Karen Crinion


Karen is originally from the Chicagoland area and has been playing the cello for over 50 years. She received her degree in applied performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where she played in numerous orchestras and chamber groups in and around the capitol city.

She was awarded a Graduate Assistantship in Chamber Music to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois for her Master’s work, and while there she became certified in the Suzuki Method of String Pedagogy.

Karen also studied during her summers at The American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and at Ivan Galamian’s Meadowmount School of Music in upstate New York, where she was a summer-classmate of YoYo Ma! 

Karen has recorded as back-up cello for Emmylou Harris and Stan Keeton, and has performed onstage with many artists, including B.J. Thomas, Christopher Cross, Jamie Farr, Ray Price and KANSAS.

Sina Thompson


Sina is the former orchestra director at The Awty International School in Houston.

A member of TPSMEA and TMEA, she was the Concertmaster and President of the Board of Directors of the Fort Bend Symphony  Orchestra for 18 years.  

Before moving back to Texas to continue her playing and teaching, Sina taught violin and viola privately in Indiana and Oklahoma. 

Since returning to Texas she has performed onstage with Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys, B.J. Thomas, Christopher Cross, and Kansas. 

Sina also plays fiddle with the House Brew band and is the Director of Institutional Technology at Awty International.

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Gwent Markley


Gwent, violinist with HeartStrings, originally from Chicago, received her degree with a double major in both Fine Arts and Applied Performance at St. Ambrose University in Iowa.

She played with Kansas City Civic Orchestra and the Hallmark Crown Singers, and moonlighted with  KC jazz trio.

Gwent has taught violin and piano privately in Iowa and Kansas City.

Since moving to Texas she has played with the Brazosport Symphony, and enjoys playing chamber music.

Gwent’s second love is art, as she is an accomplished Creative/Product Development Director within the gifts & decorative home goods industry.

Grace Granata
Ms. Granata received her high school diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy and a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Indiana University.   In Cleveland, Ohio she performed the Mozart Concertant with the Cleveland Institute Chamber Orchestra.  Her freelance career includes performances with Rod Stewart, Steve and Eydie Gorme, Manheim Steamroller, Ray Charles, Barry White, Moody Blues and Barry Manilow.  Ms. Granata completed Suzuki Teacher Training at Evansville University.   Ms. Granata has held teaching positions at the University of South Dakota and Wintergreen Music Festival.  There she coached chamber music and taught violin and viola. She was a Suzuki teacher for 10 years. Ms. Granata has had a private violin and viola studio for over 30 years.
Becky Walker


Becky is not technically a native Texan, but considers herself one. Raised in Houston, she has played the violin since junior high school. She had a brief break from playing while attending the University of Houston achieving her BFA in Art. After college, she rekindled her love of the violin and joined the Fort Bend Symphony orchestra in 1992. She has been a member ever since. With FBSO, she has performed onstage with Ray Price, BJ Thomas, Christopher Cross and Kansas. In addition to Heart Strings, she also plays in a String Ensemble group called String Theory. After retiring from Fort Bend ISD as their Graphics Communication Coordinator, she works as a freelance Graphic Artist. She lives in Sugar Land with her husband Kevin and has 2 grown children Amanda and Grant. All native Texans.