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

Sophia Potter, Executive Director (

Alex Wewel, Program and Operations Manager (

Abigail Lill, Marketing and Media Manager (

John Haverkamp, Development Manager (

Cassie Cosimi, Youth Symphony and Youth Philharmonic Rehearsal Manager (

OAYO Artistic Staff
Aviva Segall, Music Director

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, Assistant Conductor

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.

Sophia Potter
Chamber Music Program Director

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 and Executive Director for OAYO. 

OAYO Board of Directors

Alex Zimmerman, OAYO President

Tom Yaroch, OAYO Development Chair

Brett Werner, OAYO Treasurer

Victoria Graeve-Cunningham, OAYO Board Member

Ken Sigmon, OAYO Board Member

Sacha Kopp, OAYO Board Member

Washington Garcia, OAYO Board Member

Trudy Bredthauer, OAYO Board Member

Andrew Almodova, OAYO Board Member