Board Meeting 2022:
Royce Engstrom recently retired from a 41-year career in higher education, serving as a chemistry professor for about half of that time and as an administrator for the other half. He served as President of the University of Montana for six years and was a member of several national-level organizations and boards. He has always been interested in music, playing the guitar and mandolin for fun, and now a little piano. His wife, Mary, is also a life-long educator. They have two children and two grandchildren. Royce feels extremely fortunate to be on the SOR Board.
Jim moved to Missoula in 2016 to live closer to his daughter and grandchildren. Prior to 2016, Jim graduated from Stanford University and spent his 43-year career in business, Sales and Marketing and General Management. His career has taken him to Mexico, Central America, South America, Hong Kong and Bremen, Germany. When Jim is not spending time with his daughter and grandchildren, he enjoys playing golf, traveling, and classical music. He is active in the Episcopal Church in Missoula and throughout Montana and, In his spare time, volunteers at the Food Bank.
Tom Cook is a Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Montana where he was Director of Bands and Professor of Trumpet for fifteen years and Chair of the Department of Music for the following ten. After retirement, he served as interim Chair of the Department of Art and then assistant to the Dean in the School of Fine Arts. He and his wife, Janie, live in Missoula, where he is a part-time program host of Morning Classics on Montana Public Radio. Their two children reside in Missoula, along with their granddaughter. Tom is proud to have been selected for membership on the SOR Board.
Carol Garlington was born in Missoula and raised in its rich musical environment, playing violin in school and camp orchestras as well as in various chamber groups. After moving to Massachusetts, she turned her college major in music history and master’s in musicology into a stint as music editor at Harvard University Press before diverting her career into investment counsel for 23 years. She returned to Missoula in 2018, where she has taken up the violin once again and relishes the accessibility of both fine live musical performances and beautiful hiking trails.
Donna Mendelson worked in photographic collections in the Arizona State Museum and taught first and second grade before going back to school to study English and American literature. She is especially interested in literature and the environment—literary representations of our human relationships with the natural world—and taught at the State University of New York at Binghamton and the University of Montana. She listens to both classical and traditional music and served on the board of directors of the Tucson Friends of Traditional Music and Fiddle and Bow in Winston-Salem, NC.
Kathy is a retired educator who moved back to Missoula in 2011. She is an UM alum who is thrilled to live in such a vibrant community. She shares this excitement with her two daughters, sons-in-laws, and three grandchildren. Kathy stays active with SOR, MOLLI, a book club, women’s hiking group, Lady Griz basketball, the arts, and grandkids’ activities.
Laura grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, playing flute and singing in the choir at Mountain View High School. She has picked up the flute again and looks forward to spending more time on it. With a Masters in Cell Biology she has worked in the science and technology fields. She and her husband Mark moved to Missoula in 2007 and were involved with the music community from early on. They have been supporters and volunteers with the Missoula Symphony for 15 years (Mark serves on the MSA board) and more recently the SOR. Laura currently serves as the Regent of the Bitter Root Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a service organization focused on historic preservation and education. Her interests include gardening, cooking, nature, coin collecting, databases, genealogy and of course, music.
Adam Collins has taught cello at the University of Montana and played with the String Orchestra of the Rockies since 2018. He is also principal cellist of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and the president of the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestras. Since joining the faculty of UM, Adam has performed and led masterclasses across the United States, South Korea, and Canada. His university students have won statewide and regional competitions and been accepted to prestigious summer programs such as Roundtop and Aspen. When Adam isn’t teaching or performing, you’re likely to find him baking sourdough or hiking and running on trails around Missoula.
SOR Artistic Director Maria Larionoff is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the former Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony. She is currently on the faculty of the Seattle Conservatory and a member of the Vancouver BC-based Vetta Quartet. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with golden retrievers.
Never one to find herself without something to do, Karen worked for almost 27 years for the federal government while raising three children and volunteering in the community. After retirement, she continued the trend of raising children and volunteering but decided to begin a new career with the University of Montana. Now, with her last child a senior, she is adding the String Orchestra of the Rockies to her life.
Michael Wilder is a photographer, master color printer, artist, cyclist, and hay and horse farmer among other things. He has been photographing SOR concerts and creating the SOR website since 2005—because he appreciates the fine music and unique place of this orchestra.
Richard Kuschel owns and operates The Recording Center in Missoula. He has been making audio recordings of all the SOR concerts since 1994.