Regional Representative Elections

Northern Regional Representative Candidates

Alissa Aune has been Choral Music Director of Enterprise High School in Redding, her alma mater, since 2013. She conducts the Chamber Singers, A Cappella Choir, Women’s Choir, Men’s Chorus, two jazz choirs, and is the director of Enterprise Starship (Show Choir) and the Victorian Dinner.

A graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Alissa started her teaching career at Nipomo HS as the director of the instrumental and choral programs, as well as the music director for three musicals a year. She became a full-time choral director at Bear River HS, and during those five years directed seven choirs and a variety of musicals. She also received her Masters in Music, with an emphasis in Conducting, at Colorado State University, Fort Collins during that time.

Extending her work into the community, Alissa has performed with and/or directed a variety of choral and instrumental organizations, as well as musical theatre companies throughout the state. She is the current Choir Representative to the Northern California Band and Choral Director’s Association, where she helps organize the annual select choir for all high schools in the northern part of the state. She has also been the high school Choral Music Director at Donner Mine Music Camp for the past two years.

Being an almost lifelong resident of Northern California, she would be honored to have the opportunity to represent the Northern Region for CCDA. She would love to see CCDA represented at more of our rural schools at all educational levels, and creating more opportunities for schools to unite at festivals and events for choral music. The Northern Region has large pools of resources in our communities that she would love to see get involved, and her extensive knowledge of the north state can allow for a broader outreach.

Susanna Peeples is currently completing her sixth year as the choir director at Ronald E. McNair High School in Stockton and her first year as the choir director of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lodi. At McNair, Susanna teaches three choirs totaling about 150 students daily, helping them discover and master the necessary techniques and skills to help them succeed in choir, in high school, and in their futures. Though she works in San Joaquin County, Susanna resides in Sacramento. Before she worked at McNair, Susanna taught K-8 classroom music and choir at a Catholic school in Yolo County. Susanna earned her her B.A. in Vocal Music from UC Davis, and her M.M. in Music Education from University of the Pacific. In addition to directing choirs, Susanna sings with Vox Musica in Sacramento and has been a guest soloist numerous times throughout the Bay Area and Sacramento region. Susanna is passionate about music education and especially about training and retaining new teachers; to that end she along with three other teachers created a weekly podcast about making it through the first years of teaching called AMusEd: A Music Educator’s Podcast.

Since Susanna’s first year at McNair her choirs have consistently received Superior and Unanimous Superior ratings at CMEA and other local festivals. Many of her students have gone on to continue studying and performing music in college – something very few of them would likely do without the love for choral music and camaraderie they found in high school choir. She also has planned multiple tours to the San Francisco Bay Area on a limited budget with her students, helping to offer them the types of opportunities often reserved for students in better-funded programs. Susanna has served as the Choir Manager of the San Joaquin Music Educators’ Association for the last 5 years, an experience she values most for getting the opportunity to develop organizational procedures to better serve the San Joaquin County Honor Choir and to work with other teachers to instill a love of choral singing in our students. She would like to serve as a Regional Representative for CCDA because she knows that she has a unique voice to bring to the table. She especially hopes to provide a voice for young teachers and for teachers at Title I and other underfunded or challenging schools and choir programs. Most of all, she loves the people of CCDA and would like to contribute more to an organization that immensely has helped her along her path to being the best choral director she can be.

Central Coast Region Representative Candidates

Carolyn Teraoka-Brady is in her 18th year as the Director of Vocal Music at San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara USD. Under her direction, the Madrigal Singers have consistently received superior ratings at festivals and was selected as a showcase choir for Western Division ACDA in Santa Barbara. She also directs an SATB A Cappella Choir, Advanced Women’s Ensemble, Girls Chorus, and Men’s Ensemble and for 20 years she taught junior high instrumental music and one choir class. Carolyn studied instrumental music at CSU Fullerton and received her credential among the beautiful redwoods at Humboldt State University.

She has served on the California ACDA / CCDA board as Central Coast Representative. She enjoys her work as liaison for the performing choirs in St. Josephs’ Cathedral during CASMEC, working for the directors in the months prior to the concert and also on site as their advocate. Outreach has been a focus for her during her term and she continues to cultivate interest in CCDA and have conversations on how our association can support them.

Dr. Thomas Davies just completed 34 years of teaching at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, where he served as Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Studies. Now Professor Emeritus, he was a recipient of the university’s “Distinguished Teacher Award” for 2010-11. His Cal Poly choirs performed twice at Carnegie Hall and made several appearances at the American Choral Directors Association Western Division Conventions. He and Dr. David Arrivée, conductor of the Cal Poly Symphony, were co-founders of the Cal Poly’s annual “Bach Week” held each January.

He continues to serve as Musical Director and Conductor of the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale, an ensemble that was formed through Cuesta College in 1984. Repertoire for this 100-voice community ensemble features works for chorus and orchestra. Such works as Haydn’s Creation, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Verdi’s Requiem and Bach’s Mass in b minor are main staples of their programming. Works by Stravinsky, Poulenc, Britten, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, Handel, Mozart, Lou Harrison, and Phillip Glass have also been performed.

Davies has also served as a guest conductor for Opera SLO, leading performances of Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, and Red Cloud. With the Cal Poly Theater Department, he conducted Guys and Dolls, Into the Woods, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Apple Tree.

Davies served as Associate Director and Director of the Oregon Bach Festival Master Class in Choral / Orchestral Conducting from 2005-2011, as well as the Director of the Taipei Bach Festival Conducting Master Class in 2010 and 2012. He was the Choral Conductor of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival from 1996-2007. He served as a conductor with the Central Coast Children’s Choir program from 2008 through 2012 (Boys Choir), and was a member of the choral faculty at the Idyllwild Summer High School Choral Festival from 2004-2007.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, he received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University, and his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Southern California.

Davies is a former President of the American Choral Directors Association Western Division. He lives in Pismo Beach with his wife, Susan. They are extremely proud of their two sons, Peter, who lives in Pismo Beach, and Andrew, who is a first year student studying cello performance at CSU Long Beach.

A personal note: I am very honored to stand for election as a Regional Representative to the California Choral Directors Association. California has an incredibly rich choral tradition and the Central Coast region is blessed with many wonderful choral organizations. If elected, I look forward to representing the Central Coast, working with an outstanding group of educators as we continue to build California’s choral future.

Far South Region Representative Candidates

John K. Russell, DMA is the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Palomar College and the Music Director of the San Diego Master Chorale. As Music Director of the SDMC, Dr. Russell conducts and coordinates all artistic activities of the chorale, which include preparing the chorus for performances with San Diego Symphony and other San Diego orchestras including the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra and La Jolla Symphony. At Palomar College, he conducts the Chamber Singers and the Palomar Chorale and oversees the vocal music program. In addition, he serves on the summer conducting faculty at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where he teaches master classes in conducting for the annual Westminster Summer Choral Festival.

Dr. Russell is also frequently in demand as a tenor soloist and was recently noted for his “heart-melting legato”. His recent solo performances include Hector Berlioz’s Te Deum with the San Diego Symphony, St. John Passion (Evangelist) with Pepperdine University, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Lisbon Summer Choral Festival Chorus and Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Bach Collegium San Diego and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with the Westminster Summer Choral Festival and Piffaro: The Renaissance Band in Philadelphia and Princeton.

Dr. Russell was previously the Director of Choral Activities at California State University, San Bernardino, and has held similar positions at Albion College (Michigan), Los Angeles City College, Cypress College and the San Diego Children’s Choir. Prior to his work in California, Dr. Russell was the principal choral conductor at the LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the Fame School) in New York City. At LaGuardia he was the assistant chairperson of the Music Department, conductor of the symphonic chorus and voice instructor for the school’s advanced vocalists. While in New York he conducted in over twenty performances with the world-renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s, served as a clinician for the New York Philharmonic’s Education Department and was a guest conductor with New York City National Chorale.

Dr. John Russell is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Columbia University. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Southern California. His primary conducting mentors are Craig Arnold, Joe Miller and Jo-Michael Scheibe and he has studied voice with William Appel, Curt Peterson, Jeanne Goffi-Fynn and Gary Glaze. He currently resides in San Diego with his wife, Jill and son, Parker.