Peter Shannon

Music Director and Conductor

Since his arrival in the U.S. in 2007, Peter Shannon and the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus have prompted the media to describe their performances as “sublime,” “intense,” and “stellar”.

After Shannon took over the reins in Savannah, critics wrote: “he’s like a touch of Irish Spring after the long winter of our discontent.”

One critic described the Irish conductor as a “juggernaut on stage,” and compared a Philharmonic performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to that of being at a rock concert. “I hope Peter Shannon forgives the tortured analogy to AC/DC,” he wrote, “—it’s intended as a compliment.”

Following in the tradition of Bach at the Collegium Musicum at Leipzig University, Germany, Shannon spent the previous decade conducting the Collegium Musicum Orchestra in Heidelberg. Peter was twenty-six when he accepted the position at the oldest and most prominent university in the country.

Born in 1969, Peter Shannon began his musical education as a choirboy in Cork Cathedral, Ireland. As a Bachelor of Music student at University College Dublin and whilst singing baritone in the RTÉ National Chamber Choir, he began studying conducting under the Irish conductor, Colman Pearce.

In Germany, he studied in Weimar at the Franz Liszt Hochschule fuer Musik, founded by the great pianist and composer Liszt himself. He later studied at the Karlsruhe Hochschule fuer Musik, one of only a handful of German universities (including Heidelberg) which hold the official title of “elite” university. He graduated with the highest possible grade which can be awarded by the German State.

As a member of the “Dirigenten Forum,” part of the German Arts Council whose function it is to sponsor an “especially talented” group for up-and-coming conductors, Shannon guest conducted orchestras such as the Göttingen Philharmoniker, Baden-Baden Philharmonie, Thüringen Philharmonie, Jena Philharmonie, Halle Philharmonisches Orchester, Rheinische
Philharmonie, and others.

Outside Germany, Peter Shannon has appeared as guest conductor with the Warsaw Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Pecs Symphony Orchestra in Hungary.

In 1998, he made his debut with the Irish Radio Concert Orchestra, and in the following year with the Irish National Symphony. He has been invited back to work with both orchestras.

In the summers of 2009–2011, he returned to Germany, Hungary and Holland as Artistic Director & Conductor of “Voices of Europe”, a week-long festival of concerts performed by choirs of ethnic minorities from all over Europe.

He has been a guest conductor at music festivals in Norway, Italy, Germany and Denmark. In December 2011, Mr. Shannon served as a judge at the Shreveport Symphony Wideman Piano Competition. In April 2012, he guest conducted at the State Opera House in Halle, Germany— birthplace of Georg Friedrich Händel. He has since been invited back to conduct in January, 2013.

Mr. Shannon has been officially recognized by the American Federation of Musicians and the United States Government as an individual of extraordinary ability.

Cheri E. Friedman

Executive Director

Cheri E. Friedman joined The Jackson Symphony in September of 2016 as Executive Director.  She has worked with arts organizations of all types for over thirty years.  She started out with internships in box office and general administration for the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Delaware Theatre Company, and then moved upward over time to become the Executive Director of the Longmont Theatre Company (CO), Jefferson Symphony Orchestra (CO), Prescott Fine Arts Association (AZ), Duluth Playhouse (MN), and six year stint with the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce (OH) while she went after her Master's in Arts Administration at The University of Akron. 

Laura Butler

Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Laura joined the Jackson Symphony in February of 2016 as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. A Paducah, KY native, Laura and her family have spent the last four years in West Tennessee. Laura is a graduate of The University of Kentucky where she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management.

Laura brings 15 years of marketing experience to The Jackson Symphony. Laura previously worked as the Director of Marketing and Brand Management for Mid-Continent University in western Kentucky. She has also worked on a contractual basis with non-profit organizations and other businesses.

Laura resides in Medina with her husband, Boogie, daughter Macy, and son Jude.

Greg Hines

Operations Manager

Greg Hines received a Bachelor of Music in Performance from Union University.  Greg joined the staff as an intern during the summer of 2011, kept a part-time position during the school semesters, and started full-time in Spring 2013.  Greg is responsible for Personnel Manager, Orchestra Librarian, Operations Manager, and manages technology in office.  

Greg and his beautiful wife Helen and daughter Eliana, currently reside in Jackson.

Vadessa Flack

Director of Patron Services & Special Events

Vadessa Flack grew up fostering a love of the Arts through her involvement in dance and musical theatre. While in college, Vadessa found another love, Special Events planning, by catering Union University’s Art Show Receptions. She graduated from Union University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and a minor in Art. After graduation, she became a Freelance Wedding Coordinator for over 10 years, served as Children’s Musical Choreographer for her church and gained Customer Service experience while working at Euphoria Salon.

Vadessa joined the Jackson Symphony in November of 2014 as Director of Patron Services and Special Events. She also serves as Director of the Jackson Symphony Ambassador Program. Her love of the Arts, experience in managing special events and exceptional customer service, helps her serve the patrons of the Jackson Symphony. Vadessa resides in Medina with her husband, Steven and her children, Lauren Ashley and Parker.

Tricia Wilburn

Director of Community Engagement

Kansas State University- Graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music Education, K-12, Vocal & Instrumental Degree

Growing up, my father would listen to classical music and our elementary school would go to see the Kansas City Philharmonic perform every year.  I fell in love with the violin at age 9, when a quartet came and performed for our class.  Afterwards, they let us “try” the instruments, and even though I’m sure I didn’t make a beautiful sound, I didn’t want to put the violin down.  I began string class and private lessons shortly after that experience and have been playing for 43 years.

I have performed in: The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, The Mobile Symphony Orchestra, The Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra,  The San Diego Comic Opera, The Monteverdi Chamber Orchestra (Naples, Italy), The Ocala Symphony Orchestra, The Memphis Symphony Orchestra, The Germantown Symphony Orchestra, The Paducah Symphony Orchestra, and The Jackson Symphony Orchestra

I began playing with The Jackson Symphony Orchestra in the year 2000.  Though there have been many wonderful performances through the years, my most memorable performance would this season’s opening Beethoven concert.  It was phenomenal!!

I began teaching private lessons through the Jackson Symphony in 2002.  I’ve always enjoyed teaching the violin and saw it as a wonderful opportunity to help build the string program in Jackson.

I have been travelling from Memphis to Jackson several years to teach and perform, but recently  moving to Jackson has given me the opportunity to be more involved in the community with programs through the symphony such as: The Integrative Music and Medicine Program at the Carl Kirkland Cancer Center where music is played for the patients to help with the healing process; The Open Rehearsal Outreach to the students, allowing them more opportunities to be exposed to the symphony and wonderful music; plus the opportunity to be in Jackson for the growth of my studio, the Youth Symphony Programs, and maybe one day – a string program in the Jackson Madison County Schools. 

Tommy Rhoads

Officer Manager

Tommy came to The Jackson Symphony after serving as the Office Manager for the Jackson Arts Council from 2007 until 2015. Prior to that, he was employed for 16 years as Office Manager for Preferred Products, an automotive aftermarket hardware distributor.

After graduating from Lambuth College, Tommy and his wife, Roxane, moved to Jackson in 1979. He retired from the Jackson Fire Department with 30 years of service. Both Tommy and Roxane have been involved with the arts community in Jackson since the 1970’s.


207 East Lafayette Street

JACKSON, Tennessee 38301