Omaha Conservatory of Music Staff
Executive Director, Violin, Viola
Ruth Meints is the Executive Director for the Omaha Conservatory of Music and the Violin instructor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She currently teaches violin and viola in the Omaha area and conducts various workshop orchestras throughout the state of Nebraska. Ruth received her Bachelors in violin performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Masters degree with an emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville with John Kendall.
Her teaching experience has included head of the string department at Azusa Pacific University and faculty at Biola University in the Los Angeles area. She was conductor of the Azusa Pacific University Symphony and coached chamber music, as well as teaching a full studio of violinists and violists. She continues to perform regularly with the Azusa Pacific Chamber Players, a piano quartet also based in the Los Angeles area. Their first CD “The Alphabet of Revelation” will be released in the near future.
Director of Operations
Diane Owens, Director of Operations for the Omaha Conservatory of Music, is a unique professional who has successfully balanced three career paths to very high levels: Administrator, Educator and Professional Singer. Her administrative skills have been honed in various business settings including serving three years as Office Manager for Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Music, Receptionist/Administrative Assistant for Ensign Engineering in Salt Lake City, and most recently as an Accounts Receivable Customer Service Representative for Medco.
Diane’s career as an educator began in Iowa City where she served on the Vocal Music Faculty at South East Jr. High and City High School, having received her Bachelor of Music with High Honors from the University of Iowa. She then obtained her Master of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and a Zertifikat in German from the Goethe-Institut in Germany. Since then, she has served continuously on faculties in universities, private schools and as a teaching artist in outreach programs in public schools throughout the nation. Diane has maintained her teaching license in Iowa, and obtained licensing as a substitute teacher in Nebraska. Presently, she is a member of Creighton University’s voice faculty.
As a professional singer, she has appeared as soprano soloist with The Pittsburgh Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Lake Forest Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Utah Opera, Ballet West, Civic Light Opera, Utah Symphony, Boise Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera Theatre, Orquesta Sinfonica del Valle in South America, and many others. Her awards include Regional Finalist with the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions in both Cleveland and Toronto, Second Prize in both Cleveland and Miami in the Bel Canto Singing Competition and she received the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Award in Voice, “the highest honor for an artist in the state.”
Marketing & Development Assistant, Violin, Viola
Muriel Huckins is a 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. She is currently completing her Master’s degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Prior to her arrival at OCM, she spent three years as a string specialist at five elementary schools in the Omaha Public Schools. She has maintained a private studio since 2003.
Muriel began studying violin at the age of eight in her hometown of Council Bluffs, Iowa. She credits early teachers for inspiring her to continue studying, first with Keith Plenert and later with Professor David Neely, and to become a teacher herself. While a student at UNL, Muriel performed in master classes for Timothy Baker of the Amadeus Trio and Roger Tapping, former violist of the Takács Quartet. In addition the violin, she also plays viola. As a performer Muriel has played in many ensembles including the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra’s Youth Philharmonic and Youth Symphony, the Iowa All-State Orchestra, the Hastings Symphony Orchestra, the UNL Symphony Orchestra, the UNL Philharmonia chamber & opera orchestra and Orchestra Omaha. Within these ensembles she held a variety of leadership positions, including principal 2nd violin in the UNL Symphony Orchestra & Philharmonia and assistant/acting principal viola in Orchestra Omaha. In January 2008, she had the opportunity to perform with the Philharmonia at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Also while at UNL, Muriel served as president for the university chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association for four years.
Muriel is also active in chamber music, having received recognition from the Amateur Chamber Music Players/ACMP foundation as a senior in high school. She has performed a variety of repertoire on both violin and viola and has had the opportunity to be coached by members of the Chiara String Quartet. She is currently a member of the Sarabande String Quartet based in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Administrative Assistant, Receptionist
Jennifer Coots is the Receptionist and Administrative Assistant for the Omaha Conservatory of Music. She began a career in computer programming, obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programing and Network Management from Vatterott College in Saint Joseph, Missouri in 2001. She worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation District One in Computer Sciences. She also served as Technical Support for Vatterott Global Online, as well as working in Career Services, aiding students in job placement. She served the college as a substitute teacher both on campus and in the online classes. She has also enjoyed volunteering at the Community Hospital of Fairfax, Missouri.
Jennifer is currently studying viola at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, and is an active member of the community. She also plays viola as a part of the Myelin Ensemble.