Five children in superhero capes raise their arms in triumph outside facing a city skyline.

Our People

Meet the people behind the music! Music Workshop is an ensemble of passionate and talented individuals who serve on our board, staff, and as advisors. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences, but music has played an integral part in all of our lives, and we are devoted to bringing that opportunity to young people everywhere.

Staff

Our staff are the heart and soul of Music Workshop. From developing programs and producing course materials to raising support and advocating for our teachers and students, these devoted individuals drive Music Workshop’s mission forward every day.

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Amy Richter

Founder/Executive Director

Amy Richter, a native of Portland, Oregon, boasts a diverse background that blends her passions for music, marketing…

Amy Hall

Director of Communications & Outreach

Amy Hall’s journey with Music Workshop began as a labor of love, volunteering her time and expertise from its inception…

Giuliana Conti, PhD

Director of Education & Equity

Giuliana’s journey in music began in the Bay Area, where she fell in love with the viola as a child. She began…

Sarah Bost, MA

Director of Programming

Sarah is a music educator, content creator, and digital marketer in Seattle, WA. Originally from North Carolina…

Amy Sloan

Amy Sloan

Program Facilitator

Amy Sloan recently graduated from the University of Oregon Clark Honors College with a major in Psychology…

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Marvin Kaiser

Program Advisor

Marvin A. Kaiser is Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Portland State University, Portland…

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Melanie

“Maestro Girl” and Soundwaves Host

Melanie is currently a high school student that has been working with Music Workshop as the voice of Maestro Girl…

Rhi Soto

Rhi Soto

Intern

Rhi is currently a student in the Honors College at Portland State University majoring in Social Work…

Woman with long, brunette hair and necklace smiling.

Amy Richter

Founder/Executive Director

Amy Richter, a native of Portland, Oregon, boasts a diverse background that blends her passions for music, marketing, and community service. Graduating from Whittier College with a degree in both Music and Psychology, Amy’s journey in music began at the age of six, shaping her into a seasoned musician and educator.
With over two decades of marketing experience under her belt, Amy’s expertise lies in project management, honed during her 10-year tenure at adidas. At adidas, she spearheaded marketing initiatives with budgets ranging from $3 to $12 million, showcasing her adeptness at navigating complex campaigns.
Beyond her professional achievements, Amy is deeply committed to giving back to her community. For five years, she served as a dedicated board member for Camp Ukandu, a retreat for children battling cancer, where she also volunteered her time for an additional 13 years. In 2010 and 2011, Amy lent her marketing prowess to Salud, an organization providing crucial medical care to seasonal vineyard workers, further exemplifying her philanthropic spirit.
Amy’s involvement extends to her children’s education, where she has been an active volunteer in their schools for over a decade. With a passion for nurturing young minds, she has conducted over 800 Music Workshop classes for students from kindergarten to eighth grade, leaving an indelible mark on countless young learners.

Amy Hall

Director of Communications & Outreach

Amy Hall’s journey with Music Workshop began as a labor of love, volunteering her time and expertise from its inception. Her dedication and commitment were quickly recognized, leading to her appointment as the Program Facilitator in 2016 and then a full-time role as the Program Manager in 2020. Today, she serves as the Director of Communications & Outreach, leveraging her experience and passion to amplify the organization’s mission and impact.
With a diverse professional background including marketing, accounting, and entrepreneurial ventures, Amy brings versatility and adaptability to her roles with experience in many settings from small start-ups to large international corporations.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Amy has lived and learned in various parts of the United States, including Seattle, New York, and South Carolina. Amy’s academic pursuits include an undergraduate degree in History from the University of Puget Sound and an Associate’s degree in Photography from the Art Institute of Seattle, honing her creative vision and technical skills.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Amy is deeply committed to the joy of life and giving back to her community. She dedicates her time and talent to multiple charitable organizations, is an avid hiker, and finds inspiration from her role as a parent to two remarkable young adults, who continually fuel her passion for life and drive her to new heights.

Giuliana Conti, PhD

Director of Education & Equity

Giuliana’s journey in music began in the Bay Area, where she fell in love with the viola as a child. She began learning viola in fourth grade public school music class and continued as a classical musician through high school. From Sacramento High School’s halls to UC Berkeley’s esteemed music program, her passion for the classical arts flourished, eventually earning her BA in music with honors from UC Berkeley.

After graduating, Giuliana’s path diverged from performance to pedagogy, as she embarked on a career teaching elementary school music. Over five years, she crafted a global music curriculum that ignited her students’ imaginations and instilled in them a love for music from all corners of the world. It was this profound connection with her students that led Giuliana towards higher education, driven by a desire to better understand the intersection of music education, culture, equity, and child development.

Her academic pursuits led her to the University of Washington, where she obtained her Master’s and subsequently her PhD in Music Education. Her professional experiences include lobbying and advocacy, research and curriculum development, equity evaluations and consulting, as well as public speaking and teaching.

She now plays blues and rock with her five string viola, is a dedicated cat mom, and believes “Music is for Everyone”. She is thrilled to be part of the Music Workshop team as the Director of Education & Equity.

Sarah Bost, MA

Director of Programming

Sarah is a music educator, content creator, and digital marketer in Seattle, WA. Originally from North Carolina, Sarah has called Seattle home for 15 years, where she has spent her time honing her craft in various educational and marketing roles.

Her journey began as a music teacher and band director in Seattle area K-8 Catholic schools. She was Director of Bands for the San Juan Island School District, and she pioneered a band program at Seattle Preparatory School. As high school band director, she was known for fostering creative collaboration among her students and for experimenting with student-centered teaching techniques.

Earning her Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of Washington further solidified Sarah’s expertise in her field. However, the onset of the pandemic prompted her to pivot her career trajectory, leading her to explore opportunities in marketing.

She plays percussion in Formation Wind Band, Seattle’s all-female wind band. She loves gardening, cooking, being outdoors, and hanging with her cat, Bubba.

Now serving as the Director of Programming for Music Workshop, Sarah seamlessly integrates her background in music education with her newfound marketing skills. With a focus on creating impactful messaging and innovative curriculum, she remains dedicated to leveraging the power of music to inspire and educate others.

Amy Sloan

Amy Sloan

Program Facilitator

Amy Sloan recently graduated from the University of Oregon Clark Honors College with a major in Psychology and minors in Music and Business Administration. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Amy grew up playing piano, guitar, and ukulele. With seven years of experience leading and coordinating community center camps for kids aged 3-12 and six years of experience as a volunteer and lead volunteer at a youth crisis hotline, Amy is passionate about the role of music in child development and using a trauma-informed approach to helping others. Amy has led and been involved in community outreach and fundraising events, advocacy and research projects, and public speaking opportunities including TEDx, and she is excited to bring her experiences together in her role as Program Facilitator for Music Workshop.

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Marvin Kaiser

Program Advisor

Marvin A. Kaiser is Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon where he served for 17 years. He followed this work by serving as the CEO of Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, a Life Plan Community located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, for five and one-half years, retiring from that position in 2016. He served as an Encore Fellow for Music Workshop through June of 2019 and continues to support Music Workshop as our program and board advisor.

Dr. Kaiser has served as staff fellow and consultant to the United Nations Office at Vienna, Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, as a staff fellow and consultant to the United States Agency for International Development and to the House Select Committee on Aging, United States House of Representatives.

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Melanie

“Maestro Girl” and Soundwaves Host

Melanie is currently a high school student that has been working with Music Workshop as the voice of Maestro Girl for over 5 years. While continuing her work as Maestro Girl, she is taking on a new role as the host of our Soundwaves series. She is active in her school in academics, theater and sports.

Rhi Soto

Rhi Soto

Intern

Rhi is currently a student in the Honors College at Portland State University majoring in Social Work. Rhi has experience working with youth communities through trauma and crisis prevention and intervention work in the past, and now is excited to join the Music Workshop team as a program assistant through an internship program at PSU to continue their passion of supporting youth.

Board of Directors

Introducing the Music Workshop Board of Directors – a team of passionate and dedicated leaders, each contributing their unique skills and experiences to advance our mission. Our board is comprised of individuals who understand the transformative power of music in education and are committed to making it accessible to all.

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Dave Squire

President

Dave was raised in the small Southern Oregon town of Ashland and is a third generation Oregonian…

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Mary Stein

Director, Treasurer

Mary Stein has been a bookkeeper for many local businesses in Oregon for over 35 years…

Chris Elkins

Chris Elkins

Director

Chris Elkins is a 6th generation Oregonian who has spent his career in various finance, supply chain…

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Ann Gerson

Director

Ann Gerson is originally from Winnipeg Canada. Ann attended the University of Manitoba for graduate school…

Akshay Gupta

Director

Akshay Gupta has spent his career in high tech, including building Corning(R) Gorilla(R) Glass into a global…

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Jessika Smith

Director

Before moving to Oregon in 2012, Jessika grew up in Spokane, Washington and learned early on that music…

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Amy Richter

Director

Amy Richter was born and raised in Portland Oregon. She has an educational background from…

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Kevin Corcoran

Board Emeritus

Kevin Corcoran has been in the Employee Benefits and Health Insurance industry for over 15 years…

Man with gray hair wearing a button-down shirt and glasses smiling.

Dave Squire

President

Dave was raised in the small Southern Oregon town of Ashland and is a third generation Oregonian. He bought his first guitar in 1961.

From high school Dave went to Oregon State University where he met and married his wife Carol in 1966 and graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1967. Dave started his professional career as a design engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Ames Research Center in California. He quickly returned to Oregon with his wife and three kids in 1969 as a design engineer for Tektronix. He went on to work as an engineering executive at many local high-tech companies.

Dave partially retired from high tech in 2014 and does some business development consulting but mostly volunteers on several boards of non-profits involved in STEM education.

Dave’s guiding light, Carol, passed away in 2015 but he is supported by his three children’s families (including four excellent grandchildren) and his friends. His hobbies are anything with kids and grandchildren, music (guitar, banjo and singing) and hanging out with friends at his small ranch in Tygh Valley, Oregon.

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Mary Stein

Director, Treasurer

Mary Stein has been a bookkeeper for many local businesses in Oregon for over 35 years. She is the grandmother of two children who are currently in elementary and middle school. She was a teacher in the public elementary school system for six years and substitute taught for three years. Recently, she has been a volunteer in the public elementary school system.

Chris Elkins

Chris Elkins

Director

Chris Elkins is a 6th generation Oregonian who has spent his career in various finance, supply chain, and sales management roles in the consumer products world, working with great brands like Columbia Sportswear, Kinco Gloves, and many others on a consulting or full-time basis. Music has been a consistent part of his life, from early exposure to his fathers native West Indian calypso-music to piano lessons to the stereotypical band kid journey, which culminated in his performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, touring the US with the Villanova University Band, and the building of lifetime friendships. He’s glad to say that both of his kids had music as part of their journey as well, with his son touring Italy and Slovenia as a cellist in Portland’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony and continuing his journey as a performer. When not trying to track down new small venues to find live music or enjoying the outdoors, he and his partner live in Portland with some of their combined 5 (mostly grown) kids, and their two dogs – one beautiful well-behaved chocolate lab and one mixed breed good boy who makes occasional bad choices.

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Ann Gerson

Director

Ann Gerson is originally from Winnipeg Canada. Ann attended the University of Manitoba for graduate school obtaining her PhD in Clinical Psychology. After practicing for 4 years, she moved into school psychology and eventually administration. She spent the last 25 years as a public elementary and middle school principal in Salt Lake City, Portland Public Schools and Lake Oswego. Ann is the mother of 2 and grandmother of 2. Other volunteer work includes Urban Tour Group treasurer ; Rosemary Anderson High School advisory board; Kizamani fundraising group and serves on multiple committees at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

Akshay Gupta

Director

Akshay Gupta has spent his career in high tech, including building Corning(R) Gorilla(R) Glass into a global ingredient brand. During his tenure at Corning Gorilla Glass he integrated music as a key element to connect the brand to consumers in a meaningful way that can have a positive impact. That led him to discovering Playing For Change with whom he built a multi-year relationship across the world. He also worked with artists like Gin Wigmore and the Imagine Dragons. Akshay’s belief is that music is a universal language and bringing it to children and young adults can make a positive difference in this world.

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Jessika Smith

Director

Before moving to Oregon in 2012, Jessika grew up in Spokane, Washington and learned early on that music was going to be a vital part of her life going forward. She earned her bachelor’s degree in K-12 Music Education from Eastern Washington University while simultaneously performing and recording on saxophone regularly with the Bob Curnow Big Band, Latin band Milonga, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra, and more.

Jessika and her partner Kyle moved to Eugene Oregon in order for her to earn her master‘s degree in Jazz Composition. As a teaching fellow at UO she had opportunities to continue teaching, and had the opportunity to perform abroad at the Montreux, Umbria, and Vienne Jazz Festivals. In 2015, Jessika released her first album of original compositions and arrangements for large jazz ensemble with the PJCE (Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble) record label.

From 2015-2019 Jessika taught K-8 general music and band in Eugene while also organizing and writing for the Eugene Composer’s Big Band and the Jessika Smith Big Band, and while writing and arranging for the PJCE, The Shedd Institute, and for personal commissions.

In 2019 Jessika accepted a position teaching in the Parkrose School District and relocated to Portland, Oregon. She currently teaches 6th-8th grade general music and band, and directs the Parkrose HS Jazz Band. Jessika firmly believes that music can change a child‘s life and that relevant and vibrant music education is an essential and vital part of all students’ education.

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Amy Richter

Director

Amy Richter was born and raised in Portland Oregon. She has an educational background from Whittier College in Music Therapy and has been a musician since the age of six. Amy also has 20 years of marketing experience with a strong emphasis on project management. During a 10 year career at adidas, Amy directly managed marketing initiatives that contained budgets between $3-12 million. Amy served as a board member for Camp Ukandu, a camp for children with cancer for 5 years and volunteered at the camp for 13 years. In 2010/2011 she participated as marketing committee member for Salud, an organization who supports medical care for seasonal vineyard workers. Amy has two children in the public school system and has volunteered at her children’s schools for the past eleven years. Amy has taught over 800 Music Workshop classes for students K-8th grade.

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Kevin Corcoran

Board Emeritus

Kevin Corcoran has been in the Employee Benefits and Health Insurance industry for over 15 years and is currently the Regional Sales Director for Pacific Source Health Plans in Washington. Kevin also serves on Community and Industry Boards at a local level including his role as Board Chair at Summit Dog Services. Kevin lives in Bellevue, Washington with his wife and two teenage children, one in high school and one in middle school. Kevin is passionate about the role music plays in our lives, throughout our life’s journey.

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Volunteer With Music Workshop

If you share our passion and believe that your skills and expertise align with our mission, we invite you to explore year-round volunteer opportunities with us. Your contributions can help us continue to make a difference in the lives of students and educators, fostering a deeper understanding of the world through the language of music. Reach out to amy@musicworkshop.org today to become a changemaker in education.

Join our community

Let’s work together to make music-empowered learning accessible for all.

Portland Party People! Our Inspire Bash Rockin' Block Party is June 29th!