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About The Directors

Shannon Houston
Artistic Director
Orchestra Director

Shannon Houston grew up in the Bay Area suburb of Antioch where he began playing violin at the age of 8. With the encouragement of his teachers throughout high school, he decided to pursue a degree in music. He attended Sacramento State where he earned his Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, followed by his teaching credential. He is now a proud music teacher with Berkeley Unified School District where he teaches beginning strings, and directs the Longfellow Middle School Orchestra. Shannon likes to combine his performance and teaching abilities into his everyday life to create a lively atmosphere around him where he is able to spread his joy of music. He brings experience from performing with the Sacramento Philharmonic, Sacramento Baroque Soloists, Oakland Civic Orchestra, and many other ensembles to the forefront of the classroom to help inspire young musicians.

Upon moving back to the Bay Area, Shannon found in addition to teaching music in the schools that he wanted to lead a youth symphony. What he found lacking were opportunities for underprivileged students and students of color within the community outside of schools. With much support from parents and teachers in the community, and eagerness from students at the idea of creating a group for them, he formed the New Apollo Youth Symphony Orchestra. He now directs both orchestras within the organization, bringing more musical opportunities to local students both in and outside of Berkeley.


Shannon now lives in the heart of Berkeley, where you can often find him exploring the city’s many offerings of food. He continues to find ways to build music into the lives of children both in and out of the classroom, and hopes to expand the New Apollo into a large organization to help young musicians throughout the entire Bay Area.

Jonah Andreatta
Wind Ensemble Director

Jonah Andreatta is a bassoonist and music educator based in Berkeley, CA. He began his music career in elementary and middle school band in Lexington, KY, where his fantastic teachers helped to nurture his love of music. Jonah graduated with high distinction from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, earning degrees in bassoon performance and music education, with minors in Spanish and wind conducting. At IU, Jonah performed in numerous bands, orchestras, and chamber ensembles, including a 2016 performance at Carnegie Hall with the IU Wind Ensemble.


Jonah began his teaching career at Western High School in Russiaville, Indiana. Under his direction, he added an advanced level concert band, middle and high school jazz ensembles, and developed and launched an AP Music Theory Class. He also led the marching band to state championships in both 2019 and 2021. In 2020, Jonah was named Teacher of the Year in the “Best of Kokomo” awards.


Jonah currently teaches middle school band, jazz band, and elementary instrumental music for Berkeley Unified School District, and also maintains a small bassoon studio and performs in local chamber ensembles. As a teacher, he is passionate about elevating minority voices and creating innovative student experiences in band classes. His article, “Bellow Forth: Allyship and the Stories We Tell as Music Educators,” was published in the Indiana Music Educators’ journal in the fall of 2020. Jonah is an advocate for new music, music from diverse composers, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and student musical leadership.

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