At NextGEN, our vision is to provide learning opportunities for instrumental music students of all ages and abilities through individual instruction, performance ensembles, community involvement, and music appreciation.
We believe that every child should have the opportunity to develop their intellectual and artistic capacity through playing a musical instrument and participating in a variety of musical ensembles and opportunities.
We aim to support and supplement the work being done in public and private music education, and to provide resources that help students put to use and further what they learn in their school music programs and private lessons.
Conductors for NextGEN ensembles are chosen for their expertise and musicianship. All our staff are active as professional musicians and prepared to give students expert instruction based on real world experience.
Dr. Brian Norcross is not only the Artistic Director of Allegro Orchestra Lancaster but also one of its founders. His passion for creating a joyful experience when conducting, playing and listening to classical music drives much of Allegro’s artistic vision and audience experience.
Many people know Brian from Franklin & Marshall College where he is the Conductor of Instrumental Ensembles. He is also well known around the community as the Director of Music at First United Methodist Church.
He and his wife Kim have four children: Molly, Megan, Greyson and Gloria.
Allegretto Assistant Director
Francis Caravella is the Orchestra Director at Manheim Township High School, where he also teaches AP Music Theory and IB Music. In addition he serves as the Middle School orchestra director and is responsible for developing the string orchestra curriculum used in grades 5-12. Francis has conducted the American Music Abroad Burgundy Tour Orchestra during multiple summers in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland and Hungary.
He lives in Lancaster and is active as a songwriter, composer and arranger.
Zachary Levi is the high school orchestra director in the Southern York County School District as well as the orchestra director at York College. By the summer of 2018 he plans to have completed his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from Catholic University. In addition to teaching and conducting, Zach is an active cellist performing with Allegro and the York Symphony. He lives in Columbia with his wife Johanna and their son Samuel.
Prelude and Intermezzo Strings Director
Elizabeth Lavender graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where she studied cello with Leighton Conkling, and has done graduate work in music education and cello performance at Hartt School of Music, including participation in cello master classes under David Wells. Beth is a member of Allegro Orchestra Lancaster and also serves on its board. Past orchestral affiliations include the Huntington (WV) Chamber Orchestra and the Lancaster (PA) Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing with Allegro, she is an active free-lance cellist in the Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg areas.
In 2016, Beth retired after a 35-year career as a public school string teacher and orchestra director, primarily in the Hempfield School District, where she worked with string students at all levels, grades 4-12. She has served as guest conductor for the Central Dauphin Honors Orchestra, the Dauphin County Elementary Orchestra, and the LLMEA Middle School County Orchestra, and has been on the faculty of the Strings Excell Elementary String Camp at Elizabethtown College for over 25 years. Under Allegro’s NextGen Youth program, she currently serves as conductor of both the Prelude and Intermezzo string orchestras. She is the author of A Better Beginning: A Pre-Method for Starting Young String Students, and has presented workshops on incorporating the Paul Rolland approach in school settings locally in Pennsylvania (PMEA Districts 7, 11, and 12) as well as at the state and eastern US level (PMEA Conference, NAfME Eastern Division Conference). She was recently the recipient of the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teachers Association's 2019 Outstanding String Teacher Award, for "outstanding achievement as a string teacher and contributions to the string profession."
Prelude and Intermezzo Strings Assistant Director
Mrs. Emily H. Sheffer holds the position of Director of Orchestras in the Conestoga Valley
School District. In addition to teaching the orchestras and chamber ensembles at the
secondary levels, Mrs. Sheffer also teaches beginning guitar and 8 th grade general music. This is her tenth year with the district. Mrs. Sheffer’s love for orchestra and playing the violin and viola developed as a student in the Conestoga Valley School District. It was here that Mrs. Sheffer experienced the teachings of Paul Rolland under Mrs. Rebecca Weaver and Mrs. Jane Brye. At the collegiate level she studied the violin with Dr. Laura Kobayashi, completing her Bachelor of Arts in Music from West Virginia University and her Suzuki teacher-training for Books 1-4 under Ms. Martha Shackford.
Music then took Mrs. Sheffer to New York where she played professionally with the New
Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra and taught private and group Suzuki lessons through
Queensborough Community College and The Suzuki Program Music School. Returning to the PA-area she established studios at both the Cumberland Valley School of Music and Menchey Music. Finding joy in seeing the progress in her private students Mrs. Sheffer decided to return to school to pursue a career in public education. In 2006 she enrolled at Millersville University as a graduate student and received her Pennsylvania Music Education Certification in 2009. Mrs. Sheffer completed her Masters in Music Education from Kent State University in 2012.
As a string educator, Mrs. Sheffer has extensive experience teaching beginning and
intermediate string lessons, preparing students for PMEA festivals, and attending county and state-sponsored adjudications. When not teaching, Mrs. Sheffer plays viola with “Vivace Live” and other performing groups. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drinking coffee, practicing yoga, and relaxing at home with her husband, three children, and cat.
Intermezzo Winds Director
Kathleen is a graduate of Ball State University with a B.S. in Music Education. After relocating to Pennsylvania, she received her M.A. in Music History and Literature from West Chester University and was a band director in the Central Dauphin School District and School District of Lancaster. Kathleen most recently taught instrumental and general music at Lancaster Country Day School. Kathleen, an oboist, has performed with the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York Symphonies. She has also performed with the Allegro Chamber Orchestra, Lancaster and Reading Pops Orchestras, the Lancaster Woodwind Quintet and the Fulton Theatre and Opera Lancaster’s pit orchestras. She is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and Pi Kappa Lambda.
Kathleen is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oboe at Franklin and Marshall College and is a former faculty member of the York Music Center Summer Camp and Strings Excell Music Camp. She is currently serving on the board of the Lancaster Conservatory of Music and the Lancaster/York Musicians Union.
NextGEN Program Director
Flutist Morgann Davis is an active performer and teacher who is passionate about community involvement and non-traditional careers in the arts. Fortunate to share the stage with many inspiring musicians, Morgann performs regularly with ensembles including the Allegro Orchestra Lancaster, Lancaster Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, Reading Symphony, Berks Sinfonietta, and the Endless Mountain Music Festival. Through Davis Flute Studio, she is able to create a progressive, encouraging environment for learning for beginning students through adults. She has been on faculty at The Ohio State University Flute Workshop, UW-Whitewater Flute Camp, Pocono Flute Society Flute Camp, Maranatha University and Lancaster Bible College and has performed throughout the US with orchestras such as the Dubuque Symphony and Madison Symphony, as well as in Europe and Canada in various recital series.
A contributor to online pedagogy and entrepreneurship publications, Morgann has promoted an innovative approach to the arts as a member of the National Flute Association’s Career and Artistic Development committee. She is the program director of the NextGEN Youth Music program in Lancaster, PA, and has created educational community programs like Story Soundtracks, which encourages young students in the connections between music and reading.