Board of Directors:
Jennifer Baker, Chair
Lucy Neary, Secretary
Michele McCarthy, Treasurer
Roberta Q. Jackson
Pam Van Calcar
Roberta Q. Jackson & Debra D. Burgess
Co-Conductors of Portland Symphonic Girlchoir
Roberta Jackson and Debra Burgess have led the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir, widely acclaimed by composers, conductors, music educators, and audiences, to its current status as one of the finest youth choirs in North America. Roberta received her Masters Degree from the University of Colorado; Deb received her B.A.E. Degree from Pacific Lutheran University. Both have been awarded the distinguished Artist Teacher Diploma from the Choral Music Experience Institute, working with Dr. Doreen Rao. Deb has served on the NW and OR ACDA Board of Directors as R & R Chair for Children and Youth and currently teaches music, grades K – 8, at St. Thomas More School. As Girlchoir’s Vocal Coach, she presents fall and spring solo clinics and trains nearly 40 % of its members as soloists each season. Both conductors are frequent presenters at Chorus America conferences, OMEA conferences, and at Oregon, Northwest Division and National ACDA Conferences and led the Girlchoir to winning two ASCAP/Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming! In 2018 Roberta was awarded the Oregon ACDA Podium Award. Their article, “The Better C: Building Community Through Collaboration” appeared in the March 2016 issue of The Choral Journal, publication of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and they were privileged to be included as chapter authors in the 2017 GIA book, Working With Young Singers: Educational Philosophies of Expert Chidren’s Choir Conductors. Roberta and Deb are very thankful for every note and every moment they spend making amazing music with the singers in Portland Symphonic Girlchoir!
Pianist, Premier Choir &
Rodney Menn has specialized in accompanying and coaching classical singers for more than 35 years. A student of coach-accompanist Harold Heiberg and vocal pedagogue and researcher John Large, he has presented recitals with hundreds of singers throughout the United States and in Europe. Mr. Menn has worked as pianist and coach for Portland Opera, Dallas Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Augusta Opera, Boise Opera, Portland Summerfest, Astoria Music Festival, Concert Opera of Manhattan, Newport (RI) Music Festival, and Westchester Lyric Festival. His varied musical activities have included serving as Assistant Conductor of Portland’s Columbia Symphony, teaching voice at George Fox University, and teaching classes at Portland State University. Mr.Menn was also the official accompanist for the Oregon District Metropolitan Opera Auditions for 24 years. He maintains a busy private studio teaching and coaching singers. Rodney joined the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir in August 2010 as pianist for the Encore Singers and Premier Choir. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, gardening, and home winemaking, and is currently obsessed with Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, and dreams of someday moving to Italy.
Tim Ribner is a collaborative pianist, composer, improviser, educator, and sound enthusiast. His work with the National Dance Institute brought him to schools around New York City, where he accompanied live dance classes. Similarly, as musical director for the Colorado-based program Celebrate the Beat, Tim worked in schools and at the Vail Dance Festival, at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska, and with youth in Mexico and Ethiopia. Tim’s theater work includes productions at Westminster Choir College, Columbia University, Harlem School of the Arts, Northwest Children’s Theater (Portland, OR), and Portland Center Stage. Other work in Portland includes instruction at the PHAME Academy, composition and performance at the Skinner/Kirk Dance ensemble, and choral accompaniment for Portland Public Schools. He has also worked closely with Dr. Nicole Lamartine, arranging and accompanying for her University of Wyoming choirs. Tim studied choral accompaniment at Westminster Choir College (New Jersey), attained a BFA in jazz and contemporary music from the New School (New York), and an MSW from Pacific University (Oregon). Along with his musical pursuits, he serves as a school social worker in the Beaverton School District. We are very excited to welcome Tim into the Girlchoir family as our pianist for Debut and Intermezzo Choirs entering our 34th Season!
Pianist, Debut & Intermezzo Choirs
Lisa VanNatta joined the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir as Operations Manager in December 2019. She works diligently to ensure that the organization runs smoothly on the administrative front. She has a varied educational background with a M.S. in Geography from Oregon State University and a B.S. in computer science, and math from Willamette University where she also studied music. More recently she has spent extensive time working with non-profits, running fundraising events for her son’s school and sitting on the board of pdxAMBUCS.