductors Mark Gibson, Gustav Meier, and Markand Thakar. He has conducted Capitol Opera Richmond in performances including Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic H.M.S. Pinafore, Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, The Stoned Guest, by P.D.Q. Bach, and Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land.
As a proponent of new music, Steven regularly commissions works and collaborates with composers. In 2010 Steven conducted the world premier of David and Glass, an original opera in three acts by contemporary composer Chris Lamb. Since then, he has conducted and performed in the premier of over 10 new works.Steven currently serves as the Music Director for the Hampton Roads Philharmonic and as the Orchestra Director for Soundscapes, an El Sistema-inspired program in Newport News that teaches transformational life-skills to socio-economically disadvantaged youth through music performance.
Steven lives in Norfolk with his dog, Chica. He is a member of the Collegiate Music Educator’s National Conference, Omicron Delta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda, Alpha Chi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
String Orchestra and Junior String Orchestra Conductor - Christina Morton
Mrs. Morton is a prominent Suzuki violin teacher in Hampton Roads and has performed in the Virginia Symphony violin section for the past thirty years (recently retired). She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in Education from Old Dominion University.
Mrs. Morton has taught for Norfolk Public Schools (directing string orchestra and the harp program), conducted local All-City programs, and served at Suzuki workshops as a clinician. She is currently president of the Suzuki Teachers’ Association of Hampton Roads (STAHR) and a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, teaching violin and cello from her home studio as well as on the faculty of the Academy of Music Suzuki Program. She is also the coordinator for the Park View Elementary School Violin Program, in Portsmouth, an outreach of the Academy of Music.
She joined the Bay Youth organization in 1994 as conductor of the String Orchestra and has since then formulated the Junior String Orchestra program to compliment the offerings for young string players.
String Orchestra and Junior String Orchestra Assistant Conductor- Brad Shedd
Brad Shedd is pastor of Generations Christian Fellowship, a new church plant in Chesapeake, after serving 16 years as an Associate Pastor at Harvest Assembly. In addition, he has a large studio of private students, teaching violin, viola, cello, and piano.
He has a huge heart for young musicians, beginning with his own experience playing in the Springfield (MO) Youth Symphony, serving as concertmaster and a concerto competition winner. He received his Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and Music Education at the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati, graduating summa cum laude. While there, he traveled with CCM’s Symphony Orchestra to London and Paris.
He has also completed his Master of Divinity from Regent University’s School of Divinity, again graduating with highest honors. Prior to pastoring, Mr. Shedd taught strings for six years in the public schools—two years in Cincinnati, and four years in Chesapeake, including two years as director of the Great Bridge High School Orchestra program.
Mr. Shedd has many private students participating in the Bay Youth orchestras, including six of his eight children.
Wind Ensemble Conductor – Michael Oare
Michael Oare (b. 1960) earned undergraduate degrees in Music Composition and Music Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. A veteran music educator, Mr. Oare remains active as a composer, arranger, performer, conductor and adjudicator. As a published composer, he has written numerous arrangements and compositions, with a special interest in music for the young band. One of his works, To Dream in Brushstrokes, is included in the acclaimed Teaching Music Through Performance series by GIA publications. His compositions can be found in the catalogues of several major publishing companies, with all his most recent works being published by Hal Leonard.
Since 1991, he has served as the Director of Bands at Great Bridge Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia. His Great Bridge Middle School Bands have consistently received superior ratings in the annual Virginia Concert Band Performance Assessment and have performed for the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference on three occasions. He maintains State and National professional memberships, is a member of ASCAP and the international bandmasters fraternity Phi Beta Mu. He is a recipient of the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence, is a multiple year honoree in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and is a member of The Virginia Wind Symphony.
Mr. Oare resides in Chesapeake, Virginia and, in his spare time, enjoys off-shore fishing along the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina.