Melissa (née Tatreau) Holtmeier earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Masters in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-–Milwaukee. She studied pedagogy with Darcy Drexler through the Wisconsin String Academy. She has studied violin with Dr. Paul Todd, Dr. Laura Kobayashi, Anne Nagosky, and Dr. Myron Kartman. Melissa has registered training in Suzuki books 1-4 with Susan Kempter and has attended Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camps in San Diego and New York City. She was in the very first teacher certification class of the Mark O’Connor Violin Method, books 1 and 2 in NYC, 2009.
Since 2005, Holtmeier has been a full-time Artist-Faculty member at Omaha Conservatory of Music (OCM) and currently serves as the String Department Chair. Holtmeier has her 200 RYT in yoga, and in addition to teaching at the OCM Summer Institute, has presented “Yoga for Musicians” at the American String Teachers’ Association (ASTA) national conventions in Louisville (2014), Tampa (2016), and Atlanta (2018). Holtmeier is the music specialist at Phoenix Academy in Omaha and is a coach for the Omaha Area Youth Orchestras. In 2019, she was awarded Outstanding Private Teacher of the Year by NE-ASTA and currently serves as state president (2020-2022.)
As a member of the Omaha Musicians’ Union, Holtmeier has performed on both violin and viola with Mary J. Blige, Bobby Vinton, Frank Sinatra Jr., Rod Stewart, Josh Groban, Pam Tillis, The Lettermen, Michael W. Smith, Johnny Mathis, Michael Buble, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jane Lynch, Idina Menzel, The Eagles and Mannheim Steamroller. She’s on Mannheim’s PBS special: 30/40 LIVE! and plays in several cities on their annual tour. She is a founding member, 1st violinist and manager of the Mahr String Quartet for which she contracts about 60 events each year. In her years of experience playing with the Omaha and Lincoln Symphonies, Holtmeier has had the opportunity to play both great works and accompany violinists Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Philippe Quint, Sarah Chang, and Midori. She has also toured China and the U.S. with the Mantovani Orchestra. She performed the Salute to Vienna New Year’s 2010 concert tour in Southern Florida and has been seen in the Orpheum and Lied Center pits as a local with the Broadway shows Little House on the Prairie, Westside Story, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon (3x), Kinky Boots, Newsies, Cinderella, Phantom of the Opera (3x), Something Rotten, The Sound of Music, The Little Mermaid and The King and I.
In her free time, Melissa likes to hang out with her photographer husband, Chris Holtmeier (she runs the business end of things), their daughter, Ella (obsessed with horses), and their Siberian cat, Sergei.
Erin Birkestrand Aguirre
Erin Birkestrand Aguirre began playing the violin at age three through a Suzuki program near her hometown of Luverne, Minnesota. She earned a bachelor of arts in music education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Erin is currently the Director of Orchestras at Millard Central Middle School, as well as three elementary schools. She has taught violin at the Omaha Conservatory of Music and served as district orchestra director in the Great Bend (Kansas) school district.
Erin performs with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra and the Mahr String Quartet. She has played in symphony orchestras in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. As a freelance violinist, she has performed with Mannheim Steamroller, Josh Groban, Mary J. Blige, Johnny Mathis, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Erin also performs regularly with her church’s praise band. She lives in Omaha with her husband and two daughters.
Debbie has served as Orchestra Director for Millard North High School and Millard North Middle School since 2001. Her students have performed in Omaha, Lincoln, Chicago, and New York City. She has also worked as an elementary string specialist for the Omaha and Westside Public School Districts.
Mrs. Martinez holds degrees in Music Education and String Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Florida State University. She is currently on the board of the Nebraska chapter of the American String Teachers Association. In 2005, she was honored with the “Outstanding School Music Educator” award from the Nebraska ASTA chapter.
A product of public schools, Martinez has played the viola since fourth grade, and currently performs with the MAHR string quartet. She has also appeared with the Omaha, Lincoln, and Sioux City Symphony Orchestras, and has performed with orchestras in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
Rachael Means is a member of the Des Moines Symphony and substitutes with the Omaha and Lincoln symphonies. She holds a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she graduated with honors. She is a founding member of the Mahr String Quartet, which she enjoys arranging music for. Ms. Means was on faculty at Grace University and New Bright Future in Omaha, NE for several years, and currently runs a successful private cello studio from her home. She has soloed with the Heartland Philharmonic, has collaborated on several CDs for the Christian Worldwide Worship organization, and has performed in concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou with the Mantovani Orchestra. She recently took part in performing and teaching at McMillan Magnet Middle School and Bryan Middle School in Omaha as part of a grant through the Omaha Chamber Music Society. Rachael resides in Omaha with her husband and two sons.