Rodena L. Branch-Tharpe is a dedicated violist and pedagogue. For 34 years, she has been studying and developing her skill, and is a staple musician in the Tennessee Valley area. She began her studies at the Memphis State University Suzuki Children’s Program at Memphis State University at the young age of 6. She moved to Huntsville, AL and continued studies with Art Cotruvo, Fred Mayer, Melanie Richardson, Barbara Poularikas, Lee Coker (Julliard grad), Dan Nedelcu and Charles Hogue (principal violist of HSO) whom she studied with at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has attended masterclasses with Itzhak Perlman (violinist), and performed for a masterclass given by Marcus Thompson(violist). She has performed in small ensembles with Smokie Robinson and the Black Jacket Symphony. As a chamber musician, she performs regularly with the Felicity String Quartet. She has also performed with various chamber groups such as the: Sul Ponticello, Blue Sky Quartet/Quintet, Valley Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, Gateways Music Festival (Eastman School of Music) Chamber Orchestra and Quartet, Mimosa String Quartet, the Interlochen Music Camp Quartet, and many others. As an orchestra musician she has performed with various organizational and church orchestras, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, Shoals Symphony Orchestra, Valley Conservatory Lyceum Orchestra, Gateways Music Festival Orchestra, UAH Collegium Orchestra, the former Huntsville Opera Theater Orchestra, Interlochen National Music Camp Orchestra, Huntsville Youth Symphony, and Metro Youth Orchestra. As a soloist she has received outstanding and performance awards from the Alabama Orchestra Association. She has made guest appearances in the Virgin Islands, and local and regional churches. Currently she teaches private lessons in viola, violin, and piano.