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Berta Sabrio

Executive Director

I am excited to be a part of this incredible community of music enthusiasts who create a positive impact by sharing their remarkable talents with others. Throughout my professional journey, I have dedicated myself to working in non-profit organizations, both locally and nationally. I have a degree in Vocal Performance and Keyboard Studies, and in addition to my work with the orchestra, I continue to make music throughout the Baltimore area.
One of the aspects I find so inspiring about Howard County is its unwavering dedication to the arts and the immense support it offers. Our public schools thrive with vibrant arts programs, and we are fortunate to have access to exceptional local theater, marvelous performance venues, distinguished musicians, and an awe-inspiring orchestra.
In addition to spending time with my family, I find immense pleasure in the world of culinary delights. Cooking (and, of course, savoring) holds a special place in my heart. Drawing inspiration from my husband’s New Orleans heritage, I have mastered the art of preparing delectable dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, muffalettas, and bread pudding, which have become my specialties. I love a good party!

richard scerbo

music Director

I am a conductor, teacher, and arts leader drawn to new ideas, fun collaborations, and vital music-making of all kinds. For nearly two decades I have been the Artistic Director and Conductor of Inscape Chamber Orchestra, leading the ensemble in numerous concerts and recordings, including the GRAMMY-nominated album, Sprung Rhythm. I also direct the National Orchestral Institute + Festival where I am responsible for composition, conducting, and orchestral training programs with a bold vision to create the future of orchestras in the United States. When not making music, I enjoy gardening, hiking, skiing, watching documentaries, and board games with friends. I grew up near Annapolis, Maryland and credit my amazing public school music teachers for his lifelong journey in music. Currently Richard lives in Mount Rainier, Maryland with his partner Christopher Wilson and their growing family of houseplants.

Fun fact: I set out a few years ago to teach myself to bake bread. I figured humans have been baking bread for 10,000 years, so it was about time I learned! I’m still making my way through Ken Forkish’s amazing book “Flour Water Salt Yeast,” which has been tons of fun!

Fred Hughes

Columbia Jazz Band Director

A native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I began studying keyboards and low brass at age 8 and by age 12 was performing in community bands on tuba and keyboards in jazz groups. The experience and mentoring I received as a young person in community bands is an integral part of my education as a musician. I learned back then that community organizations like the Columbia Orchestra and Jazz Band make such an impact in our community and are an invaluable asset for so many. I am honored to be associated with this great Howard County institution as the director of the Columbia Jazz Band since 2017.
As a freelance musician involved in many projects, I have performed on over 30 recordings, and a sampling of the jazz festivals at which I have performed includes the Newport, Montreux, Nice and North Sea Jazz Festivals. My book, The Jazz Pianist: Left Hand Voicings and Chord Theory was originally published by Warner Brothers Publications and is now available from Alfred Publications.
Music is a 24/7 job for me, but on the days that I do find time for myself – – I enjoy exploring destinations that allow me to unplug and rejuvenate.

Sarah Casey

Marketing and Box Office Manager

Music has always held a special place in my life. My dad was in the President’s Own U.S. Marine band, and I grew up attending their concerts. One day in second grade I came home wanting to play the piccolo. I started flute lessons that summer and that led me to a bachelor’s and master’s degree in flute performance, a full schedule of teaching privately, and various freelancing gigs throughout Baltimore. (Oh, and I did eventually get my own piccolo!)
After college, my path led me to the Columbia Orchestra, where I work diligently behind the scenes to support the orchestra’s mission. In my role, I have the privilege of closely engaging with the orchestra’s patrons, members, and board. Assisting with ticketing and sharing information about upcoming performances brings me great joy as I connect with people and enhance their experiences with Columbia Orchestra.

Beyond my professional life, I enjoy Irish dancing, something I have always wanted to do and finally started taking classes in the spring of 2022! (You’re never too old to learn something new!)  I also spend time caring for my (larger than I’d like to admit) collection of plants, both inside and outside my home.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with Columbia Orchestra, and I love being able to contribute to our community’s cultural scene. I’m excited to witness the orchestra’s ongoing evolution and the enriching impact it continues to have in our community.

Jill Thomassen

Production Assistant

Hello, I’m Jill—a flutist, flute and piano teacher, and musician/coordinator for The Antares Musicians. I’ve performed at weddings, funerals and other special events as a chamber musician or soloist for over 30 years. I also enjoy learning and playing the Celtic harp. When I’m not performing, practicing or teaching music, I enjoy creating greeting cards with rubber stamps, reading, and solving sudoku puzzles.