Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff

Abigail Knoche

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.

Marie Brown

Conductor AYJS

Marie Brown is an active cellist within the St. Louis area. Her studies started at the age of nine in Alton, Illinois under the teachings of Larry Crabbs, Victoria Voumard, Kim Shelley and Laura Plummer. Through part of middle school and all of her high school career, Ms. Brown studied privately under the direction of Mrs. Fariga Drayton- Conway. Ms. Brown graduated in 2015 with two bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Music Performance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, studying under Marta Simidtchieva, Michael Mishra and Lenora Anop. She has been on the faculty with Edwardsville School district and worked for Parkway Schools. Marie also has a large private studio that spans the Greater St. Louis area as well as teaching for Halpin Music Company. She is a member of the Landolfi string quartet, the Keough String quartet and a founding member of the Eads String Quartet. Ms. Brown has collaborated with several theater companies in the area including, Act Two Theater Co, Vivre, Curtains Up, Take Two Productions, and many others. Marie serves as principal cellist for Forte Chamber Orchestra St. Louis. Currently Ms. Brown teaches 5th grade Orchestra for Kirkwood School District, and is the vice president of the organization MIMAC, a non-profit that provides a platform for emerging and established musicians in the area. At present, Marie is working on the completion of her Book 3 Suzuki certification. As well as being a board member, Ms. Brown is the current cello sectional coach for the Alton Junior Youth Symphony and the Alton Youth Symphony.  Previously, Marie was the guest conductor for the Alton Junior Symphony. She is delighted to be reprising her role for this spring 2022 season.


Ann Geiler

Chamber DirectorConductor

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 Poddig


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 President of the Alton Symphony Orchestra since 2021. She has taken part in helping found the ASO Music For All 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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