Dr. Beatrice Renee Collins-Williams is the Director of Music for the Madison City Youth Orchestra and Founder of the Valley Conservatory Enrichment Program, the organization who recently partnered with MCYO. Her experiences across several disciplines that include conducting, teaching and performing. As a conductor, she has directed several orchestras across the country including the Colorado Symphony, Women's Philharmonic (San Francisco), Denver Young Artists Orchestra, the Huntsville Youth Orchestra, Alabama All-State Reading Orchestra, West Tennessee All-State Orchestra, Oakwood College Symphony, Michigan State University Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra and members of the Aspen School of Music Festival Orchestra, where she was a conducting scholarship recipient.
During her doctoral studies at Michigan State University, she conducted the Michigan State University Symphony and Chamber orchestras in various theater performances, served as a vocal director for several opera/musical theater productions, and presented the first concert of symphonic music by composers of African American descent. In addition to her conducting experiences, Dr. Collins has performed with several orchestras including the Greeley Philharmonic, Midland Symphony Orchestra, and Denver Young Artist Orchestra, where she was a member of the viola section.
She has taught music education on all levels; applied piano and viola on the college level; and has worked in administration at Michigan State University where she served as an academic advisor to undergraduate students for the College of Arts and Letters. Dr. Collins holds dual bachelor's degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. Her biography is listed in the International Who's Who in Music.
Mrs. Rodena L. Tharpe is a dedicated violist and pedagogue. For 30 years, she has been studying and developing her skill, and is a staple musician in the Tennessee Valley area. She began her studies at the Memphis State University Suzuki Children’s Program at Memphis State University at the young age of 6.
She moved to Huntsville, AL and continued studies with Art Cotruvo, Melanie Richardson, Barbara Poularikas, Lee Coker(Julliard grad), Dan Nedelcu and Charles Hogue(principal violist of HSO) in whom she studied with at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has attended masterclasses with Itzhak Perlman(violinist), and performed for a masterclass given by Marcus Thompson(violist). She has performed in a small ensembles with Smokie Robinson and the Black Jacket Symphony. As a chamber musician, she performs regularly with the Blue Sky Quartet/Quintet, and Felicity String Quartet. She has also performed with various chamber groups such as the: Valley Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, Gateways Music Festival(Eastman School of Music)Chamber Orchestra and Quartet, Mimosa String Quartet, the Interlochen Music Camp Quartet, and many others. As an orchestra musician she has performed with various organizational and church orchestras, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Shoals Symphony Orchestra, Valley Conservatory Lyceum Orchestra, Gateways Music Festival Orchestra, UAH Collegium Orchestra, the former Huntsville Opera Theater Orchestra, Interlochen National Music Camp Orchestra, Huntsville Youth Symphony, and Metro Youth Orchestra.
As a soloist she has received outstanding and performance awards from the Alabama Orchestra Association. She has made guest appearances in the Virgin Islands, and local and regional churches. Currently Mrs. Tharpe teaches with Valley Conservatory, Adjunct University Instructor, and also gives private lessons in viola, violin, and piano.