Julie Ann Sih, President
Jane Baker, Secretary
Kevin Psolka-Green, Director & Student Outreach Chair
Julie Ames, Community Engagement Liaison
Julia Falkowski, Singers Council Chair
Rob Taylor, Director
Rolando Xavier Gutiérrez, Director
The following advisors attend Board of Directors meetings in an ex officio capacity and do not vote:
Dr. John K. Russell, Music Director
Carron Martin, Operations Coordinator
The San Diego Master Chorale’s Board of Directors provides direction and leadership for the organization to benefit the volunteer singers in the Chorale and the community at large. Supporting the Chorale’s vision to be San Diego’s premier choral arts organization, the Board of Directors develops and manages the strategic and operational business plans and provides support to its staff. As leaders of a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the Board of Directors is highly motivated to ensure the highest levels of operational efficiency and ethical behavior.
The Board of Directors consists of focused, hard-working directors who apply their varied skills to effectively manage ongoing operations as well as to catalyze the creativity required for future growth. Our directors include corporate CEOs, CFOs, lawyers, business and marketing specialists, and musical and production experts who all share a passion for the choral arts.
To support and augment the Board of Directors, an Advisory Board has been created consisting of community leaders and arts experts assisting in the development of the organization. All Board of Directors and Advisory Board members are volunteers. The Board of Directors, with support from the Advisory Board, focuses upon marketing, programming, fund raising, community outreach and organizational development of the Chorale. For more information on the current Board of Directors, or to be considered for a position on the Board, please contact us.
Board of Directors Bios
JULIE ANN SIH, B.A. (Classical Languages), M.L.I.S. Former Librarian; Community Volunteer
Julie Ann holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from UC Berkeley with a specialization in rare books and manuscripts. She was Corporate Services Librarian at UC San Diego before leaving the workforce to care for her eldest daughter, who received a heart transplant in 2013. Julie Ann is currently a writer and translator, in addition to volunteering for the League of Women Voters. Through the League she serves on the statewide operations team for the Voter’s Edge elections website, which provides all candidates on the ballot with a free platform to present their priorities and qualifications to voters. Julie Ann lives in the City of San Diego’s Rancho Peñasquitos neighborhood.
Julie Ann says: “I choose to serve on the board of this organization for three reasons. First, I believe in the transformative power of the SD Master Chorale’s student and senior outreach activities, which engage our youngest and oldest neighbors with participatory music-making using the human voice, which is the most personal instrument. Opportunities to create wonderful choral art experiences with others give people a sense of belonging and engagement, which all humans require to be happy and healthy. Second, singers who hone their craft in the SD Master Chorale elevate the quality of church choirs and other singing groups throughout the community, so the Chorale’s benefits to the place I love extend well beyond the Chorale’s own programs. Third, the SD Master Chorale’s presentation of contemporary choral works alongside traditional masterpieces in its self-produced concerts is a bold declaration that this is a living art form, with a present (and a future!) as well as a past.”
KEVIN PSOLKA-GREEN, B.A. (Music Education)
Music Educator, San Diego Unified School District
Kevin Psolka-Green is a music educator currently employed as a K-5th grade general music teacher and choir director at Jerabek Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District, where he also serves on the district’s Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Council. Before moving to San Diego in 2017, he taught elementary music and choir at several schools in the Chicago area. He also sang professionally in Chicago and served on the board of the Community Renewal Chorus. Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College in 2013 and is currently completing a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of South Florida, with a research focus on anti-racist pedagogy. He completed his Level 1 Orff-Schulwerk Teacher Certification and remains active in the San Diego American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Kevin lives in the Hillcrest neighborhood of the City of San Diego.
Kevin says: “I choose to serve on the board of the San Diego Master Chorale because I am passionate about the role that choral music can play in connecting people from different backgrounds to create a more just world. My experience in elementary music education is a resource that will help the SD Master Chorale more effectively connect with public school districts and other arts organizations that work with elementary age children. I want to help the Chorale continue to act as a model of lifelong music making for young people, and I look forward to fostering further collaborations between the SD Master Chorale and local K-12 school districts.”
JULIE AMES, B.A. Economics (University of Virginia), Master in Public Policy (Harvard University)
Vice President, Corporate Communications, Biocom California
Community Engagement Liaison
Julie Ames is an accomplished executive, advisor, and board member recognized for solving complex business, policy, and communications challenges. With large public company, start-up, federal government, association and agency experience spanning 30 years, Julie is well-respected in her field, advising on crisis communications, investor relations, business communications, risk mitigation and corporate strategy. Today, Julie is Vice President at Biocom California, where she oversees the development and execution of Biocom California’s statewide and national communications strategies, and serves as a key contributor to Biocom California’s organizational strategic planning and execution process.
Music has always been a part of Julie’s life. She has more than 20 years of choral and musical theater experience. Julie found her love of music at age five when she began studying classical piano. “Living in D.C., the experience of singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was a humbling and tremendous experience,” she says. As a Navy wife, I found immediate kinship among fellow singers by joining choruses from Virginia, to Washington, D.C., to Hawaii, and finally to San Diego. My two children are singers – I believe fiercely in music education and in contributing to society through this art form. The universal language of choral music – especially classical masterpieces – means we can come together as singers and music-lovers, bringing a unique sound to the community and to the next generation of singers.”
She sits on numerous boards and served as past co-chair of the San Diego Symphony Advisory Board. Julie lives in Carlsbad with her husband, RDML Chris Ames (USN, ret.).
SINGERS COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Senior Content Designer, Intuit
Julia Falkowski is a Senior Content Designer at Intuit, where she develops strategies for projects and initiatives that build community among the company’s engineers. Julia has a background in arts and culture, with a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies and English from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. During graduate school, Julia began exploring the power of digital platforms for connection, an interest that led to her current work in tech. Julia lives in Del Mar with her husband Robert.
“I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember,” says Julia. “The arts have been vitally important in shaping my life and career, bringing joy and purpose to my routine. While my day job is no longer in the arts, involvement in the San Diego Master Chorale lets me continue to flex that muscle and spend time learning, growing, and creating with a group of brilliant musicians. I’ve moved around a bit, and have always found the best way to build friendships and community in a new place is to join a choir. Nothing develops connections as quickly or strongly as the power of choral singing.”
ROLANDO XAVIER GUTIÉRREZ
Retired CEO, Chief Engineer
Rolando, a third generation San Diego-Tijuana native, is unique to our border region. His career, spanning 45 years and two countries includes such diverse fields as construction, real estate development, corporate leadership, aircraft restoration and lover of fine arts throughout.
Rolando led the incursion of several Fortune 100 companies into Mexican markets after NAFTA came to be. He served as Director General of ARCO am/pm Mexico, ran operations for Blockbuster Video & Ticketmaster and spearheaded the development of what is now the largest single price point retail chain in Latin America, Waldo’s, created by the founders of Boston Market.
After retiring from his professional career, Rolando returned to school to master the métier of aircraft restoration. The WWII era aircraft he restored are permanently exhibited at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
He earned his engineering degree at Santa Clara University and his MBA at Universidad Panamericana’s IPADE Business School in Mexico City. Rolando is a recipient of a Presidential Citation bestowed by Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Léon, President of México.
“I cannot hold a tune nor play an instrument, but I know that music is fundamental to humankind and international goodwill; music unites us, it tells our stories, the most universal of languages. I am honored to be a member of the Board of the San Diego Master Chorale, by serving I am able to add one more grain to the grand ocean of culture.”
The following attend SD Master Chorale Board Meetings in an ex officio capacity, but do not vote:
DR. JOHN K. RUSSELL, DMA
Dr. John K. Russell is the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Palomar College and the Music Director of the San Diego Master Chorale. At Palomar he conducts the Chamber Singers and the Palomar Chorale oversees the vocal music program. At SDMC he conducts and coordinates all artistic activities of the chorale, which include preparing the chorus for performances with San Diego Symphony and other San Diego orchestras including the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra and La Jolla Symphony. Dr. Russell is also frequently in demand as a tenor soloist.
John is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Columbia University. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Southern California. He was previously the Director of Choral Activities at California State University, San Bernardino, and has held similar positions at Albion College (Michigan), Los Angeles City College, Cypress College, and the San Diego Children’s Choir. Prior to his work in California, Dr. Russell was the principal choral conductor at the LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the Fame School) in New York City. John currently resides in the North Park neighborhood of the City of San Diego with his wife Jill and his son Parker.