Peninsula Youth Orchestra Association in Gig Harbor

Balancing nurture with rigor and Compassion with ExcellencE


ENCORE and DEBUT Conductor

     Karla Eppersonreceived her bachelor's of music from the University of Puget Sound and spent her career teaching in the Olympia public schools before beginning the string program for the Bethel School District in 1994.

     Along the way, she was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award from the Northwest Division of Music Educators National Conference in 1995; since its inception in 1967, only 19 individuals have been honored with the award for their all-around excellence in supporting, nurturing and promoting music education at local, state, divisional and national levels, as well as enriching the lives of the students they teach. Karla was the first woman to receive the award.

     In 1998, she also was a member of the inaugural class of the Washington Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. Since 1999, Karla has been an associate professor in music education at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.

     Karla is an accomplished vocalist and pianist as well as a cellist. She played with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra for many years and is now a member of the executive council and the full board for the same organization. She plays the cello in the "Trio Classique" (an unusual combination featuring a cello, violin and flute) and she conducts the Tacoma String Symphony and String Philharmonia groups for the Tacoma Youth Symphony Association. Since 2001, she has also conducted the Debut and Encore orchestras for the Peninsula Youth Orchestra.

     Karla is clearly committed to nurturing young musicians within the context of string orchestra. "The energy and excitement of a group is contagious," she says, "and to see their expressions when they can play something well, and they know they have played something well, is wonderful food for your soul."

     Little known fact: Karla once auditioned with her cello for a part in a TV commercial sponsored by the Washington Dairy Council. She won the part and ended up "playing" the part of a plate of spaghetti.

Photo by Erin Lund.