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Conservatory Advisory Board

Conservatory Advisory Board

The Conservatory Advisory Board (CAB) works with Executive Dean for Creativity and the Arts Michael Stepniak to support Shenandoah Conservatory’s growth into Virginia’s leading center for the performing arts and one of the finest conservatories in the country. Board members cherish being change-agents and advancing excellence in the performing arts (whether in music, theatre or dance). They are energized by the conservatory’s mission and core values and, coming from diverse backgrounds, offer complementary perspectives and viewpoints.

Conservatory Advisory Board Members

Lori DabinettLaura Dabinett, M.D., is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who practiced in Winchester, Virginia, for over 30 years. She was the founder of the Women’s Center of Winchester. For ten of those years, she served as a trustee to Shenandoah University. She continues as an adjunct professor in the health professions, teaching in the physician assistant program.

Laura, or Lori to her friends, has led multiple medical and surgical mission trips to Nicaragua and Haiti, delivering gynecologic care to the most needy. While on these trips, she has included SU faculty, staff and students.

Since retirement, Lori volunteers at the Sinclair Health Clinic, teaching women’s health to staff and students. Recently she has had time to pursue other interests including writing, conservation work as a citizen scientist for Virginia Working Landscapes of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Master Gardening.

Lori and her husband, Russell Mckelway, M.D., have two grown daughters, Olivia and Madeline. They live on a farm in Clarke County where their girls were raised. Both are avid members of the Dean’s Circle and the World of the Piano at Shenandoah Conservatory and believe that a vibrant arts community is critical to health and an informed citizenry.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Amy FielderAmy Fielder is a musician and retired music teacher who played viola and violin with the Fairfax Symphony for many years. While teaching in Fairfax, Virginia, Amy became vice president of the Virginia States Music Educators Organization and was later the director of the Virginia State Summer Music Camp. Her high school orchestra was honored by the state as was her private students, one of whom is presently playing in the National Symphony Orchestra. While working in White Plains, New York, she was president of the New York City Oberlin Alumni Club.

She is very active in the Westminster-Canterbury community where she resides, and also enjoys volunteering at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, participating in the Winchester chapter of American Association of University Women (AAUW), attending as many conservatory performances as she can, and, for 26 years, she has taken an annual summer trip to Chautauqua for Summer Assembly. Amy attended Interlochen Center for the Arts and Oberlin College, and has traveled extensively.

From a very early age, Amy knew that her life would revolve around music and teaching. Throughout her many years as a music educator, offering her students support was her true passion. She never wanted her students to feel left behind and spent her whole career helping students find their way through music, providing her extra attention and care to students in need.

Amy was the first member of Shenandoah Conservatory’s Dean’s Circle, and loves getting to know conservatory students and being able to provide direct student support. She gifted her viola to Shenandoah University and has established a lifetime gift to underwrite an undergraduate scholarship for string students and for continued support of the Dean’s Circle. This lifetime gift is a continuation of her love for teaching that will allow students of many generations to feel supported and to live their passion.

What Amy loves most about Shenandoah is the freedom the students have to learn and grow. She values the culture of kindness and caring that makes our community so special.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Linda R. HallLinda Hall ’76 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education – Piano), a native of Baltimore, Maryland, is widely recognized as a choral music educator. Ms. Hall’s career spanned 32 years with Baltimore City Public Schools, with 26 years of that tenure with the Baltimore City College High School Choir where she was afforded the privilege of assisting young musicians to find their voice and collaborating and creating music with composers, arrangers and conductors all over the world!

Under Ms. Hall’s direction, the City College choirs delighted audiences from the White House to across the country and abroad, including the International Choral Music Days Festival (Verona, Italy) and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Milan, Italy), as well as tours in Rome, Tuscany, and cities in Spain and France where they consistently won superior ratings, awards and trophies for their performances. Ms. Hall was honored to have the opportunity to conduct the City College Choir at the Carnegie Hall National High School Choral Festival as a guest of Dr. Craig Jessop, former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Linda Hall has prepared choirs for numerous performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and co-directed works with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and Morgan State University Choir. Hall also served as conductor/clinician for the annual Ithaca College Gospel Goes Classical Festival. She conducted Honors Choruses in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, as well as the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Voices United Summer Conference Festival Chorus where she was privileged to share the stage with the late Weston Noble. Ms. Hall was active as the ACDA Eastern Division State and Division Repertoire and Standards Chair for Senior High School Choirs. Hall maintains her membership with ACDA. Another highlight of Ms. Hall’s career was the opportunity to work with the Washington Performing Arts Society – Men and Women of the Gospel where she conducted the world premiere of “INDABA!” written and performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Among many awards, Ms. Hall is grateful to have received the Alumnae of Excellence Award from her alma mater Shenandoah University, the Excellence Merit Achievement Initiative for Maryland’s Minority Students Award, the Baltimore City Council’s Teacher of the Year Award and the Outstanding Teacher Award from Baltimore City Community College. She received the Teacher Recognition Award from Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth and was the honoree for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and the Soulful Symphony, “Honoring Those Who Inspire the Young and Gifted.” She was the recipient of the Excellence in Music Education Award in Baltimore City and the Iota Phi Lambda – Apple for the Teacher Award. Hall has shaken hands with two presidents (performed for four) and received citations from governors, several mayors, city councils and many other notable officials.

As a child, Hall loved music and teaching. That inspiration was fueled by her foster parents, Thomas and Georgia Parker who were singers in the church choir. Because of this, she has served as director/minister of music for many churches in the Baltimore/Columbia, Maryland, region. She is grateful for those who further stimulated her love of music and contributed significantly in the preparation for her career in choral music education: the late Spencer Hammond, the late Dr. Nathan Carter, Margaret Armstrong, Dorothy Marshall, Dr. David Stutzenberger and Dean Emerita Charlotte Collins ’85, Ed.D.

Linda enjoys opportunities to perform as a clinician, consultant, adjudicator and conductor, as well as to mentor young music educators. As one of the newest members of the Shenandoah Alumni Board, she looks forward to making new connections with the Shenandoah community. Linda received her Bachelor of Music Education from Shenandoah University (then, Shenandoah Conservatory of Music) and her Master of Arts from Morgan State University.

“We Learn As We Live!”

Photo courtesy of Linda Hall

Marjorie LewisMarjorie Lewis ’81 (Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Bachelor of Arts in English) has served on the Shenandoah University Board of Trustees since 2011, serving as chair from 2015 to 2017. She began her college career at Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia and earned a B.A. in Theatre and English, summa cum laude, from Shenandoah University. She did graduate work in film production at New York University.

Mrs. Lewis is the former Director of Information Services and Publications for Shenandoah University. She was both producer and host for public affairs television and was announcer and commercial talent for the Mid-Atlantic Network.

Marjorie is passionate about many causes throughout the Shenandoah Valley. She was founder/president of Child Advocacy Network, Inc.; founder/board member and past chair of Healthy Families Northern Shenandoah Valley; capital campaign chair for the establishment of the Our Health Campus; current president of the Marion Park Lewis Foundation for the Arts; current associate trustee and former member board of trustees, Powhatan School, where she also taught creative dramatics; past chair of the Handley Regional Library System during the library renovation and the system expansion; member and past chair of the Friends of the Handley Regional Library; member, past president and actor, director and producer of the Winchester Little Theatre; founding board member/past chair of the Wayside Foundation for the Arts; founding board member of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia; founding board member of VOICES for Virginia’s Children; former board member of Virginians for the Arts; former board member of the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival; current member and past president of the Century Club; and current member and past board member of the Winchester-Clarke Garden Club. An avid reader, she is a founding member of three book groups.

At Shenandoah, Marjorie is the founder of the Piano Society, which supports the World of the Piano concert series. She was the recipient in 1994 of the Distinguished Alumna Award for Community Service and, in 2018, the Conservatory Dean’s Medal. Marjorie and her husband John support the conservatory’s work in myriad ways: as donors to the All-Steinway School initiative, members of the conservatory Dean’s Circle, supporters of the Friends of the Conservatory, and as supporters and subscribers to Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, the theatre and dance series, and Performing Arts Live. They have also created the Lewis Endowment for Excellence in Theatre Scholarship Fund and the Lewis Endowment for Excellence in Acting Training Fund.

Marjorie lives with her husband, John, in Millwood, Virginia. They have a daughter, Alicia, a son, Christopher, and three granddaughters.

Photo courtesy of Marjorie Lewis

Richard McCormick retired and moved to Winchester, Virginia, with his wife Beth in 2021, capping off a remarkable 45-year career in military and government service, where he played crucial roles in national security and policy. A 1964 Virginia Military Institute graduate with advanced degrees in electrical engineering and engineering administration, he spent 20 years on active duty with the Air Force, including strategic postings in France, Spain, and various prestigious U.S. agencies including the NSA and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Post-military, Richard excelled as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Plans and Policy, shaping critical national security space strategies and policies. His efforts earned him top honors, including the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive and recognitions from the Secretary of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office, and NASA.

His federal career culminated at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he directed strategic policies and initiatives in space science and technology. His leadership was instrumental in crafting the President’s National Space Policy and the Department of Defense’s technology investment strategy. Richard received the Director of National Intelligence Reform Medal for his groundbreaking work, marking a significant accolade post-Intelligence Community consolidation.

Richard served on the Board of Governors of the Arts Club of Washington, D.C., and, along with his wife Beth, has founded an endowment for young musicians. He is also a member of the Shenandoah Conservatory Dean’s Circle. Since moving to Winchester, he’s immersed himself in local culture, initiated a fruitful partnership between the Arts Club of Washington and Shenandoah Conservatory, and facilitated performances showcasing conservatory students’ talents.

Patrick D. McCoyPatrick D. McCoy ’05 (Master of Music in Church Music – Conducting) distinguishes himself as a choral conductor, singer and music journalist. A native of Petersburg, Virginia, he earned the Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Virginia State University and the Master of Music in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory. Juxtaposing a busy schedule between writing and public appearances, he has covered the arts for several outlets, including The Washington Post, Prince George’s Suite Magazine, The Afro American Newspaper, CBS Washington, Early Music America, Examiner.com and Artsong Update, among others.

Currently, he serves on the music faculty at Virginia State University, where he serves as interim director of choral activities and instructor of voice. Having served several churches in music ministry, he currently serves organist/choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Beltsville, Maryland.

Notable appearances include presenting at the African American Art Song Alliance Conference at the University of California at Irvine and serving as a moderator at the Mendelssohn Elijah Panel at The Kennedy Center, Symposium Series at the Colour of Music Festival and Blacks in Classical Music Panel hosted by the Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts. He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., the Association of Anglican Musicians, a former member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors, a member of the Shenandoah University Black Alumni Network and is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Bernie McDanielAfter 28 years of military service, Col. Bernard E. McDaniel, USA (Ret.) continues to serve our country and the local community. Bernie hails from Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in political science in 1967. He was an Army ROTC scholarship recipient and is a Vietnam veteran.

Throughout his career as a strategic intelligence officer, McDaniel pursued his interests in U.S. national security and foreign policy. Awarded a Foreign Area Officer specialty, he focused on U.S.-European political-military issues. His assignments alternated primarily between Germany and Washington, D.C. He studied German at the Defense Language Institute and earned a master’s degree in European Integration from American University’s School of International Service.

McDaniel served as the Assistant Army Attaché in the Defense Attaché Office (DAO) at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn. After graduation from the U.S. Army War College, he returned to the U.S. Embassy as the Defense and Army Attaché. In these positions, he interacted with senior-level German military officials to achieve mutual national security objectives. He led the DAO during German reunification and the Gulf War. The office received national-level recognition for its valuable contributions at this historic time. Subsequently, McDaniel was inducted into the Defense Attaché Hall of Fame. Before retiring, he served as the Director of Foreign Intelligence on the Army staff in the Pentagon.

While assigned in Germany, Bernie and his wife Mary volunteered for nine years in a German-American friendship program to familiarize Bonn University students with American culture and language. McDaniel also advocates at The Ohio State University on behalf of first-generation students who have little or no family tradition of higher education. He believes that encouraging these capable students benefits them socially and professionally and enables the United States to remain competitive internationally.

Bernie and Mary reside in Round Hill, Virginia, and have enjoyed attending numerous Shenandoah Conservatory performances. They are members of the Dean’s Circle and have appreciated the opportunity to support the conservatory and meet the outstanding students, faculty and staff of Shenandoah University.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Kunduck MoonKunduck Moon is a retired corporate banker and has been a full-time Winchester resident since 2017.

Moon is a native of Korea and lived in South America before coming to the United States as a teenager. He received his undergraduate education at Yale University and completed his legal studies at Columbia University Law School. He worked as a corporate banker in New York City, Manila, Philippines, Hong Kong, Seoul, Korea and Mexico City, Mexico. He worked at Baker & McKenzie, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and ING. He retired in 2017 after serving as the Global Head for Investment Management Industry at ING in New York City where he worked with clients ranging from mutual funds to hedge funds and private equity funds.

His current activities and interests are working on re-foresting his Cedar Creek Grade farm where he planted 15,000 trees, making furniture for family and friends using black walnut lumber harvested on his farm, creating a new 15-acre wildflower meadow at the farm and working on his golf swing. When time allows, he enjoys nature and portrait photography. He is a member of Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners Association.

Jerilynn PayneJerilynn E. Payne earned a Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in 1979. She continued her education by attending undergraduate and graduate courses at higher education institutions in Maryland and at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, studying fire science and technology, emergency medical services (EMS) and a host of other programs. Jerilynn received a Master of Social Work degree with an aging specialization at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore. In her career, Jerilynn served as a musician, music therapist, field representative for a non-profit organization, educator for secondary and post-secondary programs, hospital critical care technician, firefighter, EMS supervisor, fire rescue academy instructor, Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute instructor and social worker.

Jerilynn has a life-long history of volunteer community service helping individuals and others in over a dozen organizations. She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), Jackson & Johnson Memorial Unit #263, Catonsville, Maryland, and served in numerous positions on the local, region and state levels for ALA. She is a lifetime member of the N.A.A.C.P., served on the Maryland Higher Education Commission – Maryland Fire and Rescue Education Training; and co-created a ‘Welfare to Work Initiative’ in a collaborative initiative with Baltimore County Fire Department, Baltimore County Volunteer Firefighters Association, and the Baltimore County Department of Social Services.

Jerilynn is a student of Judaism and Hebrew and attends weekly Talmud classes as well as other courses offered by the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York, the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Israel, and especially with the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ). She served as a contributing member of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) and WLCJ’s collaborative committee to develop an Inclusion Resource Guidebook and currently serves on the WLCJ international board as Chair of WL Cares. Jerilynn is a member of Beth Shalom Congregation (BSC) in Columbia, Maryland and serves on the synagogue board as Chair of Social Events and is a member of the BSC Sisterhood Steering Committee.

Colette SabbaghColette Sabbagh moved to Winchester, Virginia, with her husband, Iyad, in 2019. She has been a lifelong patron and supporter of the performing arts. Before moving to Winchester, she lived in Bangor, Maine, for twenty years. During that time she served on boards for the local professional theatre, Penobscot Theatre, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the Bangor Ballet.

Colette has been a pediatrician for almost twenty-five years and currently works for Pediatric Associates of Winchester. She specializes in treating mental health issues in children through high school. She is board-certified and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Colette currently serves as chair of the board for the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and chair of the board for the Sinclair Health Clinic. She is representative for her practice as a collaborator with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

Colette is an active volunteer with the Winchester Little Theatre as an actor, costume designer and with hospitality. She plays the clarinet and enjoys singing and acting. She has a long-term passion for theater and has seen over seventy-five shows on Broadway in the past ten years. She was thrilled to find such a high-quality innovative performing arts center in her new town!

Gerard SchwarzInternationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalogue of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as music director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival, Palm Beach Symphony and Mozart Orchestra of New York, and is conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and conductor emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival. He is distinguished professor of music; conducting and orchestral studies of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and music director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra.

His considerable discography of over 350 albums showcases his collaborations with some of the world’s greatest orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony and Seattle Symphony Orchestra among others. In 2017, The Gerard Schwarz Collection, a 30-CD box set of previously unreleased or limited release works spanning his entire recording career was released by Naxos.

Schwarz began his professional career as co-principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic and has held music director positions with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. As a guest conductor, he has worked with many of the world’s finest orchestras and has led the San Francisco, Washington National and Seattle Opera companies on many occasions. He is also a gifted composer and arranger with an extensive catalogue of works that have been premiered by ensembles across the United States, Europe and Korea.

Schwarz is a renowned interpreter of nineteenth century German, Austrian and Russian repertoire in addition to his noted work with contemporary American composers. He completed his final season as music director of the Seattle Symphony in 2011 after an acclaimed 26 years — a period of dramatic artistic growth for the ensemble.

In his nearly five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including 9 Emmy Awards, 14 Grammy nominations, 8 ASCAP Awards and the Ditson Conductor’s Award. He was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. The city of Seattle named the street alongside the Benaroya Hall “Gerard Schwarz Place” in his honor. His book, Behind the Baton, was released by Amadeus Press in March 2017.

Photo by VanHouten Photography

Knox SingletonJ. Knox Singleton retired after 35 years as the chief executive officer at Inova Health Systems in Washington, D.C., the largest comprehensive healthcare system in the region, serving more than two million people annually.

Knox had joined Inova Health, formerly Fairfax Hospital, in 1983 as the executive vice president of operations and was named president in 1984. Knox led Inova’s evolution from a collection of small, stand-alone hospitals into an award-winning healthcare system, nationally recognized for clinical excellence, innovation and outstanding patient care. Inova’s comprehensive network comprises hospitals, outpatient services and facilities, primary and specialty care, and health and wellness initiatives.

During his tenure, Knox took Inova from a three-hospital, $500 million organization to a $3.5 billion health care system with five hospitals and more than 100 ambulatory service locations. Inova is now considered a leader in genomics and personalized health, which uses an individual’s genetic makeup to predict and prevent disease.

Knox continues to be associated with numerous healthcare and professional organizations. He is the founder and CEO of Opportunity Scholars, director of Healthcare Realty Trust, co-founder and board member for the Global Good Fund, and is the director and board officer for many other organizations. Knox is particularly passionate about human services, affordable housing, patient care, and tech start-ups in the healthcare arena.

Currently, Knox serves as executive-in-residence for healthcare management in the School of Business at Shenandoah University and is the CEO of Opportunity Scholars, a 501(c)(3) that works to enable economic prosperity at the local level by bridging the student gap between education and employment. He is also a trustee for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Knox earned his master’s degree from Duke University in Health and Hospital Administration and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina. He holds honorary degrees from Northern Virginia Community College and Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. He is married to Tracy Fitzsimmons and together they have seven children.

Photo courtesy of J. Knox Singleton

Amanda SweetAmanda Sweet ’94 (Bachelor of Music in Performance – Voice) has been a communications specialist for over 20 years, with developed expertise within arts and entertainment. Since 2008, Amanda has worked as founder and president of Bucklesweet, a communications and marketing firm. She has held senior management positions at prestigious record labels including Telarc, a subsidiary of Concord Music Group, and Atlantic Records.

At Bucklesweet, Amanda has signed and represented a diverse client roster including opera singers Kristine Opolais and Jennifer Rowley, PUBLIQuartet, Turtle Island Quartet, legendary rock drummer and composer Stewart Copeland and Third Coast Percussion. Amanda has also represented major performing arts institutions including The Blues Foundation, Washington Performing Arts, American Pianists Association, Arena Stage, Studio Theatre and Strathmore, as well as festivals such as Savannah Music Festival, Virginia Arts Festival, Boulder Bach Festival, Ear Taxi Festival and Bravo! Vail. In addition to communications, Amanda produced and directed the 2021 and 2022 Musical America Awards.

Amanda is a member of the Americana Music Association and the Blues Foundation, and is a Grammy voter. She was named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Professionals in 2019. She is engaged regularly to speak with artists about the music business and how to develop a comprehensive media strategy. Most recently, Amanda has served as a speaker with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, American University’s Kogod School of Business, the Manhattan School of Music, Music Academy of the West, Strathmore’s Artist-in-Residence. She has been a moderator and panelist at Chamber Music America’s national conference as well as a panelist for Music Academy of the West’s Learning Institute. Amanda lives in Washington, D.C., serves on the Dance Place board and holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance (Voice) from Shenandoah Conservatory.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Sweet

Tom SweitzerTom Sweitzer ’94, ’11 (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre – Voice, Graduate Certificate in Music Therapy), M.M.T., MT-BC,  is the co-founder, creative director and head of music therapy at A Place to Be, a nonprofit organization serving over 400 families weekly, offering music therapy. he holds a B.F.A. in Music Theatre, a graduate certificate in music therapy from Shenandoah University and a master’s in music therapy from Berklee College of Music. Tom has created several therapeutic musical productions that focus on acceptance, diversity and empathy and that tour the schools. His rock opera A Will to Survive, was performed at the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center. He is currently collaborating with Wolf Trap, writing and directing their first inclusive and disability-focused production for the children’s theater and education department. He is an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University and consults as a music therapist within the Loudoun County area and across the country. He is a member of the American Music Therapy Association.

Tom received the title Loudoun County Humanitarian of the Year in 2014 and in that same year was invited as a guest to the White House for his work with disabilities. A Place to Be and Tom were awarded Best Music Therapy Provider of the Year by the American Music Therapy Association in June 2017. That same year he was honored to be a guest at the Sound Health conference hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) along with renowned opera star Renée Fleming and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. Tom’s choir, Different Strokes for Different Folks, a group comprised of stroke survivors through Inova Hospital, sang alongside Renée Fleming. He most recently spoke with Mrs. Fleming on Music and the Mind at Tanglewood. Tom is a subject of a new documentary, Music Got Me Here, along with one of his heroes, Forrest Allen, a young man with a traumatic brain injury who found his voice and courage again through music therapy. Tom is dedicated in growing A Place to Be and its mission to help people face, navigate and overcome life’s challenges through music therapy.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Ryuji UenoDr. Ryuji Ueno, M.D., Ph.D. and Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scientist, innovator, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Trained and certified as a medical doctor at Keio University School of Medicine in Japan, Dr. Ueno spent his academic career in the fields of pharmacology, physiology and biochemistry at Columbia University, Kyoto University, Osaka University and Stanford University. He has authored more than 100 articles in notable scientific journals. He is also passionate about classical music and is the founder and executive producer of the Ryuji Ueno Foundation.

In the 1980s, Dr. Ueno first discovered the tremendous therapeutic potential of prostones, a class of functional fatty acids. After 10 years of biomedical research, he founded R-Tech Ueno, Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company that developed Rescula® (unoprostone), a BK channel opener discovered by Dr. Ueno to treat glaucoma. Rescula® has been used by more than 500,000 patients in 45 countries. In 1996, Dr. Ueno moved to the United States and established Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, which successfully developed a second medicine, AMITIZA® (lubiprostone), a ClC-2 channel opener discovered by Dr. Ueno to treat various gastrointestinal conditions. In 2019, Dr. Ueno was appointed professor at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders. He seeks to elucidate and provide a novel effective therapy for neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr. Ueno has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years, including Nikkei BP Publications’ Japan Innovator of the Year Award (2006), the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Greater Washington Area in the Life Sciences Category (2006), honorary membership in the American Gastroenterological Association (2008) and the Foundation Fighting Blindness Visionary Award (2014).

In 2015, Dr. Ueno founded the Ryuji Ueno Foundation and serves as its executive producer. Through the foundation, Dr. Ueno produces more than fourteen performances a year, inviting renowned artists from across the world. He also began the Potomac Music Lab Project, an incubator for classical music where world-class musicians can experiment with their craft. The project includes The 6821 Quintet, named for the distance in miles between Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, that performed its world debut at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2016. Dr. Ueno has also created the Global Leadership Program in collaboration with the Liechtenstein Music Academy; the program provides an opportunity for various international music students to learn what it means to be a professional performing artist in the United States.

Dr. Ueno previously served as president of the Evermay Chamber Orchestra, which joined the Washington Ballet to present live performances of Swan Lake at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre in April 2015. He has also served as a board member of the Washington Ballet (2014 to 2015) and committee chair for the S&R Washington Award (2000 to 2015). He currently is a board member of the New Orchestra of Washington, Young Concert Artists in DC and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. He is also the sponsor and chief lecturer of the International Music Academy of Liechtenstein’s Washington Semester program, a distinguished lecturer at Shenandoah University, and president of Omotesenke Doumonkai Eastern USA.

Dr. Ueno is passionate about classical music and is a collector of musical instruments. He is a major supporter of music in the greater Washington, D.C., area and is himself a dedicated amateur flutist. For his continued dedication and support of the arts, he has received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leadership (2015), the Business Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Washington Business Journal (2015), the ArtsMatter Award for contributing to the growth of the arts from the New Orchestra of Washington (2017) and the S&R Foundation Award (2017).

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Doug WheelerDouglas H. Wheeler has been with Washington Performing Arts since 1969. He served as president from 1982 to 2002 and is now president emeritus. Washington Performing Arts (WPA) is one of the most established and honored performing arts institutions in America, and it has engaged with artists, audiences, students and civic life for more than half a century. WPA deeply values its partnerships with local organizations and other arts institutions. Through events online and in myriad performance venues and neighborhoods, WPA engages international visiting artists in community programs and introduces local artists to wider audiences. Their achievements have been recognized with a National Medal of Arts and with three Mayor’s Arts Awards from the D.C. Government. WPA is ever inspired by the motto of founder, Patrick Hayes: “Everybody in, nobody out.”

Doug is an active and passionate supporter of the arts and community, having served on boards for the International Society of the Performing Arts, Southeastern University, Leadership Greater Washington, Friday Morning Music Club, District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Dance USA, Metropolitan Washington Council of Chambers, Federal City Council, Cultural Development Corporation of Greater Washington, and D.C. Agenda Project. He is a founding board member for Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board (1991 to present), and Partners in Performance (Midori) (2003 to present). Doug has been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and is chair for the Friends of Music at the Supreme Court (2004 to present). Mr. Wheeler has been recognized by the governments of France and Norway and was named Washingtonian of the Year in 1994.

Doug is a graduate of American University with a B.A. and M.A. in economics. He is a native of Arlington, Virginia, and lives there with his wife Catherine Trapnell Wheeler. Doug and Catherine have been married for 58 years. They have five grandchildren.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Alan WurtzelAlan Wurtzel received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Shenandoah University in 2005. He was a member and served as chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. He is an emeritus member of the board of trustees at Oberlin College and has served two terms on the board of visitors at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alan was also a member of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Mr. Wurtzel was the chairman and CEO of Circuit City Stores, Inc., until 1986. Circuit City was recognized in Good to Great as one of the best-performing companies on the New York Stock Exchange.

In the late 1980s, he served as president of Operation Independence, a nonprofit organization created at the request of George Shultz, U.S. Secretary of State, to help Israel become economically independent. In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Mr. Wurtzel to the National Skill Standards Board. He was director of several not-for-profit standards-based education policy organizations, including the National Center on Education and the Economy and the Council for Basic Education.

Alan was also a director of Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and from 1989 to 1996 he served on the board of Office Depot. In addition, he served on the boards of five privately held companies, two of which provide technology services to public education. In the not-for-profit arena, Alan was a trustee emeritus of the Phillips Collection, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and KIPP DC.

He is a graduate of Oberlin College and Yale Law School.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Irene WurtzelIrene Wurtzel joined the Shenandoah University Board of Trustees in 2007. She taught English and history in Bethesda, Maryland, high schools and playwriting at the Bethesda Writers Center for five years. For years she worked with Relief International, a philanthropic fund that promotes sustainable, enterprise-oriented solutions to economic challenges in the developing world.

Irene is a winner of the 1975 Margo Jones Play Writing Award, the Jane Chambers Award for outstanding woman playwright, and a Cine Award for a documentary film script on the history of the American labor movement. Her four plays, including Onward Victoria, a musical based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, have appeared on and off-Broadway, regional theater and in England.

Ms. Wurtzel was a member of the board of trustees of Arena Stage, where she chaired the board’s education and community outreach efforts. She is former chair of the board of the Family and Children’s Trust Fund of Virginia, a commission aimed at preventing domestic violence and child abuse in Virginia. During the Clinton presidency, she served on the President’s Commission on The Celebration of Women in American History.

In the past ten years, Irene was a board member and then chair of Compassion and Choices, a nationwide organization committed to death with dignity and expanding choice for end of life.

She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and completed her graduate work at the University of Maryland.

Photo by Shenandoah University’s Office of Marketing & Communications

Contact Assistant Vice President for Advancement & Major Gifts Melanie L. Mathewes for more information about the Conservatory Advisory Board.