Alfred Abel, Concertmaster
Hailing from Pennsylvania, Ellen started her cello journey in third grade. During her junior and senior years of high school, she undertook the responsibility of instructing elementary students in her community. This commitment persisted beyond college as she continued to teach privately while residing in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In 2024, Ellen assumes a new role as a cello instructor at the Kokomo Youth Orchestra (KYO), where she endeavors to impart her passion for music to students within the community. Beyond her dedication to cello education, Ellen serves as a full-time children’s librarian at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library (KHCPL Main). Furthermore, she is an ardent artist, seamlessly integrating her love for both art and music into her children’s programming.
Katie Huddleston’s musical journey began in Goshen, Indiana, where she discovered her love for the cello before transitioning to the captivating world of the string bass. As the first-ever String Bass major at Manchester University, she graduated in 2015 and embarked on a fulfilling career.
With a passion for teaching, Katie has shared her expertise through private lessons and served as an orchestra director at Eastern Howard School Corporation. She has also performed with esteemed symphony orchestras, including those in Manchester, Kokomo, Anderson and Muncie Indiana.
In 2018, Katie joined the Kokomo Youth Orchestra (KYO) as an instructor, nurturing the talents of students from the community who may not have access to formal music classes. Her role at Wallace Elementary School of Integrated Arts as a Violin teacher allows her to inspire young learners and share her passion for music on a broader scale.
Driven by her dedication to music education and her unwavering love for the bass, Katie continues to make a positive impact on students’ lives and the Kokomo music community. Her passion, experience and commitment to excellence serve as a testament to her invaluable contributions in shaping the next generation of musicians.
José Valencia is a highly regarded conductor and violinist making significant contributions to Indiana’s music scene and beyond. Alongside his role with the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra (KSO), he is the founding music director and artistic advisor of the innovative Orkestra Project based in Indianapolis. Additionally, he serves as the Assistant Conductor and Concertmaster of the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra and the Assistant Concertmaster of the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra.
With a passion for nurturing young talents, Mr. Valencia has worked extensively with youth orchestras in Indiana and Kentucky. His diverse academic background includes the study of Russian, enabling him to coach the Indianapolis Opera chorus and take the lead in the production of Tchaikovsky’s opera, Eugene Onegin, as the first Russian language production by the Indianapolis Opera.
Mr. Valencia’s talent as a conductor has been recognized internationally. In 2000, he secured the first-place position in the Fourth Karelia-Sochi Conducting Master Class/Competition held in Russia. He was subsequently invited back to the Sochi Philharmonic Symphony as the Principal Guest Conductor, leading four concerts during their 2001-2002 season. Alongside his conducting commitments, José Valencia maintains an active teaching studio in Indianapolis.
José Valencia’s exceptional artistry, versatility, and dedication to music have made him a respected figure in the music community. With his dynamic leadership, he continues to shape and elevate the orchestral landscape, leaving an indelible impact on audiences and aspiring musicians alike.
Sean Carey is a distinguished graduate of Indiana State University’s School of Music, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with Magna Cum Laude honors. Under the tutelage of Dr. Bill Davis, he honed his violin skills and emerged as a talented musician.
Throughout his musical journey, Sean has showcased his expertise as a concertmaster for the ISU Symphony Orchestra, the Masterworks Chorale, Concert Choir and Sycamore Singers. He has also contributed his time and knowledge as an instructor for the Crossroads of America Youth Orchestra Preparatory Strings and as a student violin instructor at the Community School of the Arts.
As an ISU Service Learning Scholar, Sean forged a partnership between the Crossroads of America Youth Orchestra and Deming Elementary School, establishing an enriching afterschool strings program in Terre Haute, IN.
Currently, Sean serves as a music teacher at Wallace Elementary School of Integrated Arts and as the orchestra director at Central Middle International School in Kokomo. His dedication to nurturing young talent extends to his involvement with the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra and its exceptional youth programs.
With unwavering passion and a commitment to excellence, Sean Carey continues to inspire students and contribute to the Kokomo music community. His contributions to the symphony orchestra and youth programs are invaluable, making a lasting impact on future musicians.