fbpx

Staff

Kent Jue, Artistic and Executive Director

Kent Jue is thrilled and honored to lead the administrative arm of Ragazzi. Having developed music programs in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, Kent is renowned for his leadership in developing and promoting student achievement and engagement, and for inspiring families and communities. During his tenure as Executive Director, Kent has guided Ragazzi’s growth plan as it became the largest boys chorus program in the Bay Area, created two satellite programs for entry-level families, increased grant and foundation support, and established Ragazzi’s first endowment. He is a member of Chorus America’s Leadership Development Forum, a Packard Foundation grantee, and a recent panelist for the California Arts Council’s Arts Education Exposure grant. Kent is dedicated to developing Ragazzi’s extensive program to its fullest potential.

LAUREN ESTES, Operations Manager

Lauren Estes helps to coordinate performances and virtual choirs, serves as the liaison between artistic and office staff, manages the sheet music library, and provides office support. On the development side, Lauren is involved with grant sourcing and writing, helping to execute the Annual Fund, and maintaining donor records. Lauren updates Ragazzi’s website and social media accounts and assists with Ragazzi’s newsletters and other communications.

Lauren holds a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Syracuse University and a double major Bachelor of Arts degree in music and psychology from the College of William and Mary. A Virginia native, Lauren directed the central Virginia choirs Bel Canto Vocal Ensemble and Madison Choral Society and sang with several Virginia choirs prior to moving to California. She currently sings with Masterworks Chorale and Serenade Chamber Choir. She also serves as the Education Program Coordinator for Music at Kohl Mansion.

MELANIE FLINT, CHORUS MANAGER

Melanie Flint helps with completing registration, general inquiries, coordinating performances and tours, and recruiting volunteers. She is the liaison between choristers and their families and artistic/office staff and can help with resolving issues. She also assists with volunteer coordination at events, maintaining office records, and provides general office support.    

Melanie has sung in school and community choirs since she was 10 years old. She currently sings with Peninsula Cantare based in Palo Alto. Melanie has worked with many non-profits at all levels of operation from board member to volunteer coordinator, including the American Friends Service Committee, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. A Bay Area native, she attended Santa Clara University majoring in Political Science and holds a MAT in Urban Education & Social Justice from the University of San Francisco. Before joining Ragazzi, she was a high school Social Science teacher.

Nancy Whitecar, Programs and Recruiting

Nancy Whitecar is a professional musician and music educator with over 25 years of experience. She teaches general music classes at The Music School at the Sunnyvale Presbyterian church, and accompanies for instrumentalists and choirs throughout the Bay Area. Nancy has directed children’s and youth choirs, and taught piano to students of all ages in her private piano studio. She served as accompanist and assistant director of the BeckRidge Chorale in Southeast Michigan for over 20 years, and as Associate Director of Music at the First United Methodist Church in Plymouth, Michigan. Nancy is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, and the California Association of Professional Music Teachers. She graduated from the University of Illinois, and holds a Piano Teacher Certificate from Schoolcraft College in Michigan.

Julie Mamis, Ragazzi Camp Director

Julie holds an MA in Education from Concordia University and has been a credentialed teacher since 1989. As a lead teacher in a K–8 Montessori school she designed and led middle school outdoor education experiences. Julie is the lead teacher at Parkside Montessori in San Mateo. She is supporting the growing public school as it becomes a fully accredited Montessori Pre-K through grade 8 school. Julie has led many tours with middle school students outside of Ragazzi. She has chaperoned Ragazzi tours and is the parent of 3 adult children, one of whom is a Ragazzi alumnus. She loved volunteering with Ragazzi when her son was in Primary Group. After attending Ragazzi Camp as part of the theory team she became Director in 2015.

Jose Agustin (Justin) Deanon, Rehearsal and Office Assistant

Jose Agustin Deanon holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from San Jose State University. He currently teaches piano and serves as an accompanist, cantor, and as the choir director for Anima Christi – a Filipino volunteer ensemble from St. Edward Roman Catholic parish in Newark, CA. In Spring of 2021 through Ragazzi, Jose got the opportunity to work at JackTrip, the company that has allowed virtual-singing to be possible using low-latency connection, which in turn helped his work with Ragazzi as a ZTC (Zoom Tech Coordinator) in which he facilitates Ragazzi singers connecting to their designated JackTrip servers.

Jose took private piano lessons at the age of 10 and started his journey as a school accompanist in 6th grade for Alvarado Middle School (now known as Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School) in Union City, CA. His love for music continued into high school where he accompanied advanced choirs.

He joined the San Jose State University Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Benson. During the Winter of 2017, Jose composed a sacred motet, “Ave Maria,” which was premiered by the St. Joseph the Worker Schola Cantorum in celebration of the centennial Roman Catholic tradition of the Apparition of Fatima. His piece was again performed a year later by the Sancta Cecilia Choir, with Jose as their guest pianist for a fundraising concert at their church in Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Manila, Philippines. Jose received piano instruction from Dr. Frank Levy and Dr. Gwendolyn Mok. His solo piano repertoire focused on the rigorous works of Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Brahms, Scriabin, & John Williams.

Russell Peck, Office Assistant

Russell Peck is a recent Ragazzi alum who is excited to continue working with Ragazzi even during college. He is studying for a major in Commercial Music at Ohlone College and has spent 3 years working as a Stagehand and Shop assistant for Ohlone’s Smith Center. He currently sings in Ohlone’s College Chorus as well as their Acapella group. Russell joined Ragazzi in 2014 and graduated in 2021. During Ragazzi’s remote rehearsals and performances, Russell helped to provide tech support for the Ragazzi Virtual Studio and also served as an audio technician for Hybrid rehearsals. Currently Russell provides office and theory program support.