OYC Staff

KeriWebheadshot-BWKeri Butkevich
Executive Director

Keri has served music education organizations in the Executive Director role since 2008. She holds a Masters degree in Voice from San Jose State University, a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Acting Specialist Certificate from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has held teaching credentials in K-12 general and choral music in WI and IL.

From 1998-2004, Keri conducted with the internationally acclaimed Chicago Children’s Choir. As the founding teaching artist for Chicago Opera Theater’s Opera for All program, she prepared children for outreach and mainstage productions, including the US premiere of Brundibar. She has taught for Merit School of Music, DePaul University’s Community Music Division, and in the Bay Area for the Community School of Music and Art, Young Audiences of Northern California, Cantabile Youth Singers, and Music in Schools Today, before transitioning to arts administration as the Program Director for the Dominican Schools Music Project.

She was named a 2010 JOC Scholar for Emerging Non-Profit Leaders by Board Source, presented for CMEA Bay Section and CASMEC state conferences, graduated from the Center for Excellence in Non-Profits Leader’s Institute, and served as Treasurer for the Board of the Northern California Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association. Ms. Butkevich has studied with Erie Mills, Yefim Maizel, and Michel Singher.

A light lyric soprano and actor, Keri has been a featured soloist with numerous concert series in the Midwest, Bay Area and Assisi, Italy, and performed in independent film and with companies including Bailiwick Repertory, Healthworks, Pear Avenue Theatre, Opera Academy of California, and Opera San Jose. She is a proud member of Oakland Rotary #3, and professional associations include Chorus America, ACDA, NCAOSA, and the Development Executives Roundtable.

La Nell Martin_BWLa Nell Martin
Artistic Director

La Nell Martin is an Oakland native, graduate of Holy Names High School, and alumna of the Oakland Youth Chorus (1986-1989). She holds a B.A. in Voice from California State University-East Bay, and a Kodály Level One Certificate from Holy Names University. La Nell is currently a Masters in Music Education candidate at San Jose State Univiersity. Entering her 12th year with the Chorus, La Nell began conducting OYC’s Middle School Magic Chorus in 2004 and Concert Chorus in 2006.

Under Ms. Martin’s direction, OYC’s Concert Chorus and Chamber Singers have received top honors at Heritage Festivals and Music in the Parks, and have been invited guest artists with the Oakland Ballet, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Yerba Buena Family Day, Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, and California State University- East Bay. She has also taken the Concert Chorus and Chamber Singers on tour to Las Vegas, Seattle, and New Orleans.

La Nell has studied choral conducting with Dr. Buddy James (California State University), Judit Hartyányi (Holy Names University), and Dr. Charlene Archibeque (San Jose State University). She has also studied voice with Christine Abraham, and Dr. Allen Shearer. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the Association of the American Kodály Educators, and the National Association for Music Education (NAFME).

Rhonda Crane_BWRhonda Crane

Rhonda Crane left corporate America to sing professionally in 1989; touring with the a cappella group Street Sounds. She has shared the stage with Robert Cray, Joan Armatrading, Zap Mama, Chick Chorea, Al Green, Holly Near, Manhattan Transfer, Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Wynton Marsalis and many others in Korea, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. Currently, Rhonda sings with Chelle and Friends and Chelle’s Juke Joint.

As a music/education major at San Jose State University, she sang in AIDA with Grace Bumbry and organized the Rhonda Hudson Singers. She began serving as a church pianist at age 16 at the historic Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, worked as choral director and the Minister of Music of Greater True Light Baptist Church in Modesto, and is Director of the Children’s Ministry for the Edwin and Walter Hawkins Music & Arts National Conference and the Love Center Church in Oakland.  She sings with the Hawkins’ Community In Praise Choir and the Love Center Church Choir.
Rhonda serves as Musical Director for Go Girls Summer Camp and Choral Director for Shadelands Community Arts Center in Walnut Creek. She teaches piano and voice to children in the San Francisco, Belmont, Oakland Unified School Districts, and Gospel music to adults in the Marin Adult & Community Education program through Leap, Imagination in Learning, San Francisco Arts Education and several East Bay choruses.

Holly-2014HeadshotDebbie Gold

Debbie Gold earned her Bachelor’s of Music in Composition from the University of Southern California and her Master of Arts in Teaching from the Longy School of Music of Bard College in their Los Angeles program to teach in the growing El Sistema movement in the United States. She holds a single subject CA teaching credential in K-12 music. A dedicated teaching artist throughout the Bay Area, Debbie is inspired by the ways in which music can be used as a vehicle for social change. She has taught for Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA), Santa Rosa Symphony, Valley Vibes Orchestra, Sonoma’s El Sistema program, and with zSharp in OUSD and WCCUSD schools. She performs in various genres including funk, African, Brazilian forro and choro, rock and jazz.

Kevin Hull

A native of the South Bay, Kevin graduated from San Jose State University with a special major in Music and Global Studies. He has also earned a Theatre Conservatory Certificate from Foothill College. While at SJSU, he performed Poulenc’s double piano concerto. He’s also acted in a national tour of Strega Nona: The Musical, served as Musical Director for the Roberta Jones Junior Theatre in Santa Clara, and taught piano, guitar and chorus at a music school in Bhutan. Kevin is also currently working as an accompanist for the New Ballet School in San Jose.

RebecaRebecca Kleinmann

Rebecca is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music in Jazz Flute and Spanish Languages. She’s also completed Levels I and II with the San Francisco Orff School and Orff Afrique in Ghana. In her third season with OYC, Rebecca has taught with Tehiyah Day School, Music for Minors, Escuela Bilingue Internacional, and the Community Music Center in SF. As a flutist, she is a specialist in Brazilian Music including choro, Forro and MPB. She is an experienced jazz and classical performer who has recently performed at Yoshi’s, Clubedo Choro in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and for SF Jazz with Hermeto Pascoal, Destiny Muhammed and dona Francisca. Rebecca is a member of the National Flute Association and a member of the choir at Taylor Memorial in Oakland.

Sian WittkeSian Wittke

Sian earned her Bachelors in Music Education with an emphasis in choral conducting at Berklee College of Music. After student teaching at the Boston Latin School, she taught chorus and music (K-8) at Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury, MA, and also worked with the Boston Children’s Chorus. A SF native, she grew up singing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus for 10 years. At Berklee, she performed constantly, and in Boston sang with Chorus Pro Musica and in a Grateful Dead cover band! Sian is also working with the Young Women’s Choral Projects this year, and is excited to explore the choral world on the West Coast.

TrishHS-BW_smTrish Yanko
Administrative Assistant

Trish first joined OYC as an intern through her studies at L.E.N. Business and Language Institute When she graduated with her General Clerical and Microcomputer Applications Certificate, she joined our team as our Administrative Assistant. Trish’s love for animals (her own two cats and a love for horses that extends to collecting models) led her to work for 17 years as a Veterinary Receptionist. Before that, she managed the office supply section in a Hallmark Stationary store for over 7 years. She enjoys being at OYC because, “While I have no background in music I find listening to the performances of these hard working students extremely enjoyable and the positive impact that OYC has on their lives to be very inspiring”.

DShawn_BWD’Shawn Hunter
Youth Leadership Council Coordinator

D’Shawn Hunter graduated from Oakland Technical High School at the age of 16. He is currently studying at UC Berkeley as a Bio-Sciences Major and he plans to attend medical school at Stanford University. As a member of the OYC from 1997-2003,  D’Shawn has a great ear for music, as well as a love for the art itself. He performed with the OYC at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre and numerous other Bay Area venues and has performed internationally with other choral groups. D’Shawn has tremendous experience working with youth in several different structures, and truly has a love for OYC.