Our Staff

Sarah McDonner | Executive Director and Founder

Sarah McDonner is the founder and Managing Director of ECHOrchestra. She is leading ECHO in their business operations and also performs with the orchestra as one of their flute players. Sarah holds a B.A. in Music Performance from Denison University, Granville, OH and in 2010 she graduated with her M.M. in Flute Performance from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. Her flute mentors include Dr. Leslie Maaser, Dr. Wendy Mehne, David Whiteside, and Melissa Suhr. She teaches privately in the Houston area and she is also the co-owner of Yutumi, LLC, an all-natural, sustainable, and alternative product company based in Houston, TX. The company was launched in April of 2013 and you can find Yutumi, LLC products in local Houston stores. 


Michael Fahey | Musical Director/ Conductor

Michael Fahey is ECHO’s Conductor/ Musical Director and we are excited to have him on board. He has been the Director of Orchestras at Stratford since 2006 and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department beginning this year. Under his leadership, the Orchestras have continued a thirty year tradition of musical excellence at UiL, Region and State-wide competition. Under Fahey's direction the 2011 Stratford Playhouse Orchestra was Chosen "Best Orchestra" at that year's Tommy Tune Awards. The Stratford Orchestra has performed in Chicago Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York City and St. John the Divine Church in River Oaks. In 2012 Mr. Fahey was honored at Jones Hall as the Houston Symphony Orchestra's Educator of the Year. He is a professional violinist and has performed with the Theatre Under The Stars Orchestra for fourteen years. He is in demand as a guest clinician and UiL judge at orchestra competitions across the state.


Kyle Mendel | Personnel Manager

ECHO's Personnel Manager,  Kyle Mendel, is also one of ECHO's cello players. Kyle received both an Associates and a Bachelors degree in business administration and currently works at a small estate planning law firm in the Energy Corridor as a legal assistant. Kyle is 31 years old and currently has just a little over 21 years of playing experience. This is currently the third community orchestra he has been a part of, with the two others being Symphony in the Valley (Glenwood, CO) and Heights Symphony (Houston, TX).  Kyle looks forward to serving as Personnel Manager and incorporating his ideas about marketing and social media into our already existing plan.


Charles Tittsworth | Assistant Conductor

Charles Tittsworth is honored to have been selected Associate Conductor of Houston's fine new performing organization and to work along side Conductor Michael Fahey. ECHO. Charles been a professional musician and educator in the Houston area for over forty years. He has conducted and performed in four community orchestras as well as three church choirs.  As a music educator, two of his orchestras were recognized as All-State Honor Orchestras. He was also selected to begin string programs in two Houston area school districts. In 2001 he was selected Teacher of the year at Lanier Middle School and Teacher of the year for Houston ISD Central District. Though retired from the classroom, he is extending his career as a clinician, education consultant, and conductor.


Board of Directors

Ray Patton, Chairman of the Board

Friedhelm Luening, Vice Chair

Brianna Muhlenkamp, Treasurer

Carlos Lopez, Secretary 

Mariyln Arendt

Brian Krueger