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Our Conductors

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 Garett  Christensen     

Rising Strings &

Sinfonietta Strings


Garett Christensen

Garett Christensen was born in Twin Falls, Idaho and grew up in Rupert, Idaho.  There he attended Minico High School and became vastly involved in music.  From there he attended Idaho State University where he completed his Bachelor’s of Music Education.  His focus through ISU’s program was on the Viola.  Garett studied viola under Dr. Keum Hwa Cha and finished his studies under Dr. Hyeri Choi.  He studied cello under Dr. Eleanor Cox.  


Garett’s performing career had him in many different ensembles at ISU.  He was a part of the Idaho State Civic Symphony, ISU Chamber Orchestra, and Concert Choir.  Outside of ISU, Garett currently plays with the Magic Valley Symphony, and has played with the Magic Valley Philharmonic in Burley, Idaho.  Some of his favorite performances include being in small groups.  He has played in a quartet and played Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2.  Another he played was 1st Viola in the Mendelssohn Octet in E-flat Major.  In his senior recital at ISU he performed in a viola quartet playing La Folia, Variations for Viola Quartet arranged by Kimber.  


Garett is excited to serve as a conductor for the Magic Valley Youth Orchestra.  He can't wait to work with the Rising Strings and Sinfonietta Strings ensembles.  Garett looks to continue to develop his career.  He is currently teaching in the Filer School District.  He teaches 5-8 Band courses, 6th Grade General Music, and 7/8th Grade Exploratory courses.  He hopes to continue learning more about conducting and use it more in his career.

 Elizabeth Thomsen   

Elizabeth Thomsen

Elizabeth Thomsen grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. After graduating a Top Ten Scholar at Boise State University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, she spent ten years teaching music in public schools. She was integral in expanding the music program in the Twin Falls School District which has resulted in the high school programs now including multiple bands, competitive marching band, orchestra, and guitar classes. Through membership in professional organizations, Elizabeth has served as District IV secretary for the Idaho Music Educators Association, President-Elect for the Idaho Bandmasters Association, and secretary for the Magic Valley Symphony.

Elizabeth grew up playing trombone, violin, and piano and learned to play trumpet and viola after college. Her performing career has led her to playing music across the United States and Europe. She participates in multiple community groups and has been a featured trombone soloist with the Twin Falls Municipal Band and the CSI Symphonic Band. She is the principal 2nd violinist with the Magic Valley Symphony and was invited to guest conduct a piece on the Veterans Day Concert in 2022. In 2018, Elizabeth became the musical director of the Twin Falls Municipal Band. As of 2023, Elizabeth is an adjunct professor at the College of Southern Idaho teaching the Symphonic Band.

Elizabeth has served as a coach with the Magic Valley Youth Orchestra since 2014. She is excited to step into the role of conductor for the chamber orchestra. 

Youth Chamber Ensemble


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 Ted Hadley                       

Youth Orchestra Conductor



Ted Hadley holds bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the University of Idaho. He retired in 2014 after 40 years of teaching band, orchestra and guitar students at Canyon Ridge High School and Robert Stuart Middle School in Twin Falls. In 2017 He retired from 40 years as director of the Twin Falls Municipal Band; he enjoyed playing cornet with the group this summer! Hadley has been Music Director and Conductor of the Magic Valley Symphony for 29 years. He plays piano for vocal lessons at CSI and is helping TFPS instrumental teachers to organize their music libraries.

His work with the Magic Valley Youth Orchestra is especially rewarding, working with developing musicians and challenging them to new levels of knowledge, achievement and expression.


Ted serves as publications chairman for the Idaho Music Educators Association, for whom he has also served as president. He was honored by that organization as Idaho Music Educator of the Year in 1992. In 1996 he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Twin Falls Rotary Club, and has received the MV Arts Council Biennial Mayor’s Award for Arts Community Leadership. He has been recognized as a Mentor Teacher of the Year by the BSU Department of Education. In September of 2012 he was awarded a Governor's Award in the Arts for Support of Arts Education. He enjoys playing French horn in the CSI Symphonic Band.


Hadley is a member of Gideons International and serves in several capacities with the congregation of Community Christian Church.

Our Coaches


Our coaches generously donate many hours of patience, enthusiasm and their love of music to the young musicians in Magic Valley Youth Orchestra. Many thanks to:

Linda Seaman - Viola coach for Chamber Ensemble

Elizabeth Thomsen - Winds, Brass, Percussion coach and assistant conductor for Full Orchestra

Kaylie Steel - Cello coach for Chamber Ensemble, Full Orchestra and Rising Strings

Pernecia Heineman - Violin coach for Rising Strings and Sinfonietta Strings

Coaching help is still needed to assist with Violin 1 and 2 for Sinfonietta Strings and Rising Strings. Please contact us at

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