Founding Artist Teachers
Standing left to right: Anne Marie Peterson; Siew Eng Goh.; Benjamin Leon
ANNE MARIE PETERSON grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She began musical studies at Arizona State University before transferring to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois to complete her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Viola Performance and String Pedagogy. Always an eager student, she earned her Instrumental Music Certification from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with additional studies at Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music. For the past 25 years, Ms. Peterson was an orchestra teacher for the School District of Elmbrook. She served two terms as State Chair for Orchestra for the Wisconsin School Music Association and contributed articles to the Wisconsin School Musician. Chamber Music America, the Civic Music Association, the Grammy Signature Gold Organization, and the School District of Elmbrook have recognized Ms. Peterson for her work with young musicians. Ms. Peterson retired from public school service in 2011 and joined the music faculty at Alverno College. In addition to her work with WIO, she is currently a Music Director for the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (String Orchestra West). Anne Marie received the 2017 Teacher of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
Music Director - on leave for the '21-'22 season
BENJAMIN LEON recently retired after serving 26 years as Orchestra Director in the Elmbrook School District. Mr. Leon earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education from UW-Whitewater and his master’s degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. Mr. Leon worked as a substitute teacher in the West Allis School District prior to joining the Elmbrook School District in 1989. Benjamin is still active in the music scene, both as an educator and performer.
“What I’d like to accomplish is to show growth in music … Sometimes people can surprise themselves with what they can do and I’d like to foster that.” – Ben Leon
ELIZABETH UPDIKE (violin) has taught first and second year violin, viola, cello, and bass for the Wauwatosa School District since 2000. She received her Bachelor of Music Education from UW-Eau Claire. Her most inspiring and influential instructors were Thomas Buchhauser (James Madison Memorial High School), Lola Yde (Madison Symphony), and Nobuyoshi Yasuda (UW-EC).
In addition to teaching in the public schools, Elizabeth ran a private studio for 6 years before taking a position with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. As MYSO’s Progressions orchestra director from 2006-2008, she expanded her knowledge and love of teaching strings at the beginning level. Since 2010, Elizabeth has directed full group orchestra for WISTA Summer Orchestra Camp held on the beautiful Camp Whitcomb Mason grounds in Hartland, WI. She coached violin for WSMA’s High School State Honors Music Project from 2017-2018, and has also conducted for the WIASTA Wisconsin Young Artist Honors Orchestra since 2019.
Elizabeth served as treasurer for the Wisconsin Chapter of the American String Teachers Association (WIASTA) from 2012 until 2020. She currently is a member of WIASTA’s board as a regional representative. Over the years, Elizabeth has been a member of several community orchestras and is a proud charter member of WIO.
Senior Music Consultant
SIEW ENG GOH holds a licentiate in Music (Major in Violin and Theory) from the London Royal School of Music. Mrs. Goh has won many first prizes in solo and chamber music competitions. Siew Eng played the violin and viola for the Radio and Television Malaysia and was Concertmaster for the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra. She was on the faculty of the Green Lane Convent School and taught violin and viola in a private studio for 7 years before her immigration to the United States. Mrs. Goh studied the Suzuki Method in England and at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point. Siew Eng joined the West Suburban Suzuki Academy in 1983 and currently maintains a private studio.
WIO Principal String Players from left to right: Josh Kimball, Bass; Roberta Mallmann, Cello; Sarah Oftedahl, Viola; Kristen Tan, Concertmaster; Tom Spitz, 2nd Violin.
KRISTEN TAN graduated from Carroll College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and Violin Performance. She has taught in the Franklin and West Allis school districts and is currently Orchestra Director at North Middle School in Menomonee Falls. Mrs. Tan also maintains a small private lesson studio.
She has performed as a member of the Wisconsin Philharmonic and Concord Chambers orchestras as well as various other small local ensembles. Mrs. Tan also serves as handbell choir director at Forest Park Presbyterian Church in New Berlin.
When not making music, she enjoys traveling with her family around the United States. As a family they have reached their 50th state last summer!
Kristen is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the musicians of WIO. This has been a family affair, and it is her hope that she can persuade a few other family members to join the orchestra on stage in the near future!
Principal 2nd Violin - String Specialist
TOM SPITZ is entering his eighth year as a professional orchestral instructor and twenty-sixth year as a musician; primarily a violinist, he also plays viola, cello, string bass, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, and percussion. After graduating from UW-Milwaukee, Tom spent two years as the Whitewater Unified School District's first fully licensed after-school strings instructor/lead teacher, helping build a program new to the community and school district. Currently, Tom is the beginning orchestra instructor (grades 5 and 6) at Poplar Creek and Ronald Reagan elementary schools in the School District of New Berlin - coincidentally where Tom was raised and attended school. In addition to his educational path, Tom engages in performing and gigging with local orchestras and peers, including but not limited to the Concord Chamber Orchestra, Festival City Symphony, and Kettle Moraine Symphony. Tom is especially excited for and grateful to his students, colleagues, and friends who performed in Wisconsin Intergenerational Orchestra's inaugural Spring 2016 concert series, and looks forward to working with and alongside them for many years to come!
SARAH OFTEDAHL is a middle school and elementary orchestra teacher in Mukwonago, and previously taught middle school and elementary orchestra for 15 years in Sheboygan.
An avid believer in continuing education and cultivating students’ musical independence, Mrs. Oftedahl has taken several workshops in CMP, or Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance, which is a 5-point model to help enrich students’ musical experience and pursue greater personal connections to the music addressed. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Music Education, Instrumental Emphasis, from UW-LaCrosse (2002). Additionally, she completed her Master’s Degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music (2008), and a Kodaly Certificate through Silver Lake College (2019).
Mrs. Oftedahl, a violist, has performed with several symphony organizations, including the Sheboygan Symphony, Oshkosh Symphony, Manitowoc Symphony, and Wisconsin Intergenerational Orchestra. Her favorite type of music to play is string quartet music, and she helped form the Jubilate String Quartet out of the Sheboygan area. She also has a husband and three young children, and enjoys spending time making memories with her family.
ROBERTA MALLMANN Roberta's Dad was her first cello teacher. With his loving help she won a scholarship to summer music clinic in the seventh grade, but was too young to attend in those years. Later, while studying with Marie Strassen, she played the Saint-Saens Concerto with the Manitowoc Civic orchestra and later with the Fish Creek Festival Orchestra conducted by Thor Johnson.
While living and teaching in Kewaskum she was a member of the early Kettle Moraine Orchestra. After moving to Waukesha to teach strings in elementary and middle schools and later West High School, became a member of the Wisconsin Philharmonic, then rejoined the Kettle Moraine Symphony, and now is delighted to be playing with the inspiring group of musicians in the Wisconsin Intergenerational Orchestra and the quartet of musicians from that group.
Principal Double Bass
JOSHUA KIMBALL is the director of orchestras at Eisenhower High School in New Berlin. Josh has been an educator for 10 years in three different states. In addition to teaching and performing, Josh enjoys playing card games, watching sports, and traveling. In the summer Josh teaches at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan and relaxes as much as possible. Josh really enjoys the opportunity to work with the Wisconsin Intergenerational Orchestra and is a vital part of team WIO.