|Conductor||Dr. Willis M. Rapp|
|President||Julie Beth Drey|
Willis M. Rapp holds the Bachelor of Science and Master of Music Degrees in Music Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the Diploma of Fine Arts in Conducting from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Instrumental Conducting from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Dr. Rapp has served on the faculty of Millersville University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Iowa State University, and Kutztown University, where he retired in 2013 with the distinction of Professor Emeritus.
Dr. Rapp has a forty-year career as a published author with over 500 publications to his credit through Charter Publications, Jenson Publications, Educational Programs Publications, Meredith Music Publications, and the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation. With one exception, he was the youngest student to have studied timpani and orchestral repertoire with Fred D. Hinger, legendary timpanist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Dr. Rapp also performed as Principal Timpanist of the Allentown, PA Symphony Orchestra during the years when William Smith, former Associate Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, served as Music Director and Conductor of the ASO.
Since 2000, Dr. Rapp has served as conductor of the Reading Pops Orchestra; he has guest conducted, performed as a recitalist, and appeared as a clinician in twenty-eight states and three provinces in Canada. His scholarly text, The Wind Band Masterworks of Holst, Vaughan Williams and Grainger, was released in March 2005. In 2007 he was the recipient of the Kutztown University Faculty Research Award, and in Fall 2009 he was honored with the Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, making him the first faculty member in the history of the university to be honored with both awards.
Julie Beth Drey is a Magna cum Laude graduate of Temple University where she studied clarinet and saxophone with Ron Reuben of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has been performing in the Reading area since 1983. Julie is a member of the Reading Symphony Orchestra. As a freelance musician Julie appears with various organizations, including the Berks Chamber Orchestra, The Fulton Opera House (Lancaster) show productions, Theater Musicians Organization of Allentown, Anthracite Philharmonic, Genesius Theater, and with the Reading Pops Orchestra where she also serves as President on the Board of Directors. Her duties include behind the scenes arrangements for each concert, promoting the group, fundraising, and anything benefiting the general success of the orchestra.
Julie is the founder of the Fyve Woodwind Quintet that performs for recitals and weddings. She is a member of the Reading Musical Foundation sponsored Music in the Schools woodwind quintet that presents educational concerts for the students of Berks County schools. She also has a duo, Just Friends, performing both classical and jazz repertoire. She has performed with the former Pottstown Symphony, and Schuylkill Symphony.
Rounding out Julie’s busy concert schedule is an active private studio of budding musicians. She is very proud of her clarinet, flute, and saxophone students who have placed well in Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra, Berks County Band and Orchestra, as well as Pennsylvania Music Educators District, Regional, and State bands and orchestras, and Reading Musical Foundation scholarships. And at the end of the day, Julie devotes practice time on clarinet, flute, and saxophone, preparing for her favorite performing opportunity, Broadway style shows. Other passions include listening to jazz, swimming, crafting jewelry, sewing, and cooking.