Our conductors are not the only ones responsible for the smooth running of Ann Arbor Youth Chorale. Our Board of Directors, Administrator, choir coordinators, accompanists and volunteers work together to give our young singers unforgettable musical experiences. Scroll down to read more about them.
Board of Directors
Lorin Burgess, President
Lorin Burgess has been a resident of Ann Arbor since 1990, receiving his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan in 1995. Since then, he has worked as a psychotherapist and administrator at non-profit agencies. Growing up in Midland, Michigan, as the child of music teachers, Lorin played piano, guitar, trombone, and sang (soprano!) in the Midland Youth Honors Chorus. While attending the UM, Lorin played trombone for four years in the Michigan Marching Band, and was an early member of Amazin’ Blue, which is still a popular campus a cappella group. He still enjoys playing instruments in a variety of ensembles, and accompanying his daughters at their recitals.
Lorin’s daughter, Samantha, will be starting her second year in Descant Choir, and also plays cello. Her mother plays French horn, and her older sister, Amanda, plays violin and bassoon. The whole family was excited to add AAYC to their musical landscape. Having previously served on non-profit boards, Lorin is looking forward to contributing as a board member.
Tracy Cui, Vice President
Tracy Cui moved to Ann Arbor in 2000 to pursue her postdoctoral training in the University of Michigan in biomedical research. Since then, she has been working as a scientist on multiple research projects in U of M’s Medical School to understand mechanisms of disease in the search for a cure for diabetes, cancer and asthma. She has published numerous articles in scientific journals and supervises college students in her lab.
Tracy is an active runner who has been a board member and fundraising officer for her running group (AH Running Club) for three years. She has also helped with fundraising for AAPS and Ann Arbor Youth Chorale.
Tracy has two children, Oliver and Stephanie, who were born and raised in Ann Arbor. Both love music and have enjoyed their school music programs. Stephanie, in particular, fell in love with singing; she sang in AAYC’s Descant Choir for two years and is now a Concert Choir member. Tracy, who also sang in a children’s choir in middle school, is honored to have this opportunity to devote her time and efforts to AAYC as a board member. To her, music is a world language for peace and beauty.
Joe Piffaretti, Treasurer
Joe Piffaretti is the Senior Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) for Michigan Medicine. In this role, he creates, leads, and executes cross-divisional strategies to promote regional and nationwide corporate and foundation support of Michigan Medicine, including UM Hospitals and Medical School. As a member of the Michigan Medicine development function’s Senior Leadership Team, Joe provides strategic counsel to the Chief Development Officer, other institutional leadership and volunteer leaders to advance philanthropic support of Michigan Medicine. In addition to his CFR role, Joe oversees the comprehensive fundraising activity for nine Basic Sciences departments and the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation, a cross institutional policy institute composed of more than 450 UM faculty.
Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Joe served for ten years as Executive Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He holds a B.Sc. in Management Science from the University of Wales, Swansea in the UK.
Marilyn Meeker, Secretary
Marilyn Meeker joined the Board of the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale in 2019 and has recently been appointed Secretary. She comes to AAYC as an enthusiastic supporter of the development of young singers and sharing with the organization her own commitment to singing and music-making.
Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Marilyn has been singing in choirs since elementary school. She completed her BA at the State University College in Oswego, NY, and then moved to Ann Arbor for graduate studies in Musicology at the University of Michigan. Her various jobs to support her studies included seven years at Mathematical Reviews as a proofreader and copy-editor. She then became an editor at UMI Research Press—at small academic publishing house within University Microfilms, which later became ProQuest. When ProQuest moved to digital publishing, Marilyn became involved in the Publisher Relations department, working as an Account Executive and later as a Project Manager, dealing with the licensing of content from international publishers for use within their award-winning digital databases, and maintaining the integrity of the licensed content within those products. She retired from ProQuest in 2015.
Marilyn’s musical interests have only grown since her move to Ann Arbor. She has sung with the UMS Choral Union for nearly 40 years, and until 2018, served for 25 years as Coordinator of the UMS Choral Union’s annual Summer Sings—a season of three choral reading sessions open to all singers, led by renowned conductors. She has also been an active member of the Chancel Choir at First Presbyterian Church for over forty years, singing, creating programs and providing program notes for the Choir’s various concerts.
Lynda Berg, Past President, Ex Officio Board Member
Lynda Weston Berg came to Ann Arbor to study voice at the University of Michigan in the mid-sixties, and like so many others. . . she never left our fair city. For many years, Lynda pursued an active singing career in opera, oratorio and recital. She became one of the leading sopranos in the Piccolo Opera Company of Detroit and soloist at many area churches and synagogues.
In the early 70’s Lynda discovered the magic of teaching and returned to U-M to attain certification in both classroom and music education. Combining her love of theater, music and children, Lynda taught elementary vocal music for over 25 years. In 1998 she became the Coordinator of Music for the Ann Arbor Public Schools, a position which under her leadership eventually evolved into the Department of Fine Arts and Physical Education.
Lynda officially retired from the Ann Arbor Public Schools in 2006 and continued her commitment to arts, culture and education in our community by joining the Boards of three local non-profit organizations: the University Musical Society, Arbor Opera Theater, and the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale. She served as President of AAYC from 2009-2014.
Currently, Lynda maintains a private voice studio in Ann Arbor and still sings professionally for special events.
Linda S. Carter, Board Member
Linda S. Carter is a recent retiree from Ann Arbor Public Schools, after 43 years teaching instrumental music and 30 years as President and Vice-President of the teacher’s union, Ann Arbor Education Association. She enjoyed teaching instrumental music in 15 AAPS elementary schools and all five of the middle schools. In the first 12 years of her career, Linda also had a great time as co-director at Pioneer High School and Huron High School marching band camps.
AAPS-AAEA colleague and friend Fred Klein describes Linda Carter as the “tiny woman with the giant personality,” someone who “can fill a room with her laugh.”
Linda will continue to advocate for music education in her retirement, and AAYC is proud to have her as a board member.
Joseph D. Daniel, Board Member
Dr. Joseph D. Daniel is a free-lance musician whose reputation for musical excellence keeps him busy as a conductor, clinician, and accompanist throughout the state of Michigan. In addition to his musical endeavors, Dr. Daniel serves on the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) State Board where he promotes music education advocacy and social issues in the music classroom.
For six years, Dr. Daniel served as an adjunct faculty member at Washtenaw Community College where he taught voice, piano, musical theater, and music theory. He also founded and directed the WCC Chamber Singers, a comprehensive choral program comprised of five unique ensembles.
He is increasingly in demand as an orchestral keyboard musician with many local, regional orchestras. In 2012, he performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as part of the AVANTI Summer Program. He also performs with many local community theater companies as music director and as a pit musician.
Dr. Daniel made his professional performance debut in 2001 with concerts in France and Germany and has since played recitals throughout Michigan and Texas. He has also made appearances in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Dr. Daniel completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as the final pupil of the late Dr. Robert Glasgow. Prior to his doctoral study, he earned dual master’s degrees in organ and carillon performance also from the University of Michigan.
He is a published composer whose works have been performed around the globe. He also maintains a private studio and adjudicates throughout the state for the MSVMA. Dr. Daniel is Artist in Residence at Christ Church, Grosse Pointe.
Amy Drummond, Board Member, Descant Choir Coordinator
Amy Drummond started in vocal music very early, being fortunate enough to be a kindergartener during Rick Ingram’s debut year as a music teacher. She hasn’t stopped singing since! She assisted and helped organize auditions for the inaugural year of AAYC in 1987. Now that love of choir has rubbed off on her daughter, who is entering her fourth year with Descant Choir.
Amy served 2 years as secretary of the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale Board of Directors and is going to continue to serve as a member of the Board. She will be the Descant Choir Coordinator for the second year as well. Amy works as the Director of Contracts and Compliance for a local company that works with the Autism Spectrum Disorder community. Amy was on the PTO Board at Dicken Elementary and was President for 3 years, also serving as the chair of several of the school’s fundraising efforts. She now sits on the Slauson Middle School PTO Board.
She is a proud Ann Arborite and believes that music has the power to bring us all together!
Beth McNally, Immediate Past President, Board Member
Beth McNally recently retired as the K-5 Vocal Music teacher at Wines Elementary, having taught there for 12 years, and in Ann Arbor Public Schools for 17 years. In 2016, she was named by UMS as the DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year for her “passionate commitment to integrating the arts into the core curriculum of Wines Elementary School in Ann Arbor.”
Beth served as secretary of the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale Board of Directors for four years before assuming the presidency from 2016 to 2020. Her primary goals as board president were to celebrate AAYC’s 30-plus years of excellence in choral singing and education, increase funding, and help launch the choirs into future decades of successful music making.
Beth has enjoyed singing with the Grammy Award-winning UMS Choral Union since 1999 and currently serves as Alto Section Coach. She is a member of the UMS Ambassadors (formerly the Advisory Committee), an organization that advances the goals of UMS through community engagement, financial support, and volunteer service.
Beth earned her Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan and has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College. She is originally an east coast/Jersey girl, but she wouldn’t trade living in Ann Arbor for anything. She is thrilled to serve on the board of AAYC and is especially proud of all her Wines students who have sung in Youth Chorale over the years.
Lin Zhao, Board Member
Lin Zhao moved to Ann Arbor in 2010 with her husband and two children. She works as Programs Manager at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Executive Education. Prior to working for Michigan Ross, Lin worked for 12 years in business development, management consulting, and project planning for global corporations and not-for-profit organizations. She holds MBA, MA, and BA degrees.
Lin loves music, and her connection with Ann Arbor Youth Chorale started in 2015, when her daughter Victoria was a member of Descant Choir. Victoria, who also plays piano and cello, still sings in her school music program and looks forward to a day when she can rejoin AAYC. Lin’s son Abraham recently began his musical journey with Descant Choir and has found it lots of fun, starting with his very first rehearsal.
Lin feels very blessed that her entire family enjoys being surrounded with music, and she is glad to contribute her passion and experience to the AAYC community.
Jamie Phillips, Administrator
Originally from Skytop, PA, Jamie Phillips is excited to continue as the Administrator for the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale family. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan. After living several post-graduate years on the west coast, the amazing college town atmosphere of Ann Arbor drew her back in 2002. She, her husband, and their daughter now happily reside in Burns Park.
Jamie dabbles in instrumental music, having played flute/piccolo in concert and marching bands and orchestra throughout school. She is a self-taught brass instrumentalist and was a member of the trumpet section in the Michigan Marching Band during college. Ironically, Jamie claims to have little vocal talent, so much prefers listening to her daughter’s lovely voice.
Prior to connecting with Ann Arbor Youth Chorale, Jamie worked professionally in the pharmaceutical industry and public health sector as a study director and project manager, respectively. She is also an active community volunteer with local non-profit groups, having led several large events for the Burns Park Elementary PTO and The Creature Conservancy.
Karen TenBrink, Descant Choir Accompanist
Karen TenBrink holds Bachelor and Master degrees in music education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan, respectively. She teaches private piano and voice lessons in Ann Arbor and Jackson, and is in demand as a freelance accompanist and singer. Karen has been the director of the Ann Arbor Civic Chorus since 2014 and is a member and frequent soloist for the semiprofessional chamber choir, the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Ann Arbor.
Karen grew up in a musical family in Germany, attending a music and arts magnet school in Munich. She has taught general music and choir in Michigan public schools and directed youth and adult choirs in Japan and Thailand, including as chorus master for the Bangkok Opera. She is excited to return to AAYC with both of her children this year: Leif for his third year in Concert Choir, and Elin for her first year in Descant Choir.
Gail Jennings, Concert Choir Accompanist
Gail Jennings has been the organist at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor for twenty years. She teaches piano and enjoys playing chamber music and collaborating with other musicians.
Laura Morris, Webmaster, Assistant Descant Choir Coordinator
Laura Morris has been involved with AAYC almost as long as her mother, Julia Chu. She enjoys singing, gaming, working with kids, and reading. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, studied web design and programming at Washtenaw Community College, and currently works at the University Hospital
Julia Chu, Assistant Webmaster
Julia Chu, born and raised in Ann Arbor, was educated at U of M in computer science, and has worked as a programmer for the department of epidemiology for many years. Julia first volunteered for AAYC when her younger daughter attended back in 1996, and she became a board member shortly thereafter. Her contributions to AAYC range from non-musical student support and supervision for the Descant choir to much email coordination, chairing the board’s website committee and directing and testing creation of the new website.