Courtney Yeates


Music Educator, conductor, string player, and vocalist, Courtney Yeates began her teaching career in San Antonio, Texas. She has taught and held teaching certificates in Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Her ability on multiple instruments has made her a sought-after performer, studio musician, and Grammy-nominated educator. Classically trained, but inclined towards experimentation, she has performed around the world and accompanied multiple Grammy and Emmy winning musicians in her career. Now in her twenty-third year as an educator, she has taught more than 3,000 students, and has been twice named teacher of the year. Her students and orchestras have won numerous awards, including an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2020. A number of her students have become professional musicians and recording artists. She currently plays Violin with the Prescott Pops Orchestra and Cello with the Verde Valley Sinfonietta.

Sheila Peabody

Experienced Group, Coach/Instructor

Mrs. Peabody graduated from Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. She began her teaching career as the elementary and middle school orchestra teacher in Elgin, IL and Winnetka, IL. She is currently volunteering with the Glassford Hill Middle School orchestra elective, Liberty Traditional and Bradshaw Mountain Middle School After School string program.

This is Mrs. Peabody’s second year with the Prescott Youth Orchestra. She has played cello professionally with the Elgin (IL) Symphony, the South Dakota Symphony and currently the Prescott Pops Symphony. Prior to moving to Chino Valley she coached for the West Valley Youth Orchestra cello section in the Phoenix area.

Her nurturing approach helps students succeed and develop a passion for music.

Paula Stewart

Prelude Group, Coach/Instructor

Music is both a beautiful art and a way to help kids grow up to be capable adults with wonderful hearts and minds. Five years ago, when Paula realized the need for these benefits for Prescott Valley children, she collaborated with the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD) to start a string program for the elementary schools. With a team of dedicated community volunteers, that program now serves six HUSD elementary and middle schools. Paula treasures being a part of this process and giving back to the Prescott Valley community, where she and her husband love living as retirees.
Paula has a BA in Elementary Education with extensive post-graduate training. She has taught string students for almost 30 years, in addition to teaching in a variety of other professional roles and operating two small businesses. Prior to retirement, Ms. Stewart taught students aged 2 through adult in her private violin/viola studio and established a successful preschool through middle school string program at Rochester Montessori School. She also created a series of Positive Practice! Workshops to help teachers, parents and students with motivation, practice, effective teaching/learning and relationship building through music.

Ms. Stewart currently serves on the Prescott Symphony Orchestra Board to support youth programs, and will be team conducting the Prescott Youth Orchestra Prelude group this year.

Janet Poth

Prelude Group, Coach/Instructor

String playing incorporates physical, mental, and emotional skills which are expressed in a variety of styles and ways. Our newest volunteer recently moved to Prescott and found new opportunities to teach these skills on violin and viola. She is now a member of the Prescott “Pops” Symphony and volunteers with the Humbolt Unified School District (HUSD) string programs.

Jan’s education includes a BA in English and Music as well extensive Suzuki and other teacher training. Her 30+ years of teaching experience include both public and private school teaching of beginning to intermediate strings. She has
maintained private studios reaching dozens of violin and viola students of all ages. She has directed small string camps, fiddle groups, and beginning orchestras.

As a long-time member of professional associations {Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA and local) and American String Teachers Association (ASTA and Local) mainly}, Jan has presented national sessions on “Creating the Ambidextrous
String Player” and worked with many talented string teachers. Together they have created great opportunities for young players.

Jan is excited to work with the Prescott Youth Orchestra and looks forward to meeting the players and growing their individual talents.

Meet the rest of the PYO Staff…

(In alphabetical Order)

Bryn Cannon

PYO Volunteer

Bryn Cannon is a performer, composer, and viola and violin teacher in the Prescott area. She studied viola at the Eastman School of Music and at music festivals Brevard, Tanglewood, and The Quartet Program. Bryn also plays and composes for Celtic fiddle, and has performed with several traditional ensembles including Acoustic Cadence and Third Harbour. She received training in violin and viola teaching at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University under pedagogy expert Mimi Zweig. Bryn maintains a thriving violin & viola studio and plays with Prescott Pops and other local ensembles. For more information, please see

Joe Cotten

POPS Educational Outreach Committee Member

Brenda Dahle Chamberlain

PYO Volunteer Coach

Although her career was as a surgical nurse, her music was still a very significant part of her adult life. She continued to teach a few students who were willing to practice. Her students went on to become physicians and heads of University Music Departments.

In addition to practicing nursing and teaching music, she performed in her community symphony orchestras that include the Riverside Symphony, the San Bernadino Symphony Orchestra, the Redland Bowl Summer Symphony and she served as Concert Master for the Redding Symphony Orchestra.

“I look forward to continuing to teach and inspire young people in the music opportunities available through the Prescott Youth Orchestra.”

Elizabeth “Betsy” Denison

PYO Volunteer Coach

Betsy Denison grew up playing piano and singing, spending summers at music camps in the mountains of Southern California.

Betsy’s four children had the opportunity to learn to play violin; she spent 18 years with four sons as they progressed through the Suzuki violin program, through master teachers, through community orchestras, through touring orchestras, and through collegiate playing experiences.

In 2011 she began seriously studying the violin herself. Having played violin in several orchestras in California, Betsy currently plays with the Yavapai College Symphony Orchestra.

Mrs. Denison has volunteered as a violin coach for students in the HUSD strings program since 2018 and two of her adult sons now volunteer their time as coaches with that program. She truly enjoys playing alongside and mentoring young musicians as they continue their musical journeys.

Gayle Jarpe

PYO Volunteer Prelude Group Coach

I started playing the cello when I was 11 years old. Playing in orchestras since then, I have enjoyed making music with the many friends that I found there. Music can help students learn more than playing an instrument; they learn to work together, learn physical and mental techniques, and have a lot of fun. I have been an orchestra coach for the HUSD orchestra program for four years and have been enjoying working with the students both as a group and one on one.

Kevin Kobus

PYO Volunteer Coach

Kevin Kobus has loved playing his violin for close to 60 years. With an educational background in music Kevin, has performed with several orchestras in South California, weddings, parties, and charitable organizations. His genus of music includes classical, inspirational, country, easy listening and of course, holiday music. Kevin will be performing again for Acker Night, at the Artful Eye Jewelry store located on Whiskey Row in Downtown Prescott…Stop by and say hello!

Brenda Benton Olsen

PYO Volunteer Coach

Dreams can come true! But, first you have to have a dream. In the Prescott and Quad-City area, this community has had visionaries put to work their hopes and dreams for music opportunities for musicians for all ages and levels of experience. The pioneering launch of the Prescott Youth Orchestra in 2021 is another stepping stone to build on that dream in our wonderful, musical, unique community.

Brenda wanted to play the clarinet—but there wasn’t one in the closet! When Brenda came home to let her parents know she wanted to play the clarinet—her mother went to the front closet, pulled out a cello and said: “Honey, that’s wonderful . . . but we have THIS!” So Brenda began playing the cello from the closet at age 11. (Her Grandfather had purchased it in 1923 . . . so a family legacy story there.)

“Because of the opportunities I was presented with as a youth, I want to continue to pay that forward in our own music community. I have experienced through the years, that it is not so much talent or intelligence that advances a person—but passion.” Prescott Youth Orchestra presents a wonderful opportunity to empower our young people with the skills and attributes that are unique to music.

Mrs. Olsen serves as Secretary on the Prescott Symphony Orchestra Board, has been a Volunteer Coach at one of the local elementary school orchestra launch programs, plays the cello in the Prescott “POPS” Orchestra, is a member of the Prescott Chamber Society Players, and is a Volunteer Coach in the cello section of the Prescott Youth Orchestra.

Virginia “Ginger” Scudder

PYO Volunteer

Fran Willes

POPS Music Education & Enrichment Director

Fran, a long-time member of the cello section of the Prescott Pops Orchestra, completed BA and MEd degrees in a specialized Business, Communications, and Psychology curriculum at Arizona State University and retired as the manager of staff training, education and organizational development at Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott.

In her role as Music Education & Enrichment Director, she has the responsibilities for development and support of music education and enrichment opportunities for our community young people. Those important duties include oversight of the Prescott Youth Orchestra and running the Annual “POPS Music Memory” concerts that perform for over 2,000 students from the Quad-City area.