Welcome to Eastern Youth Orchestras


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Tim Nowak is an Assistant Professor of String Music Education at East Carolina University, where he teaches string methods, large ensemble methods, and supervises student teachers. Previously, he was the Director of Orchestras at Victor Junior and Senior High Schools in Victor, NY, where he directed the high school orchestras, taught cello and bass lessons, and advised the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

Dr. Nowak's research interests include sociology in music education, music teacher education, string/orchestra pedagogy, and the history of string/orchestra education in the United States. His current work focuses on manifestations of economic paradigms in music teaching and learning settings. Dr. Nowak has presented research at a wide range of professional conferences across the United States including the Mountain Lake Colloquium, the NAfME Historical Research Conference, the ASTA National Conference, and the Society for Music Teacher Education Conference.

Dr. Nowak has worked as a clinician and adjudicator at a wide variety of solo and ensemble festivals across the United States. He also performs as a cellist with groups ranging from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, to the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, to the Alethia String Quartet. Dr. Nowak earned a Bachelor of Music (Magna Cum Laude) from Ithaca College, a Master of Arts from the Eastman School of Music, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Arizona State University.


Betsy Hughes began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of three in Greenville, North Carolina with Nancy Kostek and later with Katherine Jenkins. While a student at East Carolina University, she studied with Fritz Gearhart, Ara Gregorian, and Joanne Bath. She received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from ECU in 2001 and her Master of Music in Violin Performance with a concentration in Suzuki Violin Pedagogy in 2002. Mrs. Hughes has registered long term teacher training with the Suzuki Association of the Americas for volumes 1A-10. Her public school teaching career began as the general music teacher in 2001 at Falkland Elementary School in Falkland, NC. Upon moving to the Triangle in 2002, she began working with the Wake County Public Schools as an orchestra director, serving Wakefield Middle and Wakefield High where her orchestras and chamber music ensembles received Superior ratings at the NC Music Educators Eastern Regional Orchestra Festival and the NC Eastern Regional Solo and Ensemble Festival for many years. Many of her students at the junior high and high school level were accepted to the NC Eastern Regional All State Orchestra as well as the Honors Orchestra.

Mrs. Hughes joined the Durham Public Schools strings faculty in 2007 and was part of the DPS family until moving back to Pitt County in June 2016. She was the founding artistic director of the Morehead Montessori Suzuki Program and the Lakewood Montessori Middle School Orchestra. Her groups frequently collaborated with Triangle area professional music ensembles such as The Beast and Kickin' Grass.

Mrs. Hughes has served on the faculty of the NC Suzuki Institute since 2002. She is also on the faculty for the Virginia Suzuki Institute and the Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute. She has been a summer clinician for the Community School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC, and a guest clinician for the Suzuki School of the Arts in Hickory (NC), a clinician for the Chapel Hill Cooperative Suzuki Project Fall Workshop, and the orchestra director for SCOrE (Summer Choral and Orchestra Extravaganza) at UNC. She has made guest conducting appearances with the Onslow County (NC) 7th and 8th grade Honors Orchestra as well as the Chesapeake, VA District Junior High Orchestra.

Currently, Mrs. Hughes is the orchestra director at JH Rose HS and CM Eppes Middle School in Greenville. She has eighteen years of classroom experience. She enjoys volunteering with the Junior League of Greenville, NC and serving on the Farmville Community Arts Council Board of Directors as president. She resides in Farmville with her husband, Robert, and their two children, Murray (age 13) and Hazel Kate (age 10).


Laura Eis earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Susquehanna University in 2001. She received a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy and a Certificate of Advanced Performance Studies in viola from East Carolina University in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Currently Ms. Eis is a member of the Fayetteville Symphony, the Wilson Symphony, and concertmaster of the Pitt Community College Orchestra. She has been the assistant director for the North Carolina Suzuki Institute since 2007 and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and treasurer of the North Carolina and Eastern North Carolina Suzuki Associations. Ms. Eis maintains a private violin and viola studio in Greenville, NC, and is an adjunct faculty member at Fayetteville State University, Methodist University, and Pitt Community College.

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