Introducing new CMC staff: Ken Ingraham and Michelle Lee

Welcoming Ken Ingraham, Grant Writer

Ken started working at CMC in the middle of February. He’s no stranger to the world of development. Some of his more recent career highlights include the Institutional Giving Manager at the Museum of the African Diaspora (2011-2013) and the Director of Development at the Oakland Symphony (1999-2009).

What do you think of the environment and atmosphere of working at CMC so far?

I find the environment of working at CMC to be very stimulating. You’re surrounded by what the organization is all about: hearing music, rehearsals, lessons. Often times when you work for an organization, you can be little separated from seeing the mission in action, by virtue of being in a different building. You don’t see who you’re serving. At CMC, you’re surrounded by the mission all the time. I find it very stimulated.

You have quite an extensive background in Development. What’s one career highlight that really sticks out for you?

Working with Michael Morgan the Music Director at the Oakland Symphony was invigorating. Michael Morgan is a visionary in the true sense of the word. When I worked there, he was always coming up with great and interesting projects, one after the other. One project, the American Masterworks series, explored great symphonic works from the American musical theater tradition. One show I remember from this series, Porgy and Bess, incorporated panel discussions on the cultural commentaries and ramifications of the musical. The American Masterworks series embodies social and political commentary on the times, as well as highlighting the music. Michael Morgan sees the orchestra as a vibrant and organic part of the community rather than a relic of symphonic tradition. Quite inspiring.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I continue to write through taking classes in the UC Berkeley Extension Program. I’m starting a nonprofit called the Truth and Reconciliation Project. The purpose is to bring people together, focus on race relations, create dialogue, and root out systemic racism in America. I’m organizing workshops where people read books related to race relation and discuss the content with facilitation help to explore these conversations. I also love to travel. I am hoping to go to on a cruise from San Francisco to Sydney.

Are you a music lover?

When I went to Harvard, I started a music group Kuumba Singers to promote the African-American choral tradition. I sang baritone. I’m thinking of getting involved in choral group in the East Bay.



Meet Michelle Lee, Marketing Assistant

Michelle started as the Marketing Assistant on February 21. She has been churning out fliers and programs for faculty performances and events. She has also taken over the volunteer recruitment and been helping with event promotion.

What brought you to working in the arts and to CMC?

The idea of community music is very important to me. The communities I form as a music-maker are some of the most meaningful ones in my life to me. Growing up, I was able to study music through scholarships. So the aspect of music access at CMC is particularly meaningful to me.

I also do admin and development work for other groups, the Sacred and Profane Chamber Chorus and for some independent artists.

Any other interests or hobbies you’d care to share?

I like to cook. I like to hang out in the park and people watch. I also enjoy hanging out with my cats, Peanut Butter and Jelly Fish.

Are you a musician?

I’m a flautist. I have a degree in Performance from Mills. I focus on contemporary chamber music. I play with chamber groups and like incorporating different styles of notation, extended techniques, and multi-media.

CMC piano student Rebecca Portnoy performs at Carnegie Hall

“Playing at Carnegie Hall was a once in a lifetime experience that I really enjoyed. Although I was really nervous before the recital, after performing my piece, I felt a great rush of relief. Everyone performing there supported each other and I got to make some new friends from other countries.” Rebecca Portnoy



Rebecca Portnoy, piano student of Juliet McComas, has reached a milestone few musical performers reach. She performed at Carnegie Hall, by the age of thirteen no less!

In December 2017, Rebecca auditioned to be part of the Elite International Music Competition for 6-21 year-olds. The auditions were open to students from all over the world including Russia, Canada, Ukraine, China and South Korea. Rebecca’s teacher Juliet helped create a video of Rebecca playing Chopin’s Waltz in Em for her submission. She received second place in the audition.

“I had entered the competition for fun,” said Rebecca. “I never expected to get second place. It was very exciting and nerve-racking.”

It was nerve-racking because all first and second place winners in the audition got to perform in at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Feb 5, 2018.

“I felt happy, but very nervous,” Rebecca shared about finding out she was going to play at Carnegie Hall.

At the beginning of February, Rebecca, along with her mother and Juliet flew to New York. When she first walked into Carnegie Hall, she was amazed.

“It was a really beautiful recital hall, and it felt good to play in a place where so many great musicians performed music.”

Understandably, Rebecca was very nervous about the imminent moment of performing in the hall. Luckily, her musical training supported her through the experience.

“When I sat down at the piano on stage, I relaxed a little. My performance went well. I didn’t make any mistakes,” Rebecca reflected.

In thinking about what this moment will mean to her throughout her life, Rebecca shared, “I never expected this moment. I was happy to take the chance and to do it. It’s an experience, I’ll never forget.”

Spring Gala features delectable menu

Community Music Center’s Spring Gala promises to be an unforgettable evening in support of CMC’s mission of music for everyone. The evening program features honoree Frederica von Stade and a special performance by renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and operatic composer Jake Heggie. The evening also includes performances by CMC faculty, Children’s Chorus, Older Adult Choirs, and the Teen Jazz Orchestra.

Not to be overlooked during the evening program will be the scrumptious three-course dinner served by the Four Seasons. The menu includes delectable dishes featuring crowd-pleasing tastes and flavors.


Melon & Tomato Panzanella
Charred Cucumber, Fresh Burrata, Basil & Parmesan Crostini


By guest choice

Herb Roasted Chicken Breast
Sweet Potato Puree, Chargrilled Sweet Peppers, Green Onions, Pink Pepper Jus

Grilled Asparagus, Oven Dried Tomato Risotto, Orange Saffron Sauce

Eggplant Parmesan
Tomato, Basil, Smoked Mozzarella, Herb Salad


Served alternating at the table

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake
Passion Fruit Caramel Sauce

Lemon Meringue Tart
Raspberry Coulis


Gala attendees will leave the event feeling gratified by the delicious meal, the world-class entertainment, and the community spirit of the evening.

For more information and tickets, please go to the ticketing website.