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.


Charles Tittsworth | Assistant Conductor

A graduate of the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University, Charles Tittsworth has been a musician and music educator for 48 years. In addition to teaching all levels from elementary age to college, Mr. Tittsworth has conducted three community orchestras as well as several church choirs. He has also served as President of Texas Orchestra Directors Association and Orchestra Vice President of Texas Music Educators Association. His orchestras were twice selected All-State Honor Orchestra, and he was awarded Teacher of the Year for Lanier Middle School. This summer he was awarded Orchestra Director of the year by Texas Orchestra Directors Association.

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.



Board of Directors

Ray Patton, Chairman of the Board

Friedhelm Luening, Vice Chair

Brianna Muhlenkamp, Treasurer

Carlos Lopez, Secretary 

Mariyln Arendt

Brian Krueger