STAFF AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ken was raised in Whittier, California. He began piano lessons at the age of 4, also studying violin, trumpet, accordion and voice. He received a full scholarship to Whittier College, but prior to finishing his degree, returned to performing music professionally in the Los Angeles area, where he was noted for playing jazz and Broadway tunes. He later received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from CSU Northridge and studied conducting under composer, conductor, pianist and arranger, Jay Blackton, known for his work as music director and conductor for Rodgers and Hammerstein. Ken also studied conducting and piano-stylings with the noted composer and arranger, Johnny Green. While both a student and faculty member at CSU Northridge, Ken coached many singers who later became successful. He also directed, composed, and accompanied musicals, played for auditions throughout Los Angeles, and was sought out as a pianist for honor choirs by area choral conductors, including acclaimed choral conductor and LA Master Chorale Director Paul Salamunovich. Ken continued on the faculty at CSU Northridge until moving to Nevada County in 1984. He then taught voice, choir, and music appreciation at Sierra College’s Nevada County Campus, served as choral director for Music in the Mountains for four years and served as music director for local theater productions. In 1994, he was hired by InConcert Sierra (then known as Twin Cities Concert Association) to conduct their newly formed community Orchestra Panache, then became the program director. In 1999, InConcert formalized his position as the artistic director. In 2008, InConcert’s Sierra Master Chorale was formed, and Ken became their founding music director/conductor until he retired from that latter position in December 2018. He continues as artistic director and conductor of the InConcert Sierra Orchestra.
Growing up in Southern California (Orange County), Julie was inspired to learn about the arts through family trips to Los Angeles to experience the theater, symphony and ballet. In 1992-1996, she and her family and other business partners owned and operated a popular restaurant in Nevada City called The Bouzy Rouge, complete with singing food servers. It was there she met pianist Ken Hardin, who became her husband (and InConcert’s artistic director). In 1997, Julie became the marketing consultant for InConcert (then known as Twin Cities Concert Association) and, in 1999, was promoted to executive director. She came to InConcert with a diverse background and education in corporate customer service, as well as both restaurant and for-profit business management, marketing and public relations. Julie has served on KVMR’s Classics DeClassified radio show committee (and occasionally hosts a show), the Center for Nonprofit Leadership’s board of directors, Hospice of the Foothills’ board of trustees, Nevada County Arts Council, Nevada City School of the Arts Foundation, and several other local boards and committees. She sings alto in the Sierra Master Chorale.
Sierra Master Chorale Conductor/Music Director
Alison grew up in a musical family, with many instrumentalists and singers. Singing Christmas carols—in parts—was a family tradition. A third-generation choral conductor (following her grandmother and aunt), she has always felt like conducting is “home.” She started her musical training at the piano but quickly moved into singing. Alison graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in vocal performance. She then studied with Alan Harler at Temple University in Philadelphia, from which she earned a Master of Music degree in choral conducting. Before returning to her hometown of Davis in 2008, she lived in Philadelphia where she was the artistic director of the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, taught high school music at Germantown Friends School and was the assistant conductor of Philadelphia’s Choral Arts Society. For the past ten years, Alison has been conducting choirs in Northern California. She is the artistic director of the Davis Chorale, the music director and choir conductor at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis and, in 2019, was appointed the choir director of Sierra Master Chorale. Aside from conducting choirs, she spends time with her children, hikes, swims and occasionally has time to cook.
Lisa was born in Virginia and grew up in Chicago until age 13. Playing violin has been a big part of her life, but she also adores singing and basically, she just loves music. Lisa has a degree in psychology from Humboldt State, where she met her husband Scott. Lisa's ensuing work experiences helped shape her diverse career, including as a research consultant where she discovered her interest in computers and as an environmental lab project manager. Lisa and Scott have two kids, Olivia and Zach (now in their twenties). When her career shifted to full-time mom, Lisa managed to still find time to work and eventually started her own business called "Data Transformed." She currently contracts with several local businesses (at ICS, we strive to be her favorite!) Passionate about creating things that are unique, Lisa enjoys music and photography, and she handcrafts cajóns (box-shaped percussion instruments originally from Peru) and native American flutes and other musical instruments. "If I had the time, I would do nothing all day but make music and take photos. I love InConcert! I love the music and that so many people work so hard to share this music. It is inspirational and a worthwhile cause."
Valarie has been involved with InConcert Sierra for many years singing with the Sierra Master Chorale and helping to support the mission in many ways. She joined the InConcert staff in January to assist in the office and help develop the InConcert Sierra Volunteer program. She has worked with several local non-profits including Sierra Foothills Village, Sierra Stages, Music in the Mountains, Center for the Arts, Soroptimists, Woman Within, Int’l and the Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots). She has helped manage volunteer programs and organize numerous events. Her corporate project management background and organizational skills are a strong asset as we continue to develop, hone and maintain InConcert Sierra’s programs.
Production Manager & Admin Support
Micah has deep roots in Nevada County. One of his distant aunts was a piano teacher and played scores for silent films shown at The Nevada Theatre. His Great-Great-Grandfather was a well-known local miner, who could also “play every instrument in the orchestra”. Music and The Arts clearly run in Micah’s blood and have played integral roles in his life! As a singer, Micah spent three years in the Chamber Choir at Nevada Union, and he has previously sung as a tenor with the Sierra Master Chorale. For the last 30 years, Micah has bent his artistic focus most directly towards acting, and he has worked extensively with most theatre companies in Nevada County.
Marketing and Development Coordinator
Sydney moved to Nevada County 20 years ago and loves living in the area and working with our community. She has a bachelor’s of fine arts degree with a concentration in photography from Marylhurst University, a small liberal arts college outside of Portland Oregon. Throughout the years she has applied her degree towards advertising jobs and working at UCSC in the photography department. She was with the Nevada County Library for 8.5 years before coming to InConcert Sierra. She's also spent time volunteering for the school district teaching art and Sierra Harvest teaching students and families about locally sourced foods and farms. She is currently volunteering on the board of Friends of the Nevada County Libraries along with enjoying art, music, books, food and the great outdoors in her spare time.
Kirsti and her husband Bill moved their family to Grass Valley in 2003. She studied music at Pepperdine University and obtained her degree in economics from UCLA. In addition to musician, Kirsti has also held the titles of bookkeeper, actuary, home builder, and mom. She recently took on the challenge of learning French horn and is having fun adding to her musical abilities. Locally, she performs with Music in the Mountains, Sierra Stages, and InConcert Sierra. Kirsti has also coordinated the hiring of musicians for the InConcert Sierra and Nevada County Library “Musical Monday” series.
Board of Directors:
Hindi was raised in Minneapolis, obtained her law degree from UC Hastings, College of the Law, and was a trial lawyer in San Francisco for ten years. She then retired from law and founded Lawyers in Transition. She speaks around the U.S. and wrote the best-selling “The Lawyer’s Career Change Handbook.” Hindi moved to Nevada County in 2001 and is very active in the arts community. She previously served as president of the board of The Center of the Arts, is head usher for Music in the Mountains, writes theater reviews for The Union newspaper, and volunteers with numerous other arts and community organizations.
Board Past President
Monroe joined the board in 2009 and has since served in many capacities. He has lived in Nevada County for more than 20 years with his husband, Rik, and is an avid supporter of musical and theatrical arts. In addition to InConcert, Monroe is involved with the local Sierra Stages theater group. An electrical engineer by training, he recently retired from the banking industry. An aspiring pianist, he enjoys most music genres, especially classical and jazz. As a foodie, Monroe created the “Taste of Classics” fundraisers for InConcert and is one of the masterminds behind any food served at an InConcert event.
Board Vice President
Keith received an electrical engineering degree from University of the Pacific and a certificate in telecom management from University of Southern California. He held international executive positions at AT&T and Pacific Bell. Keith was start-up CEO and a member of the board of Airtel, a Spanish wireless telecom carrier. He co-founded WorkVantage, Inc. Among many volunteer activities, he serves on the board of Sierra Stages, hosts The Sages Among Us and Classics Declassified on KVMR-FM, sings bass in Sierra Master Chorale, and served on the board of The Center for the Arts. Keith and his wife, Shirley, live on an historic family orchard near Grass Valley.
Barbara grew up on a farm, singing with two sisters while a third accompanied on the piano in church and on radio. She took piano lessons and played first clarinet in high school. A nurse, Barbara helped establish a Coronary Care Unit in Evanston, Illinois. She retired as a Professor of Cardiac Nursing and Clinical Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco. She was inducted into the American Nursing Association Hall of Fame in 2018. Barbara and her husband, Denis, moved to Nevada City in 2015. She enjoys returning to her musical roots and helping InConcert keep quality classical music thriving.
Rod was born and raised in Southern California. He obtained his BA at UC Santa Barbara, then he and his wife Susan worked as educators in the Bay Area until moving to Grass Valley in 2001. Rod has a master’s degree from University of San Francisco in human resources and organization development. He was superintendent of the Union Hill School District for seven years, until retirement in 2008. Rod loves all kinds of music and loves to sing. In high school, he sang in church choirs and a Madrigal group. Rod currently sings with the Sierra Master Chorale, the Grass Valley Male Voice Choir and his church.
Heidi was raised in the Bay Area, in a home filled with classical music. She briefly played cello, replaced by clarinet throughout high school. She graduated from Pomona College with a BA and Columbia University with an MA, both degrees in international relations. She received a second MA in public policy at Rutgers University, then worked for 20 years at the U.S. EPA in San Francisco. Heidi then worked for the CA Department of Water Resources and ran successfully for the Nevada County Board of Supervisors in 2016. Now in her second term, she enjoys promoting a thriving Nevada County. She and her husband Enrique, with dog Daisy, love living close to nature, with their four children and grandchild living nearby.
Growing up in Orinda, Barry enjoyed singing harmony with his three brothers, playing clarinet
into his high school years and later playing bongos and singing harmony with a folk group in
college. After college Barry and his wife, Bonnie, moved to Livermore where they raised their 3 kids. Barry sang with a barbershop chorus and several quartets, jumped to a madrigal group for a
few years and then joined the Valley Concert Chorale. Barry and Bonnie both retired in 2003 and moved to Nevada City. Barry sang in Ken Hardin’s choruses 2004-2018 and helped select his successor, Alison Skinner. He served as SMC chair and a board member for 7 years and, after a short respite, has rejoined the board.
When Robin was a child, her family attended many concerts, developing her love for classical music. As a speech-language pathologist, she regularly included music and lyrics in therapy with preschool students to develop language skills and used melodic intonation therapy with adult clients with aphasia. She retired from the Orinda Union School District as director of special services for students with a range of disabilities but returned to clinical therapy services with children. When Robin and her husband, John, moved to Nevada City in 2012, they were thrilled to discover InConcert’s Third Sunday concerts. When John and Robin travel, they often attend classical concerts.
Jeff grew up in Piedmont, California, son of an Army Air Forces test pilot whose family arrived in the Americas in1623. He earned degrees from the University of Oregon in English literature and the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design. In 1994, he became the 19th Mayor of the City of Berkeley. Jeff moved to Nevada County in 2001 and is the CEO of MK Blake Estate Co., his family's business established in1851 (named after his great-grand aunt, Millicent Kittredge Shattuck Blake). Born with an ear and passion for music, Jeff has served as president of The Berkeley Symphony and Music in the Mountains.
President of Sierra Master Chorale 2021 - present
Steve was raised in San Jose. He relocated to Grass Valley in 1981 to work at Grass Valley Group (as it was then known). His career has included positions in Design, Engineering Project Management and Business & Sales Operations. Steve has enjoyed raising a family, building friendships and partaking of the cultural advantages offered by Nevada County. He enjoys celebrating life with his partner, Claudia, visiting with kids and grandkids, partaking of outdoor activities, cooking, reading and traveling. In addition to being the lead singer and harp player for the local rock/blues band, Sons of Boogie, Steve sings tenor with the Sierra Master Chorale.
Valarie was born in Chicago and worked as both an auto and small aircraft mechanic. She earned her degree in business finance and is a certified project manager and technologist. Valarie held positions at NASA, in the pharmaceutical industry, with defense contractors and retired as VP of Technology Services for a national financial company. She has held lead roles with several nonprofits in Nevada County and runs a business educating people about natural wellness and providing business coaching. Valarie and her husband, John, are both private pilots and built their airplane. She sings with the Sierra Master Chorale and Music in the Mountains’ chorus and is learning fiddle with Alasdair Fraser.