Mrs. Johanna Kitchell is thrilled to continue with the Indianapolis Youth Orchestra as the Concert Orchestra conductor. She is in her 13th year as Orchestra Director at Riverside Junior High and Riverside Intermediate in Fishers, Indiana. The Riverside Orchestra program encompasses approximately 290 students in grades 6-8, and is highly successful, receiving several awards and consistently high scores at festivals and competitions. The Riverside orchestras have earned nearly all gold ratings at ISSMA Organizational Contest, including six “With Distinction” accolades. The RJH Philharmonic Orchestra has twice been an Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA) demonstration ensemble, in 2011 and 2015. In May 2020, the RJH Philharmonic Orchestra was accepted to the 2021 ASTA National Orchestra Festival, and will perform in Louisville in March.
Mrs. Kitchell is the 2018 Indiana ASTA Middle School Music Educator of the Year, and the 2014 recipient of the IMEA Outstanding Middle School Music Educator award. She also currently serves as Past-President of the Indiana chapter of the American String Teachers Association; previously, she has served as the INASTA President, Treasurer, and All-Region Honor Orchestra Coordinator.
Mrs. Kitchell has guest lectured at Butler University, Ball State University, and Indiana University. She has served as a panel expert at the ASTA national conference, and has been a conference presenter & clinician for IMEA, traveling the state to work with other school ensembles. She is a D’addario Educational Consultant, helping to develop and appearing in filmed beginning string tutorials for orchestra educators. Mrs. Kitchell served as the 2018 guest conductor for the Kentucky MEA Middle School District 7 Festival Orchestra. Currently, she also serves on the board of the Indiana Arts Education Network, an advocacy group promoting arts education in all schools across Indiana, as well as the board of the Indianapolis Suzuki Academy, as an education and community liaison.
Mrs. Kitchell holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Butler University, graduating magna cum laude, with highest honors. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Music in Music Education from Butler. Mrs. Kitchell is very involved in the Indianapolis music community as a private string teacher, professional gig musician, and frequent concert-goer. She was named the 2014 recipient of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Pitz Leadership Award, which recognizes community contributions to the orchestra. When not in school, Mrs. Kitchell enjoys listening to live music, running, and spending time with her husband and dog.