California Pops Orchestra Board of Directors

Kim Venaas - The Musical Director and Conductor

Responsible for guiding the CPO in fulfilling its mission through musical research, creative programming, selecting soloists and rehearsal preparations for each show. Mr. Venaas is an experienced conductor, composer and arranger with a background in big band, popular, and symphonic repertoires. Graduated with honors from San Francisco State University with a degree in conducting and musical performance. To note a few, Mr. Venaas has worked with Ernst Bacon, Carmen Dragon, Denis de Coteau and conducted at venues ranging from Davies Symphony Hall to the Monterey Jazz Festival. Winner of Best Sound Track for the Movie "Swing" produced by Martin Guigui starring Jacqueline Bisset and Jonathan Winters. Editor of the Childrens book "The Orchestra" by Ruth Spangenberg.

Executive Director: Alicia Wilmunder, CPP.

Responsible for the Pop's business and financial activities including; budgets and accounting, contracts, insurance, financial reporting, tax filing and website. Graduate from UOP. Awarded for her accounting center development. A business and accounting professional. Specialist in payroll and accounting systems implementation. Graduate in Cello Performance, UOP


Alan Cooper

Awarded 2005 MVP by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras.

Graduated Westport School of Music, B.S. Geology University of Rochester, M.S. Geology San Jose State University, M.S., Ph.D. Geophysics Stanford University. Emeritus Geophysicist: U.S. Geological Survey (34 years). Consulting Professor: Stanford University Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. Specialty: Marine geology and geophysics of continental margins and adjacent ocean basins of Antarctica, Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico, California, and Solomon Islands. Head of Antarctic Seismic Data Library System for Cooperative Research. Editor of 4 books and author of more than 200 scientific publications. Performs with Fiume di Musica (Principal), Left Bank, the San Andreas Trio and the famous Duckweed String Band.

Steve Morse

A research and development engineer with Saint Jude Medical (formerly Epicor Medical, Inc.) holding 13 patents for his medical device designs. A past member of the Board of Directors of the Sequoia Yacht Club and the Bair Island Aquatic Center. Received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from San Jose State University.

Mike Naar

Chief Financial Officer of Embarcadero Publishing, native Palo Altan and active community supporter.

Ruth Spangenberg - Board Member in Memorial

"Education is a great leveler. It makes us equal."

Ruth is one of the amazing supporters of education, music, the arts and the community. She successfully brought up 6 children when her husband Karl died in 1964. She immediately went to work re-entering Stanford University. By summer 1965 she earned a Masters in counseling and guidance and started her private family therapy practice. To list a few of her many successes: Mrs. Spangenberg co-founded the Committee for Green Foothills. Taught at San Mateo College and Canada College. She is an active board member of both the Stanford and Mid-Peninsula YWCAs. She's on the Board of Regents of John F. Kennedy University who presented Ruth with its coveted Citation. Raised support and founded the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Mid-Peninsula and received the 1996 Samaritan award.

Joe Simitian - Honorary Board Member

Santa Clara County Superviser and former California State Senator Joe Simitian. His dedication to music, the arts and community service is unbounded. His awards are numerous for his work in many areas including schools, youth programs, environment, technology and the community including; the Children's Champion award, Environmental Leadership award even the "Scientific American 50" award.

Leonard Ely - Board Member in Memorial

Leonard Ely is a tremendous community leader. His numerous awards include the CFSV Spirit of Philanthropy Award, the Palo Alto Tall Tree Award, and a Gold Spike Award and Centennial Medallion from Stanford. He has endowed a chair in the Economics Department and has a building named after him at Castilleja. Past President Ely Motor Company.

He has volunteered for the Red Cross, Castilleja School, the Community Foundation of Santa Clara County, Miramonte Mental Health Services, Lytton Gardens, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Filoli, Children's Hospital at Stanford, the Boy Scouts, Grace Cathedral, the Senior Coordinating Council, Museum of American Heritage, YMCA, Second Harvest Food Bank, Family Service Mid-Peninsula, Menlo School, Gamble Garden, KARA, Families in Transition, Ecumenical Hunger Program, OICW, Touchstone Hiller Aviation Museum and the Palo Alto Historical Society.

He's also been active at Stanford, working on its centennial campaign, for its historical society, alumni association, business school and athletic department. He has also been on the board of the Palo Alto Weekly since 1985.

Carol Channing - Honorary Board Member

Broadway Tony Award recipient dedicated to preserving Music Education in the California schools. Known for her performances on Broadway and San Francisco stages of Hello Dolly, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Thoroughly Modern Millie and much more. Appears in the cinema and a favorite television star. A total entertainer and promoter of popular music and education.

California Pops Orchestra - Management Team and Behind the Scenes Heroes

Executive Director: Alicia Wilmunder, CPP.

Responsible for the Pop's business and financial activities including budgets and accounting, contracts, insurance, financial reporting, tax filing and website. A business and accounting professional, specialist in payroll and accounting systems implementation. Alicia manages talent recruiting, the music librarian, graphics and website. She was awarded for her accounting center development. She graduated in cello performance from the Conservatory of Music, UOP. Her performance highlights include recording with Tony Bennett & KD Lang, the Rostropovich Master Class, Beverly Sills, Denis de Coteau, at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall and at Stanford University with conductors Gregory Wait and Steve Sano.


Julian Brown Concert Master

Concert Master of the California Pops Orchestra. His beautiful solos include the Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone, Monti's Czardas, Astor Piazzolla's Oblivion and Libertango, and the famous movie theme from Schindler's List.

Born in the UK, he studied the violin under the British violinist Anthony Saltmarsh and has followed a multi-faceted career as musician, radio producer, science writer, software engineer, and scientist. After studying physics at the University of Cambridge, England he worked at the BBC in London as a radio producer making talks and documentaries about science and technology. After leaving the BBC, Brown worked as a science writer and wrote several popular science books including "Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse", an account of the history and science of quantum computation. In 1998 he came to the US and worked for several years as a software engineer before joining Stanford University where he has worked for the last six years in a brain research lab. Throughout these times Brown has pursued a second life as an active musician playing in several orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Mr. Vic Befera: Public Relations

Vic Befera graduated from Michigan State University in Journalism and took his first job with the Palo Alto Times. In 1953, Vic joined the San Francisco Chronicle to handle restaurant and entertainment news and advertising. Among his lasting contributions was the "Nevada Scene" column in the sunday Datebook section, which Vic originated and wrote weekly, reporting on the hottest nightlife in Reno and Vegas.

In 1966, Vic founded Vic Befera & Associates, one of the region's busiest public relations firms, specializing in entertainment, with clients ranging from Bimbo's 365 Club to the Oakland Coliseum.


Mr. Roy Minor: Graphic Design

The Bay Area's leading creative graphic designer and artist. Roy is a former Business manager for Nowels and Sansu Publications, K-Press and in 1971 Roy established Roy Minor Graphic Arts, a graphic design and pre-press production service. His other affiliations include the Palo Alto Bar Association, the City of Mountain View, Lions Club Intl, the Palo Alto Concour d'Elegance and many other Associations. In 2014 Mr. Minor designed and published the California Pops' "Fund the Future" brochure.

Margery Morse: Pops House Manager

Responsible for managing all activities in the Theater including box office ticket sales, lobby, will call, emergency needs, customer service and relations.


Keith Jacobson: Head Usher

Responsible for managing all volunteer Ushers.

Mr. Brian Ogonowski: Stage Manager

Implements and manages a team handling all on-stage concert activities. Brian has been playing clarinet in the PPO since 1989. A patent attorney, with a BSEE from Villanova University (1977) and a law degree from Suffolk University (1983). He looks forward to rehearsals to relieve his stress and is a proud parent of an 8-year-old girl violinist who loves to come up on stage after each performance.

Ms. Sarah Pribble: Music Librarian Assistant.

Assists with instrument folder preparations, cataloging and helps the marketing team. Joined the Pops in 1990 and is a retired analytical chemist.

Marte Thompson, Web Consultant:

Supporting Angels
Jean Cunningham- Musicology & Research
Sam Huie - Photographer
The Spangenberg Family
Joe Marchi
Joan Del Secco - Assisting with the CA Pops New "Fund the Future" brochure.

Stage Hands
Brian Ogonowsky, Stage Manager
Lloyd Connors
Alan Cooper
Bob Fonda
Steve Oslov

Ticket Box Office Assistants
Paul Beckmann
Margery Morse
Steve Morse

For more information, Email, Alicia Wilmunder, Executive Director or call (650)856-8432

California Pops Orchestra - 3790 El Camino Real, Mail Suite 341 - Palo Alto, California 94306 - Phone: (650) 856-8432