Dee Dee Sung
Born and raised in Vancouver, Dee Dee is third generation Chinese and has strong ties in the community. With extensive experience in both the private and public sectors, Dee Dee is currently employed at the University of British Columbia as Assistant Dean, Development and Alumni Engagement in the Faculty of Education. She is passionate about building bridges in the community and in her role as Chair of the Board, she is committed to spreading awareness of the brilliance that makes up the Saint James Music Academy. In her spare time, she loves playing guitar, cooking, pampering her two Cairn Terriers and spending cherished time with family and friends.
Sandra Birch lives and works in Vancouver B.C. Currently Sandra enjoys singing with the Saint James Anglican Church High Mass Choir.
As well as working with elementary school aged children, Sandra supports today’s educators through her work with post-graduate education students at Simon Fraser University.
Sandra absolutely loves her job as an educator and she is most passionate about and grateful for the opportunity that she has as a teacher to impact her students’ belief in them selves as valuable individuals. Sandra believes that children are best equipped to learn and grow when they feel good about themselves. Helping children to build positive self-images provides them with a solid foundation for learning that will hold its value for the rest of their lives.
Sandra has a very high regard for classical music and it’s complexities and she believes that providing children of the Downtown East Side with classical music lessons contributes to their development both intellectually and socially. She believes passionately that the positive effects of this unique opportunity for students of the Saint James Music Academy will be far reaching into the future!
Alex is a Chartered Accountant and has been a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia since 2011. He is a manager at the accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP in the Assurance and Business Advisory group in South Coastal British Columbia. In his six years of experience in accounting public practice Alex services a variety of not-for-profit organizations, charities, and for-profit clients. Alex’s role as the treasurer of SJMA is to provide financial oversight and governance for the organization through presenting the board accurate and timely financial information, evaluating financial risks and opportunities, and ensuring funds are used in line with SJMA’s mission statement.
Board of Directors
Arlene is a social worker and was, from 1984 to 2000, the Executive Director of Family Services of the North Shore. During that time and since leaving that position, she has been active as a volunteer in many civic organizations including the Vancouver Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Board, and Temple Sholom Synagogue. She also served as a member of the BC Institute of Chartered Accountants Practice Review and Licensing Committee, the British Columbia Reference Drug Policy Review Consultation Panel, and the panel of experts on governance in the British Columbia Community Living Sector.
Arlene was elected to the board of directors of the Vancouver Opera Association in 2001 and served as Chair of the board from 2004 to 2006. After coming to her term limit of nine years on the VOA board, she served as Chair of the Vancouver Opera Foundation from 2010 to 2012.
Arlene was also chair of the Steering Committee of the 2007 Canadian Arts Summit, a yearly gathering of Canada’s 50 largest arts organizations and was a member of the advisory committee of Opera.ca in connection with the Canadian Opera Creation Fund.
Board of Directors
Sharon Kravitz is an artist, documentary filmmaker, and community organizer who has worked and volunteered in the Downtown Eastside community for the last 20 years. She has worked in partnership with the Carnegie Community Centre on numerous community art and health based programs and special events since 1995. She is currently making a documentary about the Carnegie Community Centre Kitchen.
Sharon has worked and volunteered with many organizations in the Downtown Eastside supporting and organizing community events, developing art projects and organizing and implementing community programs, including; Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts, Downtown Eastside Senior’s Centre, the Neighbourhood Helpers Project, First United Church, Gallery Gachet, WISH, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Strathcona Community Centre and Saint James Music Academy.
Sharon was on the board of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver(CACV) for eight years, three of them as President, and was instrumental in reviving the organization. With her extensive knowledge of the resources, organizations and people in the Downtown Eastside, Sharon has been engaged as a consultant by the City of Vancouver as part of teams developing a Downtown Eastside Public Realm Plan, and a Downtown Eastside Arts and Culture Strategic Framework and Investment Plan. Sharon is a passionate advocate for the role the arts play in our individual and community health, because of this she has been invited to participate on numerous panels and public discussions about the essential role of arts and culture in creating healthy communities.
Board of Directors
Tom Durrie is one of our longest serving board members and has been a dedicated supporter of Saint James Academy for ten years, for eight of which he served as Chair. Tom has had a life-long interest in music and in education for children. He was a public elementary school teacher for ten years before becoming a leader in the radical free-school movement of the 1960s. After that, he was a founder of Vancouver Opera’s Opera-in-the-Schools program, serving for eight years as program creator, translator, and narrator, performing in over three hundred schools every year from 1973 to 1981. His passion for opera then led to a master’s degree, from UBC, in Opera Production and Direction. Tom also holds a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology.
As an administrator, Tom was Artistic Director and General Manager of the Hornby Festival (Hornby Island) from 1985 to 1996. Then, moving back to Vancouver, he became manager of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra until retirement in 2007. Continuing an active life, Tom was chair of the Grandview Woodland Area Council, active in the No Tower Coalition in East Vancouver, as well as a founder of City Opera Vancouver.
Having retired to rural life in Boston Bar, BC, Tom now teaches music in the local school and serves as secretary of the Boston Bar North Bend Enhancement Society. He also lectures on opera for SFU’s Liberal Arts and 55+ Program as well as for the Opera Club and Kwantlen University.
Though now from a distance, Tom continues his involvement and remains an ardent supporter of social transformation through music as practised by the Saint James Music Academy.
Dr PJ Janson
Board of Directors
PJ Janson studied organ performance with Frederick Geoghegan, Suzanne Gibson, and Erich Schwandt. He received his education at the University of Victoria, and after completing his PhD in musicology he was on the music faculty at Augustana University College (now part of the University of Alberta). PJ has served as organist at various churches, including St John the Divine Anglican Church, St Aidan’s, and St Matthias (Victoria), and All Saints Church (Christchurch, UK).
A number of years ago, following a carefully structured career and life choice, he resolved to develop his business skills. In this capacity he worked for Montreal-based DMR Consulting, COR Financial Solutions (UK), and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AB). Currently he works for the Government of British Columbia.
Yet, music has never left him. PJ continues to be active as a composer, and sings in the choir at St James’ where he is also assistant organist. He is thankful to those who support him in his music endeavours — including his cat, who wakes him up early every morning, reminding him to put in 90 minutes of practice on the organ bench.
Board of Directors
Jenn is a Certified Management Accountant and has over ten years experience in public company financial reporting. She is experienced in operational and financial analysis, project management and systems implementation, having worked in agriculture, bio-technology, manufacturing and mining sectors. She excitedly brings to the board her operational and financial experience. Jenn grew up playing the violin and trombone with the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra and is committed to supporting youth in music. She believes passionately that music supports the skills for success and growth in young people. And that most importantly, music builds communities. Jenn is proud to be a part of the SJMA community through volunteering and as a member of the board.
Board of Directors
Virginia is first generation Chinese-Canadian, currently lives in the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Virginia received her Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Non-Profit Studies at Mount Royal University before moving to Vancouver, where she completed her Masters in Business Administration at Simon Fraser University. Virginia is currently the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of British Columbia.
With over 20 years of working experience in the non-profit community, Virginia has experience in fundraising, marketing, communications, volunteer management and strategic planning. Over the years, while trying to help end homelessness with Inn from the Cold, provide supports for women starting new lives with The Women in Need Society, eradicating and preventing disease with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and strengthening our youth with McMan Youth, Family and Community Services, her passion for social justice grows along with her perspective that kindness and compassion are vital to a healthy community.
Virginia is passionate about the arts and in particular music as a reflection of the joys, strengths, challenges and sadness of life. She is also the proud mother of a fierce, kind and hilarious miniature version of herself, you can usually find them at a variety of arts and educational events in the community. The privilege and honour of serving and volunteering at St James Music Academy is a highlight of Virginia’s professional and volunteer career. The opportunity to help provide access, community and inspiration to music for the children of St James Music Academy gives her great hope that our futures will shine as bright as the smiles on the faces of these kids when they perform!