Versatile violist and violinist Gregory Childress, 23, is a Music Performance major at James Madison University studying viola with Dr. Diane Phoenix-Neal and violin with Dr. Wanchi Huang. Currently principal viola of the JMU Symphony Orchestra, Greg has also performed with the JMU Opera Theatre Orchestra, Monticello Strings, and has served as concertmaster of the JMU Chamber Orchestra. With a passion for education, Greg has taught violin, viola, and chamber music at the James String Quartet Summer Music Academy in Lynchburg, Virginia since 2015. He is a member of the American Viola Society, Virginia Viola Society, and American String Teacher's Association (ASTA) and serves a president of the JMU ASTA student chapter. Greg has served as concertmaster of the Bedford Community Orchestra since 2014 and regularly performs as a violinist with the James Chamber Players in Lynchburg, Virginia and as a substitute musician with both the Charlottesville and Waynesboro Symphonies. Outside of music, Greg enjoys vegan cooking, shopping at antique markets, and traveling with his instruments in hand.
Andrew Schlagel, 19, is a sophomore at James Madison University. Along with a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance, he is also a double-major in Computer Science. He began playing cello at the age of 11, studying solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire. He performed at Carnegie Hall with the Youth Orchestras of Prince William and participated in All County, Regional, and All State Orchestra. Andrew is currently studying under Dr. Carl Donakowskiand performs with the JMU Symphony Orchestra.
Jess Avellino, 20, is the Got Strings Social Media Intern who manages all social media accounts for Got Strings, including our Blog, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, The Knot, and WeddingWire. A Junior Music Production and Recording Arts major at Elon University, she is a composer and vocalist and wrote a musical, Dark Heart, that premiered at 59E59 Theaters in NYC and the Paradise Green Theaters at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Jess is also the Music Director of Vital Signs Acapella group and participates in many performing ensembles at Elon. She is a lover of reading, movies, a hot cup of coffee, and her favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate peanut butter cookie dough!
David Raposo, 22, graduated James Madison University in May of 2017. He completed degrees in both Music for Cello Performance and Computer Science. Born in Portugal, David began playing the cello at the age of 5, and had been studying solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire ever since. Since moving to VA at the age of 8, David has led the cello sections of the Richmond Philharmonic Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, Short Pump Symphonette, James Madison University Symphony and played with many more. David regularly collaborates with other musicians who are looking for the sparkle he delivers to every performance. In his free time, David enjoys watching and playing soccer, spending time with friends, and eating great food.
Michael Tyree, 24, is the Got Strings Composer, writing custom arrangements for Got Strings couples who are looking to personalize the music for their Wedding day. In May of 2017, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Composition from James Madison University. Michael is currently the Music Director of both the Nelson County Orchestra (since 2017) and the McGaheysville United Methodist Church Chancel Choir (since 2015). As a composer, he has catalogued works for orchestra, wind band, choir, piano quintet, brass quintet, string quartet, and solo instruments. In addition to being proficient in a violin, viola, piano, sax, trumpet, and voice, Michael is a railroad hobbyist and an avid world traveler.
Ali Gips, 22, is the Got Strings Marketing Manager who conceptualizes and designs on-brand marketing materials such as newsletters, brochures, email headers, and more. Ali graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Interactive Design from James Madison University in May of 2018. Fueled by innovation, she’s a content creator with a strong PR and branding mindset. Currently, she’s a social media intern at GLOW, a social media and digital marketing agency in New York City, where she gets to pursue her passion for social media and storytelling. When she’s not writing or designing, she can be found singing, enjoying a pint of Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice cream, watching Food Network, or a combination of the three.
Rebecca Walker, 21, is a Senior Music Performance major at James Madison University, with a concentration in viola. She has been playing since the age of 11, studying at the public school level until joining the Bay Youth Orchestras in the 7th grade. She attended the Governor’s School for the Arts instrumental music program, a magnet high school for promising young students. Rebecca has performed at a number of concert halls, including the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach, the Roper Theatre in Norfolk, and the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts in Harrisonburg. Currently a violist in the JMU Symphony Orchestra, Rebecca also loves to perform with Got Strings as a soloist and chamber musician for weddings and special events. After graduation, she plans to perform with a professional orchestra and teach the viola privately in her own studio.
Musician Coordinator for Got Strings, Nicoletta Moss, 22, is a passionate performer, educator, and activist. Nicoletta is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). At UNCG, she is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and is Assistant Conductor of Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia, and Casella Sinfonietta. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. From 2015-2018, Nicoletta served as the Music Director of the JMU Club Orchestra and played an active role in growing the organization from 12 to 50+ members. She continues to work closely with elementary through high school instrumental programs and mentors students at after-school and summer enrichment programs, most recently with the UNCG Summer Music Camp (North Carolina), Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program (Virginia), and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Michigan). In her free time, Nicoletta enjoys biking, learning new languages, eating Greek food, and petting dogs.
Oliver Kriska, 18, is a freshman Music Performance and Computer Science double major at James Madison University. He began playing violin at age 9 and has played with many orchestras and chamber ensembles. Currently, he is a member of the JMU Symphony Orchestra and JMU Chamber Orchestra. In the past, he has performed with the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic Orchestra, JMU Opera Orchestra, Rappahannock Youth Symphony, Rappahannock POPS Orchestra, and Chancellor High School Symphonic Orchestra where he was Concertmaster. Oliver also enjoys performing in pit orchestras for musicals and playing electric violin in a rock band. In his free time, his hobbies include playing piano and ukulele, creating artwork, and entering LEGO building competitions.
Breonna Proctor, 20, is a Junior at James Madison University and is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Industry under the instruction of Dr. Wanchi Huang. She is currently a member of the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra. Breonna began studying the violin at age 6, and has been in love with it ever since. In the past, she has performed with several orchestras including the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra, Londontowne Symphony Orchestra, and has played side-by-side with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She has performed internationally in the cities of Montreal, Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague. When she's not fiddling away, you can find her on the tennis court.
Patricia Morrison, 18 is a Music Education major and a Pre-Physician Assistant minor at James Madison University. She began playing the cello at the age of 13 and is currently a member of the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra studying under Dr. Carl Donakowski. In the past, Patricia has participated in Side-by-Side concerts with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, been a member of the Bay Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Southeastern Senior Regional Orchestra and has performed in a number of pit orchestras. She has also performed internationally with the Bay Youth Chamber Symphony in Germany and the Czech Republic.
Kyung Jin Yoon, 22, is a senior Music Industry major at James Madison University with a concentration in Cello Performance in the studio of Dr. Carl Donakowski. She began playing at the age of 11 and performed with multiple youth orchestras as a young aspiring musician including the Washington Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and District X Orchestra. She has received various awards, such as the Director’s Award, during her years as a cellist. Currently a member of the JMU Symphony Orchestra, Kyung Jin loves watching movies, knitting, and playing for weddings and special events with her friends in Got Strings.
Lindsey Showalter, 20, is a senior Music Education major at James Madison University. She is in the violin studio under the instruction of Dr. Wanchi Huang, but also plays a variety of other instruments. Lindsey is a sister of the Gamma Iota chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity. She is a member of the Marching Royal Dukes in the mellophone section, and has been a member of the JMU Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Band, and Steel Pan Band. She was very involved in the band program during her years at Stuarts Draft High School and was also the concertmaster and a founding member of the Waynesboro Senior String Ensemble. Lindsey has performed in pit orchestras for multiple community theaters including the Waynesboro Players, Shennenarts, and Oak Grove Theater. Besides music, Lindsey enjoys playing soccer, eating fried pickles, and cuddling with her cat.
Laura Maila, 19, is currently a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Music Performance in violin under the instruction of Dr. Wanchi Huang in conjunction with a pre-medicine track at James Madison University. Laura is a member of the JMU symphony orchestra and plans to expand her work through other musical groups at school. She is a teacher to six students back in New York and has performed in Carnegie Hall with the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. Laura has also participated in county festivals such as LISFA, HMEA, SCMEA, NYSCAME, and New York All-State Orchestra. With experience in pit orchestra performances and concert mistress throughout high school, Laura is excited to continue her musical adventures at JMU. She is looking to become a pediatrician with research focused on the benefits of music therapy.
Founder and CEO of Got Strings, Kristi Monte, 22, graduated with her Bachelor's Degree in Instrumental Music Education in May of 2018. She began playing the violin at the age of 6, and has performed with multiple symphonies and orchestras including the Kean University Preparatory String Orchestra, the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of Saint Peter by the Sea. Kristi has performed at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Kean University, and the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. In June 0f 2018, Kristi moved to Nashville, TN where she remains the Client Coordinator for Got Strings. She looks forward to expanding the company, adding a distinctive vibe to weddings across the United States and providing a part-time income to college music majors looking to gain experience in their field.