DAVID YORK – artistic director
David York, Ph.D. has conducted choirs of all ages, sizes, and ability, including the critically acclaimed David York Ensemble, Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, and Aurora Chorus. He was the original conductor that gave Portland Boychoir and Ovation! their identities. David holds music degrees from Oklahoma City University (1981 BMus – Voice Performance, Vocal Music Education, and Piano), Portland State University(1985 MST – Conducting, Vocal Pedagogy), and University of Oregon (2002 Ph.D. – Music Composition, Theory). He has composed opera, oratorio, symphonic pieces, ballet, and numerous chamber works for chorus, electronics, and various instruments including handbells, piano, and guitar, some of which have been commissioned and/or published. This repertory, along with many of his choral arrangements, has received numerous performances throughout the United States.
In addition to his work as conductor, composer, and teacher of music, David is the Music Director at New Thought Center for Spiritual Living (www.newthoughtcsl.org).
LAURA SNYDER – executive director
Laura Snyder has worked in the fields of marketing, non-profit support, and community service for over twenty years. Though from Oregon roots, she grew up in the Air Force. Childhood in the military provided diverse experiences such as living on a mid-west base, exploring the Pentagon, traveling around the United States, and visiting Europe. However, living long distances from extended family was difficult and taught her to seek enrichment from community members and activities. She became impressed with the notion of creating positive energy by giving back to the community. She subsequently earned her bachelor’s degree in Family Studies with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from University of Maryland, College Park. While interning as a Child Life Specialist where she provided therapy to hospitalized children, she validated her belief that boys and girls need a loving home life and supportive and encouraging community within to flourish. Knowing that music and arts contribute to an individual’s self-expression and increased confidence and the community’s greater good, Laura believes and supports Portland Choirs’ mission and core values.
JAMES M WHITE – board president
James is a native Oregonian who holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Oregon State University. He gained a deep appreciation for music from his parents (Mom was an opera singer, Dad a classical music aficionado), and played clarinet and saxophones at McKay High School in Salem, and in All State ensembles. His son has sung in Portland Boychoir’s Intermediate and Advanced choirs, benefiting from the outstanding learning, social, and performance opportunities that the organization offers under David York’s exceptional direction.
James has held a variety of leadership positions in e-commerce, digital marketing, and business operations in the technology industry. He currently works in Information Technology and runs worldwide wireless video collaboration and conference room services for Intel Corporation. He also served on the foundational board of directors of Optimum Learning Environments (now Forest Ridge Elementary), a charter school established in partnership with Salem-Keizer School District.
CHUCK WOODS – treasurer
Chuck has been Portland Choirs Treasurer since 2011. He grew up in central Massachusetts and completed his Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Nasson College in Springvale , Maine. He went on to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts for his MBA in Finance. In 1987, Chuck began his career in Accounting and Finance as an Exchange and Financial Accountant for Gulf Oil Corporation. In 1990, Chuck joined the international company of Tetra Pak, serving as Divisional Controller and Finance Manager for nine years. Tetra Pak relocated Chuck to the Pacific Northwest in Sept. 1991, and Chuck has loved living here ever since.
Currently Chuck works as a Financial Consultant specializing in assisting small to medium-sized companies to become more successful. He enjoys music and playing the guitar. He is Treasurer for his church located in Vancouver, WA . He serves Portland Choirs because he values helping a non-profit and believes musical enrichment is important for kids.
ANDREA FARLEY – vice president
Andrea was born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii. She has a BS in Pharmacy from Oregon State University and is a licensed pharmacist in Oregon where she has lived for most of the last 20 years. In June of 2009, Andrea and her family moved to the Netherlands for what was to become a very challenging and rewarding 14-month expat experience. Now back in Oregon, she is a full-time mother of two who volunteers in her children’s classrooms as a general helper, math teaching assistant, and art literacy aide.
Music and the arts have always played a large role in her life. Andrea grew up singing in choirs and playing various instruments, eventually settling on the cello. She strongly believes in the value of music enrichment and the sense of community found within choirs.
Andrea’s son sings in the Advanced Boychoir. They were a Music Together family with director Craig Van Ness, who introduced them to Portland Choirs when her son “graduated” from the MT program. Andrea was impressed from the very first rehearsal by Dr. York’s extraordinary ability to turn the unique challenges presented when teaching boys into learning moments. She finds his dedication to teaching and passion for music to be inspiring, and is firmly committed to supporting his vision and the Portland Choirs’ mission.
GAIL MURPHY – secretary
Gail holds a deeply felt lifelong appreciation of choral music and ensemble singing. Having experienced excellent public school music education in her childhood and youth and knowing how currently limited those opportunities are for kids today, she is happy to be able to serve on the Board of Portland Choirs. Two of Gail’s daughters participated in youth choirs directed by Dr. David York, from 1996-2004, where they learned how to read, perform and compose music under his unique, vibrant and fun direction.
In the past Gail has sung with Aurora Chorus, Viriditas, Belle Voce Women’s Ensemble and Mrs. Murphy’s Choir. She also served as volunteer coordinator and board member for Concord Community of Choirs and for the board of Belle Voce. She retired in 2012 after 42 years as a registered nurse and 17 years as a licensed massage therapist. She is a recent widow, has three daughters, one son in law and a brand new grandson.
TOM FOREMAN – board member
Bio coming soon!
CINDY GUNDERSON – board member
Cindy was born and raised in Portland. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1987 with a degree in Interior Architecture. After spending 15 years with a large architecture firm, she started her own firm where she takes on her own clients and consults for smaller architecture firms.
Cindy has been married since 1995 and they have one daughter whose passion is singing and is part of Portland Choirs. Since Cindy can’t hold a tune, she loves that her daughter can, and enjoys listening to all kinds of music. She is a strong believer that every child should get music education which is why she cares about what Portland Choirs is about.
Previously Cindy served as the Cultural Committee Chair for the PTA at a Japanese Immersion School, organizing everything from Japanese garden maintenance to planning special events for the school community and helping teachers integrate cultural activities in to the grade school curriculum.
RICK JUNG – board member
Bio coming soon!
NEYSA TERRY-GRAY – board member
Neysa Terry-Gray spent much of her life living and working in foreign countries. As an army brat, she attended many schools both in the US and abroad. She most enjoyed her time in Germany and Turkey because her family loved to travel and visited many interesting places. Neysa graduated with an electrical engineering degree and began her profession in computer design. During her career, she developed the newest technology, such as the first laptop computer weighing less than seven pounds. Because many of the components were manufactured overseas in Asia, Neysa spent considerable time conducting business in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Leading large-scale, multi-national projects kept Neysa busy for most of her career.
Neysa retired early from Intel after she and her husband adopted their daughter and son from Vietnam. Both children took violin lessons from an early age, but their daughter showed a greater interest in singing and wanted to sing a variety of music styles within a group. Ovation Training, an all-girls’ training program that graduates to Ovation! Show Choir, was the perfect group for her to expand her singing and performance skills and learn to work with other singers from diverse backgrounds. Neysa’s daughter advanced to Ovation! last year and is now enjoying all that comes with singing within a larger, coed ensemble.