Ms. Diane Simons, Artistic Director
Director of Bel Canto and Junior Concert Choir
In 1996, Ms. Diane Simons co-founded the choir with the late Dr. Jane Hardester, who retired from the choir in June 2000. Inspired by a vision of choral excellence for children and of providing choral education to children of the South Bay and surrounding communities, the founders built a program that has achieved a high degree of success. Ms. Simons earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from UCLA and has conducted choirs at both the high school and the elementary school levels, as well as teaching voice at El Camino College and in her private studio. She presents workshops for singers as well as teachers and has been active as musical director for Community Theater. In 2009 she conducted the Los Angeles Unified School District Elementary Honor Choir. She retired from teaching music in the El Segundo Unified School District in 2004 after 37 years of teaching in that district. She served on the Western Division ACDA Board as the Repertoire and Standards representative for children’s choirs from 2007 until 2013.
Ms. Diane Simons, Artistic Director
Ms. Julie Corallo, Director of Concert Choir
Ms. Julie Corallo began her work with the South Bay Children’s Choir in 2006 as the musicianship teacher and the following year was invited to join the staff as an associate director. Using the Kodaly approach, she believes that all children can learn to read music and sing beautifully. Earning her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and her Masters in Education at UCLA, she has taught music in Kindergarten through 9th grade since 1995. Having earned her Masters in Administration, she worked for a number of years as the K-12 Music Specialist administrator with the LAUSD, but later decided to return to her first love – teaching music to school children.
Dr. Beth Nam, Director of Choraliers and Assistant Director of Bel Canto
Dr. Beth Nam is an award-winning pianist, singer and conductor who has performed in numerous recitals, chamber concerts, winner’s concerts, and master classes in well-known venues in both the United States and abroad. A native of Korea, Dr. Nam has been associated with the South Bay Children’s Chorus since 1996 as a charter member singer, and subsequently as soloist, accompanist, guest composer and now as director. Dr. Nam received the Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees as a scholarship student at The Juilliard School. She has been an active teacher since 2007, and is also currently a pianist of the acclaimed piano trio, the Allant Trio (allanttrio.com), and has worked as staff pianist at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles. Dr. Nam has recently been appointed as an adjunct professor at Biola University and a music director of Choir and Orchestra at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science.
Mr. Jake Asaro, Director of Troubadours and Jazz Choir
Mr. Jake Asaro is a graduate of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach in Choral/Vocal Music Education. His studies there have included training in classical and jazz voice, conducting, and singing with the CSULB Chamber Choir, which was named “Choir of the World” and won the Pavarotti Trophy at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. Mr. Asaro is an active choral and solo vocal musician in the LA and OC area, has experience as a studio singer at the world famous East West Studios in Hollywood, and is the assistant director and tenor section leader of both the Westminster Chorale and the First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro’s Chancel Choir. His professional performance credits include singing back-up vocals for The Rolling Stone’s Zip Code Tour at Petco Park in San Diego, and singing in the chorus of Mark Morris Dance Company’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. He is an experienced private instructor of voice, flute, piano, and saxophone, and has experience as a musical director for several theatre companies.
Ms. Mary Herzbrun, Director of Minnesingers
Ms. Mary Herzbrun teaches the Minnesingers class for 6-7 year olds. She uses a many-faceted approach, having received advanced certification in both the Kodaly and Orff methods, in addition to her studies in Education Through Music, First Steps in Music, and Gordon’s Learning Theory. She recently retired from teaching music for the Los Angeles Unified School District, having previously taught for the Torrance School District for 10 years. She was the recipient of the El Camino Music Award in 1991, and was the Torrance Teacher of the Year in 2001. She received her BA in music at California State University at Long Beach.
Ms. Amy Calderon, Assistant Director of Minnesingers
Ms. Amy Calderon earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Music -Vocal Performance with Honors from University of California, San Diego. She is currently earning her certification in Music Therapy as a graduate student at California Sate University, Northridge. She will be completing her internship at the Children’s Hospital Orange County. Ms. Calderon has been a substitute teacher for the School of Dance and Music for 4 years and has been a Music Together teacher for over a year.
Ms. Eun Hyoung Nam, Accompanist
Ms. Eun Hyoung Nam is the accompanist for Bel Canto and Choraliers. She received her BA and MA degree in Piano Performance from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, and studied at the Academia Musicale Ottorino Respighi in Italy. She has been a staff accompanist for various choirs and opera companies in Korea, including the Westminster Choir at Soong-sil University and the National Opera Company of Korea. She is presently an accompanist for the Opera Workshop class at El Camino College.
Ms. Carolyn Correnti, Accompanist
Ms. Carolyn Correnti, pianist, began her career as a professional piano soloist, accompanist, and teacher, when she was still in junior high school. Her undergraduate work at Oberlin Conservatory, OH, was in Piano Performance and Music Education. While pursuing Piano Performance Graduate Studies with Leon Fleisher in Baltimore, MD, she was on the piano faculty of both Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Conservatory Preparatory. After moving to Los Angeles, she co-founded The Los Angeles Piano Trio, has maintained a thriving piano teaching studio, joined both the music staff at St. John Fisher Church in Palos Verdes and the piano staff at El Camino College, became certified in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and continues to freelance as a classical pianist.
Mr. Bud Wayne Bisbee, Composer-in-Residence
Bud Wayne Bisbee has been our “Composer in Residence” for the past 18 years. Over 80 of his compositions and arrangements have been published, and many have been used in Honor Choir performances all over the country. He attended St. Olaf College for two years, finishing a BM degree in Piano at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and a Master’s degree in Composition and Choral Studies from Occidental College. He has taught and conducted choirs at all levels, children through adults, in both schools and churches. He taught SBCC Concert Choir for many years. Now mostly retired, he teaches private voice and piano students, and continues to compose for SBCC. Our singers enjoy meeting with him and feel honored when he occasionally conducts them in performances.