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. Currently, Deb serves on the NW ACDA Board of Directors as R & R Chair for Children and Youth. and 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 Roberta was awarded the 2018 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.
Pianist, Premier Choir &
Pianist, Debut & Intermezzo Choirs
Rodney Menn has specialized in accompanying and coaching classical singers for more than 35 years. He has presented recitals with hundreds of singers throughout the United States and in Europe and has been the official accompanist for the Oregon District Metropolitan Opera Auditions for the past 24 years. Mr. Menn maintains a busy private studio teaching and coaching singers. Rodney joined the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir in August 2010.
Cindy Mair has recently retired after a 36-year career in public education as a music teacher in grades K-12. Her specialties included elementary music, and middle school and high school choral instruction. Recently married, Cindy loves to play in a flute and piano duo with her professional musician husband, Allan. She has accompanied many ensembles and soloists at the local and state level. CIndy joined the Portland Symphonic Girlchoir in September 2016.
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.
Board of Directors:
Jennifer Baker, Chair
Lucy Neary, Secretary
Brooke Booher, Treasurer
Roberta Q. Jackson