Artistic Leadership

Eliza Rubenstein, Artistic Director

Eliza Rubenstein, Artistic Director

Eliza Rubenstein, the OCWC’s Artistic Director since 2000, studied choral conducting and English at Oberlin College before moving to southern California in 1995 to earn her master’s degree in conducting from UC-Irvine. Besides her work with the OCWC, she is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities and music-department chair at Orange Coast College, and the Artistic Director of the Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra. She also serves on the board of the California Choral Directors’ Association as the editor-in-chief of CCDA’s award-winning Cantate magazine. Eliza has conducted performances and festivals across the United States and in the United Kingdom, and she made her Carnegie Hall debut in June 2017, conducting the Carnegie premiere of Kirke Mechem’s cantata Songs of the Slave.

Eliza is a former animal-shelter administrator and dog trainer, and the co-author of The Adoption Option: Choosing and Raising the Rescue Dog for You. In 2006 she presented a seminar entitled “Sit! Stay! Sing!: What Choral Conductors Can Learn from Dog Trainers” at the ACDA’s Western regional conference. Her family includes her partner, Julie Fischer; a yellow Labrador named Dayton; and Wilbur, a grey cat.

The Orange County Register has praised Eliza’s “expert direction,” and the Long Beach Gazette has said that “Rubenstein is the real deal….Musically and technically, she has it all.” Eliza’s other passions include photography, vegan food, good grammar, and baseball—specifically, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Eliza can be reached at eliza@ocwomenschorus.org.

Sarah Hughes, Assistant Director

Sarah Hughes, Assistant Director

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 completed her Master of Arts degree in teaching at Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies in 2016.

Sarah has a long history of singing with choirs. Some of her most memorable performances include singing the soprano solos for the Mozart Requiem with the Mesa Verde United Methodist Church Choir; conducting and performing with the OCWC in Chepstow Castle on their UK tour; singing the soprano solos in Haydn’s Little Organ Mass with the Mesa Verde United Methodist Choir; singing Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Idyllwild Festival choir; performing at the 2012 ACDA Western Division Conference with the OCWC; and singing the soprano solos for Debussy’s Salut Printemps with the Chapman Chamber Orchestra and University Singers.

Sarah’s passion for music has led her to pursue a career in teaching and conducting. She has directed in high school summer choral camps, teaching styles ranging from Baroque classics to show choir pop arrangements.  In addition to working with high school students, Sarah has specialized in church music for both youth and adult choirs.  Sarah currently teaches music to students in K-5th grade in Fountain Valley School District and maintains a private voice studio. If she’s not swing dancing the night away or scaling rocks and walls, you’ll find her curled up with a cup of coffee and a pair of knitting needles.

Sarah can be reached at sarah@ocwomenschorus.org.

Janelle Kim, Pianist

Janelle Kim, Pianist

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 age 15 she made her orchestral debut 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.

Janelle received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in piano performance from California State University-Fullerton, where she received a scholarship and became a student of Eduardo Delgado, one of Argentina’s most renowned pianists. During her piano studies at the university, she was invited to become a member of the honors society Pi Kappa Lambda.

Currently, she is an active teacher, accompanist and performer in the Orange County area. With a thriving teaching studio, her students have been prizewinners in local and international competitions. She currently holds positions as part-time faculty and accompanist at Orange Coast College, and as staff accompanist with the Orange County Women’s Chorus. She has been a featured soloist with the Corona Symphony Orchestra and the Orange Coast College Symphony.

Mikaela Curtis, Conducting Intern

Mikaela Curtis, Conducting Intern

Mikaela Curtis is a K-6 Vocal Music teacher in the Garden Grove School District and a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Biola University with an emphasis in vocal studies. Mrs. Curtis had the distinction of serving as student conductor of the Biola Women’s Chorus under the direction of Carol Aspling, and was privileged to sing with the Biola Chorale for three years under the direction of Dr. Shawna Stewart, where she served as Vice President, Social Chair, and Soprano Section Leader. She also sang with the OCC Chamber Singers for two years under the direction of Eliza Rubenstein.

Mrs. Curtis had the honor of playing Rose Maurrant in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, directed by Mr. Richard Zeller. She also performed in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Puccini’s Suor Angelica while at Biola. Her previous musical and theatrical involvements include Godspell, Trial by Jury, Merry Wives of Windsor, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing.

Mrs. Curtis would like to thank her music mentors, Ms. Eliza Rubenstein, Dr. Shawna Stewart, Mrs. Carol Aspling, and Mr. Richard Zeller.

Back To Who We Are