ZAMBRA BIOS (below photo)
L to R top: Connie Hernandez, Janet Herman, Janet Ring (former member), Thérèse Hall Johannesson, Nancy Niles, Laura Reeve;
bottom: Ann Louise Wagner, Susan Krivin, Victoria Phillips Larson, Kathleen Loveless.
Photo by Bryan Matthews.
Thérèse Hall Johannesson, the founder of Zambra, has sung professionally, as a
soloist and in ensemble, since her childhood. She got her start singing with her
three sisters while their mom played piano. Thérèse holds a master's degree
in social work but in recent years has returned to her roots as a music educator.
She produces Spanish language musicals, directs a bilingual family choir, and is
an Orff classroom specialist. Some of her most satisfying musical moments,
besides singing with Zambra, are singing in three-part harmony with her twin sons.
Janet Herman first sang in performance with the selective Los Angeles
All-City Children’s Choir at the age of 10. She has a Ph.D. in Folklore &
Ethnomusicology from UCLA, where she researched Shape-Note singing and American
folksong, and sang bluegrass and Bulgarian village music. The vocalist and tenor
banjo/mandolin player in the Irish band
Dance Around Molly, she has studied Sean Nós
(“old style” Irish Gaelic) singing at the Joe Mooney School in Ireland. She also
performs on and teaches fretted dulcimer. She is co-founder of the
Music of Bhutan Research Center.
Connie Hernandez, a charter member of the alto section, had never sung in
public before joining Zambra. Growing up listening to country-western music,
she did however play violin, performing on occasion with her little brother, who
played steel guitar.
Susan Krivin’s love of singing goes back a number of generations in her
family. She began singing as a child, harmonizing with cousins while at the same
time receiving formal instruction in various choral groups. As an adult, she
has sung informally with friends off and on over the years, but found her musical
home with Zambra in 1994. A professional seamstress and designer, Susan oversees
Kathleen Loveless has been a part of Zambra since the conceptual phase.
She arranges much of Zambra’s repertoire and often serves as our guitarist. Katie grew up in a home filled with music.
She remembers her parents teaching her to pick out French horn and Baritone horn
lines in orchestral band recordings and she practiced those harmonizing skills silently
to pass the time during many a math class. She studied music theory at Cabrillo College
where she sang in the Chorus and Chamber Singers. Since 2008 she has conducted Mary Mc Laughlin's Irish Gaelic Choir,
Nancy Niles has enjoyed participating in the magic of vocal harmony since
childhood. She attended voice classes with Michelle Rivard and Katherine Adkins at
Cabrillo College, performed three seasons with the Bay Shore Lyric Opera, and most
recently sang with the women's a cappella group, Windham Voices.
Laura Reeve grew up in a house where folk music and three part harmonies in
many languages were a regular occurrence. She began training her voice as a teenager
and continued at UCSC, where she sang in the Concert Choir while getting her first of
two theater degrees. She learned bodhran drumming and traditional singing at Celtic
jam sessions, and found her Zambra family one night at a local pub. Family background
also led Laura to explore Sephardic music, which Zambra has since taken up enthusiastically.
As the daughter of a professional actor/singer, Victoria Phillips Larson began
singing and performing in childhood. She sang solo and in mixed choruses throughout
her early education, eventually pursuing a degree in musical theater from UC Santa Cruz.
She participated in the Cabrillo Women’s Choir for two years and has been singing with
Zambra for the last decade. Victoria strongly believes in the power of music to speak
to the soul at the deepest levels, and imagines herself singing to the very end.
Ann Louise Wagner has been part of Zambra from its planning stages. She credits an
excellent high school choir director with inspiring her, and also her sisters, with whom she
harmonizes at every opportunity. She has studied several romance languages and is fascinated
by fado, qwaali, Balkan, and bluegrass vocal forms.