ARTISTIC STAFF

Randall Mastin, Artistic Director

About Randy >

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                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.

Mark Pomplun,
Philharmonic Conductor

About Mark >

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Mr. Pomplun received his Bachelor of Music in Education from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2008. He was a trombone student of Nick Keelan and performed with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and trombone choir. He received his Master of Music in Education from Boston University in 2013 and is currently a band director at Lincoln and Logan Middle Schools. His bands have been highly awarded at the Wisconsin National Band Association convention and at regional Music Performance Assessments. Mr. Pomplun lives in La Crosse with his wife Carrie, son Luke, and dogs Bella and Cooper.

Cullan Lucas,
Manager & Low Brass Coach

About Cullan >

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Dr. Cullan Lucas is thrilled to join the LYSO staff this season as both manager and low brass coach. He also currently teaches at Western Technical College as well as hosts his own low brass studio in the area. He has played trombone, conducted, and taught across the US at a variety of universities, community colleges, and public schools including the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and Arizona State University. Dr. Lucas is an advocate for new music and programming the works of traditionally underrepresented composers. Originally from Houston, TX, He received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University before completing his Masters and Doctoral work at the University of South Carolina and Arizona State University, respectively.

Margit Speckeen,
First Violin Coach

About Margit >

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Margit Speckeen grew up in Black River Falls, WI and went to college at Luther College in Decorah, IA. After student teaching and  long-term substitute teaching, nine years ago, she moved to La Crosse to start a private violin studio at Leithold's Music and continue playing in the La Crosse Symphony, with which she had played violin with for almost 15 years. I continue to keep a small private studio in addition to teaching orchestra at Blessed Sacrament and St. Patrick's in Onalaska.

Jessica McDonald,
Second Violin Coach

About Jessica >

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Jessica was awarded her 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, including: 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 and the National Association for Music Education. 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 Old Towne Strings, 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

About Lori >

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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

About Derek >

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Derek Clark 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.  Upon moving to La Crosse in 2002, Mr. Clark became a member of the Rochester Orchestra and the La Crosse Symphony, where he was principal cellist for ten years. Mr. Clark is currently a member of Bluffside Consort, Crescendo String Quartet, and Ensemble Druzhba, and is the cello instructor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He also maintains a private studio.

Paul Jewson,
Double Bass Coach

About Paul >

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                Paul Jewson is from Fond du Lac, WI and started playing double bass in his high school's top jazz band, quickly finding a love for the instrument. From there, he came to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to study under Karyn Quinn, graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Music Performance and Music Theory/Composition. Since graduating, he has continued playing as a community member in UWL’s orchestra, freelancing, arranging and transcribing charts for UWL’ s jazz combos and community groups, leading his own jazz combo, and recently joined the local band Fly Casual.

Carrie Pomplun,
Flute Coach

About Carrie >

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                Carrie earned her Master of Education degree in 2018 from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where her research was focused on effective practice techniques for student musicians. In 2008, Carrie received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music (Appleton, WI), where she studied flute with Ernestine Whitman and served as principal flute in the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Carrie has been the flute coach for LYSO since 2012. She maintains a flute studio at Reed Music Studios, in addition to teaching full time band for Aquinas elementary schools.

Jennifer Warthan,
Clarinet Coach

About Jennifer >

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Jennifer Warthan is a teacher of General Music, providing private lessons and performing regularly with the River Winds Quintet, the UWL Wind Ensemble and the La Crosse Concert Band. In addition to these groups, she has also performed and taught abroad accompanying Dr. Gregory Kim’s choir at Gyesan Catholic church in South Korea, teaching  and performing with Malduggi Pungmul Team,  Gumi S.K. 
Ms. Warthan studied clarinet at UWL under Harry Hindson and Greg Balfany earning a degree in Liberal Studies with a Performance Emphasis. Currently a certified teacher in Wisconsin, she has also taken graduate courses through Viterbo University and is working on a graduate program acceptance.

Damian Combs,
Horn Coach

About Damian >

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Damian Combs is a native of Columbus, IN.  He currently studies instrumental Music Education  at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He received an Associates in Information Systems with a concentration in Business Administration  from American Intercontinental University, and also studied at Indiana University, where he received the Betty F. Brown Music scholarship, Elwyn Brown music scholarship, and was principal horn of the concert band. He also previously received the John Phillips Sousa Award for Outstanding Musician. At UWL he received the Cordeiro Brass Quintet scholarship, Paul Stry Memorial Scholarship and the UWL Music Departmental Scholarship. He serves as principal horn for UWL Wind Ensemble and Orchestra.

Josh Beron,
Trumpet Coach

About Josh >

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Jim Knutson,
Percussion Coach

About Jim >

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Jim Knutson taught high school band for 35 years, the last 20 at Onalaska High School.  Jim plays in the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and directs the Coulee Region Steel Band, CRHS Jazz All-Stars and leads JK’s Latin Vibe jazz quartet.  He has  also taught at St. Mary’s University and Luther College and has an MFA from the University of Iowa where he was a graduate staffer.  Jim can be seen playing on the paddle wheel boat between Red Wing and Dubuque, plays/sings monthly at the Starlite Lounge in La Crosse and has four church music jobs to keep him out of trouble!