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Personnel

Jim at fountainJames Ogle, Artistic Director and Conductor

Now in his fifth season, Maestro Ogle has brought a new level of excitement to the Meridian Symphony, expanding the orchestra’s repertoire and presenting concerts that are entertaining, inspiring and challenging. Jim served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Boise Philharmonic for 20 seasons, and upon his retirement in 2007 was named Conductor Emeritus. He is currently the Director of Development for the Honors College and Arts at Boise State University.

In 1972, Jim was a winner of the Malko International Conductor’s Competition in Copenhagen, Denmark, and in 1974, won the North Carolina Symphony’s first Young Conductor’s Competition, where he served as Assistant and then Associate Conductor for 18 years. In 1980, he attended the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival, summer home of the Boston Symphony, where he studied with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn and Sir Collin Davis.

JennyIorgaJenny Iorga, Concertmaster

Jenny Iorga, a native of Washington, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from La Sierra University in Southern California where she studied with Lyndon Johnston Taylor and a Master’s degree in Violin Pedagogy from Boise State University studying with Craig Purdy.

She has been Concertmaster of the of the Meridian Symphony Orchestra since 2005 with a two year sabbatical to work on her Master’s degree. Jenny has soloed with orchestras in Washington, California, and Idaho including the Meridian Symphony and the Boise State University Orchestras. She also teaches Suzuki violin lessons in her home studio to students ranging in age from 3 to 55 years old. When Jenny isn’t teaching or performing, she loves spending time with her two children and husband, Mike.

Principal Players

Diane Shelton, Viola

An ICU nurse by night, Diane always has a song in her heart.  She began playing violin in the public schools in 4th grade and started private lessons in 9th grade.  Diane went to colleges that allowed non-music majors to participate in everything, and reveled in the symphony and chamber music experiences. Diane learned to play viola after moving to Boise in 1986. For those who may be unfamiliar, the viola is the big brother of the violin, about 10 percent bigger. The instrument plays five notes lower than the violin and is read in a different clef than either hand of the piano and spans notes from both the bass and treble clef.

Diane plays violin in a local string quartet, viola in the Meridian Symphony, and either when playing in other local concerts. She has tried her hand at arranging popular music for string quartet, with what she describes as mixed success; some delightful, some duds. She has two musical daughters and a husband who puts up with lots of practicing.

Ken Suchy, String Bass

Ken joined the Meridian Symphony in 1993. He’s played the string bass for more than 40 years, including stints with the Boise Philharmonic, the Arkansas Symphony and the North Idaho Symphony. “Music is something different than anything else I do and it releases something deep inside me,”he says.

Ken’s “day job” is principal financial specialist for the Idaho State Police. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington. He’s been married more than 35 years and has three sons, two daughters-in-law, and to grandchildren. Ken enjoys walking and hiking in his free time (when he isn’t practicing his music, that is.)

Jennifer Rhees, Flute

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A member of the Meridian Symphony since 2008, Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Boise State and a master’s in flute performance from Baylor University. She is a private flute teacher and a former member and soloist with Boise Baroque Orchestra and Treasure Valley Concert Band.

Jennifer has a hard time believing it, but she’s been playing her instrument now for upwards of 30 years. “I play my flute for fun — music makes me happy!” she says. She is the mom of three great kids. In her spare time, she enjoys playing games with her kids and “pretending” to garden. (“I’m not very good at it yet,” she explains)

Louise van der Eijk, Harp

We still have a hard time believing it (because she is such a wonderful musician), but Louise picked up the harp only shortly before joining the Meridian Symphony in 2011. “I have always been in love with the harp, and growing up on the violin, I always wanted to be a harpist,” she explains. Louise has also played with Opera Idaho, Boise Music Week, Music Theatre of Idaho, the Treasure Valley Symphony in Ontario, Ore., Serenata Symphony, No Greater Love Symphony, and a small ensemble called Harpitechture.

Louise has bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy, a master’s in Mental Health Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Consciousness Studies. She’s a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and a certified transgender therapist.  She works as mental health counselor and program manager for a children’s outpatient department at a community mental health agency. She also has a private practice, GYST Wellness, which provides counseling and hypnotherapy.

Louise became an American citizen in 2013. She was born in the Netherlands and has also lived in England and Belgium. “All of my family live in Europe, so my friends and colleagues here are my surrogate family,” she says. Playing the harp and being a part of musical endeavors is her greatest passion, but other interests include travel, experiencing new things, puzzles, spending time with friends, and learning.

Becky Schrepple, Second Violin

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Becky played the violin from 4th grade through high school, then put it aside for other activities. She picked it back up 18 years later, and has been making music ever since. “Music feeds my soul and awakens something inside of me that nothing else can,” she says. “It is a gift to be a tiny part of this magnificent orchestra.”

A member of the Meridian Symphony since 2000, Becky has a bachelor’s degree in education. She has a small studio and has taught private lessons for many years. She occasionally plays in quartets, in her church band, and in 2010 she traveled to the Czech Republic with a group of musicians from her church to perform concerts for and build relationships with Czech residents.

Becky and her husband Bruce have three children and five grandchildren. “We’ve been as far away as Australia, been swept away by the magic of Machu Picchu in South America, biked in Vietnam, driven through all of Ireland and Northern Ireland in a too large rental car and surprisingly returned it with the side mirrors still attached, witnessed the Special Olympics World Summer Games in China and have traveled through quite a bit of Europe and Central Europe…but we’re always happy to return home!” she says.

Dan Smith, Trumpet

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Dan Smith played with the Meridian Symphony for three years at the turn of the century, then rejoined in 2014. He has a music performance degree from Cedarville Ohio University and has played trumpet for more than 50 years. Dan performs with Kings of Swing, Glory Brass Quintet and Stillwater Brass, and he was previously a member of a number of other groups. From 1970-71, he toured with Roy Clark and the Spurrlows.

Dan retired a few years ago from Signs by Smith. He enjoys writing and arranging music. Other interests include golf, bowling and collecting license plates and stamps. Dan is married to Barbara and he has four children and eight grandchildren.

Stephen Sherer, French Horn

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Steve started playing the horn at age 9 and kept at it for 15 years. Then he set it aside for about 25 years for other pursuits, including law school, before picking it up again. He joined the Meridian Symphony in 2001 and has also been part of many other groups, including the Treasure Valley Concert Band, the Glory Brass (brass septet) and Stillwater Brass (quintet). He’s performed for various seasonal events such as Boise Music Week, Music Theatre of Idaho, Opera Idaho, and Living Christmas Tree in Nampa.

When he isn’t making music, Steve practices law at the firm of of Sherer & Wynkoop, LLP in Meridian. (His partner Dave Wynkoop, is a cellist with the symphony.) Steve received his juris doctor from the University of Idaho School Law. He also has a bachelor’s in math, minor in chemistry from Northwestern University.

“I have been married to the same saintly woman for 38 years (she has to be a saint to stay married to me – at least that’s what someone at church told me!),” Steve says. “I have 3 children, 2 children by marriage, and 2 grandchildren who manage to soak up any spare time I might think I have.”