Steering Committee

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Emily BovanUniSound Program Coordinator

Emily Bovan is the Program Coordinator for UniSound. Emily also works for Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras as a Marketing Assistant. She is a Pittsburgh local and grew up in Gibsonia. She graduated from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management in December 2020. During her time in college, she interned with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, where she worked on the 60th anniversary marketing campaign for the Three Rivers Arts Festival and ran grassroots marketing campaigns to increase attendance at the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. Emily also worked with the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus as a Digital Marketing Intern and oversaw running the organization’s social media accounts.

Emily has volunteered with the Pittsburgh Playhouse to put together an event called “Beyond the Stage” to help high school students learn about the career opportunities in arts administration and with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in some of their arts education programming as well. Emily grew up with music playing a big part in her life; from singing in choir, playing the piano, performing in musicals, and being a member of band, she has always been involved in the arts. In this new role, Emily is excited to bring those musical opportunities to other kids and teenagers around the Pittsburgh area.

Kay BeyUniSound Organization Representative

James A. Brown is a musician, teaching artist, and the Youth Development Director for
the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Brown has served the Homewood community for nearly ten years through his leadership of the YMCA Lighthouse Project, a teen media arts and program serving high school teens in the east end of Pittsburgh. In 2016 Brown spearheaded a 1.5 million dollar project to relocate the Lighthouse teen center from Westinghouse Academy to a new state-of-the-art facility in the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Under his leadership, the Lighthouse has impacted the lives of over 400 youth
providing them with transformative opportunities to engage in the arts, find their voice, and prepare for college and careers.

Brown has served on a number of arts and education committees including the Heinz
Endowments Transformative Arts Process (TAP) and the Y-USA Neighborhood Action
Team (NAT) Project, and the City of Pittsburgh’s My Brother’s Keeper Committee. Brown is the co-founder and CEO of Rhyme Calisthenics LLC, a hip-hop performance game show that has held over 50 events throughout the northeast United States and Canada brings together hip-hop fans, rising stars, and cultural icons to celebrate the art and craft of hip-hop freestyle. Brown is an active keyboardist and music producer and released his own hip-hop/soul album entitled Fieldwork in 2007.

Brown is originally from Long Island, New York. He majored in sociology at Vassar College before moving to Pittsburgh to pursue a Master’s in Musicology at The University of Pittsburgh.


Michael ChapmanUniSound Organization Representative

Michael Chapman came to Pittsburgh from Trinidad and Tobago in 1996, shortly after being awarded the top prize for Best Guitar Solo at the 1995 Trinidad and Tobago National Music Festival.

Michael was awarded a scholarship to study music at Duquesne University where he earned a Bachelor’s and Master of Music Degree in Guitar Performance. He joined the music faculty at Duquesne University as an Adjunct Professor of Classical Guitar and Director of the Classical Guitar Ensemble in 2002.

Michael has performed extensively in the United States appearing in solo and ensemble performances and as Music Director of several Chamber Music performances. As a Teaching Artist and Music Director of Hope Academy of Music and the Arts from 2007 to 2016, he devoted much of his energy toward providing 300 plus students with year-round education in music and the performing arts. Michael is the Founding and Artistic Director of Guardians Of Sound Inc. and The Hip Hop Orchestra, a non-profit that promotes the use of orchestral and acoustic instruments for live music performance and youth instruction within the context of modern mainstream music.


Zuly InirioBlack Teaching Artist Alum Representative

Afro-Latina soprano Dr. Zuly Inirio hails from the Dominican Republic and has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States and Europe. Her roles include Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw, First Lady in The Magic Flute, Gertrud in Hansel und Gretel, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, and scenes from Ariadne auf Naxos, Götterdämmerung, Falstaff, and Albert Herring. She was part of Opera Louisiane’s The Ring (reduced) and where she performed the roles of Wellgunde, Ortlinde, and 2nd Norn.

Ms. Inirio is also well-versed in concert work and as a recitalist, most notably in the Lyrica Dialogues Organized by the Lyrica Society at Harvard in Boston, MA where she debuted Carson Cooman’s Sunset. She also performed Jake Heggie’s Natural Selection in Baton Rouge, LA where she worked with the composer directly. Most recently, she was highlighted in Austin Opera’s Concerts at the Consulate.

European highlights include soprano soloist for the Verdi Requiem in Munich, Germany at Allerheiligenkirche under the baton of Massimiliano Murrali and singing High Priestess while covering the title role in Verdi’s Aida with the Mythos Opera Festival in Sicily, Italy.

In 2022, Ms. Inirio will perform the role of Isabelle in Mizzy Mazzoli’s Song of the Uproar with The Demaskus Theater Collective in Pittsburgh, PA, and as part of her Afro-Latinx Song & Opera Project will be performing a series of recitals for the University of Pittsburgh, Chamber Music Pittsburgh, and East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

Zuly Inirio holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree and a Master of Music Degree from Louisiana State University where she was the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship. She completed her Bachelor of Music Degree at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL where she was also a recipient of a full-tuition scholarship. Ms. Inirio currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

Mark Despotakis

Mark DespotakisUniSound Advocacy Chair

Mark Despotakis is the Director of Public and Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. He handles the association’s policy development and government relations efforts around music education issues, educates members about policy and advocacy, and works with a variety of stakeholders to advance the association’s mission of advancing comprehensive and innovative music education for all students through quality teaching, rigorous learning, and meaningful music engagement.
Previously Mark was the Director of Market Development at Progressive Music in Pittsburgh, PA where he handled marketing and finance for the company that focused on serving school music programs.
Prior to working at Progressive Music, Mark spent time at CNN Newsource in Washington D.C. Currently, Mark serves on the SupportMusic Coalition Steering Committee, is a member of the Boards of Directors of NAMM Young Professionals and Western Pennsylvania’s Tournament of Bands, is a member of the National Association for Music Education’s Advocacy Leadership Force, and is a member of the Make Music Pittsburgh Advisory Committee.
Mark graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Communication.


Lindsey NovaUniSound Advancement Co-Chair

Lindsey Nova is the Executive Director of Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras [TRYPO]. Under her leadership, TRYPO has dramatically expanded its program offerings, tripled annual student enrollment, and exponentially increased audience reach. After earning her Bachelor’s of Music Performance in French Horn from the Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in French from the University of Rochester, Lindsey was guest lecturer at the Université de Rennes II (France) and later earned a Master’s of Music Performance in French Horn from the University of Utah.

Lindsey has a firm foundation in administration of both vocal and instrumental classical music: Following various types of work in administration, editorial work, and conventions for Classical Singer Magazine, Lindsey was the Director of Operations for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, prior to moving to Pittsburgh with her husband James, who is the second/utility trombonist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Currently, she serves on the New Leadership Council of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Arts Advisory Council of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, as well as on the boards of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, and the League of American Orchestras Youth Orchestra Division.

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Maggie RichardsonUniSound Advancement Co-Chair

Maggie Richardson is an arts management professional with 20 years of experience in nonprofit management including marketing strategy, branding, collaborative partnerships, public relations, database management, and program development. As Director of Marketing and Audience Development for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Johnson spearheaded multiple collaborative marketing initiatives, including a citywide marketing campaign that generated just short of $2 million for 150 nonprofit, arts-related organizations in a 24-hour period.  She received an “ADDY” Award in 2006 from the Pittsburgh Advertising Federation as project leader on a campaign for Pittsburgh Opera. She has served as a visiting professor at Point Park University’s Sport, Arts & Entertainment Management program, and is volunteer leadership staff with the Performing Arts Academy of the Urban Impact Foundation on the North side of Pittsburgh.

Kendra Ross Photo June 2022 by Kitoko Chargois

Kendra RossUniSound Interim Steering Committee Chair

Dr. Kendra Janelle Ross is the Head of Social Impact at Duolingo, where she leads the community engagement and global philanthropic strategy. Before joining Duolingo, she served as an Assistant Professor of Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management at Point Park University, where she also completed a Ph.D. in Community Engagement. Her dissertation research focused on Black women artists and cultural workers in the Hill District, where she serves as the co-chair of #ArtsInHD, a collective of Hill District creatives. Passionate about building a more equitable arts ecosystem in the region, Dr. Ross has served as co-chair of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Community Advisory Council and is one of the architects of UniSound’s Black Teaching Artist-In-Residence program through her firm, ACT3 Consulting Partners. ACT3 has advised arts organizations and other regional non-profits on their community engagement strategies over the past six years.  

 A music industry veteran and business professional, Dr. Ross spent two decades in New York City working both on stage and behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. She managed label operations for Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, for over a decade. Dr. Ross is a veteran songwriter, vocalist, and producer who has recorded with renowned artists such as Quincy Jones and Lauryn Hill. She has headlined New York’s legendary Blue Note Jazz Club more than ten times as a bandleader. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia chapter of the Recording Academy and was recently appointed to the Allegheny Regional Asset District Board of Directors by Mayor Ed Gainey. Dr. Ross continues to write and record music and advocate for other artists. She has been awarded grants for her solo work and artistic collaborations from The Heinz Endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Opportunity Fund.    

 Dr. Ross is a proud graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools, K-12, and holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Business and Technology from New York University and master’s degrees from Brooklyn College/CUNY and The New School for Social Research.   

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Lee Saville-IksicUniSound TRYPO Board Liaison and UniSound Organization Representative

Lee Saville-Iksic is a musician, writer, teacher, and organizational leader with 15+ years of experience in music education. In his current role as Executive Director of Pittsburgh Youth Chorus, Lee supports a dynamic array of choral music programs for young people from across the Pittsburgh region. Prior to coming to PYC in 2019, Lee taught vocal music in the public schools in central PA for 11 years. While in this role, he directed a robust program comprised of several choirs, music courses, and a full-scale annual musical theatre production.

From 2011 to 2016, Lee also served as the Director of School and Community Programming for Hope In Harmony, a music education nonprofit he founded along with his wife, Rose. Committed to programming that might inspire greater intercultural awareness and understanding, he created and produced choral festivals and artist-in-residencies that brought Pennsylvania students and community members together with musicians from Guinea, Haiti, and South Africa.

Lee earned degrees in Music Education from Susquehanna University and Ithaca College. He is a western PA native-born in the Laurel Highlands and raised in the North Hills – and he is thrilled to be sharing the joy of singing in his hometown once again!

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Melita TerryUniSound Community Engagement Chair

Melita Hatley Terry is a Community Engagement Coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer Disease Research Center, where Melita organizes and implements public relations within the community to educate and recruit a diverse group of adults for participation in research on Alzheimer’s disease, with a particular focus on persons from underrepresented groups.

Melita has extensive corporate experience managing teams in customer service, sales, billing and retention with companies such as Verizon close to twenty years.  Melita has exceeded monthly revenue targets over 1 million dollars and created compelling customer experiences in a customer base expanding from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia to ensure company and employee goals are attained. 

Actively engaged born and raised in the city of Pittsburgh, Melita graduated from Schenley High School and attained a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Lincoln University. Melita is actively engaged and including civic duties at Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh.  Melita is married and a proud mother of two children.  Melita brings an important perspective to the UniSound Steering Committee through her engagement with youth music organizations as the parent of a talented young musician.


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