The Tampa Metropolitan Youth was conceived by FloriMezzo Inc., the Orchestra’s parent organization, in 2011. FloriMezzo Inc. has provided Bay Area community musicians, music teachers and students the opportunity to develop educationally and artistically through participation in regularly scheduled classical music concerts since 2003. The organization is founded on the philosophy that quality, live classical music will foster an enduring audience when community musicians with varied musical experience and backgrounds collaborate as educators, mentors and performers. TMYO is operated through the 501(c)(3) non profit, FloriMezzo, Inc.
Our Faculty & Staff
Dr. Wiedrich, Symphony Orchestra
Dr. Wiedrich is associate professor of conducting at the University of South Florida School of Music where he conducts the USF Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre. He heads the graduate program in conducting, and maintains a large private studio of conducting students across the state of Florida.
Before his appointment in Tampa, Dr. Wiedrich held faculty conducting positions at East Carolina University and Michigan State University, and visiting professor and conductor at the University of Michigan where he later earned his doctorate. His teachers include Gustav Meier, H. Robert Reynolds, and Larry Rachleff, as well as Gunther Schuller at the Festival at Sandpoint. He has also attended the conducting seminar at Tanglewood.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of Quorum, a professional contemporary music ensemble, and is a founding member of newmusic, a similar ensemble in the Tampa Bay area. He has conducted the Tampa Bay Youth Symphony in Carnegie Hall, and has led the orchestra in a commissioning project that has produced significant new works for young orchestras.
A published composer and arranger, Dr. Wiedrich is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States. Ensembles with whom he has collaborated have consistently received praise for their sensitive performances.
Colleen Strom, String Concertino
Ms. Strom graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with High Honors, where she studied viola performance with David Holland, in 1997. She received several academic and performance based scholarships to attend Stetson University. There, she studied viola performance with Dr. Routa Kroumovitch-Gomez and Dr. Alvaro Gomez and earned Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Magna Cum Laude, in 2001.
In 2003, she earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education from The Florida State University. From 2003-2006, she conducted the orchestras at McLane Middle School and earned the highest performance ratings. She currently resides in East Tampa with her husband and son, where she is the violist in the Rosewood String Quartet, and Benito’s orchestra students continue to earn the highest performance honors including selection to All State Orchestra and All County Honor Orchestra and superior ratings at Solo and Ensemble Festivals and Music Performance Assessment.
Jessica Calandra, Executive Director
Jessica Calandra is co-founder of FloriMezzo, “Florida Musicians Educational Society,” in 2003, and has served in the capacity of Executive Director to oversee the development, financial operation, marketing, education, and membership outreach for the organization.
Under Ms. Calandra’s leadership, FloriMezzo has commissioned and premiered new chamber and orchestral works, established partnerships with the Pinellas County Music Teacher’s Association and Pinellas County Schools, St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough County Young Composers’ Guild, the Sunstate Opera Company, Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Friends of the Arts, the Dali Museum, the newly established St. Petersburg Opera Company, Studio @ 620, the Palladium Theater, and the Mahaffey Theater.
On behalf of FloriMezzo, Ms. Calandra has competed and won grants from the City of St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County Cultural Affairs. As a clarinetist with FloriMezzo, she has been playing chamber music since organization’s inception. She received her B.A. in Clarinet Performance from the University of South Florida, and continued her studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Ms. Calandra was instructor of Band and Strings at Perkins Elementary Magnet School for the Arts in Pinellas County, served as Manager of Music at Patel Conservatory, taught Elementary Music for Hillsborough County Schools, and is currently the Instrumental Music Instructor at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida.
Jason Jerald, Philharmonic Orchestra
Jason Jerald, an Atlanta native, has taught in Hillsborough County Schools for 15 years. He is currently the Director of Orchestral Studies at Howard W. Blake High School, Arts Magnet in Tampa, FL. Under his direction, Blake’s orchestras have consistently earned superior ratings for outstanding performances in both local and national assessments.
Mr. Jerald is a graduate of Florida State University where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Cum Laude. During his studies at FSU, he served as a violist in the University Symphony, Chamber Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. He received his Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of South Florida.
Mr. Jerald has served as a chairperson and guest clinician for several All-County Festivals in Florida. As an approved adjudicator, he has assisted with Music Performance Assessments and Solo & Ensemble festivals throughout Florida. Mr. Jerald served on the Florida Orchestra Association (FOA) executive board as 11/12 All-State Chair and Ethics Chair. He now serves as the President of (FOA). Mr. Jerald is a strong advocate for excellence in music education and performance.
He is an Individual Artist Grant recipient from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, which enabled him to participate in the 2015 International Conducting Institute for Conductors in Bacau, Romania. This presented him with the opportunity to work with the Bacau Symphony Orchestra under tutelage of Maestro Robert Gutter, Charles Gambetta, and Ovidiu Balan. Mr. Jerald maintains an active performing career in surrounding ensembles throughout Tampa Bay. His most rewarding performing experiences have come from his association with Via Musica Productions. Such performances include the Tran-Siberian Orchestra, Mary J. Bligh, David Foster, Kristyn Getty, Idina Menzel, and Ricky Scaggs. These experiences have fostered his zeal for excellence in performance. He also conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra for the Tampa Metropolitan Youth Orchestras, and directs the Bible-Based Fellowship Church Orchestra-Carrollwood. Mr. Jerald enjoys his time with his wife Maya, their son Emanuel, and their daughter Emery.
Beth Walogorski, Treasurer
Kenneth Kwo, Phil String Quartet Coach
Kenneth Kwo received his bachelor’s degrees in math and viola performance from Oberlin College and his master’s degree in music from the University of Iowa. He has performed with the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tri-City Symphony, the Northwood Chamber Orchestra, and at the Swannanoa Chamber Festival. Kwo teaches at the Kinhaven Music School and Hillsborough Community College.
Sandy Neel, Symphonic Strings
Ms. Neel is Director of Orchestras at Burns Middle School in Brandon, Florida. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Music Education, Cum Laude from the University of South Florida, graduated with highest academic honors from the College of Education, and received superior academic achievement from the College of Fine Arts.
In 2003 Ms. Neel earned her national teaching certification for the early adolescent and young adult. In 2007 Ms. Neel and the Burns Honors Orchestra was the first middle school orchestra invited to perform for the Florida Music Educator’s Association Convention and receive an award for excellence in performance. Each year Ms. Neel’s orchestras earn superior performance ratings at the Florida Orchestra Association Music Performance Assessments, Solo & Ensemble music festivals, and consistently have students place positions in All State and All County orchestras.
As a pioneer of string education in Hillsborough County, Ms Neel has generated curriculum for the young string musicians grades 7-12, she was instrumental in devising curriculum for the performing arts wheel, and served as founder of the Hillsborough All County Orchestra. She has developed and lead elementary string programs recognized as Music Demonstration string ensembles by the Department of Education.
As former conductor for the Tampa Bay Youth Orchestra and the Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra, Sandy has devoted 22 years to helping students to develop a passion for music and excel to their fullest potential in a performance ensemble.
Nancy Lorenzen, Operations Director
Nancy has years of non-profit administrative experience, working with arts, education and social service agencies. From 1995-2000, Nancy served as the Executive Director and Development Director for the Tampa Bay Youth Orchestras. During her tenure, Nancy wrote grants, initiated a successful, annual fundraiser, organized the first music retreat for the Orchestra, and created a chamber music program.
From the arts, Nancy shifted her non-profit administrative skills to play a leading role in the development of Mary Lee’s House, Inc., a child protection and advocacy center. Since opening its doors in 2008, Mary Lee’s House has helped abused children receive the services they need under one roof. Nancy helped set the foundation for Mary Lee’s House by making presentations in the community, writing grants, planning special events, working with volunteers, and helping to organize an Auxiliary, which currently has 200 members. In addition to these administrative roles, Nancy has been an adjunct professor at Hillsborough Community College.
Nancy always has been an active volunteer and has accepted a wide variety of leadership roles. Currently Nancy serves as an Elder of Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, a board member of Mary Lee’s House, a member of the Mary Lee’s House Auxiliary, and as vice president of the H.B. Plant Museum Society. Nancy received her Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Davidson College.
Lowell Adams, Harp String Quartet Coach
Lowell Adams received his bachelor’s and master’s of music in cello performance from Northern Illinois University. He has also received artist’s diplomas from the Hartt School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival. Adams has performed with the St. Louis Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, where he was assistant principal from 1977 to 1979, the Esterhazy Quartet, and the Dorian String Quartet.
His teaching experience includes being visiting professor of cello at the University of Missouri-Columbia and instructor of cello at the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, Florida Southern College, the Tampa Bay Youth Orchestra, and the Suwannee Summer Music Center. He has been the principal cello at the Lake George Opera Festival since 1981.