MENU

You are here

Presenters

Kurt Ala-Kantti

Kurt Ala-Kantti
Kurt has been the Director of Tone Cluster - quite a queer choir since 2011. He is also artistic director and founder of Harmonia Choir of Ottawa, an acclaimed chorus he started in 2003 to promote and perform the music of Canadian and local composers in addition to traditional choral music. Mr. Ala-Kantti also serves as Artistic Director for the Ottawa Brahms Choir, the Cross Town Youth Chorus, and the Cumberland Community Singers, and founded the Ottawa Folk Choir as a "feeder choir" for Harmonia. Kurt has been a singing member of several local choruses, and is currently singing professionally with the renowned Ottawa Bach Choir.

 

Bev Alter

Beverly Alter
Bev serves on the GALA Board of Directors, and has recently completed her terms as President of the board of directors of Diversity: the Voices of Southern Florida.  She is also an experienced real estate broker who is proud of her relationships with her customers, and offers unlimited referrals to attest to her knowledge and sales ability. Ms. Alter has a BS in Education from the University of Connecticut.

Melinda Taylor

Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold currently serves as Marketing Manager for Flying House Productions, home of Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus. He also serves on the board of directors for GALA Choruses, and previously worked for the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus as their first Executive Director.

Travis Ballard

Travis Ballard
Travis sings with the Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus, and has served on their board of directors as treasurer. He is also part of the core company of actors and readers in Albert Invincible Theater.

 

Charles Beale

Dr. Charles Beale
Charlie has been Artistic Director of New York City Gay Men's Chorus since 2007, after having been Music Director of London Gay Men's Chorus for 5 years and Director of the Royal College of Music Big Band. Dr. Beale directed a 200-voice pan-Australian LGBT chorus at the annual Out and Loud LGBT choral festival in 2013, and was co-artistic director of London's Various Voices LGBTQ choral festival in 2009. Charlie's playing career included national radio broadcasts and London West End theatre work. He has playing and arranging credits on albums and singles by pop artists such as Whitney Houston. Charlie has co-authored two best-selling Popular Voiceworks (OUP) books with Steve Milloy, and his Jazz Piano from Scratch series (Hal Leonard/ABRSM) continues to be a standard educational tool.

 

Sue Bell

Sue Bell
Sue is the Director of Member Services for GALA Choruses. She has a BA in English and certificates in Secondary Education and Women's Studies. She has worked as a data analyst and client service manager for big data pioneer Management Science Associates, and as a sound engineer and host/DJ for public radio stations.

 

Joseph Buches

Joseph J. Buches
Joe has been Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus since 2004. He also has served as the Director of Choral Music at The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA since 1998, and was appointed Chair of the Music Department in 2000. He has been an adjunct vocal music faculty member at Penn State University. He holds a BS in Music Education and has done extensive graduate work in conducting and study in the field of Music Technology. Joe is a member of the American Choral Directors' Association (ACDA) and the National Association for Music Educators. He also serves on the board of directors for GALA Choruses.

 

Eve Campbell

Eve Campbell
Eve has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past 25 years, including stints as the Executive Director of The Women's Chorus of Dallas, Chorus Manager for One Achord, and President of the GALA Choruses Board of Directors, during which time Eve began working with member choruses to help with fund development, strategic planning, crisis intervention, annual planning, and other board issues. Ms. Campbell believes that every nonprofit group can flourish with mission-driven strategic planning and the adoption of Best Practices. This belief led her to consult with Big Apple Performing Arts, San Diego Women's Chorus, Heartland Men's Chorus, Windy City Performing Arts and The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington DC, to name but a few. Honors include the Extra Mile Award for her work in the Dallas lesbian community, and GALA Choruses' Legacy Award.

 

Miriam Davidson

Miriam Davidson
Miriam is the Artistic Director of Anna Crusis Women’s Choir. A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and choral director, she grew up in a family where playing music was a natural as breathing. Ms. Davidson served as Associate Director and head of songwriting for the National Guitar Summer Workshop and formed a band with Kiya Heartwood called Wishing Chair, which has toured extensively and has garnered awards from the folk and GLBTQ communities; she has recorded and co-produced eight CDs. Before moving to Philadelphia, Miriam began her choral directing career as the Music Director of the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in South Carolina; she is currently Choral Director at the Unitarian Congregation of West Chester PA, and core staff for the Southeast Unitarian Summer Institute.

 

Steven Edwards

Stephen Edwards
Stephen is the founder/AD of Allegrezza, a new, all inclusive, semi-professional chorus that sings for a world in which everyone is equal and celebrated. Mr. Edwards is the former AD of Windy City Performing Arts; he also sings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Chorus, and teaches voice and french horn. He holds a BA in Music Education and a Master of Music from Baylor. Stephen serves on the GALA Choruses Board of Directors.

 

robin godfrey

Robin Godfrey
Robin is a long-time lover of choral music with a broad background in business. After beginning her accounting and finance career at Deloitte & Touche and Duquesne Light, she co-owned a coal byproduct recycling company and is currently president of Godfrey Consulting. Ms. Godfrey has served on the board of directors for Renaissance City Choirs and Dreams of Hope, and worked as a financial consultant to GALA Choruses before being appointed Executive Director in February 2007, a position she fills with dedication and joy. Robin formed Godfrey Consulting in 2005 and is a member of the American Society of Association Executives.

 

Gerald Gurss

Gerald Gurss
Gerald is the artistic director for the One Voice Chorus and Sotto Voce in Charlotte. He holds a Master's degree in Voice with a choral cognate from Miami University, where he was the assistant director for the Men's Glee Club and prepared a chorus for the Cincinnati Ballet. Mr. Gurss led the music and drama program at the Leavenworth Catholic Schools and was an adjunct professor of music at Kansas City Community College. Gerald has written works for One Voice Charlotte, the Gay Men's Chorus of Charlotte, Providence UM Church, the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus and Sine Nomine, and was honored with The Gay Men's Chorus' 2014 Unsung Hero Award.

 

Bennyce Hamilton

Bennyce Hamilton
Bennyce is the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Wilmington College in the Cincinnati area, where she was also a professor at Cincinnati State College and a high school English teacher. Ms. Hamilton is also a paramedic and firefighter who sings with MUSE.

 

Susan Haugh

Susan Haugh
Susan is the founding Executive/Artistic Director of Dreams of Hope arts group for queer youth and allies, and the Renaissance City Women's Choir. She has served on the GALA Board of Directors and was co-chair of the 2004 Festival in Montreal. Ms. Haugh has a BFA in Composition, an MA in Music Education, and Certification in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. She has been the recipient of several grants and commissions and has conducted many groups, including the Westmoreland Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Vidin (Bulgaria) Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Equality Forum Festival Chorus. Susan has written numerous works and arrangements for groups from coast to coast. Susan has always seen performance as a vehicle for beauty, empowerment and education.

 

Jeff Heine

Jeff Heine
Jeff has served as Executive Director of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus since 2009; prior to his current role he served on the Board of Directors as chair of Resource Development. Mr. Heine arrived at TCGMC after a twenty-year career with Carlson Companies, a global leader in the marketing, hospitality and travel industries, where he was Director of Customer Strategy, and also served as a trustee of the Marketing Science Institute. Jeff is an experienced CRM professional and is trained in Six Sigma methodology.

 

June Huelskamp
JonahYokoyama

June Huelskamp, MSW,LISW-S and Jonah Yokoyama, RN
June, who sings with MUSE, is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist and Life Coach with 20 years of experience and specialties in family relationships, adjustment disorders and GLBTQ issues. She is founder of Latitude Therapeutic Practices, LLC and works closely with trans* people in private practice and as an Advisor to Heartland Trans* Wellness Group.

Jonah is the Transition Care Services Director of Heartland Trans* Wellness Group, and a member of MUSE's 5th Section. He is also a registered nurse, transman, artist, gamer, and nature-lover.

 

Rhonda Juliano

Rhonda Juliano
Rhonda is Artistic Director of MUSE; before coming to Cincinnati, she was Assistant Conductor of the Seattle Women's Chorus and the outreach ensemble Sensible Shoes. Ms. Juliano is also the founder of Diverse Harmony, the nation's first gay/straight alliance youth chorus, and has a long history of teaching in public schools. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting, and is a member of Chorus America, ACDA, and the Music Educators Association.

 

Paul Kruse

Paul William Kruse
Paul is the Director of Communications for GALA Choruses, and enjoys a diverse creative path working as a freelance communications specialist, a playwright, artist and independent film/video maker. Paul is a founding member of Hatch Arts Collective, which is in its second year and has been identified as a growing presence in the Pittsburgh performing arts community. Paul has worked as filmmaker in residence at Northwestern University and as communications specialist for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Jesuits. He currently works with arts organizations in Pittsburgh, including Dreams of Hope and Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Paul is working on finding creative ways for our member choruses to share their stories with one other and is increasing GALA's social media presence.

 

Diana Lillicrap
Wendy Ruyle

Diana Lillicrap & Wendy Ruyle
In our session, "Communications Design and Strategy" we will be using hands-on activities to explore four key ways GALA Choruses can ratchet up our brand and achieve better communications results. 5 by 5 Design is celebrating eight years of business, and has won an American Web Design Award, a GDUSA American Package Design Award, and a distinctive American Graphic Design & Advertising Best of Category Award. Ms. Lillicrap & Ms. Ruyle are co-founders of the Minnesota Do-Gooders Club, and have presented at the Nonprofit Technology and Communications Conference Wendy is a leader and collaborator who excels at bringing people and ideas together, is an expert of the power of strategic design and is the lead creative on the 5 by 5 Design team. Sometimes referred to as "the velvet hammer," Diana is the marketing guru on the team; as an MBA and a former design manager for a Fortune 100 company, she combines keen business sense with design sensibility to achieve results.

 

Mitch Menchaca

Mitch Menchaca
Mitch is the Chief Operating Officer of Chorus America, Board Chair of The Association of American Cultures, a Board member of the Robert E. Gard Foundation and an advisory board member of Artisphere, an urban arts center in Arlington VA. Prior to Chorus America, he was Director of Local Arts Advancement at American for Arts and Senior Director of Programs for the Arizona Commission on the Carts. Mitch has a BLS in Arts and Public Administration and is on the faculty of the Center for Progressive Leadership, a national political training institute that develops diverse leaders who can effectively advance progressive political and policy change.

 

Bob Mensel

Dr. Robert Mensel
Bob has been the Artistic Director of the 165-voice Portland Gay Men's Chorus for the past 20 years, after having conducted the Salt Lake Men's Choir, co-founded the Salt Lake Choral Scholars, and sat on the panel for Arts Industry Development Grants of the Oregon Arts Commission. He holds a BA in Music History, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting, and a PhD in Music History; his doctoral dissertation was on the creation, performance, and meaning of new works written for LGBT choruses. Dr. Mensel currently serves as the GALA Choruses 411 Artistic Director Advisor.

 

Jane R Miller

Jane Ramseyer Miller
Jane is in her 20th year as Artistic Director for One Voice Mixed Chorus in Minnesota. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting and uses both degrees every day. Prior to her work with OVMC, Jane was Music Director for TransVoices, Calliope Women's Chorus, Fierra Voce Femmina, and Voices for Peace youth choir. She especially enjoys creative community collaborations and has created choral music with 15-Head Theater Lab, The Women's Cancer Resource Center, Shakopee Women's Correctional Facility, Kairos Dance Theatre, Mu Daiko, Teens Rock the Mic, and District 202, among others. In 2010, Jane received the ACDA VocalEssence Award for Creative Programming, and the ACDA Minnesota Advocate for Choral Excellence (ACE) Award and was recently given the Tikkun Olam "Healing the World Award" for a project exploring GLBT and Jewish music of the Holocaust. In 2008 she received the GALA Choruses Legacy Award for her conducting, innovative programming and commitment to community outreach. Jane has been GALA Choruses' Artistic Director since 2010, and also has been Executive Director of One Voice as well as Operations Manager of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

 

Joseph Nadeau

Dr. Joseph Nadeau
Joe has just completed his first year as Artistic Director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. Before coming to GMCLA, Joe was the AD of Heartland Men's Chorus and the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. He has a BA in Music Education, an MA in Choral Conducting and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. During his 15 years as conductor of HMC, Joe led the chorus to invitational performances at national Chorus America and ACDA conferences, a European tour and multiple collaborative performances with other GALA Choruses. He has commissioned over 100 new works and arrangements, produced eight commercial CDs and two DVDs. Dr. Nadeau is an active member of ACDA and regularly serves as a guest speaker, presenter, clinician, and adjudicator. "Being involved in the chorus," says Joe, "means belonging to and creating a movement where we are telling our stories through music".

 

Jefferson Packer

Jefferson Packer
Mr. Packer is Tour Manager with ACFEA Tour Consultants, where he has been creating custom tours – incorporating festivals, competitions, exchanges and other unique arrangements - for performing arts groups throughout the world. Jefferson is also a Baritone with American Bach Soloists and has prior experience as Director of Administration for Walden School, Youth Orchestra Manager for the San Francisco Symphony, Manager of Finance, Human Resources, and Information Technology for the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

 

Ben Riggs

Dr. Ben Riggs
Ben is the Artistic Director of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus and previously served as AD of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus and the Boulder Chorale. He currently performs with The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists. An experienced church musician, Ben serves as the Chancel Choir Director at Richfield UM Church in Minneapolis, and is a founding member of Firesign, a Denver-based professional vocal quartet with whom he has recorded two albums. Dr. Riggs holds a BA in Piano, an MM in Choral Conducting and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Literature and Performance. He has been an adjunct faculty member at Regis University and Iliff School of Theology. For the past three years, Ben has served on the Board of Directors of GALA Choruses and is the current Vice President.

 

Patrick Roehrenbeck

Patrick Roehrenbeck
Patrick is proud to be the Executive Director for the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus since 2011. He has been working in the non-profit sector for the past 11 years; prior to becoming ED of the chorus, Patrick worked for the Ohio Historical Society, the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and the Contemporary American Theatre Company. He's an experienced fundraiser, volunteer manager, grant writer, and program development manager with experience in public relations, communications, and marketing. Patrick continues to donate his time and efforts to strengthen the arts and social awareness throughout Central Ohio. Looking forward in Columbus, Patrick will work closely with both the Artistic Staff and the Board of Directors to develop opportunities for the chorus and its members. Patrick looks forward to strengthening CGMC's place in Central Ohio's arts and cultural community.

 

Kim Singleton

Kim Singleton
Kim sings with Anna Crusis Women’s Choir and serves on the chorus board of directors. She is a Speech Therapist (MS in Speech Pathology) in private practice in Philadelphia. Some of the philosophical cornerstones that inform Ms. Singleton’s personal & professional life include "The inherent worth and dignity of every person", "Scientific research should inform ... data-driven decisions [in professional practice]", and "There is usually more than one solution to a problem."

 

Steve Smith

Steven F. Smith
Steve began his tenure as Executive Director of Revels, Inc. in March 2011. Previously he led the Boston Gay Men's Chorus through an unprecedented period of growth in which he tripled its annual audience and grew its budget four-fold. Mr. Smith has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and has worked in film, television and Broadway painting scenery and doing illustrations for newspapers and magazines. Steve's work has been shown extensively in area galleries, has been featured in many shows, and is in the permanent collection at the Ellarsie Museum in Trenton. As a presenter and consultant, Steve has worked with national non-profits and has given seminars on strategic planning, audience development, marketing, and fundraising for ArtsBoston, Greater Boston Choral Consortium and for national conferences of GALA Choruses and Chorus America. Mr. Smith currently serves on the boards of ArtsBoston and GALA Choruses and is a past board chair of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium.

 

Melinda Taylor

Melinda Taylor
Mindy has been helping individuals and organizational leadership orchestrate change for more than twenty years. She was co-founder and principal consultant with CorporateHOPE, a management consulting and leadership development firm serving a variety of professions across the corporate, public and nonprofit sectors. Ms. Taylor was a Vice-President of Manchester Consulting, and has held human resources leadership posts with UNUM Corporation, Kimberly-Clark, and Morse, Payson & Noyes. Mindy holds a Masters of Education from the University of Oregon and has completed a variety of professional development programs, including two years study with the Pennsylvania Gestalt Institute. She sings in the Anna Crusis Women's Choir, and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for GALA Choruses.

 

Joann Usher

Joann Usher
Joann is Executive Director of the Rainbow Health Initiative, and has thirty years of non-profit management experience, financial expertise, strategic planning, and fund-raising and grant-writing success. Ms. Usher has been Director of Progress Valley recovery program, Director of Development for Little Brothers, and the Director of United Theological Seminary. She was Executive Director of the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus and Cantus, during which time she negotiated complex artistic contracts and licensing, and increased organization revenues. Joann is completing her second consecutive term on the GALA Choruses board of directors and recently served two years as President.

 

Dr. Karen Yair

Dr. Karen Yair
Karen is a professional consultant who's been working with non-profits and governments in the US and UK since 2001. She is currently on the board of directors for Big Apple Performing Arts, the management organization for the NYC Gay Men's Chorus and Youth Pride Chorus. As a strategist, Dr. Yair uses research data to plan programs, organizational strategies and public policies that harness creativity for social and economic gain; as a research investigator, she works to articulate the social and economic value of the arts and creative industries. Projects have included impact studies, audience research, business trends R&D, program evaluations and the implementation of public policies. Dr. Yair is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.