David DeVoto

Allen High School Orchestra Director

David DeVoto is a director of orchestras at Allen High School. Mr. DeVoto earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of North Texas in 1994 and his Master of Education Administration degree from Lamar University in 2022. While at UNT, he was a member of the Symphony Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, and String Orchestra and was a student of Anshel BrusilowJames Kjelland, and Jeff Bradetich. Starting in 1997, he served as director of the Lake Highlands Junior High Orchestras in Richardson ISD. In 2002, Mr. DeVoto became the director of the Allen High School Orchestra. AHS Orchestras have placed in the final round of the TMEA Honor Orchestra competition a total of thirteen times and the Allen HS Symphony Orchestra was selected as the TMEA Invited Full Orchestra in 2020. The Allen High School Symphony Orchestra was invited to perform at the 60th and 75th annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. In 2014, the Allen HS Orchestra received the American Prize in Orchestral Performance (High School). During Mr. DeVoto’s tenure, the AHS and LFC programs have grown from 2 Student Orchestras to 10 Student Orchestras. In addition to orchestra, Mr. DeVoto helped to create music theory, music history, and composition for the International Baccalaureate program at Allen HS in 2006.  He has served as Orchestra Division Chair for UIL Region III and Region Vice-President and Orchestra Division Chair for UIL Region XXV. Mr. DeVoto has also served as a UIL Orchestra PML Committee Chair, as a TMAA Committee Member on Standards of Adjudication and Performance Practices, and has served as a board member of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, distinguished as Past President. Mr. DeVoto holds memberships in Texas Music Educators AssociationTexas Music Adjudicators Association, and  Mu Omicron,  In September 2000, he was a recipient of the Minyard’s “First Class Teacher”award. Mr. DeVoto was the recipient of the 2003-2004 Standing Ovation Award given each year by the Allen Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra to the person who has made a significant contribution to the Arts in Allen. In 2016, Mr. DeVoto was named a UIL Sponsor Excellence Award winner. Mr. DeVoto was named the recipient of the inaugural Kathy Fishburn Excellence in Orchestra award by the Mu Omicron Executive Board in 2023. 

Matt Cross

Allen High School Orchestra Director

Matt Cross is a director of orchestras at Allen High School. Mr. Cross received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University in 2007, and his Master of Music Education from Texas Tech University in 2012. He previously taught at Midway Middle School in Midway ISD and J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson ISD. The Allen High School Orchestras have placed in the final round of the TMEA Honor Orchestra competition a total of ten times, and the Allen HS Symphony Orchestra was selected as the TMEA Invited Full Orchestra in 2020.  The Allen High School Symphony Orchestra was also invited to perform at the 75th annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.  His ensembles have consistently received sweepstakes ratings at UIL and Best in Class awards at festivals across the country. Before he started teaching, Mr. Cross served in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the intelligence cell of Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines. He is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and also holds memberships in the Texas Music  Educators AssociationTexas Music Adjudicators AssociationTexas Orchestra Directors AssociationNational Association of Music Education, and Mu Omicron. He is currently serving as President for Mu Omicron and served as the TMEA Region Vice-President for Region XXVfrom 2018-2022, and was also the 2016-2018 Orchestra Region Chair. He frequently serves as a clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator across the state. Mr. Cross is actively involved in music education research and has presented his studies at both the TMEA and NAfMEconferences.  As a double bassist, Mr. Cross has performed with the Temple SymphonyAllen Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and he currently performs with the Richardson Symphony Orchestra.  When he is not teaching, Mr. Cross enjoys traveling the world with his wife Amanda and daughter Allison.

Charles Robinson

Lowery Freshman Center Orchestra Director

Charles Robinson is a director of orchestras at the Lowery Freshman Center, where he has served since 2015.  During his time in Allen, Mr. Robinson’s groups have consistently won sweepstakes awards in UIL Concert and Sightreading competitions.  In addition to working with freshman, Mr. Robinson teaches 6th grade beginners and travels to assist at the middle schools.  Prior to moving to Allen, Mr. Robinson was the Orchestra director at Clack Middle School in Abilene, TX for four years.  During his time at Clack the program grew from 60 students and three classes to 140 students and seven classes.  Prior to teaching, Mr. Robinson attended Hardin-Simmons University, where he principled in both voice and violin, performing recitals in both areas, as well as being selected the 2009 Honors Performer in voice and violin.  Mr. Robinson studied violin with Peter Isaacson, voice with Jaynne Middleton, viola with Peter Neubert, cello with Kristin Isaacson, and conducting with Loyd Hawthorne.  He student-taught in Abilene with Darcy Radcliffe and Debbie McKelvey.  During the summers of 2009-2013, Mr. Robinson served as a counselor, and later as a faculty member at Camp Encore-Coda in the state of Maine.  While serving as a faculty member, he conducted the string orchestra, taught violin lessons, and coached chamber music.  Mr. Robinson is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Director’s Association, Texas Music Adjudicator’s Association, and Mu Omicron.  In 2020-2021, Mr. Robinson was the winner of the TODA Young Educator award.  He currently serves as the TMEA Region 25 Orchestra division chair.  In his off-time, he enjoys traveling to national parks to hike, camp, and take pictures

Candice Ice

Lowery Freshman Center Orchestra Director

Candice Ice is a director of orchestras at the Lowery Freshman Center.  At the age of 6, she started learning violin and fiddle techniques from famous fiddle players such as Johnny GimbleJim Chancellor, and Buddy Spicher before ultimately studying classical techniques with Dr. Peter Isaacson. She started teaching and managing her own private studio at the age of 16. In high school, Candice was involved in a high energy performing string group called Revolution led by Darcy Radcliffe. She obtained her Undergraduate Degree in Music Business from Hardin Simmons University in 2014. During her undergraduate, she was able to perform with Kansas and Michael Martin Murphy. In 2013, she was invited to tour China from Beijing to Shanghai with Revolution and the League of Extraordinary Strings led by Dean Marshall. In 2014, Candice became the head director of the Madison Middle School Orchestra. In 2015, she was asked to perform with Mannheim Steamroller and again joined Darcy Radcliffe and Revolution to perform with Gary Morris at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2017, she was named Teacher of the Year at Madison and in 2022, she received the Impact Award for the entirety of Abilene ISD for the spring semester. Candice was married in 2014 to the love of her life, Daniel Ice. They share a beautiful daughter named Nora Belle who was born in 2021, they can’t decide if she is a future violinist or cellist!

Valerie Curry

Ford Middle School Orchestra Director

Valerie Curry is a director of orchestras at Ford Middle School. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She received a Bachelor’s in Music Performance in 1990 and a Master’s in Music Performance in 1993 under the instruction of Vincent Frittelli. She taught in the String Project under Phyllis Young and earned her Teaching Certificate in 1994. Mrs. Curry is in her 30th year of public-school teaching. She previously taught in the districts of Austin, Mesquite and Garland. Throughout her career, Mrs. Curry’s orchestras have received consistent first division ratings at UIL and other competitions. Her groups have also received “Best in Class” awards at various festival competitions. For 6 years, Mrs. Curry served as a conductor of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra’s Young Performers Orchestra. Her husband is a retired Texas school administrator and currently works in the City of McKinney Municipal Court System as a Judicial Clerk. They have 2 children, Cole and Cooper.

Brandon Lucio

Ford Middle School Orchestra Director

Brandon Lucio is a director of orchestras at Ford Middle School. Mr. Lucio acquired his Bachelor of Music in Education, cum laude, from The University of North Texas and was a member of the UNT Concert Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Clay Couturiaux, the UNT Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro David Itkin, and Pit Orchestras under various conductors. He studied cello privately with the late Eugene Osadchy, and received his student teaching experience at Fowler Middle School with Karina Lindsey and at Liberty High School with Julie Blackstock. Mr. Lucio’s passion for music started young – he began cello at age 10, participated in the Austin Youth Orchestra along with his school’s orchestra programs, and has maintained his private teaching studio for the past four years. While at UNT, he was a Lead Teacher for UNT String Project which helps provide children ages 5-18 in the community with string instrument instruction that supports and supplements the children’s orchestral programs. Mr. Lucio served as President of the American String Teachers Association student chapter at UNT, and he is now currently affiliated with the Texas Music Educators’ Association, the Texas Orchestra Director Association, and the American String Teachers Association. In his free time, he enjoys running, watching reality television, and spending time with family and friends.

Amanda Su

Curtis Middle School Orchestra Director

Amanda Su is a director of orchestras at Curtis Middle School. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University and her Master of Education Administration degree from Lamar University.  Mrs. Su started on the violin at the young age of five under the direction of her father.  She graduated from Berkner High School in Richardson and was a two-time Texas All-State Orchestra Member. While at Baylor University, under the supervision of Dr. Michael Alexander, Mrs. Su served as one of the original teachers of the Baylor String Project, which is a supplemental orchestra program for Waco and Midway ISD students.  After student teaching in Allen ISD, Mrs. Su began her teaching career at Liberty Junior High School in Richardson, where she taught for three years.  Her groups have received consistent UIL Sweepstakes awards and Best in Class Awards. Under her direction, the Curtis Middle School Symphony Orchestra has been a finalist of the TMEA MS Honor Full Orchestra competition four times, placing in the Full Orchestra Contest as 1st Runner Up in 2017 and 2019 and 2nd Runner Up in 2018.  The Curtis Middle School Chamber Orchestra also placed in the final round TMEA MS String Honor Orchestra competition in 2019 and 2020.  The Curtis MS Symphony Orchestra was named the TMEA MS Honor Full Orchestra in 2020. Additionally, The Foundation for Music Education has named both the Curtis Chamber Orchestra and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra National Winners of the Mark of Excellence/National Orchestra Honors Project.  Mrs. Su was awarded the 2017  “Marjorie Keller” Outstanding Young Teacher of the Year Award.  Mrs. Su was also honored as the Curtis Middle School 2020 Teacher of the Year.  In addition to her teaching, Mrs. Su is an active clinician and judge in the Dallas area and around the state. She served as Region Chair for UIL Region XXV from 2020-2022. Mrs. Su has served on the UIL Orchestra PML Committee, the UIL Orchestra Sight-Reading Committee and served as the Middle School Orchestra Chair for UIL Region XXV.  She served as the Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor for the Dallas Asian American Youth Orchestra (DAAYO) until 2021.  As a violinist, Mrs. Su has performed with Allen Philharmonic Symphony OrchestraRichardson Symphony Orchestra, and Waco Symphony.  She is a member of the Texas Music Educators AssociationTexas Music Adjudicators Association,  Texas Orchestra Directors Association, and Mu Omicron. Mrs. Su resides in Allen with her husband, Matt, who is also an orchestra director, and their daughter, Allison.  When she is not teaching, Mrs. Su enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling.

Amy Gearhart

Curtis Middle School Orchestra Director

Amy Gearhart Amy Gearhart is a director of orchestras at Curtis Middle School. As a native of Saline, Michigan, she earned a music education degree from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan and studied abroad at Oxford University. Ms. Gearhart began her teaching career in Plano ISD in the fall of 1997 at Haggard and Renner Middle Schools. In 1999, Ms. Gearhart opened Rice Middle School, also in Plano ISD. In 2001, she was named the TxASTA “Marjorie Keller” Outstanding Young Teacher Award. For several years, Ms. Gearhart also served as a conductor for the New Conservatory of Dallas and the Music in the Mountains Camp in Durango, Colorado. In 2010, she joined the Lovejoy Orchestra program and helped grow the orchestra program for nine years. In 2014, she opened Lovejoy’s middle school campus, Willow Springs. While in Lovejoy and Plano, she has consistently received Sweepstakes Awards at UIL Contest. Additionally, The Foundation for Music Education named the Willow Springs Chamber Orchestra National Winners of the Mark of Excellence/National Orchestra Honors Project. She and her husband, Brad, who is also an orchestra director, reside in Allen with their daughters, Cassidy and Delaney. She is also an active member of the Credo Community Choir, which is in residence at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Joanna DeVoto

Ereckson Middle School Orchestra Director

Joanna DeVoto is a director of orchestras at Ereckson Middle School. She is a graduate of Sam Houston State University where she was the President of the Symphony Orchestra, and played under the direction on Dr. Carol Smith. While at Sam Houston she also studied cello with Dr. Peter Kempter. Mrs. DeVoto began her teaching career in 2002 in Klein ISD (Houston), and then worked for the Plano Independent School District after she moved to the DFW area.  In addition to consistent UIL Sweepstakes and Best in Class awards, under the leadership of Mrs. DeVoto, the Ereckson Chamber Orchestra has placed in the TMEA Honor Orchestra string finals the last several years.  The Symphony Full Orchestra from Ereckson Middle School has been named Best in Class at the Peak Music Festival and has been named a TMEA Honor Finalist each year since 2015.  In 2018, the Ereckson Symphony Orchestra was proud to become the first instrumental TMEA honor group from Allen ISD.  Both the Chamber and Full Orchestra from Ereckson have also been named National Winners in the Mark of Excellence competition.  In addition to her accomplishments as an orchestra director, Mrs. DeVoto was also honored to be named Ereckson Middle School’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. DeVoto spends time as an active clinician and judge in the Dallas area and around the state. Her professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators AssociationTexas Orchestra Directors AssociationTexas Music Adjudicators Association and Mu Omicron. When not conducting an orchestra, Mrs. DeVoto enjoys spending time with her husband David DeVoto, also an orchestra director, and their daughter, Daniela. Mr. and Mrs. DeVoto also enjoy volunteering on the tech team at Preston Trail Community Church

Rachel Boone

Ereckson Middle School Orchestra Director

Rachel Boone is a director of orchestras at Ereckson Middle School.  Prior to that, she was a director at Shepton High School and Renner Middle School in Plano ISD. Ms. Boone began studying violin privately at the age of nine. During her preparatory years, she participated in numerous youth orchestras including the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra (GDYO), the New Conservatory of Dallas, and the Richardson ISD orchestra program. She frequently served as concertmaster and in principal roles in these orchestras. Additionally, she participated in the TMEA All-State Orchestra, and other local and regional honor orchestras. Ms. Boone studied under Ron Neal with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra and Adriana DeCosta with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. After graduating high school, Ms. Boone continued to follow her passion for music at Texas Christian University as a Chancellor’s Scholar where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Music. She performed in the TCU Symphony, often in a principal role, under the direction of German Gutiérrez. She is an active member of the Texas Music Educator’s AssociationTexas Orchestra Director Association, serves as a freelance musician with various chamber groups and continues to teach private violin lessons. In her free time, she enjoys playing her ukulele, sketching and spending time with friends, family and her dog, Nellie.

Annabel Choi

Ereckson Middle School Orchestra Director

Annabel Choi is a director of orchestras at Ereckson Middle School. Growing up in Houston, she started violin in the fifth grade and started learning cello a few years later. Throughout middle and high school, Ms. Choi had the honor of being part of several orchestras outside of school, such as the Houston Youth SymphonyVirtuosi of Houston, and All-Region orchestras. After finishing high school, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music Education from Baylor University in 2023, having studied violin with Patricia Shih. During her time at Baylor, Ms. Choi performed with the Baylor Symphony Orchestra all four years under the baton of Stephen Heyde and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, resulting in many memorable performances including TMEA’s 100th Anniversary and Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary Concert at the 2020 TMEA Convention. In addition to performing with the Baylor Symphony, she was able to perform with the Waco Symphony Orchestra as a String Intern, getting to play with professional musicians in the local area as well as amazing soloists like Gil Shaham. Ms. Choi also enjoyed teaching young string players in the Waco area through the Baylor String Project under the direction of Dr. Michael Alexander, as well as serving as an office assistant in the Music Education Resource Center. Before graduating college, she student-taught at Renner Middle School with Janae Taylor and Mariah Davila, and at Plano West Senior High School with Ryan Ross and Amy Gross. Ms. Choi is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, and the American String Teachers Association. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her two cats, hanging out with friends, and playing her instrument.