Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Caroline Firman – President

Caroline Firman joined the Sacramento Master Singers in 2015. With a passion for the arts as both a performer and administrator, Caroline holds her BA in Music from UC Davis and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Arts Education from California State University Sacramento. Caroline worked for six years in a variety of roles at the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) and returned in 2016 as a contractor to manage the organization’s Annual Conference. She holds a full-time job as Program Representative for the Department of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis, as well as freelances for artist managers, classical music bloggers and other arts leaders.

Ian Tillman – Vice President

Ian Tillman joined the Sacramento Master Singers in 1997. Ian has BS in Information Technology Management. He is a systems administrator at the Student Health Center at UCD. Ian studied music at ARC with Perla Warren and Ralph Hughes. He enjoys singing, playing guitar, piano, and solving interesting problems.

Carol McCormick – Secretary

Carol joined the Camelia Concert Chorale in 1984. She recounts that “the group name changed to the Sacramento Master Singers in 1984 on a night when I had missed rehearsal. It was rather odd to arrive at my next rehearsal to find out the name was entirely different!” Thus began her seven years as a leader of the SMS alto section and frequent soloist in SMS concerts. She is a retired music educator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal performance and a Master of Arts in education. Her studies focused on opera, but her first love has continued to be choral music. Carol’s numerous experiences as a soloist and choral singer include performances under Roger Wagner in the Southern California Honor Choir and under Seiji Okawa and Edo de Waart with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

In her retirement, Carol returned to sing with the Sacramento Master Singers for a decade and retired from singing in 2022. Carol’s many years as a choral singer, including her time with SMS, help her to provide insightful feedback and guidance as a Governing Board Member.

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Chris Winger – Treasurer

Chris Winger is a retired nonprofit executive.  Her career experience is with small to medium size nonprofits where she led organizations in human services and the arts.  Her expertise includes nonprofit operations, programming and fund development, with an emphasis on the development of earned income revenue streams.  Chris enjoys spending time with family and is an avid novice quilter.  Originally from Perth, Australia, travel has been an avocation for most of her life.

Laura Lofgren- Choral Liaison

Laura is in her 35th year as an educator where she has served as an elementary teacher, reading coach, principal and director. Currently, she supports 15 school sites with their behavior management systems and interventions. She is honored to sing Alto with the Sacramento Master Singers for the last 30 years and proud to serve on the Board as Choral Liaison. 

Artistic Advisory Board

Lynn Stevens

Lynn Stevens began her choral music career while a student at the University of Southern California. She sang professionally and toured internationally with the Ray Coniff Singers, singing in concert with the Norman Luboff Choir, and later performed and recorded with the Carpenters.

Lynn received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from the University of Southern California and began her teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Following a move back to her hometown of Sacramento, Lynn taught for 25 years in local elementary and middle schools.

While undertaking more advanced studies at California State University, Sacramento, Lynn founded the Sacramento Children’s Chorus and received her master’s degree in choral conducting. Lynn served for many years as the Artistic Director and Conductor with the Sacramento Children’s Chorus, Lynn teaches in the music education department at California State University, Sacramento.

It was a special treat that both the Sacramento Master Singers and the Sacramento Children’s Chorus were chosen to sing at the 2012 American Choral Directors Association Western Division Conference. Go Sacramento choirs!

James Wheatley

James Wheatley retired after 36 years of state government service. His idea of retirement, however, would exhaust most of us. James founded the Celebration Dance Company in 1976, and brought it under the umbrella of Celebration Arts in 1986. Wheatley directs the majority of the plays during the annual theater season. He also teaches dance and choreographs for the company.

He is also an actor, and the recipient of six Elly acting awards (and an Elly for his original play, Petra). As a director he has been at the helm for many local productions including Ain’t Misbehavin, Eden, and Is the Color of Mississippi Mud. In addition to acting and directing he has composed music for several plays.

Wheatley is active as an Arts advocate serving on several arts organization boards. Additionally, he has worked on committees and task groups for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. He serves as a volunteer consultant and advisor to many arts groups and individual artists. SMS has been fortunate to have him as not only an Artistic Advisory Board Member, but also a collaborative artist. He has choreographed for and danced in several of our concerts. James Wheatley received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance and the Sacramento Chapter of the Links, Inc.

Staff

Heidi Van Regenmorter – Accompanist

Accompanying is Heidi Van Regenmorter’s passion. She enjoys playing piano and organ as the accompanist for the Sacramento Master Singers. She enjoys the challenge of reading the minds of conductors and soloists and the requiste non-verbal communication that yields a good performance. She has worked with countless soloists and ensembles in the Sacramento region including the California State University, Stanislaus (Stanislaus State) Concert Chorale, the Camellia Symphony, and the River City Chorale.

Heidi has been active as an accompanist, solo performer, and educator for over thirty years. Heidi studied piano with Phyllis Tieck, Dr. Richard Carpenter at CSU-Sacramento, as well as piano and harpsichord with Sylvia Ghiglieri. She also studied organ with Steven C. Grubb at Stanislaus State. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music (piano performance) in 1984 from Stanislaus State. In addition to her keyboard studies, Heidi played clarinet in the Stanislaus State Symphonic Band as well as alto saxophone in the CSUS Jazz Band.

After teaching piano lessons privately for many years, Heidi began teaching all levels of piano classes as an adjunct music professor at American River College in 1996. She has worked with Dr. Ralph Hughes as the ARC Choir accompanist since 1991. Heidi has served as an organist for many churches and ensembles in Sacramento and Modesto. She has been the organist/pianist at Northminster Presbyterian Church since 1987 and is a member of the American Guild of Organists.

Lia Seyman Villados – Patron Services Coordinator

Lia has been involved with visual and performing arts since the tender age of six and has always believed in the power of live performance. She is a sculptor, performer, stage manager, dramaturg, and instructor of American and World history at the undergraduate level. Lia has worked in regional and college theatres in the Sacramento area since 2005. One of the greatest joys of her work is connecting with patrons over a shared love of the arts. Ensuring our patrons have a wonderful experience at our concerts is her top priority!

Emily Carbrey – Assistant Conductor

Emily began singing with the Sacramento Master Singers in 2009, three years after moving to California from her hometown in upstate New York. While in NYS, she earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the Crane School of Music and her Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Binghamton University. Emily has enjoyed her experiences conducting various college and university groups, but she finds nothing can surpass the feeling of being one voice surrounded by so many others, striving together, to create magic.  She feels incredibly fortunate to be a part of SMS as both soprano section leader and assistant director, and she continues to marvel at the consistently high caliber of the group.

Emily was recently married and works as a manager at a community bank. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and living in perfect harmony with her husband, a professional musician.