Emily Calhoun, Co-Founder of the Armstrong Youth Orchestra Program, is the Director of the Debut Strings and Serenade Strings Ensembles. She taught orchestra in the Georgia public schools for 25 years, and chorus and general music at St. Andrews School for 7 years. She is currently the Orchestra Director at the Savannah Arts Academy.
She received her B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of Georgia in 1983 and began playing professionally with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra in 1981. She has also performed with the Macon Symphony and the Hilton Head Orchestra, and works as a freelance cellist. Ms. Calhoun lives in Savannah with her husband, Ken.
Nancy Bennett started her career in the Northeast as a horn player and educator. She studied at the College of William and Mary and Peabody Conservatory. While in the Boston area, she played with many musical organizations including the Boston Ballet and the Lyric Opera. She was also the band director of the Groton Schools (MA), and then later, orchestra director at Smithtown High School (NY), where she built a string program over the course of 7 years that culminated in a Gold Medal with Distinction designation.
Retired since 2013, she has continued to be active both as a horn player and teacher in the Savannah and Hilton Head area. She is thrilled to have the baton back in her hands and to be working with the students of the Repertory Youth Orchestra.
Lorraine Jones is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Armstrong Youth Orchestra Program, and the conductor of the Armstrong Youth Orchestra. Born in Toledo, Ohio, she is a graduate of the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University (Ohio). Her primary teachers for flute have been Judith Bentley and William Herbert, and she studied conducting with Emil Raab (Bowling Green and Brevard). She was the Education Director and flutist with the former Savannah Symphony Orchestra for 20 years, and is currently principal flutist with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, as well as the flute instructor at Georgia Southern University at the Armstrong Campus. Ms. Jones has a large private lesson studio filled with the top flute students in the region.
Prior to joining the Savannah Symphony, Ms. Jones was a member of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico, and toured extensively in Mexico, Europe, and Japan. She also performed with the Camerata Pan America Woodwind Quintet and the Orquesta Sinfonico de Mineria.
As a flutist, Ms. Jones has performed with numerous orchestras such as the Florida Orchestra, Jacksonville, Alabama, Charleston, Augusta, Greenville, and Toledo Symphonies, as well as the Atlanta Pops, Piccolo Spoleto, and the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado. She also has performed with many Opera and Choral Society Ensembles, and for many years has performed chamber recitals as well as many of the prestigious weddings in Savannah and the Coastal Empire.