Sing for Hope

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About Us

Today, Sing for Hope’s programs impact thousands annually.

What would our world look like without art?

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We may not think of access to creative expression in the same way we think of access to food and shelter, but the arts are vital to our well-being. They fuel our imaginations, connect us to our communities, and tap into parts of ourselves that nothing else can.

At Sing for Hope, we believe that every human being has unlimited creative capacity, and that we share a collective responsibility to unlock that potential. Sing for Hope’s roster of Volunteer Artists power our programs in under-resourced schools, veterans’ centers, disabled persons’ networks, healthcare facilities, and elder care homes, renewing hope every day through the unique power of arts outreach.

Whatever brought you to the Sing for Hope website, we hope you will return often. As we look to the future of Sing for Hope, we are invigorated by the continued opportunity to uplift lives through the arts, and we are excited for this next chapter in our growth. Thank you for joining us.

With gratitude,
Monica and Camille
Co-Founders, Sing for Hope

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Monica Yunus

Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director

Monica Yunus is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Sing for Hope. Ms. Yunus has performed with the world's leading opera companies, including The Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, The Zouk Festival, and in recitals in Spain, Guatemala, and her native Bangladesh. She has been honored with a 21st Century Leaders Award and, in 2013, received a Congressional Citation, was honored as “New Yorker of the Week” by NY1, and was named one of the “Top 50 Americans in Philanthropy” by Town & Country. A leading voice in the “artist as citizen” discussion, she has performed and spoken at the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Skoll World Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, and the United Nations. The daughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, Ms. Yunus is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

Camille Zamora

Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director

Camille Zamora is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Sing for Hope. An internationally acclaimed soprano, she has appeared with collaborators ranging from Plácido Domingo to Sting, with ensembles including London Symphony and Glimmerglass Opera, and in live broadcasts on NPR, BBC Radio, Deutsche Radio and Sirius. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she has been recognized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and named one of CNN’s Most Intriguing People, NY1’s “New Yorker of the Week” and one of the “Top 50 Americans in Philanthropy” by Town & Country. A regular contributor to The Huffington Post and a leading voice in the “artist as citizen” discussion, Camille has performed and spoken at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Skoll World Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, and the United Nations.

Meet the team:

Richard Robertson

Chief Operating Officer

Richard Robertson has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Georgia and an MBA in Arts Administration from Binghamton University. He began his nonprofit career in San Diego, working with San Diego Opera, San Diego Repertory Theatre and the Theatre in Old Town San Diego. Next stop: New York, where he spent 15 years with Eliran Murphy Group, an advertising agency specializing in arts and culture. He eventually became the company's COO and led campaigns for Lincoln Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, Big Apple Circus, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, New York City Opera, The Apollo Theatre, American Museum of Natural History and numerous Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Richard was instrumental in bringing a significant portion of New York's nonprofit arts organizations online (many kicking and screaming) and frequently spoke at national conferences on Internet marketing, social media and cultural tourism. Richard ran the NYC Marathon in November and is an overbearing helicopter parent to an 8-year old black lab mix named Shirley Temple Black.

Stephanie Martinez

Director of Youth Arts

Stephanie has been a part of the Sing for Hope family since 2009.  With over 10 years of youth development experience focused on arts outreach, she has worked with young people and families in South Florida, New York and South Africa, using the arts as a tool for empowerment. Stephanie first realized her love of music while playing Mozart's little sister, Nannerl, in her third grade play. Her love of sunshine and singing led her to the University of Miami, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. She is currently completing her Masters in Music Education at Hunter College.

Paula Nemerson

Director of Community Arts

A passionate arts administrator, Paula comes to Sing for Hope with a strong background in non-profit program management. Most recently, as Director of Education at the Harmony Program, Paula oversaw staff professional development, program evaluation, and day-to-day operations at after-school music programs in New York City and Long Island. Paula earned her Master’s degree in Music Education at George Mason University and is currently studying Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Baruch College. Paula also teaches piano lessons, sings with the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, and lives with her dog and two cats in Brooklyn.

Noah Branman

Director of Program Initiatives

Noah has over a decade of experience in the nonprofit field in a wide range of roles. He has previously worked with The Posse Foundation, Citi Bike, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Camp Kesem, Hillel at Stanford University, and City Year. Noah holds a Master of Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from Brandeis University. Noah is an avid theatregoer and believes in the tremendous power of the arts to heal, teach, and build stronger, more connected communities.

Michelle Femminella

Manager of Volunteer Service

Michelle comes to Sing for Hope with a strong background in performing and the arts. A native of New York, she holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Massachusetts, where she studied vocal performance. Prior to joining the Sing for Hope team, Michelle worked as an instructor of music and dance, working with students age 3-12. Before assuming her current role at Sing for Hope, Michelle was the intern for the 2013 Pianos project, where she assisted in placing those beautiful pianos all over New York City. Since then, she has transitioned into the Manager of Volunteer Service where she very happily works with all the wonderful volunteers on our roster. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats where she can be found watching documentaries, listening to records, or crocheting.

Lester Vrtiak

Media and Programs Manager

Lester Vrtiak is Sing for Hope's Program Media and Programs Manager. He has several years of experience as an arts administrator specializing in music education and community engagement programming. He is a graduate of the John J. Cali School of Music, part of Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ with a major in Music Theory/Composition and a minor in French. His primary teachers include composition studies with Scott Richards, Fred Cohen and Robert Aldridge and piano study with David Witten. Lester is also an active pianist and violinist, and has performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Chamber Players, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble and Vari Musicisti.

Pamela Weingarden

Programs and Operations Associate

Pamela is so excited to join the Sing for Hope team!  A lifetime devotion to the arts brings her here by way of many different fields including restaurant and theater management.  Pamela holds her BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the arts, and has performed all over New York City.  She most recently served as the Resident Intern for the 2016 Pianos program, and is overjoyed to be able to keep working with Sing for Hope.

Eric Chalif

Civic Corps Youth Corps Lead

Eric is excited to join the Sing for Hope family as a Civic Corps member, and he will be with SFH through July 2017. Having spent over a decade singing and playing violin in various orchestras and choirs, he looks forward to spreading his love for music to the community. He has recently graduated Dartmouth College with a degree in Art History and he plans on attending medical school after his time with Sing for Hope. Eric is particularly interested in how interaction with the arts can lead to better health outcomes.

Emiko Ormsbee

Civic Corp Volunteer Lead

Emi is a Civic Corps member who will be working with Sing for Hope through July 2017, and she could not be more excited! Though a native of Arkansas, she graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee in May 2016 with a BA in Psychology. There she spent many hours volunteering and working with others on projects for a range of nonprofits. She has been a part of numerous choirs and ensembles, and has played piano since she was a child. Emi's primary role will be Volunteer Artist recruitment, though she is very excited to volunteer herself while getting to know the city a little better.

Ali Printz

Studio Manager, Pianos 2016

Ali Printz has been working as a historical painter, curator, and writer in NYC for the last 6 years and has show her work both nationally and internationally. She has been involved in public arts projects such as the Faberge Big Egg Hunt in 2014 and the upcoming CitySeats Yankee Project in 2016, as both an artist and a facilitator. She completed an MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby's Institute of Art/University of Manchester in 2012 and holds both a BA and BFA in Art History and Painting from West Virginia University.

Iesha Burgess

Assistant Studio Manager

Iesha Burgess has been with the organization since 2013, beginning as a Studio Intern and Resident Piano Intern before the entering the role she holds today. Iesha is a 2015 graduate of Hunter College with a Bachelors of Art in Art History and has always been drawn to the world of the arts, seeking out different projects and opportunities of the New York City area.

 

Sing for Hope Project Leaders:

Christy Bahr

Project Leader

Christy comes to Sing for Hope with a passion for community involvement and a longstanding love for music. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Christy holds Bachelor degrees in International Studies and Japanese from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts in International Education from New York University. Prior to moving to New York she spent six years in Japan and several months sailing on a global voyage as an interpreter with a Japanese NGO. Christy currently works in educational programming, and in her spare time she enjoys playing the violin (which she started at the age of 9), baking, and photography.

Julie Ellis

Project Leader

An alumnus of The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, Julie has enjoyed everything from singing under the direction of James Levine at Lincoln Center, to fronting The Miami Sound Machine band as the Gloria Estefan impersonator for Legends In Concert out of Las Vegas!  She’s been a part of the Sing For Hope Volunteer Artist Roster for many years and is super excited to be stepping it up a notch as the Project Leaders hit the ground running…playing, singing and dancing!

Jae Han

Project Leader

Jae began as a Volunteer Artist at Sing For Hope, and is excited to take on the role of Project Leader at the NY Memory Center in Brooklyn. He is an active pianist and teacher with over twenty years of performance experience. Jae holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Music Performance from Brandeis University, and a M.M. in Classical Piano Performance from Mannes College of Music. He is currently enrolled at Manhattan School of Music. When not performing or teaching, Jae tunes pianos or has a book in a hand.  

Tina Huang

Project Leader

As an enthusiast of exploring New York City through finding Sing for Hope Pianos, Tina is excited to join the Sing for Hope team as Project Leader. Born and raised in Taiwan, Tina moved to the U.S. for college, where she received a B.A. in dance and government from Wesleyan University and a M.A. in performance studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Currently, Tina works as Company Manager at The Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation and is member of Dance/NYC Junior Committee. In her free time she enjoys making baked goods for friends and family — popular requests include lemon poppy seed cake and blueberry crumble.

Serena LaVine

Project Leader

Serena is currently retired (since 2003), after working for 40 years in the computer field – originally as a programmer (when computers filled a room and had less processing power than a microwave) and then as a systems analyst and project manager. But the arts -- dance, theater, film, graphic arts -- have always been her passion. Volunteering has been an important part of her life.  Currently, Serena is actively involved with two organizations (OrigamiUSA, which promotes the beautiful art of origami, and the Amateur Classical Musicians Association (ACMA), which provides performance opportunities for musicians) and recently retired from a third (the HOPE program – Homebound Outreach Project for the Elderly -- at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel). She is an origami enthusiast and, with her husband, a performing (amateur) tango dancer. Sing for Hope, with its wonderful mission to bring the arts to everyone, provides the opportunity to merge her love of art and music with social service objectives.

Lynell Wagenman

Project Leader

Lynell is a native of Fargo, ND who now calls New York her home. She was raised in a musical family. Both of her parents and younger brother are musicians. Lynell is a classically trained opera singer, holding a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and a Master of Music in Opera from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She believes strongly in the mission of Sing for Hope and is excited to bring music and art into the greater community as a project leader.

  • “What Sing for Hope does is wonderfully simple. It maintains a roster of compassionate professional artists who donate time and talent to the humanitarian causes that inspire them.”

    — Dr. Muhammad Yunus,
    2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
    and Sing for Hope Board Member