Forever Young! Meet the Music Directors cover

Forever Young! Meet the Music Directors

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Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings rings in its 26th season with works celebrating the artistic achievement and virtuosic energy of youth! In this concert, these talented young musicians perform prolific works by talented young composers who changed the world of music in their short lives. Enjoy an evening of youthful music masterfully performed by the youth of Santiago Strings! The concert opens with the Prelude Chamber Strings conducted by Helen Weed.
This is Part 2 of the Program Notes for the PSSS Fall Concert: Forever Young!. You'll be automatically linked to the next NoteStream at the end.
To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, please click here.





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Irene Kroesen

Irene Kroesen

Music Director, Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings

Irene Kroesen received her bachelor’s degree in music education and teaching credential from Chapman University. Currently, Kroesen is a retired string specialist for the Irvine Unified School District (USD).

From 1988 to 2011, Kroesen was an adjunct instructor at Chapman University where she taught the String Methods for music education majors. Kroesen has also served as a mentor teacher for Irvine USD as well as a designated master teacher for Chapman University and California State Universities, Long Beach and Fullerton. She has also written curriculum for county and state workshops as well as sharing and distributing her teaching materials to Placentia-Yorba USD and Garden Grove USD.

Kroesen has appeared as conductor of the Irvine Elementary and Middle School Honor Orchestras and guest conductor of the Middle School Honor Orchestras for Las Vegas Unified, Capistrano Unified, Placentia-Yorba Linda School District, Long Beach Unified, Fresno-Madeira County and the SCSBOA All-Southern Middle School Honor String Orchestra.

Kroesen served as the guest conductor for the Inaugural Year 2015 SCSBOA Elementary Honor Orchestra. She has also served as manager and assistant conductor of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra and is currently the conductor of Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings. She is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers and is a past recipient of the Alumni of the Year Award from the School of Music at Chapman University.

In 2003, she received the Orange County Outstanding Arts Educator Award for Elementary Instrumental Music. In 2006, Kroesen was selected as the Irvine Unified School District Elementary Teacher of the Year.

As a string educator and clinician, Kroesen has given numerous workshops at both county and state music conferences as well as working with individual school orchestras from Nevada, Arizona and the country of Norway. She has also served as an adjudicator for the Disney Creative Challenge and has auditioned violinist and violists for both the All-Southern California Middle School and High School Honor Orchestras. In 2015, Kroesen served as program advisor for Pacific Symphony’s Strings for Generations program and is currently the music director for the 2015-16 season.

Kroesen is a member of the American String Teachers Association, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, Music Educators National Conference and California Music Educators Association. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Musicians Union and is active as a professional violist.

Helen Weed

Helen Weed

Prelude Chamber Strings Music Director

Helen Weed is the founding conductor and music director of the Prelude Chamber Strings and Prelude String Orchestra. She received a B.M. degree in music education from Chapman University where she studied conducting with John Koshak.

Currently Ms. Weed is music arts coordinator at Calvary Church of Santa Ana, instrumental music teacher at Calvary Christian School and also conductor of the Praise Symphony Orchestra. She is an active member of the Music Teachers Association and a past president of the National Association of Church Musicians.

She is also a private teacher of violin and piano and has traveled to several countries, including Romania, Brazil, Chile and Cuba to conduct, teach and take instruments and supplies to musicians. She loves to see students excel beyond what they could ever imagine!

The Prelude String Orchestra (PSO) began its first season in fall of 1994 with advice and financial support from the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts. Annette Brower, who has managed the orchestra since the founding year, chose Helen Weed as the conductor because of her enthusiastic pledge of commitment to this orchestra which did not yet exist.

Ms. Weed chose the name of the orchestra, “Prelude,” to indicate the first orchestral experience for many children. All students in the orchestra study with private teachers and have been accepted based on an audition. Due to overwhelming interest, the Orchestra has grown from a group of eight violins and two cellos in its first season to about 90 musicians divided into two string ensembles.

The Prelude String Orchestra is designed to meet the needs of intermediate level students and the Prelude Chamber Strings (PCS) is for more advanced students. Orchestra members are in elementary and junior high school and this season, come from 18 different cities in Orange County.

Since 1994, PSO and PCS have enjoyed performing throughout Orange County at various community churches, as well as Christ Cathedral, Santa Ana Zoo, Laguna Hills and Brea Malls, South Coast Plaza, Tustin Historical Society home tour, Laguna Woods, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland, Concordia University, Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the inaugural reception for the mayor of Tustin, Tracy Worlley.

To learn more about Music Director Carl St.Clair, please click here.