Meet our Orchestra

Our passionate musicians and faculty contribute their time and talent on a volunteer basis. We are extremely grateful for their continued commitment to our orchestra and community.

The Saltwater Chamber Orchestra, 2023


Susan Howren
Judithn Niles
Jennifer Batson
Pam Dunn
Susan Elliot
Becky Glasser
Jeanne Herst
Carol Irizarry
Joan Jackson


Stuart Gillespie
Carolyn Brittan
Louise Dole
Al Pittman
Sharon Vecsey-Minor
Peggy Wade
Fred Wenthen
Dee Withers-Julian


Julie O'Connell
Albert Evans
Monique Perkins


Dixon Withers-Julian
Rob Edmunds
Therese Hefferman
Laura Leedahl
Gail MeCann
Jacob Prince
Dirk Tysinger


Paul Manton
Gabe Hernandez-Lopez


Kathleen Gambrell



Susan draws from her many years of teaching, performing, and conducting various genres of music including sacred, chamber, classical and Broadway to share with the orchestra and the community. A graduate of Appalachian State University with a BM, she is a professional violinist having performed with numerous orchestras in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Returning to Charlotte, NC, where she grew up, she taught orchestra in the public schools. Upon moving to Gastonia, NC she developed a successful Suzuki Violin program. She was a founding member and conductor of the Gaston String Orchestra and a Youth String Ensemble. Having worked with the Gaston Symphonic Band also provided opportunities to conduct full Orchestral Symphonic works. As a vocalist, Susan has performed with and conducted church choirs as well as being a soloist with the All City Choir in N. Myrtle Beach and many other groups.

Her goal with the Saltwater String Orchestra is to enrich the lives of the musicians and audiences of all ages through timeless music from a diverse repertoire of composers.


Principal Violin

Judith Niles earned her Bachelor's Degree from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Potsdam. She furthered her studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, as well as at Ithaca College in New York and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

Throughout her career, Niles has been an influential figure in the music education landscape. She served as the Orchestra Director at Springfield Schools in Battle Creek, Michigan. Upon her return to New York, she took on the role of Director of Music and Orchestra Director at Bainbridge-Guilford Schools. Her orchestras have been recognized for their excellence, giving performances and clinics at venues such as Ithaca College, SUNY Potsdam, the NYSSMA Conference, and the Empire State Plaza in Albany. As a testament to her expertise, Ms. Niles has been invited as a guest conductor for several All-County and All-City Orchestras and holds the distinction of being a Nationally Registered Music Educator.

In addition to her contributions to music education, Ms. Niles has showcased her talents as a violinist. She has performed professionally with ensembles including the Battle Creek Symphony, Catskill Symphony, BCPops, LongBay Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, and the Jericho String Quartet.

In 2016, Judith and her family chose to settle in Market Common, Myrtle Beach, having been enchanted by the area during their frequent visits. A year later, in 2017, she played a pivotal role in the establishment of the SaltWater Chamber Orchestra through the CCU Ollie Program as a non-profit 501c organization. Ms. Niles led as the founding director until February 2022. Today, she continues as a violinist and conductor.