Board of Directors
Shelton Ensley, President
Natasha Hoehn '90, Past President
Irma Laxamana '89, Secretary
Peter Kwan, Treasurer
Rhonda Nelson, Vice President
Kurt Herbert Adler (In Memoriam)
Elizabeth Appling Bloch, Founder
Marie and George Hecksher
Paul A. Renne
Richard A. Rubin, ESQ
Michael Tilson Thomas
Frederica Von Stade
Diane B. Wilsey
Board of Directors - Biographies
Sabrina Adler is a public health attorney doing policy work in the area of childhood obesity. A San Francisco native, she sang with the Girls Chorus from 1988 until 1998. She also worked as production manager for SFGC from 2002 until 2004. Sabrina currently sings with and is administrative director for the women's vocal ensemble Musae. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, cycling, and traveling around the Bay Area and beyond. She is a graduate of Brown University and Stanford Law School.
Prior to founding his own architecture firm, Everett Street, Shelton Ensley worked for Quezada Architecture, Gensler and Associates, Brand + Allen Architects, and Sandy & Babcock Architects, all in San Francisco, CA. His professional experience includes designing and managing a range of architecture and interiors project types across the United States, including corporate headquarters, high-end retail, residential and workplace. His clients include Chevron, The Capital Group, Microsoft, the Evelyn and Walter Hass, Jr. Fund, Coach, Escada and St. John. Mr. Ensley received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington and a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Houston. Currently he is licensed to practice architecture in California and Idaho. He served on the Executive Council (Board of Directors) of the Episcopal Diocese of California from 2008 – 2010, serving as Chair in 2010. Mr. Ensley and his wife Elizabeth live in Walnut Creek, CA. Their daughter, Charlotte, joined the chorus in 2006 and is now a member of Chorissima.
Isabelle is interested in promoting knowledge of other languages and cultures and believes that the San Francisco Girls Chorus offers young girls a unique path into the musical world and life. She graduated from Reims Management School in France. She held senior positions in marketing and communications in Europe and the US prior to relocating to San Francisco. She has served on the Executive committee of the Lycée Francais de San Francisco board for the past six years. Isabelle and her husband Charles have a daughter, Noémie, who joined Level IV in 2012, and is now in Chorissima.
Carol’s three daughters -- Amy, Audrey, and Elaine -- grew up singing with the Girls’ Chorus. Carol watched them perform with Luciano Pavarotti in La Boheme, Samuel Ramey in Mephistopheles, and Placido Domingo in Carmen. They sang with the San Francisco and Berkeley symphonies and toured Hungary, Japan, China, and Italy. Carol’s daughters received wonderful musical educations and gained lifelong friends along the way. From 1977 – 2009, Carol served as in-house legal counsel for the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads. She graduated from Stanford (A.B. Anthropology) and Humboldt State University (M.A. Sociology), and received her J.D. from Hastings College of Law. She has served on the Union Pacific Foundation and as President of the Board of Pacific Primary School. Her husband, Richard, a San Francisco lawyer, served on the Girls Chorus Board from 1987 to 1991.
Natasha Hoehn is an educator and artist with a 30-year history with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. A graduate of Yale University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Natasha joined SFGC in 1982. During her decade as a chorister, she sang for the Queen of England and in the Superbowl, toured to the Pacific Northwest, North Carolina, Austria and Hungary, and appeared on stages up and down California. She spent five years in Chorissima, four as a section leader, and three as a founding member of Virtuose, during which she took part in the Chorus’ full-scale production of Dido and Aeneas, in many SF Opera productions, including Carmen, La Boheme, Werther, and on the Chorus’ first recordings, including its first Grammy-winning collaboration with the SF Symphony, the 1988 recording of Carmina Burana. After laureation, Natasha’s subsequent involvement with SFGC has included the role of Director of Level II, Director of Level III, Chorissima Voice Teacher, Alumnae Chorus Director, Assistant Camp Director, and staff member. Three decades later, Natasha is an accomplished vocalist and conductor, and has been a frequent soloist in opera, musical theater, and jazz in the Bay Area and throughout the US. Natasha is the founding artistic director of the SF-based Women’s vocal ensemble, Musae, and performed her original one woman show, “Learning to Breathe” at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco in 2010. She has collaborated with numerous prominent performers, writers, stage directors and conductors throughout the US, and was a student of Donna Peterson, Lili Chookasian, Ruth Falcon and Jane Randolph.
Natasha has also dedicated a substantial portion of her professional life as an educator and advocate for public education. A Teach for America Corps member and Coro Fellow, Natasha taught junior high school in the South Bronx, where she founded the school’s drama program and developed an early college English curriculum that emphasized inter-disciplinary writing and the arts. After returning to San Francisco, Natasha played a leadership role in several local initiatives in support of public schools, including Prop A 2006, Prop A 2008 and Prop A 2010. She now serves as Executive Director of the Silver Giving Foundation and is a Senior Partner of California Education Partners. Natasha is currently the chair of San Francisco’s After School for All Council, the founding board chair of the Future Leaders’ Institute, and a Board Member of Children Now.
As a long-time San Francisco Girls Chorus parent and volunteer, Cindy has witnessed the unique and transformative experiences of SFGC choristers, and she shares her enthusiasm for the program broadly. Currently Advancement Director at Marin Montessori School, she spent the bulk of her career as a financial services industry executive in San Francisco and New York. Cindy is a graduate of Stanford University, and former president and executive committee member of the board of trustees of Marin Montessori School. Her daughter, Phoebe, is enjoying her 9th year with the chorus. The 2013 trip to Berlin was a Chorissima highlight she is hoping to match with visits to Scandinavian countries in June 2015.
Irma was a chorister of the SFGC from 1982 to 1989. She later rejoined to sing with Virtuose for a year. During her time with the Chorus, Irma joined tours to Hungary and the Pacific Northwest, sang numerous children's chorus roles with the San Francisco Opera, and was also part of the first all-girl trio to be cast in the roles of the Three Spirits in any San Francisco Opera production of Die Zauberflote (the Magic Flute). As an alumna, Irma also stayed connected with the Chorus for many years through her work as a counselor at SFGC summer music camps. She has continued her love of music ever since and spent over 10 years, during and after college, recording and performing as a member of the pop/R&B vocal group Pinay.
Irma was born and raised in San Francisco and now lives with her husband and two children in the East Bay. She earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley and her J.D. at the University of Washington, School of Law. She has spent her legal career as a technology attorney and is currently working at Hortonworks, Inc., an enterprise software company. Irma devotes much of her time outside of work to causes supporting the empowerment of young girls, particularly those from under-resourced communities of the Bay Area. Irma previously served on the board of Oasis for Girls in San Francisco.
Dr. Tippi MacKenzie is an Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF, where she is a pediatric surgeon and runs a lab devoted to improving treatments for children with congenital disorders. Tippi studied piano at Juilliard prior to attending Harvard College, where she sang with the Collegium Musicum and made lifelong friendships forged with music. She came to the Bay Area for medical school at Stanford, and did her surgical residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Tippi has enjoyed serving as one of the Chorus Camp doctors since 2011, which is always one of the highlights of the summer. Her daughter Emma joined SFGC in 2009 in Level I, and is now a member of Chorissima.
Rhonda is interested in supporting the self-esteem and empowerment of young girls and woman. She is a shareholder and practice group leader of the Employment Practice Group at Severson & Werson, P.C. She graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from UCLA., a M.A. in Public Administration with an emphasis in Judicial Administration from USC. and a J.D. from UCLA Law School. She also serves as chair of the board of Julia Morgan School for Girls and board member of the East Bay Rowing Club in Oakland.
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