ZAMBRA BIOS (below photo)
L to R top: Nancy Niles, Ann Louise Wagner, John Hopkins (accompanist);
L to R middle: Jennie Siegmund, Kathryn Veditz, Connie Hernandez, Kathleen Loveless,
L to R bottom: Janet Herman, Susan Krivin, Laura Reeve
Not pictured: Audrey Nickel
Photo by Hank Niles.
Janet Herman sang as a child with her mother and with the L.A. school district's
all-city children's choir. She has a Ph.D. in Folklore &
Ethnomusicology from UCLA specializing in shape-note singing and American folk music. The vocalist and tenor
banjo/mandolin player in the Irish band
Dance Around Molly, she has studied Irish Gaelic singing at the
Joe Mooney School in Ireland and sang with the Irish Gaelic choir Cór Ainglí. She is also the artistic director of
Redwood Dulcimer Day and
co-author of Music of the World for Mountain Dulcimer.
Janet co-founded and is a writer for the Music of Bhutan Research Center
based in Thimphu, Bhutan.
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.
Kathy Hopkins can't remember a day without music in her life. She has been an all-around church musician
and cantor since her youth, and has sung with the San Jose Symphonic Choir, the Irish choir Cór Ainglí , ensembles of Gavilan College,
and the Celtic Christian group Kingsbard. Kathy also plays several instruments including guitar, Celtic harp, recorder, flute, clarinet,
harmonica, and English Handbells.
Susan Krivin's love of singing runs in her family, going back many generations. She began
harmonizing with cousins as a child, while receiving formal musical training in various choral groups,
and on piano and guitar. As an adult, she has enjoyed singing with friends, mostly informally, but
found her musical home with Zambra in 1994. Susan's skills as a professional seamstress and designer
are sometimes applied to Zambra's stagewear.
Kathleen Loveless, who arranges much of our repertoire, has been a part of Zambra since the conceptual phase.
Katie grew up in a home filled with music. She remembers her parents teaching her to pick out horn
lines in orchestral band recordings, and she silently practiced those harmonizing skills
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. She served as cantor of Valley Catholic Church of Watsonville for 10 years
and as conductor of Mary Mc Laughlin's Cór Ainglí (Irish Gaelic choir) from 2008-2011.
Audrey Nickel fell in love with Irish traditional music, American and British Isles folk music, and
Renaissance polyphony more or less simultaneously, and her life has been a cheerful mix of musical
styles ever since - a fact that she credits in large part to her mother, who loved to sing everything
from gospel and church hymns to show tunes and doo wop. Harmony is her first love, and she has sung
in choirs for as long as she can remember, most recently Mary Mc Laughlin's Cór Ainglí Irish choir
and the traditional Anglican choir at Calvary Episcopal Church in Santa Cruz.
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. At UCSC 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. She
recently participated in Mary McLaughlin's Cór Ainglí and as part of several productions by dance choreographer Sharon Took-Zozaya.
Jennie Siegmund began her singing career in her bedroom. She shocked friends by quietly singing backup
vocals one day while someone was playing guitar and singing. From then on, she was fast
tracked into her high school's two choirs and its small elite singing group, and ultimately
majored in vocal music in college. She has performed in a local rock dance band and was also a
member of Mary Mc Laughlin's Irish Gaelic Choir, Cór Ainglí .
Kathryn Veditz sang with the So Cal Vocal Association Honor Choir in high school and went on to perform at
UCLA with the A Capella Choir, Concert Choir and Women's Glee Club. Kathryn has enjoyed writing original songs on
piano and guitar since her teens, and is now studying the modern and Irish flute. She is especially drawn to
music of the Baroque and the Renaissance as well as Celtic and Scandinavian folk music.
She believes that nothing is better for the soul than making music with friends, so she does that every chance she gets.
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, qawwali, Balkan, and bluegrass vocal forms.
Zambra would also like to acknowledge Therese Hall Johannesson, our talented,
inspiring founder, who led the group for its first few years before stepping back to focus on her family,
and who subsequently continued on as a member for many years. Therese is currently the director of the
Alternative Family Education Madrigal Singers of Santa Cruz.