Board Member Bios

Bios of the Current TCC Board of Directors

PRESIDENT: Julia Kelly, Soprano
I retired from the Mesa Public School District in 2010 after working for 27 years there as an elementary school principal. In that position I had to deal with many issues — budget, personnel, communication, legal, to name a few.

Since my retirement I have joined the chorus, learned to tap dance and clog, participate in two book clubs, and have recently begun ushering at MAC. I also still work as a consultant and trainer on teacher evaluation.

VICE PRESIDENT: Matthew Knotts, Bass
Matthew Knotts (bass) has been a member of the choir for three years, also performing with MAS and Quintessence.  He has volunteered with the TCC Board for the past year, assisting with new member on-boarding and the social committee.  Matthew works for SRP as a Senior Training Analyst and has a background in project management.  Matthew is excited for this opportunity to build on the Board’s efforts to continually develop the choir and our community.

TREASURER: Kate Miller, Soprano
Kate Miller joined TCC in 2018 as a soprano.  “This is a great group of people I love making music with.” She is a retired financial analyst. Kate is delighted to serve as the treasurer for the chorus, working to help keep the chorus running and growing. 

SECRETARY: Sujata Ryan, Alto 2
I have always loved music, from singing in the school choir in elementary school, to learning the classical guitar, and later on branching into banjo, piano, violin and a little mandolin.  Originally from India, I grew up in Ottawa, Canada, and have lived in Phoenix for the last 32 years. My background includes Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Secondary Education, and a Master of Education in Counseling. I am a 6th Grade Science teacher in the Kyrene School District. Finding the TCC eight years ago was magical – a chance to sing in harmony again with people equally passionate about music.  Now Monday is my favorite day of the week as I look forward to rehearsal and interacting with our friendly singers!

BOARD MEMBERS AT LARGE:

Denise Just, Tenor
My name is Denise Just and I have been a member of the Tempe Community Chorus since the fall of 1998 and have been deeply committed to the success of the chorus. I sing in the Tenor section and have been helping produce music learning files for the tenors and basses for several seasons. I rejoined the board in January 2019 and was Secretary for that year. I am continuing to produce News Notes, our primary communication tool for chorus members, as well as helping update membership records and documents each season. In 2020 I also became the Publicity Committee chairperson responsible for publicizing our concerts.

I have previously been a TCC Music Librarian and a board member and held the positions of Secretary and Vice-President as well as President for 1 year from 2006-2007. I retired in June 2016 from my job as a library assistant at the Law Library at Arizona State University.

Kristi Christofferson, Alto 1
I am a new member to TCC and MAS. I have been singing in choirs since I was 11 years old, and get great joy singing with others. I’ve been a board member for many choirs. Most recently, I served as the President of the MCC Community Choir from 2013-2018 and I am currently serving as the Choir Coordinator for the CGCC Community Choir.

I was born and raised in Arizona. I grew up in Mesa, but have lived in the Chandler/Gilbert area now for several years. I have worked for CVS/Caremark as an Account Manager for the past 4 years, and prior to that worked in the Fraud Department at PayPal. In my free time, I own and operates a small Photography Business (Kristi Christofferson Photography) and enjoy the time I get to spend helping others create memories.

Joining TCC, I knew I wanted to jump in and get involved. I am looking forward to continuing to get to know everybody, working with the board and singing for many semesters in the future.

Lee Higginbotham, Tenor
I feel that I would be a good addition to the board because I am creative, open minded, fair, diplomatic, and passionate about music. I’ve been involved with music throughout my entire life. I started singing with church choirs from elementary school throughout junior high. Then I was involved in A Cappella choir, advanced jazz and madrigal choirs, and numerous musicals throughout High School and College.

As a board member I would like to build upon the history and strong foundation that all of the previous board members have put together. While at the same, I’d like to help look for new, challenging, and fun ways to further grow and strengthen our amazing chorus. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Paula Svetlecich, Soprano 2
I’m excited to say this fall season starts my 4th year in the chorus. I’m originally from Northwest Indiana via southern California and am a proud 3rd generation transplant in Phoenix! I got involved in music with band in Junior High playing flute in marching band and orchestra through High School. I no longer even own a flute (which all are thankful for!). In college, I started singing in plays, chorus and, with lessons, became part of the Madrigals. I’ve missed choral singing over the years and was happy to find TCC and LOVE the uplifting and fun music we get to sing.

As a massage therapist, I’ve run my own business since 2003 when I stepped out on my own. Since then I’ve done a lot of business networking and have sat on the boards for a couple of the groups so understand what is required of a board member. I’d be excited and honored to help guide the chorus as a board member for TCC.

Duane FitzpatrickDuane Fitzpatrick, Bass
I have been singing in the TCC Bass section for about two years.  A friend told me about the group. I was hooked after my first rehearsal! I have a background in business and IT. I am currently employed by a large bank and usually work from home. I have volunteered with other organizations for decades and enjoy meeting all kinds of people.d

Dominic Pochiro, Tenor
I’ve been a member of the TCC for several years in the tenor section and have been singing in various choirs throughout my life. I work for an airline and I’m active in my union where I’ve been a Shop Stewart since 2017 where I have served on several committees. I want to help with this group for all the fun and exciting times I’ve had with everyone. Recently I’ve been doing the 50/50 raffle with a couple of great people. I hope to continue with the wonderful work that this group does.

Charlotte Hughes, Tenor
After wintering in Chandler for five years to spend time with our son and his family, we made a permanent move leaving Cincinnati behind in June 2018.  I had searched extensively for a choir and was thrilled to find an incredibly talented and welcoming group in TCC.  In Ohio I sang with community choirs for over 20 years, as well as a barbershop choir which participated in the 2012 Word Choir Games in Cincinnati.  In addition to my passion for singing, I play banjo with a bluegrass jam.  The other hobby I share with my husband is 7.5” gauge railroading, being members of Maricopa Live Steamers north of Glendale.

Before retirement I worked as a network administrator initially in Novell, then with Microsoft networking, as well as writing and teaching classes in Microsoft Office and other inhouse software.   I served as recording secretary and web administrator for six years for our Ohio live steam railroading club.  I am honored to serve in reciprocity as a board member for all the joy this amazing choir has afforded me.