Melody Garza is an arts administrator, bassoonist, and former beginning band instructor. She joined the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras in 2017 as Executive Director, having previously worked in development with the California Symphony and Spokane Symphony. Passionate about both the transformative power of live music and empowering young people to pursue excellence, she is dedicated to growing the organization’s capacity to bring people together through musical experiences and help build a brighter future, as students mature and go on to impact their world for good.
Creativity, strategic partnerships, and elements of fun have long been prevalent in Melody’s fundraising. Highlights of her career thus far include a goal-exceeding fundraiser event collaborating with a cirque troupe to perform right in front of dinner guests while the California Symphony performed, complete with a juggler at the auction table; and a $50,000 campaign for Spokane Symphony to pay off the mortgage on their beautifully restored historic 1931 Art Deco theater, complete with an onstage mortgage burning and confetti canons. Melody holds a Masters of Arts in Music from Eastern Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts from Whitworth University in Music Education and Bassoon Performance. Prior to her work in arts fundraising, she taught beginning band and kindergarten general music for the Cheney School District (WA). She studied bassoon with Lynne Feller-Marshall, principal bassoonist of the Spokane Symphony. As a proponent of leadership training through marching band, Melody also has her First Class certification from the Smith Walbridge clinics and served as an adjudicator at the Harvest Marching Band Festival for several years.
Melody lives in OKC with her husband Cris Garza, clarinetist and contact lens fitter, and their “furry children,” a shiba inu puppy and orange tabby cat. Melody and Cris tied the knot in May of 2017 in the very same Fox Theater in Spokane Washington where Melody worked and Cris performed with various ensembles, including conducting the Spokane Youth Orchestra.