Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The Naples Orchestra & Chorus Board of Directors and its entire management staff are all volunteers.

On April 22, 2016, members of the Naples Orchestra & Chorus nominated the following members to the Board of Directors

Mary Anne Beirne
Chris Davies
Nicki Huber
Sharyl Liefeld
Barbara Lounsbury
Michael Mendelsohn
Claudia Polzin
Dan Sweeny

The Board Officers are:

Treasurer – Mary Anne Beirne
Secretary – Chris Davies

Board Biographies

Mary Anne BeirneMary Anne Beirne

Mary Anne Beirne, nee Checrallah, is a 1971 graduate of Boston College with a BA in Education and Mathematics. In 1976, she earned an MBA from the Stern School at New York University. After working for 8 years and concluding as a financial analyst for a Fortune 500 company, she suspended her conventional career to raise five children, living in New York; London; Cincinnati, Ohio; North Andover, Massachusetts; Park City, Utah and Lake Forest, Illinois.

During this time, she was very active in volunteer organizations. She served as Treasurer of the Park City, Utah Trailside School PTA, utilizing Quick Books to record and report on the financial position of this organization. She is a member of the Women’s Board of the Lake County, Illinois Catholic Charities and served as Chair of their major fund raiser, the Art of Caring, increasing the proceeds, despite a recession at that time. She also served as Treasurer of the Guild of Saint Mary, Lake Forest, an organization dedicated to service to the community and fund raising for charitable causes. Mary Anne used her organizational skills to assist the Lake Forest Recreation Dance program particularly with their recital scheduling. She is a member of the Naples Emerald Ball committee, raising money for Catholic Charities in Collier County. She looks forward to her association with the Naples Orchestra and Chorus.

Mary Anne and her husband, Tony, have been married for 45 years and have been residents of Florida for 4 years.

Christopher Davies

Davies, ChristopherChris is a Director at Cohen and Grigsby, P.C., a full-service law firm of 150 lawyers with offices in Naples and Pittsburgh. Chris heads the condominium, cooperative and homeowner association practice group and focuses his practice on providing advice to boards of directors within community associations and also handles real estate closings. He is an active member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar and a published author and frequent lecturer in his field. Chris has lived in Southwest Florida since 1985, moving here after graduating from Tulane University School of Law with both J.D. and LL.M. degrees. Originally from the United Kingdom, Chris was raised in the Anglican Royal School of Church Music tradition, starting as a chorister at the age of 7. He also played violin in the local youth county orchestra. This is Chris’s third year on the Board of Directors and is also the Corporate Secretary. He provides guidance to the Directors on various legal and policy matters. He and his wife, Ruth, from Minnesota, have two adult children, one a high school teacher and the other an attorney, and two Golden Doodles! They attend St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Nicki Huber

Noreen (Nicki) Nicol Huber is a sixth generation Texan and third generation Dallasite and a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a BBA in Marketing. She was President and CEO of Nicol Scales, Inc. for 23 years in Dallas, TX. Prior to that she lived in New York City where she was an Account Executive for Benton & Bowles advertising agency; first woman hired as a Consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton, and Site Location Analyst for Allied Stores. In Dallas, TX, she was Asst. to the President of Titche Geottinger department store (an Allied Store) and Research Analyst and Graduate of Executive Training Course at Sanger-Harris department store. She was a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and is a graduate of Leadership Texas.

She moved to New York City in 1967, where she lived for 13 years before returning to Dallas, TX to join the family business in 1980. In 1989, she met her husband, Paul E. Huber, and they commuted between Dallas and California for 13 years (6 dating and 7 married). She sold her business in 1998 and moved to Los Gatos, CA in 2000 to be with her husband full time. She and her husband moved to Naples, FL in the fall of 2009.

Her theater experience has spanned many areas performing, technical, and producing.

As a child, she was told she could not “carry a tune in a bucket”. She started singing with the Dallas First United Methodist Church children’s choir and has been hooked on theater ever since, primarily as an avocation. She started her performing career acting in various plays and singing and dancing in musicals in Dallas. In New York she began studying voice and ballet/jazz. She was Papagena in the Magic Flute at the Amato Opera Company, supporting roles as Sister Berthe in Sound of Music, Mrs. Bedwin in Oliver and Leanna Mae in Preacherman (original musical). She also had leading roles in plays as Cathy in Lover’s and Other Strangers and Mary Magdalene in The Vigil. Other productions she has appeared in include On the Town, Brigadoon, Carousel, South Pacific, Music Man, Show Boat, Camelot, My Fair Lady and Oklahoma.

She belonged to the Blue Hill Troupe who performed Gilbert and Sullivan shows as a benefit for a charity each year in New York City. She began as a back stage member, building sets for HMS Pinafore and then designing costumes for Iolanthe. She then became a front stage member performing in The Pirates of Penzance, Gondoliers, Ruddigore, The Sorcerer, and The Yoeman of the Guard.

She has been active in many other professional and charitable organizations including President of the International Society of Weighing and Measurement and the Dallas American Red Cross, board member of the Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Visiting Nurses Assoc., first woman member the Rotary Club of Dallas, Executive Women of Dallas, and First United Methodist Church. In Los Gatos, CA., she served on the board of San Jose Repertory Theater and the Butter Paddle as well as two terms on the Los Gatos Town Arts Commission. She was a member of the Rotary Club of Los Gatos and graduate of Leadership Los Gatos.

In Naples, she is Treasurer of the Quail Creek Community Association, member of the Rotary Club of Naples, The League Club, and the Naples Orchestra and Chorus and graduate of Greater Naples Leadership.

Sharyl Leifeld

As a math major at the University of Texas at Austin Sharyl was also a soloist with Ballet Austin, in those days a community based company directed by former Margot Fonteyn partner Stanley Hall from the Royal Ballet in London. He referred her to the renowned ballet pedagogue Madame Nora, a Russian immigrant based in Paris, where she continued her studies in ballet and French for a year before being hired by Gise Furtwangler, the preeminent German choreographer, director of Cologne Ballet and niece of Wilhelm Furtwangler. A ten year career followed with West German ballet companies in Cologne, Krefeld, Monchengladbach and Dusseldorf. As a principal she performed leading roles in classical ballet productions as well as ballet roles in operas working with major European directors.

Upon retiring from the stage Sharyl taught classical ballet at the Krefelder Musikschule and served as a judge in youth ballet competitions in Germany and Belgium while completing a degree in Business Administration in Dusseldorf with dual majors in marketing and accounting. Her experience in large scale theater productions naturally lead to a new career in event management.

As European Director of Information Technology with London based Blenheim, then the world’s largest trade fair producer, she was responsible for a portfolio of specialized events including the industry leading “Airport” in Atlanta and Frankfurt. As CEO of Ziff Davis Publishing in Munich, Germany, she launched “Interop” in Berlin, the first LAN/WAN trade show in Europe which connected all eleven exhibition halls and exhibitors to each other and the emerging “internet”. This included onsite registration of 20,000 visitors and 3000 conference delegates from 55 countries for the three day event, also a first.

She owned a marketing company which developed and managed “Intergem” – International Trade Fair for Gems and Jewellery in Idar Oberstein with Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl as keynote speaker for the inaugural event. This annual trade fair welcomes buyers from over 50 countries; in its 32nd year it is now owned by the German Province Rheinland Pfalz. She served as the first woman board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany for seven years and five years as Vice President of the American Women’s Club in Dusseldorf, Germany.

After spending her whole adult life in Europe Sharyl was excited to relocate with her German husband Klaus to the wonderful climate of southwest Florida volunteering as a board or committee member with non-profit organizations in the area, in particular facilitating opportunities for youth participation in the arts, sports and youth leadership programs. She is celebrating her ninth year as president of Noontide Toastmasters in Fort Myers, as well as fifteen years as Guardian ad Litem with the 20th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.

Her lifelong passion is music and she loved the European tradition of community based chamber and orchestral music and support for the arts. She is honored to play violin with the Florida Southwestern State College Orchestra in Fort Myers and the Naples Orchestra and Chorus.

Barbara Lounsbury

Barbara LounsburyAs a native Californian, Barbara graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors’ Degree in Music. She then studied privately with David Schwartz (principal violist for the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanni) at the California Institute of the Arts. Shortly thereafter, she relocated to New York City to pursue a professional career as a violist. She studied in NYC with Emanuel Vardi. She was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Tanglewood Center for Performing Arts, performed for two seasons at the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy and played the first world tour of the Bolshoi Ballet which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera Hall in New York City. Her musical experience spans a wide variety of styles. She has been principal violist at Radio City Music Hall in NYC for 30 years. In addition to performing the perennial Christmas, Easter and Summer Shows, she has worked with many artists including Tony Bennett, Elton John, Diana Ross, Liberace, Johnny Mathis and George Benson. Her experience also includes playing a number of Broadway shows such as “Secret Garden”, “Miss Saigon”, “Les Miserables” and “Phantom of the Opera”. Her symphonic experience has included performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, American Symphony in Carnegie Hall, Little Orchestra Society in Lincoln Center, Music for Westchester, New York Choral Society, and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts and, most recently, The Fifth Ave Chamber Orchestra, Opera Naples, Gulfshore Opera in Naples, FL. She also has performed operas with the NYC Opera in Lincoln Center, NY Grand Opera, NJ State Opera, NY Light Opera and the Canadian Opera. She currently divides her time between Naples, Florida and San Francisco, California.

Michael Mendelsohn

I am a UK citizen having retired from my profession as a pharmacist involved in general practice and the generic drug industry.

From 1963 I was involved in the establishing and smooth running of the Leeds International Piano for visiting US jazz musicians such as Sarah Vaughan, Zoot Simms and UK hit Shirley Bassey and Matt Munroe on piano or double bass.

I have been playing in the NOC for about 15 years, was on the board of Classic Chamber Concerts, aided in the formation of Russian Cultural Music Series.

Claudia Polzin

Claudia Paulzin

Claudia Paulzin

Claudia was born in Sandwich, Illinois, the daughter of a Lutheran minister. She attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in vocal music and theatre; and obtained a Master’s degree in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Her career began in Minneapolis where she taught secondary choral music and theatre. Moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan her career shifted to health-care administration and she held the position of VP of Human Resources for the Regional Medical Center in Marquette. Moving with her husband to Florida she returned to her career in music and the arts and was the Director of Education and Development at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts for over twelve years. Joining Vanderbilt Presbyterian in 2010, she is active in the choir and programs for young people in music and the arts. Currently Claudia is an independent consultant working with primary arts nonprofits in Collier County.

Dan Sweeny

Dan Sweeney

Dan Sweeney

Current NOC position: Principal Double Bass & Orchestra Manager

NOC Member since 2006

Education & Professional Experience: B.S. Mechanical Engineering & 45 years experience as consulting engineer to major industrial clients designing and building large manufacturing plants for food, chemicals, consumer products and automotive manufacturing. Retired for 5 years.

Musical Experience: self-taught bass player in university band, community orchestras, church orchestras and musical groups since about 1965. Began private lessons with Laurence Glazener here in Naples about 7 years ago. Currently accompanist to Voices of Naples Chorus. Was bassist for Gulf Coast Big Band until 2 years ago.

Vision for NOC: I have been a member of several choral groups and community orchestras. The NOC has a great opportunity to be a very good musical organization if we can tap the local talent pools and please the audiences. This will require focus and determination on the part of all persons involved in playing or singing in the group and also those in the various leadership roles.

I am willing to do my part because I believe in the group and in doing what it takes to make us better.