Eliza Rubenstein, the OCWC's Artistic Director since 2000, is also the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities and Chair of the Music Department at Orange Coast College, and the Artistic Director of the Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. She currently serves on the Board of the California chapter of the American Choral Directors' Association as editor of Cantate. She studied choral conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music before moving to California to earn her master’s degree at UC-Irvine. Eliza is a former animal-shelter supervisor and the co-author of a book about dog adoption; she even presented a seminar called "Sit, Stay, Sing!: What Choral Conductors Can Learn from Dog Trainers" at the 2006 ACDA western-division convention. She shares her home with a yellow lab named Dayton and a cat named Wilbur, and can always find time for Brahms, vegan Thai food, or anything to do with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sarah Hughes, the OCWC's Assistant Director since 2013, is a 2011 graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education with an emphasis in voice and recently completed her Master of Arts degree in teaching at Chapman University's College of Educational Studies.
Sarah has a long history of singing in choirs. Some of her most memorable choral performances include singing with the OCWC in Chepstow Castle on their recent UK tour; singing Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Idyllwild Festival choir in 2013; performing at the ACDA Western Division Conference with the OCWC in 2012; and singing the soprano solos for Debussy's Salut Printemps with the Chapman Chamber Orchestra and University Singers.
Sarah’s passion for choral music has led her to pursue a career in teaching and conducting. She enjoys working with singers of all ages through teaching private lessons, church choirs, children's choirs, and high school choral camps. She currently teaches elementary music in the Fountain Valley School District.
Janelle Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, but has lived most of her professional life in the United States. She began her piano studies at age 7, and has been enamored with the instrument ever since; as far as she can remember music has been a part of every facet of her life. At the age of 15, she won her first piano competition and was given the honor to perform with the Saddleback Symphony Orchestra. During this time, she was also invited to perform in a master class with international concertizing pianist, John Perry, at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles.
In 2002, the Orange County Women’s Chorus launched its Conducting Internship program, an annual opportunity offered to a promising young woman entering the field of choral conducting. The internship may be renewed once, at the discretion of the Artistic Director. Since conducting continues to be a largely male-dominated field, and since it is traditionally difficult for aspiring conductors to gain experience at their craft, this paid internship is an important and innovative contribution to the musical community, and choruses across the country have used our program as a model for their own internship opportunities. Our conducting interns have come from the University of California, Irvine; California State University-Fullerton; and Chapman University. Past conducting interns are now conducting choirs in schools, churches, synagogues and communities—and sometimes in all of the above! A former intern describes her experience this way:
“The Orange County Women's Chorus provided me with the unique opportunity to serve as their Conducting Intern during my years as a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine. This internship offers a young female conductor the chance to regularly rehearse a professional-class chorus, experiment with warm-up exercises, and conduct in concert three or more times during a season. The OCWC performs such a wonderfully diverse and challenging collection of repertoire, I found that to be the most fascinating and valuable aspect of serving as an intern. It was quite special to have the opportunity to study and sing rarely performed works for women's choruses and also have the opportunity to premiere new works that the ensemble had commissioned. The Artistic Director of the OCWC is an incredibly intelligent musician and a terrific role model. I felt inspired by her and certainly believe that my current conducting style and rehearsal practices have been positively influenced by her. The Conducting Internship offered by the OCWC is an extremely valuable educational experience and I enthusiastically support its continuation.”
During our 2013 - 2014 season, we invited Sarah Hughes to serve as our Assistant Director after two seasons as an intern. If you are interested in applying for the internship program in 2017, please send an email with your resume attached to Eliza Rubenstein.