M. Janice Mitchell, President
Linda Moyer, Treasurer
Susan Rankin, Secretary
Alicia Hallock Meryweather, born and raised outside of New York City, relocated to Knoxville immediately upon receiving a BSN from the University of Kentucky. She works at UT Medical Center as a peri-operative nurse. She grew up playing the guitar and singing in a church choir, but transitioned to the cello as an adult, only 14 years ago. Although this was quite a challenge, she loves learning and taking lessons from Mathew Wilkinson. She always wanted to play in an orchestra and started 8 years ago in the Maryville College Orchestra. Then, Alicia became one of the four founding members of Scruffy City Orchestra.
When not working in surgery, or practicing cello, Alicia enjoys coordinating and teaching in a Bible home fellowship, working with teens at The Boys and Girls Club, playing tennis, running and biking. “I love Scruffy City Orchestra because we are a thriving community of musicians and more importantly, friends. We support each other and work well as a team, under the direction of our conductor Ace Edewards. Being with this group of musicians… is for me…a dream come true.”
Ahsia Spencer, a native of Virginia, moved to Knoxville in 2013 and has been a member of the Scruffy City Orchestra since its origination. Upon graduating high school, he went on to play in the Army band. Currently, he serves as clarinet section leader and drum major for the 29th Army Band, Army National Guard, in Virginia. Ahsia’s educational background includes the Army School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia where he studied bassoon, Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virgnia for Music Education (clarinet) and Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee where he received his masters in Educational Leadership.
Along with serving on the Board of Directors as the librarian for the Scruffy City Orchestra, he is an elementary music teacher and assistant band director with Knox County Schools. When Ahsia is not with the orchestra or at work, he is a Zumba instructor along with being a program-builder and choreographer for colorguards in marching band and drum corps spreading from Virginia to Alabama.
Melissa McCoy was fortunate to learn to read music and play the clarinet in eighth grade and from there obsessively tackled bass clarinet, piano, guitar, harp, saxophone, oboe and bassoon with varying degrees of success. Despite an early career as an anthropologist, then later in the publishing world, she never lost sight of music, playing in small groups, community bands and orchestras as much as possible over the years. Currently, Melissa plays bass clarinet in Scruffy City Orchestra, usually on the second bassoon part, but is hoping to be able to actually play her bassoon in public without terrifying people someday! As the publicist for Scruffy City Orchestra, Melissa is responsible for “getting the word out” to the media about SCO concerts and events. In addition, she is chairman of SCO’s annual Concerto Competition and manages the auditions for the 2-day competition that takes place every spring. Melissa is also co-founder and secretary of the Tennessee Valley Ensemble, a 25-year-old community band with a focus on bringing music to people who can’t get out to hear it, playing about a dozen concerts every year in facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals. She also performs with other area musical groups. Since 2004, Melissa has been the Marketing Director for Nisus Corporation, a green pesticide and wood preservation manufacturer in Rockford, Tennessee.
Ace Edewards was born in California but raised in France. His music studies have brought him to Le Centre d’Études Supèrieures de Musique et Dance in Toulouse, France; the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, in Glasgow, Scotland; and the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. In December of 2015, Ace received his doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona.
As a conductor, Ace has led critically acclaimed performances with Opera Grand Rapids, Victory Hall Opera, Marble City Opera, and Opera in the Ozarks; symphony concerts with the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra and Summerville Orchestra; and led a premiere at the International Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado in Àlamos, Mexico. During the Winter Festival of 2018, Ace was a cover conductor for Sarasota Opera.
In Knoxville, Ace was the producer and host of the “Afternoon Concert” on public radio station 91.9 FM WUOT. This wonderful experience surprisingly led him to his third career venture as a Trade Control Analyst in the oil and gas industry.