Board of Directors & Musical Advisory Board

Board of Directors

We are extremely proud of the fine members of our outside Board of Directors, who work hard to ensure Zephyr's fiscal and other sustainability and to promote Zephyr in the community. We are grateful for their work. Profiles of our Board members are being developed and are coming soon. Board membership at Zephyr is for a 3-year term so as to maximize the enjoyment of service and minimize burnout. We need more Board members to come alongside and help us to hone our plans and steer the Zephyr ship into its future! Please contact us if you are interested in service on our Board.

 Our sincere thanks go out to:

Barbara Smith-Davis

Barbara Smith-Davis was born in Harrisburg, PA and began her career with the Dallas Summer Musicals. She moved to New York, making her début and touring the country as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with The Goldovsky Opera Theatre.

In summer stock she appeared in Carousel with Howard Keel and The Sound of Music with Carole Lawrence. She toured North and South America with Milton Berle's Royal Quartet. She was chosen by John Kander and Fred Ebb to star in the revival of their musical, The Happy Time. She has performed on two international tours of The Sound of Music, one with Debbie Boone, the other with Marie Osmond. She is Miss Osmond’s voice teacher and prepared her for her Broadway debut in The King and I. Her favorite musical theatre roles include Anna in The King and I, Kate in Kiss Me Kate and the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music.

In opera she has sung Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Sonja in The Merry Widow, Violetta in La Traviata, Marguerite in Faust, Micaela in Carmen, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mimi in La Boheme, Gilda in Rigoletto and Nedda in I Pagliacci with such companies as The Kansas City Lyric, The Lake George Opera Festival and the Corporaçion de Arto Lirico de Santiago, Chile.

She has developed a cabaret act and in heard frequently in the Tri-State area. She lives with her husband, basso J. B. Davis, in Sussex, New Jersey where she teaches voice and conducts master classes and theatre workshops. From 1995 to 2001 she was movement and stage deportment coach for the American Singers’ Opera Project. She has taught voice and acted as assistant director of the opera workshop at William Paterson University.

Evelyn Kientzler

Evelyn Kientzler, a resident of Warwick, NY, possesses a profound love and support for the musical art, having begun music studies early with piano lessons from ages 8-14. At 14, Evelyn switched to private vocal studies with Vincent Triggiani for three years and Maude Gaudreau for two. She was featured as a soloist throughout high school while growing up in North Haledon, NJ, and had the honor of being selected to sing with the NJ All-State Chorus.

At nineteen, Evelyn studied choral conducting at Rutgers University to equip her to direct her church's adult choir. She conducted the choir for six years, until marrying and relocating to Warwick, NY. Evelyn had a daughter and son, and has attended Calvary Baptist Church in Warwick now for 37 years, where she sings in the senior choir and still sings solos.

Evelyn has been active in the arts in her community, having joined C.A.S.T. (Citizens Acting in Summer Theatre) of Warwick. She appeared as a chorus member in Bye, Bye, Birdie, Guys and Dolls, and Fiddler On the Roof. Evelyn later joined the Warwick Valley Chorale as a Soprano 1, and was a featured soloist in the Chorale for over 35 years. She has appeared several times in Carnegie Hall as a Chorale member. Evelyn retired from the Chorale when vocal problems arose which affected her vocal endurance. She continues to have a beautiful voice, however, and continues to sing solos as part of the music ministry at her church. Evelyn's passion for the choral art, and her particular enthusiasm for Zephyr, are inspiring to see. We are absolutely thrilled to have Evelyn on our Board of Directors!

Alf Johnsen

Alf Johnsen is a resident of the Lake Shawnee section of Jefferson Township, NJ. He and his wife, Lillian, have four children and four grandchildren, to date. Alf is an Engineer, having graduated from Newark College of Engineering, now NJIT, and has worked for general contractors, completing commercial/industrial work, both private and public, from start to finish. Two jobs of interest that Alf was involved with are the original Giants Stadium and the Armstrong-Hipkins Hall Theater at Blair Academy, Blairstown, NJ.

Alf is a dedicated singer, himself, as a past and current member of the bass section of the Jefferson Township Community Chorus. He has done solo and small group work with them, as well, in a wide range of styles. Alf is a member of Grace Evangelical Free Church in the Oak Ridge section of Jefferson Township. He is currently serves as Church Chairman and Elder, teaches Adult Sunday School and sings on the Worship Team. Alf has found another way to give of himself by being a longtime Apherisis Blood Donor of blood platelets.

We could not be more delighted to have Alf on our board, contributing his guidance and love for the choral art to our organization from its very inception! We are thankful for his selfless service to the ensemble.

Hal Ambuter
Hal brings a wealth of business and project management skills, background, and experience to our board. Hal has a B.S in Chemical Engineering and has worked in Product Development for Procter & Gamble and B.F. Goodrich. He traveled much of North America and Western Europe to meet with customers and present new applications and innovations at various trade conferences, the highlight being a presentation in Florence, Italy. In 2000, he moved to New Jersey to work for Reckitt Benckiser. Reckitt is not an oft-recognized name, but its products find their way into many homes, including Lysol, French’s Mustard, Woolite, Mucinex, Clearasil, etc. He serves as Senior Government and Regulatory Affairs Manager for North America. His responsibilities are to ensure that the company’s products are in full compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations and to work with the various government agencies on new regulations. This brings him often to Washington, DC for various meetings with the EPA. etc. In this capacity, he manages a multi-million dollar budget.

Outside of work, Hal is quite active in the lives of his children and in serving his local church. His wife, Cherwyn, is Zephyr's Artistic Director. His three children are also musical, with his eldest daughter studying Harp at the University of Michigan and other daughter studying flute privately and playing in school. His son is learning clarinet and is active in Scouts. Hal is an Eagle Scout, so this has provided him opportunity to give back a bit to the Scouting program and help develop the next generation of leaders. He is quite active in his local church and has served as a Deacon and the Adult Sunday School teacher. Both provide him opportunities to exercise his teaching and leadership gifts.

Although not musical (he does play the radio though!), Hal is a great music appreciator and greatly benefits Zephyr through his leadership and probing questions. His favorite questions are “why” and “what if.” (He loves the commercial that shows HP employees discovering key innovations in the most atypical of places or situations). Asking these questions helps to unlock many innovative opportunities to deliver new concepts and discover more efficient and effective ways to accomplish goals and objectives.

Bonnie Gonter, Treasurer

Bonnie Gonter, our Zephyr Board Treasurer, is a Jersey girl who has lived in Jefferson Twp for more than 25 years with her husband and two sons.

She has always had a strong love of music which she celebrated all through school and beyond. Highlights included being selected for Madrigals in junior high, participation in various choruses, school musicals and being included in Who’s Who Among Music Students in American High Schools.” She auditioned for and performed in one community theatre musical, but prefers the choral environment.

While she enjoys listening to and performing numerous styles of music, sacred music (both traditional and contemporary) holds the place of honor in her heart. She is an alto member of Holy Faith Lutheran Church’s choir and a long time member of the Jefferson Twp. Community Chorus.

In addition to her job in the finance dept of Coyne PR, Bonnie serves as bookkeeper for Paradise Preschool in Oak Ridge where she was formerly employed as Director. She also loves to crochet, making numerous shawls and throws for “A Needle and A Prayer”, the prayer shawl ministry of Holy Faith.

Bonnie is looking forward to bringing her love of music into this new and exciting association with Zephyr Vocal Ensemble.

Danielle Kastner - Singer Representative

Danielle Kastner serves graciously as our Board Singer Representative. Danielle brings the ideas, thoughts, concerns, and well-being of the singers in Zephyr to the Board and makes certain that the singers' viewpoints are expressed to the Board of Directors, as decisions are being made regarding expansion of our performances into new and farther territory, matters of scheduling, etc. Eventually, as we hope to be able to pay our singers as the professionals that they are, Danielle will also participate in establishing our singer pay guidelines and strategies. We deeply appreciate Danielle's "double-duty" offering of her time and service to Zephyr, both through offering her incredible Soprano 1 voice and musical artistry to the group, and through representing the singers on the Board.  Danielle's inspiring Artist Biography may be found on our "Singers" page!

Cherwyn Ambuter, President

Musical Advisory Board

Our Musical Advisory Board members act as resources for repertoire and other musical questions, generously providing consultation on an as-needed basis. With such incomparable, scholarly advisors, how could we ever go wrong?

Ms. Marina Alexander

Highly regarded for her innovative approach to programming, Marina Alexander founded The Arcadian Chorale in 1993. Under her leadership, the Chorale has established a reputation for excellence.

In the Spring of 1995, Ms. Alexander was also named Musical Director of the Richmond Choral Society in New York City, and serves as conductor of that 80-voice ensemble. Leading both choruses, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in November 2002, conducting Dvorak's Te Deum. At that same performance, she led the choruses and orchestra in the World Premiere of her orchestration of Bainton's And I Saw A New Heaven. Her ensembles joined forces again in May 2004, making their debut performance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) singing Mahler's Resurrection Symphony. In January 2010, her ensembles also participated in the “Concert for Peace” at Avery Fisher Hall.

In 2004, Ms. Alexander was named Musical Director of the Metropolitan Greek Chorale in Manhattan, and has performed works from both the Eastern and Western traditions with that ensemble, including premieres of works in the Byzantine style, and several of her own compositions.

Known as a scholar and translator, Ms. Alexander produces many new editions of choral music, including the world premiere of a new English singing version of a lost Ode to Joy by Tchaikovsky, the 2nd performance ever of that piece in the United States. For a May 2002 presentation of Mozart's Requiem, she composed a new completion of the "Lacrymosa" in the style of Mozart.

Ms. Alexander holds a Masters Degree in Conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Dr. Daniel Moe, and was subsequently invited to teach there as Interim Director of the Department of Choral Music. From that same institution, she earned a BFA in Stage Directing for Opera and then worked with opera companies and festivals both here and abroad. These include the Santa Fe Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Lake George Opera, and the Corfu International Music Festival.

Ms. Alexander is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Choral Music at College of Staten Island-CUNY, where she teaches Music History and Conducting. She leads open sings for her own ensembles, as well as the New York Choral Society, West Village Chorale, North Jersey Choral Society, and the city of Freehold. She has also appeared at Lincoln Center for the National Choral Council's annual Messiah sing.

An advocate for music education, Ms. Alexander has served as an adjudicator for the New Jersey Teen Opera Festival, the Monmouth County Arts Council's Teen Arts Festival, and the Sights & Sounds Arts Festival of the Greek Orthodox Churches of NJ. She teaches conducting privately, and often appears as a clinician and guest speaker at choral workshops and music festivals. She has been nominated by Fleet Bank for its Small Business Leadership Awards, and was honored by the Business and Professional Women of Staten Island as a "Woman of Achievement."

Mr. Sean Berg

Mr. Berg is in his tenth season as conductor of the Celebration Singers in Cranford, New Jersey, where he conducts the Celebration Singers' Adult Chorus. Mr. Berg received his BA in Music Education at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa and his Masters of Music degree in Choral Conducting from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He has studied with Jeffrey Pappas and Paul Oakley.

Mr. Berg served as a graduate assistant in choral music at ECU and was the director of the ECU Men's Glee Club and two vocal jazz ensembles - Blackbeard's Ghost and Pamlico Sound. He also served as the conductor of the Tar River Symphony Chorus in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.Mr. Berg taught at the renowned F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan (the FAME school). Sean has also conducted at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. Among Sean's most noted conducting debuts, was at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. on April 16, 2005. There, with a professional orchestra and soloists, he conducted a festival chorus in a performance of the Schubert Mass in G.In addition to his conducting and teaching appointments, Mr. Berg serves as the Director of Concert Operations for Manhattan Concert Productions and Director of MCP International where he coordinates festival and tour opportunities to qualified musical ensembles across the United States and Europe.



Professor Stanley Curtis

Mr. Curtis serves as Artistic Director of the Warwick Valley Chorale, which regularly performs throughout the Hudson Valley and in Carnegie Hall. He is Professor Emeritus from Orange County Community College, having taught in the choral/vocal field for thirty plus years. Over the course of his career, he has had extensive performance credits as a tenor soloist. He initially toured Europe in the US Army with the Fifth Division Red Diamond Chorus. Subsequently, he was engaged as a staff singer for the West German Radio/Television Network in Cologne, Germany. In that capacity, he performed major choral works under prominent conductors; including the world premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Jacob's Ladder in Vienna. As a soloist, Mr. Curtis has appeared in performances of more than fifty sacred works. American solo appearances include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Syracuse Symphony. In addition, for several seasons, Mr. Curtis performed at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in choral works with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy. As a recitalist, he has enjoyed the distinction of being accompanied in performances of contemporary music composed by Aaron Copland and Ned Rorem.