Kathryn Ross Schaffer

1963 -

Kathy Schaffer, clarinetist and music teacher, has taught music in Seventh-day Adventist schools for sixteen years. An accomplished clarinetist, she has been a member of ensembles for over forty years, serving as principal chair for most of those years.

Kathy was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in College Place, Washington, one of three children born to Richard and Beatrice Waterbrook Ross. She was surrounded by music from her earliest years, her mother being a piano teacher and her father a lover of classical music who played it frequently in the home.

She started lessons on clarinet in grade school under Harlan Bates and then studied with Joseph Brooks, a major influence in her life and training, for nine years. She was a charter member of the Walla Walla Youth Orchestra, in which she was principal clarinetist and served as a counselor and woodwind instructor at the WWSO Music Camp.

Kathy attended Walla Walla Valley Academy and after graduating in 1981 enrolled at Walla Walla College, now University, where she pursued a degree in music. During her study in college, she was principal clarinetist and assistant conductor with the college band and in 1986 received the John Philip Sousa Award. She also served as principal clarinetist with the New England Youth Ensemble for some of its touring and was assistant principal clarinet with the WWSO.

In 1986 Ross completed a B.Mus. in clarinet performance with a teaching minor at WWC. At that time she won a Ruth Lorraine Close Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oregon, but chose instead to accept a position at Forest Lake Elementary School in Florida, where she taught for two years.

She returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1988, where she taught at Kirkland Junior Academy for a year and was principal clarinetist for the Pacific Crest Wind Ensemble. She then accepted a position at Portland Adventist Elementary School, where she taught until 1998, when she married Dawson Schaffer.

In 2008 Schaffer accepted a part-time music position at Hoodview Junior Academy and in the following year also began teaching at Tualatin Valley Academy, positions she still retains.

In 1992 she was invited to participate as a recitalist with Joseph Brooks in the WWC Centennial Chamber Series, a year-long series of programs featuring graduates of the college. Since 2002 Schaffer has served as principal clarinetist with the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra and was a soloist with the orchestra in February 2009.


Sources: Information provided by Kathryn Ross Schaffer in September 2011; Program copy from 1992 WWC Centennial Chamber Series Recital, personal knowledge.