Leadership

We’ve got a great team building this organization!

Christine Staples (Director) is a true liberal-arts goddess. Following her undergraduate training in theater on the East Coast, she moved to San Francisco to work as an actor. More recently, she started creating artisanal liquors for fun, and can often be found serving these amazing beverages at any number of fantastic events in her role as a supporter of many great causes. She also happens to be a classically trained singer who thrilled Easter Vigil-goers at St. Alban’s Church in April 2019, with an exquisite chanting of the ancient prayer called the Exsultet.

Claire Burns (President) lives in the neighborhood and is both a visual artist and a dancer. She spent seven years as director of Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley, and is excited to be involved with Calliope!

Chanthip Phongkhamsavath (Secretary) is a financial analyst who has practiced her trade for public institutions at the national and local levels. She loves throwing a good party and was a key player in our launch.

David Cole  (Treasurer) enjoyed a long career in book publishing as writer, marketing consultant, and publisher. He was the founder and first president of the San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival—which ran successfully from 1990 to 2000—and was a founding Board Member of the Community Alliance for Learning, the nonprofit sponsor of the WriterCoach Connection. He currently serves on the Board of Anton’s Well Theater Company and is active as a playwright.

Matthew Blaine is a rock-n-roll drummer by night and start-up guru by day. He and his family enjoy lots of live music at the church…through their kitchen window next door!

Isaac Pastor-Chermak is based in the East Bay, but spends a lot of time on the road! He is Principal Cellist in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Associate Principal Cellist of Stockton Symphony; and a member of Santa Barbara Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic. You can get the whole spiel here.

Steven Branoff can most often be found helping businesses comply with clean-air standards. He loves playing guitar (and other stringed instruments) in a rock band. He and Matt have performed several times at the HOOT!.

Samara Wenton brings a bundle of tech-savvy to our board. The tech industry currently gets most of her time – she works on educational software projects for the non-profit arm of a company with a very, very tall building across the Bay from us.

Peruvian first generation immigrant Anaís Azul (they/them/theirs) is a Boston and San Francisco (USA) based singer-songwriter, composer, and teaching artist. Described as “stunningly honest and vulnerable,” their artistry engages with music as a tool for community building, cross-genre collaboration, and collective healing. Anaís writes music that is in conversation with jazz harmony, classical melodies, and Latin American singer-songwriter traditions. Their songs are bilingual (Spanish and English) and about mental health, queerness, facing harsh realities and finding inner peace in spite of chaos.

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