A native of California, Don has been involved in music and the arts all of his life. Don’s music career started early, singing with the San Francisco Boys Chorus. There he had the opportunity to tour and perform with the Vienna Boys Choir, sing on a number of television productions including the Ed Sullivan Show and perform with the San Francisco Opera Company in La Boehme, Tosca and Carmen. Don continued his music endeavors playing string bass throughout his life in many bands, ensembles and orchestras.
After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam War, Don earned his Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Fullerton and pursued a successful 42 year career in the retail industry before retiring in 2012.
Don now focuses his efforts on the arts. Along with the Corona Symphony, Don is very involved in developing a music conservatory initially focusing on string musicians. Along these same lines, Don is very involved with Christian Arts and Theatre, serving on their board.
I feel the arts are vital to the health of our community. Our children need the richness of the arts in their lives and we need to ensure those opportunities are available to them.
“It appears to be pure contagious fun… Maestro Marco Mejia has rather quickly whipped this 50-plus-member-ensemble into energetic, disciplined shape.”
-Dan Bernstein, Press Enterprise
Maestro Marco A. Mejia is celebrating his 15th season as Music Director and Principal Conductor for the Corona Symphony Orchestra. A native of Riverside, California, Dr. Mejia has worked with various orchestral and vocal ensembles throughout California, performing highly reviewed orchestral, pop, choral, musical theater, and opera performances. Dr. Mejia holds degrees in Music Education from California Baptist University (B.A.), Music Performance from California State University-Fullerton (M.M.), and Music Teaching and Learning from USC’s Thornton School of Music (D.M.A). Dr. Mejia studied clarinet with Swedish clarinet virtuoso Håkan Rosengren; and voice with two-time Grammy nominee Rod Gilfry. He is an orchestral conducting pupil of Kimo Furumoto and Larry Livingston; and a choral conducting pupil of Gary Bonner and Robert Istad. The Corona Symphony Orchestra continues to enjoy Maestro Mejia’s tenure and, under his leadership, has successfully performed over 45 concerts with local orchestral musicians. Throughout his 15 seasons with the orchestra, Maestro Mejia has collaborated with local and international soloists and has commissioned and premiered new works with local composers.
Along with his endeavors as music director and conductor for the Corona Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Mejia is the Director of Worship Arts at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Rocklin, CA. He has also served as music director and guest conductor for a variety of symphonic, theater, and opera organizations throughout Southern and Northern California, including California Baptist University Theater Department, Opera A La Carte, Coachella Valley Symphony, Irvine Symphony, the California Chinese American Orchestra, Junior University Theater, Springtones, and In the Company Theater. Maestro Mejia has attended conducting workshops with conductors like Dianne Witry (Author of Beyond the Baton) and American conductors/pedagogues David Hoose and David Zimmerman.
Dr. Mejia continues to be a sought-after music director and pedagogue. Moreover, he continues to cultivate a rich musical history within the local community presenting musical performances for the masses, making every performance he conducts a musical experience that portrays creative programming and musical excellence. Dr. Mejia currently resides in the Sacramento region with his dog, Olukai, and is a proud member of the Conductors Guild, the National Association of Music Educators (NAfME), and the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA).
As Treasurer Steve Ruth wants to insure that the CSO, Conservatory and Youth Symphony continues its fiscally strong path and flourish in our community for years to come.
Steve possesses a lifelong love of music. He was born and raised in Southern California and started his musical journey listening to beach sounds, folk, and rock and roll in the 1960’s and 1970’s. After being strongly encouraged by his parents, Steve took piano lessons in his youth. At the age of fourteen he realized the guitar was his instrument of choice, and his piano teacher did not disagree. Steve loved playing the guitar, as he still does today, but he quickly realized that being a professional musician would require much more talent and time than he was able to provide. Steve graduated from the University of Redlands with a B.S. in Business and Management and holds a Mini-MBA from George Mason University / Smithsonian Institution.
In the late 1980’s Steve began his career with the Central Intelligence Agency and for the next twenty years traveled around the world in many diversified management and leadership positions. In all of his overseas adventures Steve explored each culture’s musical talent to include African, Middle Eastern, European, Spanish and Asian. (If you meet Steve in person ask him to tell the story about attending a musical performance in Africa held inside a small tent, with a dirt floor and no air conditioning.)
Steve, and his wife Meg, moved to Corona in 2008 and both were excited to learn that Corona has a culture of music appreciation, most notably the Corona Symphony Orchestra which provides the community “world class” performances and the Conservatory which enables our youth to explore and expand their talents. Steve is involved in many community organizations and activities – and is especially proud and honored to serve as Treasurer of the Corona Symphony Orchestra organization.
It might be said that Melanie Murphy-Corwin was born into the world of classical music. Although her entire family is Canadian, Melanie was born in New York City because her father, noted violinist Albert Pratz, was with Toscanini and the NBC Symphony. Throughout her formative years, Melanie was steeped in the profession as her father was involved in all aspects of music including teaching, composing, conducting, recording (both classical and popular) and serving as Concertmaster of the CBC Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Although she has played a bit of violin, piano and guitar, Melanie was more academic in her professional goals, and was one of the first women to graduate from the previously all male Jesuit College, Canisius, in Buffalo, New York. She went on to earn two Master’s degrees from Pepperdine University and a third from National University. She taught school in Rochester and Albany, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Plymouth, Michigan and since 1977 has lived and worked as a teacher and school administrator in the Corona area. She retired in 2010 as a Principal with the Corona-Norco Unified School District.
Melanie is thrilled to serve on the Board and is particularly excited to be able to support the Conservatory and the emerging Youth Orchestra both of which were passions of her father. As someone once said, “Music is life. That’s why our hearts have beats.” To quote the title of the national radio show that her father produced, directed, and starred in for several years on CBC Radio, “Let’s Make Music!”
Dr. Glenn A. Pickett believes that music is communication—and he is committed to helping people build better relationships by communicating better through music.
He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University, a Masters of Music in Conducting from Azusa Pacific University and a B.A. in Piano Performance from California State University at Northridge.
His life long love of music started at the age of four when he began picking out songs by ear on a toy piano that he received as a Christmas gift from his parents. Having completed 25 years of service as a Church Musician in 2008, he was appointed to teach Music Composition at California Baptist University in Riverside.
In 2016 the Corona Symphony commissioned him to compose a 35 minute work about the history of the City of Corona, The Circle City Suite.
Dr. Pickett is also a published composer with the Alfred, Fred Bock, Hal Leonard, Pavanne and Lillenas Music Companies.
He married Julie Urbanovich in 1986 and together, they truly enjoy their three grown children, two son-in-laws and one grandchild.
Known for his energetic rhythms, rich harmonic language, and striking colors, Josh Rodriguez continues to gain recognition as an emerging composer on a national and international scale. Born in Argentina and raised in Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, Rodriguez’s musical imagination has been formed by bilingual multicultural heritage.
Rodriguez has received notable commissions in a wide range of musical genres including DOS PALABRAS (Springfield Chamber Chorus Winner, 2022) and WHEN STONE BECOMES FOREST (The American Prize Winner – Band Division, 2022). Aside from concert music, Rodriguez collaborates regularly with theatre and film directors with scores appearing in international film festivals. Rodriguez earned his MM at the Cleveland Institute of Music and upon winning the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship moved west to study composition at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research at UCLA culminated with his dissertation on Alberto Ginastera’s cello music. His mentors include Richard Danielpour, Bruce Broughton, Paul Chihara, Keith Fitch, and David Lefkowitz.
Rodriguez currently serves as Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Elmhurst University, and is co-director of Deus-Ex-Musica an initiative that brings musicians, pastors, and non-musicians together for concerts and conversations about the intersection of faith and new music.
To hear Rodriguez’ music, please visit: https://www.joshrodriguezmusic.com.
Mickey has spent his life devoted to violin studies and teaching. From 1952 through 1064 he studied under great masters such as Glenn Swann (LA Philharmonic Orchestra), Bonnie Beale, Joseph Polifronia, Willy Reiss, Gertrude Lehman, Russ Beckstead (Cal State LA), and John Coppin (LA Philharmonic). While in college and serving in the military, he lent his talent to the Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles State College and the United States Army Band School.
His passion for violin led him to mentoring and teaching young artists. He opened the “Violin Studio of Mickey Fruchter” in 1960 and continues to train new students of the art. Mickey has also taught at the Eubanks Conservatory of Music, California State University’s Los Angeles Saturday Conservatory of Music, and maintains a presence with the Neighborhood Music School since 1964. His specialty is teaching beginner and intermediate level students. He also specializes in students with problems with position, rhythm and bad habits!
He has performed with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Orchestra, the Los Angeles Korean Orchestra, Carmel/Monterey Orchestra, Downey Symphony, and the Claremont Winds.
Patti has been Principal Flute with the Corona Symphony Orchestra since its inception. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fullerton and a Masters Degree in Performance from Northern Arizona University. She is currently the flute instructor at Fullerton College and is an active freelance performer throughout Southern California, performing in pit orchestras, chamber ensembles, the Symphonic Winds of the Pacific and the Corona Pops Orchestra.
Outside of her CSO duties, Patti is also a production coordinator and event coordinator at the Disneyland Resort, and has served as stage manager for a range of performing groups, from community performers to professional bands. She also was assistant stage manager for the premieres of the feature films “Pearl Harbor” and “Remember the Titans.”
In her role as production coordinator, she manages key performance logistics, including development of visual and audio support materials, transportation requirements, and performance schedules.
Bachelor of Music in Violin at the Superior Conservatory of Music of Malaga, Spain. Master in Music, Double Master in Violin performance and Conducting at California Baptist University, Riverside, California, USA.
Studied at Conservatory of Music in San Salvador, Conservatory of Music in Tetuan, Morroco, Professional Conservatory of Music Manuel Carra, in Malaga, Spain, Superior Conservatory of Music of Malaga, California Baptist University and at The Juilliard School, NY (2011). Participant at the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies in 2011 and 2015 also The Julliard School, as a Participant at the Conducting Workshop 2013.
Studied and received instructions in Violin with maestros like Davor Kuljeric, Gueorgui Paniouchkin, Ara Vartanian, Vadim Brodsky, Michael Thomas, Bryan Brooks, Isel Rodriguez, Yossi Zivoni, Vicente Huerta, Axel Wilczok, Vartan Manoogian, Todor Pelev. Studied conducting with maestro Gilberto Orellana, Octav Calleya and Gary Bonner.
Her experience in orchestra is wide including orchestras as Pablo Picasso Orchestra, Malaga University Chamber Orchestra, Malaga Provincial Symphony Orchestra, National Evangelical Youth Orchestra, Malaga’s Soloist Orchestra Andalucía Youth Orchestra (OJA) ,Orchestra of Manuel Carra Professional Conservatory as Concertmaster, Orchestra of Malaga Superior Music Conservatory as Concertmaster, University Choir and Orchestra at California Baptist University as-Concertmaster, Almeria City Orchestra , International Youth Orchestra of Oviedo City.(JOICO), Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, Lyric Symphony Orchestra CA, Bonner Singers Orchestra as Concertmaster, Loma Symphony Orchestra, Corona Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster, Riverside Lyric Opera Orchestra, Corona Pops Orchestra as Concertmaster, El Salvador’s National Symphony Orchestra as A guest soloist and Corona Symphony Orchestra as Concertmaster since 2008.
As a teacher she has been teaching privately since 1996, She also has served as a teacher at Claremont Community School of Music, Tuning Sounds, Adjunct Professor at California Baptist University, She was selected to participate in the Symposium in Violin Studies at Juilliard School of Music, NYC. At the present, she teaches privately ages 4-50, also she teaches at The Riverside Arts Academy, as well as teaching at California Baptist University where she holds a Lecture Position, teaching Violin Instruction, Strings Techniques as well as Chamber Ensembles and Symphony Orchestra, as a Conductor.
As a violinist has performed with figures like Maxim Venguerov (with JOICO), Michael W. Smith, Natalie Cole, Michael Cavanugh, David Benoit, Burt Bacharach, Chris Botti, Bob James, among others also she has performed in several Musicals in the US.
Mrs. Wheeler has participated in over a dozen recordings in Spain and California. She also recorded as a soloist a Violin Piece called Song for the King, from Michael W. Smith; (Violin and Orchestra) with the California Baptist University’s Orchestra. Album Available online: God Has Come ( 2009).
Honors and Awards
• Honor Award – Elementary Level at Superior Conservatory in Malaga, Spain. (1998)
• 1st place in Auditions to Access at Superior Conservatory in Malaga, Spain (2002)
• Outstanding Graduate Student Award 2010, at California Baptist University, (2010)
Carolyn first started enjoying classical music as a young child. Her dad would play piano for hours, and even though he never had a lesson, he could mimic any classical piece he heard. She started piano at 7, and then picked up the flute at 9. She played flute in her High School Band in New Hampshire where she was raised. After moving to California in 1980, she studied Accounting at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo while working for Pacific Mutual Insurance Company in Newport Beach. Carolyn has two children, Jennifer and Alyson (who are often seen volunteering their time at our concerts), a grandson, Jackson, and a second grandchild on the way. She moved to Corona in 1992 and worked for Crossroads Christian School as Secretary and Librarian.
She began her duties as House Manager for Christian Arts and Theatre in 1998. She is currently working as a Librarian for Cesar Chavez Academy, and volunteering for the Corona Symphony Orchestra as House Manager and Board Secretary, as well as her newest volunteer position as Registrar for the Corona Youth Symphony. She feels blessed to be involved with the arts over the past few years and hopes it will continue to be a blessing to all of our patrons.