Jo May Salonen joined the Missoula Symphony Association as Interim Executive Director in 2018 and was permanently hired in 2019. Jo May is a longtime resident of Missoula, working in the community in a variety of marketing and public relations roles. She is the former Owner/Partner of Salonen-Smith Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations, LLC and worked as a freelance marketing professional before joining MSA.
Classical music has always been her passion and she continues to play the cello in small ensembles.
Jo May holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications/Broadcast Journalism, from the University of Utah. She and her husband, Brian, enjoy spending time with their two children, Kennedy and Wes, as well as hiking, camping and traveling.
A native of Fort Benton, Peter McKenzie received his Bachelor’s degree in music composition from the University of Montana in 2002, and a Master’s degree in music composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Prior to working with the Missoula Symphony Association, he was the Music Education Sales Consultant for Morgenroth Music Center. As a composer, his compositions have been performed throughout the US and most recently a world premiere in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. An avid Griz fan, Peter serves as a board member for the University of Montana Alumni Band. He and his wife Ellen, have two young sons, Ben and Jack.
For thirteen years, Kirsten served as second flute in the Missoula Symphony, but is thrilled to serve the Missoula Symphony Association in a whole new capacity! She is a graduate of the University of Montana with a master’s degree in Flute Performance. For years, Kirsten has had a large and thriving flute studio and has been very involved with the Missoula community music scene: adjudicating, offering masterclasses and workshops to flutists in our local schools, co-directing the Missoula community flute choir “Zootown Flutes,” and teaching music classes through the program “Center for Music by People with Disabilities.” Kirsten also recently served as director of 2 Valleys Stage, a performing arts series and school outreach program based out of Seeley Lake.
When she isn’t playing/teaching, you can find her hanging out with her husband and their two kids on a hiking trail, biking or playing outside!
Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, Beth Woody received her Recreation Management degree from South Dakota State University. A successful 26-year career with the YMCA took her from Rapid City, South Dakota, Winter Park, Colorado, and Dallas, Texas to Missoula, Montana. Her YMCA responsibilities included program management, human resources and special events including the race director of the YMCA Riverbank Run. Beth is very involved in the Missoula community and enjoys spending time with her adult children, Callie, Megan and Grant.
Originally hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Sylvia Oman moved to Missoula in 2007 to work in administrative and leadership positions with local non-profit organizations. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and a Masters of Music in Pedagogy from Boise State University. She is a certified teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has a full studio of violin students, ages 6 to 60+. She has played in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and the Helena Symphony Orchestra, as well as other ensembles in the area.
A Missoula native, Olivia Adams graduated from the University of Montana in 2020 with degrees in oboe performance, nonprofit management, and entertainment management. Since 2016 she has played in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra as their second oboist and joined the Missoula Symphony Association as an intern in 2019. She now serves as the MSA’s social media coordinator, stage manager, and Symphony in the Park coordinator.
When she’s not working or playing for the symphony, she enjoys hiking with her dog, traveling, and trying new coffees.
Suzanne began life in Rochester, New York where her father was studying at Eastman School of Music. Her grandmother (a violinist and pianist) introduced Suzanne to the violin at age 5. In 1977 she moved to Missoula to attend the University of Montana where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Resource Management. She joined the Missoula Symphony as a violinist in the early 1980s. After many years she added responsibilities as Music Librarian for the Symphony – a role she loves because it keeps her connected to the musicians of the orchestra. Suzanne has maintained a small violin studio in her home for 35 years. She and her husband have raised six children (all of whom are musicians). She plays violin regularly for her church and enjoys providing music for weddings and other special events. When not in her studio or organizing music for the Symphony, Suzanne can be found spending time with grandkids, reading, creating handmade cards or camping.
Abigail has been singing with the Symphony Chorale for over a decade, and has been serving as the Chorale librarian for almost as long. When she's not organizing stacks of music, you might find her dancing, singing, gardening, cooking, yoga-ing, or hiking and playing with her family in the mountains around town.
Pri Fernando, Treasurer*
Bill Johnston, Vice President, Interim Secretary*
Deborah Stapley-Graham, President*
Jim Valeo, Past President*
Adam Collins, Orchestra Representative
Robin Kendall, Chorale Representative
Jo May Salonen, Executive Director*
Julia Tai, Music Director
Dean Peterson, Chorale Director
*Members of the Executive Committee