Nationally acclaimed American conductor and educator Michael R. Gagliardo has served as the Music Director of the Etowah Youth Orchestras since August of 1995. In May of 2016 he was named Music Director & Conductor of the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra, after serving as the Principal Guest Conductor of the GSO during the 2015-2016 season. He also serves as Conductor for the Mark Wood Experience. He is also a recognized composer, arranger, and speaker. In 2015, Gagliardo’s composition Corbeau: Suite for Orchestra received its Carnegie Hall Premiere.
Gagliardo held the position of Music Director of the Jacksonville State University/Community Orchestra from 1999 until 2008, and again from 2011 until 2014. From 1993 until 1995, Mr. Gagliardo served as the Principal Conductor of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of East Central Indiana, the Assistant Conductor of the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, and the Principal Conductor of the BSU School of Music Composer’s Forums. He has also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Wood River Municipal Band.
Since his debut with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra in 1993, Mike Gagliardo has led performances by professional orchestras and bands including the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and the Alton Municipal Band, and youth orchestras including the Olathe Youth Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest conductor at all-state festivals throughout the country, including appearances in Alabama, Colorado, New Jersey, and Tennessee. Opera and musical theater performances include productions with the Jacksonville Opera Theatre and the Theatre of Gadsden.
Throughout his career, Mike Gagliardo has demonstrated a continuing commitment to arts education. He is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at conferences for music educators and professionals, including the national conferences of the League of American Orchestras and the American String Teachers’ Association, and state conferences for music educators in Alabama and Colorado. He has also been a presenter at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Summer Teachers’ Institute, and continues to present educational outreach programs for the Knox Concert Series, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Alabama, and the Gadsden and Anniston Public Libraries.
Mike Gagliardo has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Walters Department of Music at Jacksonville State University, and as the president of both the Alabama Orchestra Association and the Alabama String Teachers’ Association. He has also been a member of the League of American Orchestras’ Youth Orchestra Division Board of Directors; the American String Teachers’ Association’s National Advocacy and National High School Honor Orchestra Committees and Youth Orchestra Task Force; and the Arts Education Council of Americans for the Arts.
Mike Gagliardo has received many honors and awards, including the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from Eastern Illinois University, the Citizenship Award and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Ball State University School of Music, two Citations for Leadership and Merit from the American String Teachers’ Association, and Strings Teacher of the Year from the Alabama String Teachers’ Association. He has also received twelve ASCAP Awards with the Etowah Youth Orchestras, and was the recipient of the Richard Malone Humanitarian Award in 2009 for his work with the Humane Society of Etowah County.
Born in Alton, Illinois, Mike Gagliardo began his musical studies on the piano and the trumpet and studied conducting with Donald Tracy at Eastern Illinois University and Leonard Atherton at Ball State University. He currently resides in Gadsden, Alabama, with his girlfriend Janet and their four-legged children, Mattie Mae, Murphy and Max. In addition to his work in music, he is the owner of Mattles & Company LLC, an event planning and consulting firm.
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Cellist and EYO Assistant Conductor Bryce Anderson graduated summa cum laude from Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Music Education in 2018. Anderson has performed in the cello sections of the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville State University/Community Orchestra since 2014. He has also played in the pit orchestra of numerous opera and musical theater productions with the Jacksonville Opera Theatre and Theatre of Gadsden, including “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Anderson began his performing instruction with the School String Orchestra Program of the Etowah Youth Orchestras under the direction of Roland Lister. He progressed through the program and graduated from the EYO as Principal Cellist of the Etowah Youth Symphony Orchestra. He studied privately with Susan DiBiase throughout high school, and with Alabama Symphony Orchestra cellists Andrew Dunn and Peter Garret at Jacksonville State University. He now maintains an active private cello studio. Anderson’s conducting instructors included Jeremy Stovall and Ken Bodiford.
Bryce Anderson grew up in the Gadsden, Alabama, area, and currently resides in Reece City, Alabama. Anderson enjoys performing at church once a week and at a local nursing home once a month.
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At age 13, EYO Assistant Conductor Mrs. Deborah Boos decided to become a music teacher, and shared that decision with her school music teacher. Eight years later, that teacher became the district’s Music and Fine Arts Department Head, and Debbie was his first hire. She had recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a concentration in flute from Grove City College, PA., where she studied with David Tessmer of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and began teaching general and instrumental music in her home town of Wappingers Falls, NY. She later received her M.S. in Music Education from Central Connecticut State University, studying flute with Sharon Davis. Previous teachers were Beatrice Keram (Juilliard), Janet Arms (Hartt School of Music), and Nancy Bostwick. Mrs. Boos’ conducting teachers include Dr. Douglas A. Browne, Francis E. Pittock, Jerry Nowak and Dr. Scott Shuler.
Performing as a freelance musician, Debbie Boos has played in community bands as guest soloist on flute and piccolo, and in pit orchestras and opera orchestras. She enjoys choral singing. Mrs. Boos has taught private flute lessons continuously since age sixteen, when her own teacher asked her to assist in her studio. She has subsequently taught preschoolers to senior citizens. She has come to learn that the art of education is rooted in encouraging people to reach beyond what they believe possible. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Boos enjoys cake decorating, home DIY projects, cooking and travel.
A series of family moves brought Mrs. Boos to the University of Findlay in OH, where she was an adjunct faculty member and director of the Findlay Flute Choir. While living in Ann Arbor, MI, she focused on church music and children’s education. A move to northeast Ohio brought her to teach at Our Shepherd Lutheran School in Painesville, OH. She arrived in Gadsden, AL late in 2009, and quickly got involved in local arts and music education, including performing with CharACTers Theatrics in pit orchestras for their productions (including “Les Miserables,” “Ragtime,” and “The Music Man”) and teaching Choir at Southside High School. She has served as an instructor at Gadsden State Community College; has directed a chamber orchestra for the Anniston Christian Academy; and was assistant director of the Oxford Christian School Concert Choir. She performs with the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra and the Jacksonville State University/Community Orchestra, and also enjoys playing every week in her church orchestra. For six years, Mrs. Boos has volunteered time and expertise with the EYO, coaching Red Brick Collective ensembles, serving as a rehearsal conductor for the Etowah Symphonic Wind Ensemble, chaperoning performance tours, and coaching the vocalists for the EYO Rock & Roll Christmas production. Mrs. Boos is “humbled and excited to join the staff of the renowned Etowah Youth Orchestras.”
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Mr. Roland Lister is Conductor Laureate of the Etowah Youth Orchestras, an honor bestowed upon him in May of 2018 following his retirement from the EYO program after 20 years of service.
Mr. Lister was hired as the EYO’s Assistant Conductor in August 1998 and began his tenure with the EYO as the Lead Educator for the School String Orchestra Program. He was promoted to the position of Associate Conductor in 2000, when he became the Principal Conductor of the June Moore Bugg Prelude Strings. Lister was influential in the development of the EYO’s intermediate string orchestra, the Etowah String Philharmonic, and served as the Principal Conductor of that ensemble since its inception. He also helped develop the EYO’s Summer Strings program. He stepped down as the EYO’s Lead Educator in 2009 but continued to teach at Attalla and Southside Elementary Schools as a part of the School String Orchestra Program.
Prior to joining the staff of the EYO, Mr. Lister taught for 30 years in the Gadsden City School System, spending 20 years as a string orchestra director. He organized and conducted the system’s first full symphony orchestra in 1978. Lister was named String Teacher of the Year by ASTA Alabama in 2007, and in 2009 was inducted into the Alabama Music Educator’s Hall of Fame.
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