Board of Directors 2021-2022
Thea Kano, Artistic Director (she/her/hers)
Dr. Thea Kano, a Northern California native, became active in the arts at an early age. She started playing piano at age four and began taking ballet soon after, a background that has a strong influence on her conducting. Dr. Kano’s graceful yet commanding presence on stage and the robust performances she obtains from her musicians have basis in her formal training as a dancer.
Dr. Kano has conducted an extensive range of repertoire with several ensembles, including the Angeles Chorale, The Washington Chorus and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, for which she also directs its acclaimed ensembles, Rock Creek Singers and Potomac Fever. A champion of music education, Dr. Kano has devoted countless hours to students of all ages and backgrounds. She believes in the power of music to nurture and believes that classical music should be accessible to all. Dr. Kano’s substantial experience in this arena includes: building partnerships with organizations serving disenfranchised adults, hosting workshops with at-risk youth, leading youth arts programs of all sizes, as well as directing award-winning high school and collegiate choruses.
In addition to her work with GMCW, Dr. Kano founded the New York City Master Chorale in 2005 and served as the artistic director until spring 2019. The 80-member group is recognized as one of the finest vocal ensembles in New York City and has performed to sold-out audiences on two continents. Dr. Kano is known for her expressiveness and dynamic conducting and the Chorale has been praised for its balance and richness in tone in performing a variety of musical styles. Under her direction, the Chorale made its debuts at Lincoln Center (2006) and Carnegie Hall (2009), as well as its international debut in Paris, France (2011).
Dr. Kano has prepared choruses for Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Solonen, Emil de Cou, David Hayes, Craig Fleischer, Victor Vener and Paul Salamunovich. Dr. Kano’s various ensembles have performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Disney Hall, Église Saint-Sulpice (Paris) and on the National Mall for the 2009 inaugural ceremonies.
Dr. Kano received her doctorate in choral conducting from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004. At UCLA, Dr. Kano studied under Donald Neuen, her professional mentor. For her dissertation on Duruflé’s Requiem, Dr. Kano completed research with L’Association Duruflé in Paris and studied privately with Paul Salamunovich. Dr. Kano holds a Master of Music degree from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in choral music education and piano performance from Arizona State University.
Dr. Kano speaks French and actively conducts ensembles in New York City, Paris, and Washington, DC.Email Thea
Justin Fyala, Executive Director (he/him/his)
Justin began as Executive Director for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC in August 2016. Prior to this, Justin led the Windy City Gay Chorus and Treble Quire and the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago, focusing on development and organizational growth and served as President of the Chicago Fringe Festival Board of Directors. Justin holds a Masters in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, studied Voice at the University of North Texas, and has a Bachelors in Choral Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University. He has previously worked for the artistic and operations departments of the Pittsburgh Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Bella Voce, Dallas Opera, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, American Institute of Musical Study, and the State College Centre for the Performing Arts as well as the vocal division of IMG Artists. Justin has worked as a professional stage manager, vocal coach, and caption engineer, has taught collegiate voice and choir and high school music and drama, and regularly serves as an adjudicator for domestic and international music competitions.Email Justin
C. Paul Heins, Associate Conductor/GenOUT Director (he/him/his)
C. Paul Heins, associate conductor, joined the GMCW artistic team in the 2014-15 Season. One of his chief responsibilities is the direction of the GenOUT Chorus, established by GMCW in January 2015 for LGBTQ and allied youth, ages 13-18. Under Dr. Heins’ direction, the GenOUT Chorus has performed at Lincoln Theatre, Atlas Performing Arts Center, The Kennedy Center, and the White House, and in 2016 made its debut GALA Choruses performance in Denver.
Paul was previously the director of the Concert Choir at Georgetown University, where he also taught music theory, piano, and introduction to voice, and served as music director for the university’s opera and musical theater productions. He is also the past director of the Lesbian & Gay Chorus of Washington.
Dr. Heins was trained in piano and flute at Bowling Green State University (B.Mus.), flute at the University of Maryland (M.Mus.), and choral conducting at the University of Maryland (D.M.A.). His principal teachers have been Edward Maclary, Patrick Walders, and Mark S. Kelly (conducting); William Montgomery and Judith Bentley (flute); and Virginia Marks and Victoria Harris (piano). Paul is a frequent guest pianist, flutist and conductor in the DC area.Email Paul
Joshua Sommerville, Assistant Conductor/Director of Seasons of Love (he/him/his)
A native of Gaithersburg, MD, Joshua is a singer, pianist, music director, and composer who graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Music. Joshua started his music journey at the age of 5 cultivating his skills at the piano. He began a professional career as a musician/choir director/singer at the age of 14.
Throughout his musical journey, he has had the privilege of working with giants like the late Dr. Walter Turnbull (Director of the Harlem Boys Choir), Dr. Ysaye Barnwell (Grammy Award-winning Sweet Honey in the Rock), Stanley Thurston, Bill Colosimo, Dr. Karen Kennedy, Dr. Joyce Garrett, Patrick Lundy, Richard Odom, Dr. Stephen Holmes, Dr. Marco Merrick, Twinkie Clark, and many more.
He founded three semi-professional groups: His W.I.L. Community Choir, Unique Sounds of Love, and To Be Continued Youth Choir. Each group has been recognized and admired for their ability to sing multiple genres of music as well as their enticing stage presence. He also created the acclaimed workshop, How Much Do You Love It?, which brings awareness, acceptance, and love to one’s self, others, and the unknown. His workshop has traveled to Bermuda, Italy, Guatemala, Germany, and Africa.
Joshua is the Minister of Music at Hall United Methodist Church of Glen Burnie. He also tours as music director for the world-renowned choreographer Rennie Harris, and actively music directs productions within the private and public school systems. He joined the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC as Assistant Conductor in December 2019, and is excited to also conduct our vocal ensemble, Seasons of Love.Email Joshua
Craig Cipollini, Director of Marketing (he/him/his)
Craig’s first two interests growing up were art and theater. Now, he gets to combine both of those loves in his work for GMCW. By day, Craig is the director of marketing and communications for GMCW and a freelance graphic artist. In his spare time (what’s that?), he choreographs the Chorus productions as well as around the area, including GMCW’s dance ensemble 17th Street Dance.
Originally from Baltimore, MD, Craig began dancing at the age of 14. He has an extensive background in theater, primarily musical theater, having performed all over the East Coast. He toured with productions of A Chorus Line and 42nd Street, in addition to many regional, summer stock, and dinner theater credits. Craig has also worked extensively as a director and choreographer. Some shows he has directed and/or choreographed include Cabaret, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Will Rogers Follies, Annie, Hair, The Rocky Horror Show, Carousel and West Side Story to name a few. Craig has choreographed all major concerts and productions for the Chorus since 2006 (save for one show.) In 2013, he directed and choreographed One Night in New York! at the Capital Fringe Festival where it went on to win Best Show, and his choreography was praised as one of the best in DC. He holds bachelor degrees in art (graphic design and illustration) and theater, and a masters degree in arts management. He is also a freelance graphic designer and illustrator and loves to do comic book illustrations.Email Craig
Kirk Sobell, Director of Patron Services (he/him/his)
Kirk came to GMCW from renowned arts institutions of the DC Metro area, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Shakespeare Theatre Company and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts with experience in subscriptions, ticket sales and fundraising. He is a graduate of Lehigh University in his hometown of Bethlehem, PA. Kirk is also an avid member of the fundraising committee for Capital Pride.Email Kirk
Theodore Guerrant, Principal Accompanist (he/him/his)
Now in his 38th season as GMCW’s principal accompanist, “Dr. Teddy” began his musical life in his native College Park, Georgia, with piano lessons from his mother at age three, an Atlanta television appearance at age four on Freddie Miller’s Stars of Tomorrow and formal piano lessons with Regina Pudney at age five. At age 11 he began organ lessons with his then next door neighbor, Frank Willingham. By the time he was a senior in high school at Woodward Academy and studying piano with his aunt, Eliza Holmes Feldmann, then artist-in-residence at Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, Teddy was accompanying five choral groups and playing five church services every week. He went off to colleges with various scholarships and assistantships and eventually earned five degrees in keyboard performance (three in piano, one in harpsichord and one in organ) from the Universities of Georgia, Wisconsin and Maryland, as well as the Peabody Conservatory. He spent an idyllic summer in England studying piano with Denise Lassimonne in 1984. Aside from GMCW, Dr. Teddy is the organist-choirmaster at Christ Church Parish Kensington (Episcopal); accompanist for the National Philharmonic Chorale, where he was recently given an award for his 30 years of service to that organization, and associate director-accompanist for the Central Maryland Chorale. He teaches on the staff of the University of Maryland School of Music (where he also served for more than 30 years) as a coach-accompanist.
Alex Tang, Accompanist (he/him/his)
Raymond Bradley Rinaldo, Accompanist (he/him/his)
Accompanist/tenor Brad Rinaldo hails from the mountain town of Staunton, VA in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. He began his music education at the age of nine and was actively involved with all things musical throughout his school career. Throughout high school, he became very involved with musical theater from behind the keyboard giving him a strong foundation for accompanying work.
Brad holds a bachelors in piano performance from James Madison University (2008) and has spent time abroad studying German opera and lieder with the Mittelsächsische Theater and Orchestra in Freiberg, Germany (2008). In addition, he holds a Masters degree in piano performance from George Mason University (2012). Through his college career, he has studied under Dr. Eric Ruple and Dr. Linda Apple Monson as well as accompanied and performed in masterclasses led by Lisa Vroman and Ludmilla Lazar.
Since moving to the DC metro area, Brad has been involved with numerous choral, musical theater, and operatic productions. Among the groups he has worked with is the Victorian Lyric Opera Company, Riverbend Opera Company, and the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society.
In 2011 he joined GMCW as a singing member, but has also given his time as an accompanist for numerous rehearsals and productions. Brad sings tenor in the Rock Creek Singers and has also been Interim Director for Seasons of Love. Aside from regularly singing and playing for GMCW, Brad also writes music for the Chorus. Pieces and arrangements include “Ubi Caritas,” “Home,” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Brad is fluent in German and is making it a goal to be fluent in all of the major singing laguages. He loves to travel, cook for friends, and bodybuild.
Chipper Dean, Production Manager (he/him/his)
A member of GMCW since September 2012, Chipper has served as Production Manager since 2018, coordinating a team of skilled staff and volunteers supporting the Chorus in rehearsals and productions. He has also served GMCW as Bass Section Leader (2013-2015), Membership President (2015-2017), and Associate Production Manager (2017-2018). Currently, he serves as Membership Committee Chair on the Board of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA Choruses), an international organization of LGBT-identified choruses – of which GMCW is a founding member – and as Production Manager of the quadrennial GALA Festival. He is also an Associate Member of the US Stage Managers’ Association.
Chipper began directing church choirs as a teenager, while serving as drum major of his high school band, and continued to play French horn, sing bass, and conduct bands and choirs while pursuing a career as a developmental-health psychologist. He has a Bachelor of Science in psychology (minor in music) and Master of Science in mental health counseling from Stetson University in his native DeLand, Florida and a PhD in educational and developmental psychology from Columbia University in the City of New York. In his day job, he serves as Program Director at the National Institutes of Health, coordinating research efforts in behavioral health (mental health and substance use), health equity and social determinants of health, and cancer prevention and treatment.
Jay Gilliam, Chair (he/him/his)
Jay Gilliam is the current Board Chair and committee co-chair for Diversity and Inclusion. He was previously Vice Chair of the Board and served as Vice President for Membership. Jay has also been a performing member of GMCW since 2007, singing with both Rock Creek Singers and now with Potomac Fever. In his professional life, Jay works in international development and human rights. He is currently the Engagement and Communications Advisor in USAID’s Education Office; he was also there from 2012-2016 when he served in the Obama administration. Jay also worked as the Director of HRC Global at the Human Rights Campaign and at the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. Jay grew up in Arlington, Texas before leaving the Lone Star state for Amherst College (aka the “Singing College”) in Massachusetts to get his BA in political science. While at Amherst, Jay sang in the four different groups: Glee Club, Madrigal Singers, Gospel choir and the a cappella Route 9. He did his graduate studies on a Rotary Fellowship, earning an MA in peace studies at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan.
Nicole Streeter, Vice Chair (she/her/hers)
Nicole L. Streeter is a head attorney in the District of Columbia government, having held such positions for nearly eight years. She began her legal career as an Attorney General Honors Attorney with the Department of Justice. She received her Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Certified Public Manager and also received an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University. In addition to serving as Vice Chair and Chair of the Development Committee for GMCW, Nicole also serves on the Board of Directors for Bright Beginnings Inc., for which she chairs the Governance Committee. Also, Nicole has extensive global volunteer experience, having participated in eight Habitat for Humanity International builds, six of which she led (Ghana, Thailand, Kenya, Malawi, India, Chile, Costa Rica, and Vietnam). She looks forward to when she can travel internationally again and lead another trip. In her free time, she is an avid wine student, having passed the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level 2 exam and preparing for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level 3 exam. She is also an award-winning home winemaker and is currently aging several big bold red wines.
Jeb Stenhouse, Treasurer (he/him/his)
Jeb Stenhouse works at the EPA where he leads their efforts to reduce power plant air pollution to protect human health and the environment. He volunteers with Greater Greater Washington to promote sidewalks, bike lanes, frequent transit, affordable housing, and a city for all people. He’s a singing member of our small ensemble Potomac Fever, and he met his beloved husband Mark by joining GMCW!
Sherri Bale (she/her/hers)
Sherri is a board-certified Ph.D. Medical Geneticist, certified Personal Fitness Trainer, and serial entrepreneur. Her interest in choral music stems from her high school and college days singing in choruses, choir, and madrigal groups. She loved the music and the singing, but found her own talents sorely lacking. In the mid-1980’s she attended her first GMCW concert, a joint event with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. She was blown away, and soon thereafter became an annual season ticket holder with never a lapse to this day. She was honored to serve on the board of directors the past three years, and brings a dedication to the mission of GMCW, both the striving for artistic excellence and the commitment to social justice. She tries to lend her experience in not-for-profit board service, business entrepreneurship, and governance to the GMCW board of directors. She also enjoys envelope stuffing, occasional ushering, and pestering people to contribute auction items for Spring Affair.
Michael Bigley (he/him/his)
Michael Bigley is the Director of the Venable Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Venable LLP – awarding grants to nonprofit organizations in Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the Washington, DC area. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Program Officer for arts and humanities, capacity building and HIV/AIDS with the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and Director of Education at Washington Performing Arts. He is the former Vice Chair and current steering committee member of the Washington AIDS Partnership, and serves on the board of Maryland Philanthropy Network.
Dr. James Ellzy (he/him/his)
Dr. Ellzy has been affiliated with GMCW since 2010. He has served as singing member, dance captain, audition coordinator, choreographer and stage director. He was inducted into the Circle of Excellence in 2016. Other past board positions include the Northwestern Alumni Association from 2008 to 2010 and the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians from 2013 to 2018 (including President 2017-2018). He currently serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Family Physicians representing over 131,000 members. James earned his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Studies and Masters in Medical Informatics from Northwestern University. He was awarded his Medical Doctorate from East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine. Dr. Ellzy is a Fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians. He has also earned his certification in Medical Quality from the American Board of Medical Quality. He continues to work for the Department of Defense as a family physician working in the field of medical informatics. He met his husband Franc O’Malley here, and they were married in 2013.
Romm Gatongay (he/him/his)
Romm has been a singing member of GMCW since 2015. He has served in various leadership positions in GMCW, most notably as co-chair of GMCW’s largest annual fundraiser Spring Affair for four years in a row from 2015 to 2019, helping the organization raise approximately $1 million during that period. Romm is a retired Marine Corps officer and works as a Department of Defense program analyst & consultant monitoring program budget executions and assisting with future years’ programming and budgeting. He has a masters degree in business administration with a focus on strategy and management. Romm is an immigrant born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and lives in Cheltenham, MD, with his husband Jay.
Robert Ginzel (he/him/his)
A native of the DC metro area, Rob spent the majority of his childhood in Northern Virginia in Fairfax County and has been an active GMCW singing member since September 2017. Rob is a management consultant who works with multinational clients in the areas of: organization design, human resources, talent development, change management and business transformation, culture assessment, communication, training and financial statement auditing.
Rob Hall (he/him/his)
Ron has sung baritone with GMCW for nearly 20 years and has been a member of Rock Creek Singers since 2005. He has previously served as GMCW’s board chair and in several other board leadership roles. By day, he leads the federal governmental affairs team at Entergy Corporation and has been active in the Washington political and policy community for over 30 years. He has also served in other nonprofit leadership roles, including Senior Warden at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, board president for Food & Friends, and board chair for the Bryce Harlow Foundation. He is currently the board president of the Carlton Club.
Carroll Hanson (he/him/his)
A farm boy from Iowa, Carroll gained valuable knowledge and skills as a cardiopulmonary technician while in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman (1975 – 1982). He spent two years at the Submarine Base, Groton, CT; and the last 5 years at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He became employed at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda campus, where he enjoyed a wide range of technical and administrative assignments until 2016. Now he enjoys widely–varied travels around the world, having been to all seven continents! In his spare time, he volunteers at Holy Cross Hospital, and enjoys serving on the GMCW Board! A self-described “Broadway Diva,” he loves to go to New York City to see many musicals, plays, and performances. He is a long-time attendee of performances by GMCW, and is happy and proud to be a member of the GMCW Board.
Eve Hill (she/her/hers)
Eve Hill is one of the nation’s leading disability civil rights attorneys. She is a Partner at Brown, Goldstein & Levy and Inclusivity Strategic Consulting in Baltimore and DC, where she pursues high-impact civil rights litigation, advocacy, and consulting on a range of civil rights issues, including disability and LGBTQ+ rights. Eve comes originally from Maine and joined the GMCW Board to “give back” for all the joy and beauty the chorus’ singers and staff have brought to her life.
Dr. Raymond Hoffman (he/him/his)
Raymond Hoffman, M.D., is Clinical Director of Discovery Health Mood and Anxiety Disorder Program and Center for Discovery in Crownsville, MD, and is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Training Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society in Washington, DC. He has served as the Medical Director of the Division of Mental Health and Substance Use at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, MD from 2013-2021. He connected with the gay and lesbian choral movement initially as a founding member of the River City Mixed Chorus in Omaha, NE, while a medical student, and is a current singing member of GMCW.
Michael Hughes (he/him/his)
Michael has been a singing member of GMCW since 2002 and sings with the chorus’ small ensemble Rock Creek Singers. He is a retired Federal employee and enjoys music, travel, cooking, and reading. Michael serves as GMCW’s Outreach Manager, coordinating over 100 non-subscription performances each year for our small ensembles. Prior to his retirement, Michael was the Deputy Director of Data Delivery Services for the Internal Revenue Service.
Fred Krebs (he/him/his)
Fred now works diligently at being 100% retired with grandchildren, travel, photography, golf and volunteer work being his primary interests. Previously, he enjoyed more than 35 years success as an association executive, attorney, and lobbyist in Washington, DC working primarily with non-profit organizations. He had a distinguished career as president of the Association of Corporate Counsel (1991-2011) where he helped ACC become the leading global association for in-house counsel. He also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School for many years before stepping down in 2018. The National LGBT Bar Association presented him with its Ally for Justice Award in 2011. Additionally, Fred received a lifetime achievement award for advancing corporate governance from Corporate Secretary magazine in 2010.
Dale Mott (he/him/his)
Dale A. Mott is a veteran non-profit executive and entrepreneur whose career has included leadership roles with the Smithsonian, CARE, The Phillips Collection, Arena Stage, and Penumbra Theatre Company. As founder and principal of Edgewood—a fundraising, multimedia, and theatrical production company— Dale advances clients, partners, and projects functioning at the intersection of innovation, accessibility, creative expression, and social justice. Edgewood’s stable of works includes: award-winning American composer/conductor/director Nolan Williams, Jr.’s new musical, GRACE (premiering at Historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, September 2021); a daring, universal new play by Kennan Scott II, Thoughts of a Colored Man; Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning new musical, A Strange Loop; and, for Broadway, the critically acclaimed play, The Lifespan of a Fact, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale. Edgewood’s “I Have a Right to Vote” get-out-the-vote anthem featuring Billy Porter, Billie Jean King, Christopher Jackson, Ryan Jamaal Swain, and others is currently running on multiple social media platforms and to-date has been viewed by nearly 1 million nationwide.
Steve Oatmeyer (he/him/his)
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Steve relocated to DC in 2002 to escape the poor economy and horrible winters. With a BA in Commercial Art and Communications he has been working in that field when a Macintosh was considered just a type of apple. Since the 2012 political cycle, he has been designing primarily for political candidates on local, state and presidential campaigns levels. There came a time his life that he wanted his work to have a purpose and hopefully change lives. At first it was with nonprofit organizations, health care advocacy groups and progressed into politics. Steve has lived in the Logan Circle neighborhood for over 15 years and watched it grow into a thriving community which he’s thrilled to be a part of. He has served on the Shaw Dog Park Association board of directors for over 10 years as President and Vice President and is active in the Logan Circle community.
Jack Reiffer (he/him/his)
Jack Reiffer is a retired pastor and longtime singing member of GMCW, including our Rock Creek Singers ensemble. He served in earlier years as Chorus membership president, chair of Spring Affair, and chair of the board of directors. Currently, Jack serves as coordinator of the Chorus Care Corps and is pleased to be serving once again on the board as part of the committees for Diversity & Inclusion and Finance.
Micah Yarbrough (ex officio) (he/him/his)
Bio and photo coming soon.