San Francisco Youth Chorus

San Francisco Youth Chorus

Katie Gerber, Founder and Artistic Director, Conductor of Scherzo, Felice, and Cantando Choruses

Throughout her career, Katie has always maintained an active balance between singing professionally, teaching music both privately, and in a classroom setting, and choral directing. She completed her undergraduate degree at I.U Jacobs School of Music,  where she received a double degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education with a Choral Music emphasis. Following this, Katie resided in Sydney, Australia for several years, where she was head of Vocal Department at Stella Maris College,  created curriculum, and directed several of the school’s internationally award-winning choruses. Following this, Katie relocated to San Francisco, in order to complete her MM in Voice at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. At SFCM, Katie sang the role of Pamina, in “The Magic Flute”, Clori in “L’Egisto”, and the role of Armida in “Rinaldo”, with Conservatory Baroque. Upon graduating from SFCM, Katherine was awarded with several distinctions, including the Dean's Award in Excellence for Opera Performance, and the Dean's Award for Performance in Baroque Vocal Music.
Since 2009, Katie has worked as a choral director in several schools and choruses, including the world re-known children's choruses, the Piedmont East Bay Children's Chorus, and Cantabile Chorus in Los Altos. Katie has also directed music at two prominent Bay area churches over the past several years, while maintaining a busy private voice studio at home. She is Director of the Intermediate Chorus at Cantabile Youth Singers in Los Altos.

Elana Cowen, Conductor of Prima Chorus

Elana Cowen has had an extensive performing career in opera and musical theatre, as well as a strong background in teaching voice and music direction.  Graduating with her Master’s of Music and Post-Graduate Certificate in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she quickly began performing, teaching and directing music all over the Bay Area.

Ms. Cowen has worked extensively with many companies on the West Coast and beyond in performing opera and musical theatre including Opera San José, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Lamplighters Music Theatre, Philharmonia Baroque, MasterWorks, Bay Area Classical Harmonies, Bay Area Children’s Theater, West Bay Opera and San Francisco Lyric Opera.  Operatic roles performed include Olga in Eugene Onegin, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Lidio in L’Egisto and Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti. Musical theater roles include Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, Mrs. Sergstrom in A Little Night Music, and Bird/Mouse in A Year with Frog and Toad.  A highlight of her performing career was playing Pizzi in The (New) Mikado with Lamplighters Music Theatre, which Broadway World reviewed, saying “Elana Cowen’s Pizzi is a pleasure.”

Ms. Cowen has worked as a music director and teacher with many children’s theater companies and schools around the Bay Area, including Missouri Street Theatre and Starbound Theatre. Music direction credits include Annie Jr., The Fantasticks and Aladdin Jr. Ms. Cowen is a private voice teacher; other teaching credits include assisting San Francisco Youth Chorus’ Prima Chorus and being an assistant teacher at the SummerGate program. She is a section leader and soloist with the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew’s Chancel Choir in San Mateo and has been a member for over 10 years.


Matthew Lee Cannon, Pianist and Musicianship Instructor

Matthew Lee Cannon is an on-demand musician in the San Francisco Bay Area as a pianist, keyboardist for musical theater, percussionist and composer.  He is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was a member of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra from the age of 18.  Matthew has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years.  In that time he has been active as a chamber musician with Ensemble Parallele and the San Francisco Conservatory, music director and pianist for Woodside Road UMC, pianist for the Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir and San Francisco Youth Chorus, has played for and directed numerous productions with Boxcar Theater, Ray of Light Theater, Menlo School, The New Conservatory Theater and has served as a musical assistant for Michael Tilson Thomas of the San Francisco Symphony.

Laura Jeanne Ruppert,  Prima Curriculum Consultant

Laura has taught choral and general music classes to preschool, elementary and middle school students at San Francisco Girl’s Chorus, Marin Girl’s Chorus, San Francisco Day School and Ring Mountain Day School. She has earned a master’s degree in music education with Kodály emphasis from Holy Names University and received a full-tuition scholarship to complete a master’s degree in vocal performance from Portland State University. She has sung professionally with San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Portland Opera, Oregon Symphony, Portland Summerfest, Chicago Folks Operetta, and Opera Theater of Oregon. She has been an oratorio soloist in productions of Bach’s Magnificat, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Missa Brevis, and Handel’s Messiah. Her operatic and musical theater roles include Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Pamina and Papagena (Magic Flute), Lucia (Rape of Lucretia), Elvira (Don Giovanni), Serpina (La Serva Padrona), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Hodel (Fiddler on the Roof), and Maria (Sound of Music).

Shannon Wolfe, Singing/Choral Assistant/Yoga Instructor

Singer-Actor Shannon Wolfe is a radiant and versatile performer. Shannon holds a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is on faculty as Voice Teacher at the Holy Name Conservatory of Music.  For two years she directed the Children's Musical Theatre class at Mira Loma Elementary.
Shannon is the creator of FEMMES FATALES: A FILM NOIR CABARET, an hour long music and film show in which she sings rare songs from film noir, re-enacts classic movie dialogue and narrates intimate details of actors' lives.
Bringing you "ballads, boogies and heart-melting harmonies," Shannon is also one half of the smoldering and comedic jazz cabaret duo, Sophisticated Ladies, along with Molly Mahoney. Sophisticated Ladies are currently housed at Society Cabaret in the Hotel Rex in downtown San Francisco.
Shannon has performed alongside comedy legends Rich Little, Carol Channing, Steve Rossi, Shelly Berman and other famous funny people for comedic-magician Robert Strong's televised event, Comedy Talks: Conversations with the Legends of Comedy at USF's Presentation Theater. On camera, Shannon appears as Helen Reddy in the short feature film, The Muppetless Movie.  


NAOMI SANCHEZ , Pianist and Vocal Coach

Naomi has worked extensively with singers of all levels, from young children to Broadway veterans. She teaches and accompanies singers at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.)  and has arranged original theater pieces for A.C.T.'s Young Conservatory, including the musical Forever Young: The Music of Bob Dylan, which toured to London's National Theatre. Ms. Sanchez is also a classical concert pianist and a member of the award-winning piano duo Pas de Duo. They debuted at Carnegie Hall to critical acclaim. Education: Indiana University, M.M., B.M