Our Conductors

Ralph Meyer

Ralph Meyer is the co-founder and conductor of the Western Reserve Community Band, a 60+ member 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer organization that rehearses in Hudson and performs locally. The band plays a wide variety of music including marches, overtures, transcriptions, classical, contemporary, popular, instrumental/vocal solos, Broadway show tunes, jazz and patriotic music.  The band features instrumental soloists, vocal soloists, and ensembles from within the band membership. Ralph has a BFA in Music from Ithaca College where he was a woodwind major. He taught high school and middle school instrumental music in New Jersey for 13 years. He has both performed with and conducted in a wide variety of musical settings including community bands, pit orchestras, community, and youth orchestras. Currently, he plays Tenor Saxophone with the North East Ohio Jazz Orchestra, Alto Saxophone in the Prime Time Big Band and in the Audacity of Horns saxophone quartet. He currently leads the Western Reserve Big Band and plays in the saxophone section. He previously served on the board of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. Ralph lives in Hudson with his wife Carol, their three children all went to the Hudson Schools. He retired in 2018 after a successful career in the business world leveraging his Master’s degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from Rutgers University. Ralph worked as an educator, trainer, manager and director level during his 40+ working years. He has a broad background in hospitality, service, operations, manufacturing, and high-tech organizations. He developed and led seminars for the private and public sector in a variety of settings and served as an Adjunct Professor at the Community College level teaching business and management courses. 

Wendy K. Mathews

Wendy K. Matthews is the Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Assessment and Associate Professor of Music Education at Kent State University. She holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, University of Maryland-College Park, and George Mason UniversityDr. Matthews is the co-author of Basic Conducting Techniques (eighth edition). Before Kent State University, Dr. Matthews taught at Georgetown University, University of Maryland, George Mason University, Wayne State University, and Northern Virginia Community College. Ensembles under her direction have performed at Severance Hall, the Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, DAR Constitution Hall, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, and the Rachel M. Schlesinger HallDr. Matthews is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. Her research interests include music teacher pedagogies, oral histories of pioneering women brass players, and motivation and group dynamics in large ensembles. Her research has been published in journals and book chapters including the Journal of Research in Music Education, Psychology of Music, and the International Handbook of Music Psychology in Education and the Community. Dr. Matthews has presented research, professional development, and historical sessions at national and international conferences, including Symposium on Music Teacher Education, International Society for Music Education, and the National Association for Music Education, as well as numerous state and collegiate conferences including OMEA, TMEA, MMC, KMEA, CASMEC, NCMEA, PMEA, and VMEA.

Beverly O’Connor

Bev O’Connor retired from the Hudson City Schools in 2022 where she taught music since 1985.  In addition to directing the Hudson High School Wind Symphony she directed the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands at Hudson Middle School, the Hudson Middle School Jazz Ensemble, and the Hudson High School “Swing” Marching Band. Mrs. O’Connor attended Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent and is a proud alumna of Kent State University. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree, specializing in trombone and euphonium in 1985.  Since her retirement Mrs. O’Connor has enjoyed playing in and conducting the Western Reserve Community Band as well as working with the New Horizons Band of Summit and Stark counties. Mrs. O’Connor lives in Kent with her husband Cal O’Connor.

Sarah Kois

Sarah K. Kois is a graduate of Kent State University (M.M. Conducting ‘20) and Mansfield University of Pennsylvania (B.M. Music Education ‘16). She previously served as Director of Bands at the Smethport Area School District in Smethport, PA and Streetsboro City School District in Streetsboro, OH. While attending Kent State, Sarah was awarded the 2019 Mike Moss Conducting Study Grant through the College Band Directors National Association, a College of the Arts FlashGrant, and the 2019 Wayne D. Gorder Graduate Student Award.  Sarah currently serves as the assistant conductor of the Kent State Youth Winds, a member of the Kent State Communiversity Band (horn) and a private flute teacher to students in grades 7-12 in the area. She is actively interested in researching and promoting the music of underrepresented composers.