We are passionate about making music and supporting the arts in our community. Our annual spring and holiday concerts directly support the programs of local arts non-profits.
Dr. Brian Sebastian, Founding/Artistic Director & Tenor
After many years singing with various church choirs and choral groups, Brian began conducting as an amateur, when he founded the Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble in 2007. He has served as the Ensemble’s director since its inception. VOMCE is his first real choral conducting experience – but he clearly has a natural talent. While his doctorate is actually medical and not musical, he has a passion for music and a vision for the group.
Brian spends most of his time as a general internal medicine physician in Sonoma, where he has lived since 1997. He shares life in Sonoma with his domestic partner, Richard Mabe. He studied medicine at Duke University, and subsequently completed a residency in internal medicine at Georgetown in 2000. Brian can be found in his off-hours doing Crossfit and Bikram Yoga.
Michele Baroody, Alto
Michele started singing with her family in her grandparents’ living room as a 6-year-old, and has been in choirs ever since. She has performed with symphonic masterworks choruses, classical and contemporary chamber chorales, church choirs, and pop/jazz quartets. Most recently, she has sung with California Bach Society, Marin Symphony and Chamber Chorus, and Consort Chorale of Marin. Michele joined VOMCE in the Spring of 2016.
Michele has spent most of her career in high tech startups, and currently works with a wonderful global team that helps developers manage their databases. She lives in Fairfax, where she enjoys working from home, her kitties, running, and really good coffee.
Beth Carter, Principal Conductor & Soprano
Beth joined the Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble in the Spring of 2011, coming out of an early retirement. In addition to her time with VOMCE she also has directed and performed with choirs across the country, taking a hiatus to marry her husband, Eliot, and have their two children.
Beth holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State Universities, respectively. Current projects also include performing with the Sonoma Valley Chorale, the Consort Chorale of Marin, and various solo performances. She resides here in Sonoma with her husband and two daughters.
Gail Chadwin, Alto
Gail joined VOMCE in the Fall of 2014, and is thrilled to be singing with such a talented group! She grew up in Sonoma, and has been singing most of her life – in the Children’s Chorale, at Altamira Middle School and Sonoma Valley High School, and with Voces at UC Santa Cruz. She took a hiatus from choral singing while living in El Salvador for five years, and is happy to be back in touch with her musical side.
Gail currently works as the Stewardship and Donor Relations Coordinator at local nonprofit Seeds of Learning. In her spare time she enjoys playing tennis, kickboxing, singing with the Sonoma Valley Chorale, and volunteering. She lives in Sonoma with her husband and new son, and their (extremely spoiled) puppy dog.
John Christiansen, Tenor
Since moving to the Bay Area in 1995, John has been a member of various choral groups including most recently Chora Nova of Berkeley, Consort Chorale of Marin and North Star Vocal Artists. John joined VOMCE in the fall of 2017.
Professionally, John is a consultant working with law firms and corporate legal departments to help manage litigation. In his free time John enjoys playing golf, travel, reading and swimming. He lives in San Rafael with his wife Shane and their one year old Golden Retriever, Gracie.
Boris DeDenko, Bass
Boris grew up in a musical family. His father produced and his mother directed many Russian operas in San Francisco during the late 1950s. He played trumpet and piano during school. As an adult Boris drifted away from musical performance to pursue a career as a field engineer with IBM, though he attended San Francisco’s “Sing It Yourself Messiah” each year.
In 2010 Boris moved for work to Albuquerque. He had the good fortune to become involved with the University Chorus at University of New Mexico, under the direction of Bradley Ellingboe. This opened doors to singing in smaller groups such as Quintessence, under Matthew Greer. In 2012 Boris retired and followed his heart back home to the Bay Area, and his home in Pleasant Hill.
Singing with VOMCE since 2015, Boris currently sings with the UC Davis University Chorus, Soli Deo Gloria of Alameda / Palo Alto, and Chora Nova of Berkeley. He has also sung with the Consort Chorale of Marin, the San Francisco Lyric Chorus, Marin Oratorio, and Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra.
Mago Huffman, Alto
Mago has been singing since she was about 6 months old. She was raised in Sonoma. She was a MADD NERD (Music, Arts, Dance and Drama) all through high school, college and grad school. She minored in music at the Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific. She studied Die Historische Bewusstsein der Rock musik in Freiburg, Germany. She’s sung in small and large ensembles, in musical theatre, recorded as a backup and studio artist, as well as scores of solo performances. Her favorite genres are rock, broadway, gospel and contemporary classical, but she also loves choral music of most any era, as long as it doesn’t involve accordions or bag pipes. Mago joined VOMCE in Spring 2013.
Mago is an Intuitive life coach. Her practice integrates elements for the mind, body, heart, soul and spirit. She is also a published author.
Kevin Jones, Bass
After a taking time off, Kevin has returned to sing with VOMCE.
Kevin moved to Sonoma County in 2010, after a successful career in financial services and nonprofit management in New York City and San Francisco. In addition to singing with VOMCE since Fall 2014, Kevin is also actively involved with Sonoma Valley Chorale, both singing and serving on its Board. He currently owns a local sign franchise and serves on the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights. He and his husband live in Petaluma.
Rob Angus Jones, Baritone
Rob was born into a family of musicians, and began a lifetime of making music in his church choirs, school and university chorales, jazz bands, orchestras and marching bands, and brief forays into musical theater – and of course around the family piano at every opportunity. Rob has been a featured singer, performing his own compositions, for numerous events, including Durham, North Carolina’s first Gay Pride day. After a long break from choral performance, Rob happily discovered and joined VOMCE in 2011. He also sings in the Consort Chorale of Marin, and serves on the board of directors for the Sonoma Valley Chorale.
Rob and his husband David are local Realtors, moving their home and real estate practice – and small herd of rescue animal companions – to the Sonoma valley in 2010.
Jim Kamphoefner, Bass
Erick Larson, Tenor
Erick began singing as a child in various church choirs and community choral productions. He studied voice at the University of Illinois where he sang with the University Concert Choir, Varsity Men’s Glee Club, and the University Opera Chorus. He moved to New York City and sang in numerous theater and opera productions and several church choirs. He sang with Musaic, an all male acapella ensemble in San Francisco for 10 years. He began singing with VOMCE in 2010 and happily returned to the ensemble after a 3 year hiatus.
Erick is the Regional Director of Operations for Hired Hands Homecare and lives with his spouse, Kelsey Maddox in Sonoma. He spends much of his free time cooking and entertaining.
Natalie Moon-Wainwright, Soprano
Natalie Moon-Wainwright is a clergy person by training, currently between positions, which happily lends itself to being able to sing with various local groups, and she joined VOMCE for our Summer 2016 concert. She also enjoys writing and cycling. Natalie is passionate about the work of Brené Brown and is a facilitator of her Daring Way and Rising Strong programs. She and her husband David have two young-adult children, one dog, two cats, several fish.
Melissa Muller, Alto
Melissa loves music and has been singing her whole life. Music is probably her favorite way to spend time with people. Melissa started her musical education with piano lessons, and later oboe and guitar. She fell in love with choral singing while attending Sonoma State university, but was busy raising her family and didn’t pursue it.
Fifteen years ago Melissa traded her oboe for a nice guitar and started playing and singing again socially. One thing lead to another and she now sings in several choirs and music circles around the Bay Area. Melissa was excited to become a part of VOMCE in Fall 2015, and its commitment to beautiful choral music.
Naomi Peterkin, Soprano
Naomi’s lifelong passion for choral singing, and both the creative and meditative qualities that accompany it, have compelled her to join VOMCE in Fall 2015.
Over the years she has performed with several Bay Area choral groups, most recently the Marin Symphony Chamber Chorus, San Francisco Bach Choir and the Consort Chorale of Marin.
Professionally, Naomi is a certified financial planner and senior financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors. Naomi resides in Mill Valley with her husband, two children and Tazz the wonder dog.
David Raub, Tenor
After taking a long hiatus from singing to devote time to work and family, Dave started choral singing again about 20 years ago. He has sung with a number of groups, including the Marin Symphony Chorus, the San Francisco Bach Choir, and Consort Chorale of Marin, and joining VOMCE in Summer 2016. In addition, Dave sings regularly with Sing We Enchanted, an a capella group that performs at hospitals and senior residences around San Francisco and Marin County. With the latter group, Dave has honed his arranging skills, working out four- and five-part a capella arrangements of many popular songs, jazz standards and show tunes.
Dr. Jerome Smith, Tenor
Jerome is one of VOMCE’s founding members, singing with VOMCE since its inception in 2007. He began his love of singing in middle school and has since been involved with everything from traditional choral groups such as the Duke University Chorale and Chamber Singers, to sacred music with the Schola Cantorum of St. Paul the Apostle in Los Angeles to directing and singing with the Lactones, an a capella men’s group at the George Washington University School of Medicine.
Jerome’s day job is being the pediatrician for Prima Medical Group in Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, where he can often be found singing to children of all ages. He has lived in Sonoma with his husband José since 2006 and spends every spare moment with their twin boys, Luke and Diego.
Skye Thompson, Baritone
Skye comes from a family of singers. His dad sings in the Seattle Choral Company and his mom has a beautiful voice but lives too far out in the mountains to sing in a choir. His grandparents on his mom’s side met in choir! Skye studied voice and sang in the Concert Choir at Western Washington University, where he was a bass section leader for both of his senior years. Skye also sings with the Marin Symphony Chorus and sits on the Marin Girls Chorus board of directors. He lives in Mill Valley and is happy to commute to Sonoma to sing with VOMCE, which he joined in the Fall of 2016.
Ramona Witt, Soprano
Ramona grew up singing many styles of music from Cathedral church choir to musical theatre. Before relocating from Santa Fe, New Mexico to the wine country, she sang with several choral groups, including the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and Canticum Novum. Ramona returned to the North Bay to be closer to family. She currently lives in Rohnert Park, where she also sings with the Sonoma State University Symphonic Chorus. Ramona joined VOMCE in Fall 2014.