Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff

Abigail Knoche

Director/Conductor AYS

Abigail Knoche is an alumn of the Alton Youth Symphony and was the founding cellist of the Alton Youth Symphony Chamber Group. Mrs. Knoche attended Illinois State University, where she earned her bachelor’s in Music Education and the University of Illinois, Springfield where she earned her masters in Educational Leadership. Abigail is a cellist who has studied under Mr. Larry Crabbs, Dr. Marta Simidtchieva, and Dr. Adriana Ransom. Abigail teaches private lessons on cello and bass and plays handbells with the Upper Alton Christian Handbell Ensemble. She currently teaches orchestra in the Ritenour School District having previously taught in the Hazelwood School District.

Elizabeth Jankowski

Director/Conductor AYJS

Elizabeth is a proud alumnus of Alton Youth Symphony. She was the first concertmistress of the organization in its inaugural year, and is a former conductor of the Alton Youth Symphony. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a minor in Music from SIU in Edwardsville. She has performance experience with the Tulsa Symphony, Northwest Arkansas Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, Fort Smith Symphony, and the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been an instructor in the Music Preparatory Program at Lewis and Clark Community College. She is a former board member of Alton Band and Orchestra Builders, as well as the Alton Youth Symphony.

Ann Geiler

Chamber Director

Ann Geiler earned her BME from Lindenwood University and her MME from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  She was public school string teacher who taught strings from grades 4 through Jr. College for 30 years and retired in 2017.  Ann has been active in professional music organizations throughout Missouri and the US, which promote music education.  She remains active in promoting string education in her retirement and is currently on the Adjudicator Committee for the Missouri State High School Activities Association. Ms. Geiler is Past-President of the Missouri Chapter of the American String Teachers Association and has been MMEA Orchestra Vice-President, has coordinated the Missouri All-Collegiate and High School Orchestras, been a member of the Mo-ASTA board, and served as Middle School Orchestra Vice-President, treasurer, and President of the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association.  Ann is a trained adjudicator for the Solo & Small Ensemble and Large Group Festivals and travels throughout the state evaluating and encouraging string students. Ms. Geiler is a professional cellist who plays in Quartet Brioso as well as various orchestras in Missouri and Illinois.   She has received numerous awards for her work in Music Education.  Ann is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity.  She is the  3rd Vice-President Alumni Advisor,  president of the St. Louis Alumni Chapter, and the Final Notes Contributor for The Triangle the official magazine of Mu Phi Epsilon.


Jessica Podding


Jessica Poddig is a musician of the greater St. Louis area. She has been the manager of the Alton Youth Symphony & Junior Youth Symphony as of Summer 2019.

Jessica attended Lindenwood University for Music Performance on French Horn. She has taught private lessons in the St. Louis area for over 7 years on French Horn, Trumpet, Alto and Tenor Saxophone, and Flute. At Lindenwood, she was a part of the Horn Club, Brass Ensemble, Orchestra, Concert and Marching Band, and Flute Choir.

Over the years of being a musician, she has taken part in several local musical productions such as Jekyll & Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Into the Woods, and more. Currently, Jessica is the Vice-President of the Alton Symphony Orchestra since 2017. She has taken part in helping found the Saint Nicholas Scholarship (which funds private lessons for students in financial need).

Jessica currently lives in St. Louis, where works as a teacher’s assistant at Neuwoehner High School. She also plays French Horn with the Alton Symphony Orchestra.

The Alton Youth Symphony’s continued success would not be possible without the generous support of parents, community members, and local businesses. Click Here if you would like to partner with the Alton Youth Symphony through a donation.

Alton Youth Symphony is a 501(c)3 Corporation registered in the State of Illinois.

Alton Youth Symphony P.O. Box 3036 Alton, IL 62002

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