_mg_8679-v2Ayako Onoda – Co-President

Ayako is proud to be an active member of the Association as president of board since 2015 having served as a board member since 2014.  This year she also serves on the governance committee as well as the development committee overseeing the organizational structure of the Association as well funding to ensure future growth.

She has been musically involved with the Association performing as a vocal soloist with the Civic Symphony Orchestra, Civic Strings Orchestra and Civic Symphony Chamber groups in numerous concerts since 2013.

Outside of the Association, Ayako is an attorney specializing in corporate and technology transactions representing clients in the biotech industry as well as the information technology sector. Ayako enjoys being part of the community outreach initiative efforts and hopes to reach an even wider audience by participating in more programs in the Bay Area.

Her favorite pieces of music are:  Richard Strauss,  Vier letzte Lieder (vocal)   and  Maurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G Major, Igor Stravinsky, Petrushka (instrumental)


civic-md-headshotThomas Alexander – Co-President

Thomas joined the CSASF Board in 2011-12 as Treasurer, served on the Board in 2014-15, and was name Co-president in March of 2016.  Thomas served as the Concertmaster of the Civic Symphony from 2006-2014. He is Music Director for Civic Strings, which he founded in 2012. In Spring of 2016, Thomas created a new orchestra — Mozart to Mendelssohn — and is currently working to make Civic Chamber a success.  Thomas has a passion for community music because of his belief that wonderful things happen when musicians and audience come together to share in the experience of music making.  He has a proven track record for bringing musicians of all abilities together to perform compelling (and fun) concerts for musicians and audiences alike.

Favorite piece: Bach B minor Mass


hentgesbioKathy Hentges – Secretary

Kathy Hentges, CFPⓇ joined the CSASF Board November 2014 and has held the secretary position since January 2015. As Kathy begins her second two year term on the board she is excited to help guide the association during such an exciting time of growth.

Kathy is not a musician unless you count the traps drums she plays very, very badly, but she is an audience member and considers herself as the representative of the audience on the Board.

Kathy is the owner and principal of Applied Advisor, an independent financial advisory firm in San Francisco. She is a Certified Financial Planner and C.T.E.C registered tax preparer and brings financial and small business building skills to the CSASF Board. The Association’s mission to bring classical music to new and diverse audiences is what first brought Kathy to CSASF. She has a passion for giving back to the city of San Francisco, especially marginalized communities. This passion is reflected in her other volunteer role at San Francisco Animal Care and Control where she is an Adoption Assistant, Dog Volunteer Mentor, is part of the social media team and runs a quarterly low cost rabies vaccine clinic.


head-shotGerri Donato – Treasurer

Gerri has served on the board of the Civic Symphony Association in previous years as Secretary and currently as Treasurer, since 2013. She has performed in the 2nd Volin section of the San Francisco Civic Orchestra for 10 years and attended the Summer Workshop since its inception.

Prior to joining the San Francisco Civic Symphony, Gerri performed for many years with the Old First Presbyterian Church orchestra, and in the pit for the annual musical theater productions staged by Town School under the baton of Patty Warner.

Gerri has been a resident of San Francisco for 45 years, and have come to appreciate the unique role played by the San Francisco Civic Symphony Association in absorbing new and established members of our community into a variety of performing ensembles to meet the needs of musicians of all skill levels, and in providing high-level amateur musical performances to the public free of charge.


John Arnott

John joined the board of directors in 2015 after having played with the Civic Symphony for four years and serving on committees for three.  He is part of the finance committee helping coordinate the construction of the association’s annual budget.  He continues to serve on the governance committee where he helped formulate the association’s by-laws in 2012 establishing the overall organization of the association’s activities.  He has continued in his role of facilities coordinator, also started in 2012, researching and negotiating venues and support services for the association’s ensembles’ rehearsals and performances.  He looks forward to helping make the association’s third annual fundraising dinner and gala a success this coming Spring.

John first played with a Civic Symphony ensemble in the Summer Strings workshop of 2011.  This ensemble’s goal of providing a route for string players to re-enter the world of ensemble playing was perfect for John who had left his violin in the closet literally for decades before picking it up again in the early 2000s.  He then joined the Civic Symphony for their Fall concert that year and has moved to our “Mozart to Mendelssohn” orchestra this fall (2016).

He is hard-pressed to name a favorite piece, but still loves Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, which was on an album he found in his parents’ collection as a young boy.


0e5b8c0Sarah Locher

Sarah Locher joined the CSASF Board in Fall of 2015 and serves as the chair of the Marketing & Development Committee. She began playing cello with the San Francisco Civic Symphony in 2014 and has also performed with Mozart to Mendelssohn. Outside of the CSASF, Sarah is a senior analyst for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency where she specializes in performance analysis and business process improvement. She has professional and volunteer experience in fundraising and grant-writing for a variety of nonprofit causes and previously worked at the Presidio Trust to create leadership development programs for social impact leaders. Her favorite piece of music is currently Ravel’s String Quartet in F major.


doeDoe Mechem

Doe joined the board in the early 2000s, around the time of the inception of the Civic Symphony’s non-profit board. Doe joined the orchestra in the mid 70’s and has played with them since, except for a break between 1987 – 2001.

Presently, Doe is traveling the uncharted road of growing old. Previously, she was a stay-at-home mom, with six kids in four years.  Did some volunteer tutoring in the schools and worked for 14 years with a peace and environmental group called Beyond War. She helped to put on public education presentations and exhibits.  This included two concert tours for young Russian and American opera singers.

Doe loves love Dvorak, Brahms and Bach, many pieces by them and others.


Volunteer Staff

Dan Brewster – Executive Director

Dan Brewster has been on the management team for the Civic Symphony Association since Fall 2012, serving as Interim Executive Director for the 2012-2013 season and Executive Director starting in January 2016. A passionate believer in the power of music to transform lives, both by playing and listening to it, he enjoys working to allow more people to take part in musical experiences. Dan’s experience in orchestra management goes back to being President of his High School orchestra, where his biggest accomplishment was accidentally leaving a cello in Canada. In college, he then founded a Pops Orchestra with over fifty members, which is now in its tenth season!

For his day job, Dan works in software, and he plays (with varying skill) the cello, piano, and handbells. His favorite piece he’s performed in the last five years is Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony (“Eroica”), with the Mozart to Mendelssohn ensemble.