Jessica Blanchard, DirectorJessica Blanchard is the 7th and 8th grade orchestra director at Central and West Middle Schools. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and has been involved in music her entire life. She received her bachelor’s in music education in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is currently pursuing her masters degree. She began her teaching career in Muscatine in 2008 and currently teaches orchestra at West and Central Middle Schools.

Jessica continues to run her own private lesson studio in Muscatine, currently teaching 15 musicians age 7 and up.  She also plays cello with the Muscatine Symphony. When Jessica isn’t teaching or playing music, she usually can be found hanging out with her dog Scout, or traveling to places near and far!

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Rachel Plummer is the 5th and 6th grade orchestra director for Muscatine Community Rachel FaceSchools. This is her first job teaching orchestra; she taught 5-12 band and K-8 music for three years prior to this in North Central and Northwest Iowa. She is excited to be back in Eastern Iowa, as she grew up in rural Dubuque county and her parents still farm there. She studied String Bass with George Work and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Iowa State University. Rachel was nominated for the KIMT Golden Apple Award in November of 2014, and she hopes to make the same kind of lasting impression on our students here in Muscatine! When she’s not at school, Rachel enjoys playing piano, trying new recipes, and spending time with her husband, Lee and chihuahuas, Lucky and Roscoe.

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Jonathan Thoma is the director of orchestras at Muscatine High School. He began working in Muscatine in 2012, and has worked in all levels of the MCSD Orchestra program.

Jonathan Thoma, DirectorBorn and raised in Fort Dodge, IA, Jonathan began playing string bass at age 10. He was also a tuba player in the Fort Dodge bands, and participated in the vocal music program

After high school, Jonathan went to Iowa State University, where he earned his degree in instrumental music education. While at Iowa State, he stayed active as a performer. He was a bassist in the Iowa State Symphony Orchestra for 4 1/2 years, 3 1/2 of those years as principal bassist. He also was involved in the Jazz program, performing with the ISU Big Bands and ISU Jazz Combos along with periodic performances with the ISU Choirs, ISU Bands and ISU musical theater productions. Jonathan studied classical bass performance with Prof. George Work and orchestral conducting with Dr. Jacob Harrison.

Since coming to Muscatine, the MHS orchestra program has grown by nearly three times in his first 3 years. He also runs a private string bass studio, comprised of 10 string bass players. He also runs the Muscatine Bass Octet (best bass octet in Muscatine County), and is a bassist with the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra.

Jonathan moved to Muscatine in July, 2012 with his wife Misha. They welcomed their daughter Gemma, to their family in September of 2017.

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