Staff 2018-01-17T19:31:35+00:00

Conducting Staff

John WelshMusic Director & Conductor, Conservatory Orchestra

John Welsh brings a wealth of experience, leadership, and direction to the members of the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia. His past conducting engagements include Music Director positions with the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra, the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra in Tennessee, the Prince William Symphony, Georgetown Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area Mr. Welsh has conducted the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the New World Symphony in Miami, at the Festival International Echternach Chamber Orchestra in Luxembourg, the Metropolitan Chamber Players at Lincoln Center, the Arlington Symphony, the Annapolis Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony and the Shenandoah Music Festival Orchestra. He has also held residencies at Indiana University. He regularly conducts the San Miguel Philharmonic in Manila, Philippines. Mr. Welsh is very proud to be the first Music Director of the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia and Conductor of the Conservatory Orchestra. Mr. Welsh holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano from Miami University in Ohio and a Masters in Conducting from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. While serving as a Captain in the United States Air Force, he conducted the United States Air Force Band and Symphony and Military Airlift Command Band. His mentors include Richard Lert, Leo Mueller, Leon Barzin, Leon Fleisher, Kiril Kondrashin, Max Rudolph and Gustav Meier.

Greg AllisonArtistic Director & Conductor, Brass Choir

Greg Allison received his B.A. and M.A. in Music Education from Western Washington University where he studied trumpet with the late William D. Cole. Mr. Allison has taught instrumental music in the Olympia School District for over 35 years. His bands have been chosen to perform at the State and Northwest Music Educators’ Conference and the Western International Band Clinic.

Mr. Allison has performed in the Northwest Wind Symphony, the 22nd Ave Dixieland Band, the Tacoma Concert Band, and the Evergreen Brass Quintet. He has been a guest adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor for state and regional festivals and conventions including the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. He has served on the Washington Music Educator’s board of directors, managed WMEA High School and Junior All-State, and was a recipient of the WMEA Teacher of the Year for middle level education. In 2014, he was inducted into the WMEA Hall of Fame.

Jeff LundConductor, Academy Orchestra

Jeff Lund has a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Central Washington University, where he directed the University Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Chamber Players, Ellensburg Campus-Community Orchestra (ECCO), and the Kittitas Valley Youth Orchestra. As an Interim Professor of Music at Central Michigan University, he conducted the University Orchestra, and the Percussion Ensemble.

Currently, Mr. Lund is an Associate Conductor with the Tacoma Community College Orchestra and with the West Seattle Community Orchestra.  Since his return to Washington in 2009, Mr. Lund has been involved in Music Education with the Tacoma Youth Symphony, Icicle Creek Youth Symphony, and as the Music Director for the Capital Youth Symphony.  Also holding a Masters Degree in Percussion Performance, Mr. Lund is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Puget Sound and is active in performing throughout Washington with the Tacoma Symphony, Northwest Sinfonietta, and various other groups around the Seattle area. Actively sought out as a guest clinician/adjudicator, Mr. Lund has held Masterclasses at multiple music festivals as well as being invited to perform as a Guest Artist in venues from Benaroya Hall in Seattle to Carnegie Hall in New York. Mr. Lund is the recipient of the Hubbard Scholarship and is a Liberace Scholar.

Jennifer MarinDebut Orchestra Winds

Jennifer Marin is a respected, collaborative, and innovative music educator with more than 16 years of small-schools experience. She is the Band Director and elementary Music Specialist for the K-8 Griffin School District outside Olympia.
A long-standing WMEA member, Jennifer has presented at state and regional conferences, presided over conference sessions, served as conductor for the Centralia Community College Orchestra, Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia Debut Orchestra, performed with the Northwest Wind Symphony, South Sound Community Band, and served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Chinook Region Music Educators Association for 4 Years.
Jennifer holds a BA in Instrumental Music Education at Pacific Lutheran University and has engaged in graduate studies at Southern Oregon University’s American Band College. She is a Certified Orff instructor for levels 1 through 4 and has a small private studio for flute.
Outside of music education, Jennifer is actively involved and volunteers weekly as part of the Thurston County 4-H Dog Project, serving as a club leader and assistant superintendent.  She also enjoys painting, sketching, photography and hiking.

Travis SipherDebut Orchestra Strings

Travis Sipher is the orchestra director at Capital High School and Jefferson Middle School in the Olympia School District.  He earned his degrees in Cello and Music Education from Western Washington University.  He served as assistant conductor of the Eugene Community Orchestra in Oregon and previously worked with SOGO’s POGO program at the Boys and Girls Club.

Elizabeth WardAssistant Conductor, Brass Choir

Elizabeth Ward received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Musical Arts degree from Yale School of Music. Ms. Ward is a former member of the New Haven Symphony, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, Pennsylvania Orchestra, Philadelphia Opera Orchestra and Young Audiences Inc., of Philadelphia. Returning to the Northwest, Ms. Ward founded the Evergreen Brass Quintet, well known for its outstanding educational presentations. As a studio teacher Ms. Ward’s students have consistently received awards on the local and national levels. Ms. Ward is Assistant Conductor of the Tacoma Youth Symphony’s Debut Orchestra, Conductor of the Tacoma Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Choir and Chamber Winds.

Mary Jo RydholmChamber Music Ensemble Coordinator

Mary Jo Knesal Rydholm teaches in the Olympia School District and is a Nationally Certified Music Teacher.  She has served as Concertmaster for several symphony orchestras in Washington State. An avid chamber musician, she completed her Chamber Music Workshop Director Internship under Dr. Valgene Phillips, at Humboldt State University (CA) and has since served as the SOGO Ensemble Coordinator.  She also coaches the Conservatory strings.

Teaching Artists


Mary Jo Rydholm, violin I
Nathan Rodahl, violin II (SOGO Alumnus)
Lisa Pearson, violin II
Anne Edge, viola
Casey Felt, cello (SOGO Alumnus)
Nick Masters, bass


Jean Whipple, flute
Krina Allison, clarinet
Kelsey Tryon, double reeds
Ed Sandor, trumpet
Liz Ward, French horn
Danny Craig, low brass
Joshua Keeling, percussion


Anne Edge, Music Historian
Mark Thome, Court Composer


William “Milt” Harper, percussion