A Letter from Our Directors
Dear Friends, Family, and Community Members,
We find ourselves at a very strange time — amid a horrible pandemic that has greatly affected our operations. The 2019-20 season started off with incredible strength — record donations, record ticket sales, and two tremendous concerts. Not even a couple of weeks after our Pure Imagination concert, Santa Clara County went into forced shelter-in-place due to the coronavirus pandemic and our in-person rehearsals ended for the year.
Despite not performing our final concert of the year, we incurred only a minor loss — $4100. We likely would have had a slight net gain with the revenue from the two performances of Seeking, our May concert. Our ability to keep the loss so low was due to bringing in $3000 more in donations than we anticipated. In addition, our ticket sales for Ring Out and Pure Imagination were significantly above our expectations. All great news.
We spent the last three months of the season educating ourselves about COVID-19 and brainstorming about how to keep our singers and audience members engaged. Since Resounding Achord Productions (RAP) is all about creating community through song, we had to find creative ways to help keep that community healthy, both figuratively and literally.
This annual report focuses on three things:
- The amazing successes that we had during the first three-quarters of the season
- The adjustments that we made for the final quarter
- The financial details of our year
We wish you and your family health and happiness despite the trials of 2020.
With love and appreciation,
Kristina Nakagawa & Jan Clayton
Artistic Accomplishments — Where Performance Meets Collaboration
Instrumental Collaboration — Ring Out
Even though the 2019-2020 season was our seventh, there were quite a few “firsts” for Resounding Achord. While collaborations with other choirs and solo instrumentalists have been a part of Resounding Achord Productions since our founding, Ring Out (December 8 & 15, 2019) gave us our first opportunity to collaborate with an instrumental ensemble. Bay Bells is one of the nation’s longest-running community handbell ensembles, and Kendra Symonds (Resounding Achord alto) serves as their Music Director.
The two groups worked together on seven pieces and each performed sets on their own as well. The sound that was created with nearly 50 singers and over 100 bells and chimes was something truly remarkable. The final piece of the evening involved the choir, American Sign Language interpretation, handbells, piano, recorder, and the entire audience singing “Silent Night.” It was an incredible way to proclaim a message of peace on earth. Over 325 people attended the two concerts and we generated $6,178 in ticket sales and donations through our giving tree.
“Attending the Ring Out holiday concert of Resounding Achord, I felt like I was in a place where I just wanted to stay … and never have to leave. This ensemble is simply a wonderful gift to the community.“
— Jane Harris
Ring Out was also the first time we created both an audio and video archive recording. Jonathan Pedroni of Tesoro Studios provided the equipment and expertise needed to create a really wonderful recording that we will be able to refer to and enjoy for many years to come. You can listen to many of these pieces on our YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsUtn9l0pvzHF8r9kzVJmBQ.
The Devil Made Us Do It! — Pure Imagination
In honor of Leap Day, our artistic team created a program that celebrated the extra day of the year with music that is unique and whimsical. Pure Imagination (February 29, 2020) featured music about planets, a boat in the sky, our true love of mashed potatoes, facts about coconuts, and Stevie Wonder’s superstitions. After hearing “Satan Hates Music” by Kirke Mechem, you might have said, “The Devil made us do it!”
We shared our recording of “Satan Hates Music” with Mr. Mechem and he replied with, “Your Resounding Achord is a really fine chorus! I know that it must be very hard to keep things going during the pandemic; I wish you all the best for a speedy comeback. And thanks to all of you for giving me such a lift!”
West Valley College’s Concert Choir, under the direction of Lou De La Rosa, joined us on the program. They performed six pieces, including the virtuosic “Of Crows and Clusters” by Norman Dello Joio, selections from Eric Whitacre’s hilarious “Animal Crackers” suite, and the tongue-in-cheek “Short People” by Randy Newman and Simon Carrington. We feel so fortunate to be able to collaborate with such a fine Community College choir.
Had we known before the concert that it would be our last public performance for a while, we might have programmed even more fun music! We will keep the memory of the laughter and joy of that event close for quite some time. Our tally indicated that 210 people were in attendance and we generated ~$3000 in ticket sales. $500 of the revenue was given to the West Valley Music Department for their participation.
Seeking — The Concert Yet to Happen
When the county-wide shelter-in-place first began in March, we thought we might be able to still have a concert in May. Alas, that was not the case. The music of Seeking features composers who are entirely American minorities: immigrants, women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Each piece centers on something that we “seek” as humans, including love, community, salvation, nourishment, and belonging. We are committed to sharing this program, and it will likely be the first music that we sing publicly when we are able to reconvene, once it is safe to do so.
In lieu of preparing for a May concert, the singers of Resounding Achord met together online — thank goodness for Zoom — to maintain the singing community that we have worked so hard to build. We sang, celebrated life’s milestones, learned new techniques, played games, and worked together on our first of many virtual performance offerings that we are affectionately calling Resounding Apart. We plan to continue this work until we can rehearse together again, with the goal of releasing monthly videos to our extended community.
Zoom rehearsals — status quo for Spring 2020 and the foreseeable future
Regional and All-State Honor Choir Scholarships
We were lucky to have exceptional donor support early in the 2019-20 season, which allowed us to increase the funds to our Honor Choir Scholarship program. Although we didn’t increase the number of awards that we gave, the cost of the All-State Honor Choir participants fee increased from $200 to $360 dollars, thereby increasing the need for funds from $7000 to $8600.
“Thank you so much for this. I will not let this go to waste. My family is relieved and we can focus on helping my mother. You are really making dreams come true.” — Richard G., (high-school singer)
We have awarded regional scholarships every year since our 2013-14 season, as indicated in the table below. It saddens us to know that the Fall 2020 Regional Honor Choir has been canceled; however, we have learned that the Winter 2021 All-State Honor Choir program will be held virtually. It is our intent to support that program generously. Although the experience for the students will be different, it is still an important experience for young singers.
“The California Choral Directors Association is incredibly lucky to have partnered with Resounding Achord to sponsor some of our neediest California Honor Choir students. We are extra fortunate that Resounding Achord understands firsthand the benefits of this financial assistance to our singers. Resounding Achord’s continued financial support demonstrates the value of choral music not just to the student recipients, but also their families, their teachers, and their communities. Their contribution has changed countless lives.” — Molly Peters, CCDA All-State Honor Choir Chair
For historical and financial information about our Honor Choir Scholarship program, click here.
The 5th Annual Summer Conducting Lab
It was again our privilege to produce and manage the Summer Conducting Lab in collaboration with. Dr. Jeffrey Benson at San Jose State University (SJSU) as part of their Three Summer Master’s Program in Music Education. We again had a marvelous turnout for the program. The summer master’s students are music educators, and many are conductors of community or school ensembles. The SJSU program offers advanced conducting instruction as part of their program; however, because their residency is held during the summer, there are no ensembles at SJSU for the students to conduct. Our lab provides a live conducting opportunity for the students.< Each year the program follows a basic framework:
- There are 5-6 evening sessions — typically two evening sessions per week for a 3-week period.
- Conductors sign up for one or more 20–40 minute conducting time slots and arrive prepared to conduct 1–3 pieces.
- The conductors can either be members of SJSU’s Three Summer Master’s Program, regular-term students at SJSU, or community members who are seeking an opportunity to sharpen their conducting skills.
- There is no participation fee for conductors or singers, and all music is lent to the conductors and singers free of charge for the program.
- We invite and welcome singers of any age and any level to be part of the choir. They don’t have to make a commitment to show up for all or even most of the sessions, and singers do not need to practice.
- Dr. Jeffrey Benson and Kristina Nakagawa give instruction and written feedback to the conductors.
“Summer Conducting Lab is a great opportunity to learn and improve one’s choir conducting skills with a real, well-trained chorus. Dr. Benson and Ms. Nakagawa instruct the conductors on the exact skills they need to improve. They provide positive and productive advice, and give clear conducting skill demonstrations for the students to copy. I highly recommend this lab to all students and less-experienced choir conductors!’’ — Miyuki Mori, community choir conductor
We are proud to say that our lab chorus members come from all over the Bay Area, and are very diverse in both race and age. Summer 2019 was our first year of extending the program to individuals under the age of 16. We thought that the program might be too advanced and intimidating to young singers; however, we had a request from a mother of a 14-year-old boy who wanted to participate. We extended the invitation as long as a parent was in attendance. The youngster had such a good time, we plan on opening up the program to others in the future.
“The Summer Lab Choir during the SJSU summer masters program is by far one of the best and most transformative experiences of the program. Having the experience of working with a live choir that really responds to each movement you make, and having a clinician on hand to give you direct feedback that you can try in that moment is incredible.” — Lydia Fisher-Lasky, SJSU Summer Masters Program student
At the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year, SJSU informed us that they canceled the residency portion of the Summer program, and therefore, there was no need for the 2020 Summer Conducting Lab. Shortly after that announcement, it became clear that all gatherings would not be allowed in Santa Clara County during the summer. Our plans are to continue the program in the Summer of 2021.
For more information about the history of the conducting lab, click here.
Our staff is still very small. We have one paid employee, our Artistic Director, Kristina Nakagawa. The remainder of the work is performed by volunteers. Although we hope to expand our administrative staff, we are not eager to do so at this time. Our plan is to run the organization with volunteers for as long as possible, enabling us to reserve our funds to support artistic and outreach projects.
Kristina Nakagawa, Artistic Director, Founder
Kristina Nakagawa has been performing and conducting in Silicon Valley since 2001. She is the founding Artistic Director of Resounding Achord, and was recently named the incoming Artistic Director of Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose, beginning January 2021. Her previous experiences include directing the Junior, Teen, and Adult Choirs at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Willow Glen, serving as the Interim Director of Choral Activities at San José State University in Spring 2019, and teaching 7-12 grade music at Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills. Her choirs consistently received superior rankings at California Music Educator Association festivals and Gold awards at Heritage Festivals. She has prepared choirs for the Faure Requiem, John Rutter’s Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Mozart Requiem, Hadyn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and the Bernstein Mass.
Ms. Nakagawa sang and served as the Assistant Conductor for The Choral Project from 2005 to 2012. During this time, The Choral Project won First Prize at the 2007 California International Choral Festival in San Luis Obispo and was invited to participate in the 2011 International Concorso Corale in Tolosa, Spain. She can be heard on their recordings Winter, One is the All, Tell the World, and Yuletide.
As a soloist, Ms. Nakagawa has performed cabaret shows at Society Cabaret in San Francisco and San Jose, Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose, and also at Limelight Theatre in Gilroy. She was featured in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus production of Enchantingly Wicked with Stephen Schwartz at Davies Symphony Hall, and has performed with Foothill Musical Theatre, South Bay Musical Theatre, and the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus.
Ms. Nakagawa holds a degree in Vocal Performance from UC Irvine, a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from San José State University, and has additional training in the Kodály method from Holy Names University. Her mentors and teachers include Mahlon Schanzenbach, Joseph Huszti, and Dr. Charlene Archibeque. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, California Music Educators Association, and Chorus America, and has served on the California Choral Directors Association board since 2015.
Andrew Hathaway, Assistant Conductor
Andrew has been actively involved in Bay Area choral music since 2014. He currently works as a music teacher in the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, where he teaches vocal and instrumental music. Previously, Andrew served as the Director of Music at the Church of the Epiphany in San Carlos, and as a student assistant at J.L. Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto.
Outside of Resounding Achord, Andrew is also a member of the Fog City Singers, a world-class men’s ensemble based in San Francisco. Fog City regularly competes in the Barbershop Harmony Society circuit, and is dedicated to bringing music from all choral styles to their Bay Area audience. In addition, Andrew regularly performs with Choral Audacity, a new chamber ensemble with a vision of diversity and inclusion that serves young singers in the East Bay.
Andrew graduated from San José State University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. During his time at SJSU, he performed with the Concert Choir, Spartan Glee Club, Pitch, Please!, Peninsula Cantare, and the internationally renowned Choraliers. Under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Benson, Andrew toured with the Choraliers throughout California, and to New York, Ireland, and the Baltic States.
Jan Clayton, Executive Director, Founder
Jan was RAP’s founding Board Chair and President. Early in RAP’s history, she worked closely with then Executive Director, Johnathon Atwood, to establish the administrative aspects of the organization. Jan took over as acting ED in 2014, and formally became the ED in 2017. Jan works as a volunteer.
Jan has been involved in singing organizations since the age of 8 — usually singing in three or more choirs at a time — and has spent much of that time promoting the choral arts. Soon after she joined The Choral Project in 2006 as a singer, she became involved in that group’s management. She spent one year each as Development Director and Outreach Director, and served as President of the Board for over two years, before the creation of Resounding Achord Productions.
Jan has a 30-year career in the high-tech industry, where she began as an Artificial Intelligence programmer. In 1991, she and a business partner founded Expert Support, a documentation, training, and application-development consulting firm. As COO, Jan ran the day-to-day operations of the firm for 20 years, which averaged about $2.5 million in annual income over her tenure. She is now retired from her COO job. In addition to working for RAP, Jan works as a part-time consultant and pistachio farmer.
Other Volunteer Staff Members
Doug Gillard Byron, Volunteer Coordinator
Kelli Ghanati, Special Events
Molly Shaw & Jeremy Harris, Collaborative Pianists
Board of Directors
Michelle Dreyband, Board Chairperson July 2019 – present, Board member since June 2017
Jason Brittsan, Treasurer since December 2012
Brian Gluth, Secretary since December 2012
Doug Gillard Byron, Member at Large since February 2017, resigned on June 30, 2020
Layna Chianakas, Member at Large since May 2018
Sarah Epstein, Board Chairperson through June 2016 – June 2019, Board member since April 2015
Molly Shaw, Member at Large since September 2017
Joanna Shreve, Member at Large since June 2019
Jo Taubert, Member at Large since May 2018
Bios of all the current board members can be found at https://resoundingachord.org/our-board-of-directors/
Dr. Charlene Archibeque
Dr. Jeffrey Benson
Resounding Achord Productions is a fiscally conservative organization. In the budget process, we slightly inflate our known expenses to cover some of the unknown expenses that might present themselves during the year, and we typically underestimate our annual revenue and donations. As a result, even if our budget projects a slight loss for the year, we typically come out in the black.
2019-20 Financial Summary
Until the COVID-19 pandemic took over our lives, the 2019-20 season was a strong success financially. Our donations were up substantially, and our costs were well under control despite the fact that we added the cost of creating video recordings of all our concerts.
|Total Income $49,701
– Total Expense $53,840
Net Revenue $-4,139
2019-20 End-of-Year Balance Sheet
We are extremely grateful to have had a significant number of major donors (donating more than $2,500 during a year) early in our existence. We liken it to having “angel investors.” This has enabled us to hire our Artistic Director and still accrue over $67K in assets, which provides the organization with the stability and flexibility to survive a downturn in the economy.
We received our first grant in 2019-20. We are very pleased that SVCreates, in partnership with the County of Santa Clara decided to support our efforts with $2,500. In addition, we applied for and were awarded a grant for 2020-21.
|Corporate Supporters||Individual Supporters|
The Epstein Family
The Salter Family
Michelle & Gene Dreyband
Gail & Doug Dolton
Brian Kroneman & Kelly Castellon
Faith & Joshua Lanam
Leslie & Craig Leve
Dana & Dan Luis
Melanie Nakagawa & Michael Marino
Melanie Nelson & Mac Caudill
Margaret & Chun Dong Ng
Shawn Wolfe & Christina O’Guinn
Lynn & Steve Overcashier
Thomas & Virginia Scott
Joan & Alan Smith
Peggy & Alan Spool