Board of Directors

NEWBURYPORT CHORAL SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PresidentSolomon 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.

Vice PresidentMary Ann Lachat, Exeter, NH

Brings organizational development, management, and grant writing expertise to the NCS Board. She has a Master of Arts Degree in Music History from the University of Connecticut and a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University. She was the Founder and President of the Center for Resource Management, Inc., (CRM) which provided professional development, organizational management, and technology services to state education agencies, school districts, and non-profit organizations across the nation. Dr. Lachat has written several publications on equity issues for diverse learners. When living in the NY City Area, she was an auditioned member of the NY Choral Society and Dessoff Choir, performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She has been a member of NCS since 1987.

Treasurer: Karen Aalto, Groveland, MA

Karen brings extensive financial, business, and analytical experience to the NCS Board. Holding degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Bachelor of Arts, English), Northeastern University (Master of Business Administration), and Boston College (Master of Science, Accounting), she has been a practicing CPA in the area for the past 15 years, largely focused on the technology and biotech fields. In 2016, she moved into the nonprofit sector, and is currently serving as the Director of Finance of Christ Church in Andover and as Director of Finance and member of the board at Sweet Paws Rescue. A lifelong musician but lacking the time she believes necessary to excel at the clarinet, Karen decided to take up singing again and joined NCS in 2018.

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.

Development Director: Victoria Leal-Bushey, West Newbury, MA

Victoria Leal-Bushey graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Moving for her husband’s career, Victoria always managed to find a chorus to join in her new community.  She is the past president of the “other” NCS, Neponset Choral Society in Foxboro, MA.  She moved to Newburyport and joined “this” NCS in 2015.  In addition to singing, she finds time to volunteer with Yankee Homecoming festivities in Newburyport.  Victoria will shortly be retiring from VOYA Financial where her most recent position was an Operations Specialist supporting the Tax-Exempt markets for Retirement Plan Services.  Her responsibilities have included compliance oversight of agents working with plan participants, and reviewing new business submissions for new tax-exempt plans. 

Advertising Director: Alfred Cox, Newburyport, MA

Al brings extensive business, leadership, management, and community experience to the Board. Now retired, he previously worked as a technical sales/service representative for both small and privately owned companies and large international corporations, interacting with all levels of management. He 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) formally 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, has been a member of NCS since 2010, and previously served on the NCS Board as Fundraising Director.

Sponsorship DirectorMary Dissette, Newburyport, MA

Mary Linnehan Dissette has worked in non-profit organizations, large and small, national and local, for the bulk of her career, with emphasis on membership, marketing, and program development. A graduate of Boston College (B.A.), she later earned a J. D. From George Washington University and an M.Ed. From Harvard University. She has practiced criminal law in Middlesex and Essex counties but prefers the creative and collaborative processes and broader impact of her non-profit work. A lifelong choral singer, Mary first joined NCS in 1990, and while parental duties have sometimes kept her away, she always finds her way back to the soprano section.

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: Susan Murphy, Newbury, MA

Susan Murphy holds a B.S. in Biology from Northeastern University, and has completed work towards an advanced degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.  She worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service (U.S. Department of Commerce/NOAA) for 39 years working directly with the commercial fishing industry in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and led the Groundfish Fishery Management Plan in Gloucester, MA.  Susan is a dedicated watercolorist and has been studying under several local artists in the community.  She sang in her church’s choir and, upon retirement, joined the Choral Society in 2017.

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 DirectorBrian Greenberg, Newburyport, MA

Has a M.Ed. in Adult and Continuing Education from Boston University and is currently handling media relations, promotion and publicity for NCS concerts, singer registration and the annual Summer Sing. He 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.

Fundraising Director: Tom Clark, Newburyport, MA

Following graduation from Dartmouth and Cornell Law, Tom practiced as a civil and criminal trial attorney for 41 years in Connecticut. He also served in the CT House of Representatives as a legislator, Clerk of the House and counsel to the House screening committee. He was chairman of the Board for Protection and Advocacy for the Handicapped and the Connecticut Sentencing Commission. He has served on numerous other boards and commissions during his career. He lives in Newburyport with his lovely wife Lori and their lively golden retriever Charlie.

Printing Director:  John Moreland, Newburyport, MA

Holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. John has decades of experience in the financial services industry, specializing in institutional retirement plans and pensions, investment strategies, regulatory compliance, and public policy. John is an accomplished guitarist, who also plays bass and mandolin. He has sung in choirs since childhood. An experienced church musician, John has performed with a number of contemporary liturgical music composers, including Tom Booth, Marty Haugen, and David Haas. His favorite musical experiences include playing bass with the Archdiocese of Boston Black Catholic Choir and performing at Fenway Park. John has been a member of the NCS tenor section since 2016.

Community OutreachMaryellen Moreland, Newburyport, MA

Holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in education from Boston College, where she was a member of the University Chorale. She has been a special education teacher for more than twenty years, and serves as Special Education Team Chairperson at Pine Grove School in Rowley, MA. A chorister for more than thirty years, she is also a trained Cantor and music minister, serving for many years at the Paulist Center in Boston. She has assumed leadership roles throughout her professional and performing careers. In recent years, her musical endeavors have involved actively volunteering in her children’s musical pursuits with the Newburyport High School Band and Theatre. A soprano, she has been a member of NCS since 2016.

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: Brenda Rich, Amesbury, MA

Brenda Rich has a B.A. in English from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Montclair State University, as well as library teacher certification. She worked for twelve years as the Environmental Education program coordinator for Patriots’ Trail Girl Scout Council in Boston, and for the past ten years has been an elementary school librarian in the Lexington Public Schools. She serves as a Library Trustee for the Amesbury Public Library. She has done both grant-writing and grant-reading for educational and environmental non-profit grants. Her enjoyment of choral music began in elementary school, and she has sung with many choruses throughout high school, college and beyond. She sang with NCS for several seasons over twenty years ago, before her children were born, and is thrilled to have recently returned.

Member-at-LargeJoanne 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 from 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. She was recently awarded the Helen Storrow Heritage Award by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Joanne has been an NCS member since 1971.

If you need to contact any of our Board Members, please click on their job title.