Staff and Board of Directors

Executive Staff

Kristina Nakagawa (Artistic Director & Founding Member)

Kristina has been performing and directing in the Silicon Valley for the past 10 years. Besides serving as Artistic Director for Resounding Achord, Kristina currently works as the assistant to the Heads of School at Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, and she previously worked at Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills, Carden Hall School in Newport Beach, and she directed two choirs at UC Irvine. Her choirs consistently received superior rankings at California Music Educator’s festivals and Gold awards at Heritage Festivals in Anaheim. She has also worked as the musical director for several productions, including: The Wedding Singer, Once on This Island, The Pajama Game, Working, and Once Upon a Mattress, among others.

Kristina sang and served as the Assistant Conductor for The Choral Project from 2005 to 2012 where she participated in many world premieres: “Keramos” by Stephen Schwartz, Divide Light by Leslie Dill and Richard Marriott at Montalvo Arts Center, and Choose Life by Mona Lyn Reese with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. While Kristina sang with the choir, The Choral Project won the First Prize at the 2007 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, Kristina was most recently featured in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus production of Enchantingly Wicked at Davies Symphony Hall with Stephen Schwartz. Regionally, Kristina was seen in FMT’s Working (Kate Rushton, Housewife), SBMT’s Ragtime (Ensemble), and Affair of the Art: Stephen Schwartz with The Choral Project. She debuted her solo cabaret A Life in Lyrics: the Music of Sondheim, Schwartz, and Brown at Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose in February 2007 and was featured in the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus performance of DIVA! in March 2006.

Kristina graduated in 2001 with a degree in Vocal Performance from UC Irvine, and finished her master’s degree in Choral Conducting from San José State University in 2005. While at SJSU, she was honored to study conducting with Dr. Charlene Archibeque and sang with the world-famous Choraliers. With Dr. “A” and the Choraliers, Kristina competed in the Spittal International Choral Festival in Austria and the Seghizzi Choral Competition in Gorizia, Italy.

Jan Clayton (Executive Director & Founding Member)

Jan has been involved in singing organizations since the age of 8, usually involved 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 the group’s management. She spent a year as Development Director, a year as Outreach Director, and then served as President of the Board for 2½ years. She worked with the organization to establish and grow its student outreach programs. She was also very involved in the organization’s fundraising activities.

Jan has a 30-year career in the high-tech industry, where she started off as an Artificial Intelligence programmer. In 1990, she and a business partner started Expert Support, a documentation, training, and application-development consulting firm. As COO, Jan ran the day-to-day operations of the firm, hired most of the staff, and sold and managed a large part of the business, which averaged about $2.5 million in annual income over her tenure. Jan has since retired from her COO job. She is now a part-time consultant and works as a pistachio farmer.

Jan has a BA in Zoology from UC Santa Barbara, where she also almost finished a BA degree in Music — Vocal Performance. At Stanford University she earned two Masters degrees, one in Biological Sciences and the other in Computer Science.

Board of Directors

Sarah Epstein (Board Chairman)

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 free-lance 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 fund raising 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.

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.

Brian Gluth (Secretary & Founding Member)

Brian has been involved in charitable and philanthropic organizations for over 20 years. Prior to 2012, Brian worked on the steering committee for the Seattle Men’s Chorus. One of his major responsibilities was establishing a marketing portfolio to use when approaching major individual and corporate donors.  In addition, Brian provided consulting services and volunteered for the Seattle Choral Company fundraising activities.

Prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2012, Brian worked for Microsoft Corporation, in Redmond, WA for thirteen years, and held positions in Internet Marketing, Product Development, Business Development, and Public Relations. Specifically, Brian managed customer acquisition and satisfaction programs, managed a $125 million line of USA-based businesses of multiple client software services, and advertising for +45 million unique users.

Brian also has extensive experience in negotiating strategic business and marketing distribution contracts with business customers for Internet subscription services. He often led his division in signing business partners for newly created service offerings, new product categories and grew business economics by over 135%. In addition, he managed operating budgets up to $10 million and multiple contracts each worth $7 million plus.  He also developed and managed public relations strategies, implemented press news/reviews programs, and cultivated analyst relationships for Microsoft/MSN with emphasis on Search, Security, Privacy and overall MSN Services reviews.

Tiffany Barry

Tiffany began her music career at an early age. Piano at the age of five and violin at seven, she has sung in choirs, played in orchestras, and performed in musicals and plays throughout her life. Upon entering college at San Jose State University, she wanted to pursue anthropology and social work to better understand and help people, but then accidentally walked into the music building … the rest was history. Tiffany received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance, and soon after, went on to pursue a secondary credential to teach music in the public schools. For the last ten years, she has taught K-6th grade general music, band, and choir at Cambrian School District in San Jose. She is also certified and specializes in Orff Schulwerk, an approach that focuses on teaching children the elements of music.

Under the direction of Dr. Charlene Archibeque, Tiffany performed with the world-famous Choraliers and was fortunate to participate in their European Tour “Encore” in 1999. She has also performed in small ensemble roles with Opera San Jose. For the last five years, Tiffany has conducted her district’s children’s choirs, earning them consecutive superior ratings at all of their regional festival performances. And after the birth of her third child and anxious to keep performing, Tiffany joined the first season of Resounding Achord in 2013, where she continues to support the organization and their efforts to bring music to the community.

Tanya Urschel

Tanya has been involved in the performing arts community since college.  She has a BA in Theatre Production and was a Stage Manager in NYC and San Jose for several years.  Later she gained a MBA in marketing which led to working at various Bay Area advertising agencies.  For the last 8 years, Tanya has worked at PayPal where she has led numerous products and marketing launches for both B2B and Consumer segments.  Tanya currently manages the nonprofit vertical for PayPal looking after over 300k nonprofits using their fundraising technology.  She has a broad knowledge of donation tools and deep understanding of the nonprofit industry.

Tanya is an avid singer and dancer.  She understands the demands of being a performer as well as the demands of managing stage productions.