Our Board of Directors

Board Chairperson Michelle Dreyband michelled@resoundingachord.org
Treasurer Jason Brittsan treasurer@resoundingachord.org
Secretary Joanna Shreve secretary@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Layna Chianakas layna@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Sarah Epstein sarahe@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Naomi Hartwig naomih@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Wilfred Mathews wilm@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Molly Shaw mollyshaw@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Jo Taubert jo@resoundingachord.org

Board Member Bios

Michelle Dreyband (Board Chairperson)

Michelle has been singing in choirs since middle school and has never looked back from music! She joined Resounding Achord as a singer in the Fall of 2015 and enjoys the music, the camaraderie, and the travel opportunities. She holds a BM in Vocal Performance from San Jose State University, and sings both professionally and for fun. She has been the Youth Music Director at St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception in Los Gatos for over 12 years and often sings for weddings, funerals, and as a professional choir member for touring shows.

While studying at San Jose State, she had the opportunity to premiere a new opera through the opera workshop program and also became the chapter president of Mu Phi Epsilon, an international professional music fraternity. With a desire to make a difference in her community, Michelle received her MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University, and has worked in nonprofit management full time for the past three years. Michelle is currently the Executive Projects Manager, Communications and Development at Digital Promise, an organization working to improve education for all leveraging the power of technology.

Michelle brings expertise in volunteer management, event planning, box office management, communications, and development to the board. She also sits on the genARTS steering committee, whose mission is to empower creative individuals and emerging arts leaders in Silicon Valley.

Prior to her current role, Michelle worked for the San Francisco Symphony supporting all large-scale fundraising events and managing major donors and sponsors lists. She has also worked as the assistant box office manager at the Bing Concert Hall with Stanford Live.

Jason Brittsan (Treasurer & Founding Member)

Jason has been singing since he was 6 years old. As he grew, so did his interest in classical and choral music. He sang in choir, played in band, studied voice and piano privately, and went on to study music at the university level. From 1999 to 2011, Jason lived in Seattle and served as a cantor for St. Monica Parish and performed with The Esoterics, a world-renowned contemporary a cappella vocal ensemble, the Seattle Choral Company, and Illumni Men’s Chorale.  He also performed as a soloist in many concerts in the Puget Sound region. In 2011, Jason moved to the Bay Area and joined the world-class choir, The Choral Project, and continues to sing with them.

Prior to moving to San Jose, Jason served in the roles of Technology Consultant, Vice President, Acting Treasurer, and President of the Board of Directors of the Seattle Choral Company.  During his time with the SCC, he planned and implemented several initiatives to improve efficiency and reduce expenses through technology.  He also helped to implement a plan to repay organizational debt.

Jason has 14 years of experience working in the software industry as a tester, developer, and project/program manager. At Microsoft, he worked as a Software Development Engineer in Test on Internet Explorer and Windows Presentation Foundation.  Later, he was a Technical Program Manager for Windows Live Messenger and Exchange Server. At HTC, he worked as a Technical Program Manager focused on delivering customized user interfaces and features for mobile operators all over the world. At Apple, he works as an Engineering Project Manager for Internet Technologies.  Jason also does freelance web development and technology consulting work from time to time.

Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science and Music from Millikin University and a Master of Science degree in Information Technology (specializing in Systems Design & Programming) from Capella University.

Joanna Shreve (Secretary)

Joanna’s love of music was formed as she experienced WQXR (the classical radio station from NYC) playing as her father sat in the living room grading problem sets of his Cornell engineering students. By the age of nine, she was taking piano lessons and by eleven was also playing the flute. She was fortunate to be part of an excellent public school music program in high school in Ithaca, New York. Somewhat to the distress of her parents, she chose to pursue a career in music and was fortunate to be able to attend the Royal College of Music in London for three years, followed by getting a degree in musicology from Stanford University.

Due to some challenges with chronic asthma, she has maintained her involvement with music by supporting a number of wonderful music organizations – San Jose Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, Opera San Jose, San Francisco Chamber Music – and more recently attending almost every concert of Resounding Achord. Although not as familiar with the choral repertoire, the programming of Resounding Achord has been a joy to experience.

Coming from a family of educators has inspired Joanna’s interest in supporting educational institutions both philanthropically and with hands-on involvement. She has served on boards of institutions related to the Episcopal church and, for the last twenty-five years been involved with Santa Maria Urban Ministry, a social service agency in downtown San Jose, providing food, clothing, and educational programs for all ages to those living on the margins.

Having experienced a life filled with many blessings, it is a joy to be able to be part of the Board of Directors of Resounding Achord to more directly support its mission — to create a thriving and welcoming artistic community through musical accessibility, community involvement and educational outreach.

Layna Chianakas (Member at Large)

Mezzo-soprano, voice teacher, and stage director, Layna Chianakas has been hailed for her “vocal talents which are matched by her poignancy as an actress” (Des Moines Register) in her betrayal of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana. She has portrayed many leading opera roles including over 80 performances of Carmen, as well as Amneris in Aida, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, The Woman in Poulenc’s La voix humaine, the title role in La Perichole, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with countless opera companies throughout the country. Most recently, she was heard as The Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul with Dayton Opera.

Her stage directing credits include, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the National Opera Association’s award-winning Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Ravel’s The Bewitched Child/L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, a fully-staged and conceptualized Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Die Fledermaus/The Revenge of the Bat for the San José State Opera Theater. For Opera San José, she directed La voix humaine, Hansel & Gretel, Carmen, and Il barbiere di Siviglia.

As an active participant in the San José music community, she was the Director of Opera San José’s Summer Program for Singers and Pianists as well as Stage Director for Vivace Youth Chorus’ Summer Youth Opera, which saw her productions of Menotti’s Chip and His Dog and Krasa’s Brundibar.

Ms. Chianakas recently made her Carnegie Hall debut, sang the alto solos in the Lord Nelson Mass with the Limerick Music Festival in Limerick, Ireland, was the mezzo-soprano soloist for Dayton Opera’s Season Opening Spectacular, and returned to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra last January as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony No. 1. She also performed the second soprano solos in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, and was the mezzo-soprano soloist for the San Jose Wind Symphony’s Symphony No. 4 by Johan de Meij.

Ms. Chianakas is the principal voice teacher for the Valley Christian Conservatory of Music as well as the Artistic Director of the Assyrian Arts Institute. She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband and two children—her greatest productions.

Sarah Epstein (Outgoing Chairperson)

Sarah began her career as a serious hobby musician at the age of 5 when she started studying the piano. She later broadened her instrumental interests to include cello and guitar, but her passion for choral singing was kindled in the 6th grade when she joined the Eastman Children’s Chorus in Rochester, New York and sang in the legendary Eastman Theater. Since then, there has hardly been a time when she has not been part of a choir and she currently is a proud member of Resounding Achord’s alto section.

Having earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Boston University, Sarah worked at The Cambridge Hospital as a medical and psychiatric social worker and held a Harvard teaching appointment before moving to California. Once here, she shifted careers and for the past 15 years has worked as a recipe tester for Sunset Magazine as well as a freelance recipe tester and editor for cookbook and magazine writers.

Sarah has accumulated more than 20 years of experience serving on boards and committees of non-profit and charitable organizations. Among those, she was the Palo Alto High School Music Boosters President for 3 years and was an officer and volunteer for 4 more, organizing fundraising efforts and developing a robust parent support organization. To keep her foot in the door of her original profession, she served on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the BU School of Social Work and volunteered for 22 years, including 12 years on the board of directors, at the Northern California and Northern Nevada Alzheimer’s Association. During that time she served as a board officer, member of the strategic planning committee, national chapter assembly delegate, and chair of the program committee. She also chaired the Memories in the Making Art and Wine Auction for several years and was chair of the 2012 San Francisco Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which raised close to $1,000,000.

Sarah was the Chairperson of Resounding Achord’s board from August 2016 to June 2019.

Naomi Hartwig (Member at Large)

Naomi is currently the Music Director for the Theater, Visual and Performing Arts department at Presentation High School in San Jose. She has a BA degree in Music Education and a MA degree in Choral Conducting from San Jose State University.

Wil's photo

Wilfred Mathews (Member at Large)

Born and raised in Secunderabad, India, and encouraged by his parents from a very young age, Wil developed an immense fondness and a keen sense for harmony and singing, which aided in him learning to play the keyboards and read music, mostly on his own. He went on to become the Director and Accompanist of two local church choirs while still a teenager. After securing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering, he came to the US in 2000 to pursue a career in Software Technology. This opportunity also introduced him to several other musical genres and forms of harmonic expression, predominantly through a cappella.

Over the years, Wil has lived in various cities along the West Coast for work, and sang with numerous award-winning choral ensembles including the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland, The Choral Project and Voices in Harmony Barbershop Chorus in San Jose, the Sacramento Master Singers, the Fog City Singers in San Francisco and most recently, singing virtually with Resounding Apart. He studied voice privately with Dr. Robin Fisher, Professor of Voice at Sacramento State, and has founded and sung in several Barbershop Quartets including Western Addition (the 23rd placed Quartet at the 2019 Barbershop Harmony Society’s International Convention in Salt Lake City), as well as small vocal jazz groups including Prime Time, 2015 SF Bay Area Regional Champions and Finalists at the National Harmony Sweepstakes Contest held in San Rafael, CA that same year.

Today a proud voting citizen of the United States, Wil is fortunate to still be employed as a Software Engineer, while also grateful for the many singing and touring opportunities he’s had with many of the ensembles mentioned above, which have only augmented his passion for the Performing Arts, as well as opened his eyes to new cultures and schools of thought. He is delighted to be serving on a Board of Directors for the first time with Resounding Achord, and is looking forward to putting his many years of acquired experience in serving Arts organizations in various capacities, to good use. He hopes to be associated with this group for many years to come, and hopes to meet you, our many patrons, in the months and years ahead.

Molly Shaw (Member at Large)

Molly grew up in Livermore, California, where she studied piano from the age of 6 until 17 with Eugene Masluk, who placed a huge emphasis on sight-reading and sight-singing. Molly played the oboe in the Livermore High School orchestra as well as in the LHS Honor Band. She was also the accompanist for various choirs and soloists at school, and played in many pit orchestras in the Livermore community as the pianist or an oboist.

While still in high school, her first job was playing piano accompaniment for voice classes at Chabot College. At UC Berkeley, Molly studied languages, botany, anthropology, and geology, ending up with a degree in physical geography. She also sang in the University Chorus as well as the Collegium Musicum. Molly was also an accompanist in solo recitals and competitions at Berkeley.

After college, Molly followed her boyfriend to Ithaca, New York, where she worked part-time as a cartographer with the EPA, and part-time as the pianist for the Cornell University Theater Department, playing for musical productions, chamber-music classes, and ballet classes.

Molly has two single-subject teaching credentials: music and science. She was the music teacher at New Brighton Middle School in Capitola, CA, for 5 years, before switching to science, which she has been teaching at NBMS since 2004. In 2015, she finished her doctorate at UCSC in science education. Molly is also a lecturer at UCSC in the education department. In addition to middle-school teaching, Molly has been the union president in her district for several years. She is also a uniformed volunteer at Henry Coe State Park.

Jo Taubert (Member at Large)

Josephine “Jo” grew up in rural Illinois and began singing at the age of 7 at the only choir available at the Methodist Church. Since then she sang throughout high school and college, studying voice with several professors at the University of Illinois. She also studied flute from grade school through college. After a 10-year hiatus, which included moving to California, she began studying voice again and joined one choir after another, including the Choral Project. She earned a music certificate at Ohlone College. She joined Resounding Achord at its inception as a soprano.

Jo earned degrees from the University of Illinois in law, employee relations, and business, and she has practiced law in law firms, for the government, and in the private sector for the Boeing Company in Seattle. She has also taught contract law at a small local law school.

Jo has served on boards and committees of several nonprofit organizations, including Simonds Elementary School Music and Technology Foundation as Vice President of Music Programs. She communicated with parents and teachers, and volunteered in many capacities to raise funds for this organization with a $250,000 yearly budget. Currently, she also sings with the Choral Project and acts as its Box Office Manager.