About SMART


The San Marcos Artists’ Retention and Training Orchestra (SMART) is dedicated to the enhanced appreciation and understanding of orchestral music in San Marcos and its surrounding communities. This is accomplished by providing an opportunity for developing musicians to perform and learn in a full symphony orchestra as well as through a free, community concert series, various educational outreach opportunities, as well as instructor and internship programs. The orchestra was built upon the idea that we need to retain the talent we have and we need to train them to become better musicians, and that’s exactly what it’s done over the past 8 years.

The SMART Orchestra is designed to be an outlet for every individual interested in the study and performance of orchestral music and we encourage participants to contribute their time, talent, and skill to better serve the orchestra’s mission. Whether you are a member of our audience, performing in the SMART viola section or serving on the SMART Board, your enthusiasm and curiosity are welcome in an environment of acceptance and growth.


Executive Directors


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Christopher T. F. Hanson

Artistic Director

Conductor, violinist, composer, pedagogue, and musicologist, Hanson enjoys working with a large and eclectic group of ensembles in the state of Texas and abroad. Hanson holds three Masters Degrees from Texas State University in Music History, Music Theory, and Music Composition. He is currently working on his PhD in School Improvement at Texas State University, with a focus on teacher and student agency; as well as, a Masters in Applied Philosophy and Ethics, with a focus on the transformative powers of fine arts education . As a violinist and composer Hanson has premiered several works in multiple genres and serves as the chief arranger and first violinist of the Sacred Ensemble with Dr. Shana Mashego. Hanson works as the Orchestra Director for San Marcos High School in San Marcos CISD. He is the founder and artistic director of the SMART Orchestra, a community-based orchestra created to encourage string education, established in the city of San Marcos in 2009. Hanson currently resides in Kyle, Texas with his wife Erin, and his two children Emily and Graham.

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Charmaine Flake

Executive Director

Charmaine Flake started playing piano at age 5, and spent most of her childhood in Wichita Falls, TX, where she studied piano under the tutelage of Dr. Ruth Morrow. Charmaine continued taking from Dr. Morrow while an undergraduate at Midwestern State University and also studied voice from Dr. James Schuppener for 2 years. At the age of 20, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Music in Keyboard Performance. While in Wichita Falls, Charmaine was actively involved in the community. She was a pianist and solo vocalist at Liberty Baptist Church for 7 years, performed in different musicals such as Oklahoma! and Two from Galilee with the Wichita Theatre, was the music leader for Vacation Bible School at Emmanuel Baptist Church for 2 years, and participated in music services at local rest homes. She started teaching piano at age 16, and maintained her students, as well as taught at the First Baptist Church Academy of Fine Arts, until she and her husband moved to the Austin area in 2010. Since then, Charmaine has been accompanying and coaching vocal students at Texas State University and the surrounding areas. She became a piano and voice instructor at Lone Star School of Music in Austin in 2012 and taught there for over 2 years until moving to Curious Chords Music Studio in Kyle in 2015 to be closer to home. Along with teaching, Charmaine has had the opportunity to be rehearsal pianist and music director at local theatres, including Austin Playhouse and ZACH Theatre. She was also an active member and pianist for the Austin-based organization One Ounce Opera from 2013-2017. Two kids later, Charmaine now stays at home with her boys, Lochland and Josiah. She currently teaches piano from her home, plays for the Lehman High School choirs and band students, and continues to take on side gigs as a freelance musician.


Board of Directors


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Jeremy Sustaita

President

Jeremy Sustaita joined SMART in 2017 midseason as a clarinet player and currently serves as President on the Board of Directors. He has been playing the clarinet for over 25 years, 16 of which have been professionally. He teaches privately in the San Marcos area. He also plays soprano/alto/tenor saxophone and is currently learning flute. He was born and raised in San Marcos, Texas and studied music education at SWT where he studied under Dr. David Pino and performed with the Bobcat Marching Band, Basketball band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. He was a drum major at SMHS in 1999, and a winner of the Arion Award and Outstanding Bandsman Award. In High School he studied under Gordon Sabin.

Aside from playing over 6 seasons with the Starlight Symphony, 4 seasons with the Hill country Community Band, and even substituting for the Austin Civic Orchestra, Jeremy also composes/arranges woodwind trios, quartets and quintets in his spare time. Jeremy utilizes his composition skills to tailor his clarinet/music education to each individual student’s needs and challenge them further. He is excited to be in his current position with SMART and has so much faith in our Community Orchestra and what it can do!

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Erin E. Hanson

Vice President of Membership

Erin E. Hanson is a classically trained mezzo-soprano who regularly performs recitals and appears with companies such as the National Music Festival and Austin Opera. She brings years of non-profit administrative experience and true passion for the arts to SMART Orchestra. Hanson received her Master of Music degree from Texas State University, where she studied Voice Performance and performed principal roles with Texas State Opera. Hanson is a staunch advocate of arts education and community arts initiatives, working collaboratively with multiple arts organizations in San Marcos and the Texas Hill Country.

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Stephanie Symmes

Vice President of Community Relations

Bio Coming Soon!

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Jessica Oswalt Shelnutt

Secretary

Jessica Oswalt Shelnutt is a recovering Navy brat. As a consolation prize for a cross country move the summer before high school, her excellent Parental Units gave in to years of begging & let her switch from clarinet to flute. Enthusiastic practice in her plentiful spare time as the New Kid paid off, & she was first chair flute & piccolo by the time she moved to Texas for junior year. Jess’s incomparable cousin invited her to join SMART in 2014 – she had her at “Procession of the Nobles.” Jess has played flute, piccolo (her fave), & “faux-boe” (flute, playing the oboe’s part) with SMART since their Sixth Season. Jess lives in San Antonio, TX, with her exceptional husband, Drew, & their two mostly-good cats, Artoo & Q. She is astonished that her M.A. in Creative Writing has found practical application in her work managing a team of proofreaders for a law firm. On summer weekends, she takes her Texas Master Naturalist training to the trail, leading hikes at a Hill Country resort. When she was an Easter/Christmas Catholic kid, she used to go home & plunk out “church jams” on her electronic keyboard; these days, she is blessed to play flute & cantor (not at the same time!) for Sunday mass at St. Helena Catholic Church. Young Jess would not have believed you if you told her she’d sing in public on a semi-regular basis. She runs on black coffee & all-the-80s-hits-she-can-get on Pandora Premium. Jess is an accomplished thrift shopper, Monster Jam enthusiast, & does NY Times crossword puzzles in pen (but not the Sunday one). For over a decade, she obsessed over getting an oboe the way some kids dream of getting a pony. Now she wants lessons.

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Julian Jones

Treasurer

Bio Coming Soon!

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Mike Greene

Member-at-Large

Mike Greene is from Chicago, and played trombone through high school and college, primarily in jazz big bands. After graduating from the Univerity of Notre Dame with a degree in Latin-American Literature, he moved to Austin and played elecric bass in rock bands and country-western bands. Apart from music, Mike is a proud member of the Fourth Estate, with nearly 30 years experience in newspaper production. This is his second season playing upright bass in the SMART Orchestra.

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Roxanna Moore

Member-at-Large

Bio Coming Soon!