FRYO Conductors

Stephen Czarkowski

IMG_2238edited1smallaMr. Czarkowski is in demand as a conductor, cellist and educator in the Washington D.C. area and nationally. He serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Apollo Chamber Orchestra and has collaborated with artists from the Metropolitan Opera and the Washington National Opera. In addition he is Associate Conductor of the Opera Camerata of Washington DC, as well as its orchestra personnel manager and principal cellist. With Opera Camerata Mr. Czarkowski has most recently conducted performances of The Merry Widow, Rigoletto and Die Fledermaus to great success. In addition Mr. Czarkowski was also named a conductor for the Landon Symphonette in 2011 and Guest Conductor of the University of Virginia Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include conducting the Cincinnati Conservatory Orchestra (Beethoven Festival), and the Apollo Chamber Orchestra. He led The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C. as a debut conductor, in conjunction with being selected for the 2003 National Conducting Institute, directed by Music Director Leonard Slatkin. Other guest conducting appearances include Honolulu Symphony, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra and the 2008 The Berlin Airlift Orchestra, in a special Veterans Day performance at St. Matthews Cathedral. This past January Mr. Czarkowski worked with Maestro Jorma Panula at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, followed by working with the Richmond Symphony.

Mr. Czarkowski graduated from The Catholic University of America with a Graduate Artist Diploma in Orchestral Conducting, after receiving a full scholarship and teaching assistantship. Mr. Czarkowski graduated in the top percentile of his class from the Mannes College, The New School for Music with a Master of Music in cello (under Barbara Stein Mallow) and conducting (under David Hayes and Samuel Wong). Mr. Czarkowski received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Mannes College, The New School for Music, under the tutelage of Carter Brey, principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic. He is an active member of the Conductor’s Guild, serving on the Board of Directors for a third term. In the Fall 2011 Mr. Czarkowski was invited to join the New School Alumni Association Board of Directors. Mr. Czarkowski is currently on the cello and conducting faculty of Landon School and Shepherd University in West Virginia. At Shepherd University he is Principal Cellist (Jim and Linda Walker Chair) of the 2 Rivers Chamber Orchestra and shares conducting duties with the Preparatory Orchestra. Last Spring Mr Czarkowski guest conducted the 2 Rivers Chamber Orchestra with Dr. Scott Beard piano soloist. His students have won numerous local and statewide competitions, and hold principal chairs in area orchestras. During the Summer he serves as Principal cellist of the Shippensburg Festival Orchestra and teaches at Shepherd University String Camp.

Tom Mitchell

mitchellMr. Tom Mitchell is the Conductor for the Symphonia and Concert Strings, is currently a string teacher for Frederick County at Urbana Middle School and gives private cello lessons. He is principal cellist with The Frederick Symphony Orchestra and the Fredericktowne String Quartet, and has composed several pieces for string orchestra that have been performed locally. Mr. Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Education from Indiana University, where he studied cello with Helga Winold, and a Master of Arts degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is currently working on a Master of Music Education at Shepherd University. He and his wife Cathy reside in Ijamsville with their children.

Sharon Zearfoss

sharonMs. Sharon Zearfoss has been the conductor for the FRYO Wind Ensemble since January 2011. Sharon is an instrumental music and theatre teacher for Frederick County Public Schools at Ballenger Creek Middle School. Locally, she teaches percussion at Governor Thomas Johnson High School and previously taught for the Advanced Music Studies program in the Advanced Communications Academy for Frederick County. She received her BS in Music Education at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania with a concentration in voice and percussion. She is a proud alumna of Sigma Alpha Iota, Delta Alpha chapter and served as music director and Vice President of Ritual. She has a diverse performance background including touring with the Lebanon Valley College Concert Choir, 8 years of touring with the Reading Buccaneers Drum & Bugle Corps and the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps, 2 seasons with the Penn State Indoor Drumline as well as playing with multiple ensembles on saxophone, bassoon, cello and euphonium.

Marc Musser

marcmusserOriginally from Montgomery County, Maryland, Marc has made his home in Frederick for the past 20 years. He is in his 13th year as band and orchestra director at Walkersville Middle School.

Marc began studying guitar at age 8 and played his first professional engagement at age 12 at a New Year’s Eve bash at Tyson’s Corner Mall. He has played continuously since then and assures us that a considerable number of years are encompassed in that span of time. He has played every type of gig imaginable—from night clubs to musical theatre—and counts among his favorite performing memories a 2 month engagement at the Kennedy Center with the Washington Opera under the musical directorship of Placido Domingo.

He began playing cello at age 14, performed in his junior and senior high school orchestras, the Maryland All-State orchestra, and the Montgomery County Symphony Orchestra. He was a cello major at Towson University before switching his major to classical guitar performance. He returned to Towson in 1998 to complete his Music Education degree. He is currently writing his Master’s Thesis in the Hood College Humanities program.

Marc has taught both cello and guitar privately for many years, taught musicianship to inner-city youths for the Baltimore Job Corps program, acted as rehearsal conductor for the Frederick All-county band and orchestras for 12 years, and recently directed the pit orchestra for the Walkersville High School production of Footloose. He considers sharing his love of music with young people one of the great joys of life, and very much looks forward to his journey with the musicians of the Frederick Regional Youth Orchestra.