Kyosuke Nakata, Personnel Manager
Christian Hill, Oboe
Lisa Renteria, Bassoon
Graeme Shaw Trombone
Toru Tagawa, Conductor
Toru, from Hiroshima, Japan, started playing the violin at age 6, and joined the Kurashiki Junior Philharmonic Orchestra at age 10. He received his Violin Performance degrees from the University of Tulsa (BM) and the Florida State University (MM), and a Music Education degree (MME) from the University of Arizona. His main Violin teachers include Steven Moeckel, Gary Kosloski, Elliot Chapo, Derry Deane, and Mikio Ejima.
Toru has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra since 2011. His conducting teachers include Thomas Cockrell, Charles Bontrager, Jung-Ho Pak, Maurice Peress and Sandra Dackow. Toru was one of the co-founders/conductors of the Interlochen Repertory Orchestra in 2007 under Jung-Ho Pak’s guidance. He has participated in conducting workshops at the Juilliard School of Music, Queens College, Conducting Symposiums in Boston with Benjamin Zander and in Chicago with Cliff Colonot, and Toru is a member of the Conductors Guild. He was one of the finalists in the American Prize 2014 as a conductor in community orchestra division. As active violinist, he plays with the Tucson Symphony, Tucson Pops, Arizona Opera Orchestras, and has played with National Repertory (CO), Shreveport (LA), Arkansas, Tallahassee (FL), AIMS (Austria), Hiroshima (Japan) ,and Vancouver (Canada) Symphony Orchestras. Toru is the President-Elect for the American String Teachers Association of Arizona, and he is the new Music Director and Conductor of the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra (AZ) starting in the 2016-2017 season. torutagawa.com
An Arizona native, Mindi Acosta served as principle flute with the former Tucson Chamber Orchestra and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. She has performed and given master classes throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Europe, including a performance with the UA Wind Ensemble at the 2001 WASBE festival in Lucerne Switzerland. Mind has served on the board of the Tucson Flute Club and has served as the librarian for the National Flute Association. She has performed and competed with several chamber groups, and was a two time finalist in the prestigious Fischoff Competition. She gave the world premiere of David Finko’s Concerto for Piccolo in 2007 with the Tucson Chamber Orchestra. Mindi attended the University of Arizona for her undergraduate studies in flute performance with Jean-Louis Kashy. Currently, Mindi teaches flute for the Tucson Symphony Woman’s Association, which offers musical education opportunities to underprivileged children. She also performs with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and with Duo Con Brio, a flute and guitar duo.
Christian Hill has been a band and orchestra director with the Amphitheater School district since 1998 and is a graduate from Northern Arizona University with Bachelor degrees in Music Education and Music Performance. As an undergraduate, he played professional oboe with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra for six years. After winning the 1994 NAU Solo Competition, Mr. Hill played with the Summer Festival Orchestra and for various musical productions with Sun Entertainment. After performing in the 1998 production of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle,” he played the oboe and English horn with the Arizona Opera Orchestra for over ten years. While playing for “Sinfonia Da Chiesa” in the year 2000, Mr. Hill was introduced to members of the professional woodwind quintet “Foothills Chamber Ensemble,” and has participated as a substitute player for many professional orchestras. In 2012 Mr. Hill became the coordinator for the oboe section and woodwind quintet with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra, principal oboe for the Sierra Vista Symphony and second oboe for the Tucson Pops Orchestra. His college professors were Dr. Rebecca Kemper Scarnati and Neil Tatman, both students of Jerry Sirucek and John Mack. Other teachers of note are Eugene Chieffo and David Weber, both students of John de Lancie at the Curtis Institute of Music.
Wes Sansom, Clarinet Coordinator
Wes Sansom studied clarinet performance at San Diego State University in San Diego, California. While living in San Diego, he performed with the San Diego State Symphony Orchestra as co-principal and as principal clarinet for the San Diego Youth Symphony.
After leaving San Diego, Wes moved to Denver, Colorado where he played principal with the Mostly Strauss Orchestra, the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra and the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra. While playing with the Musica Sacra Chamber Orchestra, Wes was given the opportunity to perform Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at the orchestra’s inaugural concert and on tour with the orchestra in Italy. During his time with the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra, he served on the orchestra’s board as their Treasurer and later as the Personnel Director. Wes was also one of the founding members of the Gossamer Winds Woodwind Quintet that performed in the Denver area.
Wes is now making music in the Tucson metro-area, having been a member of the Foothills Phil, and currently playing with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and the Crowded Quartet.
When not indulging his love of music, Wes is the Director of Accounting for Splendido at Rancho Vistoso.
Gregory Helseth began playing Horn in his school band in 1972 and has since played in Orchestras, Bands and Chamber Ensembles across the United States, Mexico, France, Scotland, England and Germany. His first jobs were Fourth Horn with the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux Falls, SD, and Second Horn with the Sioux City (Iowa) Symphony. He then joined the Tucson Symphony (1985) as Third Horn. In 1989 he left Arizona to play Principal Horn with the Omaha Symphony, Omaha, NE. After 13 seasons, he and his wife, Lynn, moved to Allentown, PA, where he played Principal Horn with the legendary Allentown Band, and began his career as a Freelance Hornist. In 2004 he and his wife returned to Tucson where he is the happy stay-at-home Dad for two girls.
Mr. Helseth remains busy as Principal Horn with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, Lincoln, NE, Principal Horn of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra and as soloist, clinician, and on-call Hornist in Southern Arizona.