Our Board of Directors

Board Chairperson Molly Shaw mollyshaw@resoundingachord.org
Treasurer Jason Brittsan treasurer@resoundingachord.org
Secretary Sarah Epstein secretary@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Layna Chianakas layna@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Michelle Dreyband michelled@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Wilfred Mathews wilm@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Tanya Urschel tanya@resoundingachord.org
Member at Large Jo Taubert jo@resoundingachord.org

Board Member Bios

Molly Shaw (Board Chairperson)

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.

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.

Sarah Epstein (Secretary)

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.

Layna Chianakas (Member at Large)

In an opera career that has spanned over three decades, Stage Director, Layna Chianakas has portrayed over 50 leading opera roles across the United States, including over 100 performances of Carmen. Her successful career as a mezzo-soprano has given her a unique understanding of singers and what they need to be successful. She combines her abilities as an artist and educator to create productions that combine the contemporary with the traditional, with an emphasis on meticulous dramaturgical research.

Her extensive 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 Postcard from Morocco by Argento, Ravel’s The Bewitched Child/L’enfant et les Sortilèges, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus/The Revenge of the Bat, and a fully-staged and conceptualized Mendelssohn’s Elijah, among others, 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 the Stage Director for Vivace Youth Chorus’ Summer Youth Opera, she has staged the West Coast premiere of Rachel J. Peter’s rootabaga Country, and productions of Menotti’s Chip and His Dog and Krasa’s Brundibar. She directed Ben Moore’s Odyssey for Opera Santa Barbara’s Youth Summer Opera Program, Verdi’s Nabucco for West Bay Opera, and a double-bill of Zemlinsky’s Eine florentinische Tragödie and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi for Livermore Valley Opera, which received first place in the 2021 American Prize in Opera Performance. Most recently, she directed a double bill of Falla’s El amor brujo and Puccini’s Il Tabarro, and Tosca for Opera Santa Barbara, Ching’s Speed Dating, Tonight! (Opera Santa Barbara’s Chrisman Studio Artists), a San Francisco Classical Voice award-winning Otello on a week’s notice for Livermore Valley Opera, and Madama Butterfly for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra with Yulan Piao in the title role. This spring, Ms. Chianakas returned to Opera Santa Barbara to direct The Light in the Piazza for the Chrisman Studio Artists and she will direct La Bohème for The Santa Cruz Opera Project, Tosca for Amarillo Opera, and Carmen for Indianapolis Opera in Fall 2023.

Ms. Chianakas maintains a private voice studio and is a sought-after master clinician, administrator, and vocal director for musical theatre productions.

Michelle Dreyband (Member at Large)

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.

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.

Tanya Urschel (Member at Large)

Tanya Urschel has been involved with the performing arts since college where she earned a Bachelor’s in Theatre Production. After graduation she was a Stage Manager at Juilliard and other NYC companies, and subsequently moved to California to work for San Jose Repertory Theatre. Music has always been in her life. She learned piano as a child in Puerto Rico and has been an avid choral singer in the San Francisco Bay area for the last couple decades. She is currently a part of the Stanford Symphonic Chorus.

Tanya earned her MBA at San Jose State University and has over 20 years of marketing experience. For several years she worked at advertising firms as an account manager for technology companies. She was the Product Marketing Manager for PayPal and then led marketing for PayPal’s nonprofit vertical for over a decade. While in this role she helped thousands of nonprofit organizations use cutting edge fundraising technology. She has been a subject matter expert for several fundraising publications and has spoken at multiple nonprofit technology events. Today she works at JPMorgan Chase where she leads commercialization for Omnichannel payment solutions.

This is the second time Tanya has served on the RAP board, having initially participated in 2013-2017 and helped with the early marketing initiatives for the group. She is excited to return at a pivotal time in the organization’s growth and hopes to contribute to its important and impactful mission.

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 the West Bay Opera.