Trained at music conservatories across the United States and Europe, Texas Winds musicians currently perform with the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dallas Opera Orchestra. They frequently appear on chamber music series across the Metroplex. Many also teach music at area universities, colleges, public schools and private studios. They continue to add Texas Winds performances to their busy schedules because of the rewarding interaction with the audiences.
Vurl BlandTuba / Cimbasso
As an active chamber musician, Vurl Bland is a member of the Trinity River Jazz Kings, Classic Brass and Perennial Brass. He is the Principal Tuba of the Las Colinas, Garland and Arlington Symphonies and often subs with the Fort Worth and Tulsa Symphonies. He is Adjunct Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at Texas Wesleyan University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Kareen Britt has been a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra for nearly 30 years, performing piccolo and flute. She earned bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Illinois in flute and music education. Kareen teaches flute for the Midlothian bands and performs in the Texas Winds Flute Trio.
In 2015, after 35 years as principal flute of the Fort Worth Symphony, Jan Crisanti now teaches in her neighborhood schools and provides affordable private or group flute instruction. Whether performing at private fund raisers, freelancing or playing with Texas Winds, her goal has been to bring the joy of music back to herself as well as sharing it with the community.
Ft. Worth native Mario Cruz attended TCU and UNT before moving to New York where he performed, recorded and toured with some of music’s notable greats. Mario has an extensive resume of TV, jingle and motion picture studio work and has written many compositions that have been used in TV shows, commercials, and movie soundtracks. He is an active freelance musician in the DFW area and plays clarinet and saxophone with the Trinity River Jazz Kings and Simon Sez Brass.
Paul’s melodic and lyrical blend of folk and pop is reminiscent of the 70s singer-songwriter tradition. Since beginning his solo career in 2011, he has toured across the US in support of two LPs and shared festival and concert bills with Indigo Girls, Jars of Clay, and Gungor. Demer is currently writing and partnering with other Dallas creatives to make the city a more beautiful place.
Kent Ellingson has been active as a performing musician with Texas Winds since 2009. In addition to being a freelance pianist/keyboardist in the area, Kent teaches music full time at Booker T. Washington HSPVA in Dallas, and teaches applied jazz piano at Eastfield College in Mesquite. Kent received the Sammons D’Jam Jazz Educator Award in April, 2016.
Jane Escueta received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Violin Performance from Indiana University. She currently subs with the Dallas Opera and Minnesota Orchestra. This is Jane’s second year with Texas Winds. She performs solo concerts, as well as duo programs for seniors and preschoolers with her husband Tony (on piano). They have two children, Maria and Tony.
Recognized as one of the music industry’s leading product specialists for digital musical instruments and related products, Tony has worked with a myriad of legendary entertainers, recording artists and music producers throughout the U.S., and is frequently sought out for his technical expertise by touring artists. Tony holds a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Joseph Ferraro, percussionist, holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and a Masters degree from Southern Methodist University. He has performed with the Dallas Opera since 1989 and the Santa Fe Opera since 1985. He performs regularly with both the Fort Worth and Dallas Symphony orchestras and has performed with Texas Winds since 2005.
A native of Oklahoma City, cellist Eric Forman came to Dallas in 1989 to study at SMU, where he earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in music performance. Since then he has performed with most orchestras in the Dallas area, including those of Fort Worth, Richardson, and Plano. Eric has been a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra since 1999, and has been a Texas Winds musician since 2004.
Claire Garza RossViola
Claire Garza Ross, originally from Houston, studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she received her Bachelors and Masters in Viola Performance. She moved to Dallas in 2008 and has performed with Texas Winds since then. She has also performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Symphony, and Richardson Symphony. Claire teaches for the Dallas Symphony’s Young Strings program.
Charles Hall is Instructor of Bassoon at Texas Christian University. He performs with the East Texas, Wichita Falls, Lewisville Lake and Fort Smith Symphonies. Charles is a private instructor for Birdville Independent School District. He has performed with Texas Winds for 16 years.
Jeff HallDouble Bass
Jeff Hall studied the double bass at UNT with Dr. Rainbow and privately with Tom Lederer at SMU. He is currently a member of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and is an adjunct faculty member at Southwestern Adventist University. He has also been a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra.
Carol Noriko Harlos has played with the Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Opera, Hawaii Symphony, and many other orchestras and ensembles in the DFW Metroplex. She has studied with Fritz Magg, Tsutsumi Tsuyoshi and Vladmir Orloff.
Steven Harlos has performed with numerous leading artists, including Timofei Dokschutzer and Harvey Phillips. He is also a composer, with works published by Southern Music and Woodwindiana. He is Pops pianist for the Dallas Symphony, and Chair of Keyboard Studies at the University of North Texas.
Glen Hummel received a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University and has pursued Masters work at the University of North Texas. He is currently Principal Trumpet with the Plano and Irving Symphonies and performs with the Fort Worth Symphony. Mr. Hummel also participates in jazz, Broadway shows and religious festivals. Glen performs in the Texas Winds “Trinity River Jazz Kings” and “Perennial Brass” ensembles.
Ron Jones has performed with Texas Winds “Sentimental Journey” since 2009. He’s a graduate of New York University and UNT. Ron has performed at New York Blue Note, Waldorf Astoria, 55 Bar, recorded original jazz CDs, written music for CNN, recorded with Al Green, jammed onstage with Smokey Robinson and Mick Fleetwood, and opened for Crosby Stills & Nash. Ron performs for Granbury Live and teaches at Richland College.
Sharon Knox DeubyClarinet
In addition to performing for Texas Winds, Sharon Knox Deuby is Principal Clarinet with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, Associate Principal Clarinet with Dallas Winds & Co-Principal Clarinet with Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. She is also the Adjunct Clarinet Professor at UT Tyler & Richland College.
Patrice Koenig received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from SMU. She has performed across the United States, Asia and Europe. Ms. Koenig currently teaches, is pianist for both White’s Chapel United Methodist Church and Temple Emanuel and has been member of Texas Winds for 21 years.
Craig Leffer first began playing with Texas Winds in 2014. He performs with the Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra, and serves as principal cellist of the Abilene Philharmonic. He is also a lecturer in cello at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Michael LelevichDouble Bass
Michael Lelevich is Assistant Principal Bass of the Dallas Opera Orchestra and also performs with the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphonies. He performs regularly with Texas Winds and presents programs to underserved preschool children throughout the Dallas metropolitan area. A versatile musician, Michael performs on both electric and upright jazz bass, and as well as Baroque bass.
Emily Loh holds performance degrees from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the New England Conservatory. She is an active freelance musician who subs regularly with the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphonies and the Dallas Opera. She also is a member of the Plano and East Texas Symphonies and the Dallas Chamber Symphony. A registered Suzuki Method teacher, Emily maintains a private teaching studio and loves bringing music to the community with the Texas Winds String Quartet.
Mark Miller serves as Concertmaster of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra, and performs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and other area ensembles. He is a founder and president of Mount Vernon Music Association, a nonprofit organization that brings chamber music performance to underserved areas of East Texas. Mark performs with his wife, Ute, in the violin-viola ensemble Duo Renard.
Ute Miller, principal violist of the East Texas Symphony, performs frequently with the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Ute served 8 years as principal violist of the Dallas Opera Orchestra. She is co-founder and treasurer of Mount Vernon Music Association, a nonprofit that brings chamber music performances to underserved areas of East Texas.
Naoko Nakamura has performed for the Texas Winds since 2006. She is the adjunct assistant professor of harp at the Meadows School of Music, Southern Methodist University and the principal harpist of the Dallas Wind Symphony. She maintains an active teaching and performing schedule in the Dallas area.
Gretchen Nichols began cello studies with Audrey Anastasi and continued with Lev Aronson into her college years at Southern Methodist University. She has performed with many local and regional orchestras, churches and ensembles and has been a GDYO coach for twenty years. A long-time Texas Winds musician, Gretchen currently performs in the String Trio.
Cara Owens has been a member of the Fort Worth Symphony since 1997. An advocate for outreach and education, she teaches at Texas Wesleyan University and works for Texas Winds as Tarrant County Program Director. She teaches privately and free-lances extensively in the DFW area.
Tony Palos has been playing the piano since 1968, professionally since 1976. He has studied jazz at UNT and has been active in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1987. Tony willingly provides his own keyboard and has performed with the Texas Winds “Sentimental Journey” (sax and keyboard) ensemble for seven years.
Originally from the Dominican Republic, cellist Vilma Peguero is a graduate of SMU. She co-directs the DSO Young Strings Cello Camp every summer and is a Certified Suzuki Cello Teacher. Vilma is a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra and works at The Hockaday School, where she serves as Cello teacher and Assistant to the Orchestra Program. She lives in Dallas and enjoys riding her bicycle around White Rock Lake.
Alison Read, harpist, has maintained an active performing and teaching schedule around her native Dallas for almost two decades. Alison received her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied with renown harpist, Alice Chalifoux. She completed her Master of Music at Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Susan Pejovich.
Mary Alice Rich WittrigViolin
Mary Alice Rich performs violin in the Texas Winds String Trio. A seasoned orchestra performer, she currently teaches violin, and composes. Her music has won the Texas Orchestra Directors Association composition contest 3 times, and two years ago her opera “Wading Home” was performed in Dallas and New Orleans. Her composition “People Come and People Go” won 1st place in the Artists for Animals contest to raise funding for Operation Kindness.
Lisa has been a violinist with the Dallas Opera Orchestra for 24 years, and has performed with many local musical organizations, including the Wichita Falls and Lewisville Lake Symphonies. She has performed with Texas Winds Musical Outreach for 15 years, both as a member of a string quartet and string trio. Lisa is also a Suzuki violin instructor, and has a large studio of students at all levels of advancement.
Born in England, Simon is a graduate of the University Of London. After cruising the Mediterranean, South America and the Caribbean with Cunard and Holland America Cruise Lines, he now lives in Plano, Texas. A busy freelancer, he has performed with many local groups and recorded for the BBC and PBS. Simon is a member of the Texas Winds “Trinity River Jazz Kings”.
Greg White has been a member of Texas Winds as half of the Percussion Duo since 2005. He has freelanced as a percussionist since 1981, living in Dallas since 1996. He was Principal Timpanist with Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit for twenty seasons and has a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan.