Michele Contreras is the Orchestra Director at Classen School of Advanced Studies Middle School in Oklahoma City. Previously, Contreras taught at Stillwater Middle School where her students were recognized as the 2017 Middle Level Honor Orchestra for the State of Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association. Under her direction, students have consistently earned Outstanding Achievement Awards and Superior ratings at OSSAA contests and participate in the North Central Honor Orchestra. Contreras, an Oklahoma City University alum, graduated Magna Cum Laude and received OCU’s “Outstanding Student in Instrumental Music Education” award upon graduation. Contreras received her Master’s in Music Education degree at the University of North Texas School of Music. While at UNT, Contreras' studies allowed her to create compositional and improvisational activities for the Beginning Orchestra Classroom as part of a capstone project for teachers to use as a resource. Contreras’ desire to advocate for string programs, share the wealth of pedagogical knowledge that ASTA offers, and strengthen community among string teachers in the state of Oklahoma motivates her to serve on the board for The Oklahoma Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
Currently, Dr. Jacqueline Skara serves as Assistant Professor of Viola and Music Education (Strings) at Oklahoma State University's Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music. A native of Southern California, Jacqueline is a driven and focused string instrument educator and performer. A valued teacher who connects personally with her students, she designs innovative curricula and infuses modern technology into the classroom. Committed to community engagement, Jacqueline has worked with organizations such as Cheerful Heart Mission located in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Kabarek University in Kenya, and the Fairview Violin Project in Indiana, to create and develop string programs locally and internationally. Her global teaching experience includes proficiency in distance teaching and a commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy.
Jacqueline is a member of the ASTA Conference Planning Committee, the Advisory Board for the Music Educators Journal, and she currently serves as the Student Advisory Committee Chair for the National ASTA. Jacqueline has presented at the ASTA National Conference, the NAfME National Research Conference, Big Ten Academic Alliance Music Education Research Conference, and Desert Skies Research Symposium. Her research interests include pedagogical and descriptive analyses of string shifting, and the intersections of parental involvement, parent attitudes towards music in school curricula, and parent social/cultural capital.
An avid chamber musician, Jacqueline was a founding member of the Allium String Quartet and has always enjoyed participating in local groups that perform music outside of the Western art tradition. During her time in Chicago, she was principal violist of the Civic Orchestra and frequently performed with many regional ensembles.
Jacqueline received bachelor's degrees in viola performance and French from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, a master's degree in viola performance and chamber/orchestral literature from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, and a Ph.D. in music education with a minor in viola performance at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her primary viola teachers included Robert Becker, Pam Goldsmith, Roland Vamos, and Steve Wyrczynski. Dr. Brenda Brenner served as her dissertation chair and mentor throughout her Ph.D. studies.
Jenn Bounds received two degrees in cello performance from the University of Central Oklahoma. She plays cello in The Stringents, Metro String Quartet and for her church. Mrs. Bounds has taught music since 2001. She is currently on faculty at the Crossings Christian School teaching both middle and upper school orchestra. Jenn’s family includes her husband Cody, son, Micah and daughter Eden. When Jenn isn’t playing her cello or teaching music she loves to run in races, go on play dates with her kids, paint, read, shop, photography and travel.
Mrs. Anne Guevara is an adjunct string instructor at Southern Nazarene University, the retired orchestra director for Putnam City West High School, Windsor Hills Elementary, Western Oaks Elementary, and The Silver Strings of Putnam City. She also served as the department chair for the Putnam City Schools Orchestra program. Anne has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Auburn University and a Master of Arts in Education from Oklahoma City University. Anne’s post-graduate studies were in Viola at the University of Oklahoma.
Anne is the past Chair of the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education, past President of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and served on the Executive Committee for Local 375-703 of the American Federation of Musicians for fifteen years. Anne served as the OMEA Orchestra Chair in 1990 and 2004. During the summer Anne has been a member of the string faculty for the University of Arkansas Summer String Camp since 2000. She is a member of the Enid Symphony Orchestra, Norman Philharmonic Orchestra, Oklahoma City Community Orchestra, Oklahoma Strings Quartet and is an active freelance violinist, violist and adjudicator. Anne was named the Oklahoma Chapter of American String Teachers Association “Teacher of the Year” in 2006. She has been the guest conductor for the Enid All City Orchestra, Northern Oklahoma All District Orchestra, Southwest Oklahoma Honor Orchestra and the Northwest Arkansas Honor Orchestra. Anne presented the “Music Box” workshops in Tulsa and Oklahoma City for the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education, a member of the Kennedy Center.
Anne was awarded a Golden Apple award from the Putnam City Schools Foundation for volunteer service to the district in May 2010, named 2011 Exemplary Teacher by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association, awarded the 2011 Governor’s Arts in Education award, the Elizabeth A.H. Green School Educator Award from the American String Teacher’s Association in 2012, and inducted into the Oklahoma Music Educator’s Hall of Fame in 2018.
Meryl Geib, cellist and pedagogue, has maintained an active and varied career as a musician in central Oklahoma since 2009. She earned her Bachelors of Music degree with distinction from the School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with previous studies at the University of Texas-Arlington and the University of Central Oklahoma. Her primary teachers include Dr. Tess Remy-Schumacher, Dr. Karen Becker, and Dr. Elizabeth Morrow.
As a performer, Mrs. Geib has played in orchestras and chamber groups in Arkansas, California, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. She is a former member of the Garland Symphony, Las Colinas Symphony, ION Trio, Red Rock Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Arlington. Currently, she is principal of the Covenant Chamber Orchestra, a founding member the Edmond Chamber Orchestra, and also performs with the Enid Symphony Orchestra. She has performed at venues nationally and abroad, including the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. During her career, music tour opportunities have taken her to Australia with a cello ensemble and to Nuremberg, Germany for the premiere of “Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, op. 170” with guitarist Stefan Grasse. To further expand her understanding of music throughout time, Mrs. Geib has begun the study and performance of baroque cello. She regularly performs with Trio Antiqua and at various events held in conjunction with the Brisch Center for Historical Performance.
As an educator, Mrs. Geib is committed to expanding cello and chamber music education in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. She is an active member of the American String Teachers Association, and currently maintains a large private studio. Her students have participated in various Oklahoma ensembles, including the North Central Honors Orchestra, All-OMEA, Oklahoma Youth Orchestras and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic's Society of Strings. She also co-founded the student-musician scholarship program at Covenant Presbyterian in The Village, Oklahoma in order to help young musicians learn how they can benefit the community. To further improve the education of young cellists Mrs. Geib has teamed with other local teachers to form the OKC Cello Project, a group dedicated to creating unique educational experiences for young cellists in central Oklahoma.
With an eye toward the future, Mrs. Geib hopes to inspire entrepreneurship in the field of music. She is available to mentor young musicians in how to start and manage new businesses. She has been a guest speaker for UCO music business courses and the UCO cello studio. Ultimately, Mrs. Geib hopes to help young musicians redefine the role of music in the twenty-first century and have fun doing so.