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Melissa sandlin

I’m Melissa Sandlin, and I work as a Business Operations Manager at a Defense Contractor. Outside of my professional life, I have a wide range of interests and hobbies. I thoroughly enjoy attending music concerts of all kinds, engaging in STEM outreach activities, coaching my daughter’s FIRST LEGO Robotics team, trying out new restaurants, and traveling.
In 2000, as a new resident of Columbia and Maryland, I discovered the Columbia Orchestra and played violin in the Violin I section for six years before relocating to Baltimore City. Years later, when I was looking for an organization to join a board and give back to the community, my heart still belonged to the Columbia Orchestra. The orchestra had provided me with a sense of community and lifelong friendships.

My family and friends share my love for the orchestra, and we enjoy attending the Family Concerts together. It truly feels like being part of a warm and welcoming orchestra family and community. My family consists of my loving husband, two talented daughters who play the violin and cello, and two adorable dogs.

audrey johnson

Hello! I’m Audrey Johnson, and I work in Marketing at RK&K. When I’m not immersed in my professional role, you’ll often find me pursuing my hobbies, which include traveling, dancing, entertaining, and interior design.
Music has always held a special place in my heart, especially as a performer and pianist. When the opportunity arose to serve my community as a board member of the Columbia Orchestra, I was absolutely thrilled. Being part of this organization allows me to combine my love for music with my desire to contribute positively to the community.
In addition to my involvement with the Columbia Orchestra, I also proudly serve on the Board of Directors for the National Women’s Hall of Fame. It’s an honor to be part of the first and oldest nonprofit organization and museum dedicated to honoring and celebrating the achievements of distinguished American women.

Bruce Kuehne

I am a retired Program Area Manager from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. When I’m not listening to music and collecting CDs, I enjoy reading, watching films, and hiking–especially in National Parks.
I have been a member of the Columbia Orchestra since its founding year in 1977, performing in the violin section until 2016. For most of that time, I also served on the Board of Directors and currently hold the position of Board Secretary. Playing in the orchestra provided me with the joy of creating music and the thrill of being in the midst of the music-making process. Even as a member of the audience, I still experience the excitement of a live performance.
Being on the Board gives me a deep sense of satisfaction as I contribute to the success and growth of the Columbia Orchestra. It’s an honor to be part of an organization that brings the beauty of music to our community.

elaine newhall

I have a background in music education and have worked as a private flute teacher for many years. I have always possessed a deep passion for music and community engagement. In 1990, I recognized the incredible potential within the Columbia Orchestra and joined its board of directors. Over the years, I have not only been a member of the orchestra but have played an active role in the board’s activities and am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the cultural and educational enrichment the orchestra provides to the community. When not busy with orchestra activities I enjoy cooking, reading, and being in the great outdoors.
Elizabeth Berman

elizabeth berman

I’m Elizabeth, a dedicated nonprofit administrator and fundraiser. Balancing my professional pursuits with hobbies and family life brings me joy and fulfillment. Gardening, video games, and exploring my children’s interests are among my favorite activities.

As a music lover, I find solace in soul-stirring melodies from artists like Josh Groban and classical compositions such as Scheherazade, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Brahms, Ravel, and Debussy. While I don’t currently have any pets, my children are persuading me to consider the idea of a turtle companion.

My greatest accomplishment is the joy of motherhood, witnessing my children’s unique personalities blossom. Their growth motivates me to embrace each day with enthusiasm. I believe in embracing the possibility of change and making a positive impact on the world.

As for my best-kept secret, let’s just say it wouldn’t be much of a secret if I revealed it now. Life is full of delightful surprises, and I eagerly embrace them.

doug burian

I am an experienced performer, conductor, and educator, and have been a resident of Howard County (MD) for 25 years. I have been fortunate to perform hundreds of concerts in venues such as Chicago Symphony Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center. I earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance from the University of Maryland, and take great pride in my former students who have been placed in some of the most elite schools in the nation and have earned positions in prominent ensembles.

For 20 years, I have served as a church music director in a number of communities, and currently serve as the Director of Music at Glenelg United Methodist. In this role, I manage the music program and serve as the conductor of the adult choir and children’s choir. I am very proud of our community concert series, which has featured a number of prominent artists, including the Columbia Orchestra! I have been a member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band for 27 years, currently serving as the Director of Operations. 

I am incredibly excited and grateful to be a member of the Columbia Orchestra Board of Directors. This is an organization with a rich  tradition of excellence in the community, and I am honored to a part of this chapter in its storied history.

Robert Carpenter

I’m Robert Carpenter, the President and CEO of Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors (BWFA). As a leader of the team dedicated to improving the financial lives of our clients, I oversee various areas of the firm, including Investment Management, Financial Planning, Tax Advisory Services, and Mergers and Acquisitions. I also serve as a lead advisor and portfolio manager for many of our clients, drawing upon my three decades of experience in the financial industry.
When I’m not focused on financial matters, I enjoy staying active by playing tennis, pickleball, hiking, and biking. Being outdoors and engaging in physical activities invigorate me.
I strongly believe in giving back to the community, which is why I am serving on the Board of Directors of the Columbia Orchestra. It’s an honor to be part of an organization that brings the joy of music to our community, especially through the outdoor seasonal performances at the Chrysalis. I’m thrilled to contribute to the success of the orchestra and help create memorable experiences for our audiences.

Debbie Chen

I am a recently retired IT professional from a prominent Howard County-based University Affiliated Research Center where my experience focused on web/cloud/data security and enterprise software integrations. I also have a background in healthcare and practiced pharmacy in Maryland for a number of years.

Music and the performing arts have always been my passion. I have served on the boards of various arts organizations in Howard County over the past 25 years and love having the opportunity to support the arts in the community and to serve the Columbia Orchestra both as a musician and member of the Board of Directors.

I am a family-oriented person in a multicultural, multi-generational household. When not making music, you can probably find me in my vegetable garden or cooking something healthy and organic.

colleen daly

I take on many different responsibilities in my career. I am a Professional classical singer, Artistic Director for St. Louis Church Concert Series, Studio Manager & Teaching Artist at Red Bridge Studios, and Voice Instructor for Young Artists of America. 

I’ve performed and collaborated with the Columbia Orchestra both as a soloist and as an Artistic Director of the SLC Concert Series, and I’m passionate about bringing more beauty to our community through music, education, and experiences for people of all ages and walks of life. CO is doing excellent work to provide equitable access to music in our community, and I’d like to help expand their reach and impact.

When your profession is music and art, it’s hard to have a competing hobby! Books, films, food, and wellness are all areas of interest for me.

Illana Heintz

I am a computer scientist at Synoptic Engineering. Whenever I get the chance, I love getting outdoors and staying active through walking and hiking, often with good friends. My husband and I also enjoy planning active travel adventures and trying out new restaurants in DC and Howard County whenever we come in for a concert.
In high school and college, I participated in all kinds of musical groups and events, and now I’m thrilled to find a new way to participate through serving on the Board of Directors of the Columbia Orchestra. It has been an interesting and invigorating experience for me as I navigate my first time serving on a non-profit board.
Being part of this wonderful organization allows me to combine my passion for music with my professional skills and knowledge. I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the cultural enrichment of our community through the Columbia Orchestra.

kim mcmahon

Hi there, I’m Kimberly McMahon, and I’ve been living in Howard County for nearly 30 years. I absolutely love the diverse arts, music, and recreational activities that Howard County has to offer!

I joined the Board in the Fall of 2022. Although I played the flute as a child and sang, I no longer play an instrument even though music was a huge part of my childhood and fills my house today.

As a co-founder of Let’s Move, LLC (now part of the WayForth family), I had the privilege of leading a team that helped over 7,000 individuals and families relocate with ease. What makes me particularly proud is that we were able to help numerous talented women re-enter the workforce or embark on first-time careers after being stay-at-home moms. Our team, made up mostly of stay-at-home moms for 18-20 years, successfully transitioned into roles as sales and home organization professionals.

I’ve had the honor of being featured in publications such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, Washingtonian Magazine, and many other local media outlets. As a sought-after speaker, I love sharing insights on various topics, including Company Culture and Core Values, Creating Industry Best Practices, Customer Experience, and all-things Home Transition Services. It brings me great joy to share my knowledge and experiences with others, hoping to inspire and empower them along their own journeys.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support the interests of the Columbia Orchestra and expand the reach to many more who will be enriched by their diverse musical offerings.

Anne Ward

I am a retired HCPSS instrumental music teacher. After my years with the National Ski Patrol, I still like to stay physically active with walking, fitness, and yoga. I’m an enthusiastic but equally dreadful golfer and love playing Scrabble.
I’m looking forward to my 27th year with the Columbia Orchestra, where I have been playing principal horn. Additionally, I am excited to be entering my 25th year as a member of the Board of Directors. It’s truly thrilling to be part of this organization as it has grown from a small group of orchestra members meeting in Elaine’s dining room to a large, diverse group of individuals from all walks of life. Together, we make decisions to enhance the cultural and educational opportunities of our community.
It has been an honor and a joy to be part of this incredible musical family.

George Wilson

Greetings, everyone! I’m George H Wilson, a retired Information Technology Specialist from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Attending concerts and listening to music have always been among my favorite hobbies.
I joined the Columbia Orchestra Board to support the orchestra’s mission and help expand its audience, ensuring it continues to serve Columbia and the surrounding community. I am particularly passionate about growing the Jazz Band’s presence, as it adds a unique and vibrant element to the orchestra’s offerings.
Music has always held a special place in my heart, and being part of the Board allows me to contribute my skills and expertise towards the orchestra’s success. Together, we can make a difference and bring the joy of music to more people in our community.

John zontek

Hello, I’m John, and professionally, I work as an IT Operations Manager & Security Officer. However, my true passion lies in music – both playing and writing it. Being part of the jazz band is a fulfilling avocation for me, but surprisingly, my favorite piece is “Jupiter” by Gustav Holst, showcasing my eclectic taste in music.

Outside of my musical pursuits, the role I cherish the most is being a loving husband to Sheri, who is not just my partner but also my best friend. Together, we have the privilege of raising four incredible daughters, and life has blessed us with the joy of having four granddaughters and three grandsons.

For me, family is the greatest accomplishment in life. Being a part of their lives fills me with immense gratitude and a sense of purpose. Each day, I find joy in the love and support we share, and I’m grateful for the meaningful connections that bring us all closer together.