Under the leadership of Randall Mastin, the artistic staff are directly responsible for the quality, interpretation, and execution of the LYSO repertoire.


Randall Mastin, Artistic Director and Italiano Orchestra Conductor

Randall Mastin received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa and received his Masters degree from The University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Mastin teaches strings in the La Crosse School District.

Mr. Mastin is active in the La Crosse area as a cellist and cello instructor teaching and performing throughout the tri-state region. He has conducted his orchestras all over the United States and Europe including performances in Westminster Abby and London's New Year's Day Parade. Mastin has received several outstanding conducting awards as well as awards for effective leadership and program building abilities. He was formerly the conductor of the LYSO Philharmonic Orchestra from 1999 - 2003 and again from 2007 - 2008. Mastin assumed the role of Artistic Director of LYSO and conductor of the Italiano Symphony Orchestra in 2009 and since that time LYSO has experienced a period of unprecedented growth. 

The LYSO faculty meet with their sections during rehearsals, providing intensive small-group instruction.

Margit speckeen, First Violin Coach



School Pic .png

Jessica McDonald , Second Violin Coach

Jessica was awarded her Bachelor of Science degree in instrumental music education from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and is a state certified teacher. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations, which include: Viterbo Preparatory School of Arts, WISTA Elementary Orchestra Camps, UW-L String Academy, Hamilton Elementary Community Partnership for Strings, La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and the WMEA Solo and Ensemble Competition. Jessie commits herself to professional development as an active member of the American String Teachers Association, the National Association for Music Education and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She currently serves as the orchestra director for Longfellow Middle School and the LaCrosse Design Institute, coaches the LaCrosse Youth Symphony Orchestras, offers private instruction through SSE Music and Spicer Studios, and performs locally in various traditional folk bands and ensembles. Jessie enjoys working with students of all ages and is committed to providing an enjoyable and fulfilling musical education.


Lori Carlson, Viola Coach

Lori received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and her Master's in Education from St. Mary's University. 2011 will be her tenth year teaching orchestra in the Winona Area Public Schools and playing viola with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the first ten years of her career she has also continued teaching privately, playing in string quartets locally and serving as a local advocate for music education. Lori has been active on committees in her school, district and at the state level. Lori was selected as Winona Teacher of the year for the 2012-13 school year.

Derek Clark, Cello Coach

Derek received his Master of Music degree in cello performance from The Pennsylvania State University. Before moving to La Crosse, Mr. Clark, resided in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was an active professional cellist with several area symphony orchestras and ensembles as well as a private teacher. In addition to Mr. Clark's extensive orchestral experience, he has also been an active chamber musician. He has performed with the Youngstown Symphony Quartet and was a founding member of the Vredenburg Trio, which performed throughout the Midwest. Locally, Derek was principal cello in the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra for ten years and was also a member of the Rochester Orchestra.  He also performs with Bluffside Consort and the Crescendo String Quartet.  He teaches cello at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and at Saint Mary's University in Winona and maintains a private studio.


Carrie Pomplun, Flute Coach

Carrie Pomplun is a flutist and certified music teacher originally from Schaumburg, IL. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 2008, where she studied flute with Ernestine Whitman. While at Lawrence, Carrie was principal flute of the Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra and the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, and also taught flute lessons through the Lawrence Academy of Music. Carrie is currently working towards her Masters Degree in Education at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. Carrie teaches Band and Orchestra at Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and St. Patrick Elementary School. She is also a flute instructor at Reed Music Studios.


Christine Gustafson, Trumpet Coach

Christine brings over 25 years of experience as an Instrumental Music Educator and Director of Bands in public school systems in Milwaukee, Wi, the Chaska/Chanhassen area in the SW suburbs of Minneapolis, and most recently in Houston, MN. She earned her M.A. in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and her B.A. from Hamline University in St. Paul. Over the course of her teaching career Chris has taught numerous students who have continued on to become successful Music Educators themselves. She has served as a teacher mentor for the MN Music Educator's Association, mentoring beginning teachers through the first three years of their careers and has taught thousands of students at all grade levels to not only strive for excellence in all things, but to also love music and the process of music making. Her primary instruments of study have been trumpet and organ. She has a great deal of experience performing with a wide variety of ensembles in a variety of styles. Additionally, she has extensive experience as a piano accompanist. Currently, Chris is the Director of Music and Organist at Prince of Peace Church in LaCrescent and also maintains a private teaching studio.

Mark Pomplun, French Horn/Trombone/Tuba/ Euphonium coach

After receiving his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Lawrence University Conservatory in 2008, Mark earned his Master of Music Education degree from Boston University in 2013. He is currently a band director at Lincoln Middle School and Logan Middle School. Mark's primary instrument is trombone, but enjoys playing all instruments of the band. His favorite composers are Beethoven, Mahler, Wagner, Shostakovich and Strauss. 


Jim Knutson, Percussion Coach

Jim Knutson has taught at St. Mary's University in Winona, MN, since 2005. His company, Coulee Region Music, consists of the Coulee Region Steel Band, the High School Jazz All-Stars, Coulee Region Handbell Choir, and Latin Vibe (Dow Artists). Jim has soloed with the La Crosse Symphony and has music published through RGM.






Jennifer Warthan, Clarinet coach

 Jennifer Warthan is an active community member teaching General Music, providing private lessons and performing regularly with the River WindsQuintet, the UW-L Wind Ensemble and the La Crosse Concert Band. In addition to these regular groups she has also been a performer and teacher abroad accompanying Dr. GregoryKim’s choir at Gyesan Catholic church, Daegu South Korea, teaching dance and performing with Malduggi Pungmul Team,  Gumi S.K. 
Ms. Warthan studied clarinet at UW-La Crosse under Harry Hindson and Greg Balfany earning her degree in Liberal Studies with a Performance Emphasis. While she is currently a certified teacher in Wisconsin, she has taken graduate courses through Viterbo University and is working on a graduate program acceptance.