Academy Orchestra Director
SCSYO Executive Director
Rebecca Simons is a freelance violinist and private violin instructor local to Melbourne, FL. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Instrumental music from Florida State University, where she studied violin with Eliot Chapo and string pedagogy under Dr. Michael Allen. While attending FSU, she was a performing member of the graduate-level University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dr. Alex Jimenez.
Following her graduation from Florida State, Rebecca began her teaching career at Largo Middle School in Largo, FL. While teaching in Pinellas, she served as the String Orchestra Chairperson for the Pinellas County Music Educators Association and as the All County Orchestra coordinator. After five years in Pinellas County, Rebecca relocated to Brevard County where she accepted a position as the Director of Orchestras at Heritage High School. In her three years at Heritage, the Orchestra program doubled in size. In addition to her work in public schools, Rebecca has also conducted honors orchestras around the state of Florida.
Rebecca performs professionally as a member of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Other orchestras she has played with include the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, the North Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic, and the Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra.
A Brevard county native, Rebecca teaches a flourishing studio of violin and viola students. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, CJ Simons, Director of Instrumental Music at Satellite High School, and their two sons, Graham (3) and Logan (8 months).
Symphony Orchestra Conductor
Samantha Felber is a violinist from Brevard County. She graduated from Titusville High School and then attended the University of North Florida where she received her Bachelors of Music Education Degree. While at UNF, Ms. Felber studied violin under Dr. Simon Shiao and Melissa Barrett. She performed in masterclasses for the Tokyo String Quartet, Project Trio, Time for Three, and Brooklyn Rider.
Ms. Felber is currently the Orchestra director at Heritage High School. During her time at Heritage, the performing ensembles have increased from three to five and have begun attending state music performance assessments. Ms. Felber teaches violin privately and still performs regularly. She has performed with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, alongside the Canadian Brass, for the Cocoa Village Playhouse, and at numerous venues in the county. Ms. Felber is an active member of NAfME and FOA.
Mark P Nelson, Artistic Director
Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor
Maestro Nelson has been a conductor, clinician, and educator for 37 years. He received his undergraduate degree from New Jersey City University and his Master's degree in interpretive conducting from Trenton State. While at Trenton, he served as a guest clinician and conductor throughout the New York Metropolitan area, including performances at Carnegie Hall, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and the 5TH Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan along with appearances on classical radio station WQXR in New York City. He is recognized internationally through his conducting of orchestra ensembles at the renowned Midwest Clinic, the National Association for Music Educators national conference, National Band Association conferences and the American School Band Directors Association national conferences. He has conducted ensembles across the nation from California to the east coast. He has been honored by the Florida Bandmasters Association with the “Oliver Hobbs Award” for outstanding contributions to bands in the State of Florida. Most recently he was honored by being selected, by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation, as a Legion Laureate and was inducted by them into the Foundation at the 2013 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Mark is sought after as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and has conducted numerous All State ensembles. He maintains memberships in FOA, FBA, NAFME, NBA, CBDNA, ASBDA and the Conductor’s Guild. He is currently writing his doctoral dissertation through Boston University.