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Omaha Area Youth Orchestras

The OAYO Team

For over 60 years, OAYO has built a musical community that fosters artistry and friendship that would not be possible without talented individuals who value music education that lasts a lifetime. OAYO is grateful to its staff, volunteers and parents who work together to build a pipeline of performances and music lovers in our community.

OAYO Administrative Staff Contacts

Sophia Potter, Executive Director (

Cassie Fritch, Director of Programs and Operations (

Abigail Lill, Marketing and Media Manager (

Julissa Ramirez, Volunteer and Rehearsal Coordinator (

Myra Coveney, Rehearsal Manager (

OAYO Staff Bios
Aviva Segall
Music Director and
Principal Conductor
Artistic Staff

Patricia Ritchie
Assistant Conductor
Artistic Staff

For over 20 years, Aviva Segall has held her “dream job” as Music Director and Principal Conductor for the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras.  Ms. Segall works nationally as a guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with a variety of professional orchestras, national conferences, all state and festival ensembles.  A small sample of groups she recently worked with include the Omaha Symphony, ASTA national conference, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Wisconsin middle level All State Orchestra and school districts throughout the country. She served on the Board of Directors for the American Symphony Orchestra League- Youth Orchestra Division, the Nebraska Music Education Association and on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. Ms. Segall served as Conducting Apprentice with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and was concurrently on the conducting staff of the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Ms. Segall studied at Wellesley College, the University of Southern California and Northwestern University as well as training at the Aspen Music Festival. Her Thomas J. Watson Fellowship studied rehearsal techniques in Europe. Ms. Segall's principal conducting mentors include Victor Yampolsky, Daniel Lewis, Murry Sidlin, and James De Priest. 

Patricia Ritchie combines her love for performing and teaching in Omaha, where she has taught Orchestra in the Omaha and Millard Public Schools for nearly 40 years. She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from Ball State University in Muncie, IN and her Master of Music Degree in Cello Performance from the University of Denver-Lamont School of Music. Patricia has served as a guest conductor and clinician, adjudicator, coach, private lessons teacher, OAYO board member, cellist with the Omaha Symphony, and has performed for movie soundtracks. She has served as President of Nebraska Chapter of American String Teachers Association, Chair of Orchestra Affairs for Nebraska Music Educators, and as a conductor for Nebraska Ambassadors of Music European Tours.

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Abigail Lill
Marketing  & Media Manager
Operations Staff

Sophia Potter
Chamber Music Program Director
Executive Director 
Artistic & Operations Staff

A native of Lincoln, NE, Sophia Potter began her cello studies at the age of 10 with Carol Work. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Cello Performance in 2007 from Oberlin College where she studied with Peter Rejto, Hans Jorgen Jensen, and Amir Eldan. In the spring of 2009, Sophia received her Masters of Music in Cello Performance from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where she studied with Gregory Beaver. Sophia resides in Omaha where she directs and performs with the Rangbrook Ensemble, a professional string chamber ensemble. She is the Strings Coach for the Lincoln Youth Symphony and  she serves as the chair of the Artist Selection Committee for the Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music series. Sophia enjoys spending her free time gardening, travelling and hiking with her fiancé, luthier Dirk Henry, and relaxing with their cat. 

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Cassie Fritch
Program and Operations Director Operations Staff

Cassie makes sure  OAYO rehearsals run smoothly! She is an OAYO alumna (flute/piccolo) from Papillion. While she has worked with OAYO for 8 seasons, music was not actually her main career! She attended Creighton University, earning a BS in Biochemistry in 2017 and a MS in Clinical Anatomy in 2018. She started working for OAYO as a Rehearsal Manager in 2015, and has recently taken over as the Programs and Operations Director.

Aside from music and science, she  enjoys sewing, woodworking, and baking.

Oliver "Buddy" Fritch
Assistant Librarian
Operations Staff
No email because he can't read

Oliver is from Papillion, NE and is a sweet boy. He doesn't know how to read music (or read at all), but he thinks he's good at his job! He loves to "help" our Director of Programs sort music.  When he's not "working," he spends his nights hunting ghosts, and his days are kept busy with cuddling with his co-workers, sleeping in sunny spots, and talking to the neighborhood birds.

Abigail is a playwright and editor that hails from a small farm town in Iowa. She has been active in the Omaha performing arts scene for several years, and has also produced her plays all over the country. When she isn't working, Abigail participates in the hockey community, both coaching kids and playing with several different adult leagues as a goalie. She enjoys filling her days with her four children, husband, and many pets. Abigail studied music for thirteen years, primarily in the clarinet family, as well as the bagpipes. She currently resides in North Dakota. 

Julissa Ramirez
Volunteer and Rehearsal Coordinator
Operations Staff

Julissa is a graduate of UNO with a degree in music entrepreneurship, She has played bass for 12 years and percussion for 3. Raised in Grand Island, NE, Julissa came to Omaha in 2016. When not at OAYO, you’ll find her at Family Learning and Childcare. In her free time, she enjoys napping, watching Marvel films and collecting stickers

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Myra Coveney
Rehearsal Manger
Operations Staff

Myra Coveney is completing her bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, studying with Dr. Season Cowley. In her undergrad, Myra has played as principal clarinetist of the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra for all four years of her degree, as well as principal clarinetist of the UNO Symphonic Wind Ensemble for the past three years. Recently Myra has been a member of the lab orchestra fellowship for The Conducting Institute in Ft. Worth, TX as both principal and second clarinetist, as well as the first academy student selected to perform with the Nebraska Crossroads Music Festival.

Miss Punkin 
Assistant Librarian

Operations Staff
No email because she can't read

Miss Punkin is originally from Iowa, but now lives in Bellevue, NE. She loves to "give a hand" while our Director of Programs is writing emails and making schedules. Don't let the stern expression fool you, she'll follow you everywhere at chats constantly!

OAYO Board of Directors

Barbara Soderlin, OAYO President

Brett Werner, OAYO Treasurer

Andrew Almodova, OAYO Secretary

Mily Harrod, OAYO Board Member

Tania Harris, OAYO Board Member

Rebecca Stratton, OAYO Board Member

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