Summer Strings Camp

Join us for Loudoun Symphony’s Summer Strings Camp, a week filled with musical discoveries where young musicians can expand their musical knowledge in a fun and focused environment. Participants must be in third – ninth grades and have at least one year of private lessons.


June  24 - 28, 2019
St. James Episcopal Church

14 Cornwall Street

Leesburg, VA 20176


  • Daily orchestra rehearsal with from musicians from around the county

  • Sectional coaching from professional musicians

  • Ear Training and Theory (basic and advanced)

  • Master Classes presented by college faculty members

  • Camp culminates with a Concert at 4 PM on June 28



Joseph Choi, LSYO Concert Orchestra Conductor

Mr. Choi is originally from South Korea and has lived in the United States for over 30 years.  He is currently working on his Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Orchestral Conducting at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, VA. Mr. Choi serves in a wide range of positions.  He serves as Grace Academy (Hagerstown, MD) Orchestra Director, and Band Director of Mt. Aetna Adventist School in Hagerstown, Maryland. He is also the Music Director of Gettysburg United Methodist Church in Gettysburg and Choir Director of Hagerstown Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland.


Mr. Choi serves as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Maryland Chamber Orchestra, and in the past he has conducted Phoenix Symphony (AZ), East Texas Symphony (TX), Astoria Symphony (NYC), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic (Czech Republic), Beethoven Chamber Orchestra (Czech Republic), Scottsdale Symphony (AZ), University of Maryland Symphony (MD), Hartt Symphony Orchestra (CT), Maranatha Chamber Orchestra.  He also served as Associate Conductor of Owensboro Symphony (KY) and Assistant Conductor of Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra (IN) and Asheville Symphony (NC). In the past, Maestro Choi also served as Music Director of Owensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra (KY) and Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (IN).


In October 2015, Mr. Choi made his Conducting Debut at the Carnegie Hall Concert Hall conducting to a nearly sold-out concert. In 2003, he made his conducting debut at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall where his performance with Prince George’s All-County High School Orchestra performance was broadcast to Prince George’s County (MD) residents for several months after the performance. In the past, Mr. Choi has also participated in many international conducting competitions such as Pedrotti International Conducting Competition (Italy), Besançon International Conducting Competition (France), Fundação Oriente International Conducting Competition (Semi-finalist) and as winner of Macon International Conducting Institute in Georgia. Due to his winning title, he was invited to attend St. Petersburg (Russia) Conducting Workshop to study with Yuri Temirkanov and conducted the world famous St. Petersburg “Congress” Orchestra (Russia).

Mr. Choi is equally comfortable in the choral world. In the past, he served as Assistant Conductor and Doctoral Graduate Choral Conducting major at the University of Maryland where he conducted University of Maryland Chorus and Chorale on a regular basis. He also sang “Vespers of Confessore” as a soloist with University of Maryland Chorale and with Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. Also, in the past, he served as paid tenor section leader with Baltimore Choral Arts & Baltimore Symphony Chorus for the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 performance with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and as Tenor Section member with CONCORA at the Bard Festival and with American Symphony Orchestra in NYC.


Mr. Choi studied for a doctor of musical arts (ABD) in choral conducting at University of Maryland, and earned a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting at University of Hartford and BA in Music from Southern Adventist University.  Currently, he and his wife, Angela both teach music at the Mt. Aetna Adventist School and their son, Nathaniel is a member of the Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Michelle Choi, Cello

Michelle Choi was born in Texas and moved in her early years to Korea, where she was raised. Her first meeting with her Cello was at the age of 10 and from the first moment that she saw the instrument, she knew it would be her life-long partner.


Since that first meeting, she has won numerous awards in several prestigious music competitions throughout Korea. These competitions include: the Music Journal Competition, the Yejeon Music Competition, the National Music Competition, and the Korean National Student Cultural Music Contest by the Daejeon Catholic Cultural Center. She has also played as a soloist and a member of various orchestras while attended Daejeon Art High School and Kyung-Won (Gachon) University.

After getting a Bachelor’s degree of Music from her university as a merit based scholarship recipient, she joined the Master of Music program in cello performance at the Catholic University of America (CUA) in 2014, where she was the recipient of full-time scholarship. 

While attending CUA, Michelle studied under Michael Mermagen, an Associate professor of UMKC Conservatory and a faculty member of Aspen Music Festival and School. She has also studied under Amy Frost Baumgarten, a faculty member of CUA and the principal cellist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.


In addition to this, Michelle participated in the Aspen Music Festival as a merit based scholarship recipient in 2016. She has completed her Master of Music as of January 2018 and she is currently a principal cellist in Loudoun Symphony Orchestra and a teacher throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Carla Deniz, Viola

Carla holds a Ph.D. in Education from George Mason University with a focus on how learners problem-solve. She also holds a Masters in Music Performance on the viola from Shenandoah Conservatory.  She has been performing on both the viola and violin throughout the D.C. Metropolitan area since 1990, including performances at the Barns of Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center. 

In 1993 she won the George Mason University Concerto Competition award. Carla has studied under Richard Parnas, Doris Lederer, and Sheila Browne.  Her focus is the viola and she loves sharing her knowledge with her students who typically gain top chairs in school, county, and regional orchestras.

Her philosophy is that students need three things to grow in music: 1) a warm and caring learning environment both in the teaching studio and in the home practice area; 2) teamwork, whether it be through school and county orchestras or through the numerous activities offered through the teaching studio; and of course 3) daily focused practice. Her goal is to help all of her students find the joy.

Rod Kerbs, Music Educator and School Principal

Rod Kerbs lives a life surrounded with music. He serves as principal and Band Director of Mt. Aetna Adventist Academy in Maryland.  In the past, he has served as Vice Principal and Band Director with Spencerville Adventist Academy in Maryland. He plays pretty much all band instruments (All Woodwind, Brass and Percussion) and he is energetic and passionate about making a variety of music.


He is the son of two music teachers and continues that legacy by teaching private lessons for the last 18 years and concert band for the last 10 years. His vocal talents include both solo tenor work, men's quartet performances, and large ensemble productions. He was taught yodeling by his late grandmother when he was just 12 years old and went on to use those talents as back-up vocalist and then lead singer with the bluegrass group, The Pleasant Valley Pickers. He is also a member of Sounds of Brass in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Mr. Kerbs received his undergraduate Psychology degree from Southern Adventist University in TN and his master’s degree in Education Leadership  from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

Dr. Jie Hyue Kim, Professional Violinist 

Dr. Jie Hyue Kim is a native of Daejeon, South Korea. Born into a musical family, she began studying violin at age eight. Dr. Kim received her doctoral degree from the Catholic University of America and received her Master of Arts degree from Aaron Copland School of Music at the Queens College, CUNY where she studied with Daniel Phillips, a renowned violinist of the Orion Quartet.

While attending schools, she has served as concertmaster of the University symphony and chamber orchestras. She won the Concerto competition of Queens College Orchestra, performed in 2009. And as a violist, she served as viola principle of Queens College Orchestra and Ureuk Symphony Orchestra in New York. As an orchestral musician Dr. Kim has performed at New York’s Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. She currently serves as the second principal of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, VA and the Concertmaster of the National String Symphonia in Maryland.

As a soloist, Dr. Kim invited to play with the NOVA philharmonic, Queensboro Symphony Orchestras in New York and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra in Virginia. She was granted a full fellowship to participate in the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival. And she has been selected to perform in the Castleton Music Festival Orchestra, an honor of enormous significance, as the orchestra is hand-selected and directed by Maestro Lorin Maazel. She is a founding member of Eclat trio won the first prize of American Protégé International Competition 2015, successfully debut at the Carnegie Hall.

Fiona Studebaker, Professional Violinist and Violin Fiddler

Fiona Studebaker began playing the fiddle at the age of 9 on an instrument handmade by a local fiddle maker in her hometown, Bolivar, TN. She learned to play by ear and throughout her childhood was part of a gospel bluegrass band made up of her and her siblings. They performed at bluegrass festivals, churches, and events throughout Tennessee.

Fiona began classical violin lessons at age 12 and was the concertmaster of her high school youth orchestra. She went on to study violin performance at the University of Memphis in Tennessee where she graduated with honors and her bachelor's degree. She then moved to Winchester, VA where she earned a Master's Degree and Artist Diploma and often served as concertmaster of the school orchestra at Shenandoah University.

During her time of study in Memphis she worked part-time as a waitress in a small hometown restaurant where bluegrass jam sessions were held each weekend. During her breaks and after hours she would play fiddle with the old timers and that is where she learned many of her tunes and lots of things about good bluegrass music. 

Fiona currently teaches violin and fiddle lessons at her home in Winchester, VA. She performs with the National String Symphonia in Jefferson, MD and the Rose Hill Chamber Orchestra in Berryville, VA. She occasionally subs with the Roanoke Symphony in Roanoke, VA and was a member of the Southwest Florida Symphony in Fort Myers, FL for two years. She made her solo debut in 2016 performing The Lark Ascending with the Performing Arts Chamber Orchestra of Greater Washington D.C. in Reston, VA. Fiona currently lives in Winchester, VA with her husband and two baby girls.

Akemi Takayama, Professor of Violin at Shenandoah University

Praised by Isaac Stern as a “true musician,” violinist Akemi Takayama is known worldwide for her musical artistry and passion, as well as for the extensive range and versatility of her repertoire. Currently concertmaster of both the Roanoke Symphony and the Williamsburg Symphonia, Takayama is an Associate Professor at Shenandoah Conservatory, holding the Victor Brown Endowed Chair in Violin.

Beginning her performing career at age 15 in her native Japan, Akemi Takayama studied with Toshiya Eto and Ryosaku Kubota at the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance. She was then awarded a Professional Studies degree at the University of Wyoming, studying under Brian Hanly, and became a teaching assistant to Donald Weilerstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she earned both an Artist Diploma and the degree of Master of Music.

Takayama was invited to participate in the Marlboro Music Festival in 1997, and was a member of the internationally celebrated Audubon Quartet for 14 years. Recent collaborations include the New Orchestra of Washington, as well as duo recitals with pianists Silvan Negrutiu and John O'Conor.

An inspiring educator and arts advocate throughout Virginia and beyond, Takayama has served as the chair of the College Advisory Committee for the Virginia String Teachers Association. In addition to joining the faculty of the Shenandoah Conservatory in 2007, she has also served on the faculties of the Chautauqua Institute (New York), the Idyllwild School for the Arts (California), the Brevard Music Center (North Carolina), Virginia Tech, and Shenandoah Performs (Virginia). In 2012, while continuing on the faculty of the Shenandoah Conservatory, Takayama accepted an invitation to teach at the Oberlin Conservatory (Ohio) in the fall semester.

Akemi Takayama has taught countless violinists who now have successful careers performing chamber music, teaching, and playing in orchestras. Her CD most recent is available under the Centaur Records label.

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