HI-ACDA Leadership

HI–ACDA Executive Committee

Dr. Miguel Felipe, President (2015–17)

Dr. Miguel Ángel Felipe serves as director of choral activities at the state’s flagship university, The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where he is associate professor of music. At UH, he leads the choral program, teaches music education students, works with conducting students, and directs The Voices of Aloha, the University’s touring choir.

Felipe’s research focuses on choral culture in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the influence of choral societies on cultural development, and on conducting/rehearsal pedagogies. Past appointments include faculty positions at Oberlin Conservatory, Mount Holyoke College, The Boston Conservatory, and Brown University. Additionally, Felipe has led choirs at Harvard University, Boston University, and the University of São Paulo–Ribeirão Preto in Brazil.

Felipe has performed, adjudicated, and presented in the US, Southeast Asia, Europe, South America. In addition to serving as president of the Hawai‘i chapter of the American Choral Directors Association from 2014–17, he serves as vice president of the National Collegiate Choral Organization.

Dr. Alec Schumacker, President-Elect (2015–17)
Alec Schumacker is presently the Director of Choral Activities at Hawai‘i Pacific University where he conducts the International Vocal Ensemble and Chorale.  He is also Lecturer in Music at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he teaches the University Chorus.  In 2017, Alec will become the president of the American Choral Directors Association Hawai‘i-Chapter.  He completed his DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Miami, where he studied with Joshua Habermann and Karen Kennedy.

An award-winning composer, Alec’s choral music is published by Alliance Music Publications.  His works and arrangements have been performed around the country by prestigious groups such as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the New World Symphony, the University of Delaware Chorale, the Frost Chorale, the Voices of Aloha, all-state choruses in Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, and Hawai‘i, and even at the NFL’s Pro Bowl in 2016.

Mr. John Alexander, Secretary (2015-17)
Originally from Homer, New York, John Starr Alexander has been teaching choral music at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai‛i since 1982, during which time he has also served as musical director, vocal director and/or pianist for dozens of musicals produced by various theatrical institutions around Honolulu.  He has also served as President of Hawai‘i-ACDA, and is currently its Secretary.

John is a soloist with the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir, and has also directed the 8:00 a.m. choir at The Lutheran Church of Honolulu.  He writes and arranges choral and instrumental music and occasionally can be seen playing piano and singing at various night spots around Honolulu.

He is a published composer of dozens of choral works, some of which have been performed at the ACDA National Convention in Los Angeles in 2005, the Vatican, at the Tuscany International Children’s Choir Festival in Montecatini, Italy, and at Carnegie Hall.  

Ms. Wanda Gereben, Treasurer (2015-17)

Wanda Gereben has been a choral director and in the field of music education in Hawai’i for fifty plus years.  Her many accomplishments and contributions to the performing arts community include such things as being chairman of the Music Department of St. Andrew’s Priory School for 25 years, serving as choir director at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Aiea, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Honolulu and St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Kailua for over 25 years combined, and was Founder and Artistic Director of the Hawai’i Children’s Chorus. She has also served as the Artistic Director of the Honolulu Chorale. Finally, Wanda was the Founder & Executive Director of Pacific Rim Children's Chorus Festival, produced annually in Honolulu from 2001-2010.

Wanda is a life member of the national American Choral Directors Association, and in 1975 co-founded the Hawai’i Chapter of ACDA.  She served twice as the President of the Hawai’i Chapter and is presently on the Executive Board as Treasurer.  She served as the regional chairperson of the National Standing Committee on Children’s Choruses for ACDA and remains a life-member of the Hawai’i Music Educators Association.


Ms. Naomi Castro (2016–18)

Ms. Julianne Hiu (2016–18)

Julianne Hiu holds a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Vocal Music from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and is certified in Level III Kodály.  She is the director of the Maryknoll Middle School Choir and was previously the director of the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Chorus in Kaua‘i.  Julianne also teaches at Hawai‘i Education of the Arts (HEARTS), where she started a women’s barbershop ensemble.  In addition to teaching, Julianne performs with the Honolulu Blend Show Chorus, a women’s a cappella group, where she serves as tenor section leader and music education coordinator. 

Ms. Mia-Amor Porreca (2016–18)

Mr. Justin Ka’upu (2016–18)

Mr. Justin Ka‘upu is the director of choirs at Kapōlei High School located on the westside of O‘ahu. Since arriving in 2008, Justin has built the Kapōlei High School choral program into four choirs for students choose from. Ka‘upu holds a Bachelors of Education from UH Mānoa and is nearly finished with a Masters in Music from Ithaca College. 

Mr. Philip Steinbacher (2016–18)

Philip Steinbacher has a range of professional experiences combining elements of teaching, music, and entertainment production. Before becoming a teacher he worked in the entertainment division of Walt Disney World in Orlando in both performance and instructional capacities. Mr. Steinbacher holds a bachelor's degree in Music from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in education from the University of Central Florida. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education and since 2006 has served as teacher, choral director, and Fine Arts department head at Island School, the foremost independent school on Kaua'i.

Ms. Vanessa Maldonado (2015–17)

Vanessa Maldonado is a senior at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Music Education with an emphasis in Choral/General Music. She is currently student teaching at Ka Waihona O Ka Na'auao and university of Hawaii Laboratory school. Vanessa has served as president of the Hawai'i Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Eduction, Assistant Drum Major of the University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warrior Marching Band, and student conductor of the University Chorus. Vanessa has been a member of the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Hawaiian Chorus at the University of Hawai'i. She has also toured with the biennial Voices of Aloha.

Mr. Jeremy M. Wong (2015–17)
Baritone Jeremy M. Wong is rapidly building a name for himself as a soloist and ensemble singer from his native Hawai‘i, to New York, and Germany. He is equally active as a conductor and educator, currently serving as a voice lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa teaching applied voice lessons. He is in his third year as Music Director of the Honolulu Chorale, has been on the faculty of Hawai‘i Pacific University as their Interim Director of Choral Activities, and has served as Interim Choral Director at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.

Mr. Wong holds a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, and a Bachelor of Musical Arts from DePauw University. His conducting mentors include Jan Harrington, Gregory Ristow and Miguel Felipe, and he has participated in the classes of master teachers such as Vance George, Henry Leck, and Rodney Eichenberger.

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