lawson malnory

president and CEO

Lawson Malnory is a percussionist from McKinney, Texas. He is a senior at Southern Methodist University studying Percussion Performance and Arts Management. Through SMU-Abroad, Lawson has studied the music and culture of Bali. He served as Operations Intern at the Dallas Symphony, Assistant Director of the Fine Arts Chamber Players’ Basically Beethoven Festival, and the Development Director, later Artistic Director, of Bridge the Gap. Lawson is the Co-Founder and Director of Helping Hand Drums, a music-based fundraising organization, has worked for Voices of Change, Dallas’ premier contemporary chamber ensemble, for two seasons. He is also the Master Beater and Drum Captain in the SMU Mustang Band.

ISAIAH PENNINGTON

Community Relations Coordinator 

Isaiah is a Cello Performance major at the Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas. An enthusiastic chamber musician and collaborative player, he has recently attended the Charles Castleman Quartet Program at SUNY Fredonia, as well as the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont. Isaiah has also received honors as a solo and orchestral musician. He appeared as a soloist with the Orchestra at Maryville College, as well as sitting principal cello in the 2014 TMEA Allstate Orchestra. Isaiah's mission is to make music accessible to children in underprivileged communities, and he persists in volunteering through instruction and demonstration. Isaiah continues to develop his musicianship under internationally recognized cellist Andres Diaz. 

ELIZABETH RIDGWAY

Artistic Director

A native of Chicago, Elizabeth Ridgway is a freshman double-majoring in Piano Performance and Finance at Southern Methodist University, where she is an Honors, Meadows, and BBA Scholar. Serving as Bridge the Gap's Development Coordinator, she assists in donor communication and finding and writing grants. In high school, she founded a program to coordinate local music students in performances at nursing homes and assisted living facilities for the elderly and volunteered at an arts showcase to introduce elementary age students to music and catalyze their interest in pursuing the performing arts. Currently under the tutelage of SMU's Professor Alfred Mouledous, she previously studied with Dr. Yulia Lipmanovich and Patricia Windt, and was recently named a Rising Star by the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. 

At SMU, Elizabeth currently chairs the Community Service Committee for the Virginia-Snider Commons, works as a staff writer for Hilltopics (the University Honors Program newspaper), and serves on the Common Reading Committee, working with faculty and students to select a book for the entire incoming class of SMU students to read and discuss. 

SAMUEL PARK

BRIDGE THE GAP EDUCATION COORDINATOR

Sam Park is a music education major at Southern Methodist University. An accomplished marching technician, he has worked with numerous bands in DFW, Houston, and Austin. He has been a clinician at the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention and teaches horn lessons in north Dallas. As a horn player, Sam performs regularly with the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Meadows Wind Ensemble, and various chamber ensembles. Sam is determined to become an excellent band director after his graduation from SMU. 

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Harrison Schumann

COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

Harrison Schumann was born in Houston, TX and began his musical career at the age of 8 in Cody, WY. He was inspired to pick up the violin when he was told that his great-great-grandfather had played traditional folk music on the instrument. With this musical heritage in mind, Harrison has continued to practice and perform on the violin in classical, folk, and other styles. He now attends Southern Methodist University where he is pursuing duel degrees in music and geophysics as a Meadows and Second Century Scholar. Harrison has won awards at folk music competitions across the nation and has recently performed as a part of the Texas Music Festival Symphony Orchestra, Meadows Symphony Orchestra, SYZYGY New Music Ensemble, Meadows World Music Ensemble, and various country music bands.

DYLAN SMITH

ADVISOR

Originally from Seattle, WA, Dylan Smith is a Dallas based trumpeter, double bassist, music education and arts administrator. Acclaimed for his sound and versatility, Smith teaches and works at Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Dylan is the director of the Meadows Jazz Orchestra at SMU as well as the student coordinator within the administration of the Division of Music. 

In addition to Smith’s faculty and administrative roles at SMU, he frequently performs as a trumpeter and bassist in various jazz groups as well as with Brazen Brass 5, the Ensemble-in-Residence brass quintet at SMU.  Dylan is also a substitute member of the trumpet section for the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Fla.

Dylan Smith is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he received his B.M. in trumpet performance and Arts Leadership Certificate in 2010. He received his M.M. in trumpet performance at SMU Meadows School of the Arts in 2013.  While at Eastman, he was a member of the Catherine Filene Shouse Chapter of the Arts Leadership Program; a selective and rigorous curriculum designed to educate students in the entrepreneurial side of the music industry.

Dylan is currently a pursuing his Professional MBA at the Cox School of Business at SMU.

Sarah Israel Whitling

chief executive emeritus

Sarah Israel served on the staff of Bridge the Gap Chamber Players From 2013-2016. She rose from the position of Operations Intern to President and CEO of the organization, serving in the latter role for two years. Mrs. Whitling developed and spearheaded the South Dallas Strings project, bringing it to fruition in her final year and acting as lead-teacher for much of its first season. Sarah graduated from Southern Methodist University in December 2015 with majors in Nonprofit Organizational Studies and Human Rights. She currently works as the Special Projects Administrator at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.