Laclede Quartet - The People
Meet Leah McGougan Poe (Violin)
Leah began studying violin at the age of 3 with Dr. Jan Davis. Subsequent teachers included St. Louis Symphony musicians Cara Mia Antonello, Nina Bodnar, Ling Ling Guan, and John McGrosso. At the age of 11, she began studying viola. She studied viola with Dr. Jan Davis and Christine Henson. After graduating from McCluer North High School in 2002, she began her undergraduate work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2006. In May 2008, she finished work on her Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance under the tutelage of St. Louis Symphony violinist Angie Smart. A previous winner of the Laclede Quartet’s Kids Concert Competition, she is delighted to be a member of the quartet. Leah has been married to St. Louis native David Poe since November 25, 2006, and resides in Florissant.
Sallie Coffman (Violin)
A native St. Louisan, Sallie is active as soloist and teacher in the St. Louis area. After high school she accepted a position as a member of the violin section with the Denver Symphony Orchestra. She received a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival from the Denver Symphony Orchestra as “outstanding new member” of the DSO. Sallie studied with Sidney Harth and attended master classes in chamber music with Lillian Fuchs and the Juilliard String Quartet. She has served as Concertmaster of Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She has been featured as a guest on several radio stations and cable TV. Sallie was featured as a guest on PBS Channel 9’s ETC and Channel 5’s Show Me St. Louis. She served as Concertmaster of The Muny Opera Orchestra from 1990 - 2010.
Wendy Lea (Viola)
Wendy has worked with the Laclede Quartet since 1985. She attended Webster University, the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, and USC. Formerly she was the violist and co-founder of the Alexandria String Quartet of San Diego. Wendy has made appearances on several radio and St. Louis television stations. Along with performing, she is active as arranger for the Laclede Quartet. Wendy is currently Assistant Principal Violist of The Muny Opera Orchestra. She served as Assistant Concertmaster from 2000 - 2010. Wendy has studied conducting with Maestro Leonard Slatkin and Sandra Dackow. Ms Lea has been appointed “Conducting Fellow” with the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra (a professional regional orchestra) for this season and will be conducting Le Sacre du Printemps by Stravinsky in April 2012. Wendy recently received an invitation to participate in the 2013 Conductor’s Guild Workshop as a Fellow. She is Music Director of the Maryville Symphony Orchestra.
Fariga Drayton (Cello)
With over 24 years of performing experience, Mrs. Drayton is an active musician in St. Louis and surrounding areas. She has performed in many orchestra such as the Community Music School Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra (formally CASA), the All Suburban High School Honors Orchestra, the NAACP ACT-SO State and National Competition, SIUE Symphonic Orchestra, Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra (concerto competition winner), St. Louis Youth Symphony Orchestra, Missouri All State Orchestra, Interlochen Center for the Arts Camp World Youth Symphony Orchestra, University of Kentucky Symphonic Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, UMSL Orchestra, St. Louis Philharmonic and the Florissant Valley Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the Transiberian Orchestra (St. Louis Strings) over the past seven years during their holiday tour. In March of 2011, Ms. Drayton performed with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players in the Mid-West Tour production of The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance. She is also the co-founder of PrayzeHymn, an instrumental Gospel Group where she plays Gospel and Christian music. In June 2011 and 2012, Mrs. Drayton performed with the Southern Illinois Music Festival in Carbondale, IL where she played in an opera, a ballet, three full orchestral programs, educational concerts and several chamber music concerts featuring the Brandenburg Concertos. She is currently principal cellist of the University City Symphony Orchestra, which she has been a member of for the past 10years; principal cellist of the Gateway Festival Orchestra for the past two summers, and principal cellist of the Maryville Symphony Orchestra.
Mrs. Drayton is currently teaching Beginning Strings to the Kirkwood elementary students and is the director of the Nipher Middle School Orchestra and the Concert Orchestra at Kirkwood High School.