Board of Directors


President: Joanne Johnson, Newbury, MA 

Brings extensive business, financial planning, budget development, and strategic planning expertise and experience to the Board. Retired as Senior Vice President from Bank of America and recently completed several years as a Project Manager for TD Bank. She has a BA degree from Wells College and a Master’s in Retail Bank Management form the University of Virginia. She serves as an Honorary Trustee of Wells College, and past President of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and is currently a member of the Finance and Investments Committees, as well as, Co-Chair of the Long Range Property Planning Committee. Joanne has been an NCS member since 1971.

Vice President: Open


Treasurer: Jana Whiting, Amesbury, MA 

Has a BS in Business Studies with a concentration in Human Resource Management. Jana is one of the two founders of The Children’s Castle, a child care center in West Newbury. She is Vice President, Treasurer and Business Director of the school which originated in 1984. She served on the Amesbury Public Library Board of Trustees for 6 years, three as secretary. She has served on the School Advisory Council for the Cashman Elementary, and Amesbury Middle and High Schools. She has been section leader of the 1st Sopranos and a member of NCS since 2005.

Secretary/Historian: Sandra Starr, Georgetown, MA

Has a BS in Elementary Education. She brings management and technical experience to the role of NCS recording secretary. As the retired Director of a Municipal Department in the public health field Sandy’s responsibilities included secretary for the board, recording, transcribing, and directing all activities in the health department. She has created quality system manuals, and been a software technical writer. Sandy has been an NCS member since 1982.

Sponsorship Director: Winnie Martin, Rowley, MA

Has a BS in Health Care Administration and bringing extensive historical experience in the management of sponsorship database and mailings. She has been a Staff Nurse, Nurse Manager and Supervisor, and a Nurse Educator. Winnie currently is involved in the Assisted Living Federation of Massachusetts as an educator and consultant. Winnie has been an NCS member since 1976.

Development Director: Penny Lazarus, Newburyport, MA

Has a MA in Education & Music and coursework completed for a doctorate in the Philosophy of the Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. She has also been an Adjunct Professor of the Arts at Carnegie Mellon University and has taught music to all age groups. She was recently awarded the Ed Molin Award for Exceptional Volunteer Teaching and works with piano students from 13 Essex County communities. As a longtime resident of the area, she is well connected in the community with an extensive network of business leaders and individuals. Penny has been an NCS member since 2000, is an alto section leader, serves on the Music Committee, and has been a soloist in several concert performances.

Concert Manager: Philip Smith, Newburyport, MA

Brings extensive analytical, technical computing, and project management expertise and experience to the Board. Holds undergraduate and advanced degrees in physics, engineering, and business finance, and held a wide variety of positions during his career in the electric utility industry.  Phil has designed power plant systems, coordinated the work of individuals across disciplines of large and small matrix organizations, assisted in managing the operations of business units, and developed listening and negotiation skills during two decades of work focused on regulatory affairs.  Phil’s love of singing began as a boy soprano in a church choir, was further developed in school choruses, and has continued as a male tenor.  He is pleased to lend his time and energy to helping to maintain the NCS, which he joined in 2009, as a high caliber community chorus.

Membership Director: Sarah Hall, Newburyport, MA

Sarah Hall has a Masters in Elementary Education from Smith College and a BA in Psychology from Bates College. She has extensive teaching experience in a variety of settings, including both public and private schools, museums, and Mass Audubon nature centers. Currently, Sarah is a substitute teacher in the Newburyport Public Schools and a teacher-naturalist at Joppa Flats Education Center. She has been a devoted choral singer since the age of eight, when she joined a local church choir. She is excited to bring her love of choral singing to the next generation, including her two sons. She has been a member of NCS since 2013.

IT Director: Carol Yunker, Groveland, MA

Carol is retired from ACT where she managed and maintained all the data systems for videoconferencing (both hardware and software.), and brings extensive technology and database experience to the BOD. She currently coaches swimming and diving and manages all the data for two local high school teams. She is involved in New England Masters swimming as a competitor. She has served on the BOD previously in several roles including, Membership, Vice President, and President. She has been singing with the Choral Society since 1987.

Media/Publicity Director: Dr. Mary Ann Lachat, Exeter, NH

Brings organizational development, management, and grant writing expertise to the NCS Board. She has a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University and was the Founder and President of the Center for Resource Management, Inc., (CRM) which provided professional development and technology services to school districts across the nation. Dr. Lachat worked extensively with state education agencies and school district teams and wrote several publications on equity issues for diverse learners. She has a lifelong love of choral music, and when living in the NY City Area, was a member of the NY Choral Society and Dessoff Choir, performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She serves on the NCS Music Committee and has been a member of NCS since 1987.

Fundraising Director: Al Cox, Newburyport, MA

Brings extensive business, leadership, management, and community experience to the Board. For the past 35 years he has worked as a technical service representative for both small and privately owned companies and large international corporations, interacting with all levels of management. Has served in a leadership position with the Boy Scouts of America, been a member of the School Advisory Board of the Immaculate Conception School, and volunteered with the International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC) now based in Andover, MA. Al is a member of the Greater Newburyport / Bura Alliance, a Sister Cities organization which supports orphans, schools, and medical clinics in the village of Bura, Kenya. He is a volunteer of the Firehouse Center for the Arts and has been a member of NCS since 2010.

Printing DirectorJennifer DeArmond, Newbury, MA

Has a BS in History from Northwestern University. She brings extensive business experience in administrative functions to NCS and has worked as an Office Administrator for large corporations such as the Retail Professional Services Vertical Division of SAS Institute, Inc. Jennifer has played a key role in establishing several aspects of internal operational functions for NCS and has s been a member of NCS since 1994.

Community Outreach: Lori Coppen, Newburyport, MA

Has a B.A. in Voice Performance from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and has completed coursework for an MA in Voice Performance from New England Conservatory of Music. After a career in Corporate Sales she feels her current and most rewarding roll is chauffeur and activity coordinator for two children. Lori has established many new relationships for NCS with high schools and community colleges and parent groups, and was the major force in forging an ongoing partnership with the newly formed Greater Newburyport Children’s Chorus. She has been singing with the Choral Society since 2011 and has been a soloist at several concert performances.

Logistics Director: Ralph Johnson, Newbury, MA

Has a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University, worked in the banking industry for many years, and brings extensive business and financial planning experience to the Board. Is President and Treasurer of Pert Lowell Company, Inc., a marine equipment manufacturer founded by his father-in-law which has produced custom wooden boats and authentic nautical furnishings for more than 80 years. He serves on the Board of the Howard Benevolent Society of Newburyport as well as the Investment and Outreach Committees of his church. Ralph is a member of the NCS Finance and Music Committees, and has served on the NCS Board as Treasurer (12 years), President (2 terms), Vice President, and Historian for 13 years. Ralph has been a member of NCS since 1969.

Member-At-Large: Solomon M. Berman, North Andover, MA

Founder and Lead Teacher of Quantum Prep which provides tutoring services to high school and college students throughout the Boston and southern NH areas particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Solomon holds degrees from Bates College (Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and Music), Boston University (Masters of Arts Degree in Science Education, Masters of Arts Degree in Theoretical Chemistry), a Professional Development Certification from Harvard University, and has studied at Boston College as a visiting scholar.” He brings extensive business and technology expertise to NCS. Solomon joined NCS during the in 2006-07 concert season, returning as a member in the Fall of 2013, and becoming a section leader for the Bass section in 2014.

Member-At-Large: Brian Greenberg, Newburyport, MA

Has a M.Ed. in Adult and Continuing Education from Boston University and is currently assisting NCS with ongoing fundraising projects, and also brings skills in strategic planning and grant development. . Brian was an educational program manager with AARP in Washington, DC for 26 years before moving “up north” to be closer to his daughter and her family.  He currently works as a speech-to-text transcriber for college students who are deaf or hearing-impaired. Brian has been a member of NCS since 2014.

Member-At-Large: Anthony Grassi, Salisbury, MA

Graduated with a BA from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. Anthony brings considerable business expertise to the NCS Board, drawing from his involvement in sales and sales/marketing management. In 1984, he founded his own independent manufacturers’ representative business, representing seven companies involved in the electro mechanical and electronic industries. He has two grown children and five grand children. His membership in NCS began in the fall semester of 2014.