Conspirare is grateful for the many contributions of Staff, Board, and Artists.
Ann McNair email Managing Director
Ellen Culver Digital Content Coordinator
Scott Dinger email Development Specialist
Rick Gabrillo email Associate Conductor
Robert Harlan email Technical Director and Stage Manager
Meri Krueger email Artist Relations
Jaime Leighton email Production Administrator and Webmaster
Kathy Leighton email House Manager
Ali Lewis email Conspirare Concierge
Maria Nehring email Grants Manager
Jane Ramirez email Business Manager
Natalie Seeboth email Director of Development
Kendall Walshak email Production Assistant
There are no current openings.
Board of Directors
- Nancy Lesch, Chair, Health and Wellness Strategist and Consultant
- Robert Harlan, Vice Chair, Owner, Harlan Enterprises
- William G. Fivecoat, Treasurer, CPA (ret.)
- William C. Bednar, Secretary, Attorney, Independent Practice
- Camille Atkins, Business Management & Finance
- Kenneth H. Beck, Co-Founder, The Crossings (ret.)
- Marvin J. Brittman, Legal Executive (ret.)
- Carl Caricari, Founder, Caricari Consultants, Technology/Business Consultants
- Fran Collmann, Owner, TesCom (ret.)
- Mary Anne Connolly, Founder/Chief Creative Officer, MACMedia
- Susanna Finnell, Director of Admissions, Adjunct Professor of English, University of Houston (ret.)
- Sandra Fivecoat, Consultant & Executive Coach In Memoriam
- Elliott Forrest, Broadcaster/Producer/Director/Designer, WQXR, NY
- Marcus Cruz Sanchez, Director of Communications and Marketing, Kind Clinic
- Lucy Tiblier, Paralegal
- Joni Wallace, Dentist, Dr. Joni Wallace, DDS
Conspirare Ambassadors volunteer as ushers, CD sales associates, artist hosts, and for other concert functions. We invite new volunteers who would enjoy meeting the public and contributing to Conspirare’s operations to contact House Manager Kathy Leighton to learn more.
Conspirare offers a variety of opportunities for individuals and corporations to join its musical circle through gifts of time, energy, and talent.
Concert ambassadors serve as ticket takers, ushers, and CD sellers at performances. Office volunteers work at Conspirare headquarters on special projects such as music library upkeep, archiving press clippings, and yes, stuffing envelopes. Hosting volunteers house out-of-town Conspirare singers and instrumentalists during concert series.
In October of 2018, Conspirare launched its first ever Corporate Ambassador program. Says Henry Leighton, President of CAS Consulting and Services, Inc., “CAS is so appreciative of the new Conspirare opportunity of being ‘Corporate Ambassadors.’ CAS covered the Big Sing at the new Austin Central Library and the staff are still talking about it months later. We were given the chance to combine an important team-building need with supporting a world-class organization, while letting our stodgy ‘engineer hair’ down. It was so fun, and we’ll do it again!”
Volunteer roles are assigned according to interests and skills, and training is provided as needed. Send us an email to find out how you can be a part of the circle of Conspirare.
Featured Conspirare Ambassador
Mary Shannon Cook
“Connecting with Conspirare has been such a true and real gift! I feel so much gratitude for this opportunity.”
I feel so lucky to be a Conspirare Ambassador! My first volunteer experience was at the Christmas Concert of 2018. The beauty and depth of the music and the performances were astounding, visually rich, and heart-filling. Of course, I was aware of Conspirare before becoming an Ambassador I had heard and read wonderful things, including an interview with Craig Hella Johnson on the Bridge Radio Program. I was inspired and touched by Craig’s interview in part due to his description of a piece of his own life journey and by his emotional and spiritual groundedness. Afterward, I realized how drawn I felt to becoming a part of Conspirare, if only as an audience member.
Fast forward a few years to being an empty nester after raising two wonderful children who were now in college or launching their own adult lives. I was looking for a volunteer opportunity in the cultural realm. As I was leaving Betty and Sala restaurant one evening after a delicious dinner with a friend, I noticed an outdoor event on the patio. My curiosity led me to the greeting table where Kathy and Jamie Leighton sat. They described the event as the annual Conspirare Ambassador Appreciation reception, and of course, I was gleefully and very quickly recruited!
I’ve worked at the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work for over 20 years focusing on recovery from substance use and mental health disorders and issues related to cultural/racial health equity. As a social worker, I love to hear people’s stories and especially about the events and experiences that have shaped their lives, both the positive and the challenging. Though I have not had formal musical training since I was very young, the music and singing of Conspirare touches me in a way that I find hard to describe. I am a dancer and took ballet lessons for many years. Dancing still engages my full body, senses, and emotions, and that is what I experience while listening and watching a Conspirare performance. Connecting with Conspirare has been such a true and real gift! I feel so much gratitude for this opportunity and I look forward to the return of in-person concerts and to volunteering for the indefinite future.
To learn more about our Ambassador program, click here!
Conspirare began the Insight Fellow program in 2019. The goals of the program were to:
• To encourage the work and possible careers of talented singers representing underrepresented populations, creating visibility for career and performance options
• To give insight to, by direct observation of, the work of professional choral artists in a ‘real world’ preparation and performance setting
• To assist young singers in establishing an initial network of professional relationships and acquaintances
• To acquaint Conspirare with the work of these singers
• Selected Insight Fellows will be paid the full Conspirare professional fee for the repertoire calendar for rehearsals and performances occurring in Austin
• Fellows will receive scores for the repertoire and are expected to prepare the music to a place of familiarity
• Fellows will observe all rehearsals, performances, and recording sessions (if any), and interact with performers in the same way as a participating performer. The Fellow will be assigned a singer to help guide them through their week.
Featured Insight Fellow
“I received a call about an idea regarding being the first insight fellow for Conspirare. I was immediately onboard and knew I HAD to be involved.”
Jasmine Williams is a soprano from Austin, Texas currently based in Dallas. She has performed on many occasions throughout the Austin area including serving as a chorus member of the Austin Opera as well as the featured soloist for the Austin Community College concert choir. Jasmine served as the inaugural insight fellow for Conspirare. She graduated summa cum laude and received a B.A. in Music Education from Huston-Tillotson University located in Austin, Texas. Jasmine currently studies with Dale Dietert pursuing a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance at Southern Methodist University graduating in May 2021. Jasmine volunteers her free time working as a Young Artist Program Coordinator with the non-profit Austin Artist Project. In addition, she currently teaches beginner piano and voice lessons and is the soprano section leader at her church in Dallas, Texas. When Jasmine is not singing or teaching she enjoys learning how to cook, working out, and spending time with her friends and family.
How I got involved?
Throughout HS my director introduced us to pieces composed by Craig Hella Johnson. I would also go on youtube and look up videos of Conspirare however I never really knew a lot about the organization or that it was Austin based until about 3 years ago when I met Mela Sarajane Dailey (a member of Conspirare). I was asked if I wanted to join as a guest to sing in the choir for the Leonard Bernstein Mass. I remember attending rehearsals being so excited. Singing under Craig’s baton was an amazing experience as well as indescribable. The following year I received a call about an idea regarding being the first insight fellow for Conspirare. I was immediately onboard and knew I HAD to be involved. Every individual I came in contact with was extremely nice. They helped me to see an entire world of music I didn’t know much about and their level of professionalism was outstanding. I absolutely loved working with everyone and will never forget the experience!
Since the fellowship, I have been working on my master’s degree in voice performance at Southern Methodist University. I’ll be graduating in May 2021! Being a singer in the classical world is very competitive and tough. However, with my ambition and my ability to remain teachable, I am hopeful I’ll have a successful singing career.
Favorite song in HS?
Oh gosh!! HS was so long ago..I graduated in 2012. I listened to A LOT of different types of music during that time of my life but the songs that stand out to me the most would have to be anything on Adele’s Album “21” I listened to the album so much. She’s so good!!!