One of Chorus America's greatest strengths is a diverse governing board of accomplished arts leaders from communities across North America.
Gayle Ober is the Executive Director of the George Family Foundation where she is responsible for managing all aspects of the grantmaking process, advising and assisting the Trustees in meeting their grantmaking goals and serving as the Foundation’s first point of contact to the community.
Most recently, Ober was the Director of Classical Music Programming for American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio (APM/MPR). APM/MPR is the largest producer of classical music broadcast content and brings award-winning programs to more than 15 million people each week. Prior to joining APM/MPR she served as the Director of Arts, Culture and Entertainment for the City of Saint Paul in Mayor Randy Kelly’s administration and was the Executive Director of the Dale Warland Singers from 2000 to 2005.
Ober serves the non-profit community through her present and past service on a variety of boards and committees including the Mardag Foundation, Chorus America, Children’s Home Society and Family Services, The Saint Paul Foundation, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and others.
Gayle Ober holds a master’s of arts degree in non-profit management from Hamline University and a bachelor of music degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Mendota Heights, Minnesota with her husband Tim and daughter, Analise.
Dr. Rollo Dilworth is Associate Professor of Choral Music Education and Chair of the Music Education Department at Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music education, he serves as conductor for the University Chorale. Prior to his appointment at Temple, Dilworth served as Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at North Park University in Chicago, IL for 13 years. Dilworth holds degrees from Case Western Reserve University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Northwestern University.
Dilworth has written and/or arranged over 150 choral works that are currently in print. His choral compositions are a part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with Hal Leonard Corporation and Colla Voce Music Company. He has recently published pieces with the Santa Barbara Music Publishing Company as part of the Mary Alice Stollak Choral Series. Dilworth is a contributing author for the Essential Elements for Choir and the Experiencing Choral Music textbook series, both published by the Hal Leonard Corporation/Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Publications, and for Music Express! Teachers Magazine. He authored a book of choral warm-ups for elementary and secondary choral ensembles entitled Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for General and Classroom Use. He frequently serves as a guest conductor and/or clinician for honors, festival and all-state choirs throughout the United States and abroad. Dilworth is an active member of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and Chorus America. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), and currently serves on the Pennsylvania ACDA State board as Director of Student and Youth Activities.
Mike McCarthy is the retired CEO of Williams Steel and Hardware in Minneapolis. He has served as Treasurer and Board Chair of the Dale Warland Singers, the American Composers Forum, and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches; Treasurer and Board Member of VocalEssence, Chorus America and Connect/US-Russia; and a member of the advisory committee of the University of Minnesota’s School of Music.
He has also done bookkeeping, accounting and budgeting for several nonprofits, including Chorus America and the Dale Warland Singers. He and his wife Kay have commissioned a number of choral works, including “The World Beloved, a Bluegrass Mass” by Carol Barnett and “The Day is Done” by Stephen Paulus. Mike plays bass and banjo in a bluegrass band, a largely non-financial experience, and Kay is a professional quilter.
Catherine Peterson is the Executive Director of ArtsBoston, Boston’s largest and most high impact arts service organization. Under Ms. Peterson’s guidance, ArtsBoston has garnered significant recognition in the community, including the Commonwealth Award, the state’s highest honor for the arts, acknowledgement from the Boston Theatre Critics Association that “no organization has been more important over the past 25 years to bringing theatre to a wider audience than ArtsBoston” and acclaim as “a national leader in arts marketing” by a Massachusetts Cultural Council peer review. Ms. Peterson worked for the English National Opera in the 1980s, opening the first opera merchandise store in Great Britain. She has also held positions as Artistic Administrator for The Cleveland Orchestra, Vice President at Columbia Artists Management and Project Manager for the Worcester Art Museum’s $1.3 million audience development program supported by the Wallace Foundation. Ms. Peterson is a graduate of Stanford’s Executive Program for NonProfit Leaders and LeadBoston, the NCCJ’s social justice leadership program. Ms. Peterson graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College.
Members of the Board
Artistic Director of Pacific Chorale since 1972, John Alexander is considered one of America's finest choral conductors. His inspired leadership both on the podium and as an advocate for the advancement of the arts has generated international respect and acclaim throughout his career. His long and distinguished career has encompassed conducting hundreds of choral and orchestral performances in 27 countries around the globe.
Alexander is not only recognized for his exceptional talent in bringing the masterworks to life, but is also eminent as a strong proponent of contemporary American music. Conductors with whom he has worked include Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Alexander is a board member and former president of Chorus America. Alexander retired in spring 2006 from his position of Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton, having been awarded the honor of Professor Emeritus. In 2003, Chorus America honored him with the establishment of the "John Alexander Conducting Faculty Chair" for their conducting and presented him with the "Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art" in 2008.
Anton Armstrong, Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, became the fourth conductor of the St. Olaf Choir in 1990 after ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he had served on the faculty of Calvin College and led the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale.
Armstrong is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. He is editor of a multicultural choral series for earthsongs Publications and co-editor of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. Active nationally and internationally as a guest conductor and lecturer, he has been featured as a clinician at the Fourth, Eighth and Ninth World Symposia on Choral Music. In 2006, Baylor University announced that Anton Armstrong was selected from a field of 118 distinguished nominees to receive the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. In 2009 he received The Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University.
Carole Birkhead has served as a volunteer to the field of classical music for much of her adult life. She assisted in the development of a Suzuki Talent Education program at the University of Louisville School of Music Preparatory Department and played a major role in designing a Suzuki program for the public schools. She has served as the President of the Volunteer Association and the Board of Directors of The Louisville Orchestra. During her many years of service to that orchestra, her focus remained on the First Editions Records and the participation of The Louisville Orchestra in the commissioning, performing, and recording of contemporary music. She served as a member of the panel that chooses the Grawmeyer Prize for Contemporary Music for 10 years. She has served as President of the Volunteer Council and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Symphony Orchestra League. As a member of the League Board, she acted as a facilitator for the Board Self-Evaluation Program. Ms. Birkhead volunteered as a cello and violin teacher at the Kentucky School for the Blind for 16 years and served for six years as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for two children who were born cocaine-addicted. Currently she continues to play an active role in her church by chairing its Centennial Celebration Committee and serves as a life member of the Board of Directors of The Louisville Orchestra. She joined the Board of Chorus America in 2005.
Philip Brunelle, artistic director and founder of VocalEssence, is an internationally renowned conductor, choral scholar and performer. Believing that listeners and musicians alike must experience music of many genres and styles, he has worked enthusiastically—and tirelessly—to expand audiences for rarely heard works of the past and worthwhile new music. In addition, to date VocalEssence has commissioned more than 150 works. Brunelle has conducted symphonies (New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra among others) as well as choral festivals and operas on six continents.
Over the past decade Brunelle has been deeply involved with the International Federation of Choral Music (IFCM). He served as president of the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music held in Minneapolis (2002), was on the Artistic Committee for the Eighth Symposium, held in Denmark (2008), and was active in planning the Ninth Symposium, held in Argentina in 2011. In 2009 he was elected Vice President/Treasurer of the IFCM Board.
Brunelle holds four honorary doctorates, was invested as an Honorary Member of the Order from the British Empire (MBE) in 2005 for his services to music, and as Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in 2007. He has also been honored by the governments of Sweden and Hungary.
Paul Caldwell is Artistic Director of the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago, a community-based after-school program enrolling 200 young people, ages 5-18, in Chicago's northern suburbs. His focus on contemporary repertoire, multi-media and interdisciplinary performance projects and music from diverse world cultures garnered national recognition in 2006 when the Youth Choral Theater was awarded the Chorus America/ASCAP prize for Adventurous Programming.
Caldwell's guest conducting engagements this year include an honor choir for the American Choral Directors Association (Memphis), the Syracuse University Women's Choir Festival, the Georgia Elementary All-State Chorus and the Sing a Mile High Children's Choral Festival (Denver) and the Institutio Piaget Vocalizze Festival (Lisbon, Portugal). Recently, he has served as Artist in Residence for the Children in Harmony Choral Festival at Walt Disney World, for the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans and (twice) as a faculty member for the Choral Music Experience training course at Elon University.
Caldwell composes and arranges music collaboratively with Sean Ivory. Their work holds a beloved stature in the repertoire of ensembles worldwide. It has been telecast on PBS and A&E and performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Caldwell is a member of Chorus America's Board of Directors and chairs the organization's Programs and Education Committee. He serves on the Advisory Board of the New Orleans Children's Chorus. His work on behalf of the choral field was honored at the National Performing Arts Conference in 2008 where he received Chorus America's Michael J. Korn Founders Award for Philanthropic Contribution to the Arts.
An educator as well as a composer, Shawn Crouch currently serves as the newly appointed John S. and James L. Knight Foundation founding director of the Miami Choral Academy, a tuition-free program that creates a Little League-type network of choral ensembles for children in underserved communities of Miami-Dade County. Crouch has also served on the music faculty at the Walden School for Young Musicians and the Hunter College Campus School in New York City. He has worked closely with the Center for Music-In-Education where he conducted portfolio research and assessment with Lyle Davidson and Larry Scripp. His article “Learning Through Music Portfolios in Elementary Education” was published by the Journal for Learning Through Music.
Tad Czyzewski is the business manager of the Washington Revels, a cultural institution in the greater Washington area that is dedicated to reviving and celebrating cultural traditions -- music, dance, storytelling, drama and rituals -- that have bound communities together over the ages and across the globe. Previously, Tad was a director at West Cary Group, a boutique advertising agency specializing in multi-channel communications. He has also worked as an independent consultant, assisting non-profits with branding, marketing strategies, and organizational development. A native New Englander, Tad traveled south to get his BA in Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington. Soon after graduation, he switched gears and joined Capital One where he focused on new product development for the banking and consumer credit card divisions, launching Capital One's still-popular Rewards Checking. In total, campaigns under his management generated over $515 million in revenue for the company.
Hugh Davies was born and educated in England, and started his singing career as a boy chorister at St. Albans Abbey under the direction of Peter Hurford and Simon Preston. While a student at Cambridge University, he was a Choral Scholar at King's College, where the director of music was David Willcocks.
As a professional singer based in London, he appeared with Glyndebourne Opera and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and performed as a soloist with leading choirs and orchestras throughout Europe. He was a member of the Monteverdi Choir, the Schütz Choir and the John Alldis Choir, and made many recordings and broadcasts on television and radio.
After teaching music in Australia for two years, Davies moved to California in 1986. He now sings, mostly in the San Francisco area, both as a soloist and as a member of several professional ensembles, and has appeared with groups such as Theatre of Voices, American Bach Soloists, California Bach Society, Magnificat, Albany Consort, San Francisco Bach Choir, Santa Rosa Symphony, Sonoma County Bach Choir and Symphony Silicon Valley. He has also appeared with Boston-based Cut Circle and, in Southern California, with Pacific Chorale and Musica Angelica.
He is also President of ACFEA Tour Consultants, an organization that arranges international tours for amateur performing arts ensembles, and serves on the board of Chorus America and as President of American Bach Soloists.
Joy Douglass is a former faculty member at Boston University’s School of Music. She holds a doctorate in music education from the University of Michigan, a master’s in music education from Columbia University, and a bachelor of science degree in music education from the State University of New York at Potsdam. Douglass has taught music in numerous public schools, most recently at Newton Public Schools in Massachusetts. From 1979-84 she served as conductor of the Harvard Medical School Madrigal Singers. She was organist/choir director at United Parish of Auburndale for over 20 years and is currently director of children’s music there.
John Evans is president and executive director of the Oregon Bach Festival. He is a graduate of the University of Wales, where he completed his doctoral studies on Benjamin Britten in 1984. He has lectured extensively throughout the UK and North America, and has written and contributed to numerous publications about Britten. Evans joined the BBC in 1985 and in 1998 he took on executive and artistic responsibility for the BBC’s orchestras and symphony choruses, and for the BBC Singers. Two years later he was appointed as head of music programming. As executive producer he was responsible for many of the network’s landmark projects. Evans was awarded the Sony Gold Award for Radio Broadcasting Event of the Year in 1996 for Live from Tanglewood, and was the recipient of a Prix Italia and Royal Philharmonic Society Award as music producer for the BBC Television film of Bela Bartok’s opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. Evans is a former trustee of the Masterprize Composers’ Competition and the Britten-Pears Foundation, a former director of The Britten Estate Ltd., and former chair of both the Concentric Circles Theatre Group and DreamArts. He is currently vice president of the Welsh Music Guild and a trustee of the Britten-Pears Will Trust.
Joyce Garrett served as Founder/Artistic Director of the Excellence Without Excuses program, a youth intervention, values-training and scholarship program she created for the award-winning Eastern High School Choir of Washington, DC during her 27-year teaching career there. During her exemplary teaching career, she received numerous honors and awards including The Catholic University Alumni Achievement Award in Music; the Reader’s Digest American Heroes in Education Award; the Washingtonian Magazine’s Washingtonian of the Year Award; and the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award (District of Columbia Public Schools). After her retirement from Eastern High School, she founded the Washington Youth Choir, a city-wide choral ensemble based upon the ideals and mission of her former Eastern choirs: to use the vehicle of choral music to teach urban students the principles of teamwork, perseverance, high achievement, and self-discipline; and prepare singers to accept the challenge of higher education through the awarding of scholarships.
Garrett received the Bachelor of Arts Degree from Bennett College, Greensboro, NC, and the Master of Music Degree from The Catholic University in Washington, DC. Her work with the Eastern Choir resulted in her being awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, WV; and her Alma Mater, Bennett College.
She directed the United States Naval Academy Gospel Choir, Annapolis, Maryland from 1990 until 2006. Garrett frequently produces choirs for special events in Washington including choirs for the televised Inauguration Concerts for Presidents George Bush, William Clinton, and Barack Obama. Today, she serves as Choir Master for annual, nationally televised performances of the Kennedy Center Honors (CBS-TV) and Christmas in Washington (TNT-Cable TV).
Grant Gershon has been Music Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale since 2001, conducting dozens of world, U.S., West Coast and Los Angeles premieres. He joined LA Opera during the 2007/08 season as Associate Conductor / Chorus Master. He recently conducted Minnesota Opera's world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's Grapes of Wrath, and subsequent performances of that opera with the Utah Symphony.
He has also guest conducted the San Antonio Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Juilliard Opera Theatre, Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Finnish chamber orchestra Avanti! and Berkshire Choral Festival, among others. He has served as Music Director of the Idyllwild Arts Festival Choir since 2003. He previously was assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1994-97) and assistant conductor/principal pianist with the LA Opera (1988-94), where he garnered a reputation as one of the country's exceptional vocal coaches. He currently serves on the USC Thornton Board of Advisors and joins the Chorus America board in June.
Joshua Habermann serves as director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, the official vocal ensemble of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he prepares the chorus for classical and pops series concerts and conducts the annual Christmas Celebration programs. Habermann is also music director of the Santa Fe Desert Chorale (Santa Fe, NM), where he made his debut in 2009.
From 1996-2008 Habermann was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and professor of music at San Francisco State University, where under his direction the SFSU Chamber Singers received international engagements in Havana, Cuba, and undertook concert tours in Germany and the Czech Republic, and China. In 2006 he led a collaboration between the SFSU Chamber Singers and the Orchestre des Jeunes de Provence in music of Poulenc and the Requiem of Maurice Duruflé in concerts throughout France. National invitations include the Waging Peace Festival in Eugene, Oregon, multiple appearances at the California Music Educators Convention, and an appearance at the American Choral Directors’ Association convention in 2008.
From 2008-2011 Habermann was director of choral studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he led the graduate program in conducting, and directed the Frost Chorale. Notable projects in Miami included an appearance at the Florida Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association convention, and several collaborations with the New World Symphony and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas in music of Ives, Schubert and Beethoven. During this same period Habermann led the Masterchorale of South Florida in performances of masterworks such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, and Mozart’s Requiem.
In addition, Habermann has led honor choirs and choral festivals in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia. As a singer (tenor) he has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus (Eugene, Oregon), and Conspirare (Austin,Texas). A native of California, he is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed doctoral studies in conducting with Craig Hella Johnson. He lives in Dallas with his wife Joanna, a children’s choir director, and daughter Kira.
Richard R. Hoffert was President and CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1999 until his retirement in 2005. As Chief Executive Officer, his scope of responsibility included artistic and programmatic policies, long range planning, as well as operational, financial and administrative management. He oversaw the organization’s $28 million annual operating budget and $120 million endowment invested in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Foundation.
Prior to coming to Indianapolis, Hoffert was President of The North Carolina Symphony. While there, he was responsible for cooperating with the city of Raleigh to build a 1700 seat, $32 million Symphony Hall. The Orchestra also moved into a new $6 million award winning outdoor performing space in Carey, a suburb of Raleigh.
Hoffert spent 14 years with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra where he served as Vice President of Development, managing all fund raising operations. Under his direction, the St. Louis Symphony’s permanent endowment increased by $15 million and annual giving grew from $1 million to $6 million a year. Hoffert also stepped in as Executive Director for a one-year period while St. Louis conducted a replacement search.
Prior to his work with the Saint Louis Symphony, Hoffert was Director of Development and Marketing for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Manager for Miller Auditorium at Western Michigan University, and an instrumental high school music teacher.
Hoffert has been involved in arts administration for the past 40 years. Since his retirement he has been asked to serve as interim CEO of Houston and San Antonio symphonies during their CEO searches.
A native of Bethlehem, PA, he is a graduate of Indiana University School of Music. He is married to Sylvia Hoffert, a distinguished professor of Women’s History. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Anne Keiser has sung with The Choral Arts Society since 1975 and has served on its Board of Directors since 1988, twice serving as the Board Chair. For twenty-seven years she was a member of the Senior Choir at St. Alban’s Church under the direction of Norman Scribner who is also the Artistic Director of The Choral Arts Society of Washington. She received her BA in Music from Middlebury College in Vermont.
When not singing, Anne is a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. She worked at The National Geographic Society as a photographer in the Society’s Television Division. Over many years, she documented the humanitarian efforts of famed Mount Everest climber, Sir Edmund Hillary and his work with the Sherpa people. She produced several books on this subject including Sir Edmund Hillary &The People of Everest that tied in with the fiftieth anniversary of the famous climb. Anne’s photography has focused on public health and conservation in third world countries.
As well as Chorus America, Anne serves on boards that relate to her interests in life, including The Choral Arts Society of Washington, The Greater Himalayas Foundation, The Middle East Institute, The Smithsonian Women’s Committee, the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund US and is currently Board President of The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation. She resides with her husband Doug Lapp, also a singer, in Washington DC.
Dr. Susan Knight is Founder and Artistic Director Emerita of Festival 500: Sharing the Voices and SHALLAWAY- Newfoundland and Labrador Youth in Chorus. She holds Bachelor degrees in Music and Music Education (Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador), a Masters of Arts in Music Education (St. Thomas University, Minnesota) and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Education, University of London. She has taught music education at the elementary, undergraduate and post-graduate levels over the past three decades, and has been active internationally as a guest conductor, clinician, keynote speaker, consultant and producer. Her articles on research and practice have been published in scholarly journals. She co-edited (with Bob Chilcott) a two-volume anthology of international choral music published by Oxford University Press, for whom she is currently authoring a chapter in the new Handbook on Singing. Susan is a visiting researcher at the International Music Education Research Centre in the Institute of Education, University of London. She is active in governance, currently serving on the Boards of Chorus America, Irish Business Partnerships, World's End Theatre Company, Opera on the Avalon, International Federation of Choral Music, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. She holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Memorial University, and is invested in the Orders of Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Jing Ling-Tam, Professor of Vocal Studies, has garnered international recognition in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. She has established herself internationally as a brilliant conductor and choral pedagogue. Ling-Tam has conducted over thirty- five All-State Choirs and numerous American Choral Directors Association national and divisional honor choirs. An innovative and much sought after clinician/master teacher, she has been featured as a headliner at prestigious international, national, regional and state choral conferences.
As Director of Choral Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington (1999-2009), her choirs performed at national and regional ACDA conferences, Texas Music Educators Association Conferences (1997 and 2001) and toured in the US, Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Austria. Ling-Tam served as Associate Conductor/Chorus Master /Principal Coach Pianist for the Ft. Worth Opera Association for sixteen seasons, and was on the faculty at the American Institute of Musical Studies, Graz, Austria for eleven summers.
Ling-Tam’s recent credits include conducting the Taipei Symphony, the Coro de Madrigalistas of Mexico, and presenting workshops/lectures for the Children’s Palaces of NingBo, Xiamen and GuangZho in China; Festival 500, Newfoundland, the Ontario Vocal Festival & Choral Conductors' Symposium, Toronto, Podium 2008, New Brunswick, Canada; the 2006 International Youth Choral Festival, Hong Kong and the 2007 and 2009 Salzburg Pedagogical Institute Winter Workshops. Ling-Tam also served on juries for the 2007 Third World Children's Choral Festival, Hong Kong, the Spittal an der Drau 45th International Choral Competition in Austria, and the 2008 World Choir Games in Austria.
This past July, she made her Australian conducting debut with the 2010 Australian National Choral Association’s Honor Choir and was a member of the international jury for the 2010 World Choir Games in China. Currently, Prof. Ling-Tam is scheduled to conduct the 2010 New York All-State Choir, 2010 Washington All-State Choir, and 2010 Louisiana Youth All- State Choir. Prof. Ling-Tam serves on the board of Chorus America. A choral series in her name is published by Alliance Music of Houston, Texas
Mary A. Lyons is a passionate advocate of quality standards-based arts education and public-private partnerships in the arts. A singer with the Pacific Chorale, she is the board's Vice President of Education. In honor of her long commitment to the organization, the Pacific Chorale has named her Chairman Emeritus.
She is the Immediate Past President of Arts Orange County. During her term as President, Arts Orange County merged with Imagination Celebration of Orange County in order to bring more arts education workshops and activities to children and families. She is the Secretary of the KOCE Foundation which governs KOCE (Orange County's PBS station). Additionally, she serves on KOCE’s Advancement Committee with an emphasis on individual giving, and is currently chairing a $40 million One Community Campaign for KOCE. She has chaired several Education Committees while serving on the board of Chorus America. She presently serves on its Development Committee. In 2002, Chorus America gave her the Michael Korn Award for Philanthropy and in 2004, the Michael Korn Founders Award for the Development of the Professional Choral Art. She is Vice President of Olive Freeman Properties, a property management firm.
Allison McMillan is Executive Director of the Providence Singers, a position she has held since 2001. She served as the organization’s board president from 1998 to 2001 and has been a member of the chorus since 1991. Ms. McMillan has guided the Providence Singers through a dramatic period of growth including a ten-fold increase in budget and an expansion of programs to include commissioning new works, choral education, guest appearances with professional orchestras, community partnerships, and CD recordings.
In 2008, the Rhode Island Arts and Business Council honored the Providence Singers for unwavering commitment to excellence, significant impact in the community, and successful organizational development.
Jonathan Miller is an arts entrepreneur who has successfully combined his skills as a professional singer, conductor, composer, arranger, producer, programming visionary and businessman. Since founding Chicago a cappella in 1993, Jonathan has guided the ensemble through more than 200 concerts, six commercial CD releases, numerous live radio and TV broadcasts, and thirty choral music demo CDs.
Passionate about bringing new music to Chicago audiences, Jonathan has presented more than one hundred works in their local, national, or world premieres. Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in musicology and brings his research skills to the ensemble's acclaimed, eclectic concerts, which routinely draw not only first-timers but also intensely loyal audiences and singers. He has conducted church, synagogue, and volunteer choirs and has served as a guest conductor, clinician and vocal coach. He has written more than fifty choral works ranging in style from neo-Renaissance to funk; his music has been sung at venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Lincoln Memorial and the Pentagon. He lives in Downers Grove, outside Chicago, and is a member of the Chorus America board of directors.
Since he founded the Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ in 1988, YPC Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez has provided children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a safe haven for personal and artistic growth through music. He also leads the University Glee Club of New York City, the fifth conductor in its 117-year history, and as a guest conductor, he is sought after nationwide by professional orchestras and children’s choirs and as a master teacher and advisor for choral workshops, demonstrations, and festivals. As a composer, Mr. Núñez has earned acclaim for seamlessly fusing a wide gamut of Latin cultures and musical idioms. His compositions and arrangements for children’s and adult choirs, orchestras, and solo instruments have attracted leading soloists and ensembles and numerous commissions.
Mr. Núñez has greatly expanded the repertoire of choral music for young people through his Transient Glory® commissioning series of concerts, CDs, and publications, which was recently expanded to Radio Radiance™, a new radio, digital media and internet program, presented in partnership with American Public Media.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Chorus America and has received many awards, including a 2009 ASCAP Concert Music Award, the 2009 New York Choral Society's Choral Excellence Award, and the 2005 Liberty Award from the New York Post. Hispanic Business magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics of 2005, and La Sociedad Coral Latinoamericana honored him as 2009 Man of the Year.
Until she retired in October 2010, Deborah (Debbie) Patel was the first Executive Director of Milwaukee Children's Choir (MCC). During her tenure, MCC’s contributed revenue, overall budget size, and financial reserve doubled, its administrative operations improved, MCC garnered better name recognition, and it was accepted as a member of Milwaukee’s United Performing Arts Fund, one of the largest such funds in the United States. Prior to her tenure at MCC she spent a year as Interim Executive Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the largest cultural organization in the State of Wisconsin.
A native of Minneapolis, Debbie graduated summa cum laude from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), and holds a JD degree from George Washington Law School (D.C.), where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Law & Economics. Before becoming an arts administrator, Debbie practiced law at Foley & Lardner and was “Of Counsel” to Banta Corporation for many years.
Debbie is an active member of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, where she spent many years in its professional core. She has participated in Carnegie Hall’s Professional Choral Workshops, and has been a soloist with the Handel & Haydn Society, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. Debbie is a member and former president of Professional Dimensions, the leading professional women’s organization in Milwaukee.
Today Debbie enjoys a busy retirement. In addition to singing with the Milwaukee Symphony, Debbie is a member of the MSO's Chairmen's Council, is on the board of Milwaukee's Civic Music Association and Chorus America.
A member of the University of Alberta Department of Music faculty since 1981, Leonard Ratzlaff obtained his graduate degrees in choral conducting from University of Iowa. His doctoral dissertation on Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum was awarded the Julius Herford Dissertation Award by ACDA. His duties at University of Alberta include co-supervising the graduate program in choral conducting and conducting the Madrigal Singers, a group that has distinguished itself at several national and international competitions and has produced five CD recordings. He recently completed a five-year term as chair of the Department. In addition to his work with the Madrigal Singers, he directs the Richard Eaton Singers, a symphonic chorus that frequently collaborates with the ESO and that has toured both in Canada and abroad. Under his direction, the Eaton Singers have presented many of the major choral-orchestral works, including the Passions of Bach, oratorios of Elgar, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn, and Requiems by Brahms, Britten, Duruflé and Verdi. In recent years this choir has premiered new works for chorus and orchestra by Canadian composers John Estacio, Christos Hatzis and Allan Gilliland, as well as other choral works by Ruth Watson Henderson, Imant Raminsh and Mark Sirett. He has guest conducted the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Calgary Bach Society, Edmonton Symphony, National Youth Choir of Canada, Pro Coro Canada and the Winnipeg Singers. Honours include induction into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame, the University of Alberta Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Alberta Order of Excellence, Order of Canada and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Prof. Ratzlaff is a frequent adjudicator, clinician and guest lecturer in Canada and the US.
Susan Erburu Reardon has served on the Board of the Los Angeles Master Chorale Association since March 1992 and as Vice Chair, Strategic Initiatives, since 2011. She provides strategic advice to nonprofit organizations through her consulting company, InCITE Nonprofit Advising. As a licensed California attorney, Ms. Reardon currently practices law in South Pasadena, California as Susan Erburu Reardon, Attorney at Law, with expertise in nonprofit law and governance, entertainment and intellectual property law, and labor and employment law.
Ms. Reardon has over 30 years of experience as an attorney, including with the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she practiced law for seventeen years and was a firm litigation partner for seven years. She then served as a nonprofit executive for over fifteen years with KCET, the independent community public television resource for Southern and Central California (now KCETLink). Ms. Reardon joined KCET in 1997 as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. In 2004, she was promoted to Executive Vice President and General Counsel, assuming responsibility for obtaining grants from charitable foundations for programming, production and general operations. From December 2010 through October 2012, she served as Chief Development Officer at KCET, part of the three-person Office of the President. As such, she was responsible for management of KCET’s fundraising efforts, including major gifts, planned giving, foundations and government grants, membership, corporate underwriting, and special events.
Ms. Reardon graduated with her A.B. in History magna cum laude from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) in 1977, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Iota of Massachusetts Chapter (now Alpha Iota of Massachusetts), in her Junior year, and received her J.D. in 1980 from Harvard Law School. Ms. Reardon’s numerous community activities include serving as a Trustee of Idyllwild Arts Foundation, which supports the Idyllwild Summer Program and the Idyllwild Arts Academy, which provides pre-professional training in the arts and a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum for young artists, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Radcliffe Choral Society Foundation, and as a director of the Pfaffinger Foundation. Ms. Reardon and her husband George currently pursue their lifelong avocation as choral singers with the Los Robles Master Chorale, conducted by Artistic Director Lesley Leighton.
Earl Rivers, Conductor, is Professor of Music, Director of Choral Studies, and Head of the Division of Ensembles and Conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). U.S. News and World Report has recognized his graduate conducting program as among the top five in the U.S.A., and his Choral Program at www.ccm.uc.edu/choral holds the Dale Warland Singers Score Library and Archives, the most significant collection of contemporary choral music in the U.S.A. Music Director Emeritus of the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, a professional chamber choir, Rivers and the VAE received two ASCAP-Chorus America Awards for “Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music.” Rivers has led CCM forces in the cycle of J.S. Bach’s masterworks and before national and division ACDA conventions. He has conducted acclaimed university and regional premieres of John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, Tan Dun’s Water Passion after St. Matthew, Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5, and Penderecki’s Credo. He has conducted the Korean premiere of Arvo Pärt's Berliner Mass and recently guest conducted and led masterclasses at the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China and the Taipei International Choral Festival in Taiwan. Adjudicator and Lecturer at the World Choir Games in Shaoxing in 2010, he has been named Artistic Director U.S.A. for the World Choir Games Cincinnati 2012. In July 2011 he leads the Festival Chorus at the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece. Rivers is a recipient of Choral America’s “Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Choral Art,” honoring a lifetime of significant contributions to the professional choral art.
Janet Sarbaugh is program director of the Arts & Culture Program for The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with combined assets of over $1 billion. The program focuses on three major goals: expanding opportunities for arts learning and participation; building regional creative capital; and advancing Pittsburgh as a cultural center.
Prior to joining the foundation field, Sarbaugh held an internship with the Council on Foundations and was Assistant to the President at Chatham College in Pittsburgh.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, a master's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master's degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon University. She serves on the Board of Chorus America and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Arts Education Partnership. She has previously served on the boards of Grantmakers in the Arts, Americans for the Arts, Leadership Pittsburgh, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. She is a member of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. In 1995, she received City Theatre's Robert M. Frankel Award for leadership in the Pittsburgh arts community.
Roger W. Sherman is the CEO of Loft Recordings, a publisher of high-quality choral and organ music. He has been the executive producer for over 100 choral and organ recordings and has engineered, edited, and mastered dozens of recordings for Loft Clarion, Gothic, and reZound. During his tenure, Loft has become an international leader in its field and has been awarded several Grammy nominations. In addition, Sherman is the artistic director of the Orcas Choral Society, and has been associate organist at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle for 25 years.
André J. Thomas, the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University. A previous faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Thomas received his degrees from Friends University (BA), Northwestern University (MM), and the University of Illinois (DMA). He is in demand as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia.
Thomas has conducted choirs at the state, division, and national conventions of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). His international conducting credits are extensive. They include conductor/clinician for the International Federation for Choral Music, summer residency of the World Youth Choir in the Republic of China and the Philippines, winter residency of the World Youth Choir in Europe, and a premiere performance by an American choir (Florida State University Singers) in Vietnam. He has been the guest conductor of such distinguished orchestras and choirs as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Choir, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Charlotte Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, China’s People’s Liberation Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Since 1988, he has also served as Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus.
Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. Hinshaw Music Company, Mark Foster Music Company, Fitzsimons Music Company, Lawson Gould, earthsongs, Choristers Guild, and Heritage Music Company publish his compositions and arrangements. In addition to his music and several instructional videos, he also recently published a book: Way Over in Beulah Lan’: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual.