New Leadership 2020

2020 Brings New Leadership and New Team Members to SOUNDS Academy. Please Welcome them to Our Team!

– Vice Chair –

Camille Ridley - Vice Chair

Camille has over a decade of experience in both corporate and nonprofit unique event production and fundraising expertise. She has a proven commitment to the nonprofit sector and the community at large. Camille is equipped with strong communications skills and has an excellent track record for growth with fundraising outcomes through special events, individual, corporate, and private foundation giving. Her detailed, solutions-based, and strategic approach to fundraising plan development and execution, along with her passion for managing donor relationships, have led to attaining excellent outcomes throughout her career. She has helped nonprofits build short and long-term plans by providing small to mid-size organizations with development management, grant writing, campaign counsel, annual giving program strategy and support, website design and maintenance guidance, digital marketing, and communications support, special event planning, and other industry-savvy development and fundraising solutions. Camille has helped to raise over $5M for the nonprofit sector.

Q: What are you looking forward to while being Vice Chair?

Serving as the Vice-Chair on the SOUND Board is an honor. I look forward to helping ‘conduct the orchestra’ as the board and staff continue to elevate the mission into the future.

– Board Members –

By day, Christy Strauch is a money coach for artists, and the author of 3 books, plus a fourth one out in late 2020 entitled Artists: Don’t Starve! By night she is a dedicated beginner ukulele player and traveler, currently focusing her travel on destinations that can be reasonably reached by car. Music transformed her youth; she wants to help give that same opportunity to as many other kids as she can. She’s fascinated by the process of helping people put their money where their heart is, and hopes to help donors and stakeholders connect with the mission of SOUNDS.

Q: Why is music education important to you?

Music education is a proven way to help all kids, no matter where they live, develop perseverance, teamwork, and resilience while having a blast learning how, then playing music. Participating in music has been shown to help kids stay in school and improve their grades. SOUNDS gives this opportunity to kids in undeserved schools, where inequality can be addressed at the root level. It changed my life as a kid; I want other kids to have the same opportunities.

Q: What are you looking forward to while being on the board?

I’m looking forward to making connections; with board members, parents, kids, and the people who need to know about the work SOUNDS does.

Q: Tell us something interesting about you?

I’m a rank amateur ukulele player.

Christy Strauch - Board Member

Makoto Matsumoto - Board Member

A transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area where he got his professional education. He spent his spare time in the area playing tennis, attending sport events, and supporting the arts. He served in the Marketing/Public Relations Committee of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Symphony along with his Father. Following his tenure with the SFO Symphony Board, he served in the Development Committee of the San Francisco Ballet along with his Mother. He served on the Board of Director of the Manhattan Playhouse in Palo Alto, CA. He worked along with his Mom and Dad on the nonprofit groups supported by the family.

Makoto moved to Arizona in 1986 with Intel Corporation to work on the company’s first automated manufacturing facility. His early years in the Valley of the Sun were spent supporting AIDS organizations and the arts. He co-founded the Board of Directors of the Grand Canyon Men’s Chorale and served as president of the board. He founded the Board of Directors of the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix, Inc. and built its existing Governance Structure. He has worked closely with the Board of Directors of the Chorus on their Organization Development efforts and Strategic Initiatives. His business associations include BVA (Business Volunteers for the Arts – known today as the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture), Business on Board, Chorus America, Phoenix Music Coalition, Phoenix Children’s Chorus, Arizona Commission on the Arts, The Katzin Classical Music Program for inner-cities Catholic Elementary Schools, and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Q: Why is music education important to you?

I am a strong believer that Music plays a crucial role in a child’s development. I learned about SOUNDS Academy while I was chairing the Outreach Committee of The Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix. I knew then, that SOUNDS Academy was one of the organizations I wanted to support. I recall the introduction meeting with Kirk Johnson. It was the passion of this young man that put the icing on the cake, SOUNDS was a place for me. I joined the SOUNDS Board of Advisors in August 2019, and I was recently appointed to the SOUNDS Board of Directors. I have chaired the past three Orpheus Male Chorus benefit concerts for SOUNDS Academy. I look forward to serving SOUNDS as a board member.

Q: What are you looking forward to while being on the board?

I bring many years of marketing, organization development, strategic planning, and nonprofit experience to SOUNDS. I will be working with the Governance Committee in the implementation of the new SOUNDS Academy Governance Structure being built in collaboration with C3 Strategists.

Q: Tell us something interesting about you?

I retired in 2006 from Intel Corporation. I spent most of my time assisting local nonprofit organizations and two nonprofit groups in the San Francisco Bay Area with their organization development and strategic projects. I devote my spare time to reading, walking, cooking, keeping up with my musical hobbies, and taking care of my beloved cockatiel, Morgen.

– Fundraising Committee Member –

Liz Newcomer is an Arizona native who grew up just south of Tucson. After attending the University of Arizona, she moved to Phoenix to build her career in marketing. As a Phoenix resident, Liz has become involved in a variety of nonprofit organizations, most recently serving as a Girls on the Run of Maricopa County coach and serving on two winning Man and Woman of the Year campaign teams for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is excited to learn more about SOUNDS Academy and support the organization!

Q: Why is music education important to you? Why is SOUNDS Academy important?

I will admit that I’ve never been musically talented, or even tried to be, but I understand the importance of kids having a passion. I grew up with strong interests in photography, which ultimately led me to my career in graphic design and marketing. I believe in the power of creativity and am happy to support an organization that provides opportunity for kids to foster their skill sets.

Q: Tell us something interesting about you?

When I’m not working, you’ll typically find me enjoying a great cuddle session with my two dogs. I also love to explore Arizona with my husband by hiking or running.

Liz Newcomer - Fundraising Committee

– Teachers –

Jamie Johnson Teaching Artist (Viola, Violin)

Jamie Johnson loved to play music as a youngster, Jaime decided to dedicate her life to learning how to play the violin and viola as well as she could. After over 50 years of practice and playing, she is still learning and practicing. Jaime spent A LOT of time in college, earning three degrees in Music from Arizona State University. An Undergraduate in Music Education, a Masters in Pedagogy Performance and a Doctorate in Music Performance on the Viola. She taught public school orchestra for over 30 years in Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley School Districts. Retiring as a public school educator in 2019, Jaime now teaches private violin and viola lessons and plays with the Mountain View Fiddlers. She lives in Mesa with her husband, two dogs and and 2 cats, loves to paint, weave and make journals with fancy papers.

I was born in Yuma AZ in 1953. I stared to play trumpet at age 10 in the fourth grade at O.C. Johnson Elementary school in Yuma. I finished high school at Coronado High School in Scottsdale AZ in 1971 after playing trumpet through Elementary, Middle and High School. After high school I enrolled at Scottsdale Community College as a music education major and transferred to Arizona State University in 1973. In 1977 I graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in music education.

I started teaching instrumental music in 1989 in the Roosevelt Unified School District at V.H. Lassen and Percy L. Julian Elementary Schools. In 1994 I became the instrumental and general music teacher at Western Sky Elementary School. During that time I developed jazz band and solo and ensemble programs that are in place today. In 2002 I became the first band and general music at Wigwam Creek Middle School. During that time I developed the districts only jazz band and drum line program in the Litchfield Elementary School District. Because of the national banking crisis in 2008, I was asked to continue the music program at Wigwam Creek Middle School as well as continuing the band program at Thomas Heck Middle School.

Bruce Legge - Recorder, Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute