announcing our new Strings Director!
In July 2021, the IVYSO hired our new Strings Director, Rhoda Kay Roberts. Rhoda comes to us as a graduate of Illinois State University, class of '20. We are so excited to have her on board. She is a violinist and educator from Gridley, IL. A regular with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra in the violin section, she also teaches at Maestro and Mi in La Salle and at The Music Shoppe, Inc. in Normal, IL. Join us in welcoming her to the IVYSO!
Aelsa is an alumna of the Illinois Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra. After playing as concertmaster as a student beginning in 2014, Aelsa went on to attend Illinois Valley Community College where she studied management and music. In May 2019, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Illinois State University with a a B.S. in Music.
Up through her sophomore year of college, Aelsa remained active in the IVYSO and the Illinois Valley arts community as a whole. She worked as the personal assistant to former NCI ARTworks president, Chris Coughlin, volunteered as an intern to the business manager of the IVYSO, and directed the IVYSO's entry-level ensemble, the Junior String Orchestra, in 2017.
She studied conducting and pedagogy under Maestro David Commanday and piano under Mrs. Pamela Bates at Eureka College for a year. In 2018, she transferred to complete her B.S in Music at ISU, studying conducting under Dr. Anthony Marinello III, piano with Dr. Tuyen Tonnu, and orchestral performance under Dr. Glenn Block.
Though Aelsa now lives in Bloomington, Illinois, she still plays in the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra as a section violist and gigs across the central Illinois region. Currently, she is employed full time at The Music Shoppe, Inc. in Normal, IL. She also operates Artful Strategies, contracting services focusing on organizational and interpersonal communications in the arts realm.